October 20, 2017

“I don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they come from.” A Motto from Captain America that will change your life!

At the end of this video, listen to the line that makes this blog post powerful for those who step on the little guys (or little girls)!

 

 “Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.” Psalm 82:3 (NLT)

I have watched the movie, Captain America: The First Avenger, more times than I can count, and the main character and superhero, Captain Steve Rogers, never backs down from a bully and fight, sometimes at his own detriment, saying “I can do this all day.” He keeps getting back up time and time again even with blood spewing down his shirt out of his mouth, depicted as the fool who will not go down without fighting time and time again. I admire his-never-back-down attitude.

Rogers constantly seeks to serve his country in the allied war against Germany. He continues to be denied by doctors to pass the military physical (so he can inevitably go to war), using several fake names and home states in the process. His small stature eventually transforms into the muscle-bound Captain America, and his dreams come forward to go to war. When finally successful to attain an approved appointment with the health clearing exam to join the military, a doctor behind the super soldier campaign asks Rogers, “So you want to kill Nazis?” He then responds admirably, “I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they come from.” Through a series of tests at boot camp, Rogers takes risks for the “little guys,” the underdog you cannot help but root for as an audience member.

My cowriter and close friend, Tim the Upbeat Retired Guy, believes that I write too critically of others in my life sometimes on this blog and then in my book, One Flight Short of a Cuckoo’s Nest. I must personally admit I have never really liked bullies (guys and girls included). I do not really care where that bully comes from. I am not one to give a free pass to any leader who uses authority to push other people around. The range includes all kinds of individuals from all walks of life, politicians, academic institutional deans, stewards, and presidents, and perhaps even spotlight ministers. Like Captain Rogers, I am not looking to hurt anyone or ruin someone’s reputation. I will simply not tolerate those who bully others around.

An example in my life comes to mind: While in high school, I wrestled on the 2000 Alabama State High School 6A Championship team. Our team grew close in extraordinary ways, and we really had each others’ backs, all for one, and one for all! When one person stood in trouble or in the line of fire, we all did. No one messed with our girlfriends or with each one of us. We especially had no tolerance for a guy disrespecting or bullying a girl. There is just no room for that on my watch! While in the hall one day, one of my best and closest friends, Elizabeth Sanders, was picked on and degraded verbally by her boyfriend, Patrick, at her locker, whispering condescending comments into her ear while she frowned to the point of tears. Her boyfriend was a real jerk, and I never really liked him anyway. In fact, had I been the man I am now, I would have asked Elizabeth out when she was single. I told her boyfriend to back off and stand down. My good friend, brother in Christ, and wrestling team mate, Jonathan Dobberman, stood there by my side when I faced Patrick. Patrick responded, “Who is going to make me?” I said, “Me and my wrestling army!” That was the end of the conversation. He walked away, and with a grateful hug for me around my shoulders and slight smile on her face, Elizabeth quietly said, “Thank you!” What can I say? Some of us have bigger mouths than others. And Patrick even later that day apologized. Those who stand for what is right often reap the rewards (and sometimes the costs) for doing so.

Where am I going here? Scripturally as soldiers and warriors of Christ, we are not meant to back down for a just cause as men of God. We are meant to defend the cause of the orphan, the disabled, the widow, the homeless, and those who cannot stand up for themselves in any way.

I recently have dwelled on yesterday’s excuses, reasoning, and mind doubts of why I so often lack to take action today, not against bullies, but moving forward with life. Yesterday is gone and so are those excuses!

We excuse ourselves from the hard struggles, challenges, adversities, and tasks in life and remain okay with that. Well, I am not okay with a subpar existence, and I will never be okay with a bully. While words written hurt the bully who takes action, the narrative of God’s soldiers triumph every time. When you play the political game to drown one who suffers, I cannot simply stand by and let that go. I will write. I will fight. And I will speak out.

I don’t want to kill or hurt anyone. I just don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they come from.

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RISE, (Insert Your Name Here), RISE! (with Post-Easter-Thoughts)

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Do we take Easter seriously beyond the Sunday we celebrate the holiday? I think often times we forget that the remembrance of Easter should occur on a daily basis for all Christians. The resurrection defines us for who we are in relationship with Jesus.

