Pretty ordinary right? This is my view, some days. However, I feel it is rather extraordinary.Read More
Our Madison turned 19. We were spoiled to be able to celebrate her January 8th birthday before sending her back to Palm Beach Atlantic University for her second semester.
Only one week after Madison's 19th birthday, Cole turned 14. Our boy is becoming a man.
...and this man, he takes tetherball very seriously.
On February 12th, our Kamise turned 11.
These two add so much to my life and our family. We are learning to give and receive love with one another. They add demensions to love I did not know was possible and I am grateful to God for them. It is a honor and a treat to add two more beautiful valentines to my life.
Here is a favorite valentine. She a beautiful blend between Lisa and I. There is plenty both of Lisa and I can relate to in Madison. She is very creative and famously academic. She is easy for me to love. :)
I could not do better than this speical friend. She is bright, funny, and beautiful. She is a giver and a great receiver of love. If life is suppose to have a sound track, then Lisa is my music. She brings depth and beauty to my life and our family. It is easy to celebrate love with Lisa being such a great living expression of it.
This a fun week where the idea of love is celebrated. For me it started with these two. My mom and my sister. They have both loved me well. My mom was the catalyst in our family to move toward God. She valued church, the bible, and prayer. She is 79 now and in the 4th stage of life with parkinson's disease. I enjoy talking with her on the phone as we sort out a blend of the past and present. She has always loved me well and I love her back.
My sister has always been my friend. I teased her a bit as we grew for which she might feel the friendship was tested a bit, but with only two years between us we often where at the same schools together and even the same college. She has always been loyal to me, supporting me and believing in me.
They both have helped me understand God's love a little better in the way they have loved me in spite of me being me. I love them both.
One of the projects our team is working on is called the 2015 Global Briefing, which will be held in Colorado Springs this summer. Our president, Steve Douglass, will be joined by all our vice presidents and international leaders to host a time where they'll report on Cru's progress toward our global goal of building 10 million multiplying disciples by 2020. In addition, they'll share significant ministry initiatives still left to engage in, which will help move us even further toward reaching the world for Christ. I enjoyed the way David Wills, President of the Christian Foundation, put it in the video I posted earlier when he said there are limits to what we can do to help fulfill the Great Commission. Some of the projects needed to do the job are funded and/or nearly done! We have more to do, but we are getting closer. Our time is limited for sure, but we are getting closer to the finish line. None us would want to miss out on the chance to do, go, give and pray in response to what God asked us to do. We are raising up people and resources in response to the Great Commission and by God's grace we will not miss our chance to be a part of this awesome kingdom work. It is thrilling work and Lisa and I am thoroughly enjoying working on this team who's focusing on providing opportunities for others to be a part of building God's Kingdom here on earth. It's equally thrilling to be in this with our ministry partners who are passionate about people throughout the world being changed by the love of Christ.
Lisa and I have been in ministry 22 and 32 years, respectively, with a focus on helping to fulfill the Great Commission. Progress reports are always good. This one given by David Wills, president of the National Christian Foundation, is over the top. It is just over 38 minutes in length. I know, I know. That sounds long. However, I found it to be captivating and well worth my minutes. God is amazing and this report reinforces it.
Our President, with the help of our team, will be hosting a meeting of friends that are either "in the game" or friends who are exploring how we can help them make an eternal impact on the lives of thousands. David Wills will be joining us and will be sharing updates to these reports given in this message.
Thank you for entering the "game" of helping to fulfill the Great Commission through us, and if you would like to extend or expand your ministry through us please click on JOIN US in the menu above. We would love to partner with you in this great task.
As a friend shared this quote with me several weeks ago, my interest was piqued. The scale of my soul has always tipped toward a driven responsibility rather than play. In my adult life, that is. I have ached deeply in my homeschooling years for the scales to balance more... Or even tip toward play. So much that I have worn a charm around my neck the past 7 years imprinted with the word "play." Two others keep it company. "Soul" and "faith." Beside them "play" appears so shallow. At times, self-consciousness creeps in when I think what others might think about the "play" around my neck. If only they knew the battle which rages within me on a daily basis to let it all go. And play. Connect with the ones I love. One son sees me battle. He deemed himself my "play teacher" years ago. Amidst my resistance to stop working, he presses
Mystery converged and my soul sighed when she shared the relationship between play and love. The connection had never been so clear. I've believed there's a bigger story to my ache for release from the extreme. The enemy seeks to destroy healthy play. Because play is connected to love. And love is the essence of everything. He's at the center.
Trauma assaults our ability to play. A friend had an epiphany. She was playing dolls when her mom died of a stroke. She was a little girl, home alone with her beloved mother. The weight too great. It was
I'm grateful I lived no such trauma. But It didn't take that severity of trauma to tip my scales away from play. Somewhere throughout my traumas, I chose to work harder. Make myself less disposable to others. Produce. Keep order. Not from a space of knowing who I am. But to prove who I am, I suppose. To control my environment so chaos would be extinguished. Chaos brings me discomfort.
