What I didn't want to tell you...

It's been almost 3 solid months since I've actually written, no... posted, anything to this blog. I'd love to take the cop-out and say that it's because life has been grand, or that there hasn't been anything going on that I felt like I needed to write about... The truth is, there's been so much going on that I needed to write about that I didn't want to face the white screen that was awaiting words to be written across it. I didn't want to come to terms with the things that have happened, because a lot of them are difficult things to deal with. I've started probably 4 different posts in the last 3 months, and never finished them... not because they didn't need to be written, not because I wasn't motivated, but because the topics and the circumstances made me sad...

I started writing this blog almost 4 years ago... and the thought behind it, the purpose in writing was to create a place for me to think "out loud" and to fine tune my writing skills. Just over a year ago, that purpose changed along with the title of my blog. The purpose become to be transparent with others about what I was feeling and what God was teaching me. It was now no longer about me, but about what my life experiences could do to help others. From around the time this new purpose started to form, the end of August 2012, through the end of the year, my blog transformed. I was writing sometimes daily, at least weekly... I produced almost as many posts in that 3 months than I had in the 3 years prior. When I realized that today, it got me thinking... What was it that spurred so much transparency? What happened to that transparency? Had my faith lessened? Was I not growing?

So. Many. Questions.

I thought of probably 25-30 questions about what was different from last year to this year... and ultimately, I had to take a hard look at myself. I realized that my writing had become forced, because I was trying to censor what I was saying. Part of this was a result of the feedback I received (some good, some bad), part of it was society trying to tell me I had to be strong for everyone around me, because I'm a man... but mainly, it was me acting like a scared little boy. I got into this mindset that I needed to be this deep, theological writer for anyone to find value in what I was saying. I lost sight that I don't do this to glorify myself, but to glorify God, and that in order to do that, I have to be me. I was reminded of this by a devotion I read this morning, and then two blog posts by a fellow blogger. The first post by Los talked about getting back to the basics of knowing God, not just trusting the bloggers/authors/preachers/musicians we follow. It reminded me that I need to really wrestle with the reality of who God is on a daily basis. That was something I needed to read, because too often, I just take the opinion of others around me. The second post was about this filtered image we get of what others' lives look like from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vine, etc. I don't want to filter my life, I don't want to give a 90 second jaded, yet glorious glimpse of what my life looks like because the truth is... Even after giving my life to Christ, sometimes my life is hard. And sometimes, things in my life don't make sense. I want people to know that a relationship with Jesus doesn't mean the trials and the tribulations go away, it doesn't mean that you stop battling with lust, depression, self-confidence, pain, self-image, death, etc. It means you don't have to do it alone, it means that through everything God is with you, and in spite of all the bad things God is still sovereign. So hear it is, here's the deal on what's been going on... and what I haven't wanted to admit to you:

I'm sad/angry/confused about the deaths of my Pops' two best friends. John Norman and John Baute invested so much time, effort, love, lessons, and energy into my life that imagining going through future milestones without them there to celebrate sucks.

I'm worried about my Pops, my Mom, and the Baute and Norman families. There's nothing I can do or say that will heal the pain that we are all feeling... I feel helpless, and I can't help but hate that feeling.

I'm complacent within where I am in my career. Entering my third year of "post college career" I thought I'd be in a different place than where I am now. As much as I'm thankful I have a good job, I still feel like I missed the mark some days.

I'm still fighting the depression I faced for so long, some days I wake up and I'm sad... for no reason at all.

I'm still doubtful of the future, the present, and the path in between. There are still days I feel distant from God, and I know that's not the case... but it's there.

I'm still struggling with lust, and 100 other sins that I battle with on a regular basis. While I am saved and redeemed I am in no way righteous. I'm fully aware of that.

The funny thing is... not only have I not told you all those things, I also haven't told you some things about the beauty of what God is doing in my life:

I am confident that God will work in the lives of all those affected by the deaths of John Norman and John Baute. In fact, I've already seen it. My relationship with my father is stronger than ever. I was blessed with some quality time with the first friend I ever had even though the circumstances were less than desirable. I've seen a lot of people take a hard look at their lives, and re-prioritize.

I am made strong in my weakness. This helplessness I feel is a good thing, because it humbles me and allows me to realize that only God can heal the pain that my loved ones are feeling.

I am learning patience and trust. As difficult as it is to feel complacent, I know there's a reason. I know God's plan is greater than my own, and I know that He is trying to imprint Proverbs 19:21 into my life.

I am growing in my faith each and every day. I am tested with the battle of depression, and God strengthens me. Each time I get up and dust off the crap that the enemy cloaks me in on those days I feel depressed, I get another day farther away from that time in my life.

I am hopeful. While I am doubtful of the future, I am hopeful that God is going to do things that I won't be able to fathom, because I know that He's strong enough.

I am learning the importance of grace. I still don't understand God's grace, but I am so thankful that he forgives me every time I fall. I am redeemed each and every day.

Ultimately, I am learning that everything going on around me, the good and the bad, is going to glorify God. I'm going to continue to be strengthened and grow in my relationship with Him because I won't back down, and I won't give up. I'm done running and hiding from being transparent. I promised that these would be Words Through the Wreckage and that's exactly what they will be.

In the words of Carlos Whitaker... "It's better that way..."

Grace and Peace,



A video that spurred reflection

I posted the video above to my Facebook profile yesterday. If you haven't watched it, go grab a box of tissues, and prepare yourself for the next 9 minutes... Go ahead, I'll wait.

Trusting that you all watched the above clip, I'll continue to the point of this post. I love the story of Fred and Lorraine, and I love that Green Shoe Studio decided to do something about it. I love it because of the passion that this 96 year old man put behind the simple lyrics of a song. I love it because I'm a writer, and sometimes being a writer causes me to try and perfect things with big words, and vivid imagery. Fred reminded me that sometimes, the most heartfelt writing, the best words, are those that are simple. He didn't write 6 verses, a chorus, a hook, etc. etc. He just simply wrote a few lines that he thought would honor his wife Lorraine, and honor is exactly what they brought to their relationship. I also love it, because Fred reminds me of my Grandpa Don.

Grandpa Don is celebrating a birthday today... in Heaven. It's been almost 14 years since passed away, and yet, I still remember the things he taught me, whether he meant too or not. One of the biggest lessons he taught me, was how to love others. The love my Grandpa had for Grandma Paige was unrivaled. I had never seen anything like it, the way he lit up when she entered a room, and how she could command his attention no matter what else was going on around them. They set an example for our entire family. Grandma and Grandpa shared something special, something that is becoming more and more rare these days unfortunately. The best way to describe it, and to take a lesson from Fred, simply said they shared unconditional love. I could write a really long post, with tons of huge, flowery, vibrant words.. but they wouldn't do it justice. Unconditional love is what they shared between each other, and for everyone they encountered. I am so thankful that I can look back on their example, and know that that's truly what love looks like. I'm thankful that a part of Grandpa Don lives on in me, and I pray that one day I get to experience the same unconditional love with my wife.

Thank you, Fred for reminding me of the greatest lesson that Grandpa Don ever taught me.

and Thank you, Grandpa Don... for loving Grandma Paige, and all the rest of us unconditionally. I love you, and I miss you. Happy Birthday Grandpa.

Grace and Peace


Imagery of the Glory of the Lord

Did you think I had forgotten you?

