Tuesday, December 16, 2008

orphan crisis

We are wonderfully tired. Tonight my wife and I lay on the couch of a local orphanage, giddy with fatigue. But tonight we are reminded of our desire to be exhausted from serving the helpless. And does it get any more helpless than this? Click here to watch the new video.

What's sad is the fact that there are thousands more just like these precious boys. We believe one of the reasons we are here in Guatemala is to help rescue more children who have been abused or abandoned. We have been connected with a loving family who for the last 5 years has trekked down the long and corrupt road of red-tape required before being able to receive abandoned/abused children in their orphanage. During that time, they have lost some support as well as some steam.

For the next 3 weeks, we are running The Great Commission Children's Home while the original founders visit the US, trying to raise additional support. For more information, you can check out our website at www.deepstreamguatemala.com or the website for the home www.hogardeninos.net.

There is an orphan crisis in Guatemala, and we are praying that through the body of Christ, together we can make an impact.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

prez obama

I voted for John McCain. I liked Huckabee during the primaries, but still had a liking for McCain. For me, certain social issues like abortion tip the scale when I am casting my vote. There’s never a perfect candidate, but I try to look for Christlike characteristics when choosing a leader (a near impossibility when talking about politicians!). Huckabee was bold about his faith in Christ, to the point where it hurt him politically, and I liked that.

Protecting the right to life, dealing with world poverty and disease, discrimination, and immigration are a few of the social issues that mean more to me than the ones of the more political or economical variety. In some of these areas, I think democrats tend to carry a more Christlike view. In other areas it tends to be republicans.

That being said, today I am a typically-conservative-Jesus-loving-missionary-living-in-a-third-world-country who is celebrating a special moment in American history. (I have heard all of the "Obama is evil" warnings and I am aware of his shady associations. I also know that if I ran for president, the associations of my past would raise a few questions to say the least. Some of Obama’s history alarms me too, but he has renounced these relationships and I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt.)

More importantly, this election symbolizes incredible progress for a country that not long ago treated many individuals no better than a stray dog because their skin was black. When I was in high school the KKK still marched down Main Street in my hometown. African Americans have overcome what I believe to be the most cruel, ridiculous, and vicious discrimination in American history.

Political views aside, this election is a monumental defining point for America. Whether we voted for Barack Obama or not, and even if we deeply disagree with his political views, we must celebrate the significance of this day. For the black population, and all Americans for that matter, today is a day to claim victory over some of the darkest days in the closet of American history.

In many ways, I think politics are overrated. Government is critically important for sure, but it gets too much attention and can distract us from remembering who is actually in control. Despite having a long list of disagreements with the president-elect, I will embrace Barack Obama as my president. I’ll pray for him and the leadership of the country, and I will no doubt celebrate what I believe his being elected represents.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

sophi grace

Not long ago we had some friends over. As we were visiting the question came up as to whether or not we are finished having children. We answered generally that we did not plan on having any more, but we would be open to adopting or foster parenting an abandoned/abused child if the God brought the opportunity our way.

The next day we received a call. A child had been abandoned at birth, and we were given the opportunity to legally adopt her on the spot.

We froze.

How could this be? What would we do? What is the process? What are the legal ramifications? Is the child sick? Does she have HIV? Would the mother come back to find her? What should we do?

Kerrie and I took some time to talk, pray, and make a few phone calls.

Then we remembered our conversation with our friends just one day earlier. We remembered the times we had talked about this before. We had committed to God and to each other that we would make ourselves available for this very opportunity.

We were convicted. What were we even talking about? Praying about? What situations could we possibly be “weighing” that outweigh the reality that a newborn baby has been abandoned. A response of “no thanks” would shuffle her through a corrupt adoption process that would likely find her thrust into a despicable child labor system by age 10. Truth be told, her reality could be much worse than that…

In that moment, the holy spirit came upon us, helping us to look outside ourselves. We picked up our phone and made the call. “We’d love to have her.”

We were asked for personal information, documents, etc, so they could prepare the paperwork. They told us to stand by, make preparations, and we would be able to pick her up the next morning.

That night we prepared, physically and mentally, for the arrival of a new daughter and sister. We bought diapers, formula, and various baby needs. We prayed together and began getting excited. As a family we decided on the name Sophia Graciana. We would call her Sophi Grace.

