June 26, 2017

Can I Get a Break, God? A inspired reminder through a friend’s story of heartache….

I met Fredric Gray at The Florida Christian Writers Conference in March of this year at 2:15 am EST in the morning when he woke me up in the criminal offense of breaking down my conference center hotel room door. Mark Hancock, director of the conference, forgot to instruct me that my con roommate would wonderfully disrupt my dream of meeting Tinker Bell in a fantasized REM slumber that I, James Cartee, would soon change the world. While surrounded in the Floridian swamp lands, I thought a serial killer banged on my door. After an unexpected wake up call so early in the morning, I thought I might soon kill Mr. Fredric Gray that early morning.

I soon realized that Fredric was no felony offender with a belly laugh that would do God proud. He profusely apologized, and when I finally awoke, I came back to my senses that his encouragement would further boost my writing career forward for higher heights.

Fredric’s example in Christ would further illustrate the peacemaker resemblance of Christ to rejoice in tragedy. His natural inclination keeps me motivated in down times when I seem to hourly ask God, “Can you please give me a break already?” People like Fredric remind me that in times of good and bad we bring Glory to God, even if we do not want to. That should innately become the response of any believer. His message posted on Facebook below still resonates with me even 10 days later.

So, our fifth child went to be with God. Heather called me on Wednesday night on my way to our church Bible study and told me she was bleeding a little bit, kind of like the spotting that so many pregnant women experience, but a little worse. She convinced me not to come home, and things got better. When it continued Thursday, we called our midwife and she came over Thursday night with concerns of her own. She scheduled us for an ultrasound for Friday. At this point the bleeding really wasn’t that bad.

But Heather woke me up at 4am telling me she felt like she was giving birth. It all was so surreal. I was part in empathy mode, and part denial. She kept telling me, “this is it. we are losing our baby.” I just didn’t want to believe it, even though I knew it could happen.

About 5am, she labored the baby, along with a whole lot of blood out. It was very hard for us. Well, it was hard for me. I think she was having a harder time before, and I had a much harder time afterward.

She continued to bleed for short time, and we prayed and went to bed. She said the most encouraging thing to me. She casually, and warmly, said “this is our first baby that is with God.” I never thought of it until she said it, but I found it SUPER-ENCOURAGING!

As that thought guided me while going to sleep, all I could think about were people that lost their children, either through miscarriage or after they were born.

While working, Heather called me on my cell phone around 9am telling me that she was bleeding badly. I came home and helped her, and almost ended up taking her to the ER.

Noelani and Maleia just kept bawling their eyes out, in ways I have never seem them do so. Malachi and Amairah were oblivious. In the midst of crying, Maleia, cute as can be, held up both of her hands and said, “we don’t even know if it’s a boy or a girl!”

Because of that, Heather and I had already named our baby a gender neutral name. When Maleia said that, we were happy to tell her the baby’s name–Noah Christian.

Noah means rest, or repose (often with God), and Christian is a reminder of how we get to be with our baby again one day.

So, I have tons of work to do, and many messages to respond to, and we have kind of let discipline go out the window for now. But we have been praying a lot, and having unforgettable conversations with our children. Heather has needed to be on bedrest, just like a woman who gave birth and is at risk of losing more blood.

So, I just wanted to share this. If you read this far, thanks for reading.

Noah Christian Gray.

Yeah, a gift from God.

Fredric Gray, 4/6/13

I wrote the following poem in response to Fredric’s testimony in the midst of tragic events. This poem will more than likely become published in my next poetry book with thirty-three poems and photographs.

Noah Christian, The Journey Home

Our loved one
Our lost son
That nothing remains undone
For Noah Christian
Traveled the journey home
Solace knowing
He passed not alone
Settled into the arms
With our Loving Sheppard
He sleeps well
As our gift from God
Surreal in the state
Felt as a prevailing reality
We live to worship
In the tragedy of loss
To know better yet to come
Children cry
To never forget
Always miss
The sibling never known
But always remembered
Noah at the meaning of rest
Another challenge
Another test to faith
Grace present in a bled state
Loss pours into grief
Perhaps with some relief
In the heart of the matter
To know our loved one
Our lost son
That nothing remains undone
For Noah Christian
Traveled the journey home

JLC iii, 4/9/13

While inspired with words of my own from the life of Noah Christian, through Fredric Gray, this song by Jason Mraz further motivates believers in Christ why we cannot give up on the dreams before us. Like Fredric’s example to glorify God no matter the circumstances, we press forward to inspire those around us in our examples.

