Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Discovering Your Blind Spots




Honest and life-giving conversations 
about blind spots will lead to transformative
change and spiritual growth

To the outside world, examining and exposing your own blind spots can be viewed more as a weakness than a courageous step toward change in your life and relationships. However, true transformative change starts when we finally face our weaknesses—and we all have them. Uncovering our own unseen areas for spiritual growth is impossible without the help of God and trusted individuals. What does Jesus see that we tend to miss, and what does he think about the threats that blind spots pose?

With the release of their book, Blind Spots: What You Don’t See Can Hurt You (New Growth Press/July 29, 2019), authors Tim Riddle and Fil Anderson discuss Jesus’s primary mission to expose the deadly nature of blind spots, sharing how he alone has the cure. They urge followers of Christ to engage in honest and life-giving conversations about blind spots: what they are, why they exist, how to identify and remove them, how to keep them from returning, and how to point them out in others.

The authors define a blind spot as anything that stands in the way of being all that God has intended for our lives. In introducing the book, Riddle and Anderson write, “Yes, many of those blind spots are sins, but others are rooted in ignorance, immaturity, circumstances, and sometimes the sins of others against us. Sometimes, they are things we don’t see because God has not yet revealed them to us. But blind spots of many kinds may fuel our fears of stepping out in faith to use the talents and gifts God has given us.”

The inspiration behind Blind Spots came as the authors were reflecting on the challenge of spiritual growth. As they looked at their own personal lives, they realized obstacles in their own growth were usually due to a blind spot. Both consider coming together to write the book as being one of the most rewarding things they have done. In the process they have become each other’s blind spot partner and have developed a safe place to freely talk about potential blind spots they each may have.


Through sharing their own stories to uncover blind spots, the authors demonstrate how spiritual growth only happens in the context of seeing and acknowledging our own flaws. While Riddle and Anderson note the importance of community in dealing with blind spots, they emphasize the lasting, gospel change of the Spirit. By exploring the different ways we unknowingly sabotage ourselves and our relationships, Blind Spots guides readers toward depending on the Spirit for help.

“The Holy Spirit is the revealer and healer of our blind spots,” says Riddle. “In this book, we talk more in detail about the work of the Spirit and how the Spirit may work through others to help identify our blind spots.”

“The goal of the spiritual journey is the transformation of our self,” says Anderson. “This requires knowing both our self and God. Both are essential if we are to discover our true identity as those who are in Christ, because the self is where we meet God.”

The authors’ hope in releasing Blind Spots is that readers would see beyond the challenges preventing them from living fully and freely. Both know this is a journey that requires a combination of humility, trust, openness to change, and a willingness to submit to the Holy Spirit.



Tim Riddle, author of Blind Spots, is the CEO of Discover Blind Spots whose mission is to help leaders of corporations, churches, and non-profits address blind spots within their organizations. DBS provides help with direction and strategy, clarity in marketing and messaging, and alignment in staff, which leads to a healthy organization and effective leadership.

Previously, Riddle was the Executive Pastor of St. Mark’s Church in Burlington, NC, for thirteen years.  He used his leadership and strategic gifts to lead the staff and ministry of SMC. He also enjoys preaching/teaching and continues to speak at SMC. Prior to SMC, Riddle was the founder and CEO of Riddle & Company, a specialty textile company in Burlington, NC. 

Riddle is a graduate of Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC, and Fuller Theological Seminary.  He and his wife, Stacy, live in Burlington, NC, and have four children.



Fil Anderson is executive director of Journey Resources, based in Greensboro, NC. He’s a frequent conference speaker, spiritual director, and directs retreats and workshops nationally and internationally. Anderson is a member of the teaching team at Potter’s Inn Soul Care Institute. As a member of the pastoral staff of St. Mark’s Church, he provides on-site soul care to their staff and volunteers. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.

In addition to Blind Spots, Anderson is the author of Running on Empty and Breaking the Rules. He also contributed to Transformation of a Man’s Heart and is a regular writer for InTouch Magazine and various other publications. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Fuller Theological Seminary, Anderson also completed the Graduate Program in Christian Spiritual Guidance at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. He worked with Young Life for twenty-five years, serving as Area Director and Regional Director before becoming National Director of Training.

Anderson and his wife, Lucie, live in Greensboro and are the parents of three adult children. Avid beach lovers, they frequent Wrightsville Beach, NC, as often as possible.

Learn more at www.filanderson.com.


New Growth Press publishes gospel-centered Christian books, small group, and children’s Bible resources for discipleship, biblical counseling, and missional ministry. For more information about Blind Spots: What You Don’t See Can Hurt You and other releases from New Growth Press, visit www.newgrowthpress.com.


Blind Spots: What You Don’t See Can Hurt You
By Tim Riddle and Fil Anderson
July 29, 2019 / Retail Price: $15.99
Print ISBN: 978-1-948130-59-2 / E-book ISBN: 978-1-948130-60-8
RELIGION/Christian Life/Spiritual Growth



Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Bachelorette: Hannah B. - Week 12 (The Finale Part 2)

Here we go with the finale finale of Hannah's season. My eye twitch is back, and I am thinking of tall the things I really need to be doing other than blogging about this.

Anyway, Hannah says you have to show all your good and bad layers during this, and she has done it all. She's fallen in love with both.

