Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ministry Without The Master

I am blessed(and often overwhelmed)to wear many different hats in the course of each day..... husband, father, friend, neighbor, servant leader, decision maker, bus driver, consultant, project manager, etc. just to name a few. There are days that I love my calling and days that I loathe it, but one thing remains true..... ministry without the Master is madness!

I wish I could say that the only reason I know what ministry without the Master is like is because of the last book I read or because I know somebody who knew somebody that tried it. I would love to be able to say of myself that I've never attempted to do God's work apart from His wisdom and power, but I've done plenty of "ministry" powered solely by my flesh.

In recent weeks, I've found myself once again struggling with burnout and fatigue. I've prayed, cried, searched His word, and tried with everything in me to "not become weary in well-doing" as Galations 6:9 says.

Interestingly enough, while studying Galations 6, more specifically verse 9 which says "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.", my eyes and heart were drawn up the page to what I consider a profound discovery and the prescription for not becoming weary in our work. In verses 7 & 8, we read "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."

So what's the profound discovery for me? What's the secret to not becoming weary in our work? It's our daily choice..... which garden will we spend our time in today? Will we weed and fertilize the flesh in an effort to please our sinful nature or will we spend our time strategically tending to our Spirit man, doing everything possible to make our lives fertile ground in which God can grow His spirit in us?

There is a similar story found in John 15 that paints the picture a branch trying to be fruitful apart from the vine. We all know that dead branches don't bear any fruit don't we? Since that's true, what makes us think that we are the exception? Are we so arrogant or naive as to think that our dead branch is somehow different from that really dead dead branch that belongs to someone else. Have we decorated our dead branch with creativity, religion, or goodness in an effort to somehow outsmart the law of the harvest?

The revelation for me is that a branch that is bearing fruit is much harder to burn up than an old dead branch. I remember when we burned some underbrush here a Skipstone a couple of years ago. It was amazing to watch those roaring fires consume piles of dead debris that had accumulated for years. Equally amazing was witnessing those vibrant hardwoods still standing in the midst of the smoke and soot with hardly any evidence that the fire just roared by.

I think the key is tend to the Spirit man in such a way that my life is a vibrant branch that is yielding fruit and therefore less intimidated by the fire.

Ministry without the Master... trust me, it's MADNESS!

Whatever It Takes,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Skipstone Needs Your Support!

Chip Moody SKIPSTONE NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT! As many of you have personally experienced, the ministry of Skipstone has continued to strengthen since our "birth" in 2007 and we have been blessed to minister to hundreds of students and their families throug...h the Academy and through our Summer Camps. On Tuesday, October 27th at 7:00pm, the Spalding County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to discuss our application for rezoning from R-1 to AR-1. This decision will directly impact our ability to continue with the vision for Skipstone, specifically the addition of any new buildings. While our exisiting structures and operations have been "grand-fathered in", the county will not allow any new construction unless the rezoning application is approved. This will be the first of three public hearings... the Planning Commision on Oct. 27th, the Board of Appeals on Nov. 12th, and the Spalding Co. Commissioners on Nov. 16th. We would be so grateful to our friends and supporters of Skipstone for your presence and support at these meetings. If you have any questions about our application or need any information about how and why we are going through the process, PLEASE contact me directly at and I will do my best to answer any questions. We want to be sure that everyone has accurate information on which to make their decisions. Thank you so much for your love and support of the ministry of Skipstone! We look forward to serving our community for many years to come!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Information or An Encounter?

Although I wouldn’t dare compare my life to the life of Paul, I can so identify with his salvation experience that day on the road to Damascus. You should really take time to read about it over in Acts 22… it’s a remarkable biblical picture of what I’m about to share.

Now I’m not like Paul in the sense that I spent many of the best years of my life persecuting Christians and terrorizing the church before I met Jesus (although some of my youth pastors may disagree!). I’m not like Paul in the sense that my conversion was the result of some brilliant light beaming down on me from heaven (although I will never forget the day that I surrendered!).

But I am like Paul as far as having known about God, having had an understanding about what the church of God was all about, and having heard all of the stories about Jesus prior to coming to Christ. I had the privilege of growing up in a Christian home. I spent my childhood heavily involved in church and I learned a lot about God as a child.

Paul also knew a lot about God. After all, Paul, known as Saul before his conversion, spent much of his life persecuting the people of God. He knew everything there was to know about God. He had heard the teachings of Jesus. He was well educated… he heard the stories about what Jesus was doing. He heard about Lazarus. He heard about the woman at the well. He heard about the feeding of the 5000.

Saul had all of the information anyone would need about God. In Acts 22, verse 3, Paul says about himself (referring to his life before Christ), “I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today”. Listen closely… Saul had information about God… more information than anyone you or I will ever meet.

But when Saul encountered Jesus that day on the road to Damascus, everything about him changed, the least of which was his name. Saul’s conversion to Paul was a picture of the “new creation” that was described for us in 2 Corinthians 5:17“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Suddenly everything he knew about God faded into the background as he came face to face with Jesus. The persecutor of God's people became a prince in God's kingdom... and we strive to model his life even today.

The same thing happened to me the day that I realized the difference between information and an encounter. Listen closely… “Hell will be full of good, religious people, who have read God’s word, know the right answers, and sit in church every Sunday”. A genuine relationship with God has nothing to do with information and everything to do with an encounter.

Like many people today, I wasted many of my best years walking through life full of information about God. I even served in ministry. I taught Sunday School, lead students to Christ, and preached God’s word. I can’t even describe to you how hard it is to keep the playing the game and trying live the faith life with a heart and head full of information but no real power.

The great news is that one day I encountered Jesus. I wasn’t walking on the road to Damascus, there were no bright lights beaming down from heaven, and I didn’t hear the audible voice of God. Instead I was sitting on the fourth row on the right side of my home church when God’s servant, Junior Hill, called me out of religion and information and into an encounter with Jesus. From that day forward, my life has never been the same. I became a new creation!

I wonder why we can be so content to sit back and watch other people’s encounters with God and not experience encounters of our own. God’s word is full of stories of all kinds of people encountering God in all kinds of amazing ways, yet we are content to absorb the information and ignore the calling to an encounter of our own.

Information or encounter? The choice is ours to make today!

Whatever It Takes,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Are You Immune To It?

I hope that you are immune to it, but my guess is that you're not. I'd like to think that I have surrounded myself with friends and family who never experience it, but my hunch is that almost everyone I know has. Do I speak of some life-altering disease, some gripping force of darkness? Well... yes, and no! I'm talking about burnout.

It's extremely hard to for me to admit it (especially to myself), and even harder to share it (with everybody else), but for the last three weeks, I'm in an everyday battle with burnout. It's been intense, painful, frustrating, and exhausting.

Knowing what the Word says, hearing God's whisper to my heart, receiving great counsel from Godly friends, and trying to stay close and clean to Jesus are all a part of the battle plan to fight it, but I'm still getting clobbered.

I'm hiding in a cave, moving out of hiding only when the risk of staying in the cave becomes more dangerous than crossing the battlefield running full throttle behind my shield. I'm too discouraged to fight, too distracted to think, and too tired to run, except to run away from the battle. I can't sleep at night because the battle I fight all day continues in my mind all night. As the battle grows more intense, I'm more a frightened worrier than a fierce warrior.

That being said, if I've only learned one thing in this life, it's that apart from HIM, I can do nothing. I have no confidence in me, but supreme confidence in HIM. I don't trust myself, but HE is trustworthy and faithful. I can't, but HE can.

It's amazing how much God cares for us. He never promises an easy path, just a faithful companion. It's also amazing how HE knows exactly what we need each day to walk that portion of our journey. Listen to what he showed me for today...

Jeremiah 29:11-14 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

"To become like Jesus you must go through all Jesus went through: loneliness, fatigue, temptation, hurts. No shortcuts to maturity!" Rom 8:17 via Rick Warren

"When God wants to make a mushroom he takes 6 hours. To make an oak tree he takes 60years. Which do you want to be? Be patient!" Ph.1:6 via Rick Warren

"You can be a THINKER without ever DOING anything, but you'll burn out as a DOER if you don't schedule time to think." Ps.77:12 via Rick Warren

"the minister who is available ALL the time won't be worth much when he is available." - via Adrian Rogers

Thank you Lord for loving me in spite of me!

Whatever It Takes,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Make Friends With Whatever's Next

by Max Lucado

Embrace it. Accept it. Don't resist it. Change is not only a part of life; change is a necessary part of God's strategy. To use us to change the world, he alters our assignments. Gideon: from farmer to general; Mary: from peasant girl to the mother of Christ; Paul: from local rabbi to world evangelist. God transitioned Joseph from a baby brother to an Egyptian prince. He changed David from a a shepherd to a king. Peter wanted to fish the Sea of Galilee. God called him to lead the first church. God makes reassignments.

But, someone might ask, what about the tragic changes God permits? Some seasons make no sense…do such moments serve a purpose?

They do if we see them from an eternal perspective. What makes no sense in this life will make perfect sense in the next. I have proof: you in the womb.

