Becoming a Fool – A Much Better View

As our culture of Christian-y leaders, icons, and unapproachable gurus of influence continue to graduate disciples who are more interested in platform building than bending their knees, we’ve inadvertently, and ironically buried a generation of young hopefuls in a canyon of “well done my good and famous servant” darkness. The good news, however, is that it only takes a flicker of light to conquer a canyon of darkness.

I was recently blessed with one the most encouraging emails I’ve ever received. And it came from one of the wisest, kindest, and youngest people I’ve had the privilege of being connected with on this seven year journey of living by faith, and writing about the results. Jordan S. is a seventeen year old high school student, who has been on quite a journey of her own. As a result, this bright young light has been used by God to not only illuminate a few of my darkest days, but to remind my wife and me that our walk still matters.

Take a moment to walk with her today as she courageously shares a bit of her journey here, and you’ll be deeply encouraged to continue your own, and filled with hope about what God is up to in the generation to come. Let us return the favor by cheering her on with feedback, as she offers us all…a much better view of God. 1 Cor. 3:18

Surrender “Seeking God not just above all, but instead of all things”

When Kevin asked me to write about my faith, I realized I am very inadequate for this task. I can’t even get myself to consistently read the Bible. I will talk about God’s love as long as you let me, but I am constantly allowing fear and pride to keep me from showing His love.

For these reasons and many more, I didn’t feel like I had anything to share except for maybe a few nice words plated with a thick layer of hypocrisy. What if I really am honest and it doesn’t help anyone? What if I don’t write what God wants? What if, like when I have shared my heart before, people stare at me blankly with the kind of pity that reminds me of how one would look at an injured puppy? I hope that doesn’t happen, and I pray that my words will glorify God and encourage you.

Despite the fact that I have attended Christian schools all of my life, my salvation story is nothing like that of the traditional youth group altar-call. When I was fourteen, I surrendered myself to God late one night while I sat, weeping in the floor in the bathroom of my house. This surrender didn’t come easily either. It was the result of a broken person who had spent months wrestling with God, and like Jacob, I am still trying to recover from my dislocated hip, metaphorically speaking.

Before this transformation, I lived with the comfortable and warped view of God as a genie. I thought I could keep Him locked away in my little lamp, rub it when I needed something, and have Him grant my wishes. This view of mine was completely shattered when I was thirteen. After countless prayers that God would heal my mom of her mysterious sickness, she passed away. I discovered that my faith was nothing but a foundation of sand, and my house collapsed quite easily when the rain and winds came.

Grief is a weird thing. It feels a lot like suspense, like you are just sitting around and waiting for something to happen. You can’t start anything new. You can’t settle down. You have this constant restless feeling and an overabundance of time to think and feel. For me, this manifested itself in my trying to understand God. I couldn’t wrap my head around what had happened. God was supposed to be good. He was supposed to take care of those who loved Him and listen to our prayers. Why didn’t He take care of my mom? Why hadn’t He answered my prayers?

This lack of understanding soon turned to anger. It turned into restless nights of screaming at God, telling Him that He didn’t know what He was doing, and asking Him where He was. For months I was depressed, hurt, and angry. Everyone around me attempted to help by telling me about how I needed to turn to God, and that only made me even more angry. Not only was God ignoring me, but He was the One who had cut me open. Why would I want Him to help stitch me up?

This awful cycle came to a head one night when my inner turmoil became too much to bear. I was just sitting on a staircase in my house because I didn’t know where to go. I began to pray, but this time it was different. It wasn’t accusatory. I wasn’t angry. I just told God that I needed Him. I told Him that I had been hearing rumors that He provided rest for the weary and that His burden was light, but all I could feel was exhaustion and heaviness.

It was then when I finally understood what Christians mean by “God’s still, small voice.” God spoke to me gently and told me that He had always been there. His heart was aching because mine was. He said He had always been ready to take my heavy load, but I had to be willing to give it to Him. I understood what He meant and began to cry. I hurriedly locked myself in a bathroom so my family could not see my tears.

In the floor of that bathroom God explained His process to me. Following God doesn’t mean saying a prayer and receiving a magic lamp that will solve your problems. It means daily surrender and trust. God wants us to surrender our dreams, desires, and ideas of what we want our life to look like to Him, and trust that what He has in store for us is so much better, even if the process is painful. That’s exactly what I did that night, and it was the best decision I have ever made.

However, just because it is a good decision, doesn’t mean it is an easy one. Following God is a never-ending process of obedience, which honestly, I have never been good at. I’ve always marveled at the courageous, faithful people in the Bible. I’ve always desired a faith like David’s or Abraham’s. I’ve wondered how anyone could possess a belief so strong in God that they would boldly fight giants; that they would be willing to sacrifice their own son, knowing that God’s plan is always best.

Even though I desired it, this kind of blind devotion was always something that I shrugged off. I thought that it was impossible to fully rely on God in a world that teaches you to rely on yourself. That’s why I feel so blessed to have been able to read “The Extravagant Fool.” Kevin’s story has given me an example of a real life person who does more than just talk about the heroes of the Bible; he emulates them. He listens to God’s voice and faithfully obeys. He has built his ark with no sign of rain, and that is something that has inspired and challenged me more than I can put into words.

This inspiration could not have come at a better point in my life. Right now, when I am trying to sort through colleges and careers, is when I will make the choices that affect the rest of my life. From Kevin’s story I have learned that I don’t have to have it figured out, that instead of pressuring myself to take action, I just need to listen and obey. I’ve learned that I won’t find God’s purpose for me unless I seek Him “not only above all things, but instead of all things.”

This means that I have to let go of areas of my life that God doesn’t approve of. I have to take responsibility for my careless sinning and selfish ambitions, even though it makes me uncomfortable. Growing up and taking responsibility for my life and actions is really scary, but I have learned that all success really requires is that I keep a loose grip on my plans and my ears trained to hear God.

When you follow God, your story is only sad if you stop before it is complete. Yes, throughout life we are challenged and hurt. We have moments of feeling worthless, unloved, and inadequate, but because of God that is all temporary. What is eternal is laughter, joy, redemption and triumph. Our stories will never be somber tales of tragedy, but triumphant ones of God’s unrequited love and faithfulness. All that’s required for this happily ever after is a wise God and a willing fool.

