Tuesday, September 25, 2012


the following is a challenge written by former Circuit Court Judge, Randy Hekman, husband, father of 12, follower of Jesus, friend. read and discern for yourself what your responsibility will be on tuesday november 6, 2012. 


Is it acceptable for a follower of Christ vote for President in this election when the choice is between two men, one of whom supports policies that are contrary to Scripture and the other is an active member of the Mormon church?

I have heard that a number of Christians feel it would be sinful for them to engage at all in the election process in light of the “lesser of two evils” choice that con

fronts us. Is the best answer for us to not vote at all? Is this the way for a Christian to avoid responsibility for an election that will inevitably usher in a President who, from all we can tell, is not a Christ follower?

Let me suggest we are derelict in our responsibility as Christians if we do NOT cast a vote this November. My reasons for saying this:
• We are electing a President, not appointing a pastor of our church. Good government requires men and women of competence, diligence, honesty and accountability. While these qualities will ideally be found in all Christians, they can also be found in many non-Christians because of God’s common grace to mankind.
• Scripture is clear that our sovereign God frequently works through even godless governmental leaders for our good. Godless Caesar Augustus, through the census he ordered, was responsible, humanly speaking, for Christ to be born in Bethlehem. Persian dictator Cyrus was used by God to cause the Jews to leave captivity and return to Jerusalem. Jesus reminded Pontius Pilate that the governor’s authority came from God.
• Even the Jewish people in captivity in Babylon were commanded by God to promote the good of that godless nation. “This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: . . . ‘[S]eek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’” (Jer. 29:4,7)
• The ultimate leaders of our nation are “We the People.” This is a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” God holds us accountable as stewards of that for which we are responsible. I as a husband and father will someday answer to God for my stewardship of those roles. And, as a citizen of the United States, I believe I will also answer for my role as a voter and participant in this Constitutional republic.
Bottom line, Christian, vote for the person that best shares your Biblical values and will do the best to provide an environment that allows us to live “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (I Timothy 2:1-2)

Thursday, September 20, 2012


i remember the days when words used to flow out from my fingertips
and now it seems that i have so much to say when i can't possibly write
(like when i'm driving, for instance)
but when i get a moment with a keyboard in front of me it is all i can do to squeeze out a few drops that testify to what God is doing
but more often than not i'll start writing
and soon i recognize my preoccupation with trying to make things look or sound a certain way
and it distracts me enough that the little bit that i originally had to say trickles away
and i'm left with a stupid blank screen
and disappointment.
but there's so much to say
like how He's taught me to love people and to put myself aside
granted, not comparable to the way that Jesus loves, but being sanctified to become more like Him
like how He's begun to show me what i love and why
like how He's saved me from decisions that i've made so selfishly
like how He's placed me within a safety net of people who will ask and challenge and listen and forgive and teach and wait and pray and
model for me what it looks like to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ
like how He's planted me in a community of people who can own their sin
and who have learned submission to the painful process of God's discipline
because they have tested and trusted His outcome of the process,
glorifying, exalting the name of Jesus
and at the same time finding such rest under the promise of His faithful acceptance
that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it
even though it comes with pain
even He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, [made] the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
i'm grateful for the men in our church family who have testified to God's healing power,
the men who can confidently tell of His rescue from addictions
addictions to pornography
addictions to self, to pride,
addictions to alcohol, 
addictions to money and control.
and any of these have in common a core belief that God just isn't enough
and many of these brothers share that they masked and performed and faked their ways through years,
claiming Jesus, telling of dreams to serve Him, leading others "in the name of Jesus"
but now, now able to claim Jesus with assurance, to tell of dreams that God is bringing to fruition now, now that they are walking with Him in all truth,
and He, now, has placed so many of these dear brothers into leadership in His Name
because now they walk in His strength,
trusting Him for purity, depending on the all-surpassing power of the Spirit of God in order to fix their eyes on Jesus as the only way to resist sin, the only way to experience life, 
this is testimony.
neil challenges us to recognize testimony the way that paul testified of God - not by telling our stories and how God fits into them, but by telling God's story and how we so humbly and so gratefully fit into His.
the One who has called you is faithful and He will do it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


there is rich suggestiveness in this interpretation of the pruning process, as we apply it to the christian life. pruning seems to be destroying the vine, the gardener appears to be cutting at all away; but he looks on into the future and knows that the final outcome will be the enrichment of its life and greater abundance of fruit.
there are blessings we can never have unless we are ready to the price of pain. there is no way to reach them save through suffering.
[dr. miller, from streams in the desert]