I know you don't remember this prenatal season, so let me remind you what happened during it. Every gestation day equipped you for your earthly life. Your bones solidified, your eyes developed, the umbilical cord transported nutrients into your growing frame…for what reason? So you might remain enwombed? Quite the contrary. Womb time equipped you for earth time, suited you up for your postpartum existence.

Some prenatal features went unused before birth. You grew a nose but didn't breathe. Eyes developed, but could you see? Your tongue, toenails, and crop of hair served no function in your mother's belly. But aren't you glad you have them now?

Certain chapters in this life seem so unnecessary, like nostrils on the preborn. Suffering. Loneliness. Disease. Holocausts. Martyrdom. Monsoons. If we assume this world exists just for pregrave happiness, these atrocities disqualify it from doing so. But what if this earth is the womb? Might these challenges, severe as they may be, serve to prepare us, equip us for the world to come? As Paul wrote, "These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing" (2 Cor. 4:17 CEV).

Friday, August 21, 2009


All I can say this morning is that I've been overwhelmed by unfathomable grace of God and by how much he cares for his children. If you a reminder like I did, invest the next 8 minutes of your day in watching this....

Oh How He Loves You & Me,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Divine Appointments

I want to start the day by thanking those of you who took time to pray for us yesterday. I received several emails, text messages, and facebook messages of encouragement. Encouragement is a powerful thing. To encourage someone literally means to "infuse" courage into another person. While our current storm is significant, even scary at times, I'm thankful for the prayers and infusion of courage from Godly friends that reminds us that we are not walking alone! God is good!

I also want to take a minute to thank the teachers, staff members, and parents who accompanied our Skipstone Academy middle schoolers to their Beach Bash in Gulf Shores the last couple of days. We had about 40 students and 20 adults participate. They arrived home safely last night and Shondi was in tears as she shared with me about the incredible things that God did in the lives of those who went. Please continue to pray for these precious young people as they come back with renewed commitments to love God, serve others, and hold each other accountable as they walk through the very difficult journey we call "junior high"!

As I have referenced several times in recent posts, the last several months have been some of the most challenging times I've ever experienced in ministry. I'm struggling more than ever to keep up with all of the responsibilities that I have and, more importantly, to keep my life balanced in a way that honors God. I'm completely overwhelmed with how much there is to do, and sometimes at the end of the day I don't feel like I've accomplished anything of significance.

On the flip side of the struggles, I've experienced some of the most intense, unexpected, and unusual ministry opportunities since my journey began. If you know me, you know that I'm far more task oriented than people oriented. I know that God knows this about me, yet I find myself more and more engaged in "people encounters" that are nothing short of divine appointments from God. All the while, my flesh is screaming reminders to me about how much I have to do and how this "person" or "thing" is standing in the way of my "to-do" list for the day!

One such encounter happened yesterday. After finally having "enough" of the office yesterday afternoon , I decided to get outside and tidy up around the new activity field. I spent a couple of hours picking up the evidence of how hot is has been while we've been laying 60,000+ sq. ft. of sod for the last week and half... two garbage bags full of empty Gatorade and water bottles!

As I loaded up the last of the garbage, my mind turned to a nice hot shower, a little bit of down time before the bus got home from the middle school trip, and maybe little more time in the office to wrap up the logo design for the football helmets. Before I could even finish mapping out "the plan" in my head, my phone rang. It was God's secretary, cleverly disguised as my neighbor, calling to set up a divine appointment with another neighbor. I know this now, but at the time I thought it was yet another "thing" pulling me away from what I had planned to do for the rest of the evening.

So instead of doing what I planned, I dropped everything and went to meet with my neighbor down the road. After a few minutes of small talk, it was as if God wiped the mud out of my eyes and I could see that this was far more than a neighborly chat.... this was another divine appointment!

For the next two hours, I sat across the table from a man who spent ten years in prison, yet looked on it favorably because he met Jesus there. He showed me his old worn out Bible, some of the pages barely readable because of all of the underlined passages and notes. This former hardened criminal, who was apathetic, even agnostic about the things of God prior to meeting Jesus, soaked a handkerchief with his tears as he shared his testimony of redemption and forgiveness. I've never seen anything like this... such brokenness over sin, such a sincere and evident transformation of a life. I saw come to life!

As I prayed with the dear saint and left his home, I thought about how insignificant my storms are in comparison to what this man's storms have been. Sure, many of his storms were consequences of blatant sin, but when you are in the midst of thundering dark cloud, does it really matter the cause? The solution is the same.... absolute trust in the only one able to walk you through it safely to the other side. Surrender, abandonment, death to self-sufficiency..... the only sure way to endure the storm.

I won't quickly forget yesterday's encounter. Etched in my heart are tears of joy from a modern day Paul, flowing down a man's face who has learned to praise God in the storms, even thanking God for a cold dark prison cell that became a sanctuary and a pulpit.

Talk about an infusion of courage!

Whatver It Takes,

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Most Important Job I Have

Well it's official.... our oldest son Chase is a college student. It's still hard for me to believe how fast time has gone by. It seems like yesterday that he would introduce himself as "chars turi mudy da turd" (Charles Terry Moody III) and suddenly he's all grown up and has become a man!

Later today, he'll walk into a college classroom and much of what he has been taught growing up will be challenged. He'll be surrounded by a new group of friends, a host of new influences, and perhaps for the first time in his life, a world that is more dark than light. His beliefs will be questioned, his faith will be sifted, and his character will be tested.

As scary as that sounds, I'm extremely excited for Chase as he begins a new chapter in his life. It's emotional to think back through all the chapters we've walked through together. I don't even distinguish the good memories from the bad ones because each one helped to shape him into the godly young man that he has become. I recognize that in many ways my influence will be less in the remaining chapters, but I'm thankful that I still get to be a part of his life.

I wonder sometimes as parents if we forget what our greatest calling is.... raising our kids to honor God with their lives. I know it's difficult, if not impossible, to keep that calling at the forefront of our "things I gotta do today" list, but when I find myself at this chapter, it's hard not to think about the opportunities I wasted, the teachable moments I missed, and the countless times I just plain "got it wrong". If you had any idea how many times I've "dropped the ball", you'd realize that great kids happen in spite of us, not because of us.

That is as clear of picture of grace as I've ever seen.... God's invasion of a child's life, His supernatural protection of a child's heart from their parents failures and shortcomings, and His perfect strength for our kids when we are so weak.

That being said, I think it's important to remember that it's God's plan for us to play a vital role in the spiritual development of our kids. It's awesome to have great partners like our church, the youth group, our schools, and other influences, but the primary responsibility is mine. That's heavy.... the fact that God entrusted the life of a child to me, to nurture and love, to teach and mold, to discipline and disciple..... and He promises that He will empower me to do it!

I wonder of some us need to be reminded today about our most important job. I wonder if we need to find ourselves at the feet of Jesus asking for strength, wisdom, and power to answer the greatest calling of our lives. I wonder if we need to be reminded of how quickly time passes and do a little "priority check". I wonder if we see the incredible opportunity that God has given us. I wonder why God blesses me so much!

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." - 3 John 1:4

Whatever It Takes,

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ready..... Break!

I have watched with great interest in recent weeks as Skipstone has been launching our first football team for the Academy. Watching those guys stretching, exercising, running, practicing, and knocking each other around sure brings back a lot of memories from my old days as #78 for the Buford Wolves.

It's hard not to notice all of the work involved in starting a football program. Our whole staff and a host of volunteers have been working nonstop for weeks to gather equipment, raise sponsorship money, plan schedules, and lay over 60,000 square feet of sod on the new field. It's been a ton of work, and there is still much to be done.

For the last week or so, our local newspaper has really been "talking up" our emerging football program. They have run feature stories several times, as well as attempted to create a rivalry between us and another local Christian school who will be playing in our same league this year. It's been amusing to watch the quotes from both teams be chopped up and reconstructed to serve as evidence to the public of how intense the non-existant rivalry will be this year.

The one thing that has amazed me about the whole process has been the excitement that has been generated around our campus. We've had dozens and dozens of parents and volunteers that are getting invovled that are extremely excited about our Warriors. I've been shocked to see how much time and effort people have been willing to put into this, some whose kids are not even playing.

If you know me at all, you know that I have a habit of looking for spiritual applications in everyday circumstances and events. I know it's a little silly at times, but it helps me keep my mind on things above.

As I was thinking about football and all of the hype that it seems to generate, I came across an awesome illustration by one of my favorite preachers, Francis Chan. It's a real short clip that's worth your time to watch....

I don't know about you, but I've been guilty of being a lot more excited about the huddle at times than I have about playing the game. At the same time, I've been guilty of ignoring the huddle and trying to play the game alone. I think it's an interesting reminder of how important both are to the sucess of the game. Get out of the huddle today and play the game! If you're trying to play the game alone, find a good huddle to give you some guidance.... you'll find the game to be a lot more enjoyable!