Supporting Our work

If you’d like to know more about our work and ministry click on the corresponding tabs. Kevin’s book and blog are his family’s primary source of income and means of continuing this transformational work.

  • If you’d like to help us, purchase The Extravagant Fool as a gift for someone you care about, and recommend it to others. 
  • You can also support our ministry by making a donation of any amount.

[For donations of $25 or more]

We’ll send you a personalized, signed copy of The Extravagant Fool.

Simply type: “Send Book” along with mailing instructions in the [Add Special Instructions] box provided by PayPal. 

Donate Here

Up Next

Faith journey update, guest posts, and much more on what we’ve learned on this seven year journey. If you’d like to share your Extravagant Fool journey and how the book was helpful, contact Kevin by email.

Warm blessings,

Kevin, Holly, and The Extravagant Fool family

For a free preview of the book, Chapter One is available at Extravagant by clicking the “Book Preview” tab.

For updates, please join us at our Website, Twitter, Facebook/Kevin Adams, and Facebook/Extravagant Fool

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Giving Authentic Faith a Welcome Invitation

“If God would only test my faith like the heroes of Scripture…”

Will you finish the sentence out loud, underneath your breath, or not at all? Those words have a scary feel don’t they? As if even their utterance might enlist God’s hammer, chisel and Shop-Vac. And something we love or need, such as our family, finances or good health, will end up diminished, demolished, or completely sucked from our lives. It’s an idea that may make us flinch, but if it’s avoided entirely may also keep us from reaching our kingdom potential.

Certainly, it’s difficult to plug in our own family and imagine the type of testing encountered by Job, or to consider our own child while contemplating the lonely steps of Abraham leading Isaac to the altar. And it is nearly as difficult to consider the daily routines of Joseph’s undeserved imprisonment as though they were our own. But as veteran believers shouldn’t we make the attempt?

In other words, if the entirety of Scripture is chocked full of human failures, injustices, and difficult trials – along with the heroes and heroin who suffered through them – shouldn’t we expose our minds and hearts to it in way that it becomes a deeply personal experience – at least momentarily?

I’m not suggesting we imagine all the terrible things that can happen to us personally as a means of deeper study, but only that we take the Word – the entire Word – into our inmost parts as if it were food. And in such a way that we can actually feel it, and carry it with us into the trials of modern life, which are ultimately not so different.

If this all sounds weird consider this: Remember how it felt to experience The Passion of The Christ for the very first time? As it filled our minds with the sights and sounds of tragedy, it also lifted our spirits to a new level of thanksgiving and humility, and perhaps a more honest form of repentance. So why do the passages of Scripture have any less effect? Why are we are willing to accept a visual download about the goodness of God from a movie, but not from its very source?

Is it because we’ve made caution an idol by relegating deep meditation to the spookier side of Christianity, where visualizing deeply as we study (as if watching a movie) was an evil practice to avoid? Or is it that we’ve become so affectionately familiar with the stories and characters of scripture, that we’ve gradually forgotten how important they are? Or how literally we should take them?

It’s perplexing indeed how we as believers are willing to fully employ the senses, imaginations and emotional connections with the world in order to feel it – whether admittedly on a good thing such as The Passion movie, or secretly on a bad thing such as pornography. Yet when it comes to going deeper into scripture, we consider the use of these God given faculties as mystical or new-age-like and ultimately hold the Word captive to its familiar surface – where its characters are easy to quote, but difficult to emulate.

Alright, since it’s unlikely that we would ever disengage from something so moving as The Passion, perhaps the better idea is to disengage the moderation we’ve inadvertently applied to our faith (the foundation of all that pleases Him), and go after Him and His word with everything we possess, including our senses and imagination to the point that we can begin to truly feel the Word. (As if it were a movie)

Why not take a few moments while studying the Exodus to close your eyes and imagine standing with Moses on the banks of an undivided Red Sea? Picture his posture of humility as the two million souls who’ve followed him are left with no escape. Or push your way through their wearied masses to feel the dissent as it thickens on the desert floor. And feel it again as it dissipates into groveling defeat when that dessert floor thunders with Pharaoh’s advancing army.

Or why not imagine being thrown from the deck of a capsizing boat while Jesus is peacefully sleeping below? Allow yourself to feel the unflinching brutality of surging waves and spiraling winds, and the desperation of clutching the air as your cries for help are muffled and sucked away from the ears of Jesus.

The point is to momentarily forget what you know, and to watch the Word unfold, imagining the sights, sounds, and feeling the emotions of every event; because only when we learn to emotionally connect with the suffering and faith of our heroes, will we ever be able to carry on their heritage. And whether God splits us like a log, prunes us by a thousand tiny cuts, or leads us gently by the hand, our own lives might finally become “living epistles” where true freedom and contentment matter more than comfort.

The truth is, it will always be easier to simply agree that faith comes by the hearing of the Word than to give that faith a welcome invitation through a willingness to be tested.

Father help us to begin by deeply connecting with the testing of those who came before us, and continue by testing our own faith that Your Glory might touch the earth a little more, and Your full intention for this life will be realized.

Please Share Your Thoughts

As a faith writer, my aim is always to encourage and stimulate thought. If this post is helpful, or you’d like to share your point of view, please comment and know you’re thoughts are welcomed and appreciated. We are listening.

Supporting Our work

If you’d like to know more about our work and ministry click on the corresponding tabs. Kevin’s book and blog are his family’s primary source of income and means of continuing this transformational work.

  • If you’d like to help us, purchase The Extravagant Fool as a gift for someone you care about, and recommend it to others. 
  • You can also support our ministry by making a donation of any amount.

[For donations of $25 or more]

We’ll send you a signed copy of The Extravagant Fool.

Simply type: “Send Book” along with mailing instructions in the [Add Special Instructions] box provided by PayPal. 

Donate Here

Up Next

Faith journey update, guest posts, and much more on what we’ve learned on this seven year journey. If you’d like to share your Extravagant Fool journey and how the book was helpful, contact Kevin by email.

Warm blessings,

Kevin, Holly, and The Extravagant Fool family

For a free preview of the book, Chapter One is available at Amazon and Extravagant by clicking the “Book Preview” tab.

For updates, please join us at our Website, Twitter, Facebook/Kevin Adams, and Facebook/Extravagant Fool


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I Married A Fool!