Don't worry, I'm still here... I've just been on a bit of a hiatus from writing. The funny thing is, I kept trying to justify this hiatus by telling myself, and others, that it was because I was focusing on building relationships face to face. When in actuality, I was at a dead sprint running from all things that cause conviction. I had started to drift again, I don't think it was intentional on my part. I think I just started allowing everything else to be an idol. My job owned me. My bills, my timelines, my home, my car, my friends, and my goals that I was convinced I would achieve only through hard work (on my own, mind you) consumed me. There wasn't any time left after all of those things were attended too. If I am completely vulnerable, as I promised I would be on this blog, I left no time for Jesus. I am the only one at fault for this, I was just so..... tired. I was tired of trying to maintain things, and even though I'm always telling other people our strength comes from The Lord, I wasn't listening to myself. So I just ran.... and I ran... and I ran which made me more and more tired. In the last month I have dealt with every emotion possible, and it all accumulated to a meltdown two weeks ago during first service.

I was sitting in the back row, next to my parents at CCC during first service. Looking back the entire thing was completely a God moment. First off, because I usually am at the church for 2nd Service and then later that night for Youth Group, lately I haven't been getting up for 1st service, the fact that I did was the start of some awesome things God was going to do for me. The songs that morning during worship were right on point. I started to feel the weight and stress of everything from the last month was too heavy and I couldn't hold it anymore. Then, right before we started the last song, they mentioned that if anyone would like to come to the alter and lay it all before The Lord they were welcome too. We started to sing Rescue, and I looked over at my Dad and saw the tears streaming down his face. I could see the weight of the world lifting from his shoulders. His breathing was different, as though he was relieved from the pressure and pain. I could tell he was thinking about John, one of his best friends who passed away a few weeks ago. It was in that moment that I decided to go forward, to pray for Pops. However, what I didn't know, was that going forward wasn't just for my Dad, it was for me as well. I don't allow myself to be humbled and taken to my knees before The Lord as often as I used too... but that Sunday morning I couldn't stand up under the weight of the last month any longer and I collapsed. I bowed my head and I cried out to God to be rescued from the anger, the pain, the sadness, the loneliness, the misdirection, and the lack of motivation. I asked for forgiveness for running from God, for not creating time for Him. I laid it all down on the alter that morning.

And as always, My Rescuer was there to pull me from the depths. Except, God didn't just rescue me, He restored me. The last two weeks I have had conversations that have done nothing but affirm the work that God is doing in my heart. Everything from conversations during morning runs with dear friends to phone calls with people I hardly know have been completely God breathed. I was in awe of what He was doing to help me feel restored in Him. Next thing I knew, it was the end of the week... Friday afternoon I hopped in the Jeep and headed down to Spring Hill Camps for the college age retreat. Top down, wind in my face, not a care in the world, I was ready for some relaxation and some fun. This retreat was planned to be a kickoff for the college aged ministry, I was just there to help. It was just supposed to be a weekend to get to know some of the college students in our church. For me, it ended up being so much more than that. After arriving to the camp, and driving around a few times (I may or may not have gotten a little lost...) I parked the Jeep by the entrance to help direct the rest of our group where to go (You know, because if someone as directionally intelligent as me could get lost, everyone else was in trouble...ha). I knew I had a little time to wait before anyone arrived, so I grabbed the little pocket sized Bible out of my glove box and started to flip through it. I turned to Ezekiel and realized I had never read the book of Ezekiel all the way through, in fact, I knew virtually nothing of what this book contained. So I started reading, and decided over the next few weeks I would walk through this book and see what I could learn. I mean, from the very beginning, during Ezekiel's "inaugural vision" (my Bible gives cool headlines), the way that the Spirit of The Lord appears to Ezekiel during this vision is so mind-blowing that I've read and re-read it at least a dozen times since that Friday.

In fact, I don't usually do this... but I'm going to copy and paste it here:

"As I looked, I saw a great storm coming from the north, driving before it a huge cloud that flashed with lightning and shone with brilliant light. There was fire inside the cloud, and in the middle of the fire glowed something like gleaming amber.[d] From the center of the cloud came four living beings that looked human, except that each had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, and their feet had hooves like those of a calf and shone like burnished bronze. Under each of their four wings I could see human hands. So each of the four beings had four faces and four wings. The wings of each living being touched the wings of the beings beside it. Each one moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
10 Each had a human face in the front, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle at the back. 11 Each had two pairs of outstretched wings—one pair stretched out to touch the wings of the living beings on either side of it, and the other pair covered its body. 12 They went in whatever direction the spirit chose, and they moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
13 The living beings looked like bright coals of fire or brilliant torches, and lightning seemed to flash back and forth among them. 14 And the living beings darted to and fro like flashes of lightning.
15 As I looked at these beings, I saw four wheels touching the ground beside them, one wheel belonging to each. 16 The wheels sparkled as if made of beryl. All four wheels looked alike and were made the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it.17 The beings could move in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. 18 The rims of the four wheels were tall and frightening, and they were covered with eyes all around.19 When the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. When they flew upward, the wheels went up, too. 20 The spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. So wherever the spirit went, the wheels and the living beings also went. 21 When the beings moved, the wheels moved. When the beings stopped, the wheels stopped. When the beings flew upward, the wheels rose up, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. 22 Spread out above them was a surface like the sky, glittering like crystal. 23 Beneath this surface the wings of each living being stretched out to touch the others’ wings, and each had two wings covering its body. 24 As they flew, their wings sounded to me like waves crashing against the shore or like the voice of the Almighty[e] or like the shouting of a mighty army. When they stopped, they let down their wings. 25 As they stood with wings lowered, a voice spoke from beyond the crystal surface above them. 26 Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man. 27 From what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. 28 All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me."

There aren't even words to describe what an amazing description this is. Up to this point in reading, all I knew about Ezekiel is that he's a Hebrew Prophet, I did a little research and found that Ezekiel means "God will strengthen" and I would imagine that having the Spirit of the Lord reveal himself to you in the way God revealed himself to Ezekiel would surely strengthen even the weakest of souls. It's such a vivid and beautiful image that Ezekiel paints from his vision. However, personally it's one of the last lines that I love the most "This is what the glory of the LORD looked like to me". You see, throughout scripture the Glory of the Lord looks different to many different people. For me, recently, the glory of the Lord as come in the form of the community I belong too, my small group, my friends, my family. I came to the realization this morning that I have been praying for 25-foot doves, for the Spirit of the Lord to come riding in on a chariot of fire, just like Ezekiel saw. God doesn't do things the obvious way though. No, God doesn't always reveal Himself to us in huge, billboard-esque images. Sometimes, God reveals himself and rescues us in the quiet. It's better that way.

Grace and Peace


Conversation, Conviction, and Correction

I'm too busy.

Today has been too stressful.

I don't have the time to think about that.

Those are the lies I catch myself in on a daily basis. Those are the thoughts that literally consume me at work. It's in the midst of those moments, those busy days, those crazy weeks, that God grabs me by the shoulders and says "Stop making excuses, and rest in my grace and mercy". It never fails that just when I think I don't have enough time, or the energy, that's when God sparks conversations that lead to conviction, that leads to the correction.

Today, was one of those days. Today God showed his love for me through a text from my best friend. A text telling me to look for God's faithfulness in the stress, and to be thanking Him for what I have been given. Most of all, reminding me to trust in the plans God has for me, no matter if I understand the circumstances or not. That's a reminder I needed in the worst way. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I don't handle stress well. I've always put a lot of pressure on myself, mainly to try and meet everyone else's needs and to please others. That pressure constantly drowns me, it's the enemy's way of stealing my joy. Thankfully, I have a best friend that loves me enough to speak truth into my life, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

It doesn't end there.

God continues to work, He doesn't just give me enough to relieve the stress, He overflows my cup. He fills me with enough Truth, Love, and conviction that I all I can do is be in awe at how much He loves me. He creates conversation after conversation that help me to grow and walk a little straighter. A second conversation, with a brother who is dear to my heart, provided some insight into the daily struggle of ministry (both occupational and non). We talk about life, ministry, evangelism, Kingdom growth, and accountability. It's because of this brother that some of my struggles are made a little more real, and he helps me to see when my actions are causing others to stumble. I am thankful for that conviction and that accountability. Of course, just when I think it's time to go home and rest, to escape everything that's going on... I flip open my Bible and God uses His Word to sum up the lesson of the day in it's entirety...

"Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it" Mark 8:34-35.

I need to remind myself of this each and every morning. I need to walk away from my sin, my struggle and walk to my God, who through all of that crap, is still sovereign. I am thankful for conversations, and conviction that leads to correction. Here's to being a better man tomorrow, the day after that, and the day after that, etc, etc.

Grace and Peace



When I feel like I'm too busy to rest.

My God is still sovereign.

When the enemy tries to lure me back into tempting lust.

My God is still sovereign.

When I forget who I am, and find myself conforming to society's image of me

My God is still sovereign.

When the depression I dealt with in the past, starts to creep back into my present.

My God is still sovereign.

When I feel like I'm in a rut, and I begin to lose hope

My God is still sovereign.

When I feel like all the constants of life are absent in the middle of any given day.

My God is still sovereign.

Each and every day, I remind myself, that through all the pain, joy, triumph, disappointment, failure, discouragement, anger, bliss, excitement, fear, and craziness in my life-- My God is still sovereign. That one thing is all I need to continue to push forward, despite how badly I want to quit. My God has never given up on me, despite spitting in His face time and time again, My God is still sovereign.. 

Grace and Peace


The Power of ONE.

There are a number of struggles I face when it comes to working within ministry. Most of those struggles are the kind that simply "come with the territory". However, there's one of those struggles that usually bothers me more than the others. That struggle of "numbers". Now, any of you that work in ministry probably know exactly what I mean when I say that. It's that idea that the success of your ministry is driven by how many people are attending. I teach College Aged Sunday School, and this time of year, because a lot of students are away at school trying to cap off yet another school year, there are fewer and fewer students in Sunday School. I struggle with that because of a few desires I have for the College Aged Ministry:

1. I want to see the College Age Ministry thrive in Columbus. In terms of this being a "college town" it's not the same as what I experienced in Lexington. That means a lot of times the turnout for things like Sunday School isn't the same. I want to see that change. I want to see a community of people coming together to intentionally study God's Word in a more intimate setting than a corporate worship service.
2. I want to invest in the lives of the College Age people in Columbus. In order to truly and effectively communicate the importance of the Gospel and to encourage a relationship with Christ I have to have a relationship with the individual. I want to invest in the College Age ministry because I want to see those that are apart of it invest in themselves by taking their faith seriously.
3. I want the College Age ministry to flourish causing a transformation of our city. As much as it surprises me that I'm going to write this next sentence... I love the city of Columbus. I know there's a desire for a lot of college students to escape Columbus, their hometown, and experience other parts of the country. I get it because I was that person. However, Columbus has been good to me post-college, and I want to those that are college age to understand the importance and the impact this city can have for the Kingdom of God.

Now, looking at those desires, I see a yearning to truly see College Age Ministry be successful in Columbus. I think it will become a success because I think there are people taking action through CCC that are going to make a difference. Those recognition of those desires this morning helped me realize an area in which I fail in ministry. I focus too much sometimes on numbers. Granted I would love to have 25, 50, 100, College Age people in Sunday School every week. But, right now, that's not the reality. In order to effective I need to be present with where the ministry is. This morning, that ministry was one guy. In fact, since I started teaching College Sunday School, this one guy is the only one I've seen consistently. I think he's missed one week the last two months (that's less than I've missed). I realized that developing a relationship with him, even just by catching up on our week and learning about his life just as important.. no no, more important than having 100 people in the class and not being able to really get to know them. Investment in the lives of others leads to relationships, relationships lead to community, community leads to impact, impact leads to "success". This morning I am thankful for that one guy. I am thankful for the opportunity to just hear about his week, but more importantly, I am thankful that he was hear. That he's willing to invest his time in being present, and that he's willing to give me feedback on how we can become more effective.

Columbus is going to see in uprising of 18-24 year olds working to spread the Kingdom through our city. Every movement, every change, every impact... starts with one person. One person choosing to show up to Sunday School when no one else is here, one person that's willing to take on a role doing both Middle School/College Age ministry and say "we can do better", one person to decide that investing in the communities that are Ivy Tech, Harrison College, and IUPUC is going to change the face of our city.

And when each one of those people come together, a revolution begins.

 In order to influence the culture, you have to infiltrate the culture. 


Pierced, Crushed, Beaten, and Whipped... for MY sin and MY rebellion

Sometimes, I sit in my desk chair and feel this strange sense of uncomfortable.

I feel like I don't belong. I don't mean I don't belong at work, or in Columbus, just in general. I have these days where my body just feels... wrong. Where my heart feels heavy and my soul feels crushed. I've written about this before, I've written about the bad days. Today didn't start out like that, but it turned into one.

Anxious. Nervous. Uncomfortable. Sad. Disillusioned. Awkward. Complacent. Unwanted.

Those are the things the enemy puts into my head. Those are the things the enemy wants me to believe, so I forget that, because of my relationship with Christ I am (or should be):

Still. Calm. Provided for. Protected. Joyful. Normal (whatever that means). Content. Wanted. Needed.


These days come in the strangest of ways. Sometimes I wake up feeling that way. Sometimes, it happens in the middle of a conversation. It's never planned, or predicted. It just happens. I used to get really angry about the bad days. Which, in reality, only made the bad days worse. Then I realized that every once in a while the bad days are something I should find comfort in, because I realized this morning... those feelings, that attack from the enemy, is because he desires to make me distant from Christ. Because the enemy doesn't like the relationship I have with Christ. The bad days come, because I'm doing something right. They make me cry out to God while I'm hurting, and they strengthen my relationship with my Creator because each and every time... He answers my cries. Whether that's by a whisper or a whiplash. He answers. 

Today He answered. He answered with a passage from His Word, that made me realize the things that get me down, that bring on the bad days... are nothing compared to the sacrifice He made for me. 

"But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all" Isaiah 53:5-6

Even though my heart rate increases, and my body feels out of place, and my thoughts are sad and running wild... these is one constant. Christ died on the Cross, for my salvation, He took on my sin, my rebellion so that I could be whole and healed. Regardless of how many times I stray, and how many times the enemy is able to bring on one of the bad days... My Savior is constant. My Savior loves me. My Savior died for me. and My Savior fights for me daily.

Grace and Peace


Impoverished Beauty

Thursday Morning.

It's been a week since we left Moldova, and at this point I'm still trying to wrap my head around everything that happened while we were there. Throughout this last week, on a number of occasions, I have tried to paint a picture of the beauty of Chisinau while also driving home the heart-wrenching poverty that is experienced and faced there on a daily basis. I consider myself a wordsmith when it comes to formulating my thoughts through the keystrokes of my hands. Therefore, I felt that the best way to try and convey the beauty in what I experienced was to write about it.

Here goes nothing.

From the moment I stepped off the airplane I was captivated and intrigued to experience everything. I knew there would be moments that seemed slightly uncomfortable, which happens anytime you experience a new culture. I had prayed that these moments be few and far between on the flight from Munich to Chisinau. Not because I don't believe that things are taught in uncomfortable moments, but because I didn't want any one moment to distract me from experiencing everything there was to experience. Walking through the airport, culture shock started to set in right way. Everything from the bathrooms to the language being spoken was different. Yet, all so exciting. After experiencing a rather... awkward... bathroom experience, I'll admit I was a little nervous about getting through the airport and getting to our hostel. As usual, God used something very small to remind me that this place, these people, they weren't so different from myself... that reminder, as funny as it is, came in the form of a cardboard box. The first thing I saw after walking out of the Wash Closet was a cardboard box, on a chair, that read "James Beam, Clermont Kentucky". It made everyone on the team laugh, and I think it took a little of the uncertainty away, long enough for the excitement of what was to come to settle in for the next 10 days.