Whatever It Takes,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Man In a Hole

It seems like nearly every day now, I'm encountering people who are broken, hurting, struggling, and just fighting to survive. I was talking this week with a dear friend of mine who has a counseling ministry here in town and he says that they are busier now than they have ever been. He said that he has never seen so many people and families in distress.

I've had several conversations with people in my office in the last couple of weeks that I never imagined wold take place. One young man, who I have always perceived as one of the toughest people I know, sat and wept like a frightened child as he explained his struggle to shake the chains of addiction and find a real and meaningful relationship with Jesus.

He's been a drug addict, a thief, a liar, and an enemy of God. He has tried numerous times to "straighten himself up" by giving up drugs and "getting back in church". He grew up in church, went to Sunday School every week, and even knows the Bible about as well as most anybody. On the outside, he looks as clean and innocent as anybody on your pew at church. On the outside, he's got it together, but on the inside, well that's an entirely different story.

As this big, strong, tough, former inmate sat across from me and shared his struggles, I will admit that I had little to offer him. He's heard all of the religious cliches. He's "been saved", "given his heart to God", "come to know Christ", "prayed the simple prayer", etc. He's gone down front and taken the pastor by the hand. He's joined the church and been baptized. I had absolutely nothing to tell him that he hadn't already heard a hundred times. He was looking to me for answers and I had none.

As unnerving as the situation was at the time, I've actually learned to enjoy those moments when I have nothing to say and would be speechless were it not for God whispering the words into my heart that need to be shared. So I did the only thing I could do.... I just shared the thoughts that God was whispering to my heart with this young man who was, in essence, doubting whether or not he even believed that this whole "God thing" was even real.

I can't remember what I said to him, but I can assure you that it wasn't nearly as important as what God was saying to him. After an hour and a half of sharing, it was as if God had touched his eyes and removed the blindness of religion that had kept him from seeing God for so long. He began to see that God was at work all around him and the evidence was overwhelming!

I watched in utter amazement as the seemingly impenetrable walls of self sufficiency that he had been building for so many years began to fall down. He was sensing God's presence for the first time in a very long time, and in a more real way than ever before. I can't recall ever seeing such a visible picture of how God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness invades a heart.

As I have relived that morning over and over in my mind, I've find myself wondering why we don't see more encounters like that. It's certainly not a lack of desire on God's part to redeem, pardon, and restore sinners. Perhaps it's more likely that we aren't really looking at hurting and broken people the way God does. We might feel sorry for them, or even pray for them, but for the most part we're just too busy with our on lives to really care enough to get dirty.

I came across a really cool video clip that illustrates what our walk with Jesus should look like when we encounter someone who is broken and hurting. Keep in mind as you watch that we are to imitators of God.....

Whatever It Takes,

Monday, August 10, 2009

What Are Your Plans For Today?

Today is another big day at Skipstone. Soon the quiet serenity of our 64 acre campus will be overtaken by the squeals and laughter of more than 170 students and staff as they return for a new year of school at Skipstone Academy,

As my own children have gotten older, the drama and anticipation of "the first day of school" has dramatically decreased. Oh, they are still excited, but not like in years past when we spent weeks preparing for the big day. In fact, what used to be a marathon of shopping for clothes and school supplies, getting new hairdos, and always picking out the coolest new pair of shoes, has now become a quick stop by Sam's and Walmart on the Sunday afternoon before school starts on Monday!

As I was thinking about today, and the spectrum of emotions that so many people will be facing, I stumbled upon an interesting thought....what if we were as intentional about every day as we are about the first day of school? Before you quit reading, just think about how much time, energy, planning, prayer, thought, and preparation have gone into this day. If you want proof, log into facebook and you'll find that about 80 percent of the posts have something to do with "back to school". It's really quite fascinating that we are so focused and intentional about making sure the first day of school goes off without a hitch.

So the question looms.... what if we chose to make every day intentional? The fact is that most of us spend the bulk of our time either complaining or reeling about what happened yesterday or dreading or anticipating what might happen tomorrow. Right smack in the middle of those is a wonderful little word called "today"!

The psalmist said it this way "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" - Psalm 118:24. Do we really look at today as a gift from God to celebrate? Do we plan to make the most of every minute of today or is our goal simply to survive today and get to tomorrow?

I don't think it's a simple thing to grasp..... the idea of of really living today intentionally. I also don't think that our challenge to make the most of "today" is unique to us. Listen to what the apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14 "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do, Forgetting what was behind and straining toward what is ahead I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Paul said it well.... he really hadn't grasp the idea either! While that was true, he did understand three important principles:
1. Forget about yesterday! The good, the bad, the pain, the prize, the failure, or the success..... forget it! We can't change it, repeat it, or delete it, so we need to FORGET it!
2. Life is a strain! We are not promised on easy road, only a faithful companion. If we are going to live intentionally today, it will require effort on our part....not just half-hearted service, but sacrificial, selfless service that may cost us our comfort, our plans, and our agenda! It will be a STRAIN!
3. The Christ-life is a calling! Apart from the calling of God on our lives, and the inherent power that resides in us through a genuine personal relationship with Jesus, we are powerless to make today count for anything but rubbish. In contrast, the calling of Christ gives us power so far beyond ourselves that it's remarkable to consider what one person, who is completely sold out and surrendered to God, can accomplish for His glory is one intentional day!

What are your plans for today? Do you plan to impact eternity today? Where is your focus... on yesterday, today, or tomorrow? Are you feeling the strain? Where will the power for your day from from? Are you answering the call of Christ or limping through today in your own strength?

Lord help me to consider your plans for me today. Thank you for the gift of today that you have given me, another opportunity to serve you and to be an instrument of your love and grace to a dark and dying world. Empower me by your Holy Spirit to live my life in a way that will make today count for eternity!

Whatever It Takes,

Friday, August 7, 2009

Imitators of God

This week has been a blur for me! It's been a very intense week of work as we put the final touches on the campus and prepare for the first day of school on Monday.

As I wandered around at open house last night and saw the rooms and hallways jammed full with children, teenagers, and parents, I couldn't help being excited about another year of opportunities to minister with our Skipstone families.

It was exciting to see how God has been working in some of our families over the summer..... some have found new jobs, entered new relationships, and had relationships restored. Many are really growing in their walk with God.

At the same time, I hurt with those who have experienced pain..... the loss of a job or career, the passing of a loved one or close friend, the pain of broken or fractured relationships, and the burden of trying to walk through life with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Many are in the midst of terrible struggles.

The contrast of emotions last night served as a fresh reminder to me of how much God has entrusted to this ministry. It's an overwhelming thought to consider that we will be held accountable for how faithfully we care for and shepherd the "flock" that we call the Skipstone family. Although at times we may wish it were just about providing an education or a great retreat, the reality is that we are called to make disciples. That calling demands far more than lesson plans, field trips, and another cool adventure!

The convicting truth is that we can't adequately answer the calling that God has given us..... unless we become imitators of God. How critically important it is for those who have been called to teach and lead to also be taught and led at the feet of Jesus! There is no one like Him, and our greatest calling should be to imitate Him - that's what the word "Christian" means - "like Christ".

So what does being an imitator of Christ look like? Well, it goes without saying that the standard is high! John Phillips said it this way "He never uttered a hasty, unkind, untrue, or frivolous word. He never entertained an impure thought. His talents never debased for selfish ends. His influence, never bad. His judgment, never wrong. He never had to apologize for anything that He did or retract a single word He said. He was never too late or too soon, never upset, never insipid, never shallow or afraid. . . He had absolute victory from the moment He drew his first breath in that Bethlehem barn until the moment He closed His eyes in death on the cross of Calvary.”

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” Revelation 4:8

My prayer today... "Jesus help me be so much like you that people won't be able to tell us apart. Until that's true of me, help me be more like you today than I was yesterday and more like you tomorrow than I am today!"

Whatever It Takes,

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Waters Will Part!

Things have been so crazy around Skipstone the last few days that I haven't been in my office very much, even to catch up on my blogging. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter, you probably know that some very exciting things have happened this week.

As I mentioned in a recent post, the last several weeks have been a very challenging time for me. In fact, I've described them as some of the most difficult days I've experienced in more than 22 years of ministry. Without going through the details again, let's just say that our current course has taken through some pretty intense storms lately.

At the end of last week, I began to sense that God was speaking a word of peace to my heart through a friend in Tennessee who also operates a Christian camp. I discovered that many of the challenges that have overwhelmed me at times are not unique to me. In fact my friend's storms were far greater and far more intense than mine in many ways.

Last Friday, as we were trying to make a decision about whether or not we could follow through with our planned teacher retreat (from a budgetary standpoint), my camp friend called me and said that God had given him a word that we should should bring our teachers regardless of any budget concerns. He went on to say that although their financial situation was far from perfect, they felt compelled that God would provide the financial resources for our retreat, even if it wasn't through us. I was stunned by his generosity and challenged by his step of faith.

