BASE CAMP : Direction for those in Despair

A few weeks ago I had the honor of serving the Norwood family through leading the memorial service for Taylor Norwood.  That day, in the midst of tragedy and loss, 25 people made a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” – Genesis 50

After a number of conversations days after the service, I felt the prompting to share excerpts from that message …

“The camp of WHAT IF & the camp of WHAT NOW”

We’ve attended memorial services just like this and I’ve witnessed two camps or schools of thought conveyed in the time of despair.  These camps are worlds apart and operate under different mandates.

The camp of WHAT IF

The camp of WHAT IF breeds remorse, regret, guilt, shame and chaos. We may have daily feelings of it, but it’s magnified in moments like these and in times of loss.
This camp begs the question WHAT IF’ …
What if I did something different?
What if I said something?
What if I intervened?
What if I hadn’t said what I said?
What if I hadn’t gone to this place?
What if I hadn’t made that introduction?
What if? What if? What if?
That’s how that camp operates. This camp keeps you in a perpetual cycle of rehearsing and reliving the past as well keeping you in a spin cycle of chaos.
In contrast there is …

The camp of WHAT NOW

This camp breeds love, joy, peace, comfort, identity and purpose.
Now THIS camp begs the question, WHAT NOW? That’s how THIS camp operates. It keeps us looking ahead and actually encourages to forget the bad and focus on the good.
Although these two camps are worlds apart they have a certain similarity. Both camps actively and relentlessly pursue you.
One camp is run by Satan, the enemy, the defeated, the created.
One camp is run by Jesus … the way, the truth, the life, the Creator.

A dose of TRUTH

At a moment in time, you were conceived and you breathed your first breath. Even before you were conceived, He (God) had you in mind.
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. -Ephesians 1
Remember the two camps? The camp of WHAT IF and the camp of WHAT NOW?
The moment you were conceived you became a threat. What.  If.  The enemy asks the very question of the nature of his camp.
What if you got wind of the truth?
What if you caught wind of your purpose?
What if you got wind of God’s plan for your life?
What if what if what if and the very nature of the camp rolls into existence over your life.
So they enemy keeps us in fear, he keeps us insecure, he keeps us defeated, he keeps us defeated, he keeps us weak, he keeps us in chaos. He’s bent on stealing, killing and destroying your life.

A second dose of TRUTH

As of the result of our sin nature, when we start of in this life, our propensity to defy God is already in us because of what happened at the beginning of time.   Adam and Eve messed this up. God had a plan, we messed it up. But as we are introduced to the truth, we are introduced to the question of the camp that says What now”.
If the characteristics of that camp are true … there is purpose, there is life, there is a plan, there is peace, there is joy and it’s not only preparing our lives for eternity in heaven, but also living what the Bible calls abundant life” here on Earth.
The Bible actually says …
This is what God says,
    the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
    who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
    they lie down and then can’t get up;
    they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. – Isaiah 43
So, you are presented with a choice. What if? What now?
At a moment in my life I recognized that I needed this Jesus. I needed to leave my sin, my shame, my regret, my addiction, my past and embrace the WHAT NOW.  I had to embrace that God has a plan and I was going to walk in the camp of the what now.
Like I said when we started, a mom and a dad aren’t supposed to bury their child. What are we going to do now. We are going to depend on a God who has made His peace and comfort available to us.
In just a moment, I’m going to pray and ask for anyone who wants to be included in that prayer. Pastor Andrew what’s going to happen if I try and I fail?
Again, that’s the WHAT IF … Let’s embrace the WHAT NOW.
He’s a God of forgiveness and unconditional love. What now? We are going to stand back up and grow from it. What if I fail again? Not what if … we are saying what now. We will stand up again.
We need a starting point in the midst of despair.  There is hope.  Base Camp is where it starts.  Base Camp has a name.  That name is the camp of WHAT NOW.  That camp has one person in charge.  That person is Jesus.  Let me know if you need to return to Base Camp.  There’s room for one more.

13 … and counting 

This is us.  

13 years ago today represents our arrival in Richmond VA. 

3 of us didn’t exist. 

2 of us didn’t have a clue about life, marriage or anything else EXCEPT one thing … God was with us. 

This picture pretty much sums up that moment. We weren’t ready. We had no plan. We just knew … God was in it. 

13 years later I still circle this city in my car praying for you. The love that God has given us for the people of this city is difficult to articulate but the love runs deep. 

13 years later I’ve never been more hopeful, more fired up and more motivated than I am now to see God do great things here alongside you. 

Richmond was once an unknown place to us, then a new place, but now it’s home. 

For those that love us, for those that can’t stand us, for those that don’t know us … we love you. 

 Like my Pastor has challenged us these last few weeks … be intentional … be an encourager … be an intentional encourager. 

But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬ ‭

#raisinggeorges

DON’T screw my kids up

This is something I both think and pray on a daily basis asking God for help, patience and great wisdom!  I’m amazed that God would trust me with these precious gifts.