The next morning we received a call telling us to be patient - that it was probably going to be later in the day. We waited. That evening, we finally got the call.

We were shocked to hear that the mother had come back. She had come back early that morning, claiming to want her child and was apologetic for her actions. A social worker spent the day with her and ultimately decided that she was a fit mother, genuinely apologetic, and had a unique reason for her behavior. The decision had been made that she could keep her daughter.

We were stunned. We didn’t know how to react. The kids, especially Madi, were crushed. Madi had been thanking God for “answering her prayers” in providing this opportunity. Our emotions were all over the place. Its very hard to describe how we felt.

We were sad. We cried. We had questions for God. We couldn’t figure why he would put us through this.

Maybe it was a test of our faith. Maybe it was preparation for a future opportunity. We finally settled on the conclusion that its not our place to figure out God's reasoning.

The more pressing issue is that of the children. Like Sophiana, so many are left abandoned. Many are literally thrown out in the street immediately following birth. Others are abused, beaten, raped, and exploited.

I pray that Sophi Grace is in warm, loving hands today. But even more than that, I pray for the hundreds of thousands of others who are in alone or in danger.

While the problem at times seems too large to even comprehend, we believe the only way we can make a difference is one child at a time.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

juan daniel, and so many more

Imagine this… You get pregnant as a young teenager. There is no way you can tell your family, especially your father. You are poor and live in a third world country, making the option of abortion impossible. So you live with a friend for nine months, deliver the baby, and the day he is born you toss him into a ditch on the side of the road. He is left to die. Problem solved.

Unimaginable? Sadly, this is commonplace in Guatemala. It is to Guatemalans what abortion is to North Americans. A solution to the inconveniences that come with having a child.

But in the case of Juan Daniel ("Danny", pictured with me here), God had other plans. A local couple was on a walk and discovered the 2-day old boy, barely alive, and took him to the fire station. The fire station got him to the hospital, and soon he was placed in the court system. About 3 weeks later, a judge would give him a name and place him in an orphanage.

Unlike most abandoned Guatemalan children, Danny was placed in a small, family-like orphanage with loving Christian parents. Today, I hold this miracle child in my arms, and take great joy in making him chuckle as I tickle the chub under his chin.

Today, we have the blessing of overseeing a small orphanage, and providing the owner’s family a much needed day off. Each baby (all under 5 months) has its own story of abandonment, similar to that of Danny. Unloved by their moms and dads, but perfectly loved by their Father in heaven.

As we consider our own struggles today – work, busy schedules, the market crash, health, finances, etc – let us not forget those whose concerns are far greater. Our brothers, sisters, and children around the world are literally dying on the side of the road.

I thank God today for the opportunity to serve him, and these children.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

the need to redefine safety

Lately we have been reminded that we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Here are a few things we have been told, and learned for ourselves, during our first month in Guatemala:

1. Don’t get lost. There are several places you should never go, some of which are very close to the main areas and easy to accidentally end up in.

2. Lock your car doors and travel in groups. Car jackings are every day occurrences here. Men with guns force you from your car, stealing it as well as all your belongings. This happens in broad daylight and on main public roads.

3. Tint your windows. There is an assumption that North Americans have money, so the chances of being robbed go up dramatically once the thief sees you are not Guatemalan.

4. When you get robbed, do not resist. Typically when people are injured or killed in a robbery it is because they fought back.

5. Do not trust the police. They are corrupt, involved in criminal activities, and in cahoots with the criminals and banking institutions.

6. Do not trust the banks. Don’t withdraw or deposit large amounts of money.

7. Do not us the same ATMs frequently or develop any predictable patterns.

8. Don’t wear jewelry, watches, Ipods, expensive shoes, or high-end clothing. All of these items help the criminals make assumptions.

9. You can do everything right, and still get nabbed.

10. Don't live in fear. (Gee, thanks!)

In addition, here are some recent happenings familiar to us:

~Our neighbor was recently car-jacked on the major road leading into San Cristobal, a road we travel on each day. She was forced from the car by 4 men with guns.

~A teacher at CAG (where the kids go to school) was recently robbed by a man with a gun. She was walking directly in front of the school last Saturday when it happened. She was alone and carrying a purse.

~Last weekend, one of the security guards protecting our neighborhood was intoxicated, entered a residence and threatened the mother and children with his gun. The owner put out notices to all of us warning us not to trust the guards.