One of the things my friend said to me was that when he was facing some of the challenges, decisions, and concerns that I have been facing, his wife shared with him a promise that God put on her heart one in the middle of a "stormy" night. She said "God has written on the wall of my heart that one day the seas will part and we will walk across on dry land". My friends did eventually get through that storm and "walk through on dry land" just as God had promised. To this day, there is a sticky note in his bathroom vanity with that promise written on it. It serves as a reminder to him of what God did, and what God can do if we will just trust and obey.

While we were retreating with our teachers on Sunday - Tuesday, I began to see and understand what the "parting of the seas" might look like. I know it sounds silly, but one of the "monkeys on my back" was the launch of our football program for the Academy this year. We were facing a deadline on Monday that brought the real possibility that we wouldn't be playing this year. Many of our players had not been able to raise their money in time to purchase equipment, and we did not have the financial resources to cover the difference. We were at familiar place.... if God didn't show up, the game just might be over!

You probably guessed that He did show up. I won't go in to all of the details, but God miraculously provided enough equipment for us to outfit our players, and to bless some other schools that were also in need. This was a miracle for our players, but it was also the beginning of the "parting of the waters" for me!

Later that same day, as Shondi and I were talking about how God was at work, Shondi received a phone call from an anonymous donor, who had heard about some of the capital needs that Skipstone had and felt compelled to make an unbelievably generous gift. We were asked not to share the details, but it will suffice to say that we will be able to complete a LOT of the required code and insurance upgrades, as well as some of our most critical capital improvements at Skipstone.

Although I'm told that I have a way with words, I can't even begin to describe what that "parting of the waters" felt like on Monday. Shock? Disbelief? Astonishment? Wonderment? Humbleness? I don't what to say about it other than "wow God!".

Since Monday, I've had several people drop by whose course has them right smack in the middle of some ferocious storms. They feel hopeless, abandoned, and afraid. I had the awesome privilege to share a great word with them...."soon the waters will part and you will walk through on dry ground!"..... I've seen it happen and I know it's true!

Whatever It Takes,

Monday, July 27, 2009

Voices of Truth In The Midst Of a Storm

Sometimes when I study the work of some of our modern day heroes of the faith like Adrian Rogers, Max Lucado, Chuck Swindoll, W.A. Criswell, and others, I wonder who will emerge from my generation and the generations after me as the next voices of truth in a world that seems to grow darker and more hopeless as each year passes.

I never grow tired of studying the remarkable insights of some of these spiritual giants. I'm amazed at their boldness, courage, wisdom, and tenacity. At the same time, I wonder at times if today's emerging spiritual giants really have their roots deep enough to endure the test of time. I'm not passing judgement in any way, just questioning whether or not the inherent boldness that seems to characterize many of my spiritual heroes is fading away in a time when we need it more than ever before.

In the last couple of weeks, it seems that I've read a lot about fear. I've seen quotes from Max Lucado, who is writing a new book about fear, popping up on Twitter. I've seen a fair amount of dialogue about fear on Facebook. I've read several devotionals that centered around what our response, as believers, should be to fear. Let's face it, there are more fearful people in the world today than probably at any time in recent history.

As bad as I hate to admit it, I find myself among the fearful crowd more often than I should. These last couple of weeks have been some of the most challenging times that I have faced since God called me to ministry more than 22 years ago. Although I've dealt with fear many times along my journey of faith, it's as though I'm facing it for the first time, or at least at a level of intensity that I've never experienced before.

Most of the fears are related to decisions that we are facing as a ministry as we continue trying to navigate our way through the course that God has planned for Skipstone. I should have learned by now that that course doesn't always involve calm waters and bright sunshine. In fact, it seems that the more we attempt for God, the rougher the waters can be. It will suffice to say that our current headings place us in some pretty rough waters, and at times I'm more a fearful follower than a faithful leader.

As I referenced earlier, many times in my life I've found incredible strength and encouragement (an infusion of courage) when I read or listen to the words of some of my heroes of the faith. These brave servants of God have not only talked the talk, they have walked the walk. They are the modern day Pauls and Timothys, speaking as though they are simply amplifying what God has whispered in their ears.

As I have continued praying through my fears, and especially through the current storms, it's as though God keeps steering me to the words and insights of those who have already navigated through the same storms I face. Yes, they were also afraid, but they are safely through the storm now, and they can see God's hand at work in a way that I might not be able able to see right now. When the storms get really intense, I find myself searching for their boldness, listening for that word that I need to hear, not just the "feel good" fluff that is so much a part of many of today's emerging leaders.

I came across one such word yesterday from Chuck Swindoll. Here's a portion of what I read yesterday that God greatly used to encourage me, right smack in the middle of the storm...... "Yesterday, we focused on Philippians 1:6, noting that God "who began a good work . . . will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." And, since we are to be "imitators of God" (Ephesians 5:1), it seems to me we oughta be about the business of persistence. It sure is easy to bail out theologically. You know, the age-old sovereignty cop-out. "If God wants such-and-such to happen, He's gonna have to do it all. I'm unable in myself." Now there may be a few occasions where that is an appropriate game plan; but by and large, His Spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak---dare I say lazy and indifferent? Unlike our Father, we tend to fade in the stretch."

Ouch.... Chuck quoted me word for word when he said "If God wants such-and-such to happen, He's gonna have to.....". How did he know what I was thinking? How could he call me out by declaring my flesh as lazy and indifferent? How did he know that I would tend to "fade in the stretch"?

Truth be told, Chuck Swindoll has no idea who I am and knows nothing about me or my storms. However I suspect that if I had the chance to ask him about those words, he would say something like "Well, there was a time in my life when I was going through and intense storm. I was making every excuse for why I couldn't endure it. One morning, I was really searching for a word, and God lead me to an insight by Oswald Chambers. It was as if Oswald was simply amplifying what God was whispering......".

Whatever It Takes,

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Focus... Easy To Say But Hard To Do!

Albert Einstein was once asked by a student, “Dr. Einstein, how many feet are there in a mile?” To the utter astonishment of the student, Einstein replied, “I don’t know.” The student was sure the great professor was joking. Surely Einstein would know a simple fact that every schoolchild is required to memorize. But Einstein wasn’t joking. When the student pressed for an explanation of this gap in Einstein’s knowledge, he declared, “I make it a rule not to clutter my mind with simple information that I can find in a book in five minutes.”

When I read that story, I discovered a principle that I think could help address a daily struggle for me. It was a glimpse into the mind of one of history's greatest innovators, perhaps an important secret of his success revealed. Could it be that one of the keys to Eienstein's success was a little word called focus?

I've always prided myself on being a great multi-tasker. I enjoy working, and my life seems abnormal if I don't have a number of projects I'm working on, several ideas that I'm processing, and lots mundane tasks that I'm chipping away at, all going on at the same time. I realize that I'm not alone in this.... almost everyone I talk to says something about how "busy" they are or have been.

When I was younger, and Shondi and I were both working and going to school, I can remember dreaming about what my life would be like when I finished school and got a "real job", so my life wouldn't be so busy.

When we moved back from Dallas and took our first part-time ministry position, along with full time jobs, and the arrival of our first child, I realized that the "not so busy life" I had dreamt about was eluding me in every way.

Life moved on and the pace got faster and faster until finally we arrived.... a full time ministry position that provided for my wife and four children.... I was finally going to be less busy!

You might be able to guess that the whole "less busy" thing didn't work out like I planned. In fact, it seemed that at every stage I thought I'd be less busy, the demands on my time grew greater & greater.

I could go on with this, but I'm really busy today so I'll have to wrap it up:) I have determined that the "less busy" life I've been pursuing is probably not a reality this side of heaven. I've also learned that learning to balance my busy life is a part of my spiritual discipline and growth.

If Eienstein realized that cluttering his mind with trivial "stuff" was detrimental to his ultimate purpose, what does that say to us about the danger of cluttering our lives by being so "busy" that we neglect our primary purpose of being Jesus to a lost and dying world?

Focus.... simple to say, but hard to do. Since I started this blog, I made it a point to count how many times I've been distracted.... 26 times! That's an average of one distraction every other minute since I started.

The same thing happens in our walk with Jesus... we lose our focus. We are so easily distracted from the "main thing" by the mundane things that somehow creep up our priority list every day.

I recognize that there are many things that each of us has to do that have nothing whatsoever to do with eternity, but the question still comes to mind "At the end of this day, have I done ANYTHING that will make a difference in eternity?". For me, there are too many days when my honest answer would be "no". It's not because I didn't want to or didn't plan to, it's because I lost my focus.

John 15:4-5 NIV
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

By the way... there are 5280 feet in a mile.... now you know something that Eienstein didn't!

Whatever It Takes,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You Won't Believe The Day I Had Yesterday!!!

Remember how I said yesterday morning that it would be a really busy day at Skipstone? Yeah well, turns out I had no idea what the day would hold. I think God does that for us every now and then just to give us a quick reminder of who is in control!