I once heard a minister say, “When you fall down, the only direction to go is up.” When we lie on our backs, the only way to move is upwards. Sometimes it becomes a matter of what you decide to do when experiencing a valley, rather than a mountain top adventure. Our inclination to perform makes matters worse, rather than giving our circumstances to God. We try to control the situation on our own volition.

The resurrection gives us the power to rise again. Easter is not just another holiday reminder to attend Sunday School in the latest spring fashion wardrobe with clothes purchased from Gap or JCrew.  It is a time to realize our greatest difficulties are overcome by the authority of Jesus Christ when He broke all barriers to be crucified and risen again.

We become more than our own strength through His Sacrifice. Turbulent dark trials then show a glimmer of hope in the light. With our backs pressed against the wall, we remember that nothing can stand against us because Jesus stands for us.

Resurrect. Rise. And remember that Easter gives us the aptitude to overcome any obstacle through the potential of the Holy Spirit.

The best news of the Christian gospel is that the supremely glorious Creator of the universe has acted in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to remove every obstacle between us and himself so that we may find everlasting joy in seeing and savoring his infinite beauty. -John Piper

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Your friends are family! Friends matter! The journey more than the destination…#THREE

John 15:12-15 (MSG)

“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.”

This third of three series sums up our final entry on family, faith communities, and friends that matter, because these relationships are all that matter most in life. You can read the first and then the second entries, before completion of this one if you wish.

Even today, I was reminded of a close friend when I called him to ask for his help on some web projects, specifically with starting my business and volunteering for a nonprofit-geared magazine, Splickety. Without question, he gladly assisted me in the stress of a grind with meetings until late. I love my life, but I also love the friends who back me up….again we see this theme constantly emerging in the past week and a half. We never turn our back on families….never!

Many individuals are not as fortunate as me to have a biological family that supports and constantly spends time with each other. Even today, I spoke with my father for a good while on the phone to inform him of a recent interview. A new friend and I journey to Clemson University, who play Wake Forest, for a Homecoming football game this weekend.

When biological family is not present, you lean into your friends, into what I called before a faith family, in the name of Jesus. Some have no other choice, than to lean into friends, because they have no biological family…orphans sometimes for instance.

I challenge you today, to realize that life becomes more fulfilling with our family, friends, and faith communities surrounding us. If not connected outside of your cell phone and social media technology, get out into the real world. Shake some hands. Make some friends. And visit family if you have some. With relationships, make the rest of your life the best of your life! With relationships present, you will find the best of what is to come.

Enjoy Alan Jackson with his classic on why Jesus makes the best friend one could ever have – what a friend indeed.

We Are Human, and Fear God Only – Holy reminders from a friend.

My friend, Andrew Mannheimer, who I did a special blog series previous this year with his Hip Hop music videos always brings to light the revelation of truth as it pertains to his relationship with God, much like the mirror of his own music expression.

I once asked him about a famous New York Times best-selling author by the name of Donald Miller (author of Blue like Jazz), “How did he write all these books and publish them nationwide?” Andrew’s response remained simple, “He’s just a man, James…human. Whatever he is capable of, you are clearly capable of as well.”

I think we forget, I included, that famous and accomplished people are in fact just human. Some people are famous when they might not even have talent of any sort, maybe because they are pretty, if that is even considered a talent.

A couple of years ago I further spoke with Andrew about my fear of the unknown….perhaps something about the real world after graduate school at Auburn University. Again he stated, “There is nothing to fear but God. When you fear earthly matters, you block God from the light of His glory. I lean into a resource that never reaches depletion: God.”

Andrew is in his mid-twenties, but the truths he expresses are so simple yet amazing. I think Andrew demonstrates that relationships (since he is indeed a great friend), specifically with God, become the most important element in life that matters. We will take our Christian brothers and sisters to heaven, not our stuff.

This past year has been a really weird one. I still remain perplexed at how the end of 2012 fell apart in some ways. God sometimes disguises blessings we do not understand now but later do.

Perhaps 2013 is Our year! It is the year of relationship with God and Cartee! I am not trying to fall into the trap of resolution goals most never follow through, like losing weight for instance. Some go hard for one week and then move on to life as it was before. Sometimes a focus on God is all we need. I feel that Andrew would say something simple like that, a simple truth.

John Piper further reminds the fear of God is the only real fear for the life of a Christian! This is a very short clip…so watch….