Both men meet with Neil Lane. The overfed scripting has them each talking about how the ring is like their relationship with Hannah. For example, Tyler looks for loud and proud while Jed goes for a round diamond because the shape is more constant.

On the car ride from the hotel to wherever they are doing the ceremony, Hannah freaks out and asks the driver to stop the car. She climbs out, starts walking across the street in heels and trips out in middle of an intersection. She's sitting out in the road in a white dress. She scraped her elbow on the way down. A producer offers to help her up, but she declines his help. Hannah says she can't do this.
After a few minutes, Hannah decides she's ready to proceed. Both men have a part of her heart, and she claims there is no good way to tell someone they are not enough.

Tyler arrives. He's afraid of losing his words and getting cheezy. When he gets up to the stage (because that's what it is), he beings a well-rehearsed speech. She finally cuts him off. The look on his face when he realizes "This isn't it" is quite painful. There's no more looking her in the eye after that. She loves someone else.
Tyler says he's still going to be her biggest fan and wishes her and Jed much success. She gives him a hug he would like to escape. He says she and Jed will be great. He lets her walk him out.

That's got to be embarrassing for a guy. They should make every woman (or man at this point), go to the guy and tell them before they start their big speech. It's cruel and unusual punishment.

And then there was one...

Today she has clarity, and she has prayed for peace. She's waited her whole life for a happy ending. She's what, 25? (This reminds me of debating my age with my boss today.)

Oh snap, back on topic. Jed brought is guitar. I'm going to gag, not just because I'm coughing again (yes, I'm sick again).

If I was ever a Jed fan 12 weeks ago, I'm far from it now. Everything about him annoys me. However, he's what Hannah's looking for. She and I are far from alike though.

Oh my, I woudn't know pitch if it slapped me, but he sounds uber pitchy to me. It's painful.

Hannah doesn't have a song, but wants to say some stuff. As a little girl, she always prayed for her future husband. She didn't know who she was praying for. She's not always understand her heartbreak and why she's been through what she's been through. (I wish I could type her accent.)

Cue knee, ring, rose.

We're 35 minutes in. What are we going to do for the next hour and a half? I hope she doesn't sing and dance.

Chris Harrison tells us it's not been happily ever after and that Jed has to face the music. See what he did there?

Their home videos are annoying. After some happy times the first couple of days, Jed tells Hannah he was hanging with a girl a week before he came on the show. He told her it was over. People magazine articles talking with the girlfriend said otherwise.

At some point along the way, Hannah and Jed sat down in front of the cameras for a conversation.

Jed comes in, sits down, says he misses her, then silence. Hannah asks why he waited to tell her all this.

Jed says there's a different story she hasn't heard. Back in October, he dated her, but he was dating around. He didn't think it was exclusive or anything. He'd slept with her a couple of times, then went to Gatlinburg on a trip with her. "There wasn't a label on it." "Were you still hanging out with other chicks?" "Yeah."

The girl did meet his parents, threw him a surprise party in January, and her parents bought a vacation to the Bahamas for his birthday. They went over her birthday. He joined the show to get some attention for the music thing. He highly doubted he'd actually like anyone on the show.

They were on this Bahamas trip when he found out he was going to be on the show. He was drinking and told the other girl he loved her. It wasn't a proper goodbye, but once he got to LA it was goodbye in his heart. It wasn't verbal. He never told this girl that he was with the night before he left anything.

Hannah has seen texts from the girlfriend and from other girls that were at his apartment the night after she was in Nashville.

She was in it for love. He was in it to get famous. Jed wants to know what he needs to do to demonstrate he's for real. She walks out.

When she comes back in, followed by cameras, Jed tries to smooth stuff over by saying Hannah is what he has wanted. "Where do you want me to grow?" It seems an odd question.
Hannah asks if it ever crossed his mind back at the mansion when Scott was sent home on night one that he was guilty too. In Jed's mind, he didn't have a girlfriend. He didn't tell her in the fantasy suite because he was scared Hannah would walk away and leave him.

Hannah accuses him of going back to his old life when he got home. He told his friends that he "won." All of a sudden, what his family told her makes a lot of sense.

Jed says he never met someone who made him want to be a better person. He asks her for grace.

She takes off the ring.

Jed said in the two months of the show he became the person she wanted. I'm thinking not so much.

So, enough of that and back to the studio with Chris Harrison. He brings Hannah out to talk about what we just watched. What is she feeling? She still can't believe this is the way the conversation is going after this experience. 

The first she heard of anything was the day after they were first engaged. He warned there was a girl he was hanging out with. She questioned him, but he LIED.

When the People article came out, she quizzed him again. Again he LIED.

Chris asks where there relationship is. Hannah is not with Jed anymore.

They haven't seen each other since the day she gave the ring back, but they evidently did talk on the phone. Chris gives him the first chance to speak when he comes out. He apologies to her. Now that he has had a chance to review his behavior, he wasn't the best that he could be. This guy is weird. What he says is weird.

Jed knows he has hurt everyone involved. He just never would have fathomed that he would fall in love with someone on a reality TV show. He should have known more about it.

When asked what is going through her mind, Hannah has to take along pause before answering. What he didn't wasn't right. She did fall in love with him, and she knows that person is in there somewhere. She hopes he learns to be honest and grow from this for whoever in her future.

Jed is lame. He never pictured being with someone forever. He does still love her though.