On top of our normal Monday chaos, we discovered a major problem with the Ugandan boys airline tickets when we called to check them in for their flight home. After two hours on the phone, Shondi and Melinda (from Pennies for Posho ministry) drove to the airport and spend the rest of the day persuading KLM that the problem with the tickets was an honest mistake that resulted from bad communication in the KLM office in Uganda (which is the size of my office)and the rest of the KLM world. Just think about the worst airline agent you ever encountered.... this agent trained all of those!:)

In the end, the ticket situation was resolved at 2:30pm and the boys were due at the airport no later than 3:30 pm to catch their flight home. So while Shondi and Melinda waited at the airport, our staff loaded up all of the boys luggage in the two vans and we gathered everybody together to say "goodbye". As we are standing there enduring our tearful goodbyes, it comes to someone's attention that Joseph, one of the 13 year old Ugandan boys, is nowhere to be found! We were already running late, so we had everyone on campus start looking for him immediately. I kept the vans running, confident that he would be found in a few minutes and we'd be on our way.

Ninety minutes later, or about the time the plane was taking off, there was still no sign of Joseph. We were beginning to grow very concerned, so per our protocol, we contacted the Spalding County Sheriff's Office. Needless to say, things got very crazy in a matter of a few minutes. Dozens of marked and unmarked police cars, search and rescue vehicles, dive teams, neighbors and other volunteers, and all of our campers coming in to register for the the last week of camp converged at Skipstone entrance. It was an incredible sight.... I can only imagine what people driving by were thinking, and especially what the parents of our "new" overnight campers were thinking!

The search continued for Joseph all over our 64 acre campus, as well as the 190 acre tract south of our property, the 18 acre tract east of us, and the 300 acre tract west of us. A police chopper from Fayette County was called in to assist the people on the ground. It was absolutely an insane scene! I spent the whole time at the command center at the front gate, trying to keep tabs on all that was going on and giving the officers as much information about the property layout as I could. To say that I was worried would be an understatement, but I also had a peace that God knew exactly what was going on and that while it looked like everything was out of control, HE was still very much in control.

At 6:24pm, over six hours since anyone had seen "big Joe", Ken Brown, one of our Skipstone Academy parents, and John Plageman, one of our board members who also volunteers for the dive and resue team, found Joseph hidden in a heavy brush thicket on the very back corner of the property. HE was unharmed, but was terrified and shaking. Since he doesn't understand our culture, he had no idea what kind of havoc his behavior had caused until he rounded the corner and saw the dozens of searchers who had been frantically looking for him for more than four hours.

Without going into all of the details, it turns out that one the ladies, who was here from Uganda and was touring with the boys for the first part of the tour, had given Joseph some very specific instructions about some costume items that belonged to her that the boys were using for the remainder of the tour. They were goat skins that were used in a dance routine and apparently they were of great value to the "mum". She charged Joseph with caring for those skins and making sure they got back to Ugandan to her or he would face a severe beating(I realize that is shocking to hear, but unfortunately this is acceptable in their culture). Upon returning from their concerts in North Carolina two weekends ago, the group realized that the skins were missing. Melinda called the churches to find out if they were accidentally left there but no one has found them as of yet. The thought of going back to Uganda and facing the "mum" without her possessions was more than this little boy could stand and he did the only thing he knew to do...hide.

Since every leader is a learner, Shondi and I stayed up late considering what we could learn from this whole ordeal. While there are many lessons, the two things that stuck out in our hearts were:
1. Nothing good can possibly good from placing too much value on our "stuff" whether it's parked in my garage at Skipstone or riding around on the back of a goat in Uganda. Stuff is still stuff. The moment we start to take our focus off of God and put it on our stuff, trouble always ensues.
2. Whether you are a 13 year old Ugandan boy or almost 40 year old ministry leader, fear paralyzes your life, your walk and your ministry. The four and a half hours we worried, fretted, panicked, prayed while Joseph sat in a thicket also worrying, fretting, panicking, and praying, God sat confidently on His throne in complete control. Just like Joseph's fear kept him in hiding all afternoon, our fear does the same thing to us. We hide from friendships, new experiences, amazing life lessons and God's purpose for our lives all out of fear. We might not be in a thicket of bushes in the woods but our hiding place is just as uncomfortable. One of my favorite sayings goes like this... "When fear knocks, let faith open the door and no one will be there." Faith that God can handle any struggle you are facing makes truly abundant life possible...we just have to take the first step and get out of the thicket!

Looking back on what seemed yesterday to be a very discouraging day, we see God's hand in every little detail. Joseph never left the Skipstone property and he was always safe. God sent an army of amazing people to help us look for Joseph (and we cannot adequately begin to express our appreciation). The lessons that God taught us through the ordeal will remain with us forever as will the memories that we have made with these eight incredible boys this summer.

Thank you for your prayers and thank you to those who physically helped in our search. The next available flight for the boys is next Monday at 4:00...please pray that their departure then will go smoothly and that God will continue to work in the lives of the Ugandan Thunder!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Goodbye Ugandan Boys... and THANK YOU!

Although I'm waaaay behind on my blogging, I'll have to be brief this morning. We start our last week of camp today, the Ugandan boys are leaving for the airport, we have a new maintenance man starting (welcome Eric Hindman to the Skipstone family), construction on the football field is in full swing, the inboxes and voice mailboxes are overflowing... you get the picture!

I didn't sleep very well last night. Like everyone else around here, I'm emotional about the end of our four month journey with the Ugandan Thunder boys. These eight boys have really taken our hearts captive. What we anticipated would be an incredible ministry opportunity for us to serve them has instead become a time of immeasurable growth for us as we have watch them live their faith out loud.

For me personally, I can only recall one other season of my life when I found myself so consciously aware of some of my misconceptions about God. These were brought to light by watching the childlike faith of eight boys who have no life compared to us from a material perspective, yet enjoy life so abundantly from a spiritual perspective. I can't help but believe that there is an underlying and significant correlation between their suffering and simple existence and the contentment, thankfulness of heart, and unbridled joy that defines the character of these young men.

One of the things that we've all struggled with is knowing that today, these boys are going back to their real world. The excess and comfort that they have enjoyed for the last four months will come to an abrupt halt in 24 hours, and they will once again be surrounded with suffering and pain that we can't even really imagine. It doesn't seem fair or right. Our hearts are screaming "let them stay", but as hard as it is for us to understand, they are ready to go "home".

As I thought about this through my sleepless night, I was reminded of a statement that one of my favorite authors made in a recent devotion that I was reading about struggles and suffering. Max Lucado wrote "What about your struggles? Is there any chance, any possibility, that you have been selected to struggle for God’s glory? Have you “been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake”? - (Philippians 1:29)

What an amazing thought.... that some of us may have the privilege of not only walking with Jesus, but also suffering for His sake? Man I want to get to a place in my walk that I can see struggles and suffering as a privilege..... maybe it starts by realizing that most of my struggles and suffering aren't struggles and suffering at all. They are just whining and feeling sorry for myself about some possession that I don't have, some luxury that I can't afford, or something "dear to me" that I lost. I go around saying "I'm hungry" when I get busy and miss lunch by a few hours, yet I have no idea what hunger really feels like. I say that "I'm having a bad day" when some circumstance shakes me from my comfort zone, while those without a real comfort zone can't even distinguish the "good days" from the bad ones.

Max Lucado wrapped up this thought in a beautiful way when he said "Your faith in the face of suffering cranks up the volume of God’s song.” I don't know a lot, but I know that the faith of eight boys in the midst of great struggles and suffering has made God's song loud in my heart. The country of Uganda will be hearing that song soon in a way that could "rock their world"!

Thank you boys for being "special vessels" that God used in my life in very special way..... now go home and change your world!

Whatever It Takes,

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Kings

Am I the only person that is completely amazed at how the news of the death of Michael Jackson, the self proclaimed "king of pop", siezed complete control of every media outlet in a matter of a few minutes yesterday? Within two hours of his death, there were already hour long specials airing on national and international television, and the internet was at a crawl because of all of the searches for information about his death.

Now I've never really been much of a MJ fan, but I'm also not really a hater either. I do feel a lot of pity for anyone who has been given so much... talent, fame, riches, influence, etc., but chooses to invest it in the temporal instead of the eternal. It certainly isn't any of my business what anyone does with their "stuff", but I just know that those who live their lives for the temporary pleasures of life miss out on a lot.

After reliving all of the highlights (good, bad, and ugly) of Michael Jackson's life via the news last night, I couldn't help but turn it off when the isanity hit it's peak. Will.I.Am (Black Eyed Peas/Jackson producer) crossed the line for me when he said "He was a gift to the world, he is a bright light and I wouldn't be surprised if the world stopped spinning tomorrow."

Ok, as I said, I'm not a Michael Jackson hater, but come on..... a gift to the world? A bright light? The world may stop spinning? WOW..... that may be words that could be used to describe a king, but not the "King of Pop"!

In fact, as I watched all of this unfold yesterday afternoon, I thought about the irony of how the world is in turmoil because their "king" is going, while giving little thought to "THE King" who has promised a triuphant return. Even more upsetting is that by the time the news of the return of Christ overtakes the media, it will be too late to be concerned about it!