The True Measure of Any Leader – The Two Greatest Christian Commandments! What JESUS, TIM TEBOW, and EMANUELLA have to say about it!

Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Tim Webb and I added our own tenets for what comprises a leader’s genetic excellence in the last two blog entries. Over the last month, I witnessed incidents in my own life and circumstances that led me to reevaluate my own previous writings on www.jamescartee.com. I think leadership falls in the simple truth of the Scriptures above: Love God, and when you genuinely love God, you will genuinely also love others. It comes back to the basic premise of treating others as you yourself would like to be treated.

How many leaders do you know that fall long short of this Biblical truth over one idea? Instead an authority figure might think, “I have a God-given label and title. Therefore you will respect me because of my God-given label and title.”

I struggle when people obviously make mistakes and fail to own up to those mistakes, blaming others for their failures when all they had to do was look in the mirror. Our natural Christian paradigm perhaps should allow for mistakes in the imperfections of the sinful beings we are and become over the duration of a lifetime. We are after all not perfect and never will be.

I believe sports are a good example here. We see great leaders take average teams to unforeseen levels of success as underdogs with upset victories and unity within the group, focused on the collective good rather than the one individual. We also see lousy leaders take great teams nowhere because the focus was never about the team. It was always about the job coaches’ label, title, lifestyle, and own sense of self-worth, perhaps the exact opposite attitude Jesus would have in a ministerial leader….those who fail to understand the two greatest love commandments.

I do not believe a team centers around having the most gifted talent in its members. An exceptional team centers around having the most gifted leader to execute, diagnose, and own up to the challenge in front of everyone.  One sure sign of good leadership is whether the team members want to be wherever it is they work or play. Their wishful presence may not be a sign of whether they enjoy what they do or not. It may rather be a sign of whether they enjoy who they serve under or not, those who love and treat others equally. Some forget that titles are not given by men or degrees. Titles are given by God alone!

As Tim Tebow (NFL quarterback for the New York Jets, 2007 Heisman Trophy Winner, and Florida Gators 2006 and 2008 National College Champions) says in his autobiography, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” It is up to the leaders of a group to help team members realize the truth of such a quote! Talent goes a long way, but refined talent with hard work goes much farther. And a good leader pulls that energy out of his or her followers.

It is far easier for authorities to pin point a team member to blame than to own up their own mistakes and failures when problems arise. “It was never on me! It was always on you!”

The blame game is an easy way out for anyone, especially when it comes to relationships with significant others or friends. But you will notice that when a leader takes his fair share of the blame, it is often because he or she loves those who follow the lead….the true measure of a good leader, understanding and living out the two greatest commandments. This leader does not bale on the team. This leader bears the consequences for bad decision-making with the team together.

Leadership with your walk in Christ really comes down to these Biblical principles: Love God, and love others as yourself.

While simple to write or say and extremely hard to live out, we know when leaders misunderstand, misinterpret, or all together miss out on the truth spoken from Jesus’ own lips. The victims are not the followers exposed to misguided leaderships. The victims are the leaders misguided in their own thoughts that they are in fact doing the most good for those mandated to comply with their authority.

I believe that in this video Emanuella catches the truest essence of loving others in a creative form of Post-It Note card expressions….if only leaders of this world took her message to heart, perhaps then we would have less train wrecks in the lives of others like I experienced this past month.

Some leaders neglect the two greatest commandments breathed into Matthew 22:37-40 perhaps because the image of entitled authority becomes more important than humbly practicing the Biblical words of Jesus himself. As many Christians know, it easier to pretend what you preach rather than to live it out.

 

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 Dave Wood from Lifeline Children’s Services – Orphan Sunday Series, Part 2

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. These three upcoming blog entries introduce three dear friends I met through this Alliance with brief information about their respective organizations. My last entry highlighted Larry Bergeron of A Child’s Hope International.

I met Dave Wood, the Vice President and International Director of Lifeline Children’s Services, briefly at Summit 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky, and I think we had an instant connection through our comedian-like routines. While serious in both our advocacy efforts for the orphan, the joy of Christ is evident through both our hearts with our laughs and smiles to encourage those we are around. Many in the Lifeline alumni and staff network mistakenly think I look like Herbie Newell, the Executive Director of this adoption ministry, however after meditation and prayer, I really believe my heart and personality resembles that of Dave. I still imagine the day we work together in director-position nonprofit ministry peacemaker roles. Perhaps then we will really through the power of God provide a healthy home for every child in the world, all 147 million of them. It is in fact possible! Sometimes you just in fact have to believe in yourself and your eternal cause and vision!