Do Not Have Expectations: No Disappointment Results but Only Joy

 

Our expectations often fall short of our hopes, leading to disappointment, but at the same time, we must give life a chance and people as well. Unfulfilled decisions are not the end of the journey. Our perseverance in patience often brings the best of results and blessings when our expectations go to God. A better process exists that might work for you: do not have any preconceived expectations. In other words, just go with the flow, conscious that God controls what we cannot often grasp. Wisdom comes with realization of this truth. If balance exists between hope and reality and when to experience joy, one must learn to not overstretch expectations no matter the circumstances, even when mental pictures suggest otherwise. Disappointment will more likely not occur. Better yet, joy arises because you never expected something too grandeur to occur. God brings large blessings upon our life when we do not expect him to act in human ways. We sometimes think we know how to play holy. Truth exposed, we have no clue. We should realistically let God play God while we play the role of an acknowledged sinner. Express your wishes to God. Speak your prayer requests into existence. When God answers your prayers, “let Jesus take the wheel” of your car and your life (Carrie Underwood Song).

In recent moments of my own indulgence, I encourage you not to learn this lesson the hard way by frankly doing something stupid and unproductive in your own better judgment. Again do not expect specific things. Sometimes in faith we take the risk of a plunge, hoping for the best, and following where God will have us. Never forget the personal vision for your life even when situations impede your momentum and progress. In silent confidence, press forward to do what we do with God in mind. I truly miss Bob Haggerty, someone who understood that these laid back principles in our lives should not be taken too seriously. That includes not taking ourselves too seriously.

Today our legacies depend on keeping our word. It is very important that you communicate clearly expectations for an individual so all parties know how to move forward alongside each other as a team. Friction is often the result of misunderstanding when painted pictures never come to creation, or taking things too seriously with expectations leads to unnecessary frustration. Sometimes patience brings the best of outcomes. If you can learn to enjoy the moment in the patience process of learning, in that very same moment you will learn to be content no matter what happens, perhaps without unrealistic expectations.

My Friend Jedd Medefind from The Christian Alliance for Orphans – Orphan Sunday Series, Part 3

Why is the CALL FOR THE ORPHAN great? Watch the following video to statistically understand the meaning of Orphan Sunday and Jedd Medefind’s work.

Orphan Sunday, occurring on November 4, 2012, is a national movement joined by churches all over the world though an organization known as The Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). These three blog entries introduce three dear friends I met through this Alliance with brief information about their respective organizations. My last entry highlighted Dave Wood from Lifeline Children’s Services.

Connected through Greg Buzek, one day I received an email from Jedd Medefind, the previous Special Assistant to the President and Acting Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, author of three books, and now active President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). I thought to myself, “Who is this guy that wants an Auburn Master’s degree graduate to do another free internship?” After our brief interview, I thought this guy must be crazy. When I prayed and meditated about the internship program, my role, and Jedd’s possible friendship, I realized this might be the opportunity for a lifetime moment to remember. And so my journey with the Christian Alliance for Orphans began! ….with a volunteer internship and a guy named Jedd.

I experienced dark times when I began the internship, possibly another reason why I accepted the chance to become a part of something special. I wanted to feel hope again in my relationship with God. While Jedd often remained busy with the approaching Summit 2011 conference in Louieville, Kentucky (an international celebration and reunion of fatherless advocates from around globe), he constantly made time to occasionally speak with me over the phone and write inspirational emails of encouragement. Even Elizabeth Wiebe, Director of Outreach for CAFO, continually mentioned that “we will make this work,” when I felt overwhelmed with both a full time job and this fully engaged internship, especially when tornadoes ripped my Alabama home state apart. Both Jedd and Elizabeth turned my valley into a mountaintop experience that continues to this very day as the Orphan Sunday State Coordinator for both Georgia and Alabama. They rejoice with me when I live with successful forward movement and empathize with me when down and discouraged, usually with a kind word to lend.

Jedd continues to serve as a powerful presence in my life with prayer, his leadership and communicative styles, and even his example as a devoted author, father, and husband. Like Dave Wood and Larry Bergeron, Jedd is just someone you want to be like, not because of his success but rather because of his humility in Christ. I truly believe God brought the Alliance together under the leadership of this man to eradicate the epidemic of the fatherless so that every child in this world will have an eventual healthy Christian-focused home. It is with Medefind-size faith that I believe and know in my heart this truth.