Dear friends, today I have the privilege of sharing the words of my best friend and wife, Holly – the one who married a fool, and stuck foolishly by his side through the most difficult journey of her life; learning to truly live by faith. To her credit, she has always been the one who is first to listen, last to preach, and the one who’d rather live out the plan than make a public speech. But even in that quiet reserve, she bravely admits that an occasional few words from the wife of a fool are actually the ones that give our story its most credible voice. Thank you, sweet wife and fellow fool, for courageously sharing your heart.

A Few Things I’ve Learned as The Wife of The Extravagant Fool

Hi, my name is Holly and I married a fool! Now, in all fairness, He wasn’t a fool when I married him. He was a kind, loving, generous and very driven man. He worked his tail off to provide everything for our family that we could ever need, and nearly anything we could ever want. But, in His spirit, He knew there was more, and honestly, so did I.

About six years ago, when it became apparent that we would lose everything that all his hard work had provided, we could both see the writing on the wall and knew that this wasn’t going to be your typical “riches to rags” story. This one had a greater purpose. We had a calling! I’m not saying it has been easy because it certainly hasn’t. In fact, it has been devastating as I’ve watched the life that I thought I wanted die a slow death. But, I wouldn’t trade its blessings for anything or any amount of money. I’ve learned many things as I’ve traveled this journey with Kevin, The Extravagant Fool. Here are just a few of them:

God will use anyone with a willing heart, especially one that fully seeks Him.

It is often the things that we think remove us from the running as viable candidates, that actually makes us a perfect pick for the job. I’ve seen that God frequently makes better use of our flaws than our strengths. For in our weakness, He is strong. What better way for Him to be glorified than to use two fools like Kevin and I.

God has a plan for every created thing, and every single person.

His word says that before He formed us in the womb, He knew us. God doesn’t do things without a plan and a purpose, so if He created someone then He has a plan in mind for them. I find that very comforting. None of us are here to simply take up space. I’ve learned that most of us will never find that purpose unless we are either pushed outside of our comfort zone or we choose to make that leap. Kevin and I were pushed and God’s purpose is being revealed more and more every day.

I think if a person is wondering what their purpose is they should consider what hurts their heart the most when they look around the world. What is that thing deep in you that just never seems to go away? That could very well be your purpose! Why not just go for it – be open to it – and tell your Father that you are available? We can either live a mediocre life going through the motions or we can decide to be “all-in”, knowing that we serve a loving Father who only desires good things for us. At the end of our life which of those choices will we be most excited about?

We will be miserable if we try to live in a way that is contrary to His purpose.

We will consistently feel undervalued, misused and aimless. Nothing will fill those holes. If we choose not to live as we’ve been purposed, it is no different than a beautiful glass vase being used as a hammer. I can try and use that beautiful vase as I would a hammer but eventually it will be smashed into pieces and useless. As a result, the work of the hammer never gets done and my beautiful flowers have nowhere to be displayed. Best to let the hammer be a hammer, and the vase be a vase, for neither can do the work of the other successfully.

Nothing man-made will truly set us free.

There is no political party, self-help book, bible study group, marriage counseling or program that can fix all of our problems. What we all need individually and corporately are not more PROGRAMS! We need to humble ourselves and seek the face of our Father above all else. His word says that if we seek Him first all these things will be added to us. Kevin puts it this way, “Seek Him first, not just above all things, but instead of all things”. We can become so concerned with fixing all the problems of our world, whether it’s in our own little world or the world at large, that we stop seeking Him first. He is the answer to all that ails us. When we seek His face we are no longer eye to eye with our problems. We can only see His eyes, and in them His peace.

Money is never what makes people happy.

I think we can all agree, in theory. But many still want to hedge their bets by storing it up. I have seen too many rich people who are miserable, or miserable to others, and too many people with little who are joyfully generous, to believe otherwise. Why do we define “rich” and “poor” based upon dollars and cents, anyway? Isn’t wealth really a matter of the heart? Ultimately, do we know where our true provision comes from? If a job can be lost and a 401K zapped right before our eyes, wouldn’t it just make more sense to put our faith in the creator of the Universe for our provision? He is our only reliable source for He is limitless and knows our every need, thus there is no need to hedge our bets!

It is never a good idea to give our children everything their heart desires.

In fact, it almost always creates a monster! And society will not thank us later. Certainly, teach them to work diligently, but even better, teach them how to seek God. I believe it is much better to let them see and feel the miraculous hand of provision from their God than glorifying their parent’s wealth, or even their own abilities. I say, go out on a limb in faith and watch what your Father will do. Your whole family will get to experience the awe and wonder of His love. And seeing Him perform a miracle will change you and them more than anything money can buy and He is always full of surprises!

If God has given you a dream, never ever give up.

We always forget that when the characters in the Bible were told what to do they often had to wait for long periods of time before they ever saw it come to fruition. We have become a very impatient society whose foremost desire is immediate gratification. This isn’t good for us and it isn’t good for our children (see point #6). Stick to it, fight the fight and finish the race! Very rarely do those who give up get a reward. But those who finish the race are honored with the prize. We may be bruised and bloody at the finish line, but we can say that we fought the good fight, carried God’s purpose, and finished well.

Always be thankful for what you do have.

We inherently become what we focus on. We can get lost in what we think God isn’t doing rather than being thankful for what He is doing. But if we wake up being thankful, it will change our day. Plus, as an added bonus, it really ticks Satan off! God loves a thankful heart, especially one in the midst of circumstances that should be rocking our world. I know how I feel when my children walk around complaining when I’ve just done something for them and also how I feel when they are grateful. Their gratitude moves my heart. I know it moves my Father’s, too.

People will always surprise us.

They will hurt us with their selfishness but they will also blow our minds with their selfless generosity. In these last 6 -7 years, Kevin and I have been hurt deeply by people that we thought cared about us. People that we thought would be in our corner have turned their backs on us; they have ridiculed us and called us foolish, and have not stood in faith with us. It is excruciatingly painful. Kevin likes to say, “We must lower our expectations of people and raise them of God.” I find that when I can do that I am more easily able to forgive them and see God’s hand in the situation. The ticket is to not become bitter when those we expected to love us well, just don’t.

The flip side is to joyfully recognize that people can also surprise us….in a great way! Unexpected people, even strangers, have been an incredible support, which goes to show that a God who likes to keep us on our toes, can and will use whomever He sees fit. Including a sweet, very faithful 17- year old girl, an amazing family in Brazil, and a kind, generous man in Virginia, and many, many others – all people that I look forward to meeting one day, hopefully this side of heaven, who have all changed my life due to their kind words, encouragement and even financial support.