Dave and I have that big faith that this dream of fate could really happen. We both write. You will notice one of my favorite pieces by Dave in this blog entry, entitled Lifeline. I believe the piece will touch your heart. We both like to laugh and goof off. We both live with an eternal mindset. I hope that as Dave reads this he does not mind my comparison, but he is indeed the kind of person you hope to emulate and be like.

Dave has long had it on his heart to publish a book. Well, I believe it is time we encourage and push him to get there. It is not a matter of whether his material is great enough. It certainly is that and more! I believe in the preaching of the Hip Hop preacher, Eric Thomas. Now is the fourth quarter. Publishing books and advocating for orphans is not easy. If it was, everyone would do it! Let’s pray, push, and press Dave to publish his book through accountability. That is indeed on my list of goals in 2013. So be looking out for one of my favorite people’s writing, Dave Wood! His is book is coming because I believe in his hard work, his real hard work. When you want to be successful as much as you want to breathe, then you will be successful. Eric Thomas informs us to “not talk about it but to be about it.”

LIFELINE!

by Dave Wood on Monday, September 5, 2011 at 12:28am •

Oh darkness lies entrenched within my heart
Fears, like ocean waves flood over my soul
Drowning in the abyss of a sea that is all mine
These black storms have left me without hope
I’m a sinking ship that is listing and all alone
So desperate this very moment for a lifeline
But in this churning flood there is not a lifeline
Only sorrow upon sorrows drowning my heart
The rising sea billows have washed over any hope
Speechless and unattended I am a mortified soul
And though I hear the cries of others I am alone
A vanquished life with nothing left that is mine
I do remember a time when things were mine
There was no thought and no need of a lifeline
I sometimes felt lonely but never really alone
There wasn’t yet a broken and battered heart
The future was still unknown to my naive soul
Back then my tomorrow’s were filled with hope
Skies were clear and a bright magnificent hope
As if a postcard that said the world was mine
The warmth of the sun was peace to my soul
The gentle breeze upon my sails a steady lifeline
Calm waters brought comfort and gave me heart
Too taken to realize I was enjoying this bliss alone
Then one day an unexpected storm cloud rose up alone
This tempest would only grow overtaking all my hope
A fierce head wind pushing against my anchored heart
Waves of thunder burst threatening all that is mine
An ominous beast and not even a compass for a lifeline
Lightning strikes illuminating the hidden dread in my soul
The ship that carried me has now abandoned my soul
Broken into pieces an orphan castaway that is all alone
Longing through tears to be thrown a life saving lifeline
Looking for a brilliant lighthouse to point the way home
All that I ever dreamed for was a family that was mine
To be rescued from this storm and save my dying heart
Oh what my sad soul would give for such an abiding hope
No longer alone and fully loved by parents that are mine
A family is my only lifeline and the sole desire of my heart

Sestina Poem
Copyright © 2011 Dave Wood

I am fired up, pumped up, and motivated to know Dave and his family. He changes lives through his written words, his speaking, his traveling, and his role in ministry. There is something extremely satisfying about living for others, instead of living for retirement. Dave just gets that idea. Dave works at a ministry headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama known as Lifeline Children’s Services where I believe he will complete his journey in faith perhaps until the day he dies. Dave lives for others and has often dedicated his valuable time to point me in a positive direction through mutual discussion and belief in each other. I believe in Lifeline! I believe in Dave! And I believe together one day we just might live with a fourth quarter mentality to push all barriers to publish our books and save orphans. Now is the time to change lives of the youth we work with, and while in different ministries with different purposes, Dave continues to change the lives of thousands. Admire him. Know him. And support his ministry!

Listen and learn, readers, through this video! My hat is off to Dave and his lifetime of lifeline desires and ministries!

 

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/

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!

 

A True Hero’s Welcome and Response – a continuation from the last entry!