Hannah isn't trying to punish him, but his feelings have changed. When the trust was broken, her feelings were gone. She doesn't love him like that anymore.

After sending Jed on his merry way, Hannah says she realizes though she WANTS a husband, she doesn't NEED one. With that, Chris Harrison reminds her she hasn't talked to Tyler yet.

Hannah's feelings for Tyler didn't just go away. Will Tyler want to play second fiddle? If I were Tyler, I wouldn't give anyone a second chance.

Hannah is giddy uncomfortable sitting there. Tyler has been looking forward to this moment.

The conversation is kind of boring me. Hannah asks him out for drinks. He accepts. Hannah wants them to be normal people and just go out.

That's it.

The end.

In other news, I will not be blogging about Bachelor in Paradise, but I'll watch. You can message me questions or hit me up on Facebook to talk about it. I just find Paradise too hard to keep up with for blogging. Plus, I can straighten my house or something while it's on. I'm ready to be able to park my car in the garage, and that means I have to finish unpacking.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Bachelorette: Hannah B. - Week 12 (The Finale part 1)

A two-night season finale just means we are going to drag things out way more than they ever had to be, especially given that Chris Harrison is in the studio with an audience.

But, here we go with night one.

Hannah is ready to hand out roses. She has just sent Luke packing... AGAIN.

The three men remaining are wondering who among them is going home. I say Peter stays after their time in the windmill and that Jed is leaving. We shall see if I am right.

Cue the voiceovers aka voices in their heads.

After her speech about not wanting to break anyone's heart, but she knows what she needs to do, the first rose goes to Jed. Crud. I was wrong on that one.

Ohhhhhh... I was sooooooooo wrong. Tyler gets the second rose.

Hannah takes Peter out. She says it has all been so perfect. It was like when she was a little girl and he was her Ken doll. She will always have a piece of his heart.

What is wrong with this girl?

They cry together, hug, and he leaves after a kiss on the forehead.

Her dress is awful too, by the way. and her messy top bun. The dress looks like a swimsuit top attached to a really long maxi skirt via an awkward middle piece on the front. This girl looks a mess.

Hannah is ugly crying on the curb.

Peter says it hurts, but he isn't mad at Hannah.

Peter joins Chris in-studio. He just watched it for the first time with the rest of us. Chris knows Peter was really in love with Hannah and that we all fell in love with his family on hometowns. The family joins him in the audience.

Peter knew he was in love with Hannah when the fireworks went off in Latvia. Chris asks if he still loves her. Peter doesn't think you can completely fall out of love in two months. A piece of his heart will always love her.

Hannah comes out. It's the first time for them to see each other since Greece. Peter stumbles over his words as he starts out, "Beginning with the Netherlands... hometowns that went so well... where did it go wrong?"

Hannah told him there wasn't anything wrong. She thought he would meet her family. All through the fantasy suite date. Leaving the windmill, he was so sure it was "Us." She was falling in love with him, but she was falling for two others two. It was waking up that final morning that she made the decision.

Hannah says if there was anything, she thought he was afraid to fall in love with her and that he was apprehensive about sharing his feelings. She just wish she knew sooner how he felt. Peter wants to know one more thing. She has referred to their relationship as "a slow burn..." She agrees it was passionate, but thought him not verbally saying where he was may have hurt them.

This is painfully boring as this drags on and on about what did and didn't go right. At least Peter is a gentleman.

What is awkward is his parents clapping when Chris Harrison says, "Thanks to the two of you, no one will ever look at a windmill the same." Take it a step further when Hannah says she has to confess it wasn't two times like she had previously said, but four times. Chris Harrison then points out that Peter's mom is right there. Chris adds that Luke's heart is exploding somewhere.

Then there were two...

Picking up in Crete, Jed and Tyler will be meeting her family.

But first, Hannah meets up with her family. She fills them in on Tyler. She explains until last week, she wasn't sure if she was falling in love or falling in lust. When he brought it up that was more than just physical for him, she knew he was a keeper.

She tells her family that he is a dancer. His first year of college, he was flunking English and needed some classes to up his GPA. He thought dance was going to be easy, but they weren't and he enjoyed them.

Mom grills Tyler first. Nothing interesting. Dad asks about the fantasy suite and the decision to get to know each other only. Tyler says his dad getting sick put a lot of things in perspective for him. He has no doubts about their relationship.

Hannah and Dad talk. Mom and Hannah talk. Both parents feel good about Tyler. I don't know why the brothers and a sister-in-law are there. I guess that's who they are. No intros were given.

Before he leaves, Hannah wants to talk to Tyler about what her struggle had been, and how sure she is that she loves him now. She is surprised, but she can see a future with Tyler.

I still don't get Tyler. He strikes me as a frat boy, but, what do I know?

The next day, Hannah is nervous and freaking out before Jed arrives. From the beginning, she thought Jed fit in her life. Her mom tells Hannah it's because she is about to have to make a decision. 

Her family thinks the bar is set really high after yesterday. They really liked Tyler.

Hannah lets Jed take the leading in telling their story. He's a snooze.

Dad can see a connection between Hannah and Jed, but there was a connection yesterday. Dad wants to know his goals in life. Can Jed provide for his little girl? He asks about finances. Jed's first real breakthrough is selling a song to a dog food policy.