More of God is worth any price.

Several years ago, after our large home had been foreclosed on and we were living in a tiny little rental, a good friend of mine just offhandedly asked me if my life felt any different living in the tiny rental vs. living in the “big house”. I had to stop and really think on this question. And I still ponder it a lot to this day. I told her that I still had the same chair that sits in my bedroom in a corner. It is where I do my morning bible study. I spent my alone time there in the “big house” and I spent it there in the tiny rental. Both homes had walls and bathrooms and kitchens and most importantly the same people lived there. So, I had to honestly tell her that no, it didn’t really feel that different in the day to day. I still had a roof over my head and a comfy bible study chair and my family around me. I guess that kind of put it in perspective.

But, in the last few months, I went back to that conversation and God reminded me of another conversation – one that I had with Him while sitting in the “big house” during one of my alone times. I remember thinking, praying “Father…surely there is more to life than this! I live in this beautiful house. I drive a brand new car. I live in this sought after neighborhood, but I still feel like there is more to life than this. What am I missing? Show me God! Give me the More! I want whatever you have for me. I want to be what you made me to be. I don’t want to waste this life on myself.”

As I pondered this conversation with God from many years ago, while sitting in my same comfy chair (in the home where I currently live), it hit me…I no longer ask Him that question! I am living the More! God is revealing to Kevin and I daily what He created us to be. I wouldn’t want it any other way and I wouldn’t give any of it back. The scales have been removed. I was blind but now I see. The MORE is always worth it!

Thank you, Kevin Adams, The Extravagant Fool, for being willing to risk it all to serve our Father with all your heart and without limits. You have given your wife and your children a legacy and a gift far greater than money could ever provide. Here’s to many more years being the wife of a fool!!

What We’re Up To

As a ministry, we are currently developing educational resources, online support tools and forming a community to help equip and encourage the faithful steps of inspired believers. If you’d like to help us, purchase The Extravagant Fool as a gift for someone you care about, and recommend it to others. You can also support our work by donating here.

Up Next: Stories, challenges, and much more on what we’ve learned from this six year journey.

Warm blessings,

Kevin, Holly, and The Extravagant Fool family

For a free preview of the book, Chapter One is available at Amazon and Extravagant by clicking the “Book Preview” tab.

For updates, please join us at our Website, Twitter, Facebook/Kevin Adams, and Facebook/Extravagant Fool

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Cheering on Faith from a Safe Distance

Below are the loving words of a sweet young girl to a worried man – a friend she’d come to know through extraordinary circumstances, and affectionately referred to as her “dad”. These are the last few sparks of her beautiful spirit, faithfully scribbled to him from a hospital bed in the final moments of consciousness – the moments between resting silently in a coma for days, and resting at last in the arms of her heavenly father.

“Dad, God blessed me with you, thank you for being my dad, my friend, my counselor and my confidant. As I said, no matter what, I´ll be fine so be at peace ok? May God strengthen your faith each day, keep going, you are a wonderful man. I wish I could share more about my faith with you but His will be done. I love you so much dad, and will always love you. God bless you. – N.”

Though we’d never met, she adopted me as her faraway dad after the heartbreaking loss of her sister – an older sister, who only months before had stumbled upon my blog, and introduced herself to me with an unexpected question – one that birthed a year long conversation that recently ended with tears of sorrow and joy.

“Mr. Adams, thank you for sharing your story. Please, if you have the time, will you help me understand how to walk by faith?”

Both of these precious young women are now at home with their heavenly Father. And though it remains a mystery to me why they couldn’t stay longer, I count it one of the great privileges of my life to have known them. And to have witnessed firsthand how a childlike desire for learning to walk by faith can so quickly become a lifestyle of demonstrating how it’s actually done.

Through these beautiful souls, my wife and I were blessed and challenged by the kind of faith that lives beyond the ruthless demand of one’s own temporary circumstances, and the kind of faith where the eternal circumstances of others are always more important.

I’ve heard it said by some – even by some who cheer us on from a safe distance – that only certain folks are called to a lifestyle of faith. I suppose if that were true, then God must’ve finally agreed that walking by sight for most, is mostly a better way to see.

But just as God gives comfort to the faithful in their affliction, He will surely afflict the comfort of those unwilling to step beyond it – which probably makes Him an irresistible hero for the “called”, and the unspoken villain for those who’d rather keep cheering them on from a distance.

As the author of The Extravagant Fool – A Faith Journey That Begins Where Common Sense Ends, I’m frequently asked the same simple question: “How does one ever truly learn to walk by faith?” But it’s one that I can only answer by continuing to take this journey and share the results with others.

My purpose as a writer is to inspire and awaken the sleeping giants of faith within the body. My purpose as a teacher is to help shift our culture from one of radical striving to be better Christians, to one of radical intimacy with a better-than-we-can-imagine Father. The Extravagant Fool book is the calling card God gave me to accomplish this, but this blog is what now holds me accountable to that ambition, as well as serving as our only means of support.

Our ultimate aim is to build a community to help equip and encourage the faithful steps of inspired believers. The idea behind it is to function as the church by establishing a network of like-minded people and sharing our resources to help one another advance the kingdom.

While this all begins by getting the book’s transformational message into the reader’s hands, we want to eventually walk alongside them in their transformation, and continue to encourage them through new materials, mentoring and networking. As our resources grow, we’d like to create even more tangible avenues to help those who are truly hungry to begin stepping by faith into their kingdom assignments.

If you’d like to help, pick up a copy of the book. If you already have one, pick up another copy and give it someone you care about. You can also support our work by donating here.

Up Next: Stories, challenges, and much more on what we’ve learned from this six year journey.

Warm blessings,

Kevin, Holly, and The Extravagant Fool family

For a free preview of the book, Chapter One is available at Amazon and Extravagant by clicking the “Book Preview” tab.

For updates, please join us at our Website, Twitter, Facebook/Kevin Adams, and Facebook/Extravagant Fool

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Some Call it Foolishness. We Call it Faith.

After six years of living by faith and attempting to share the results, I am unconvinced that it’s any easier to outwardly express the pain of a difficult moment than it is to live by faith through that moment.

