Dreaming of a prepared heart

I fight every day. I feel like I'm in a constant battle right now which has me hoping I'm doing something right, and that's why the Enemy is attacking me. I think it revolves around Ethiopia. The biggest question I get is why are you going?? In my previous post I said I didn't know why and that I thought it was so I could be broken. Then God came in the form of conversations, the form of late nights and in the form of dreams. The conversation started it all. I have two friends in Nashville that are dear to my heart. They are in fact, two of the biggest reasons why after I return from Ethiopia I'm moving to Nashville (that's my plan at least, but always remember Proverbs 19:21). I remember a conversation we had back in August, about their adoption. Here's a pop quiz readers... Where are my friends Amy and Mike adopting from???.......... If you guessed Ethiopia you win a... well... you get the joy of knowing that you were right, and if you weren't God knows you are lying (JESUS JUKE!) Over the weekend I spoke extensively with Amy about this trip... my thoughts about the fact that they were adopting from Ethiopia were what if I met someone that would know Eli's family in Ethiopia. She presented a whole new idea. The orphanage they are adopting through is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which is where I am going. What if I can find the exact orphanage? Eli will be anywhere from Newborn to 2 years old when he is brought home to the States... what if he is already born, what if I can hold him? What if I have a picture of him as a baby? I began to weep after hanging up the phone. I cried out to God and thanked Him for this opportunity, I thanked Him for even presenting the idea because it hit me. It's not just about me, it's about my friends and family here that are praying and will be anxiously awaiting the stories that I will undoubtedly bring home. This led to a dream...

I am already passionate about Eli and his future. And I know that if I love Eli this much, his future parents have to be just pouring with love for him. I had a dream that Eli was born this week, and I met him in Ethiopia, I held him, hushed his crying, and prayed over him while he rocked in my arms. I came home with thousands of pictures of our work there, including a picture of Eli and I... little did I know he was soon to be my "nephew", because I already call myself Uncle Brad. What did this dream mean to me?? It meant that this trip is bigger than anything I could ever have dreamed it would be, and that it's even bigger than it is now. As I thought about Eli, I thought about the other kids in those orphanages. I began to understand the purpose of our group going. I previously told you I would be helping build staff housing for CMF. CMF brings all kinds of missionaries into Ethiopia, and those missionaries will be staying in this housing that I am being given an opportunity to build, those missionaries are people that may touch the lives of Eli and many other children, and adults. Again God showed me that this trip is bigger than me. Again I weep. I am overcome with joy... joy in the fact that God is granting me the privilege of taking this trip. It's not my right to go, it's a gift from Him and it's one that will keep giving every day leading up to it and every day following it. I realized one other thing, I have to be prepared for anything, and I already am because I am trusting in God to prepare me.

Grace and Peace


The President may want Secret Service, but God wants it to be loud and obvious.

Galatians 5:13 -->> "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love."

I stumbled across that verse the other night because I typed in the word "serve" to a bible app on my phone. That word --serve-- has been pounding in my heart. I have felt moved to begin serving in a new way, I felt that movement during a conversation with a great friend Last Thursday before I left on retreat. Little did I know He used that conversation, that friend, that woman sitting behind us eavesdropping to start working and preparing my heart for a huge decision. I love what it says in Galatians 5:13. "We were called to be free"... May approaches fast, and I'm graduating. That's a whole new kind of freedom, one that I was called to, one that was planned by God, and one that quite frankly terrifies me.

For a week now I have been praying about a trip. To be honest, I've been praying about this since I got back from Jamaica. I had no idea what it meant, or where it would be and to be honest I wasn't sure it would ever happen. During that conversation last week, I was discussing The World Race, 11 countries in 11 months, my heart was pounding. I have yearned to make that trip for over a year, but again, that wasn't God's plan for me. I have been so focused on a job that I haven't thought about any other options after graduating. Until I read that verse above, the part about "do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh". I had given strong consideration to doing one of two things in May after graduation... either sitting around for the first few weeks and enjoying being done, looking for a job, but spending time doing whatever else I wanted. Or taking a trip to celebrate, maybe to California or South Carolina. Again... God was working. I read that verse and the application it had for me was that either of those options was me indulging the flesh, that I needed to use my freedom to serve God, not myself. It was then, at 2 am, that I made a HUGE decision for my life...

I'm going to Ethiopia.

