If I were to describe myself in one sentence it would be as follows: I am an ordinary Christian man empowered by an extraordinary God. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Apart from Christ I am extremely limited, but when I put my faith and trust completely in Him, there’s no telling what can be accomplished. [...]
My head was in his lap and I was looking up at the ceiling, wondering how I had gotten here. My little girl hopes and dreams were flashing right before my very eyes. My heart felt like it was literally being torn apart. My husband’s soft hands were brushing away the hairs surrounding my face. “Shannon, do you really think that this is Gods will?” In that moment, that very tiny moment in time, it was like a lightbulb that had been flickering for days finally flashed all the way on and shined bright. “No,” I said. “No, it can’t be.” [...]
On my own and vacant from the Lord, I become the enemy because I have no defense against sin. This makes my life aimless and its journey always leads to impossible predicaments. Using my willpower to dig myself out of the hole makes matters worse and leaves me in spiritual darkness. [...]
"If a man says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" (1 John 4:20).
'Brother' is my personal testimony, translated into song, of how Jesus delivered me from hatred. I held a grudge against my brother where I didn't speak to him for 5 long years (although we lived in the same house!). This grudge caused a ripple in my family, brought my mother and sisters many tears, damaged friendships and put a damper on countless holidays. But one day, Jesus spoke to my heart and told me that it was time to end this grudge. My family, and I, were at morning prayer at my church. After prayer ended, I stood before the congregation and addressed my brother who was sitting in the pews. I looked him in the eyes for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, and I said to him just 5 words... "I'm sorry. Please forgive me." I wept uncontrollably as I repeated those words. My Pastor and First Lady, who were present, invited my brother to the front of the church to embrace me as the entire congregation cried aloud, praising God. What I could not do in my own strength, Jesus granted me the grace to do... which was love. [...]
I was raised in a traditional Christian home. One of my earliest memories of church is sitting on a hard wooden pew with my mother listening to a pipe organ play a traditional hymn. We were attending a Methodist church at the time. I remember hearing Bible stories, singing songs about the B.I.B.L.E and Jesus Loving the Little Children. It wasn’t until I was six years old attending Vacation Bible School that I learned how Jesus wanted to save me from my sins. I can’t say I understood the greater concept of sin but I did want Jesus to be my friend. At the end of the lesson, I raised my hand and the teacher prayed with me to “accept Jesus into my heart”. [...]
It was August 2004 and we were on our way to Mexico with some family on a plane. I was eleven years old and had enjoyed plane rides up to that point. But flying from Phoenix, AZ to Sinaloa, Mexico in August meant that we would be traveling in the midst of storms. My young self was in for the worst ride of her life. [...]
Their stories held me spellbound. They were stories of strength, of sorrow, of pain and God's grace. How would my little story of "I grew up in a Christian home and have always gone to this church" compare to that? [...]