I hope that somehow God uses the death of Michael Jackson to further HIS kingdom here on earth. What a fresh reminder to those of us who belong to Christ about the importance of daily redirecting our attention and affection to the only true King, Jesus Christ our savior, and faithfully sharing the Good News with those God puts in our path.

You may not have been ready for the "king" to leave, but you can be ready for "THE King" to return!

FYI - the world didn't stop spinning today!

Whatever It Takes,
Chip Moody

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Does Pain Have To Be A Part Of The Plan?

Thank you to all who prayed for me yesterday as I had the epidural procedure done on my back. Everything went according to plan, except that I had somehow convinced myself that the relief would be almost instantaneous, which turned out to be bad information. I am told that things should improve withing a couple of days to two weeks. I had a kind of rough night last night, but am not feeling quite as groggy this morning.

It's a rare thing for me to go to the doctor or have any kind of surgery, etc. I'm one of those guys who waits until things are really bad before considering that option. I'm not certain if was my inexperience, the side effects of being on pain medication for the last several weeks while I waited to have the procedure done, or just the whole "turning forty this fall, kid starting college, 20th wedding anniversary in few weeks, etc" feelings I've been dealing with recently, but for the first time I can remember in a long time, I was really nervous and anxious yesterday..... almost scared.

As I laid there in pre-op, I was freezing (the cute little gown didn't help), my hands were shaking, and I was really feeling very anxious about the whole process. Shondi and Chase (my oldest son if you didn't know) were in the lobby waiting room and weren't allowed to come back, which made things even more unnerving for me. I suppose the nurse must have noticed that I was falling apart, so she walked over and brought me a very warm blanket, fresh from the blanket warming machine (I think I'm getting one of those for home!). That took care of the shaking on the outside, but I was still shaking on the inside.

After a few more minutes passed by, I heard familiar footsteps coming.... the nurse had gone to the lobby to get Shondi to come back and wait with me. If you know me at all, my love language is quality time, so even it it's just sitting in a freezing cold pre-op room with a cute little gown and cap, I am at my best when Shondi is by my side. As it turns out, she was only there a couple of minutes when the doctor and staff showed up to wheel me back to the OR for the procedure, but those couple of minutes helped me calm down a little more.

The procedure was less painful than I expected.... technology has come a long way since I had this done several years ago. I will say that those needles are the longest needles I've ever seen..... thank God they had a hi-tech image of my back on the screen to guide the needle to the right place. It was a little intense, but bearable. The doctor talked to me the whole time, even thought I was lying face down with my face buried in the table and I know he couldn't understand a word I said!

After the procedure, we grabbed a late lunch at Sonny's BBQ and headed home. I spent the evening propped up in bed and pondered the day. I think what stood out in my mind was the reality that in order to rid myself of the pain I have been enduring in my back for several months, I finally had to decide that even if the procedure hurt more initially, it was necessary to bring ultimate relief (which I am so praying that it does!).

Interestingly enough, When I came to office early this morning, I was drawn to, on of my favorite websites. And what was the number one video of the week about? It was a skit about the pain of allowing God to chisel away the things in our lives that keep us from enjoying our walk with Him the most. I was touched by the skit as it reminded me again that God really loves us enough to put us through the "pain of the chisel" so that we can be all that He intends for us to be. Check it out.....

I wonder if we trust God enough to believe that when we are afraid of the chisel, ours hands and hearts shaking, that the Holy Spirit (our comforter) will be there just in time with a warm blanket to calm our fears. I wonder if we really understand the power of His presence.... that He has promised to never leave or forsake us, and that He is always by our side... a whisper away. I certainly needed a fresh reminder.... how about you?

Whatever It Takes,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Symphony of God's Work

Well, we're well in to week two of summer camp and I'm continually amazed at how much our staff and leadership have "stepped it up" this year. Shondi and I have always been very "hands on" in the day to day details of summer camp, but this is the first time in our ten year history here that we are taking a step back and watching God raise up an incredibly gifted "new generation" to serve him in that capacity.

We didn't really start out the summer with the intention of "stepping back", but as the ministry of Skipstone continues to grow, we've discover that our priorities and the demands on our time seem to shift endlessly. We feel a continuous and strong calling to continue strengthening the foundation on the ministry so that we are as ready as we can be to participate in all that God has planned to do in and through Skipstone. Subsequently, more and more of our time is being spent these days "visioneering" and really training ourselves to listen for the "whisper" of God about the right next step.

It's been a big adjustment for me personally to experience the shift that we've gone through this year. One of the unexpected rewards though, has been seeing my children, our staff, and our leadership team begin to find their places of service and experience the joy of living life in the "sweet spot", the center of God's will for their lives.

As we celebrated Father's Day this past weekend, I did a lot of reflecting about our four children, and thanked God for all that He has done in their lives in spite of a dad who has dropped the ball more often than he cares to admit. I think the one thing that gives me the most joy in life is to see that they have already begun discovering the kind of "sweet spot" living that took me decades to grab hold of. I wonder how my life could have counted more had I been willing to surrender my life to the extent they have as young people. I'm also overwhelmed with a great and godly expectancy to see what God will do in and through them as they continue surrendering more and I love those kids of mine!

As I've thought about the changes we're experiencing, and how God is working in the lives of our children and others who serve alongside us, my heart is filled with gratitude to God for being such an amazing conductor who orchestrates every note of every life to make something beautiful, meaningful, and life-changing as we keep our eyes fixed on Him.

Think about it this way..... every time that I choose to obey the voice of God, it gives another person the opportunity to be obedient and experience the joy of serving God too. I can't hold on too tightly to the things that make me comfortable, because God has some other things that He is calling me to do to stretch and mold me. At the same time, he's going to use some of the "stuff" that I've grown very comfortable with to stretch and mold some others who are stepping out of their comfort zone. It's just amazing to be a part of the symphony of God's work!

I wonder how many of God's people need to take the next step today. Some need to trade in what they are comfortable with for something that will demand personal and spiritual growth. Some need to step back up and be obedient to the last word that God gave them instead of spending all of their time begging God for a "fresh word". Others need to get out of the "audience" and join the symphony.... why just watch and listen when you can "experience" and be a part of it all?

What's your next step? Why not take it now?

Whatever It Takes,

Friday, June 19, 2009

Skipstone Staff..... On My Heart Today

Well we are only a few hours away from the end of our first week of summer camp at Skipstone. Best I can tell, it's been a great week....

God has blessed us again this year with a great summer staff, both veterans and a few "rookies, who have done an outstanding job serving so far. They survived a week of staff training, ending with playing "survivor". We blindfolded them, drove them thirty miles out into the country, and dropped them off in the middle of a 30 acre riverfront property with only the bare necessities to make it through the night. I must say.... I was pretty impressed at how they handled themselves! Please lift up these young college students this summer. Pray for safety, strength, and most importantly for God to do a great work IN them, and THROUGH them as they serve.

God has really given our Camp Director, Rachel Cole, extra grace and strength to have to deal with moving out of her current home, while waiting to close on a new home, right in the middle of the busiest weeks of her year. Please lift Rachel up as she takes this important life step. She has diligently sought God's guidance for a new home, but has had several bumps in the road in regards to closing. I know that she would appreciate knowing that a lot of folks are praying for her as she walks through this. Drop her an email at and let her know that you are lifting her up this summer!

Our "Camp Discovery" day camp is off to a great start, and will have more campers this season than ever before. Kelley Buckalew, who directs Camp Discovery, is doing a great job again this year. She has an amazing staff that are forever "marching" the day campers from one activity to the next all day long. Please lift Kelley and her staff up as you pray. Pray for strength for them.... they are outside in the heat for much of the day and we are off to a very hot summer so far!

Our new day "Rockbridge" day camp in Sandy Springs is up and running and they have just completed their second week of camp. It's exciting for us to see God continuing to open up new doors of opportunity to minister and serve. Our Rockbridge director, Chip Cofer, has done a great job, both with the camp and with doing some staff training with our summer staff. Please lift Chip and his staff up as they serve the children of the Atlanta area this summer.

Although school is out, our principal, Randy Freeman, Shondi, and others are continuing to work on plans for next year. It's very exciting to have two years behind us now and go into our third school year with a lot more "intentional" planning and programming. Please pray for Randy and Shondi as they prepare for the upcoming school year. Pray for wisdom, unbridled creativity, patience to work through the numerous details, and for rest and renewal for all of our staff and teachers this summer.

Glenn Polk, our Facilities Director, is making a transition into a new role at Skipstone. He will continue to help us with the oversight of our facilities, but will also be helping us with fire safety, insurance regulations and compliance, master site planning and development, risk management, and other important areas that we need to grow in as we move forward. Please pray for Glenn as he assumes some new responsibilities.

Pray for these great people who are also serving at Skipstone this summer....

Geoffrey - as he drives the bus for all of our camps (he likes the new ride!)

Sabrina and Clay - as they coordinate all of the food orders and schedule our cooking staff (and especially pray for our cooks... it's over 100 degrees in the kitchen on an average day - every one of these ladies and men are amazing!)