I graduate on May 8th... on May 13th I fly to Ethiopia for a 2 week mission trip with Southland to build housing for the CMF staff. However that isn't why I'm going. I'm going because God needs to work on my heart, He needs to show me something and I have no idea what that is. I am preparing my heart as best I can, I am praying about being prepared for this trip. Colossians 3:23-24 says: " Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ." I know that I must go to Ethiopia willingly because I will be serving Christ. I need to use my time to further His Kingdom, and to reach out to others. In Jamaica I was broken and in Ethiopia I pray that I am broken as well. I hope that this is God's way of preparing my heart for whatever job I begin upon my return from Africa. So I will go, and I will listen and I will pray...

Pray for me. Pray for this trip. Pray for Ethiopia. Pray that God protects and provides. I am terrified, excited, moved, and faithful. I am ready to see what God can do in my heart on this trip. Keep your eyes peeled on this blog for more updates as God works in my heart and provides some insight. At this point this is all I have, the only thing I know is that I'm going. I don't know why exactly, I don't know what it means, I don't know what will happen. But I know I am going.

Grace and Peace


Give 110%... the whole time, every time.

Growing up as a kid I was always playing sports. I played soccer, baseball, basketball almost year around. I wasn't one of those kids that was forced to play, rather I was one that chose to play. I loved the idea of teamwork, the competition, the rush of a win.. and yes the pain of a loss. I learned valuable life lessons, many of them cliche such as: It isn't so much whether you win or lose but how you play the game. Trusting your coach and your teammates is the most important part. You can't win, nor can you really play, all by yourself, it takes the whole team and lastly... Give 110% effort the whole time every time. These cliche sayings themselves aren't the Life Lessons, the life lessons are how these cliche sayings relate to my relationship with Christ.


"It's not whether you win or lose, but it's about how you play the game"... Life is a game, one that was created in 1860 by Milton Bradley and has been adapted for computer and video games.... Ok sorry, I couldn't resist. Seriously though, life is about ups and downs, wins and losses, pain and heartache. Many people might disagree with me and say "Life isn't a competition.. blah blah blah" (again kidding, no disrespect).. However there are wins, and there are losses. They come in the form of temptation, struggle, sin and battling the Enemy. Occasionally we ourselves lose to our temptations, sins and the Enemy. I lose on a daily basis. I have sins that plague me, things that I have prayed about but yet not earnestly enough I fear. I lose, but I also win. I win a lot of battles over the Enemy. However it isn't about whether I win or lose, God knows I'm going to fall... we will forever fall short of God and yet He still loves us. He loves us because He created us, and He knows our hearts. I know that when I fight earnestly or I seek guidance that I am playing the game the way God designed it. Will I always win??? Probably not, but as long as I am fighting for the Kingdom, God is there with me... which leads to the next lesson.


"Trusting your Coach and your teammates is essential to a win"... I'm sure you can see where this one is going, so the explanation will be short. God is our Coach and our brothers and sisters in Him are our teammates. We have to trust in God to provide the best game plan, to have all the right plays, and to be ready for anything. As Hebrews 13:5 says "...God said, I will never leave you, I will never forsake you". God is there, and we have to trust that He will show us what is next, Isaiah 26:4 "Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord is the Rock Eternal". Just as with our teammates, we have to trust them to pass of the ball (the word of God), help defend (us from the Enemy), and help read plays and encourage us to push forward, to continue to fight! We have to trust that our brothers and sisters in Christ will help us along our walk, that they will support us, encourage us and defend us. Without them, we can't....


"There is no I in Team..." We can't win by ourselves, we need God to provide us with the proper guidance and tools to beat the Enemy. In fact, He is the only one that can beat the Enemy alone. God is our provider, our protector, our strength. Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent", attempting to fight the Enemy, the sin, the struggle, the temptation without the help of God? in the illustrious words of Mannoroth from World of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.. "a worthy effort, yet futile" (that was for you Miles Meehan)... We can't do this alone, and God is the way to eternal life. Let's not try to win alone, let's trust our coach and our teammates, let's remember that there is no I in team.


"Give 110%, the whole time, every time."... God doesn't expect us to be perfect, but He does want us to be the best version of ourselves, His version. Every sport I have ever played the coach as told us to give "110%"... and we should, we should in our walk with God as well. Ephesians 5:1 "Be imitators of God", wouldn't that take at LEAST 110%? While God knows we will fall short, it doesn't mean it's acceptable to stop striving to be like Him. The inspiration for this note, other than God, was the words from Deuteronomy 6:5 "
Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got" Love God with 110% of you. Give your life to follow Him, dedicate everything you do to Him, In everything you do, do it for the glory of the Kingdom.

Give 110% of yourself. God gave His only son for you... what are you willing to do for Him?

Grace and Peace.