You were brave.
You conquered the grave.
You set us free from being the worlds slave
No matter what we may crave
We can be brave
Its all because of what you gave
You were first brave
Today I am linking up with http://lisajobaker.com/ for FIve Minute Fridays
Rules ~write for five minutes without editing or backtracking
Be brave and join us !
Have you ever watched a little girl jump into her fathers arms? Do you notice the trust she places in him? She jumps safely into his arms knowing without a shadow of a doubt that his strong arms will catch her.
She places all of her trust in her daddy knowing he will catch her. There is no questioning inside her heart that she will be safe inside his arms. As many times as his little princess jumps, he will securely catch her each and every time.
A book about tough times usually implies that the author has had some personal experiences that connect to that topic. Where did the book start for you?
In college, I was a kicker and punter at Oklahoma State University under a demanding head coach, Jimmy Johnson. (Football fans might recognize him as the coach for two college national championships in the 80’s and a couple of Super Bowls in the 90’s for the Dallas Cowboys). Just playing for Coach Johnson was tough enough, but my sophomore year, I got my knee bent backwards in a Junior Varsity game in Lincoln, Nebraska. When surgery and rehab efforts didn’t get me back to playing football, I eventually had to hang up the cleats. Looking back now, that experience made me more aware of how other people dealt with adversity and caused me to pay more attention to how I could respond when faced with tough times.
Your book transitions pretty quickly from your football days to life as a church planter and how that actually prompted you to write this book. How did that all happen?
When football didn’t work out, I found myself drawn to ministry in a great church near the OSU campus. Charlie Baker, the pastor of that church, invited me and other college students to partner with him in creating a weekly worship service for students. In doing that ministry I fell in love with the church and decided to go to seminary and be a pastor myself. After getting married and going through seminary training, we eventually moved to Kansas City to start churches. For nearly 20 years we were involved in the roller coaster rides of starting five different churches in our region. Most days, I absolutely loved it. But in one of those church starts we had a train wreck that knocked me for a loop and out of a church that I loved perhaps more than I loved my wife and family.
So after that you went on an even deeper quest for figuring out what was happening to you?
Right. With a new intensity I began to systematically search the scriptures to find some help for my pain. And I collected information and stories from others wiser than me and from many who had suffered greatly and come through with amazing faith and character.
You write about a day in Costa Rica that changed your life. What happened?
After the break up from the church, I wound up going to Costa Rica on a mission trip with my parents. My parents, by the way, were missionaries when I was a kid and 30 years prior we had actually lived in Costa Rica. For me, going back was a fun, blast to the past. But more than that, the people there were cathartic for me. I was an emotional mess much of the time. And one day I must have cried with three or four people who needed to know Christ, but who were in pain. God used my pain and my weeping with others to both minister to them and to me. That day I discovered something about God’s ministry of tears and how sometimes He does more through our weaknesses and frailties than He does with our strengths.
So this is where your international ministry began?
Yes. While in Costa Rica, a Guatemalan man by the name of Cesar Gonzalez invited me to come to his country and dream about ministries and churches for people in Guatemala who don’t like church. To hear the whole story you’d have to pack a lunch! But let me briefly say that Cesar would have been a Mafia hit man if God hadn’t gotten a hold of him! With a little encouragement from some pastor friends in Kansas City, I took him up on his invitation, and for two weeks Cesar and I drove around the country looking at dozens of different situations and groups of people. Little did I know then, that 13 years later we would be working in over 55 locations covering Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. I mention this because I have learned a lot from believers from other cultures and have put much of that into the book. Many of us in North America aren’t aware that both Guatemala and El Salvador have been through recent civil wars. Many people there have shared first hand stories of unimaginable grief and heartache. As I have walked alongside them, my faith has been challenged and I have an increasing desire to not just mindlessly go through my tough times, but to actually think deeply and grow through my tough circumstances. As I’ve done a little bit of that, I think it’s time that I pass some of this on to others who can benefit like I have.
Where can people find your book?
For now it’s only available from the trunk of my car! Or, more conveniently, it can be ordered from the website www.TransformedbyToughTimes.com. Soon it should become available on Amazon and we hope to have a Kindle version available in the near future as well. By the way, before Christmas we finished taping the audio book and I can’t wait to unveil that in the next couple of months too.
You also have a companion Bible study available as well right?
Yes! Thank you for mentioning that. I think I am about as excited about the study guide as I am the book. On the website, www.TransformedbyToughTimes.com is a 24-session small groups Bible study guide that can be downloaded for free. It matches up to chapters in the book and then goes deeper with pertinent Bible stories and information related to the topic. Incidentally, when someone wants me to coach them through their own tough times, this is essentially the material I use. In early tests, we are getting positive feedback from groups going through the book and the Bible study together. Do check it out!
Find out about more opportunities for a free copy of TRANSFORMED BY TOUGH TIMES, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/338690666247617.
This blog host was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview and/or book review on this blog. CSS Virtual Book Tours are managed by Christian Speakers Services (http://ChristianSpeakersServices.com).