Mainly because seeking comfort is logical (the unspoken rule of popular Christian culture), while seeking the will of God at any cost is not. So for those with the task of publicly displaying their burdens in the name of encouragement, the risk is great that some who hear will simply not listen beyond their own understanding, and miss the point entirely.

But for the sake of those who will truly listen – for the sake of those who recognize that God will never say “Well done my good and financially secure servant” – we will continue to take that risk unflinchingly, and to seek His will at any cost by aiming to emulate the heroes of faith, rather than simply quoting them.

To that end, I believe it is necessary to continue by sharing the struggles we’ve faced since the launch of The Extravagant Fool, five months ago. As there have been moments for my wife and I that seem utterly cruel on the surface, but in the end have increased our trust in God so dramatically, that His presence has become as discernable in our home as an additional member of our family.

Thanks in advance for listening.

It’s a heckuva thing to walk into a bookstore, see your own name and title on the shelf – knowing that its message is encouraging people all over the world – and chuckle at the bitter irony of not being able to buy even a single copy for yourself, or more importantly, not being able to buy even a single bag of groceries for your family.

It’s a heckuva thing to receive phone calls of praise from powerful people – those who sell millions of books, and those who show up in movies – while reflecting on the fact that your son’s wedding is three days off, and you don’t have enough gas in your tank to get to there.

And it’s a heckuva thing indeed to carry these heartbreaking moments around, knowing you’ve done your Father’s will, but feeling like that kid who’s been sent to his room the one and only time he didn’t deserve it.

Just after the book launched in May, as people began buying and being challenged, encouraged, and even transformed by it (with hundreds of good reports stretching from our own backyard, to Canada, and the U.K.) the fiery darts of the enemy – betrayal, false accusations, and financial upheaval – began to fly relentlessly against our mind, will, and emotions, to discourage, depress and fatigue our position as living-proof-witnesses – that intimacy with God –is– worth any price.

And without warning or explanation:

  • Several close friends who’d declared the book a transformational read, and offered their full support, suddenly did an about-face, and severed all contact with my family.
  • We lost our income when I was fired by my wealthy employer, who, after reading my book, questioned its validity, and referred to it and me as ridiculous, and delusional.
  • By email I received additional accusations, character assassinations, and even a few threats, including one from an angry individual announcing that he was going to “hunt me down” after one of his family members who’d heard our story, decided to step out in faith.
  • A dear friend who’d planned on retaining my services for a writing project was forced to postpone it indefinitely when a devastating fire occurred in her home just days before the work was set to begin. She and her family were unharmed, but it left them with months of costly reconstruction, and left us with no extra income to help fill the gaps.
  • We lost the ability to cool our home in the nearly 100 degree summer heat, when inexplicably, all four of our A/C units (two main, and two wall units) stopped working within days each other.

All of which resulted in a temporary downward spiral of no income, dwindling resources, and the inability to use my office to work, write, or help promote the book. And ultimately, the inability to pay for our basic needs such as electricity, health insurance, car repairs and even food.

It’s a heckuva thing this journey of faith, not only in taking each step with a total dependence on God, but in the task of remaining credible witnesses by sharing the experience – warts and all – with everyone.

Some call it foolishness; we call it faith – the paradoxical dividing line between all that pleases God, and all that cannot. On one side we see a fool who claims to be led by God, yet he can barely afford to eat. On the other we see a God who makes fools into authors, and then requires them to continue practicing what they preach.

It’s a heckuva thing indeed, with a price tag that is hard to concede. Unless, of course, we first believe that there is no risk when we fully allow the Spirit of God to lead.

Next up:

Plenty of good news about what God has done these last few months, what we have learned from it, and where He is leading the journey of The Extravagant Fool – The funny red book that takes the risk of irritating some, for the sake of inspiring, encouraging, and offering hope to an entire culture of believers. Come along and see what happens next.

For a free preview of the book, Chapter One is available at Amazon and Extravagant by clicking the “Book Preview” tab.

For updates, please join us at our Website, Twitter, Facebook/Kevin Adams, and Facebook/Extravagant Fool

Warm Blessings



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The Sound of God’s Voice Begins, Where Common Sense Ends

“Write for Me Kevin, and I will provide!”

This was the powerful impression of an illogical God on the spirit of a very foolish man. Yet one who after living by common sense, and losing everything he worked years to achieve, finally decided to stop leaning on his own understanding – to never again be pushed around by what is seen – opting instead to be led by what is unseen.

And by sound of God’s voice, at a time when there was no money for rent or utilities, and little food in the pantry, I began the arduous and unreasonable task of writing my first book–The Extravagant Fool: A Faith Journey That Begins Where Common Sense Ends.

As the bank began the process of removing us from our home at Christmas, and taxes threatened to seize what few assets we had – including the computer I would use to write – the good intentions of other believers, including our own church family screamed: Enough! With words of get-a-real-job-now practicality that were impossible to rebut by any form of human wisdom:

“Yes…but these days everyone’s a writer…your real job is to put beans on the table.”

“Sure God is good…but we live here, in reality. It’s just plain selfish to put anything above your family.”

So, by the standards of the age, it was a foolish idea – one that many still believe originated deep in the heart of my own wishful thinking, certain that a God who remains silent beyond the pages of His Word hadn’t spoken such a foolish thing. And perhaps the kind of “foolish” thing that could only be believed or carried out by absolute faith – the kind of faith, ironically, that we find as our example in the pages of that Word – the very same Scriptures where victory was only achieved when human logic bent its knees to the irrational call of God.

Reality Check

Indeed, if faith comes by the hearing of the Word, then living here in “reality” is living by what we find within in its pages, despite what logic dictates. In order to courageously follow the impossible things God uses to test and grow that faith, we must begin by sitting still, and learning to trust the examples He’s already given us – the whole of Scripture – where every impractical story challenges our logic and self-appointed sense of direction. A kind of shepherd’s crook perhaps, to pull the off-course sheep back in the shepherd’s direction, and where the sound of His voice can be clearly discerned and followed with childlike abandon.

Thank you Noah, Abraham, Esther and Gideon, Mathew, Mary and Paul, for listening when it made no sense, and following like a fool at logic’s expense!

So God challenged my faith for the sound of His voice, by challenging me to first believe that the heroes of Scripture – men and women He led to victory – had heard it long before and recorded it, that we may learn to listen as well, and follow courageously against the opinions of apparently wiser men.

