It’s Here

9781622954209C_F copyIt has finally arrived.  November 19th, 2013, almost three full years after the event of Samuel’s life, I finally get to share what the Lord did with him with the world.  Samuel’s life was tragic at times, blessing us more than we could imagine, and yet his story is much like many of ours.

I know many of you prayed for him and Kelly and I during those difficult events.  Would you do me a favor now?  Would you tell “your” world about this book and encourage them about God’s story in Samuel and what it means to wrestle with God amidst tragedy and pain?  Do you know of anyone experiencing loss or hurt, a broken marriage or estranged relationships, or even disease and pain?  This book does not cure anyone; only Christ does through the cross.  But I believe this will help some as a catalyst to see God’s glory amidst their pain.  So please, repost this on Facebook, link this link on there, take a picture of this picture on your phone and post it to your instagram account, tweet it, and email people.  I know it may seem like a lot, but remember when you did that during Samuel’s life?  It was only through community and the power of the Holy Spirit that Samuel’s story went “out there.”  I am asking for that again.  Here’s the link:

NINETEEN DAYS 

Here’s what’s written on the back of the book:

What happens inside us as we experience the agony of the loss of a child? When the loss of it grieves you at first, and then, as time passes, doesn’t seem to go away but comes in waves upon waves? Tragedy befalls all of us, circumstances are beyond our control, and it is in these moments when God beckons us to the mat and wrestles us into submission out of His great love.

In Nineteen Days, Daniel Parkins gives insight into anyone who has ever experienced pain in this life. How do we cope when unmet expectations seem to surround us? How are we to navigate the rough waters of divorce, heart ache, loss, disease, or any kind of hurt? Nineteen Days is raw, but intensely real as Parkins reveals to all of us an honest portrayal of pain, yet in the midst of it, the undying love and sovereignty of a patient God who is still and forever good. Inside he challenges each person to look beyond the hurt, and see the love of Jesus Christ as not just a good idea, but truth that carries us forward for His glory.

Thank you!  Kelly and I are more than excited, and genuinely love you all!

Speak Peace

photo copyThere should be a hush, and inward peace, a bell that does not sound when struck inside the heart of every believer.  Yet this is often not the case.  I am a pack leader for cub scouts; I’m supposed to help organize all the dens in our area once a month among other things.  I’m also a soccer coach for seven wonderful little boys whom many come from very broken families.  I’m pastor that oversees twelve to 30 year olds in our church.  I have three children, one startlingly beautiful wife, and a host of health issues to manage.  Yet amidst this chaos I know I am not lost or longing; I am wooed to hush and silence.  There is a beckoning from my first love, a simple word spoken to me that rings loudly.  Let us all let it ring loudly:  Peace.  Speak peace to your souls, oh people of the gospel!

Our garments in heaven are arrayed in white; so that the devils of life, the woes, the hurts, the gashes and wounds have not infused a shard of their putrescence.  The white garment, in all of Scripture, is the rejoicing garment; it is the garment of peace.  The black garment was the mourning garment, the garment of lament.  But we are not robed with black garments because of Christ, but shining, brilliant, white beyond white garments cleaned with the precious blood of Christ crucified.

And indeed, how can it be otherwise that we rejoice in this truth?  For don’t we walk with God, don’t we dine with God and don’t we converse with the Almighty?  Aren’t we acquainted with God on a daily basis, now reconciled to Him through the gospel of peace, akin to Job who beheld God in His glory amidst the travesties of life?  Aren’t we God’s children and don’t we have some special reserve and communion with Him?  Yes Indeed!  We have communion with God, and isn’t He the God of all consolation?

We have communion and fellowship with Christ, and isn’t Christ the Prince of Peace?  We have communion with the Holy Spirit, and isn’t the Spirit thus named as the Comforter?  And if I can go one step further, don’t we see that we are enabled to have communion with the Father, and the Son and the Spirit in and by the gospel?  And isn’t the gospel the word of peace, the actual good news of peace?  So we see, just from a logical progression, that the people of God, the redeemed, the called out ones, the chosen, the royal priesthood, the people belong to the Almighty, ordinarily and rightly have peace within.

Let your busy lives be silent for a moment and listen to the King of peace, the Father of truth, the Lord of it all who has redeemed us into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.  Slow down and listen to the whisper who speaks life into your hearts; Peace.  Peace!

Isaiah 57.18-19, “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips.  Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him.”