I have always had a soft spot for children, hence why I currently still work with youth in ministry. While I did not see it when my internship originally began, God brought us together for BIG FULFILLMENTS in Kingdom-building missions, promises, and mentalities. Mentioned as before in other blog entries, some believe ministry is a usual eight to five o’clock job, but in reality, the call to ministry is a twenty-four hour, fourth quarter drill to an eternal finish line. The salvation of others and saving orphans lies in each second of the day. I would say that sometimes Jedd more than likely exhausts himself in traveling, speaking, writing, and making appointments with individuals to serve an awesome God, but he just gets it: the simple truth that a relationship with God brings the greatest blessings and rewards anyone could ever experience in life. Humility plus good works equals explosion of God’s Love for us as believers.

Celebrate with Jedd, myself, and others from around world the cause of the fatherless on this Orphan Sunday, November 4th. We can and will make an eternal difference if we put aside differences and unite for orphaned children! Jedd understands that is about the fatherless and that this thing called life was never meant to be about just us and our personal selves. It is about Him!

Zambia’s Gift to the World from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.
(This text was quoted directly from the Christian Alliance for Orphans website.)

In 33 unforgettable minutes, Zambia’s Gift to the World weaves the unlikely story of how Orphan Sunday began in a humble, hard-pressed church in Lusaka, Zambia…and today is impacting lives around the globe.

You’ll encounter vibrant African Christians and the children they’ve embraced…favorites like Steven Curtis Chapman and Francis Chan…as well as remarkable believers from around the world—all sharing of the beauty that rises when Christians reflect God’s heart for the fatherless.

Enjoy the film…and join us in praying that God will use it greatly to stir Christians across America and far beyond!

Zambia’s Gift to the World from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

My Friend Larry Bergeron from A Child’s Hope International – Orphan Sunday Series, Part 1

 

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:17-19 (NKJV)

Orphan Sunday, occuring on November 4, 2012, is a national movement joined by churches all over the world usually though an organization known as The Christian Alliance for Orphans. These three upcoming blog entries introduce three dear friends I met through this Alliance with brief information about their respective organizations.

I met Larry Bergeron briefly at Summit 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky. Larry introduced to me his vitamin formula that sufficientlys feed thousands of orphans and fatherless children all over the world. He graciously gave me a sample of his formula package. Larry and I connected through a supernatural love for the orphan and stayed constantly in touch through our mutual love for writing. I sent Larry a copy of my twenty three poem collection, Veintitres: From the Beginning (First Edition), and he was touched so much by a specific poem in the book, What I Don’t Deserve, listed below, enough to then publish it in his own book and biography memoir.

 

What I Don’t Deserve

 

What I don’t deserve you give me with each breath that I take.
What I don’t deserve is your never-changing love that echoes through all eternity
And cradles me with a hundred blessings every morning that I wake.

What I don’t deserve you give me without hesitation.
What I don’t deserve is my passion that you push to the limits
And the fire that burns within my heart intense with inspiration.

What I don’t deserve is your love that I cannot dare to fully comprehend.
What I don’t deserve is the gift you sent to change the histories of all mankind forever
And pay the debt of so many hearts to mend.

What I don’t deserve are the blessings you lay upon me in the measurements of time.
What I don’t deserve is the continuance of happy thoughts that always seem to be present
And the ladders of tribulation you strengthen me to finish in the life that I climb.

What I don’t deserve is the Spirit who intercedes on my behalf in the midst of my guilt-driven shame.
What I don’t deserve is the extravagance of a Kingdom that I will enter
And the open arms waiting when you call me by my heavenly name.

JLC iii, 2/6/07

 

Larry kindly quoted my published poem in his published book, Journey to the Fatherless, where Larry pours his heart out to readers with faith, logic, and powerful emotions to view childrens’ suffrage as he and I do. You see Larry’s inner spirit pours passions onto those around him. I noticed that Spirit-filled aura about him the first time I met him.

This biography information was taken from the A Child’s Hope International website:

Larry’s story was more turbulent as he was an agnostic for many years of his adult life. He earned three degrees in electronic engineering, twelve patents, spoke at international conferences, wrote numerous journal articles and published one book on digital communications.

Several have cursed his pioneer work in the development of voice mail systems which are so prevalent today. As he climbed the corporate ladder, becoming a vice president for a large, well known American company, his agnostic views and attack on the veracity of the Bible were frequent. He was driven by power, prominence and prestige – and money. As many know first hand, the drive for success can be a destructive force and it was for him as well.

