Monday, November 25, 2013

A Broken System - Part Two

This 13 year old boy I mentioned in the first post is just one of the many children who desperately need us. He is a real child who has been forced to grow up too fast. Instead of being carefree he has learned to manipulate to get what he wants. It is key for his survival and he is good at it. He has also learned how to throw a super sized scary tantrum that requires police assistance. This should not be!

I have seen this kid thrive in a loving home. I have seen him full of joy. "Professionals" want to diagnose him with some disorder and medicate him. I see deeper into his heart. All of our hearts desire to be loved. Instead he has been shifted from home to home. He has been passed by and labeled. He has been let down by a system who holds up too much red tape making it impossible for one family who loves him to intervene.

This kid has experienced hunger, abuse, horrible things many cannot even fathom. He is much too young for this. Of course he is a handful. No one has taken the time to give him stability continually. Though the home he was in was not safe for kids, he is still no better off in "the system".

So what do we do about this? It certainly is much easier to just turn our heads. It is easier to let someone else handle things. Yet I do not think this is the solution at all. I believe if everyone did something by investing in one family things could change. These people do not need more advice or hand outs. The "system" is filled with those. These families need someone who is willing to walk this path with them. This family needs someone who will encourage them along the way. This does not come in the form of hand outs or platitudes, it come through long term commitment with people. It comes through friendship and community.

We are all broken. Sin has done that. Yet we are restored in Christ alone. We all need Him. Christ is the one who reconciles all things. We are to be His ambassadors calling others to reconciliation. This will look differently in individual situations. But reconciliation is the key. It is best. This happens when you walk with someone. When you take the time to assess the real root problem they are struggling with that got them into the situation they are in. It is never a superiority thing. We must remember we are all broken in some ways.

I cannot imagine losing everything I had by disaster or fault of my own but it could happen. However, I have support through people. God calls us to live in community with others. I would have somewhere to go. I would have people to walk with me. They would help me get back on my feet again. When people lack this type of community we need to be this for them.

I will stop here because this will be a series of posts. Again there is no solid one way solution to this. It is messy business when you get involved in people's lives. It will not be too long before something uncomfortable comes up in the best of relationships. We need to be willing to give our lives to those around us. We do this by helping to restore and reconcile things. Again, we will look deeper at this in more posts. Also for true reconciliation to really take place we all need Jesus, the reconciler of all things.

Please share your thoughts I am pondering all of this and would love some of your thoughts!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Children's Book Review: God's Great Plan by Melissa Cutrera

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

This book is an incredible book! It is beautifully illustrated. It is an easy enough read for my four year old to understand and keep his attention. That is really not an easy task! However, between the pictures and simple phrases on each page it does the trick. It also must be said that my ten year old child loves it as well.

The simple phrases in this book are so powerful though. This book traces the steps from creation to Jesus. It is simply gospel centered. It is such an amazing book that is a simple presentation of what the gospel is and why we need it in the first place. I ADORE this book. I think all parents should get it.

You can get a copy of this book at Amazon here.

Book Review: Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

First, I need to say I am not a preacher or trying to be, however, I have a ferocious love for the word and the study of it. It contains priceless treasures to be unearthed and discovered day by day in an unending way. This is the absolutely amazing thing about the Bible. It is such an incredible living word. With that said, I enjoy reading anything that helps me unearth the Bible's treasures easier.

Just as an archaeologist can unearth things discovered in the earth in an in-proper manner, Bible study can go the same way. We must understand the point of the discovery and move on from there. The Bible is about Jesus. Once we have that bearing we will be able to move forward in study and interpretation. This book is a very easy read. It helps you greatly in the study of the word by looking at practical examples and endless tips. It is a wealth of information that would be helpful to any student of the Bible, however, even more so for ordinary people like me.

I don't know what else to say, if you like Bible study then get this. You can get it at Amazon here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Broken System - Something Must Change

There is a 13 year old boy I know but instead of doing normal 13 year old boy things he is worried. He worries daily about the rejection he has experienced all his life. People have not come through for him the way they should have. He sits by watching as the others close to him are placed in homes while he remains homeless.

This is the reality for many kids in the United States. The governmental system for child welfare is broken. Honestly, it is not the governments place to be in charge of children. If families would stand up and help other families in need then these situations could change.

During my college years, I observed this system that was very broken up close as I practiced social work. I watched as children who would thrive in a home were overlooked. They just aged older every year until they aged out of the system. Then these children who were not raised in stable homes are now expected to function as adults in an unforgiving society. Many of them repeat patterns of the past resulting in crime and unexpected pregnancy. It is a cycle that we need to get a handle on.

Honestly it is not that difficult. If every family took the time to see the people around them and take the time to help, "the system" would not exist. We, instead, are selfish and keep to ourselves not wanting to involve ourselves with other people. It is inconvenient and hard so most of us find it easier to turn our heads or let the government handle it.

I AM OVER THIS! There is a better way and I am going to explore this through a series of posts. I hope you join me! I hope it spurns your hearts on to take a stand for the sake of our children.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Guest Posting at Comfort in the Midst of Chaos Today. Check it out.

