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This year, we officially added two new members to our family. Meet Emanuel James and Juan Matthew Bloodworth.

Our journey through Foster Care and Adoption began when I was born.  My eternal family changed through the love of my earthly family and God has laid it on our hearts to help as many kids as we can.  We are strong advocates of Foster Care and Adoption.

 

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(Pictured L to R = Manny, Zeke & Juan–Taken just after placement in Dec. 2013. NOTE: They’re each missing their two front teeth!) The boys each have “lofty” Biblical names.  Emanuel James = Manny was born on Christmas Day. He was born premature and will have some health issues for the rest of his life. Ezekiel Josiah = Zeke was adopted at birth. He was named after the prophet Ezekiel in the Bible who was called the “watchman of Israel”. And his biological mother chose his middle name, Josiah who was the “youngest king in all Israel.” The Bible says, “he turned neither to the right nor to the left and walked in the ways of his father David.”  Juan Matthew = Juan was named after the disciple.

For those of you who know my story, names are significant in our family. I was named after my dad’s best friend (Dennis) who was a missionary to the Philippines.

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We love having a large family.  It’s awesome to see how the kids all just “fit” together.  The cool part about being a family is working through life’s adventures together.

IMG_6492This was taken at the Adoption Hearing at the courthouse. At the time this photo was taken, the boys were 6,7,8 and the girls were 16,17,18.

IMG_9036_editChristy and I continue to take life “one day at a time” as parents. We’re not sure how long we will continue to be foster/adoptive parents, however we know that we’re making an impact ONE CHILD AT A TIME.  Please continue to pray for all the kids “in the system”. Pray that God will one day raise up families who will commit to raise them in a godly home.

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This post needs no commentary. I only pray that you’ll allow this truth to change your eternal zip code…

From Max Lucado’s book, He Chose the Nails:

“Through the eyes of Scripture we see what others missed, but what Jesus saw. Colossians 2:24 NLT says, “He cancelled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.”

Between his hand and the wood there was a list. A long list. A list of our mistakes: our lusts and lies and greedy moments and prodigal years. A list of our sins.

Dangling from the cross is an itemized catalog of your sins. The bad decisions from last year. The bad attitudes from last week. There, in broad daylight for all of heaven to see, is a list of your mistakes. … He has penned a list of our faults. The list God made, however cannot be read. The words can’t be deciphered. The mistakes are covered. The sins are hidden. Those at the top are hidden by his hand; those down the list are covered by his blood. Your sins are ‘cancelled’.

This is why he refused to close his fist. He saw the list! What kept him from resisting? This warrant, this tabulation of your failures. He knew the price of those sins was death. He knew the source of those sins was you, and since he couldn’t bear the thought of eternity without you, he chose the nails.

The hand squeezing the handle was not a Roman infantryman.

The force behind the hammer was not an angry mob.

The verdict behind the death sentence was not decided by jealous Jews.

Jesus himself chose the nails.

So the hands of Jesus opened up. Had the soldier hesitated, Jesus himself would’ve swung the mallet. He knew how; he was no stranger to the driving of nails. As a carpenter he knew what it took. As a Savior, he knew what it meant. He knew the purpose of the nail was to place your sins where they would be hidden by his sacrifice and covered by his blood. So, Jesus himself swung the hammer.

On Easter, remember:

The same hand that calmed the seas, calms your guilt.

The same hand that cleansed the Temple, cleanses your Heart.

This is the hand of God

And as the hands of Jesus opened for the nail, the doors of heaven opened for you.”

Sarcasm

Posted: August 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Sarcasm. Controlling your tongue. Nothing erodes the human spirit faster. Nothing causes more damage psychologically. Nothing crushes self-esteem or steals confidence more than sarcasm.  Yet for some reason, it has gone largely “unchecked” in most circles.

Whether you’re a person of faith or not, even most moral people do not subscribe to cuss words or “bad language”. In fact, in highly educated circles, it’s even looked down upon as a “lesser” form of communication, as if the speaker cannot intelligently come up with words to better get their point across.  But for some reason sarcasm continues to run rampant.

Now you must understand:  I am the KING of sarcasm.  Back in the day, my wife bought me a t-shirt that said, “Sarcasm: one of my many talents”.  Once upon a time, I even used to “battle” with a guy on our church staff to see who was “best” when it came to this issue.  Arguably, I was tops.  Looking back, I wish I were proud of it. Here’s the convicting verse:

Ephesians 5:3-4 (NIV)
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

It’s the “coarse joking” part that most people skip over.  Here’s another glimpse of what Paul was trying to tell the church in Ephesus:

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

He uses he phrase “unwholesome talk”.  If you’re constantly railing someone, or casting ‘negative’ views on others or on life in general, that’s sarcasm. Sarcasm doesn’t build up. It tears down. It erodes.  It breaks. It robs.  It does a lot of things, but “building up” is not one of them.  Consider this:

James 1:26 (NIV)
26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Wow!  I am convicted about keeping a “tight rein” on my tongue.  James goes on to say:

James 3:2-10 (NIV)
2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.
4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man,
8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.
10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

Amazing! v. 2 says, “if we’re never at fault with what we say, we are PERFECT”!  Let’s try to keep a tight rein on our tongue. Let’s do our best to curb SARCASM.

Starting with me.

TEAMWORK

Posted: August 2, 2013 in Life & Times, Parenting, Uncategorized
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How many girls does it take to get the balloon?

This is one of our all-time favorite pics. We happened to walk around the corner and catch our kids in action. Brianna, Autumn and Courtney were 7, 6 & 4 at the time.

Sometimes, life’s greatest lessons come through the smallest moments.

Ingredients of GREAT TEAMS:

1. Sacrifice.  On every great team there must exist players with the willingness to be unselfish. To give the assist vs. the goal. To lay down a bunt to advance the runner. To throw the block to open the hole.

2. Effort. A team is only as strong as it’s weakest link. In fact, great coaches will attack their opponents’ weakest player.  Each player is expected to give 100% effort in the gym, in practice, and on the field.

3. Unity. Working together for a common goal or purpose. Teams must have coordination and cooperation.  They must unite for a SINGLE PURPOSE.

OK…this is a heavy analogy to draw from my daughters trying to get a balloon, but hang with me…

I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful for the “snapshots” that life sometimes brings and the lessons that come from life’s smallest moments.

May we learn from life’s lessons.

Shrek the Sheep

Posted: August 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Shrek the sheep first gained fame when his picture was posted several years ago.  Apparently, he had been wandering the caves for 7 years away from his “shepherd”. With no one to shear him, his fleece grew to the point that it was blocking his vision.  When he was found, he was sheared and his fleece weighed an amazing 60 lbs.!  (The fleece for an average sheep weighs just under 10lbs.)

Here’s the takeaway:

When we’re away from Christ, our “shepherd”, our burdens seem heavy.  But, when we spend time with Jesus, he gives us rest.  In fact, Jesus says…

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

No matter how great or heavy our burdens are, Jesus Christ takes them and lightens the load!

Maybe it’s time to stop wandering.

Maybe it’s time to shed the fleece we’ve been carrying.

Maybe it’s time to stay close to the Shepherd.