Although wealthy and successful (by the standards of many), there was a growing sense of emptiness in his life. As he strove for even more power, he was becoming more of an angry person at the same time. He viewed Christianity as a crutch for weak people and cursed those who would try and reason with him. About 20 years ago, through a strange and fortunate set of “circumstances”, he eventually stopped running from the Hound of Heaven and gave his life to Jesus Christ.

Like so many of us in our journey for Christ, God grabbed Larry through his love, grace, and mercy. Eventually Larry could not run away from the plan God had for his life to touch thousands that live without. And so he formed with the full support of his wife, A Child’s Hope International, where he now serves as the Executive Director. Larry gave God everything, potentially what could have culminated into thousands of dollars. Now that is what I call a warrior of Christ! I encourage you as a reader of my blog possibly buy his book and visit the website of his organization and cause. As I know Larry, you will also get to know the hero I have come to love and respect. Here’s to you Larry for your deeds and your ministry!

You may learn more about Larry’s organization at the following website: http://www.achildshopeintl.org/HomePage.html

If you would like to more about Larry’s book, Journey to the Fatherless, for possible purchse, then the following website is available: http://www.journeytothefatherless.com/

I WILL FIND you on my KNEES – First Day! New Transition!

“All I can is that John and I wanted more than anything to follow God’s will for us and our family. We had a holy fear of acting outside God’s will, so we agreed to pray that He would show us what that was.” – Kelly Rosati in her book, Wait No More (John is her husband).

I started my new job at the Southern Territorial Headquarters today, and I find myself refreshed by other like-minded people who tick like I do, focused on Jesus as believers in a collective group for Kingdom-building mindsets. After orientation, I found a card from someone in my office with the mention that she would be praying for me this week as I transition into this new career. I have long dreamed of a job that I do not beat myself up and over to drag out of bed to get by, simply for a paycheck. I feel awakened and encouraged to do this job and rise as I encourage others with a meaningful purpose for something bigger than myself. As many say, knock on wood, I may have found something in that passion area of public relations where I campaign and market for a cause I believe in. I find it mind-boggling (“Am I really here in Mid-Town Atlanta?”), a little nerve-racking (new job, new city, and knowing no one), and exciting (“Wow, this could potentially become something amazing!). All the thoughts combine mutually for a few hours of lost sleep and doubts creeping into my mind.

The decision to be and move to Atlanta is now made, and I am not looking back! I am a new creation with a new opportunity with individuals that obviously believe in my abilities to lead, create, and build the face of a reputable organization to the southern youth of America. In the midst of hardship and economic uncertainty, this generation could use more Jesus in any capacity. And I am glad to bring that message of hope to anyone through creative communications.

I keep thinking, “How did I get here?” I prayed to God, sometimes loudly stuck in the stagnancy of survival and routine with a Thank-God-Its-Friday job rather than Thank-God-Its-Monday job. With this phrase, I mean I want to be so excited to get back into the office I cannot hold or hide my excitement for what I love doing. I admit that I need to spend more time with God in His Presence, praying in thankfulness, reading the Word, and believing in the requests I make like this new position, PRAYERS ANSWERED!

Another analytic wonder is the blessings shown to me in a new full time opportunity of epic proportions and another part time opportunity possibly coming behind it. What further astounds me is the support and belief of my family. My father and mother have done everything, and I mean EVERYTHING to transition, to believe, to push, to inspire, and to encourage me with this move to a new city with a new career direction. While we have sometimes not always seen each other eye to eye on my own mental adversities, I owe my success with this new adventure to them just as much as I do God. Thank you, Mom and Dad!

I believe when you find God on your knees, God explodes blessings and favor into your life. Now please understand I do not just mean the routine legalistic bedside manner prayer. “God, please do this. Please be with this person. Please help me to sleep well. Please help me to be promoted. Please help me to pass this test even thought I never studied.”…..I mean when you really get down on your knees and say, “Okay, I am not sure where you have me or how you will have me, but here I am. Here are my true passions. Please place me appropriately where you will call me to obey you in line with these passions.” When you seek God with sincerity, He will answer your prayers with that same sincerity.

Like Kari Job says in the following song, I will find you on my knees! When you truly want something in change for God’s Kingdom, find it on your knees. Ask. And like me currently in shock, God will call you by name! I guarantee it! My life serves as living proof.

A Simple Message and Current Theme in My Life – Success Comes Finally! DO What We DO!

