Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gratitude: God Prepares Hearts

 This month I want to gratefully acknowledge God for his goodness in sending me so many people whose hearts He has prepared to learn, to be broken, and to receive from Him. 

          I recently taught a five-day Grace Life Workshop, and it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know the 14 people who came. This course is meant to prepare students to listen to the people they serve and share the word of God's grace into their hearts. The theme was learning to listen to the way that God narrates our stories. It was a fun creative journey into the heart of God's love for us and how He sees us as expressions of His Life.

Here is a sample from one of the devotions that I was inspired to share with them. The words are from Jesus to you:

Your life is a letter that anyone can read just by looking at you. I wrote this letter myself - not with ink, but with My Living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into your human life. There is nothing you can be more sure of in this world - than that you, yourself, are a letter that reveals who I am. Only I can write such a letter. This letter authorizes you to carry out My new plan of action. This plan is not written with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. 
 It's written with Spirit on spirit, My Life on your life.

Here are just the surface occupations of the people who attended to give you an idea of the breadth of experience represented in the workshop: a custom tailor, a carpenter, a clinical social worker, a beautician, a physical therapist, as well as several people studying for advanced degrees in counseling. What an amazing experience. Suffice it to say that I saw Jesus working miracles of brokenness, surrender and healing in each Life, and doing everything necessary for His glory to be revealed.

Seeing all the different roles these people play, I realize that the work that Jesus is doing in their hearts will have an effect on them as they lead others in their chosen vocations, in their families, in their churches. So I want to say thank you to all of you who support me in what I do, and celebrate together all the ways that God is bearing fruit in people's hearts through this ministry.

Be Loved,


Brian's Baptism

A little more than a year ago, I had the privilege of doing a week long counseling intensive with a young guy named Brian. He was in a place in his life where things had become completely unmanageable. He had just given up on a high paying, high stress job because he was filled with depression and anxiety and trapped in some bad habits, and he deeply desired a change. I led him to Jesus and God taught Brian about all that is possible when we entrust our lives into His hands. Following is a letter and a link to a recorded testimony which Brian recently gave at his baptism. I'm not claiming any credit for the change in his life, but it is gratifying to see what God has done for this guy, and to know that I met with him along the way.

Hi folks!

I am happy to announce that I was baptized this past Sunday!

I was baptized previously, when I was sixteen, but I did not act with the depth of understanding and intentionality that I possess now.  The general definition of baptism is an outward sign of my faith in Christ, and the act of baptism shows that I want to be identified with him and his ministry.

Another way to define my reason behind being baptized is articulated by Paul in Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes”.  I really like that idea of unashamed, which is how you feel about something that you love or are really passionate about.  When you’re excited about something, or really see the value in it, you want to show and tell others about how and why that something is so wonderful.

I wanted to share this with you all.  The week before my baptism (which was in the Chattahoochee River, old school style), one of the pastors at the church asked me if I would share my testimony with the church, so I did.  Here is a link where you can listen to a recording of my testimony if you'd like to hear it.  If you know someone else who needs to hear it, please feel free to pass it on.   Brian's Testimony   (Yes, they spelled my name wrong  =-) 

There's also some great pics that my Dad took at the baptism.  My best friend, Jared, who I've known for 25 years, baptized me, which made it extra awesome. 
I hope y'all enjoy! 

Lots of love,

Family Life

Owen just learned to crawl, he's teething, being weened, and sleeping through the night (sometimes . . . sigh). Oh and he's also adorable, as you can see. He's mischievous, moody and really knows how to catch your heart with a little smile.

Leif is growing up, but also going through that difficult stage where he realizes that his brother gets a lot of attention for being a baby. He's been sucking his thumb more, and playing at being a baby to try to get back some of the attention. We're learning though that this little boy has been given the sweetest heart by God, as he responds in perceptive and generous ways that are so wonderful and surprising. In minor moments of difficulty we catch him praying to Jesus, for us, out loud. He's picking up on our relationship with Jesus, and learning to enter into that on his own. We spend a lot of time reading stories from The Jesus Storybook Bible that our good friends Mark and Donna Marie bought for Leif. I (Charles) find that it speaks to my heart very deeply, and Leif just seems to love it! The language is so full of God's love, and the artwork is very intriguing to his little imagination. He's always asking about the pictures as we read. It's constant refrain is to point to Jesus as our Rescuer and the ultimate expression of God's Always and Forever Love for us. It's just one of the ways we see God sharing life with us through Leif, and lovingly parenting him through us.

As I lay in bed praying with Leif one night, he was asking me how he could see Jesus. I was inspired to tell him this: "You see how I'm looking at you right now? And I'm smiling and putting my arms around you, because I love you?" Leif said yes. Then I was going to say, "Jesus loves you like that", but I didn't. Instead I said this: "Because Jesus lives in me, when I smile at you, you can see His face smiling, and when I love you, you can feel Him loving you. Does that make sense?" And Leif nodded, slowly. I don't know how much he really understands, but then, how much do I understand the mystery of Jesus loving my children through me? I just know that I like it, and I want to experience more of this relationship every day. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Grace Brazil

Thanks to a good friend Ted Angel, I've had the opportunity to share a teaching on intimacy with Jesus through a website dedicated to sharing God's Grace with the Portuguese speaking world.
Go  here ( to connect to the link and watch the video. You'll have to scroll down to click on my name.

Feel free to share this link with anyone you know who may benefit! As you'll see there are many other teachers on this website who have far more experience and influence than me: Steve McVey (GraceWalk), William Paul Young (The Shack), Andrew Farley (The Naked Gospel). ENJOY them all.