Jed feels a little confused. He thought the family was going to see how natural they were together. He wasn't expecting Mom and Dad both to be questioning his songwriting career.

Mom tells Hannah she wasn't so impressed. Tyler was a standout.

Dad said Jed kind of beat around the bush and didn't give as straight of answers as Tyler. Hannah is miffed that the dog food commercial got brought up.

Hannah, of course, wants her husband to provide for her, but she's going to be successful and provide for her family too. Hannah wants to get past the money part and talk about Jed's feelings. Hannah can tell her Dad has issues. The way her dad tells her that he's just trying to tell the facts kind of reminds me of what my dad does sometimes. He doesn't want to be negative, but it's obvious he's not #teamjed.

Hannah steps away to think. Jed joins her. Jed wants her to talk to him and about how she feels. Hannah knows he doesn't want to talk another guy, but after Jed is blunt, she spills. She's confused because things went really well with Tyler yesterday. This is where Hannah realizes you don't date two men at the same time. Jed must have had the lead in her mind.

Jed believes in Hannah. I think he's trying not to write lyrics in talking to her.

Now... one final date with each.

First up: Tyler

They are going horseback riding again to see if he can figure it out this time. He's no less fearful of horses this time. It doesn't start any better.

The two talk about the family time. Her dad was comfortable with him. Tyler was glad to hear her feelings. It was a positive talk.

That evening, on part two of the date, they recap what a great date it was, how it was great to hear how well her family responded. She takes him upstairs.

The last date: Jed

She's anxious. Meeting the family didn't go like she had hoped. The nerves show when Jed arrives. The kiss looks awkward too. They board a boat and set sail. Evidently it's about repeating date activities. It wasn't with Jed that she went on the boat before though. The waves are a bit much for Hannah. She's feeling queasy.

Seeing Jed in Paradise (he needs some sun) would make me queasy. Hannah talks about being nervous making her queasy too. Jed admits to being nervous knowing there is still someone else there. Knowing her dad didn't believe in him hurt. That part made him sad, but it didn't change how he felt for her at all.

This date is such a downer. She's getting sick again and has to excuse herself. She's anxious about having to break someone's heart tomorrow.

How about breaking up with the guy still wearing the leather belt with his khaki shorts on the boat?

For the evening portion of the date, Jed apologizes in advance. He's nervous. However, he can't see his life without her. Hannah tells him that she's less worried than her dad is about their potential finances.

They are both in such a funk, it's putting me in a funk. They cuddle awkwardly on the couch before she leaves him to go think about her final decision for the next day.

She knows she will break someone's heart.

Chris Harrison and Hannah tease tomorrow night. Hannah says she doesn't know how tomorrow night will go.


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sanctuary


Sanctuary

By John W. Thompson; © Kruger Organisation
Used by permission. CCLI # 1132191

(girls echo)
Oh Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true.
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for You.

It was you Lord, who sent the Savior
Heart and soul Lord, to every man.
It is you Lord, who knows my weakness,
You refine me with Your own hand.

Lead me on Lord, through my temptations
You refine me from within
Fill our hearts with the Holy Spirit,
And take all our sins away.

Lord teach Your children, to stop the fighting,
And start uniting, all as one.
Let’s get together, loving forever
Sanctuary, for You.

And when He comes with shouts of glory
And our work on earth is done
O, how I long to hear Him saying,
“Faithful servant well done.”


Saturday, July 27, 2019

What a difference curtains make

Go figure that I don't have pictures to share to prove my point, but just hanging curtains make a world of difference when moving into a house.

I've been trying to get some boxes unpacked, but after missing a couple of days of work last week, and not having internet until into the day on Tuesday (I had to take my computer to my parents' house to sync three times on Monday), I've been trying to catch up on work. I just haven't gotten much house stuff done.

Today's goal was hanging up all my curtains (check) and working towards getting all my mugs and curio boxes unpacked. I'll start posting pictures as I make significant progress.

One week post move, with the curtains up, it's starting to look like home.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Mini College Reunion

For all that is bad, annoying and addictive about Facebook, if it weren't for Facebook, I would have lost track of every last one of my friends from college.

We had a pretty tight Christian Campus Center group when I was at the University of North Texas. Not only was it the students that went to UNT, but at Texas Woman's University too. I was there for three years, 1997-2000.

Sadly, one of the guys in the group from that time passed away last week in a motorcycle accident. One of his closest friends got a group of us together tonight before the memorial service tomorrow. The building we met in is no more, but we met up at the new CCC building which is actually a former frat house (that frat got kicked off campus).

First off, it took two and a half hours to get to Denton on a Friday afternoon. Once upon a time, from the front door of my parents' house to my apartment took 90 minutes on a Sunday with no traffic.

Including our campus minister, there were eight of us there along with a couple of spouses and a few kids. I was able to take a scrapbook I had done of the second year I was there. I remembered I had it and knew where it was since I had just packed and unpacked it. We had some really good laughs surrounding the stories we shared as everyone took turns looking through the book. Some interesting stories came up about Chris, the friend we gathered to honor.

With the exception of Amanda who I had kept up with for several years after I graduated, I hadn't seen anyone else in 19 years. Well, except on my Facebook feed. Some of the others had seen each other or talked since then, but for the most part, we could just pick up on each other's lives and not miss much of a beat.