When I first graduated with my Masters from Auburn University in Communication, I thought I would catch fire in both the job market and publishing my first major book. I got somewhat sidetracked with two brief anthologies of twenty-three poems and successfully published both collections with book signings and what continues to be a consistent following on a redesigned blog. However I eventually ran out of money and needed to work somewhere, anywhere.

I started off with any-whatever-job I could find two years ago, selling ladies’ shoes at the Belk Department Store at Brookwood Mall in Homewood, Alabama (a suburb outside Birmingham, Alabama for those of you not from here). I quickly decided retail was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life with a Masters education. Then I moved forward six weeks later as an admissions representative at Virginia College Online Division. While Virginia College has been extremely good to me for the last eighteen months, it was again apparent that this was another venture I did not want to pursue also for the rest of my life, selling education through a proprietary mindset. It was a great place for me to learn business corporate policy from management from those who worked in industry far longer than me. In other words, Virginia College Online became a stepping stone to move forward for where God would have me now, the Salvation Army.

I know I applied for well over 500 jobs before the right fit came along. I took on several interviews and was offered several positions but never felt spiritually at peace about anything that presented itself until just now. The Salvation Army Headquarters in Atlanta offered me a job, as a Creative Marketing Strategist for their youth development department. I knew confidently and peacefully that God called me to move to Atlanta for this new opportunity to change adolescent lives through the influence of Christ and Biblically founded beliefs. In addition to this pursuit, I continue to push hard with both my writing and photography endeavors and online teaching.

In the pursuit of passions, I was often discouraged from what appeared to represent a lack of movement and upward mobility. I am not always sure what to do with my time to move forward in growth with my own life. Often times I just do what I do (advice I learned from Tony Dungy). I implement both a short term and long term vision plan and with each day push as hard as I can beyond my day job to make dreams happen. I write when I do not feel like writing. I exercise when I do not feel like exercising. I get up and go to my day job when I do not want to. I study to reach another graduate degree to stand apart from those in the masses. I do what I do even when I do not want to. Those who become the most successful still do what they do even when they do not want to. That is true motivation. Motivation is not a bright Tinker Bell feeling. It is doing what you know you need to even when you do not want to.

You may lose sleep. You may become frazzled. You may need to pull some hair out when you want to quit. But please see my life as a small step forward in the right direction. Finally after two years of completing my Master’s degree at Auburn University, I am moving to the BIG Atlanta CITY for a job I REALLY WANT, but it took two years. It may take another two years to complete another Master’s degree, to get my photography business off the ground, to attain a book contract, and continue performing a meaningful day job. But my day job will turn into my dream job as the transition continues in the right direction. I will continue to do what I do even when I do not feel like it. And with that approach, I will inevitably be successful in any goal I pursue. Just do what you do to honor God, and I firmly believe and know He will honor your work for His Glory. My life stands as a testimony to His Scriptural Promises. Speak it into existence, and watch the magic happen!

Tony Dungy’s words continue to resonate with me through his testimony here! If you love football, you will love the Quiet Strength expressed through this video!

 

The Call From the Orphan – God’s Heart! Why Do Churches Hesitate to Rise Up?

I once heard Chris Hodges, Senior Pastor of Church of the Highlands, ask his 15,000 member congregation, “Do you know why some people are gay? I think I figured this paradigm out.” We all sat on the edge of our seats with the expectation of some Scripture revelation, the secret this long debated question about to be answered. Hodges continued, “I think it is because they are lazy.” The building audience erupted into laughter at his proclamation. He asserted that a relationship with the same sex was much easier than one with the opposite gender. I must agree that my guy friends and I never fight! I really cannot remember the last time I fought with a guy, seriously. I admit that a relationship with a significant female other is real hard work. I understand Hodges’ logic on some unusual levels. After his awkward moment of humor, Hodges began his Sunday sermon.

Does this same statement apply to churches that ignore the cause of the fatherless (in addition to the widow, the poor, the diseased, the underprivileged, and so on)? Are church leaders and passive congregational members lazy? Most will claim that the temptation to fall into complacency in Pop Culture Christianity is easy. How many people genuinely volunteer and serve in capacities outside of a Saturday Southern football tailgate? In my opinion with where I worked in the past two years (not the Salvation Army headquarters), most settle for each night’s schedule of sitcoms and sporting events on ESPN. Many don’t do anything outside of family and watching television for the local community and international relief. Even my own family is guilty of this epidemic on several accords. We conduct ourselves according to convenience.