In other words, He inspired me to approach the Word with absolute trust, to set aside the dirty spectacles of practicality and human wisdom—to knock with certainty as if it were the door that only His personality could answer. As a result, I began to discern the plagues of my past – of relegating God’s voice to the past and parading its characters and their creator as if only cartoons worth quoting in the present. I began to have disdain for the logical sneaks who hive off chunks of the Word into sentiments and stings, as if a Deity who could speak entirety itself into existence, might struggle to say exactly what He means.

Even by logic, a divided house falls – He either did it all or did nothing at all. Meaning every single word, whether in red ink or black, spoken by prophet, king, physician, fisherman, or a collector of tax, whether from the mouth of Jesus or those inspired by His Spirit, are supernaturally in-tact.  The more time I spent, the more He revealed, the more intimate our relationship became. The more intimate our relationship, the stronger His impressions became.

Until these words: “Write for Me Kevin, and I will provide!” became the ultimate ground where faith and logic collide. Today there is a book being published by a major publisher, and my family still has a home and plenty to eat – something that was impossible for me to accomplish, yet by God’s lead, was impossible for logic to defeat. To God alone goes the glory!

Dividing the Soul and Spirit (Separating our understanding from His)

Lord, remind us again about the Word that was made flesh…Its breadth and dimension are unrestrained by the flattened landscape of paper and ink. Its Jasper walls of everlasting truth cannot be overtaken by the temporary weeds that men call facts. No literary arrow dipped in the flames of contradiction can set fire to this living water or breach the iron gates of its context. Not even the giant void of black universe can block the radiance of one single verse – “Let there be light” from Pennsylvania to Mongolia. It’s a lamp to our feet that now stretches from Amish nightstands to the glowing cell phones of shepherds in the Gobi desert.

O how the Word is alive and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword. Yet we hold it captive – locked in the scabbard – by leaving it unread. And from the comfort of our own understanding we end up leaving for dead, the still-small-voice that speaks so intimately behind every inspired pen-stoke, and corporate slice of living bread.

Help us all to be convicted to a life of resting on every word you’ve spoken, and moving with abandon by every word you speak. May our spirits be ready to listen with ears that hear, and may we pursue your voice with courage through every soulish doubt and its common-sense veneer.

Living Proof

If you’d like to know more about how we learned to truly hear, trust, and follow the sound of God’s voice to a life of absolute freedom from striving, spiritual rejuvenation, and distinct purpose carried out; Our story, chocked full overwhelming odds and miraculous impossibilities, offers an inspiring glimpse and undeniable proof of God’s unfathomable goodness, along with His loving desire for each of us to step past our own understanding, and finally be led by His Spirit.

The Extravagant Fool is about encountering God with an uncommon intimacy. About honing your ability to discern his voice, leading to a revelation of who you are and what you are to do here on earth, plus the provision to carry it out.

Sound impossible?

Hear the living, breathing testimony offered by the extravagant fool, a man who staked his welfare—and future—entirely on the goodness of God.

My wife Holly, and I, hope you will be deeply encouraged by what God has done, and be equally challenged, and inspired by what He will gladly do for anyone willing to rest in His arms like a happy child. Thank you for taking the time to read the rest of our story!

For updates, please join me on Extravagant , Facebook, and Twitter

Warm blessings.



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Only When God Becomes All That We Want…Do We Truly See That He Is All We Need

It is impossible to please God without some measure of faith. But the prospect of living life entirely by it, is viewed as impractical, unnecessary, and foolish by many. After several years of learning to be a bit more foolish, I remain unconvinced as to which is more difficult: being willing to do anything for the Lord or willing to believe He would do anything for me.

Willingness to be foolish

Sunday morning at ten fifteen the words “Stand up and sing” formed in the air and lingered there like those of an unforgettable friend. And ten minutes before the sermon would end I heard them again and again.  “Stand up and sing…sing Jesus loves me!” I looked around at a thousand quiet souls and wondered who it might have been. Some craning toward the pulpit to catch every corporate word, others with arms outstretched and nodding agreeably at what they’d already heard. But not one, including the speaker, had requested a song or singer to interrupt what is decent with something completely absurd…like “Stand up Kevin and sing Jesus loves me”.

I looked at my watch then down at my feet until clarity wrapped around my dignity and began to sink its teeth. Either God has a plan and had taken time to speak or I was about to be crowned church idiot and king of all freaks. If God indeed has a plan then He surely has a voice but sometimes He just hauls off and forces us to make a choice…knowing full well that a quick fork in the eye is always better than a lifetime of staring at one in the road.

Faith comes by the hearing of God’s word but only with rigorous testing will its measure increase. To that end, any David willing to dance before God with all his might must first count the cost of being despised by others in exchange for his Father’s delight. If you consider yourself a sheep in the fold of Jesus, one that hears His voice and follows, then I have a question: What would you do if He asked you to raise your hands and worship Him on the front porch or in the supermarket?  Or maybe while in the mall or jogging with your iPod? The question is not whether we think it’s unnecessary or even senseless but instead whether we know the sound of His voice and are consumed by obedience to it.

So my moment of truth came down to this: Avoid the entire charade and risk offending God’s Spirit or move forward obediently and risk offending the minds of men. With legs a prickling and every ounce of blood attempting escape through my face, I two handed the back of the chair in front of me and began pulling myself into place – a standing position.  And inching into my periphery was the nauseating blur of faces who were about to be embarrassed…for me.

Willingness to believe foolishly

By late summer we’d been awarded a substantial work contract which held the promise of meeting our financial needs for another year. But as the project began with great hope, so it began with a series of hopelessly unexpected interruptions. Three months and twice as many postponements later our summer of great expectation had given way to another November of desperation. After all, without the benefit of this income we’d literally lose every inch of ground that was gained the entire previous year, and more.

Yet throughout this journey the Lord without fail has sustained our every need by His abundant provision. And all the more generous at times, He has grown our faith by withholding that provision until all seemed lost. So with Christmas only weeks away, a delinquent mortgage and every resource exhausted, we waited patiently for the good news to come, until finally…with no time to spare…it came. We rejoiced that the project delays were over – halleluiah! On the other hand, the project was also over, cut from the budget at the eleventh hour without warning.