April & Tommy - as they lifeguard at the pool and the waterslide

Becca, Maddy and Kenzie - as they lead the recreation activities

Chase - as he does the grunt work for me while my back is all out of whack

Mrs. Carolyn - the only real superhero at Skipstone (I really think she might be a closet superhero)!

There are so many people who serve the Lord through this ministry, and they are on my heart and mind this morning. It's an incredible thought to me that these servants of God would choose to invest their lives here. I am overwhelmed at the sacrificial service of each of these people. My prayer is that God would bless them each beyond measure for the investment that they are making in His kingdom through the ministry of Skipstone.

I was reading a devotion by Max Lucado this morning and I thought is was appropriate for our staff today...

God is Cheering for You
by Max Lucado

If your God is Mighty enough to ignite the sun, could it be that He is mighty enough to light your path?

God is for you. Not “may be,” not “has been,” not “was,” not “would be,” but “God is!” He is for you. Today. At this hour. At this minute. As you read this sentence. No need to wait in line or come back tomorrow. He is with you. He could not be closer than he is at this second. His loyalty won’t increase if you are better nor lessen if you are worse. He is for you.

God is for you. Turn to the sidelines; that’s God cheering your run. Look past the finish line; that’s God applauding your steps. Listen for him in the bleachers, shouting your name. Too tired to continue? He’ll carry you. Too discouraged to fight? He’s picking you up. God is for you.

God is for you. Had he a calendar, your birthday would be circled. If he drove a car, your name would be on his bumper. If there’s a tree in heaven, he’s carved your name in the bark. We know he has a tattoo, and we know what it says. “I have written your name on my hand,” he declares "Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me." - Isaiah 49:16

Whatever It Takes,

Monday, June 8, 2009

Skipstone's New Ride!

For those of you who have been asking, Skipstone did recently get a new bus! I have to take the time share some of the details of how God did this. To put it simply, God showed off in a big way!

We made the decision to sell the shorter of our two buses as soon as school was out and replace it with a larger bus. Almost immediately God directed a church in south Georgia to buy the shorter bus and trade us two vans. As we searched for the replacement bus, we came across this beautiful coach down in Naples, Florida that was owned by a Christian tour and charter company. It has been very well taken care of and was offered to us at an extremely good price. We researched it thoroughly and decided that it would meet the needs of the ministry while saving us several thousand dollars a year in insurance, fuel, and driver costs versus owning two buses.

Then came the catch.... we literally had about 48 hours to sell our second bus and make a deal on the new coach. I called everyone I knew that might be interested in buying the old bus, but had no takers. Finally, with only a few hours left to put the deal together, a local ministry made us an offer on the old bus. A benefactor had pledged the funds for them to purchase a bus several months ago, and our bus was exactly what they were looking for. I couldn't believe it.... God was up to something big AGAIN!

Before I got over the excitement of what was happening, I got the dreaded phone call.... the ministry's benefactor had backed out for personal financial reasons, essentially bringing the deal to a halt. I called the guys in Naples and told them that it looked like things weren't going to work out for us to purchase the coach in light of the circumstances. To my surprise, they extended our deadline for making a decision from Friday evening to Monday morning.

I must admit that I am often a slow learner. I've seen God work in so many amazing ways in the past that I couldn't chronicle all of them. Yet here I was again, doubting that anything could happen over the weekend to bring this all together. At the same time, I felt very strongly that this was the coach for us, and the local ministry was convinced that it was God's will for them to have our old bus.

Coincidentally (divinely really!), the local ministry was holding their annual board of directors meeting on the weekend that all of this was going on. It was a major growing experience for that group of people... sensing God's direction, but trying to understand his sovereignty and trust his provision. At the same time, we were learning those same things, and I could sense that this wasn't over just yet.

On Saturday morning, I received a phone call from the director of the local ministry. He was very emotional as he shared with me what transpired in the 12 hours since we had talked the night before. One of his brand new board members, who was attending her first meeting with the ministry, felt that God gave her very clear direction that she was to supply the financial resources for the purchase of the bus. There was a problem (at least that's what everyone thought) though.... she would not have the money available until late in June. Since we had to make a commitment by Monday, that wasn't really gong to work.

As the director and the new board member shared how God was working, another board member became very emotional and shared with total amazement that God had given him direction that he was to be a tool in the hands of God to purchase our bus that day, but that the provision would ultimately come some other way. He wasn't going to say anything to the rest of the board members because he didn't really understand how that would be possible. As soon as he heard what the new board member had to say, he knew that God was affirming what he felt that he was supposed to do.

Are you still with me? Does this do anything for you? Can you see how vitally important it is for us to listen for "the whisper" of God to our hearts? If any one of the people involved in this craziness had failed to hear God, the deal was over. Instead, everyone had the privilege of having front row seats to God showing off, that is, showing Himself mightily again.

We met in my office on Sunday afternoon and the did the paperwork. It was the sweetest automobile sale transaction that I've ever been a part of. We all prayed and thanked God for his sovereignty and for blessing both ministries with what they needed in the area of transportation. We prayed that we would be good stewards of everything that God has entrusted to us, and we thanked God for what He taught us all through something as insignificant as a couple of buses!

When is the last time you heard "the whisper" of God? Don't miss out on what God has planned for you because you aren't listening to His voice!

Whatever It Takes,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Calendar Updates!

We just completed calendar updates for Skipstone Academy through May of 2010! Take advantage of this great tool on our website at under the "calendar of events" tab. You can view events, have email reminders sent to you, etc. Have a BLESSED day!

Whatever It Takes,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How Big Is Your God?

I hope everyone enjoyed the Memorial Day weekend break. We made a last minute decision on Friday to head down to Gulf Shores to the beach early Saturday morning to enjoy one last "break" before school ends and camp begins.

As I sat and enjoyed the wonder of the ocean from the comfort of my beach chair, I couldn't help but think about the greatness of the God that we serve. Although I've been to the ocean many times, it's majesty and wonderment never seem to diminish. It's as though each crashing wave is a constant reminder of the sheer power of our creator.

To even begin to understand that the same powerful creator who orchestrates every wave, calms every storm, and even knows the number of the grains of sand on the shores, is also my creator and is at work orchestrating every detail of my life is an overwhelming thought to me.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm guilty of forgetting just how big my Savior is! I forget that he needs but to speak a word and the storms of this life can be calmed. I forget that sometimes the peace that He gives us to endure a storm is an even greater miracle than if He chose to calm the storm.

Check out this video I found on Tangle.... a good reminder for us all!

Whatever It Takes,

Friday, May 22, 2009

Make Every Minute Count!

It's been more than a month since my last blog, which is another story within itself that I hope to "unpack" and share as I attempt to get back in the groove soon. If you know me at all, you know that these blogs are just thoughts from the "overflow" of my life. So.... the thing that has drawn me back to the keyboard today is a heart that is overflowing with every kind of emotion, and a sleepless night filled with vivid memories of one the most precious gifts that God ever entrusted to me.

It's almost impossible to comprehend that we've had our oldest son Chase in our lives for 9,697,149 minutes as of this moment. As a parent, it's hard not wonder if I've seized enough of those minutes, taken advantage of the teachable moments that they provided, and fulfilled my responsibility to do my part in preparing him for today... graduation day!

By the time the ceremony and celebration is over tonight, I will have been given more than 9.7 million minutes to mold, shape, encourage, challenge, motivate, discipline, love, and "pour into" the most important calling that I have..... being a Godly parent and raising my kids to honor God.

Almost 10 million minutes... and if statistics (and my personal guesses) are even close, here's how I spent many of them:
3.2 million minutes working
2.4 million minutes sleeping
1.2 million minutes on leisure time (including TV)
400,000 minutes eating
400,000 minutes online
200,000 minutes at church or in Bible study
200,000 minutes grooming myself
100,000 minutes volunteering or serving

In essence, I've spent 80% of my life on the "stuff" that makes up my daily routine. It certainly makes me think about how I've chosen to invest my minutes..... most of those minutes haven't been invested in eternal things, but instead on "wood, hay, and stubble", myself and my comfort, and on things that will make no difference in eternity whatsoever.

If there is a good side to this revelation, it's that those minutes that I have spent with my son are the ones I remember the most. Everybody called him "little Chip" because he was always under my feet when he was growing up. You rarely saw one of us without the other. Even today, I'm glad that he still doesn't mind hanging out with the "old man", even though he's clearly not "little Chip" anymore!

I don't remember what kind of hair gel I used in 1990, but I will never forget the minute that my Chase came into this world. I don't remember what youth trip I was planning in the early 1990's, but I will never forget the minute when he said "da da" for the first time. I don't remember what books I was reading or what TV shows I was watching in 2002, but I'll never forget the minute we spent loading up his first race car to head to the track. I can't remember which mission project I was working on in 2005, but I remember the minute (actually lots of minutes) he spent trying to teach me to play the guitar around the campfire when we were camping at Stone Mountain Park. I don't remember what I had for lunch on December 14, 2006, but I remember the minute that I fulfilled the promise I made to spend the whole day with him on his birthday to put a lift lit on his first truck.

