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,