I’m not a pastor, theologian or teacher. I don’t have a church, a fan club or a flock. I’m just a regular guy with a testimony who would rather tear away empty pockets than fill them with empty promises. Before any of us can stand on the banks of the Red Sea and believe that it will open, we’ve got to learn the sound of God’s voice, like Moses at the burning bush. And then be consumed by obedience to it in spite of the doubting opinions of others, like Israel, who would rather remain safely in bondage.

Finally, we must become unshakable before the Godless kingdoms of this world, like Egypt, who will stop at nothing to keep us enslaved. Or mammon, the spirit that makes us cringe when we ask if the Good Samaritan would help the same man twice, three times, as long as needed, or stop when it begins to reduce his own storehouse.

It was no accident that every time Moses stepped out in faith God turned up the heat. From the unwinnable assignment, to Pharaoh’s hardened heart, to making bricks without straw, to being ridiculed by his own people, Moses was well prepared to face the impossible when it arrived.  And right on time, after years of preparation, our very own Red Sea moment has arrived to daunt the natural eyes and remind us that God, not man, is our deliverer and God, not mammon, is our place of rest.

Willing to stand up and sing…or not.

By now, halfheartedly standing in church, like the lone awkward applauder at a social event or the guy who tried and failed to start the wave in a stadium, I would become the gladiatorial fool who disrupted the entire service to stand up and sing Jesus loves me…loudly.  With a brief glance at the auditorium door to weigh my last options for avoiding embarrassment, having easily stood to make a simple dash for the bathroom, the other half of my heart with great unction joined rank against my flesh and laid itself on the altar.

Just as the hymn whispered up from my spirit, these words…“do not offend the speaker” settled on my shoulders like the insisting hands of a remarkably strong grandfather. My posture recognized the escape long before my understanding and slumped without hesitation into a deep sigh of thanksgiving – praise the Lord! Then…with only a minute left, the speaker led the congregation in prayer before making a strange request:

“You know what folks? This is going to seem cheesy but before we dismiss…let’s all stand up and sing Jesus loves me”

And without hesitation I knew…I knew that the Lord had just restored what the thief of my struggle had stolen. Jesus loves me…He really, really does. Three days later I shared my experience with the pastor. After a momentary pause, he looked at me with conviction and said:

“Wow Kevin… it wasn’t until the closing prayer that God gave me that song for the congregation. It wasn’t planned or even thought of until I prayed.” 

We both smiled and pondered the love of a God who reminds us He’s there by testing the limits of our willingness. And I knew for sure that a God who would captivate me audibly and confirm it, is a God who would never allow the needs of my family to go unmet…ever.

Willing to believe in the foolish things

In an upside down kingdom it’s the foolish things, not the practical, that glorify the King. When the fool has a need…he meets the needs of another. When his hands are empty…he offers his hands instead. When his storehouse overflows he remembers that life is a vapor and counts giving a much greater privilege than making his future a little safer. When he is maligned he is kind and when he is about to faint from depression, he offers high praise to the Lord and for others he makes petition. When he’s counted by men as foolish in faith, lazy when things look tough and lucky when things seem great, he rejoices, gives thanks and reflects on these onetime foolish things:

God made a way for Noah to escape, Sarah to conceive, Isaac to leave the altar and Abraham to father nations, Jacob to prosper over Laban, Joseph to feed the nations, Moses to deliver a nation, Joshua to win the promised land, Gideon’s three hundred over more than a hundred thousand. And God gave David the favor for an everlasting throne, Elijah the speed to outrun a chariot and power to feed a widow for months from a single meal, Jeremiah the zeal to stand alone, Daniel the conviction to pray out loud and face death, Esther the favor at just the right hour, Nehemiah the vision to rebuild, and ultimately He made a way for the birth, sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord, Savior and King of everything to exchange Himself for a bride.

If the prospect of living entirely by faith (in the One crucified entirely for us) is academically risky, impractical and even foolish…then our fork in the road is clear:

To one side, these bold men and women of scripture are like wonderful cartoon characters that we quote on occasion for practical wisdom. To the other, they are real people with blood & gut testimonies that have become the victories of our inheritance. To one side, we see a savior pointing to our bootstraps who is willing to help if we’re willing to grab them first. To the other, we see that only momentary affliction is able to burn away such a Christian centered veneer. To one side, we see that practical wisdom aims to make life safe by storing up treasure for later and avoiding risky mistakes. To the other, we see that wise decisions are not even possible when made by the spirit of fear. To one side, we see the more sensible answers from the minds of men. To the other, we see the truth as it rings sincere through the veil of Christian ease:

Only when God becomes all that we want do we truly see that He is all we need.

Final Note: 

My wife and I began learning to trust the Lord for our every need about four years ago. Within that time He has met them all abundantly and in His generosity, increased our lives exponentially – teaching us the sound of His voice, freedom from fear, and how to step into our identity.  He has set our children are on fire, unified our marriage, and prepared our hearts with zeal for service. But none of our growth came without testing – testing that teaches us to rest in the Father’s arms like happy children, no matter how ugly the circumstance or radically foolish His instructions appear before men. In short, God has used the struggle set before our eyes in 2008 to remove a thousand from within our hearts along the way.

Today, having our last resource stripped away at the eleventh hour, when all is lost without it, the most difficult test we’ve faced since the journey began has arrived. And honestly… we are worn out, having no taste or patience for the superficial. Never the less, we do well to remember that living by faith is the only way to know who we really are – any of us. The more we are willing to courageously trust Him with our life, the more willing He is to trust us with His plan.

Through the continued encouragement of publishers and others, I’ve been working diligently on my writing project and remain excited. Good things are just around the corner. Until then, please pray that we might endure gracefully. And please take courage in your own testing that you are not alone in the fight of faith – affliction is momentary, rewards are overwhelming.

Lord, today, when all seems lost, as we face our own Red Sea moment, we boast in your mighty works and offer thanks for your good plans. We lift up our praise and declare that the same God who delivered Moses from Egypt and delivered us these past four years will deliver us again for the sake of His glory. Vindicate us before all men that our testimony would prove us weak and helpless and that You alone are our salvation.  

For all who are tired of relying, even a little, on something other than God, today you can rest in His arms like a happy child. But if you need living proof then come along and see what He does next.

 For prayer or encouragement please contact me by email:  Or connect on facebook and Google+

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What Can A Generous God Do With An Extravagant Fool?

Lord…that our desire would be to make every act an act of worship, give us a broken heart, but give us one that refuses to be impressed by impossible circumstances.