ABOUT STEVE REED
Steve Reed is the Chief Encouragement Officer and Cross Cultural Catalyst for Daybreak International, a missions organization he founded that is dedicated to planting churches for the marginalized and forgotten peoples of the world. Currently, his two major projects focus on cowboys in Central America, and Kekchi Indians in the jungles of Guatemala. Those who know Steve best speak of his relentless encouragement and undying loyalty to people who face tough times. When not travelling in Central America, Steve comes home to Kansas City. He is married to Nola, and they have three young adult sons, a beloved daughter-in-law, and a grand baby on the way!
I considered not blogging about this week of my Journey to a healthier me. Then I decided that I need to share my successes and my failures. Perhaps there are others out there like me who have trouble with changing their own habits .
While I ponder my intentions which are great,t a quote comes to my mind. The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions. I confess my intentions were not even great this weekend and didn’t improve this week either.
Instead of putting myself down with all the mental negativity that you know we all do from time to time, I am going to consciously choose to put positive thoughts into my mind. I am choosing to get back up from my failure and try again.
This past week I went on a Chocolate Binge , my justification was its only a couple mini Butterfingers. Obviously my scale is the one who really knows the truth about those mini Candy Bars and the other unhealthy choices I made. My weight is back to the same number it was in the beginning of my Journey to A Healthier Me!
I am not allowing this to discourage me . In fact I am doing the opposite . The number on the scale is a sign that motivates me to change.
Prayerfully Saturday when I make another post it will be one about a success! I would appreciate your prayers in my Journey to a healthier Me! Be sure and check out my friends Awesome Success that she is making !http://aproverbs31wife.com/juicing-is-not-just-another-diet/
As a part of Cwa Review Crew I recently had the privilege of reading Changing Churches. When Changing Churches became available to review, I knew it was nothing short of Gods perfect timing.
I am at a cross roads with my Church. I was feeling hopeless in my turmoil within my Church, with the question looming over my head , Do I stay or Do I leave?
Before reading Changing Churches I felt alone in my struggles within the Church. Author Dottie Parish took me on a Journey within the pages of her book. The first part of the book took me on a Journey to witness Dotties struggles within different churches . I immediately resonated with the words from the first chapter as she states, Everyone was thrilled with Pastor Edna except herself . Many times I have felt the exact same way. When I would feel this way , I though surely I am wrong and I shrugged off my intuitions.
Inside the chapters of Changing Churches Dottie shares with you entrys from her personal journal she kept during her experiences with the different churches. I am thankful for her transparency and ability to share them. I am now starting a journal to help me alleviate my own pains and to find clarity with my circumstances with the Church.
Included inside the pages is a guide for the Church Leaders and Leavers. This subject in my opinion is not addressed enough in Churches or in our Society. Part two addresses the ways Churches are changing. Biblical solutions to help build the church up are provided as well.
I recommend Changing Churches to anyone who has ever struggled understanding why someone would leave the Church,also for any Church Leaders . Lastly this is a must read for anyone sitting in the Church Pews with the question Do I stay or Do I leave.
I finally have a success to write about my journey to getting healthier, I lost 4 pounds Yay! I have also realized that I am human and its okay if I have a candy bar now and then. My husband bought me some mini Butterfinger bars perfect for my chocolate craving , without being enough to break my successful healthy lifestyle changes.
Honestly I have only made babysteps such as giving up soda and eating smaller portions. Also something I have been doing is making smoothies. Although I have found that I dont drink them near as frequent as I had originally planned.
Each day is a new day with room for success. I feel it is key to not knock myself down with self criticism which is so easy for me to do! Yes sometimes I have one too many mini candy-bars or perhaps (gasp) a bowl of icecream! Overall I am okay with my success and am going to continue to make small changes to improve my health!
My friend is doing great on her juice fast go check out her progress at http://aproverbs31wife.com/juicing-survival-tips/
I have confessions to make! I cheated this week! I ate our Friday cheese stuffed garlic bacon pizza, I ate ice-cream as well. Last night I ate grapes with my daughter , they were great,but afterwards I still wanted ice-cream. The great news is I didn’t eat it.
This week I must continue to change my ways and not revert to old patterns if I ever expect to get healthy. As the saying goes Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Sure I stopped soda and yes I expected a miracle to happen.
I have come to the conclusion that this getting healthy thing will not be easy . I can do all things through Christ and that is what I must repeat to myself in times of temptation instead of just merely giving in to my flesh which loves food and sugar!
My weight has not changed . I am still at a depressing weight of 202. My habits must change to see any results or I will just remain in the I wish stage. The I wish stage is not where I want to be.
On a positive note my friend has lost five pounds. Unlike me she has not cheated and done the hard work and its starting to pay off ! Go check out her progress http://aproverbs31wife.com/whole-foods-and-juicing-week-1/?fb_source=pubv1
My goals for the week: Replace two meals a day with my blended veggies and fruit. Wake up in the morning and stay up instead of covering my head back up after getting up in the morning to get my daughter and husband off to work and school.