~UPDATE: 3 days ago (now 9/25) the father of some classmates of our kid's (one 3rd grader and one middle schooler) was kidnapped while shopping at Cemaco (a hardware store we shop at regularly). We don't know a lot of details regarding the reason, and can only speculate that in some way he appeared to be (financially) worth kidnapping. The missionary community has been praying for his return and PRAISE GOD he was returned today. We don't know any other details at this time, except that his family is leaving the country today for a 2 week break.

Unfortunately these stories continue. My intention is not to scare/worry anyone regarding our safety (or discourage anyone from visiting us!). Nor did I write this to falsely pat ourselves on the back for “living dangerously” or “suffering for Jesus.” I am only trying to be honest about the reality we are in, and ultimately bring glory to God as he uses us to accomplish his work in Guatemala.

This is where we are. This is where God wants us to be. This is our reality. Sometimes we get scared, and other times we are brave. Sometimes we are paranoid, and other times we are too carefree. But most importantly, we are learning to seek HIM in balancing and discerning these feelings. There are times I consider whether or not living here is worth the risk. Anytime I (or we, as a family) seek Jesus on this topic we come away with an overwhelming YES...it is worth the risk, without question, absolutely.

A couple nights ago I was tucking Brooke in, and she told me that sometimes she wants to move back to the states. When I asked why, she said, “because we never had to worry about being safe.” In the quiet of her room, her comment echoed loudly and I heard it over and over again. Because we never had to worry about being safe.

Interestingly, I am realizing how naive I am to think we are any safer in north Florida than we are here. To believe so would be to presume that my worldly-wise decision making can trump God's control. I know this perspective annoys the common sense, practical thinker. But it's frustrating to me when Christians are quick to make (or point out) the "smart choice", or the safe decision - while unintentionally discouraging others who have been called by God to throw some caution to the wind. My bible speaks of few who chose this safe, practical route, yet is littered with radicals who took jesus literally, and even followed him to the death. The "decision making process" of such heroes would today be considered mentally unstable and require treatment and meds.

To be clear, I am not saying that, statistically, living in the 10/40 window is no more dangerous than living in Harvey, North Dakota. What I am declaring is that when following Jesus, it is necessary to reevaluate the concept of safety. Because if everything the bible says is true, a reckless, unstable life devoted to bringing the hope of jesus to the ends of the earth, and even a premature death, is actually much "safer" than a long, healthy, prosperous life of spiritual idleness.

...keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness...we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies... 2 Thess 3:6-15

...I know you're works, that you are neither hot or cold... because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say I am rich, I have prospered, I need nothing - not realizing you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked... Rev 3:15-22

So, what is safety? I have drafted my own personal definition.

Safety: To realize my life on earth is but a vapor; to be willing to give it fully (not partially) to the cause of bringing the hope & love of jesus to all, even at the "risk" of all things worldly including comfort, wealth, success, personal safety, and reputation; to pursue bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth with every thing I have, in anticipation of hearing the words "well done faithful servant." And In doing this, securing a place in eternity with my heavenly father, creator, lord, and king.

For me, this is the safest bet.

Regarding Brooke's comments in bed the other night, I assured her that I understood her feelings, and at times feel exactly the same way. But it has lead to some great conversation within our family about why we're here. Not just why we're here in Guatemala, but here in this life.

We concluded, collectively, that we have never felt closer to God than we do now, and that is a beautiful place to be.

If not certain this is exactly where God called us, I’d probably have my family on the next plane. But he has been clear in showing me that he is ahead of us, and our job is to keep following. He has our back. He is God, and he deserves our willingness to do anything for his glory!

Thank you to all of our partners – prayer partners, financial partners, friends and family. Always know that we pray for all of you and love you very much. If I could ask for a specific prayer for me, pray that I can remain steady with the passion that I have on this day. I realize how weak and sinful I am, and fear that my perspective today can slip and weaken tomorrow. Please God, give me steadfastness.


https://www.osac.gov/Reports/report.cfm?contentID=80860

Monday, August 18, 2008

guatemala update - august 18, 2008

Over a cup of coffee, Kerrie and I are sitting here wondering how so much could happen in less than a week.  The majority of the last 5 days is a blur in my mind.  It has been jam-packed chaos, running from one place to the next.   Getting somewhat settled into our home, trying to learn our way around the area, running back and forth to the markets and stores, setting up utilities, school orientations, language school registration, back to the airport to pick up George (our dog), and so much more.  Not that big of a deal…unless you can’t read street signs, and don’t speak the same language as the condominium guards, store clerks, market vendors, internet company workers, gas company workers, cell phone salesman, airport guards, propane guy, and the neighbors!  In all fairness, we could have used our friends for help, but we decided to not ask for hand-holding, to venture out and learn the hard way - by experiences, trial, and error.