Isn't creativity birthed in chaos?
25 years ago, love captured me. "My grace is sufficient for you!" He exclaimed. And whispers it every day deep into my soul. And will do so until I see Him face to face and really believe Him. If I really believed in this grace, this covering, I might play more easily. I think it would recalibrate my scales. Bringing balance. Ushering in rest. And the freedom to play. To be content with a little less productivity.
Trauma came for a visit six months ago. It converged on me by ones I'd never imagined would betray me. Built a case against me. Without the courage to let me know. To move toward me. Then, as a group, they lowered the gauntlet on my just recovering soul. And darkness moved in, seeking to destroy further, even after so much relational destruction.
In the grieving, I have only had energy to grieve and keep the family running. My normally productive self has not been so productive. A few months ago, Dennis introduced me to "Arrow." A tv program full of everything addictive. Beautiful people, action,
I don't value watching the tube for hours on end.
One show in a season is plenty of time invested in mindless detaching from reality for me. I'm fine if others weight it differently. Everyone else in my family does.
But in the wake of grief, I've found myself wandering around our home, aimlessly. Not knowing what to do. Having no energy or inertia to do anything if something were to come to mind. My "
"Mom, come watch Arrow! That's what you should do." This has been his invitation every day of the fall.
He loves popping the corn, loading it up with butter, and crawling beside me into the world of
I never would have conceded to this invitation in the past. Not on an almost daily basis. But just as trauma tipped the scales away from play as a child, it seems to be pulling them back toward equilibrium as an adult.
Two nights ago, as I watched the final three episodes of Arrow Season 2, guilt plagued me. Growing like a festering wound.
"You're being irresponsible."
"You're relationally unavailable."
"You should be helping with the bedtime routine."
"That was 2 1/2 hours of the tube in one night."
I offered my tortured insides to a few friends. They told me this is good. Just what I need. I need to restore and veg-out. Friends who keep speaking grace into our lives are priceless.
Then I shared of my life-sucking guilt with Dennis.
"I've never thought one of those thoughts about you," he said.
"I think it's wonderful you're so into
Something in me was released to play a little more freely. It's connecting me to the ones I love. Making me more permeable to them. And I'm hoping more permeable to Him, who is love.
You and I are daring to believe God to fullfill his commission to us to reach the world for Christ. Could it be this year? Maybe not, but we can move this forward a lot. One way is that you and I can be ready to share with those around us about the good news story. Though your partnership with this ministry you have helped to create an app with one of the most effective and popular evangelim tools our generation has known and that is the Jesus Film. And, you can fit it in your pocket!
Our ministry called the JesusFlim Media created an app with all the resources this ministry has created. Imagine running into someone whose mother tongue is Spanish, and being able to share the gospel story with that person in that language. Maybe you are at the grocery store and get to know a person from China or you take a trip and a cab driver is from Morocco. With this tool you can share the film with them. It is okay if they can't see the whole film with you, you can send them a link to the movie and they can watch it on their smart device or on a computer at home (and you now have their email address where you can ask them what they thought of the film). You now can minister in over one thousand languages!
Perhaps this year will be the year when you not only share the gospel in English, but in Swahili too. As you and I do that we are helping to fulfill the Great Commission. We hope to enable 10 million disciples of Jesus do this and more by the end of 2020. Thanks for being part of that and for the people God puts in your path as well.
Get the apps:
Through the robust search feature users have the ability to find our resources by country, language name, and title of the film. You will have access to films in more than 1,100 languages!
Featuring the films JESUS, Magdalena, The Story of Jesus for Children in full length and segments; the series Following Jesus and Walking with Jesus and catalog of short films like My Last Day.
For more information:
This was the verse of the day in my devotion. I thought I would share a couple of thoughts from my meditation as a way to say we love and appreciate you, and like you our hearts are filled with gratitude for God's mercy and grace in sending us His only Son to us. Merry Christmas!
Technically God could have sent his son as a grown man like he created Adam right? But no, in a humility we may never know, he came as a baby, and in doing so we now have a Savior who can identify with us in all things. He is our perfect High Priest, King, and Sacrifice. He is our living God with power in His leadership and all the weight of absolute authority. He is eternal. He is our Prince of Peace. We exhault and worship you Father. We thank you for the gift of you Son.
It is Saturday and I am doing some housekeeping on my computer, ordering and cleaning up my drives. I stumbled on this update meant for you that I never sent or posted. Not so smart, right (don't answer)? The story is as good today as it was in June. So I am posting it. I hope you love it. You make stories like this happen as you partner with this mission through us. Thank you.