Why, with all of us having our phones out, we didn't think to take a picture, I don't know. I didn't get far back out on the road when I realized, "Shoot! No one took a picture!"

Hopefully, we'll be able to gather again under happier circumstances. Until then, I guess we'll just have to stay caught up with each other online.




Thursday, July 25, 2019

Stepping on an IED was just the beginning of the struggle for his life


Part 2 of an interview with
Carlos and Rosemarie Evans,
Authors of Standing Together

During his fourth deployment, US Marine Corps Sergeant Carlos Evans stepped on an IED--and the loss of both legs and his left hand was just the beginning of the struggle for his life.

For the next two years, he and his wife, Rosemarie, went through the rehabilitation process together. As a nurse and mother of two young children, Rosemarie was used to caring for people, but the task of taking care of her triple-amputee husband brought new challenges every day. In addition to his limb loss, Carlos faced PTSD and developed an addiction to painkillers. He was sure Rosemarie's life would be better without him--and that it might have been better if he hadn't survived at all.

But unlike the majority of marriages put under similar strain, Carlos and Rosemarie stayed together. With the help of family, friends, and--most importantly--a strong faith, they've built a solid marriage and discovered a ministry they never expected. By the hand of God, their story, which began in devastation, has turned into one that draws in and lifts up more people than either of them would ever have dreamed.

Q: Many marriages have crumbled under the weight of trials less life-altering than what the two of you went through, however, you’ve come out the other side stronger. Can you share some of the decisions you made along the way to fight for your marriage?

Rosemarie: There were many difficult decisions made during that period. First, we needed to prioritize roles. There were times a decision left me feeling unsatisfied, but we had to focus on what was needed in the moment. We always tried to make decisions together. It didn’t matter that Carlos was injured, we consulted each other on every decision. Carlos was injured, but he was still the head of the family. We encouraged each other. When Carlos felt ready to give up, I encouraged him. When I was feeling defeated, Carlos encouraged me. Overall, the most important thing was to pray for guidance. In this situation, we understood we were not self-sufficient. We needed God to give us the strength to continue every day.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges in facing your new normal?

Carlos: I feared not being able to be the husband I promised Rosemarie I would be. I feared not being able to be a father to my daughters. I also feared rejection from other people. I didn’t love my new body. I wasn’t born without legs and one hand. Everything was new to me: Not being able to walk, to drive my car, to do things we take for granted. I was afraid I was no longer able to be independent. Living with constant pain was one of the biggest challenges.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who may not be seeking help for their depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or even addiction?

Carlos: Trying to help someone that is not actively seeking help is very challenging. It could be the person has not recognized that he or she has a problem. In my situation, I had people who confronted me, showing me that my actions were hurting me and the people who loved me. My personal advice would be do not push away the people in your life that care about and help you. Also, believe the best days of your life are not behind you, but ahead of you. I would say to somebody in that situation you are not the only person facing PTSD or addiction, so look for a professional or a support group. They can share examples of how they have faced similar situations.  

Q: What were some of the ways you saw God working in your recovery?

Carlos: In the beginning, my questions were, “Where is God? and “Why me?” During my recovery, I understood God has always been there, taking care of me. He was with my Marines when I stepped on the IED. He was with my wife and daughters, giving them strength so they could comfort me. God was with the doctors, nurses, family, friends and many strangers who have become family. I saw God was making me a better father, husband and person. Each time we shared our story with someone, I saw God using my recovery for good.

Q: When did you realize God was preparing you for full-time ministry? What doors started to open for you?

Carlos: Since I was a little kid, I served in ministry. It was deep inside of my heart. After my injury, we started to share our experience with family and friends. Our scars became our platform—in churches, via TV, at the White House, on Military bases, in schools and correctional facilities, all over the United States, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.

Q: You say, “Standing has nothing to do with having feet.” What do you mean by that?

Carlos: In my life, standing is living God’s purpose in my life. Also, serving in my community, being a father and husband, and leading by example means standing in my life.

My daughter, Nairoby, taught me a lesson about standing. She was five years old and playing and running all over the apartment. She told me, “Now you run Papi, you run Papi!” I told her I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t run right now. I didn’t have the legs to be able to. I went to my room crying, and Rosemarie asked me why. I told her why, and she replied, “Don’t you see that she doesn’t see what you can’t do? She looks at you as Papi.” That’s what it means to stand.

Q: Where can people learn more about Touching Lives Leaving Footprints and C.R. Evans Ministries?



Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Looking for some Radically Different reviewers!

For review copy and interview information, contact:
Audra Jennings - audra@newgrowthpress.com - 903-874-8363

Now available for review!
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Building Radically Different Relationships


Champ Thornton helps middle schoolers use God’s word
to untangle the twists and turns of life 

Greensboro, NC – As adults it’s hard to figure out how to live as Christians in a morally murky and increasingly hostile world, so how do we teach the next generation to develop relationships in the world in which we live? There are so many areas of life to navigate when growing up, but in his new book, Radically Different: A Student’s Guide to Community (New Growth Press/August 5, 2019), best-selling author Champ Thornton provides an insightful guide for middle schoolers and young teens who want to live radically even though life and relationships are complicated.

Radically Different equips middle schoolers to untangle the twists of life by presenting them with in-depth study of good, bad, and new—creation, fall, and redemption. By understanding these three concepts, students can discover their unique identity in Christ. Living through the lenses of good, bad, and new makes them radically human, radically biblical, and radically different.