The city of Chisinau is almost indescribable. It's this place where, everything, from the rolling hills outside the city to the poverty within the busy streets is absolutely beautiful. Now, let me explain what I mean when I describe poverty as beautiful. Don't get me wrong, the poverty of Moldova breaks my heart, and urges me to want to do more for the Moldovan people. Yet, there's a simplicity in the way they live because of the poverty. There's a happiness about the people despite their poverty and there's joy in my heart because of the pride that was shown through personal appearance. These people literally dressed for success every day, no matter whether they were going to church or work, they wore their best clothes. It was as though they were saying to the economy (if it were a tangible thing) "Despite the lack of stability you provide, we are going to be proud of what we have and who we are". That was one of my favorite things about Moldova. The happiness and simplicity I experienced and saw in the faces of the Moldovan people is something similar to what I had experience in Africa and Jamaica... the difference was, it wasn't a product of ignorance to what they didn't have. I believe the Moldovan people are fully aware of the poverty they face, however, instead of allowing it to destroy them, they embrace what they have and make the most of it. Oh how the world would be different if more people viewed things that way. In our culture it's always about "more, more, more" or "new, new, new". I'm guilty of it as well. In fact, this week, on two different occasions I was tempted to spend money on frivolous things. New clothes because they were on sale, even though the clothes I have are more than enough. Or a new golf club because it's spring, even though it probably wouldn't improve my game THAT much. I'm not saying that spending money is entirely a bad thing... and I'm not going to try and be an extremist and say that I'm not going to buy anything new. I just learned while in Moldova, that I need to be more sound in my financial decisions, that sometimes, I need to take pride in what I have... and stop trying to find more.

I learned a lot about myself, compassion for others, ministry, missions, and investment in others. The wheels are turning now, and I'm looking for new ways to invest in the lives of the next generation. I realize that we don't need to spend time teaching our youth how to be the best at a sport, an instrument, and art, or in business. We need to invest in their lives and teach them how to be the best version of themselves. How to take pride in what they have, and how to be in community with others. Each new generation has an opportunity to change the World... and it's the current generation's job to prepare them to do so. This last year God has been teaching me so much about community and relationships. This trip to Moldova, was God's way of reinforcing everything He's been teaching me. Being intentional about being relational takes on a whole new meaning after seeing how the Moldovan people, and the WMF Staff live amongst and with each other. The staff helped me see that living in community is the ONLY way to truly experience Heaven on Earth. That even in a country as impoverished as Moldova, when a community of believers lives together as one, with one common purpose, the poverty the face... is nothing shy of beautiful.

Grace and Peace


An Angel in Moldova

Wow.... where do I begin.

I intended to update my blog more regularly but everything has been a whirlwind, especially the last 3 days. I'm going to do my best to hit the highs and lows of this trip thus far... and I'll fill in details when I return to the States and have a real computer. Basically we traveled all day on Monday (3/18) nothing too crazy happened during travel, which was a good thing. We arrived in Chisinau on Tuesday (3/19) came to the hostel and checked in, went to the mall for a quick snack and caught up on some rest. Wednesday we had a Romanian lesson and then headed to the Internat to help with La Via. I loved the first day there... the kids were just so open and welcoming to us being there, it was great. Thursday we spent the whole day at the school, studying the Poor in Scripture and working with the kids. Friday, we went to a Moldovan "history" museum. It was really cool to see some of the tools,  weapons, clothes, etc. that made up the Moldovan culture. That afternoon we just played with the kids, and worked on building some form of relationship with them. Saturday we went to a village,  our experience deserves it's own post, so more on that later. I really want to focus on Sunday through today right this moment, because it's what is just causing my heart to break and God is restoring me slowly but surely. Sunday morning we went to a local Orthodox Church to worship for about an hour (a service usually lasts 4 hours). The worship was unlike anything else I had ever experienced. Very structured, and ritualistic. It intrigued me so much. That doesn't mean I necessarily enjoyed the way it was done, but I enjoyed experiencing something new. Here's where things start to pull on the heart strings...

After service, we met with a staff member at the school, who attends the Orthodox Church. She was so open and honest with us about her opinions of the church, the history of the church, etc. It was heartwarming to hear about her journey through faith, and her relationship with God. She is the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman, and it shows in the way she serves others, mothers her children, and cares for all of us. Throughout this conversation she mentioned a family that the church was raising money for. This family of 8 had recently had a house fire... and lost everything. That's when the reality of the poverty in this country set in for me personally. I couldn't stop thinking about this family. I prayed for them right then and right there. I know what it's like to lose everything... but I don't know what it's like when "everything" is barely enough to survive on. When everything is most likely family heirlooms from clothes, to furniture to jewelry. When your neighbors and family can't afford to help because everyone is suffering from the poverty, when there is no insurance to cover your home or the contents... when all you have is the Church and your faith in God to rely on. The thoughts of this absolutely broke me... It took everything I had to hold things together. This same feeling stayed in the pit of my stomach until Monday evening. Don't get me wrong, there were bright spots throughout those days... but I'll talk about that more later. Then Monday evening came, and I got back to my room to wind down, check Facebook, the news, and read my Bible. That's when my heart was broken yet again...

Growing up, I had both sets of grandparents and two sets of great-grandparents. Aside from blood, I had a lot of older people I considered to be family. Warren Broady was one of those people. His daughter Amy, has always been my big sister... and her daugthers are my beloved nieces. I got word from Mom on Monday night that Warren had passed away. My heart was absolutely in shambles. Not only had I been mourning for a family I didn't know, that lost their home, but now I was mourning the loss of someone I loved. I was overwhelmed to say the least. I sat on the stairs of our Hostel crying, shaking, and praying for The Great Comforter to give me peace. God is so good. He brought peace to me through my conversation with my Mom, with Amy and with two other people who I consider two of my best friends. Lucky for me, one of those people is here in Moldova. The leader of our trip came out in the hall and talked to me... she didn't try to sugar coat it, she didn't say any of the cliche things we often say in difficult situations, she simply said "This really sucks, I'm sorry, and I'm here for you if you need me". I am so thankful for Amanda and her heart. The second was from Hayli Goode aka Hammie. I sent her a text shortly after I found out, and her responses were exactly what I needed to find peace in the situation. God used Hayli and her words to calm my heart, and I truly believe that is the only reason I slept at all last night. Thank you dear friends and family for helping me through yet another difficult situation.

As you can imagine, I awoke with a still burdened spirit. I wasn't sure how to react to everything that had happened the last few days. I knew that today had the potential of just adding to the burden. Today we visited a tuburculosis hospital. This hospital is where children would be sent for 6 months, after their TB had become dormant... just to be certain. We were told a lot of these kids didn't have families, and were from orphanages and that it would be incredibly sad and hard to deal with. Wow does God work in awesome ways. Today was such a blessing. The kids were excited to play with us, to do crafts with us, and just spend time with us. I was overjoyed. The smiles on those kids faces made the very sketchy 3 hour Maxi-Taxi ride completely worthwhile. One kid in particular for me. I have a strong connection with one of the boys at La Via, but other than that... I haven't really felt drawn to any child besides D. However, we walked into the room at the hospital, and I was looking at all the children, taking in everything around me, when one little girl smiled at me. She was precious beyond words. If I had to guess, I would say she was in 4th grade. She was so funny. As we were playing games, I could tell some of the older, bigger kids were kind of pushing her out, and she felt like she wasn't involved. I couldn't have that, so I made sure she got to play. When we started doing the craft, I taught her what to do and she picked up on it instantly. So, I moved on to help some boys that didn't quite understand. That's when I watched out of the corner of my eye as she started to mess up on purpose, so I would have to come back and help her again. It was adorable and heart-warming. She made me feel incredibly special, which helped take the pain I had been feeling away. She finished her Eye of God craft with a huge smile, and proudly showed it to me... about 12 times. She wanted to do another one, but we didn't have the materials...so I allowed her to finish mine for me. I then turned it into a necklace (which I then had to do to hers as well) She was excited that she could wear it around her neck... as I was walking out of the room, I passed the one I made to her and told her she could keep it. She had the biggest grin on her face... and it warmed my heart that something as small as popsicle sticks and yarn could make a little girls day. As we were leaving she followed us down to the lobby, she waited there, not saying a word, until we walked out the doors. As we were walking to the bus stop to leave, I turned back to take one more look at the hospital... and there she was, standing just outside the door, smiling and waving goodbye. She waved from inside the door until I was out of sight, and maybe even longer. She doesn't know this... but she made my day. She was an angel sent by God to lift my spirits today, and I will never forget her, or that precious smile.