"i walked a mile with Pleasure, she chattered all the way;
but left me none the wiser for all she had to say.

i walked a mile with Sorrow, and ne'er a word said she;
but, oh, the things i learned from her when sorrow walked with me."


oh, my God, He will not delay
my refuge and strength always
i will not fear, His promise is true
my God will come through always, always
[kristian stanfill]

so, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. and God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. but when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. i speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what i say. is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ?...
[paul, 1 corinthians 10]

He is faithful
teaching humility in temptation
and childlike dependence in suffering
because it is not a question of who will be tempted, who will sin, who will suffer,
but when.
He is faithful to provide avenues around this,
a learned process - 
r often says "choose to sin, choose to suffer"
and it is unfathomable that a person would choose sin so that s/he might suffer
and neither is suffering a result only of sin
but yet God produces fruit out of our suffering

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


a testimony indeed
and not just because this season is good
but because He is so obvious in it.
He has led me away from things that have sapped His life out of me
and into the things that make my eyes shine
with all the joy and hope that He intended.
i'm finding what i love, finally,
because He has meticulously chiseled me,
not without pain, to fit where He has me now.
and as things so often do under His watch
pieces from each category come together to make sense of it all
and i don't mind collecting them into one whole
that, by His grace, will increasingly reflect His wholeness

Saturday, September 8, 2012


this is beautiful.
this is the kingdom of God.
[m says that there is even 1 sister missing from this picture]
but these 10 brothers and sisters
have Jesus in common.
some adopted,
some biological,
but family regardless.
all loving and all loved.
a small glimpse of what eternity will be...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012



thankful for a year [nearly]
with two dear friends
and spending an evening packing, cleaning, talking, laughing
probably this one last time
but God orchestrated even these few hours

i'm thankful also that although i rarely drove the 25 mph on valley...
i never did get pulled over.
i'm thankful that we had a huge bin for recycling
and we faithfully filled that thing most weeks [okay, bi-weekly]
i'm thankful that c & a were so patient with me while i worked nights
and they let me sleep peacefully during the day every saturday...
i'm thankful for a very special french press
that our precious artist friend designed so creatively
i'm thankful for so many things over these past months.
i don't want to forget any of it
so as i think of things, i'll add them here.
loved this season.

Monday, September 3, 2012

:: max & chelsea ::

[photo by brooke collier photography]

years of prayers and questions and tears and excitement culminated in
one bright and sandy afternoon
and 150 pairs of eyes joined as witnesses to
yet another of God's promises fulfilled.

max and chelsea garter.

will's, jana's, and my words combined to bless the new husband and wife
and each of our outbursts had a common thread weaving though:
here we have two people who are crazy about each other,
but, when we said the things that we said,
i know that each of us was convinced 
that max and chelsea, individually, are committed first to God,
then to each other.
and this, this is why it was hard to hold back tears as
neil challenged them to love well,
as they made their promises to one another,
no doubt comforted to have the accountability of so many godly men and women.

dear chelsea,
the friend who listened for so many hours,
who patiently sat with me when i cried,
who had sleepovers in my room (even though her room was 2 feet away),
who generously helped me with hair problems and curls for special events,
who consisently offered to me wise counsel and uplifting encouragement,
who forgave me and prayed for me,
who melted her french press to our stovetop,
who lined our teeny tiny house with art and paint and canvases,
who cleaned our sick nasty bathtub without asking for any acknowledgement,
who shared her precious family,
who taught me to talk about the deep things of God
and to trust His leading even in the desert,
the friend whose meals were so very predictable,
who never ceased to amaze me with her inappropriate appearances around the house
and her unpredictable style of dress,
the same girl who would leave her car windows open in the rain,
who would drink my smoothies even when they were gross,
who would eat beans and rice or chips and salsa or popcorn. anytime.
the woman who would worship with her whole heart and love people with the same,
a rare proverbs 31 beauty.

faithful max,
the man who chelsea says she can dream with,
the man who slaved away to create a place for her,
the man whose priority was so clearly to protect his wife-to-be,
the one who is so incredibly laid back and so very intense. at the same time.
the one who waited for his bride,
the one who owns who he is and fights to be the best he can,
who seeks accountability and forgiveness,
the one who forgives and encourages,
who (jana said it best) is a place of safety for his wife, a landing place, shelter,
the man who also worships with his whole heart,
who surfs and who epitomizes a surfer,
the man who is a faithful one (as will knows to be true after 25 years of friendship)
the one who finally was able to capture her heart
and the one who will be so blessed by her humility for a lifetime.

a beautiful team.
praise Him.

[photo by nathan english photography]