“To get an accurate picture of life in this world, we must simultaneously view all of life through three lenses. The first lens provides the view that originally God made everything very good (Genesis 1). The next lens reveals this good world is now also bad, broken and tainted by sin (Genesis 3). The third clarifies Jesus came to make new everything that was broken by sin (Romans 8). Creation, Fall, Redemption—good, bad, new. If you leave out any of these lenses, you will neglect some aspect of reality God intends for us and our children to embrace,” Thornton writes.

Radically Different consists of thirteen lessons and is available in both a student’s and teacher’s guide. The teacher’s guide provides the outline and activities for the weekly group discussion of the material. The student’s guide (to be completed before the group discussion) provides three devotionals per week that can be completed in ten minutes each.

Radically Different doesn’t aim to be exhaustive or provide a topical dictionary of issues, but to help middle school students begin to think biblically about life and relationships. Each lesson explores how to navigate a different relationship such as parents, friends, siblings, difficult/annoying people, and individuals within the church.

“People often decry modern politics and say that the real problem is culture. They’ll say that culture lies upstream of politics. Consequently, the need is to change/transform the culture. But my contention is that what lies upstream of both politics and culture is the next generation,” shares Thornton. “This study aims to pass along a biblical worldview regarding relationships and community, in order to help the next generation see the world through Bible lenses, and change the world, one person at a time.”

“It’s not easy for Christian young people today who want to live in a way that’s pleasing to God. However, Champ Thornton has provided an invaluable resource to help middle school students be distinctive. Radically Different is a practical hands-on study offering solid insights and biblical guidance for relating to others,” praises Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family.
Radically Different: A Student’s Guide to Community
(Student/Teacher Guide)

by Champ Thornton
August 5, 2019 / Retail Price: $13.99
Print ISBN (Student Guide) 978-1-948130-17-2
Print ISBN (Teacher Guide) 978-1-64507-032-0
Religion / Christian Education / Children and Youth
About the Author

Champ Thornton is associate pastor at Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, Delaware. He has pastored in South Carolina and served as director of SOMA, a ministry training school in Columbus, Ohio.

Before arriving in Newark, Thornton lived most of his life in the Carolinas. After seminary, he pastored at Grace Bible Church near Spartanburg, South Carolina.

He is host of “In the Word, On the Go,” a ten-minute podcast for families and is the author of several books, including The Radical Book for KidsWhy Do We Say Good Night?, Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation, and his latest, Radically Different: A Student’s Guide to Community.

Thornton enjoys hanging out with his family and friends, drinking coffee, listening to music, doing genealogical research, and reading theology, biographies, and fiction. Thornton and his wife, Robben, have three children.

Visit www.champthornton.com to learn more. He can also be found on Twitter (@champthornton) and Instagram (@thorntonchamp).



Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Are You Living Out Your Mission?




Are You Living Out Your Mission?
The Mission-Centered Life explores how God’s grace
empowers his people to serve in places of need

God calls us to live missionally, but what exactly does that look like? Do we have to sell everything and head to a foreign country? For Christians who long to serve God in broken places but aren’t sure where to start, The Mission-Centered Life: Following Jesus into the Broken Places (New Growth Press/July 22, 2019), speaks to the “whys” and “hows” of missional living. In this new ten-week group resource, author Bethany Ferguson draws on her fifteen years of missionary experience to examine the reasons believers should pursue lives of service and evangelism.

The Mission-Centered Life is organized into ten lessons designed for readers who want to explore their role in building the kingdom of Christ. Readers will consider how the gospel propels them to go out and love their neighbors, including people who might be far away or very different from those they usually encounter in everyday life. This in-depth study explores why holistic missions is needed, how God’s grace empowers us to serve in places of need, what to do when we fail as missionaries, and how to cultivate hope in the midst of a broken world.

The Mission-Centered Life emphasizes acknowledging your own weakness, brokenness, and need as a vital component of serving a broken and needy world. Many books emphasize the importance of living sacrificially or adventurously (both of which can be important), but my book focuses in on repentance and humility in missional living,” Ferguson shares. “When you encounter the grace and love of Jesus for you, you then want for others to also experience the powerful love of Jesus. When you see how Jesus meets you in your brokenness, you are then able to care for the needs of the world.”

Designed for personal reflection and small group discussion, Ferguson provides Scripture study, profound application, and questions, as well as essays and personal stories to illustrate the importance of missions—both for the missionary and the community being served by the missionary. Studying the book as a group allows participants to benefit from what God is teaching the others in the group and provides encouragement to apply what is learned. Ferguson hopes the group setting will be a safe place to share not only successes but also worries and weaknesses.

This study will help readers find confidence in God’s missional purposes in the world and a deeper understanding of life with Jesus, who pursued the marginalized as shown throughout the New Testament. Anchor your hope to Christ, who moves us out of our comfort zones to care for the needs of the world.

“Mission begins when we encounter a God who rescues us from our own brokenness and invites us to be instruments of healing in a broken world,” Ferguson writes.