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I’m a student when it comes to parenting and here’s some things I’ve found that helps …

1. Pray FOR them, daily

2. Pray WITH them, daily

3. Seek godly counsel from those that are further along

4. Teach them in the way they should go

5. Partner with the local Church

In two weeks, Clover Hill will launch its Spring session for small groups including Journey Groups for Kids.  I’ve watched my eldest in his time during Journey 101 and 201 and have seen beginning stages of spiritual growth I’ve been praying for.  At the end of the 201 session he came to me and said, “Dad, I get it.  I understand what this (the Bible and Jesus) is all about!”

THAT my friends, is worth it’s weight in gold.

I’m grateful to our Kids Pastor, Diana Lane and her Kids Dream Team who faithfully partner with Linzy and I in this parenting journey.

kidsWould you join my boys in being a part of Journey this semester?  Starts 4/19.  Sign up by this Sunday.

[PRAYER] : A Daddy’s Prayer

There’s power in the name of Jesus.

There’s power in our words.

Dads, we are equipped to speak blessings over our kids and I challenge you not to withhold that power you possess, but release it.  Often times we feel beat up about what we are not doing, but God has deposited something amazing in you and our kids are waiting to receive it.  Release the blessing.

screenIsaac spoke a power blessing over his son.  You’ll have to read the back story to really understand the context and the mess of the situation, but the content of the blessing was incredible.  Genesis 27

28 May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine. [ BLESSING OF ABUNDANCE ]
29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you.[ BLESSING OF INFLUENCE ]
Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. [ BLESSING OF GENERATIONAL HERITAGE ]
May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.” [ BLESSING OF PROTECTION ]

Go ahead.  Speak it in faith, and watch what it releases over their lives!

[PRAYER] : 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children

prayinghandsSalvation—”Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” (Isaiah 45:8; 2 Timothy 2:10)

Growth in Grace—”I pray that my children may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)

Love—”Grant, Lord, that my children may learn to live a life of love, through the Spirit who dwells in them.” (Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:2)

Honesty and Integrity—”May integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection.” (Psalms 25:21)

Self-Control—”Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be alert and self-controlled in all they do.” (1 Thessalonians. 5:6)

Love for God’s Word—”May my children grow to find Your Word more precious than much pure gold and sweeter than honey from the comb.” (Psalms 19:10)

Justice—”God, help my children to love justice as You do and act justly in all they do.” (Psalms 11:7; Micah 6:8)

Mercy—”May my children always be merciful, just as their Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)

Respect (for self, others, and authority)—”Father, grant that my children may show proper respect to everyone, as Your Word commands.” (1 Peter 2:17)

Biblical Self-Esteem—”Help my children develop a strong self-esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Faithfulness—”Let love and faithfulness never leave my children, but bind these twin virtues around their necks and write them on the tablet of their hearts.” (Proverbs 3:3)

Courage—”May my children always be strong and courageous in their character and in their actions.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Purity—”Create in them a pure heart, O God, and let that purity of heart be shown in their actions.” (Psalms 51:10)

Kindness—”Lord, may my children always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15)

Generosity—”Grant that my children may be generous and willing to share, and so lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age.” (1 Timothy 6:18-19)

Peace-Loving—”Father, let my children make every effort to do what leads to peace.” (Romans 14:19)

Joy—”May my children be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

Perseverance—”Lord, teach my children perseverance in all they do, and help them especially to run with perseverance the race marked out for them.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Humility—”God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show true humility toward all.” (Titus 3:2)

Compassion—”Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion.” (Colossians 3:12)

Responsibility—”Grant that my children may learn responsibility, for each one should carry his own load.” (Galatians 6:5)

Contentment—”Father, teach my children the secret of being content in any and every situation, through Him who gives them strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13)

Faith—”I pray that faith will find root and grow in my children’s hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them.” (Luke 17:5-6; Hebrews 11:1-40)

A Servant’s Heart—”God, please help my children develop servant’s hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly, as if they were serving the Lord, not men.” (Ephesians 6:7)

Hope—”May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Willingness and Ability to Work—”Teach my children, Lord, to value work and to work at it with all their heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” (Colombians 3:23)

Passion for God—”Lord, please instill in my children a soul that ‘followeth hard after thee,’ one that clings passionately to You.” (Psalms 63:8)

Self-Discipline—”Father, I pray that my children may acquire a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair.” (Proverbs 1:3)

Prayerfulness—”Grant, Lord, that my children’s lives may be marked by prayerfulness, that they may learn to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Gratitude—”Help my children to live lives that are always overflowing with thankfulness and always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20; Col. 2:7)

A Heart for Missions—”Lord, please help my children to develop a desire to see Your glory declared among the nations, Your marvelous deeds among the peoples.” (Psalms. 96:3)

31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children by Bob Hostetler