I serve as the current Christian Alliance for Orphans State Coordinator for Orphan Sunday. I am responsible year round for gearing and managing events, seminars, discussion panels, and anything related to the cause of the fatherless, even radio interviews. We specifically focus on Orphan Sunday, November 4, with a concentration for a national and international movement where thousands come together for one day to stand for the orphan. The Christian Alliance for Orphans stands as a joint coalition of over one hundred organizations who commit themselves to save every orphan for the sole sake of God’s Glory. We were after all adopted by our Heavenly Father!

Recently I approached several churches in the Greater Birmingham metropolitan about participating on Orphan Sunday, November 4th. Between last year (2011) and this year (2012) with this annual celebration in advocacy for the orphan, I definitely received more “No’s” than “Yes’s,” sometimes even with simple requests for orphan-focused prayers, still to receive another “No.”  I even had ministers commit to events this year with their given word without following through, some things I worked hard on through my own free time through volunteering, only with nowhere to implement my hard work.  A great example of someone who fights for the orphan is Jon Walden, Executive Director and on air personality for Revocation Radio, a nonprofit radio station who plays Christian music that honors God, healthy for the ears of youthful listeners (as opposed to the cussing of gangster rap or any other colorful music).  Jon is interviewing five individuals over the air with leaders from five different orphan-related organizations. Walden remains busy with public appearances, youth rallies, a family, and his own mission with his nonprofit ventures. He makes the extra effort for the sake of ministry, not excusing the assistance with his own busyness with life responsibilities. Many could learn from his diligence for all the causes he stands for simply for the sake of Christ. Nothing more else motivates him so. Jon Walden rises to the challenge, and I wonder if other nonchalant ministerial leaders will do the same.

Another example to emulate as a country is Rwanda who seeks to eradicate orphanages, YES, THERE WILL BE NO MORE FATHERLESS in the next twenty years within this country! I mean no disrespect to this country or any other African country, but in the eyes of western politics, this is a third world entity. Countries with much more economical means stand still while those less fortunate pave the way for something many should have initiated a long time ago! Leaders in Rwanda have risen together as The Church to train citizens within their country to raise orphans. Rwanda does not ship their troubles to other countries. Internally they seek to improve as a country within their own borders. Nothing wrong exists with international adoption; however I am inspired when a country heals an epidemic for the fatherless at home, for example our failing foster care systems, which we still have yet to remedy in the United States.

While hosting events is not necessary with commitments, fighting and caring for the orphan worldwide is not an option. In fact, God commands it through His Biblical Word. For those of us who lack initiative, reference the following Scriptures:

Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)

“Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.”

James 1:27 (NIV)

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Exodus 22:22-24 (NIV)

“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.”

John 14:18 (NIV)

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

Psalm 82:3 (NIV)

“Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”

I think the question remains worthwhile to consider: Are leaders in ministry too lazy to fight for the cause of the orphan? The blessing and burden to carry the cause cannot fall solely on those who actually rise to acknowledge the world’s fatherless. The rise for change is not easy. Anything for the sake of Christ will never be easy. But leaders like Jon Walden step up to play for eternal reasons often beyond those who live more on earth than in heaven with human indulgence. I grow tired of fighting without the support of local church leaders. I challenge the next time a door opens for church leaders to rise, instead of offering lame excuses for why this conflicts with a year round sermon scheduled series, year after year ignoring our call to solve the problems of this world. If Rwanda can, I am confident any United States congregation can as well. It is time to stop the laziness and to work hard for God’s Glory. Together we can and together we will fight for the fatherless and end the orphan epidemic. It is not impossible! It is very doable! And if you make the decision to lead and take a stand, God will honor our hard work for His Heavenly Heart.

Personally seek to feel the CALL of the ORPHAN through this video about Orphan Sunday, 2012! We are adopted! God never abandoned us! And we should never abandon them, the fatherless!

Orphan Sunday 2012 from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Give your work leader a chance! Suprise potential just might blow you away!

In the last eighteen months, I experienced change with my occupation on many levels. I transitioned with three managers, one who moved on to another job and one fired for inappropriate reasons on his own accord. Lessons on when to stand against wrong-doing became an interesting experience. I learned timing is paramount as it relates to confronting someone in the wrong with a superior of those you disagree with. I learned the structure of organizational communication, the chain of command, and corporate politics.

My second manager still encourages me in the example he set and in the admiration he respectfully built in relationship with me. He moved on to leave for circumstances beyond his control.