The last three days have been a rollercoaster of emotions. And despite the pain of loss, and the joy of a child's smile.. the one constant has been God's soveriegnty. I am thankful, and overwhelmed by the love of my Heavenly Father for me, His son. We have one more full day here... and it's not going to be anywhere near long enough. Leaving this place will be hard, and pieces of my heart will always remain here with my Angel, La Via, the children, the staff, and the culture.

Noapte Buna

Grace and Peace,



6 days...

6 days.

Only 6 more days until we leave for Chisinau, Moldova. Each and every day that our departure grows closer my excitement grows exponentially. As do my worries about if 6 days is enough to finish all the things I still need to do before we leave. This is the first time I've gone on a mission trip in the midst of having a full time job (the other two I was still a college student). That adds a new and somewhat stressful twist to the planning and preparation for departure. I generally only have from around 5:30 to whenever I get too tired to keep working on things to spend thinking about what I still need to do, and taking action to do those things. That makes all of this just a little more interesting... Clarity is coming though, about my purpose, my passion, missions work, the corporate business world, etc. Hopefully over the course of the next 3 weeks even more clarity will be gained in each of those areas... which leads to the point of this post. 

Prayers are still needed.

Prayers are always appreciated when traveling overseas. I have seen the power of prayer first hand and know that we will need it during our travels. There are a 6 things I would ask you to pray for specifically TODAY:

1. Personal Growth. Pray that each team member, staff member, and child will see personal growth in our own relationships with Christ. 
2. Intentional Conversations. Sometimes it's difficult to have intentional conversations with those around us about Christ, The Kingdom, and matters of faith. Pray that our team invests time in being intentional about being relational with God, with each other, and with the people of Moldova. 
3. Travel Preparations. Pray that each of our team members can get things set and covered for the time in which we will be gone, with jobs, families, and other outlying responsibilities that we can't put on pause while we are gone. (Contributed by Amanda Martin)
4. Prepared Hearts. Pray that we can go without expectation but also hearts that are prepared for the work God is going to do both in the orphanage and in our lives. 
5. Families. Pray for our families as we leave them to do the work of the Lord in another country, and pray for the families of the missionaries that are already serving in Moldova. (This includes, mothers/fathers/brothers/sisters/grandparents/children/cats... especially Bobbett, Amanda's cat, she's kind of obsessed with that cat-- don't believe me? Check Instagram. I'm laughing as I write this, so the prayers for laughter that I requested in yesterday's post are working)
6. Energy/Rest. Pray that over the next six days our team is able to rest at night despite all the things running through our minds as we prepare. Also pray that we have the energy to tie up all loose ends before we leave. 

Those are the 6 things I would ask you to pray for today. Tomorrow I'll have 5 things, then 4, then 3... and so on and so forth. I am encouraged by yours prayers, and by the peace that God has put on my heart that He is going to do great things while I am in Moldova.

Grace and Peace,

Brad aka Evergreen Tree


7 Days...

Bună Ziua!!!!

7 days.

Only 7 more days until we leave for Chisinau, Moldova. I am beyond excited. I have been counting down the days for the last two months. During that two month span God has taken care of every little worry and concern I have had about this trip, the funding, the supplies, my own preparedness to go. I am happy to announce that our entire team is fully funded to leave. I was worried about the money, but so many wonderful people (both family and friends) have donated in ways that have literally melted my heart. I raised above and beyond my personal goal and the extra money has been a HUGE blessing to our team. Along with the financial aspect, the donations of markers and games has been unbelievable, and the prayers... oh how thankful I am for your prayers. I am just completely overwhelmed by the love and generosity that this community has shown (however I am in no way surprised by it). So here's a few thoughts to begin the one week countdown:

Prayers are still needed.

Prayers are always appreciated when traveling overseas. I have seen the power of prayer first hand and know that we will need it during our travels. There are a 7 things I would ask you to pray for specifically TODAY:

1.Safe Travel (I know this goes without saying, but I'm saying it anyway)
2. Open Hearts. God is going to work in each of our lives in different ways, pray that we will be open to hearing and learning what God has for us, no matter how difficult it may be.
3. Direction. For me in particular, this trip is going to be somewhat investigative on what's next for me. I have  a decision to make in the near future and am hoping that while I am away from home I will be given some clarity.
4. Laughter and Tears. I ask that you pray for these things because I know that while we are there, some of us will need to be broken by God, only to be rebuilt in His image. While at the same time, I ask that you pray that our team not take any moment for granted, from the time we pull out of the church parking lot.
5. Impact. Pray that we have an impact in the lives of the children at La Via and the staff as well. Pray that our time there will be used to revitalize the staff and help them in whatever ways they need us too. That God will use us to really make a difference.
6. Good Health. I for one am notorious for getting sick on mission trips. I think it's generally my "role" to be the one that suffers. I pray that this time, none of us have to worry about sickness, we can be healthy throughout our stay in Chisinau.
7. Change. Pray that our hearts and lives are changed by our trip. Whether that be that it motivates us individually to explore missions more in depth, or just simply that we decide to live more selflessly and less selfishly.

Those are the 7 things I would ask you to pray for today. Tomorrow I'll have 6 things, then 5, then 4... and so on and so forth. I am encouraged by yours prayers, and by the peace that God has put on my heart that He is going to do great things while I am in Moldova.

Grace and peace,

Brad (Which means Evergreen Tree in Romanian... awesome)



Last night, was incredible.

For those of you that know me, you probably know I'm a big fan of a select few Christian blogs. One in particular called Stuff Christians Like, is a satirical blog written by a guy named Jon Acuff. Now, I have followed SCL for probably the last 3 or 4 years. It's one of the first things I read every morning. There's humor, there's insight, there's relevance and it's written so well. Jon has also written a few books, I've read two of those books. One was called... not surprisingly... "Stuff Christians Like". The other, was called Quitter. I read Quitter while I was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was exactly what I needed while on that trip. Jon's writing, his story of how he got to where he is, is one of the big reasons I have continually worked on writing this blog, and preparing the ideas for a book that I will write one day. Jon has helped me to realize that if I want to write, I just need to do it on a regular basis.


A couple of months ago I heard Jon was releasing a new book called Start. Then, I found out he was going to be holding an event in Franklin, TN called #StartNight. Basically, Dave Ramsey (who Jon works for) told Jon to plan his dream event... and #StartNight was born. Now, most of you know, I am a professional procrastinator. So naturally, when tickets went on sale for #StartNight, I waited until the last possible second to buy one... and wouldn't you know... they were sold out. I was distraught. However, an idea was formed in that moment... Jon loves Twitter, why not use Twitter to get his attention and get a ticket. I started a campaign, and asked everyone that follows me to retweet the following post "I'm starting a personal campaign to get a ticket to @jonacuff event #StartNight please retweet to get his attention"

And it worked.