Mixed in with the chaotic fog of the last 5 days, there have been some wonderful moments where time has seemed to stand still.  God has spoken to us here.  We have felt his provision, and his protective covering over us.  And we have been blessed to receive some specific, sweet expressions of his love.  I want to share just a couple of them with you.

When we visited Guatemala in April, we visited 4 potential places to live.  We chose the one that seemed the least excessive, with the least amount of luxuries.  It is the one closest the poor areas that we felt we’d most likely spend our time.  It was the fourth place we looked at, and when we drove up the entering street, and walked in the door, it just felt right.

Having not exercised in over a week, I got up this morning and headed out for a run.  I decided to explore the mountains behind our complex, and see if I could find any trails.  I followed the road that passes our townhome and winds down the mountain. I turned the corner of a path and was shocked to see a paved basketball court, beautifully staged in the side of the mountain.  I couldn’t believe it.  I stood there staring at this scene that just didn’t seem to fit.  Based on the location and surrounding environment, I would have never expected to see basketball courts at this specific location!

Behind the courts, there were a couple of openings that appeared to be hiking trails, so I threw on my mp3 player and starting running.  The trails wound down, up and around the mountain.  I had to stop occasionally - partly to catch my breath - but mostly to look down the mountain and enjoy the incredible views.  I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest.  As I soaked in the scenery, I realized the song “Made to Worship” was playing on my headphones.  Over the next 20 minutes, I jogged the trails while worshipping our Lord of Creation with every cell in my body.  I was humbled by his gift of the basketball courts and the beautiful trails, and feeling so incredibly loved by Him.  I think I actually came close to a heart attack – probably a combination of being in such awe of God, completely absorbed in the moment of worship, and being excited to share the experience with Kerrie and the kids. 

Needless to say, when they saw everything, they were blown away.  As we hiked the trails, Kerrie prayed, and eventually broke down into tears – sharing with us how loved she felt by Jesus.  She loves mountains, trees, warm days and cool nights...and she felt as if Jesus was literally handing her some of her favorite things, and enjoying her appreciation of them.

In another time and place, a basketball court and some hiking trails might seem rather uneventful to me.  But today, this experience that we shared with God was huge.  This week has had a few difficult moments, and today brought a smile to our faces and lifted our spirits.  The fact that we had no idea (and never would have expected) this area to have such simple “amenities” made it that much sweeter…

One other thing we wanted to share.  To put this in proper perspective, you need to know that we have been praying specifically for God to connect us with a Christian family or two in our neighborhood.  The deepStream way of life has been so special to us, sharing life and seeking God with neighbors - and we have been asking God to please bless us with some neighbors to share life with.

Today, Jake ran inside to tell me some boys were playing soccer outside and he asked if he could go play.  Not even thinking about it, I said “sure.”  About 20 minutes later, I walked outside to make sure he and the guate boys weren't playing star wars with machetes.  He was all the way down our street, playing with 2 other boys about his age.  The 3 of them had made a triangle and were simply kicking back and forth.

I walked down and met the dad, Winston.  He did not speak any English, but we did our best to talk for about 10-15 minutes.  I have no idea what he said to me, and he had no clue what I was saying to him.  It was comical.  Finally, he pointed to me (as if to say “hold on”) and ran inside.  He came back out with his wife and he was pointing at her saying “English, English.”  She introduced herself…in very understandable English!