I am excited to be guest posting at Comfort in the Midst of Chaos today and monthly. This is an encouraging Christian blog that takes a look at living with special needs.

The Slumber Party Dilemma
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
~2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV

I heard a rumor of an upcoming party from my daughter. I said to her that if the parent called me about this party I would consider it. Often I hear about parties but the official invitation never comes. I just considered this to be the same kind of situation.

However, this ended up to be a real party that she was invited to. Not only was it a party but it branched further into a slumber party. For any "normal" family this is probably not a big deal, however, I have a daughter with many anxiety and social issues. Now I am in a dilemma. Read the rest here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Love for the Refugee

Help Children Affected by Philippines Typhoon
Have you ever considered as you were out that some of the people you pass by are actual displaced people because of persecution or tragedy of some kind? They exist all around us. These are people who are moved out of every comfort they know and placed into a very unknown place with little to no worldly possessions. They are given minimal familiarity. They often do not even know the language of the new society they are now expected to live.

These are the people I get to work with every week through ESL(English as a Second Language) ministry. They are broken and cast out but not destroyed. I am often encouraged by them because they are brilliantly resilient! They often are very thankful. Honestly, to think of this happening to me, I cannot even fathom. I do not know if I would have the strength. Yet God pours out His grace on each one of us for every situation we face. I get to participate in their lives by helping them learn English. I pray that God will really let me see them, know them, and welcome them to this new and unfamiliar place of southern America.

I imagine the smells, sounds, temperatures are so vastly different. The trauma experienced followed by all the changes is incredibly hard on these people. They are in more places than you think. As  you are in the shopping market or on the go do you take the time to really see the people all around you? These brave people are there. Just by seeing them you can help. A smile, encouraging words, small helpful acts can mean so much to them.

I wonder about these people who have endured this horrible tragedy in the Philippines. My heart aches for them. Many of them are displaced now because of the destruction of a massive hurricane. Much tragedy. I pray. I wonder if any of them will be relocated to my location of the world. I wonder how to help? One way you can help is by donating to Compassion. They are there currently assisting these people now. Whatever you do be mindful of the refugee.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Review: Seasons of the Heart Compiled by Donna Kelderman

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

This book is a year of devotions written by women of the past. I have really enjoyed reading these. They are taken from twelve women from different stages of life and time periods. Some were married, some single, some struggled with various issues. Either way they were women just like us living their lives for God. They were mostly ordinary women just like us but learned things through life and experiences. I think these are very encouraging devotions for other women to read. We can definitely learn from things written by those in the past.

Practically speaking the books format is very user friendly. There are pages with dates on them. Each one corresponds with every date of the year. This helps you to use these daily. I really appreciated the biographies of each woman contributor. The biographies are located in the back of the book. You will also find a Scripture index in the back if that is the approach you would like to use.

To get a copy of this book from on the link.

Listen in Tonight to Inspired Living Radio

I have been invited as a guest on Inspired Living Radio, 94.7 FM. It is in the North Georgia/Chattanooga area but you can live stream it as well on the web at This is an exciting and humbling thing for me. I have always loved radio and now I get to experience it first hand. I would appreciate your  prayers tonight as my hope is that God would be supremely glorified through our conversation. If you ever wondered what Refresh My Soul is all about this should answer your questions. It is such an honor He continues to allow us to partner with Him in His work. If you cannot catch it live tonight it will re-air two more times. You can listen in later on Wednesday at 11am and/or Saturday at 9am EST.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Book Review: Growing Up by Robby Gallaty

I received a copy of this book free of charge for the purpose of an honest review.

I live in the community where the author pastors Brainerd Baptist church. I do not attend this church but I hear and see many great things happening for the glory of God in this church. Naturally, I was very excited to get the chance to review this book just because I see God at work within the community and now after reading this, I am certain that this book explains some of the reasons behind the wonderful work they are doing.

This book is all about being a disciple who makes disciples. The book goes through the process of how to effectively do this. It not only gives you a philosophy for discipleship that is biblical but it also gives you a practical plan for how you can personally work it out in your life with others.

I think this method has been tested and proved true on several occasions. It is important that we grow up in the Word and that we grow up in God. We need to do this in community and these discipleship groups are a great way to do this, as you grow together and become more like Christ, you become more effective for Christ in your community. If you are looking to start a discipleship group then this would be a great book to start with. I recommend you get it.

One quote that the author poses in the form of a question was, "Who are you currently disciplining and who is disciplining you?" It was a great way to be challenged because it is clear in the Bible that we should always be making disciples and being discipled.

Also just to clear up the misconception of the definition of discipleship I will define it here. When Jesus told us to make disciples He made it clear that we are to share the good news of Christ with everyone. However, He also told us to teach these disciples to obey what Jesus commanded. This book is mostly about helping you walk alongside disciples growing them up instead of just sharing Jesus and moving on. I really like that aspect as well. Everyone needs to learn how to walk out this faith and discipleship is how this happens.

You can preorder the book and get some great free resources by going to the link here. 
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