It’s Been Said Before

So I’ve been challenged lately, especially within the confines of my garage amidst the sweet noises of Christian Isaiah often in the baby bjorn on my chest, with the simple question of : What am I passionate about?  To be certain, I am passionate for the glory of my amazing God in Christ Jesus, and the family in which He has given me.  But I am also very passionate, particularly as things begin to slow down, for Japan and helping out a country that is desperately in the midst of massive renovations.  There is still so much need from the Great Earthquake and ensuing Tsunami that it still is a bit overwhelming.  Though I hope to go there again, having visited twice after the Tsunami, I was left with images that haunted me.  Yet I was in the midst of ministry, in the midst of dealing with the effects of losing my son fully, and trying to put the pieces of my life back together.

Consequently, like many of us, Japan was off the radar and we moved on in life.  But too many in Japan have not moved on in life, and as I prayed, I realized I had an incredible opportunity, even though I don’t work for Rolling Hills Covenant Church anymore, to still make a difference over there.  I called Tate Publishing, the ones who have or who are publishing both of my books, and they were excited about partnering with an organization in Japan that could help raise awareness and funds.  From there, it was simple for me to decide on Asian Access, an incredibly well connected ministry, to give the funds to as they are in the midst of their own incredible campaign.  What is more, Joe Handley, the President of Asian Access, has told me about a donor who will match all funds that we raise.

Though I would be naive to assume that we will raise thousands upon thousands of dollars, it is my prayer and hope that those who read this blog will repost this blog, or at the very least, tell others about this incredibly fun opportunity to purchase Daydreams and raise a significant amount of money for Japan’s relief efforts.  If you haven’t already purchased a book, or if I have given you one in the past, please consider purchasing one at:  http://tinyurl.com/7z4kpn9

This is the Tate Publishing website; its the best way we have to track purchases at this time.  If you HAVE read the book, pray about purchasing it for friends and family as a nice little Easter present, as silly as that sounds, and let them know that almost half of the cost of the book went to people in Japan.  Tell others about it, and visit the Facebook page and hit the “like” button if you have not done so already.  I have a blog up explaining more ways to get involved in one of the posts, so please don’t just read this and do nothing.  Please tell others about this!  Thank you so much and have an amazing day today; let’s see if we can tell the world!

I know this has been said before, but honestly, let’s see if we can make a difference.

Samuel and Christian

Today marks the 21st of March, or thereabouts, and I can’t help but be paralyzed by two realities very near and dear to me.  The first is that Christian is now sixteen days old and is cause for celebration.  His round face is beginning to become even more rounded with the added weight of a mother’s nutrients and his lovely eyes are becoming even more blue as each day passes.  His umbilical chord fell off which means we can begin to give him submerged baths, and his cries, however cute they may be, are growing seemingly louder and louder by the minute.  He also only woke up twice the night before, and gave Kelly and I some much needed rest.  He’s only sixteen days old, and already so much a part of our family.

I remember another boy who was sixteen days old, not too long ago, who was very much a part of our family.  But remembering when Samuel was sixteen days old, though his rounded face was framed by liquids unnatural and disheartening, gives my heart a sense of longing again.  I see Christian, and within Christian, I see Samuel at times.  But of course I do.  He only lived for nineteen days, but in those days we had loved so passionately.

Oftentimes Kelly and I, trying to comfort Christian, have called him Samuel because of varying reasons.  I can’t quit explain it, but Samuel will always be a small baby to us; we will never have the joy of raising him.  And knowing this, because Christian is still within the stages of his older brother when he passed away, still encompassed within the same images of Samuel, I think those images are just so close to us in memory.  For so many days and hours we stared at Samuel.  Now, we have what we believe to be a lifetime with Christian and as his face begins burning our vision, like an image too long on an old television, we continue forth knowing of the faithfulness of our God.  Christian is not Samuel by any means, and though we miss our son who passed over a year ago, we move forward with the joy of this new bundle of our hearts eager to see a future lived with him.

It is hard, but this is life isn’t it?  It will forever be marked with joy and pain, happiness and sorrow, and to ask for anything other than this in life is to ask for something beyond what the Lord has planned.  We grow through the pain, we grow through the trials, we grow through our own weaknesses in seeing that God is all in all.  God has taken all our fears, all our failures, all our heartache and all our pain, all our burdens, all our troubles and shame and tears and placed them within the very bosom of redemption through Jesus Christ.  This is our God; He is our hope, He is our healer, He is our freedom, He is our refuge, He is our justice and He is with us.  God is love, and we will forever praise Him.

All creation sings of your Glory God, all humanity is a display of your glory and each one of us, who have called on the name of Jesus Christ to be saved, are meant to worship and adore you.  I bless your name this day Father.  You are my song, my hope, and my everything; rich in so much love and mercy and unfailing in every way.

I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine.

We will forever praise You.