We talked for about 10 minutes.  Her name is Maria Fernandez, and she shared about her family and church…very sweet and soft spoken.  She asked where we were from, and why in the world we moved here from Florida.  After sharing briefly our reason for moving here, she was filled with excitement.  She told me how much her country needs the love of Jesus.  She said she is in a ladies group that meets twice a week, and they are looking for ways to help the local poor.  She asked if she could help us in our ministry, and said her group has collected clothes and food to help but they didn’t know where to start.  I was trying to hide tear-filled eyes at this point…

Just a little while ago, we were finishing up dinner and saw Maria drive by.  A few seconds passed, and she reversed back and stopped in front of our house.  We met her at the door, and invited her inside.   I introduced her to Kerrie, and she greeted her with a kiss.  After some introductions, she explained…  “I stopped because as I was praying today I heard the holy spirit’s voice speak to me.  He said to come tell you that I am yours to help you.  He said ‘the new Americans on the street are my people, and I want you to serve them the same way you serve me.’  So I am here to tell you that I am here to help you and serve you, just as I serve my Jesus.”

In hindsight, Kerrie and I must have looked hilarious as we stood there frozen in disbelief.  I looked at Kerrie and saw her eyes tearing up.  Maria’s eyes were doing the same.  God knows it doesn’t take much for me to get choked up anymore…

After 5 or 10 minutes, our new friend in Christ hugged us and went on her way.  We were left, again, in awe of God. 

As a family, we sat and thanked God for our neighbors, for our home and the beautiful creation surrounding us.  The perfect timing of his kindness touched us today.  Today, we felt blessed for obeying His call to Guatemala.  Today, we had specific prayers answered.   Today, we are closer to our Lord Jesus than we were yesterday.  God, let that encourage us to run harder after you!

We all start school tomorrow - Kerrie and the kids at CAG, and me at language school.  As we prepare our hearts and minds for school, please pray with us that we may seek God new each day.  That the awe we have already experienced would give us confidence in our calling here, and that our hearts would be open to allowing God to take and use us however he wants to.

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

reflecting

To our friends and family:

We have been so busy preparing to leave, there have been few opportunities to stop and reflect. But Kerrie and I have had a few of those opportunities recently, and we just wanted to let all of you know how much you mean to us.  

There is a selfish, worldly fiber in all of us that occasionally doubts God, challenges him, or doesn't like some of the things he calls us to do.  We have all been there before, and following him to Guatemala has had a share of those moments.  Whether its leaving good friends and family, entering into so much uncertainty, dealing with pride issues (this list goes on), Kerrie and I have had some wonderful wrestling matches with God in the last couple months.  But we stand here today more devoted him, more in love with him, and clinging to him like never before.  

Strangely enough, its in these places of uncertainty and confusion that we can find the most comfort in the person of Jesus.  When we are struggling in this way, and we finally let go, giving in to a life of faith...that's when we wake up and find ourselves wrapped up so tightly in his loving and protective arms.  Then his extraordinary love for us, his promise to never let go of us, takes on a whole new meaning.

We will miss you all so much.  We have not taken for granted our relationships with all of you.  In the last few years, memories of laughs, tears, prayers, worship, meals, and joy fill our hearts and minds as we depart for a new chapter of life.  We will hold tight to those memories...  

Thankfully, God reminds us frequently not to get caught up in our temporary status here on earth, no matter how great it might be.  This may sound crazy, but turning 33 soon, both Kerrie and I feel like we are running out of time to make much of our king Jesus in the short life he gives us.  

Lets run hard after him together - and come before him exhausted having done all we possibly could to bring his kingdom to earth!

Love you all -
Brock & Kerrie

Sunday, July 27, 2008

praying for dependence

In the last 60 days I have sold practically everything I own. House, cars, furniture, tv's, dishes, linens, and toys. As we prepare to move as missionaries to Guatemala, one simple blessing I was not anticipating was my "dependence relationship" with God to burst through the roof. While my amount of gray hair has probably doubled in the last 2
months, so has my dependence, love, and longing for Jesus.

A few weeks ago at deepStream we studied Proverbs 30:8-9. This has got to be the most radical, profound prayer I have ever heard. Sadly, I have read this passage many times before only to pass through one ear and out the other. At first glance, it doesn't seem so radical.

But if you meditate on this prayer, or even better, if you're willing to pray it for yourself, there's a good chance it will conflict with much you've been taught. It opposes many of the very things that motivate us, and it cuts to the heart of western culture.