Within about an hour Jon had messaged me and said his team was working on it. By the next day, someone from Dave Ramsey's office called me and said they had a ticket. I was in. I was so excited to have the opportunity to hear from Jon live, but I had no idea what it was going to be like. Even if I would have had expectations, they would have been completely surpassed. Last night, I drove 4 1/2 hours to Franklin, TN to attend #StartNight. It was amazing, there's no other way to describe it. Jon outlined all these ways to "Punch Fear in the Face", talked about the path we should travel on to get to "awesome" instead of walking the straight line to "average". It definitely got me thinking about what's next and helped me realize I have to START walking towards my dreams now, not once the ending is clear and concrete. You might be wondering what that looks like... well....

It Starts Now.

That's right, it starts now. The first thing I'm going to do is start taking steps to achieve my dreams of becoming a published author. I got some advice from a guy a few months back that published his first book. He said the best way to start writing a book, is to write 600 words every day. Regardless of whether they are complete crap, you never post them, etc... still write 600 words every day. So that's where I start. It starts today. Every day, from here on out, I'm going to write 600 words a day about something. I have no idea what that will look like, but God will control the path, I just have to start down it. I would love to tell you more about the book and the message behind it, but I'm not sure where it's going at this point. I just know that I can no longer use the excuse, "When God wants me to start it, I will start it"... no, God is not the one that is impeding the progress on my dreams, I am.

What about you?

What's your dream? How can you start walking towards achieving that dream right now? If you want to talk about it, hit me up. I'd love to hear about your dream, I'd love to help you start working towards it if I can. Most importantly, I'd love to pray for you. We can't achieve our dreams alone, we need each other.

It's time to START.

P.s. For those of you wondering, this blog post is 768 words long ;)

Grace and Peace


Trading Places

There's this song that I hear pretty often on K Love and The Bridge FM... it's by Jeremy Camp and it's called This Man. Every lyric is speaking to the true heart and character of Jesus. There's a part this morning though, that really caught my attention. The chorus repeats the same two lines, and those two lines are:

Would you take the place of this Man?
Would you take the nails from His hands?

I started to think about those questions. I started to examine myself, and I found myself answering those questions the way I would bet most of us would answer them.

"Sure, of course I would... who wouldn't"

Well. I can tell you...

I wouldn't. 

Now, stick with me here. That statement may make some people think I am entirely blasphemous, but let's think about that for a second. There are so many reasons why I wouldn't (or couldn't) take the place of Jesus, why I wouldn't take the nails from His hands and allow them to pierce my own. The biggest reason being, I'm not Jesus. I'm a selfish, inwardly focused, sorry Human. I am 100% human. Christ, was both man and GOD. I can't put myself in His shoes and honestly sit here and tell you I would trade Him places, because I know that 1. I wouldn't be asked too 2. I wouldn't be able too. I don't have the same outlook on the world as Christ did. I, like many of you, have been jaded by the ups and downs of life. I have walked away from Christ more times than I would like to admit. I don't have the strength that Christ had, and to be honest, I'm not selfless enough. I don't love others in the same way Christ did, even though I try to every day....

Could I take the pain? No way
Could I take His place? No way
Does that make me any less of a Christian? Not at all

Here's the thing... in my honest opinion... I think it takes more love for Christ, and faith in my Creator to admit that I couldn't do it. I am humbling myself this morning before the Lord and saying "Lord, I can't do what you did, so I won't even pretend like I would." It's not about whether or not I would be willing to give my life if God asked me to, the way He called Jesus to die on the Cross. It's about recognizing that there's a reason it was Jesus and not me. It's because I'm not strong enough bring salvation, grace, and forgiveness to the world. Jesus was. Jesus is. Jesus always will be.

I just have to follow Him, and continue to remind myself that the blood that was shed for me was worth more than I could ever comprehend.

Grace and Peace


From the Least of These to Kings and Queens.

I have a confession...

I'm a Christian Radio Junkie. Seriously. My morning commute is one of my favorite times of the day. It's peaceful outside, I generally leave early enough that I don't have to deal with much traffic. So with no traffic, coffee in my mug, and worship music playing from my radio, it's just this intimate time of worship and conversation between God and I. This morning was a perfect example of how starting the morning with K-Love or The Bridge can impact my entire day....

6:15 AM.

That's what time I woke up this morning. My alarm hadn't gone off yet but I was still awake. I went to bed around Midnight so I was already dreading how long the day was going to be. Then my phone buzzed as emails started to come in. At 6:20 I was reading emails from my counterparts in the UK. Trying to figure out how to fight the fires of the day. By the time I hoped in the Jeep it was 6:55 and I was already frustrated with work. Then I turned on K-Love to start my drive... and everything changed. I felt the weight of the impending day lift from my shoulders. I felt a peace come over me like a gentle breeze, and I was reminded that through it all, God is with me. I started praying, I started thanking God for the things He does for me each day, for the life I have, for the friends and family, and the opportunities. I asked for forgiveness for my morning transgressions, because even though it was just past 7:00 am I had already sinned. All of this was great, a huge relief to the beginning of a Monday. However, there was one song... one moment when I felt all the stress and worry I had completely slip away...

Kings and Queens.

I love this song, but this morning it took on a whole new meaning. This morning, it brought tears to my eyes as I sang along with the lyrics. I was reminded, that we are all royalty as the Children of God, but more importantly, I was reminded that every child deserves to be treated as royalty. That there are people all over the world that need to know that they matter, that they have precious, that they have an inheritance that is the Kingdom of God. That's when the tears started to fall, because I began to think about my upcoming mission trip. In March, I'll be going with 6 other people to Moldova (Eastern Europe). We will be working at an orphanage helping in any way that we can. I will have the opportunity to spend time with these Moldovan children, these children of God. It has become my one desire, that during this trip, I will get to show those kids that they are royalty. I will get to help them find their identity in Christ, and realization that they are saved by grace.

My heart is dancing.

The opportunity to share the Gospel, Christ's love, and my own love to these children makes my heart just dance. It's as though Psy and the pistachio's (Super Bowl commercial reference) are literally dancing around in my soul with excitement.  I am beyond blessed to have this chance, this week in Moldova, where I get to do my best to impact these young lives. The funny thing is, I have a feeling, that they will have more of an impact on me. God is going to do big things while I'm in Moldova. I cannot wait, to meet my Moldovan brothers and sisters, and see the Royal Family of God grow.

Grace and Peace.


To Save a Life...

There's something I haven't told you...

There's something, I haven't really told anyone. I have alluded to this truth in the past through posts like The Great Rescue and An early morning beating.... Over the last 10 years, I have wondered when it would be time to share this part of my story, when the transparency I have allowed would no longer be enough. After last night, I realized it's time. Please forgive me for not sharing this with you sooner.. I believe God has a purpose for this story, and I believe that purpose could not be fulfilled until this precise moment.