Gary Sneider responded to my last blog entry with his own time in the message listed below in this continuation for churches to step forward in action, not just empty words. I get all sorts of feedback with my blog, but you will find that Gary’s response required time and some meticulous attention, something that might also attribute to his character in this ministry. Sometimes I find myself too tired to respond to emails with the attention they many times deserve, like the example Gary sets here.

Sneider expresses his educated thoughts on why churches fail to engage the cause of the fatherless, beyond my simple assertion of laziness. His years of experience become evident in his insight and logic to this lack of attention churches give to save God’s children. You could consider his words more graceful and gracious than my own.

Gary Scheider is the Founder and President of Every Orphan’s Hope, dedicating his life to the fatherless in the country of Zambia. The Christian Alliance for Orphans recognizes Gary as the originator of the Orphan Sunday, a movement that brings awareness for orphans around the world on a joint coordinated Sunday in November, this year on the 4th day of the month, the first Sunday. Orphan Sunday in Zambia seems glorious! The attached photo is an orphan who attended the event at Woodlands Stadium, Lusaka, Zambia. There were 68 churches participating, and they transported 1,864 children to the event (a huge expense for so many impoverished churches). Quite frankly I have never heard of an event that occurred in the United States on this magnitude where churches covered the costs of orphans to come together in a national venue like this.

James,

I appreciate your passion for serving the fatherless and hope your efforts as a State Orphan Sunday coordinator motivates many to get involved!

I’m getting ready to celebrate Orphan Sunday in Zambia with the CAFO team. They’re here shooting the movie Zambia’s Gift To The World – Orphan Sunday. We’ve had an amazing week and please join us in prayer as tomorrow is Zambia’s Orphan Sunday.

Why do churches fail to step up for the orphan?

(1) Experience. It has not been their experience to see hundreds or thousands of impoverished, abandoned, lonely, abused and neglected children. They’ve not taken time to understand the plight of the orphan. They’ve never met an orphan. Out of sight, out of mind.

(2) Education. Until a person has searched the scriptures and understood the Father’s heart-revelation throughout scripture, they don’t have a clear picture of God’s compassionate call for his people to care for the orphan. They’ve not understood the promises and commands of God and the compassion of Christ for the orphan.

(3) Connection. Who was the first person God raised from the dead? It was a nameless orphan, the child of a nameless widow from Zarephath (1 Kings 17). Who was the first person Jesus raised from the dead? A nameless orphan boy, the son of a nameless widow from the town of Nain. We all know Lazarus’ story. He has sisters. Mary and Martha loved him and grieved his loss. But the nameless orphans who were the first to be raised from the dead, their stories remain largely unknown. Same miracle of God, but who can relate to nameless orphans and widows, there’s no connection.

(4) Cost. There is a cost to follow Jesus. To care for the orphan is costly on all measurable levels. The church must be ready to embrace the cost of following Jesus to the point of raising orphaned children to life, as their own, in whatever form that takes; adoption, foster care, or global orphan care.

I try at all costs not to give “Orphan Statistics”. Honestly, the number of breast cancer patients doesn’t connect me to the millions of women suffering breast cancer. But one story about Mary, whose brother and mother loved her…you get my point.

Rebecca was the mother of Mary, David and Michael. At birth, she chose their names carefully. In choosing their names, she envisioned their future, before she knew their personalities, she began shaping their character, their dreams and their lives simply by the rich Biblical heritage of their names. 12 years later, as Rebecca lay on her bed terminally ill with HIV/AIDS, Mary, David and Michael stood helpless by her side. Rebecca called her church elders and she called upon the God of Mary, David and Michael to care for her children. She would not live to see the promise of her children’s future fulfilled. The only one she could entrust their future to was the God of the Bible and the Body of Christ in her community, there was no family alive to care for her children. As she slipped into the arms of her heavenly Father. She trusted the arms of the Father’s Son would wrap around her children and bless them…and He did! He did, because God’s people understood the Father’s heart and the compassion of his Son and they were by Mary’s bed and assured her, we will take your children and do our best to see God’s promise for their lives fulfilled.

Today, the promise of Mary, David and Michael’s lives are a powerful testimony of the faith of a mother, Rebecca and a body of Believers who understood the Father’s heart and responded sacrificially to the compassionate cause of Christ.

James, continue your heroic effort to help the Church understand and engage with the cause of Christ on behalf of the orphaned!

Blessings,

Gary