I personally showed up to perform the tasks of my job, quiet, and frustrated with the fact I lost what I considered the best manager ever employed as my personal authoritative figure. He led with intentions to empower his employees as adults. And he provided wise sayings with quotes I often read in fortune cookies. He had a way of saying the right thing at the exact right time needed. It was divine in some ways. Hopefully you understand my frustration on some levels with these thoughts losing this leadership figure in my life.

I felt the organization both of us worked for partially remained responsible for his sudden departure. I was disappointed more with the situation than any one person responsible for the results of such. What God planned for the next leader at the workplace surprised me when this particular person in the eyes of the outside world did not necessarily warrant the esteemed chance to lead in this capacity. Perhaps my own bias even affected myself when I did not bother to get to know this individual. Sometimes a package rough on the edges once opened reveals a great gift to be had.

This particular man has greatly surpassed any expectations I ever had. He honestly has surprised, impressed, encouraged, and befriended me, stepping up into the position as a genuine and capable leader. I never really gave him a chance from the beginning. I was reminded to not judge a book by its cover. Sometimes what we perceive or originally think turns out to be false presumptions. I think we must try to not think one way or another, to give the person a chance. Do not expect anything profound, but not disrespect the person with misconceived notions of any kind as well. Just let things be. And control what you can control. You might find this person’s personality rises up to the new challenges of leadership, impressing yourself and those around you. In fact, you might realize you are fortunate to work under someone who cares and encourages you in whatever you do. You are blessed as I am even when you originally did not perceive such a blessing. Give someone the chance today to surprise you in great ways, realizing God works in mysterious ways, especially with different leadership potentials.

NOW IS THE TIME TO RISE! GREATNESS IS UPON YOU! ….my own rise in down times.

Ephesians 5:13-14 (NIV)

But everything
exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes
a light. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Have you ever sat in your cubicle wondering to God, “When will my time come to rise and fulfill my passions’? The battle of everyday survival floats around bills paid and the suppression of dreams. With the unwise decisions of leaders in this country, opportunity for young professionals appears dwindling! …the truth is it is!

I applied for at least four hundred jobs before something of true dreamlike essences patiently prevailed. I skimmed all over the country for hope where my day-to-day existence became more than routine. It became dreamlike. Eventually the monsoon rolled where the hard work snowballed. Each day brought a new surprise and phone call from a prospective life-changing moment. I am also almost complete with a three hundred page manuscript of my first major memoir, each chapter edited seven-ten times, a two year project in the making.

I faced the largest challenges and adversity when I felt no motion in my life, no momentum towards a given goal in my mind. I incline to feel the least motivated in life when I see no growth, no movement forward. At this moment in my life I never measure life monetarily as a single Christian but instead through growth to reach a level of leadership unprecedented by all before me. It is those who are most motivated who continue to do what they need to, even when they do not feel that motivation emotionally, or simply “just don’t feel like it.”

I cannot describe the sudden drive in my life or where it came from. However when I tasted a sweet notion of success and saw God’s work in my life, I wanted it all the more. I realized that many individuals, including me, wait to rise up. We can wait forever for things to look up, to feel better, or to achieve the dream constantly on our heart. NOW IS THE TIME TO RISE! We fail more than we succeed, but with each failure we step closer to success. As I tasted success with a recent life victory, then the failures faded into the background. We cannot forget the sweet tastes that come with a new job, an upper level graduation day, our firstborn child, our wedding day, or in my case, a first major book contract. Those successes push us to yearn for more, but not for ourselves, but rather for God’s Glory.

LATER IS NOT THE TIME! NOW IS! When you doubt where to start, just go! When I cannot think of a blog entry or chapter to write, the best strategy begins with just starting. Eventually while maybe not at first, meaningful words flow.

If you are like me, I am tired of sitting on the sidelines. NOW IS THE TIME TO RISE! ….not tomorrow but today, starting with simple progression through small steps. We bring world change one small step at a time until the snowball launches down the ski slope. On the 400th job application, we get that interview offer we want. And then we feel the rise and crave to rise in the moment this very day.

Through Christ, we are truly risen! With our personal resurrection, we already live in the light through salvation. Now with each blessed day, rise with me! Rise together! Rise up! Now is the time to rise! And with Christ, it is up to you! Do not procrastinate. Do not quit. Do not put the project down. Rise to become more and reach your fullest potential! …for that is the only place where God truly will have us!

Believe inspirational speaker, Eric Thomas, when you realize GREATNESS IS UPON YOU! This video WILL FIRE YOU UP! He coincidentally happens to be speaking to the Auburn football team. WAR EAGLE!