When I was 14, my life was... intolerable. I was a misfit, I was lonely, and I was lost. I felt secluded, often times because seclusion was easier than facing people. I was bullied... 10 years ago it was considered "boys being boys". I was mocked, made fun of, torn down, and desperate. It came to a point, where I was finally tired of living. I had no will to fight it anymore, life had no value. The enemy was so present in my life, and had caused me to run so far from God, that I couldn't even figure out where I was. I would lay in bed at night and wonder what the point was, wonder why God didn't care. Why wasn't I better at sports? Why didn't people like me? Why did my "friends" make fun of me? Why were people so cruel? Why should I live? How could anyone love me? I had literally lost all hope. I didn't know what to do, I didn't know who to turn too... because at 14 I was convinced that my parents wouldn't understand, that no one would understand, that I was the only person that felt that way. I remember writing down my thoughts in our family's old gateway computer that was in my room. I would write horrible things about not wanting to live, not wanting to be a part of this world... and then, one night... it came crashing down in a way I couldn't believe. I laid in bed that night, and starting thinking of ways to end everything. My thoughts were grim, dark, desperate, and... suicidal. That night, I went to the computer and sat down to put my thoughts onto the screen. Little did I know, God was right there with me, through all of it. There was something keeping me from making a horrible decision that night. As I've said before, when I started writing, every keystroke was like removing a penny from the thousands of dollars that were crushing my soul. I felt a weight lift from me, I felt something greater pushing me to fight... and yet, I still didn't believe God was there. That night, at 14 years old... I didn't make the wrong decision, because if I had... I wouldn't be writing this today. It wasn't a choice not to end my life, it was a rescue from God for my life to have meaning. I didn't get it when I was 14, I didn't get the God thing at all... but I started to see a change. One person at school started to be nice to me, I started to find my niche, I started to fit in. I started to see that my live had meaning and purpose... and that there was something more. I had hope again. I can't pinpoint when things started to change, because it was a gradual process, but not a day goes by that I am not thankful that I didn't take my life...


Some of you may be wondering why I'm talking about this now, why would I come forward after 10 years and write openly on the internet about the fact that 10 years ago, I considered ending my own life... I write these words now, because it matters. It's a part of my story I can't run from. It's something that needs to be told, because there are teens who are just like I was, that need to know that things get better. It's not an instantaneous fix. I fought darkness and depression for years after... and even now there are bad days. However, since that night, since God rescued me from myself... I've never once considered ending my life. Last night, we had the To Save A Life Movie event at Yes! Cinema. This was done In Memory of Avery and Mary, two local students that took their own lives. Two beautiful teenagers, that couldn't see their rescue, that couldn't regain their hope, and that lost their lives to tragedy. Last night, I would say about 300 people of so came out to watch this movie that really hits home for me. It brings serious light to the tragic epidemic that teen suicide. I saw students, parents, and leaders in our community leave theaters with tears in their eyes and I prayed that we would start to see a change. That this event would be impactful, because.. well... I'm one of the lucky ones. I was able to see my rescue, I was able to find new hope, and it only took one smile, one message, one hello, one friend to show me that my life had value. 10 years later, I have battled with self-image, loving myself, and confidence over and over. Everytime, I come out a little stronger, loving myself a little more, and much more confident. At 24 years old, I have a great job, my own house, amazing friends, the same two amazing parents (only now I know they understand me), a church that I call home, a purpose, and most importantly, a relationship with my Savior. It took 10 long years to get where I am, but every moment was worth living. Life is not always easy, but it's always worth it. I have pursued The Father with more passion in the last year than I have in the 23 preceding it. I am made new each day in Christ, and I have a new hope each morning that God will continue to mold me into who I am called to be.


Some of you may relate better with the first part of this post, as opposed to the second. I get that, that's why this was written. I want you to know, that you are not alone. I've been where you are, and while times are different now, the pain isn't any more difficult to deal with. Please hear me when I say, you have a purpose, your life has meaning and value, and you matter. If nothing else, I care about you. Because I know what it feels like to be lost and broken, I know what despair looks like, and I know that one person can make a difference. I'm willing to be that difference. If you need someone to talk too, don't hesitate to get ahold of me. As for those of you that relate better to the second part of this post. Let's start investing in lives of others. I know that investments can be risky, but they can also be fruitful beyond our wildest imagination. Be the difference in someone's life. Don't allow loneliness to arrest someone's soul, help them to break free from the despair. Give a smile, a hello, a helping hand, eat lunch with someone who eats alone, hang out with someone that seems to be by themselves all the time... take it from someone that's been there, it makes a difference. Do what it takes... To Save A Life.

Grace and Peace,



Pastors, Politicians, Prayer...

Remember when I said, at the beginning of the year, that this year I was going to be more bold in what I write, stop worrying about the arguments it could start, and just say what I think. This was pushed even further by a post by Carlos Whittaker on Twitter, that was truly a moment of speaking your mind...

Well, here goes nothing.

This is a tweet that was posted yesterday by well-known Pastor Mark Driscoll:

Now, let me go ahead and say... I'm not a fan of Mark Driscoll... at all.  I'm also not here to debate politics or to discuss my views (or yours) of our current President. There's a bigger issue here, and it's one worth talking about. First off, I'd like to address, in looking at the picture, there were at least 1165 people that "Favorited" (the twitter equivalent of a Facebook "like") this tweet. Driscoll has 328,047 Twitter followers as  of right now. His reach is so vast, that posting things like this can truly be detrimental to the impact we are having for the Kingdom. Before you argue with me, again this isn't about his political view or yours, please hear me out. 

For those of you that don't know, Mark Driscoll has authored another book recently, titled "Who Do You Think You Are?". I, in turn, must ask Driscoll that very question... @PastorMark Who Do You Think You Are??? What gives you the right to judge a man that you do not know, that you do not have a relationship with, and that you most likely have never had a conversation with about The Father, The Kingdom, or Jesus Christ. In what realm, does being a nationally (quite possibly internationally) Pastor, make it okay for you to call someone else out based on nothing more than your political stance differing from his. I don't care what the media has taught us about President Obama's religious preferences, we have no idea what he practices behind close doors. That would be like me calling your salvation into question, simply because I disagree with your tweet. That's not happening, because I can't judge your salvation. While I am not a fan of Driscoll, I am also not going to deny the fact that he has done some things that have definitely advanced the Kingdom of God. That makes this an even bigger issue though, because you should be aware of the reach that you have. That tweet alone reached your 328,047 followers, not including the thousands of people that follow the 3,183 people that retweeted that. I would say, at an extremely low estimate, that tweet reached a good 750,000 people. I also believe, it probably warranted a few different responses from both Christians and non-Christians alike:

1. Hatred/disdain towards our President. It's clear that a lot of people like Obama, because they voted him into office. However, those that don't support Obama are usually much more vocal than those that do. I'm not saying it's not okay to have political beliefs, but when you call the President's beliefs into question, you are supporting the idea that as Christians it's okay to slander our country's Leader because the media has given us a viewpoint that, more than likely, is skewed one way or the other. 

2. Disdain/Upheaval against (and towards) the Church and Christians. That message reached a lot of non-Christians. The pure judgmental nature of such a tweet can and will induce an uproar of non-believers calling Christians out for our own hatred of those different than us. As Christ Followers we are called to "Be imitators of Christ" (Ephesians 5:1). The last time I checked, Christ loved everyone, regardless of their sins. Christ could have struck down Pilate at any given time. He knew this man, Pontius Pilate, was going to crucify Him. Yet, even as Christ suffered on the Cross, He cried out "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing" Luke 23:34. Christ didn't say "Father, forgive them, except for their leader Pilate, who doesn't believe in me, let's not forgive him because he doesn't really know you". Therefore, if we are to live a life like that of Christ, we must love others. No matter our difference in political opinions. 

3. One scripture: "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended." *Romans 13:1-3

I'm not going to talk about my political views. However, I will say, that I am not aware of why God puts anyone in office. So, I don't know what the reason behind putting Obama in the Presidency again is. The beautiful thing about God and my faith in Him... is that I don't have to understand with it, or agree with it, or approve of it. God is the ultimate Authority. I can trust that He will take care of us, and it is my duty to pray for President Obama, Congress, and the rest of our government officials... not to pray or rebel against them. Instead of slinging hate about a guy that we only know based on the media (which generally we tend to shade towards following the media that shares our opinion of him *BIAS*) we need to trust our God, show love to the man in power here in this country, and pray that God will use and guide him. I am thankful that we have the right to free speech... but if we don't use it in a way that glorifies God, we aren't really doing justice to that Freedom. Think before you speak, you never know the amount of people you are reaching or the impact you might have. Instead of separating prayer and politics, let's unite them as facilities for a common goal-- to make the Kingdom known. 

