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,