Of The Mission-Centered Life, Philip G. Monroe, Director of Training and Materials, Mission Trauma Healing at the American Bible Society wrote, “You’ve heard it said, ‘Find out what God is doing in the world and join his mission.’ But if, like me, you are asking how to do this, I recommend The Mission-Centered Life. Best of all, this is a group study. Read, discuss, meditate, pray, and reflect together as God shows you his heart for the world and your part in his mission.”

by Bethany Ferguson
July 22, 2019 / Retail Price: $15.99
Print ISBN 978-1-948130-67-7
Religion / Christian Living / Spiritual Growth






Bethany Ferguson, MA, has spent most of the last fifteen years serving with Serge in Uganda, South Sudan, and Kenya. Originally from South Carolina, Bethany studied elementary education at the College of Charleston and went on to receive a master’s degree in counseling from Westminster Seminary. After completing her master’s, she has continued her professional training through Biblical Seminary’s professional counseling program.

Her cross-cultural work focuses on promoting education and mental health care for children and adolescents in under-resourced areas. Ferguson is passionate about supporting churches and schools. She has led discipleship groups at Christ School in Bundibugyo, taught HIV/Aids prevention at Bundimulinga primary school, trained primary school teachers in South Sudan, and equipped lay counselors in the Sudanese church. She has also taught missionary kids in Uganda and counseled “third-culture kids” and their families in Kenya.

All of these experiences have deepened Ferguson’s confidence in God’s redemptive work in the world, while also increasing her desire to see the light of Jesus bring hope and healing into places of brokenness. She is currently pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California.

Serge is an international missions organization that sees God weaving together the frayed edges of our tattered world with his goodness, creating something beautiful. Learn more at Serge.org.

New Growth Press publishes gospel-centered Christian books, small group, and kids’ Bible resources for discipleship, biblical counseling, and missional ministry. For more information about The Mission-Centered Life: Following Jesus into the Broken Places and other resources from New Growth Press, visit www.newgrowthpress.com.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Bachelorette: Hannah B. - Week 11

Well, I’m not starting off The Batchelorette on time for a number of reasons. It’s not going to post right afterwards either because I don’t have internet.

I was supposed to have internet last Thursday when it got turned off at my old house. Long story, but not getting it until tomorrow. My “equipment” which was just phone cords and Ethernet cables got delivered to the old house which promoted call #5 to make sure the tech was coming to the correct address tomorrow. Sigh.

Between having to get up early and syncing my work laptops that had not downloaded email since last Wednesday night and going back two more times (once around 1:30 PM and again around 7:00 PM) to send and receive more email, I put in an 11 hour work day that was not as productive as it could have been with use of the internet because everything requires the internet these days.

I am so glad to be moved all the way in with the other house empty. I’m even more glad that after a long day, there isn’t three hours of blogging ahead. I had anticipated two hours of episode followed by an hour of “The Men Tell All,” but it’s only two hours of tell all. With all the ya-ya-ya blah-blah-blah, it’s probably going to be a light blogging night with lots of commercials.

Chris Harrison promises that tonight will be a very different kind of “Tell All.” We are going to pick up first where last week in Greece left off.

Even though there were four last week and Luke was sent packing, she needs to get it down to two men, even though she loves all three in different ways.

Peter arrives. Tyler arrives. Jed arrives. They wonder about Luke.

The voice over of Hannah shares that she finally saw what the other men had been saying about Luke. She doesn’t want to see him ever again.

However, Luke still loves her. He knows Hannah loves him, even if she never said it. Luke believes Hannah has made a big mistake. He can’t leave without talking to her again. He’s headed her way with a ring in hand.

Luke arrives and stands next to the other men like nothing ever happened.

Hannah arrives, knowing what man she is going to let go. She is shocked to arrive and see Luke standing among the men. Luke steps forward and he asks why he is there. He wants to talk. She flat out says no. She tells him to go. She also says some other things that are bleeped. She warns Luke that she is about to go psycho. He needs clarity and closure. She doesn’t care.

Luke is making it all about him. His heart isn’t broken yet. He isn’t going anywhere. She moves the rose podium to get in front of him. Finally, all the other guys step in to tell him what for. Tyler and Jed are vocal while Peter tries to comfort her, keeping mostly quiet. Luke still doesn’t get the point. Luke said her emotions were leading her, that it was not her character. Hannah proceeds to repeat back exactly what Luke said. He claims to have not said it word for word (which he did).

Luke says he knows she still has feelings for him. Hannah says she finally found her clarity and got it when he said what he did. Luke claims he was misunderstood.

Chris Harrison comes up to ask Hannah what she wants. She says she wants Luke to leave. She looks him in the eye (as asked) and confirms she has no feelings for him.

Chris tells Hannah that Luke had a ring in his pocket and was ready to propose to her.

Jed is convinced all is right with the world now. I think Jed’s going home now. I think he’s in for disappointment.

Peter comments that the Puke show is over. Peter is pretty confident without saying it. That’s what time in the windmill will do for you.

Alas, we don’t find out at this point who else was sent home. I’m guessing next week starts there. We now jump into “Men Tell All.”

First in the hot seat is Luke. When he is introduced, no applause whatsoever. Total silent reception.

Chris points out that we had never witnessed what just happened before. Chris asks what he was looking for. Luke wanted clarity and/closure. He just thought he was being sent home because Hannah thought he was judging her. Chris points out he did have his say the night he said what he did. Luke tries to backtrack and change what the conversation was. We could go back to the video, but…

Everyone in the audience tilts their head puzzlement.