An Old Poem Published – Libby’s Goodbye

I wrote this poem as a “Good-Bye” to a girl who at one time rocked my world for a very short period where our time together seemed like time standing still. Unfortunately with circumstances beyond my control, it just did not work out. Libby had a good heart and saw the best in me, past my faults, a quality many in today’s society lack the ability to do. This poem will be included in my soon-to-be-contract-signed book, Charismania.

This poem also reminds me of another girl I recently pursued. While less traumatic than Libby, many of the details correlate on many just the same as before. I guess we travel through some repetitive seasons once in 2007 and now in 2012 with another girl.

Libby’s Goodbye

When things don’t exactly go your way,
Asking God to let them do so is often what people pray.
The other night I got an email with one phrase that tore my heart.
My hopes in something anew were torn apart.
I had a sunset evening to express myself,
But because of fear, I put my strong feelings on the shelf.
All the signs led to interest N. B. would say,
And my heart is incomplete at the end of the day.
I didn’t get a chance, and that was my own fault.
Every time I see you, the baby inside me does a summersault.
Your presence in the same room as myself makes me feel alive.
The burst within my heart feels like the explosion of a beehive.
With thoughts of your Grace and my regrets, I lie awake at night.
In your soul and spirit for life, I see the Lord’s light.
An extra perk is that I notice you are a gorgeous sight.
On Folly Beach staring at the ocean, wishing you were there felt so right.
Returning into a place and town that I have come to love,
God sent some unsettling news from above:
“I’m dating a young man that I’m completely head over heels for.”
On my heart slammed a knife and a door.
Jets will continue to fly, and eagles will continue to soar.
I yearn to get to know you more.
Jealousy to be with you is a root of many sins,
But once more, I am only one of many men.
Through a thousand thorn bushes my heart will go,
Through hundreds of hills and mountains of snow,
I must learn to have faith in God and trust in Him I know.
Because of you if you are even aware, in Him I continue to grow.
Told that dating or a relationship would not happen for awhile,
I thought I had more time to sprint my mile.
The lesson: Don’t hesitate to act!
I’m extremely sorrowful because of that life lesson and fact.
At this point in time, there is nothing that I wouldn’t do
If I knew that it would create happiness within you.
To hold your hand in a Hero movie and make a memorable first kiss,
This is an adventure that for right now I must miss.
Whether dreams come true or a friendship becomes a fable,
My feelings are now known. They are on the table.
Who knows what will happen with the story?
But I don’t care as long as I give God the glory.
Through all my being, moments, and strife,
God is my refuge. He is the center of my life.
No matter what happens…I will always be here.
I may wallow in self-pity or shed one of many a tear.
For my heart is hurting to now be by your side.
Sometimes one must not be selfish and therefore in himself hide.
I am cocky, confident, and I have much pride.
I will do my best to not let that stand in the way of your story and lifelong ride.
I have recently learned that the center of any relationship is communication.
Openness, sincerity, and honesty can make a friendship and inspiration.
Thirty seconds with you creates inside of me a lovely, spine tingling sensation,
But our lack of communication has generated a broken  heart
For the possibility of a close relation.
Someone else stole the dance,
And I didn’t even get a fair chance.
Reluctant to give me your time,
I was cut off long before I ever wrote this rhyme.
Perhaps you were fearful of the God-filled passion that lives within me,
But honestly, my heart and that passion was something
With which you took no time to analyze and see.
I want to be your friend.
As a true friend, I am there until the very end.
Does your boyfriend have that passion to live?
Does he have the will to unconditionally give?
Does he have direction and know what he wants?
Does he aimlessly search through life as a routine and have no crazy stunts?
Without a shadow of a doubt, does he care for you with all his being?
When he looks into your eyes, does he honestly know what he is seeing?
I must learn to leave you be and just let go
Because being with you is something that will probably never happen;
This I now know.
I drew this picture of what you described to me
Before you hooked up and him you were with.
If I gave it to someone else,
It would not be for that other and in itself become a myth.
My talent for art in this piece I hope that you like.
Back to the beach soon I might soon go to reflect and hike.
Your uniqueness makes desires for one to become a better man
Through which God reveals himself and his intimate individual plan.
Staring at the specs of stars and the visibly white moon,
I hope to see God’s blessing even more in your life very soon.
With you, I would love to just hang out,
But this may be all I can give
Because of the hurt you have caused without a doubt.
Although for me this may be crappy and sound somewhat sappy,
I will do my best to serve you and do whatever makes you happy.

JLC iii, 2/23/2007