Grace and Peace


Supporting the Call... Take 2

It's Happening Again.

There's been this call placed on my heart. A call to live and embrace Matthew 28:19. A call to love people who I've never met before. A call, that I will be answering in March.

I am about to embark on yet another mission trip. My dear friend Amanda, traveled to a small country called Moldova a little less than a year ago. She spent 4 months there working with Word Made Flesh, during the last year, as Amanda and I's friendship has grown and strengthened I have heard her talk about her experience, the people, the city, the weather... all the details right down to the somewhat sketchy amusement park they visited. Then, about 2-3 months ago she approached me about an opportunity to go to Moldova. She was going to be leading a team from our church, that would spend roughly 11 days in Eastern Europe ministering and working at an orphanage. As soon as she told me we would be working with kids, I was sold. So, I started praying. I had a lot to pray about in this particular situation because a few other opportunities to return to Africa, and travel elsewhere had presented themselves. However, I felt called to this one....

I need your help. Once again readers, I humbly come to you looking for support, both spiritually and financially. I need prayer more than anything: prayer for myself, my team, the children, and impact we can have for the Kingdom. If nothing else, if the only response this post invokes is prayer... than it's been successful. Secondly, I need help raising the money to go. The cost is roughly $2500 and there is no way I can afford that on my own. If you wouldn't mind, please take a moment and read the support letter I have drafted below. If you feel led to support me financially, there are many ways you can do that listed at the end of that letter. Thank you for supporting me, stay tuned for more details!

Grace and Peace,

Dear Friends and Family,
I hope this letter finds you doing well and enjoying the start of a new year. I am writing to share with you about an incredible opportunity I have coming up this spring. As many of you know, I have a heart and passion for ministry, especially for international missions. As I have expressed in the past it is my desire to truly answer the Call in Matthew 28:19 when Christ commands us to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…”. This Spring, I will be joining a team of 8 people from my church, Community Church of Columbus, on a trip to the small Eastern European country of Moldova. We will depart on March 17th and return on March 28th. Our team will be partnering with the missions organization Word Made Flesh, as we minister to children in a government run orphanage.
I am extremely excited about this mission opportunity because it is unlike any of the other trips I have taken. I will have the opportunity to share the Gospel and the love of Jesus Christ with His children in Moldova. I was immediately drawn to this opportunity due to the realization that I would get to share The Father’s love with the fatherless.  I have no idea what God has in store for me there, but I do know that I will be broken, uplifted, shaped, moved, awestruck, and mesmerized by the Creator for the entire 11 days that I am there. Just as in the past, I am striving to live a life similar to that of Abraham, in that when God says “Go!” I go without question. While I answer the Call God has placed on my heart this Spring, there are a few ways you can be supporting me.
The first and most important support I can ask for is Prayer. Please be in prayer for our team and in prayer for the people in Moldova who we will be interacting with on a daily basis. Please join me in praying for strength, good health, amazing acts of God, to be completely broken (for me at least), to be completely made whole, to find answers to the questions I have, and to be changed into more of the man that God wants me to be. We know that prayer is the foundation to everything we do, and everyone on the team is seeking multiple people who will commit to pray for us.
Secondly, it would be a huge blessing if you are able to help support our team financially. I fully trust that God will provide each team member with the money to take this trip, however, I know that we can’t afford it on our own. The total cost of my trip is $2500, not including the cost of vaccinations. I will need to receive only two vaccines for this trip, so hopefully that cost will not amount to much. If you feel led to help financially, send me a message or send your support to the address listed on the envelope included (also listed at the top of this letter). Please make all checks out to Community Church of Columbus with my name in the memo line. You can also donate by clicking the Paypal “Donate!” button on my blog (musicalmindset-realnoimitation.blogspot.com). What I really want you to do is pray for me, that is the number one thing I need. Thank you all for your love and support, I will continue to post notes and blogs leading up to the trip, during, and after I get back to let you all know what amazing things God does while we are in Moldova!

Grace and Peace,
Brad Robertson


Community with a Side of Bacon

If you've ever read any portion of my blog, I'm sure you're familiar with how important I think community is to our lives physically, mentally and spiritually. If you haven't, go ahead and do that now... it's okay, we'll wait..... ( please close/reopen your browser for each post you read, trying to build my rep up with "pageviews"). While you're reading old posts, also please not my use of parenthetical sarcasm, as illustrated above. ANYWAY... back on topic, community is a HUGE factor in  my growth and development as a Christian and as a man. I strongly believe that if it were not for the impact of community, I wouldn't be able to write this blog, work at my company, graduated in college, or succeeded in any way. God calls us to live in community with one another, I absolutely can't stress the importance of community enough. The church I attend, has somewhere upwards of 65 small groups. Small groups are one way that we live in community with one another. We are a church made up of small groups. I love my small group, and it has stretched me in ways that I could never have imagined. However, I still felt like there was something missing within my Walk... and I couldn't figure out what that was.

God. Provides.

A few months ago, I found myself greatly disheartened, by the corporate business world, the spiritual darkness of my workplace, and the inability to influence my coworkers more than they were influencing me. This led to a conversation with a guy, who when I was 8 years old was the older, cooler college age guy that coached my soccer team, when I was 18 years old was my high school soccer team that ran us so hard in practice I sometimes wanted to kill him, and now that I'm 24 years old is one of my closest friends, and a spiritual mentor. He made me realize that if I wasn't willing to pray for the corporate business world, the workplace, my coworkers... than I didn't really care about those things as much as I wanted to believe I did. That conversation planted a seed in the garden of my mind ( Mr. Roger's reference). I needed to establish a group of people that could pray for Columbus area businesses. This group was going to be comprised of men, that were curious about God or actively seeking God. Men that worked in Columbus. Men that wanted to pray for their workplaces. It all came to fruition through the creation of a new small group called... Community with a Side of Bacon.


Three things that go hand in hand with each other (or hand to mouth in the case of Bacon). I love community, and I love bacon. SO, this new small group meets on Wednesday mornings at 6:45 am at a local diner. We can eat breakfast, with other men of like-mind and heart, discuss the workplace and the struggles we see there. It's a safe place for men to talk about anything and everything. Including, but not limited to: Pride, Greed, Lust, Failure, Anger, Ethics, and Workplace Witnessing. I felt called to start and lead this group, and I have a HUGE vision for what it may become. We will quickly bond as a brotherhood, a community of manly bacon lovers (Vegetarians need not apply... kidding of course... sort of). We'll meet on Wednesday mornings because it's the middle of the work week, it allows for things to come up from the beginning of the week, and things to pray about going into the end of the week. It also, make it an awesome day for me in respect to community. My three meals a day will be spent with people from the community of believers that I belong too. Men's breakfast, Men's Lunch, Small Group dinner. It's a refreshing and rejuvenating day throughout a sometimes stressful week. And...


This morning we met for the first time. Aside from myself, we had 6 men show up to pray together. We talked briefly about our jobs, where we come from, who we are, and what led us to join the group. We range from young guys in their first career or searching for a job to older guys that have been with their company for 22 years. It was such a blessing to hear a brief part of each man's story.. and I greatly look forward to learning more about them. If you would, pray with us, pray for us, pray that our prayers would be intentional. If you're a man, and you want to join us... get ahold of me. If you're a woman, and you're interested... get in touch with me, I'd love to see a women's counterpart to our group form. If you're just reading this blog because you needed a break from class/work/the kids/ or the Xbox... go ahead and pray for our businesses, for our small groups, for our community. Prayer can change the world.

Grace and Peace.... and bacon.