Luke said he was taking like it was a single relationship. He doesn’t “get to see her straddle or mount or swap saliva with other guys.” He continues that it wasn’t easy, he was getting fit for a proposal suit and he found out the night before that his potential future wife was having sex with other guys. Chris asked why he didn’t just walk away. Luke said he made a mistake. He made Hannah out to be the perfect one for him, Hannah though there was something about him (love at first sight) with him. He went back thinking she made a mistake. He thought there were mutual feelings that were still there.

Chris points out that the discussion of how they view faith (not often discussed before) ended up being the parting of ways. Luke tries to come up with language to make it clear. There is a lot of silence.

I guess this is supposed to make for good TV, but I’m over this. He thinks that Hannah calling him a narcissist was taking things a little too far. Luke still has feelings for Hannah, but he knows she is not his person. Chris asks if Luke thinks he has made any mistakes. Luke said he wouldn’t change a thing if he could go back.

After a commercial break, Luke backtracks again saying that he would change a lot of things. He asks with the guys or with Hannah? Chris said maybe it all started with the guys. Luke P. says maybe it all started to go with Luke S. In watching back, he didn’t like the guy he was either.

Luke said he was on a rescue mission for Hannah (from the guys). Chris asks for clarification and Luke has to back up again. None of the other men have come out until now. Devin comes out to confront Luke. Devin says that there are two kinds of men: One that wants and independent woman and another that wants a woman he can control. Luke was the latter. Luke asks if he is going to get a chance to respond as Chris thanks Devin for coming out and dismisses. When Chris does give him a chance to answer, he needs some time to get his thoughts together. “The last thing that I want, and the last thing I will ever do is control a woman and I do want an independent woman in my life as my wife.” He continues on, but I don’t believe it. He tells the “contestants” that he is not there to argue, but they can bring it on.

After commercial, a bunch of men come out, including some that barely lasted a moment and we all forgot about long ago.

Luke is still in the hot seat, possibly away from the men for his own physical safety.

Chris asks Luke about why he couldn’t ever fix it with the guys. Luke said it was because he was the front runner and it would have ticked any of them off. He had a target on his back.

Mike points out that Luke put his own target there. He calmly points out how Luke has not changed.

Connor gives him props for showing up because he is about to step into a firestorm. He tells him to get ready for it.

Luke said it was hurtful to watch himself over the season and that he realizes how bad he was. Mike asks why anyone would forgive him because he changes his story constantly.

Grant (remember him – yeah, me neither) points out how Luke owes Tyler, Jed and Peter an apology because “No means no.”

Everyone has a little something to say.

Cam thanks Luke for making him (Cam) look like a saint.

More comments are made. More of the same. Luke does ask for forgiveness before moving on.

After another commercial break, Luke is sitting with the men, but still wants to have one more say before moving on. He says the men don’t really know who he is.

Next up in the hot seat is John Paul Jones. Why? No clue. What ensues is a montage of his few moments. I could be unpacking a box right now. A crazy woman with WWJPJD (what would John Paul Jones do) on her shirt asks to cut a piece of his hair like Hannah got to do on the show.

Moving on, the moments of Mike follow. I liked Mike. But I feel like I could be changing out loads of laundry right now.

At long last, Hannah arrives. After a little chit chat about facing all your ex-boyfriends, she jumps into talking about Luke. She will never say her feelings weren’t real, but there was a lot of insecurity in being THE Bachelorette. That first night, Luke made her feel like he was there for her, and she held onto that for too long.

They move on to talking about faith. She felt it was weaponized against her in the end. Luke shakes his head as Hannah talks about him. She then moves into her talk of plans or lack thereof for the fantasy suites.

She moves into being tired of being slut shamed and grace. Not on board with all she has to say. She is adamant that fantasy suites aren’t all about sex.

When they come back from the next break, Luke is gone. Supposedly, he’s catching a flight. We’re all ready to move on anyway.

Garrett apologizes for what went down and his part in it. You know, bologna tossing.

Finally, we end up with bloopers. The best part is Jed being freaked out by the cameraman zooming in on a makeout session. The reel wasn’t very long and there were no bugs involved this time. Bummer.

It closes with Hannah apologizing for a season of so much Luke. She shouldn’t have had him around so long, and she’s tired of talking about him.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Roll the Gospel Chariot Along


Roll the Gospel Chariot Along

Roll the gospel chariot along
We will roll the gospel chariot along
We will roll the gospel chariot along
And we won't tag along behind.

If a Brother's in the way
We will stop and pick him up
If a Brother's in the way
We will stop and pick him up
If a Brother's in the way
We will stop and pick him up
And we won't tag along behind.

Roll the gospel chariot along
We will roll the gospel chariot along
We will roll the gospel chariot along
And we won't tag along behind.

If a Sister's in the way
We will stop and pick her up
If a Sister's in the way
We will stop and pick her up
If a Sister's in the way
We will stop and pick her up
And we won't tag along behind.

Roll the gospel chariot along
We will roll the gospel chariot along
We will roll the gospel chariot along
And we won't tag along behind.

If the Devil's in the way
We will roll right over him!
If the Devil's in the way
We will roll right over him!
If the Devil's in the way
We will roll right over him!
And we won't tag along behind.

Roll the gospel chariot along
We will roll the gospel chariot along
We will roll the gospel chariot along
And we won't tag along behind.