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much
and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD ?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

Have you ever prayed anything so bizarre, so counter-cultural? Most of us have prayed "give us this day, our daily bread..." but consider the additional meaning that God gives us in this passage above. As I read it, I hear the author saying: God, please do not make me wealthy. Don't give me too much money. I don't want to be set for life! I don't want financial security...for I may forget about you or begin living as if I don't need you!

The piercing truth of this passage is that a state of dependence on God is the most healthy way to live. The author of this proverb knows that if he is dependent on God, his faith will remain strong, and real. And if he has too much money (security), his dependence on God declines in direct proportion. With financial security, God may still be something he "believes in", but no longer something he can't live without.

In balancing out his prayer, the writer also asks not to be poor, for poverty brings temptations of its own. This is certainly the side of the prayer that most of us are comfortable with - its the prayer to not be wealthy that messes with us! We should all be challenged to measure our willingness to pray this prayer. Perhaps by considering our response, we can get a fair indicator of our true priorities.

Do I "need" you God? Do I actually "depend" on you to get by? If I did, would I be closer to you? Because I'll do anything to be closer to you. God, please do whatever you need to do to help me depend on you. Without you - without real faith and dependence on you - I am empty.
 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

responding to the cross

Imagine this… you are crossing a busy street and somehow never see an oncoming car. A man you’ve never seen before rushes into the street, gently pushes you out of harms way, and takes the impact of the car in your place. By the time the ambulance comes, they find him taking his last breath in your arms. A few days later, a family member of the man comes by and gives you an envelope that reads “To be opened by the one I will die saving.”

You open the letter…

You don’t know me yet, but I want you to know that I know you. I know your name, your fears, and your joys. I was put on this earth for one reason – to save you from death. If you are reading this note, it means I have accomplished what I came to do.

Knowing I did this for you, can I ask you to do something for me? Will you live differently? From a new perspective – so different that no single day of your life will ever be the same? I ask that you live for others, just as I did for you. Give yourself completely, just as I did for you. Out of your love for me, do everything you can to heal and save the world, just as I did for you.

I ask that you let my dying in your place ignite in you a life of passion, love, and selflessness. In order to be a better place, the world needs you desperately. Your hands and your feet. And you will do even greater things than this.

I love you.

After reading that note, I assume that (after being amazed at this person’s devotion to you) you would commit to live the rest of your life in honor of the one who saved you? Would it not be the least you could do, given the fact that he gave his own life so you could save yours?

When I think about the crucifixion of Jesus, what disturbs me is how much time I spend on earth oblivious to the fact that every moment of my life is intended to be used to honor and glorify him. Every day, not just occasionally... Every hour, not just a few hours a week... Every minute… Every breath... Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have new hope, new purpose, and a new passion for life. His sacrificial death in our place should encourage and empower us to be world changers!

To be sure, Jesus died to save us from sin. But once we receive that gift of salvation and commit to follow him, he makes clear that our new lives have just the begun. Once we have come to know Jesus, we must passionately embrace the mindset that there is much work to be done! It is our responsibility as Christians to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth! Jesus taught that we will fail at this if our faith in him is casual. In fact, he said I’d rather you have no faith at all, than a false “claimed” faith that isn’t even real.

Before Jesus died he said that in order to be called his disciples, we too must bear our own crosses. He commands us to travel against the mainstream of society and take the narrow road. To follow Jesus means to pursue the hard task of taking his truth and love to the marginalized, the poor, the unloved, the misfits, and the hopeless. When we consider the cross, are we motivated to do these things?

To see the cross accurately means to reject the comforts and luxuries of the world, recognizing that the beaten and bloodied Jesus you see could have come in the form of prestigious king, but chose not to.

To see the cross correctly is to be inspired to emulate the life of the one bearing it – dedicating our earthly lives to service, love, and sacrifice – with an understanding that the pursuit of success, comfort, wealth, security, beauty, luxury, reward, prestige, and riches are all being stored up for us in heaven in direct correlation to our rejection of them on earth.

Our family's theme for Easter this year is not only to be thankful for the cross, but to let it inspire us to live out the radical love of Jesus. I fear that too often we come before the cross in humble thanks, but basically stop at that. It’s almost as if we see the crucified Jesus and unintentionally say “glad it was you and not me.” When the truth is…Jesus is calling us to join him, and in doing so receive greater blessings than we could ever imagine.

I hope this Good Friday & Resurrection Day will inspire you to live each day wildly and radically for the one who gave his life away for you!