I met Tariku (Ta ree coo) at our Global Leadership Conference this past June. He captivated my attention when I heard that he had more than 5,000 students in his discipleship chain. It also piqued my interest when I found out he was from Ethiopia, lived in a small village as a child, was treated poorly by his family, lived in fields and later the streets of the city, put himself through school and then college. He now gives leadership for Cru to several countries in Africa. I visited with Tariku and found similarities between his past and our girls' beginnings.
Recently my new team pulled together a report where Tariku shared how our ministry held a training event in Sudan (our girls lived close to the Sudan/Ethiopia border). Forty-seven students and staff came from all over the country to the capital of Juba for eight days of training. They were taught how to build spiritual movements, and provide spiritual and strategic leadership. They prayed and fasted for eight hours on one of the days. The students reported that this was a highlight for them. After learning to share their faith they went out to share the gospel. During the five days of outreach, 276 students gave their lives to Jesus.
In addition, we were able to launch student-led ministries on six universities and establish student leadership teams that can sustain and grow these ministries into movements.
Back to Tariku. His story filled me with awe. God pursued a boy who grew up in harsh circumstances and relational loss, drew Tariku to Himself, and placed a significant call upon His life resulting in thousands being brought to Christ through Him. An additional part of his story is that he advocates the principles our team is teaching, one of which is that every indigenous leader must embrace personal fund development despite challenging circumstances. He not only raises his own support in nations fiscally challenged at best, but encourages all the staff in his African countries to do the same. When he was asked to leave his ministry in Ethiopia, which had grown to more than 5,000 students entering into a relationship with Christ, to give greater ministry leadership, his supporters wanted to keep their support in Ethiopia. Saying "yes" to a new role required him to raise his support fresh once again in a different country in which he knew no one. As Tariku shared his story, his faith rang loud
His faith inspires us as we continue to believe God for full funding. Thank you for supporting this ministry. Thank you for releasing us to serve. May God be pleased to use our leadership, influence, finances and experience to expand his kingdom and help fulfill the Great Commission.
The air was filled with excitement. The king had prepared a special place for the emblem of God's presence, the Ark of God. The king had even prepared a thanksgiving meal for everyone. This actually may have been the first Thanksgiving. You can read all about it in 1 Chronicles 16:1-3.
We enjoyed family and friend time over a wonderful meal, giving thanks to God for the blessings that are ours. As we sat around the table, consuming large amounts of the banquet before us, we each shared three of God's blessings in our lives throughout the past year. Many of us cheated and shared four blessings because limiting it to three was impossible. It was so beautiful to hear of God's generosity in each person's life. We want you to know that you are at the top of our "thankful" list. You enable us to engage in the mission of helping to fulfill the Great Commission so generously. We are grateful to God for you.
I hope this Christmas season continues to be refreshing, full of reflection on God's great generosity towards us.
When Barry tells his story of how he came to Christ, it involved a deck of cards. It is no wonder that Barry Warren, who works on our Research and Development campus team, thought of using a deck of cards as a medium to share the gospel. It was a joy to work with Barry a few years ago, helping him bring to life an idea that would help us share the gospel by listening attentively to someone's spiritual paradigm, while helping him better understand himself, in particular his worldview and why he believes the way he does. The title of the project was called "The Perspective Cards". The name stuck and one of our designers/illustrators worked with Barry designing each card to simply share a perspective on what makes up his/her worldview (for more about the Persepctive Cards see perspectivecards.com).
The cards have been well received and used all over the world. It was obvious that the form factor of the cards matched the increased use of the smartphones, and work began on making an app. Yesterday the app was released to the iTunes® app store and you can download it today (free) online. An Android® app is in the works for 2015.
Thank you for your gifts that make it possible to engage in projects like this to help fulfill the Great Commission.
We made it through the New Global Leader Orientation! I really enjoyed this week and this group. It was meaningful to hear from our leaders in this more intimate gathering. I am sobered by the complexity of the mission and grateful for the leaders we have that are courageously taking us into dark places with the light of Christ. I am walking away with a greater impression of how I have been led by leaders as well as the important opportunity to serve others by leading now.
Delight means to "take pleasure". It is not merely something that happens, but it is something that we have to "take". I "take pleasure" in spending time with God, in reading and studying His words, in prayer, in participating in a mission to help fulfill the Great Commission, in my beautiful wife Lisa, in my awesome kids, in my generous partners, in my faithful friends, in photography, in technology, in good books, in stimulating podcasts, in entertaining shows and movies and more. I have noted that in all these things that I delight in, they often take effort on my part. It starts with a choice. Many things could capture my attention, my time, my energy, and there are so many things from which to choose. David, in this song, shares how choosing to delight in God brings us to our hopes and desires that are a secret, maybe even to us, but they are real. What are your delights?