Even as I'm writing this, my mind and heart are overflowing with the memories of every sweet minute that we've shared (and I'm "snotting" up my keyboard a little!). It's true that we could have had more minutes together, but I wouldn't trade any one of the minutes we've had for anything in the world. Those are the minutes that have mattered the most to me!

My prayer is that even though he begins a new chapter in his life today, that at the end of his next 10 million minutes, I will still be able to talk about some awesome minutes we shared. I'm thankful that I'm not standing in the shoes of a lot of parents today, who are wondering if their graduates are strong enough in their faith to stay close to God and live a faithful life in a challenging world. At our house.... the student has become the teacher. Chase is not a spiritual thermometer, measuring the spiritual climate, he's become a spiritual thermostat, living his life in a way that challenges all of us to help change the spiritual climate of our culture. He is the epitome of living a "whatever it takes" life!

Today will be a hard day for mom and dad, but it will be another "minute" to file away in my heart for another blog someday!

Make Every Minute Count,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"I Want Beans Please!"

Beginning on the Sunday before Easter, God began giving me a little wake-up call when our family took a short road trip with the "Ugandan Thunder", a boys choir comprised of eight young boys from Uganda who are touring the Southeast this summer. The boys provide an amazing ministry, of singing, dancing and praising God.

Our road trip was to a small country church in Gray, GA which is basically out in the middle of nowhere. As we got close to the church, I could see a little small white building with a steeple that didn't look much bigger than a small home. As we turned into the parking lot though, it was obvious that this was no ordinary country church.

Just behind the original church building that I had seen from a distance was a newer gym building that I discovered later was now the worship center. I know that buildings are just buildings, but it was obvious that this part of the body of Christ was impacting their community. The place was crawling with people. I thought of the image of a huge lighthouse that could be seen for miles. It was encouraging to my heart to see God working in that small community.

While I was busy taking all of that in, the members of the church were piling in with food in hand to introduce to Ugandan boys to a favorite Southern tradition... a covered dish supper! Now I've been to my share of covered dish suppers (and have the shape to prove it!), but I have never seen so much food at a covered dish supper in my life. It was amazing to me, but it was overwhelming to those Ugandan boys. It was like sensory overload... they had probably never seen that much food in their life!

As I walked down the line with one of the boys to help him fix his plate, I told him to just tell me what he wanted and I would put it on his plate. His response cracked me up... he said "I want beans please!". The reason I found that so funny was that these boys eat one meal a day when they are in Uganda if they are blessed. That meal is posho, a finely ground grain that is a distant cousin to grits. It tastes really bland and is basically just "survival" food. On a really good day, they might get a scoop of beans on top of the posho to give it some flavor.

When this young boy saw ten tables full of every kind of food you could possibly imagine, he wanted beans. I did persuade him to try some other things and I think they all pretty much caught on to the concept of "all you can eat" by the time dinner was over. It was certainly an unforgettable experience for me to be a part of that with the boys.

After dinner, the boys did their concert (I prefer the word "ministry" really) and it was amazing. I wept like I haven't in a long time. It was amazing to me to watch those boys who had so little, be so thankful and focused of worshipping God. I heard a pastor say once that "we will never understand that Jesus is all we need until Jesus is all that we have". I was witnessing that while I watched those boys exhaust themselves in worship to God.

As we drove back home after the service, It was if God was standing at a white board and teaching me two very distinct things.....

First, when it comes to all that God is, and all that He offers to me, I'm no different that that little Ugandan boy staring at the ten tables of food. My instinct is to just settle for beans when there is a feast right before my eyes. I'd rather be comfortable and my hunger can easily be satisfied by just a few bites of what I know. All the while, God is saying "taste and see that the Lord is good" - Psalm 34:8, and His desire for me is to partake of all that He is. I need to get out of my comfort zone in my walk with Jesus....I need to know Him more and experience the fullness of a life immersed in Jesus.

Secondly, I need to learn to be content and to praise God regardless of my circumstances. These boys, who live in shacks with no running water, no TV, no phones, no toys, no entertainment, and very little food, sing with the most grateful spirit you can imagine and dance mightily before the Lord. They get it.... Jesus is all they have and He is all that they need. If I'm not careful, I'll find my prayer life evolving into nothing more than a "wish list" of things to make my life and walk more comfortable. These boys can't even comprehend "comfortable". Thankfulness is a great first step towards contentment.

As I considered these two truths that God was revealing to me about myself, I understood the passage from Ephesians 1:17-21 in a new light "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."

I wonder how I'm doing living out the last part of that passage "the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." Am I full with Jesus? Have I tasted everything He is? Is He all that I want, or am I just asking for beans?

Whatever It Takes,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Phone / Internet Problems at Skipstone!

Please accept our sincere apologies if you tried to reach us by phone or email today. Unfortunately, our phone lines were damaged during the storms this weekend and we did not realize that our main line was not working until later today. Additionally, our main internet hub was destroyed, so we only have a handful of computers online today. We are working to resolve the problem and will hopefully have everything back up by late Tuesday afternoon. Thank you for your patience!
Chip Moody
VP of Operations, Skipstone

The Blog That Wasn't

I really wanted to title today's blog "Blah, Blah, Blog". We had an incredibly busy week, and instead of a little rest on the weekend, we decided to do something radically different for Easter.... we took a family mission trip!

As a result, I'm starting out the day a tired. In addition to my normal Monday morning routine, we had to get started early this morning to convert two classrooms that were used by a rental group this week back to school classrooms. Needless to say, the rain outside is not helping me feel any less tired!

To say that I've been challenged in a new way in my faith this week would be an understatement. I've seen sacrificial service and obedience to God displayed in miraculous ways. I've gained a new understanding of what it really means to live a "whatever it takes" kind of life. I've come to realize that we need not be angry with our President for saying that "We no longer consider ourselves a Christian nation"... we need to be angry with ourselves! I think the reason that those comments bothered so many of us is that we are afraid that he might be right.

Over the next few days, I want to share some of the things that God used this week to really stretch me in my walk. I've been really inconsistent in trying to get back in the "blogging" groove, so please pray for me this week. God is doing such amazing things, but it has become a major battle for me to fight for the time I need everyday to sit down and share it. In fact, I started this blog at about 8:00am this morning and just now got back to it at 5:30pm.

In the meantime, please enjoy a 4 minute clip of my friend Mark Hall from Casting Crowns as he talks about the song "Altar & The Door". Please say a prayer for Casting Crowns this week as they will be ministering in N. Korea.... yeah... pretty scary place to be right now. I'm praying that God will use them to bring light to a very dark place.

Whatever It Takes,

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Working With One Hand & Warring With The Other

This morning will be yet another attempt for me to climb out of the "quiet" zone I've been stuck in for the last week. Each morning, I've started the day with plans to blog what's on my heart, and each day I have hit "delete" after a few minutes of rambling and not feeling like I was getting anywhere.

My quiet time for the last several days has been centered around the life Nehemiah. As I've tried to understand more about where my journey has taken me these last few days, I can't seem to get away from this incredible passage in God's word.

I've always loved the story of Nehemiah. I think it's because I can so identify with his life, and his calling to do something that most everyone thought was crazy, perhaps even impossible. Listen to some of the things that were said as Nehemiah was attempting to lead the rebuilding of the wall...

Nehemiah 4:2 "....What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?"

Nehemiah 4:3 "...What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!"

Even his own people were growing weary... Nehemiah 4:10 "Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall." Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work."

I think what is most amazing about Nehemiah was his natural instinct to just go right back to the "word" that God had given him whenever he faced discouragement, difficulty, and even danger. I love his response to his people..."Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."

So was Nehemiah's confidence in God's plan and God's "word" to him contagious? I love the picture that is painted in the next few verses... (v.16-20) "From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!"

Even as I revisited this passage this morning, I've been reminded that I cannot do God's work unless I learn to work one handed.... that is, one hand doing the work and one hand doing the warfare!

Isn't it amazing that we would even think it was possible to accomplish anything with any eternal value or significance without encountering some spiritual opposition along the way? We have been fooled.... we've bought in to the modern day thinking that if we just serve God and do what's right, everything will just be great all of the time. The only problem is that there's no evidence in scripture to back that up!

Fast forward a couple of chapters in Nehemiah's journey and you'll find that he is still working with one hand and warring with the other. His very life was being threatened, yet he stood firm.... "They were all trying to frighten us thinking, "Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed."But I prayed, "Now strengthen my hands." - Nehemiah 6:9

As the wall is finally completed, Nehemiah was quick to remember the source of his strength..."So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God." - Nehemiah 6:15

It's interesting to note that the great work that God chose to accomplish through Nehemiah was so astounding that it shook the surrounding nations. And the battle plan was simple.... work with one hand and war with the other!

God help me to never attempt to do your work without your power.... Lord, strengthen my hands!

Whatever It Takes,