Last fall arrived as an empty handed messenger… “The income we’d hoped to see remains the income we hope to see eventually. Until then, we’ve stopped paying our mortgage in order to cover essentials. Better to face foreclosure in the next few months than to face the next few weeks without food and utilities.” -October 2011

And so we did… but the weeks evaporated like inch deep water in the heat of our circumstance, leaving us nothing but tears – tears I buried in the pillows of my couch. There I sat with my beautiful wife beside me like an angry passenger. She’d been watching faithfully for months – watching me do nothing with my days but pray and attempt to write – write when our children are decking the halls of a home they’re bound to lose – write when the lawsuits are ushered to our door by an armed official, and write when there is little food left in the pantry and no way to buy more. “Kevin, I can’t live like this – we can’t live like this – it’s insane!”

That empty handed messenger had us both by the seat of the pants but we were moving in opposite directions. “Write for me and I will provide for your family.”  The words God planted in my heart were not a secret but they were no match for the voice of reason. I looked at her as she looked at the empty pantry and choked on their utter foolishness. Still, they hung in my gut like poison “I can’t explain it Holly – I just know that I have to do this.” She was in tears, not because we were suffering but because she was carrying a much bigger burden – the burden of having to trust that a man like me had truly heard from God – easier said than done when her children are asking why that pantry is so empty. It’s the moment of truth when spouses grab their children and run for safety. I deserved nothing less.

The hours passed slowly. My words and prayers stuck to the floor like penny gum with little memory of God’s sweetness. There was nothing I could do – nothing but wait and wonder aloud if God is still generous and wonder silently what a generous God might do with such an extravagant fool. And like any fool on the worst day of his life, I gave up. But like any faithful wife with a fool for a husband, she did not. She didn’t leave because by faith she had the courage to make a different choice – to lift my head and boldly voice:  “Kevin I’m terrified… but I am always with you – I’m with you no matter what.”

Within an hour, barely long enough for our tears to dry, I received a note from a new friend “I have a surprise for you. My editor is interested in your story and I’d like to introduce the two of you – can we talk?” Forty eight hours later a door swung open without a single knock or push from my hand. Behind it were carefully placed words – words filled with kindness and backed by authority. But the words that stood on the shoulders of all the others were these “Kevin, write me a book”.

That same afternoon I received yet another call, this one from a client who needed help with a large project – a project held hostage for months by budget constraints. Not only had it been approved but it came with an offer to pay a portion of my fee in advance. That’s right…two big doors opened by two big empty hands in a single day – Halleluiah! The work took several months to complete and left no time for writing. But by Spring, God had provided enough income for me to pursue the other opportunity – to write my story.

I suppose that when God’s hands appear to be empty it is because they aren’t meant to carry a thing. But instead meant to open the doors of opportunity and then applaud the infant steps of faith that carried us to them. Funny, I never considered myself a writer until God removed all the worldly obstacles. Now it’s the only thing I can imagine – though it is still very tough to do well.  Creativity and consistency have little attraction for one another. Someone recently asked my daughter what kind of work her dad does. After giving it some thought she said “Well…He types words on his computer… and then deletes them.”  

In all that typing and deleting other things have suffered. My yard is a mess, my house is a mess and most days my life is a mess. There are moments that pass before us where things are less than a mess but most of the time we pass from one mess to another. So it has occurred to me of late that life is not a mess but a series of things designed to teach us that we are less than we thought – less than our one time accomplishments, less than our brave steps of faith and even less than the wisdom we think we’ve gained. But God is more than we hope, more than we believe and always more than we can see.

As we reach the fourth anniversary of losing our livelihood and begin the journey of cleaning it all up, we are now able to see what we’ve always missed, we are indeed a mess but at least we are God’s mess.

Final note:

While the income has sustained us for a time, we still feel the tremendous weight of our debts. And while today is full of peaceful but unpaid labor the voice of tomorrow is never silent about the bondage that unpaid labor can bring. Some call it foolishness. We call it faith – a life of learning to live by the sound of God’s voice, the only true provider. Please continue to pray for us.

With the encouragement of a world class publisher and a top notch agent, I’ve been learning the skill of writing – a difficult but worthy endeavor. With that in mind, I’ve decided to dedicate the remainder of this year to sharing how it all unfolds – the next phase of my faith journey.

Will you come along and see what happens?

For prayer or encouragement please contact me by email:   Or connect on facebook and Google+

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Just Enough Sand To Draw A Fish…is not enough

“A woman with a child is one I’ll never marry”… so I said… until I did.  I met my son to be when he was two and married his mom when he was three. Sometimes saying “never” is a good investment. Nevertheless, an instant family is unwillingly tethered to a bit of instant stress. And like any good investment there is risk of some regret…in spite of our promises.

Wedding day vow to my son -“I love you son and always will but God will always love you more. I promise to do my best as a father and friend but even when I fail I will be truthful with you. I promise above all to point you to the Lord Jesus as your Redeemer, King and Truest Friend and to lead our family in His ways all the days of my life. I will always pray that by His strength your life will be lived for His glory”

Loving my new son was easy but I found that loving him from a distance was easier than standing in line behind him. So I chased my wife’s heart directly while she chased after his well being and we chased our tail in circles without ever blending a thing – certainly not a family. She’d been a prize fighter on his behalf but to my surprise she’d never left the ring. And there was no single expectation, commitment or concern, tougher than being in her corner when I knew her back was turned. But it wasn’t ringside applause she wanted or scriptural support from the corner. She wanted a husband who would jump in that ring and love her son like a father.

Sometimes when our burden seems most heavy God adds a bag of sand. Not for tearing our heart at the seams but to get our knees to bend. When I learned to bend down and love her son, my wife learned to stand up and love her husband.  Truth is…we need more than just enough sand to draw a fish. We need enough to tip the scales – something God only does for a humbled heart.

Yes, God’s plan IS for spouses to hold one another above every other including our own children. But His plans are built by patient hands for bruised and broken hearts. Rome wasn’t built at the speed of an instant family but any family built by God will not fall apart like Rome. Sometimes God’s plan is a set of plans that take time to unfold gradually. And only gradually can we become each others first priority by learning to begin as each others last.

Fifteen years watching the ground – 2010

Few pleasures intoxicate the soul of a parent as deeply as the sweetness of a child’s heart. Like our heavenly Father, we find a more thrilling satisfaction in loving our children when they appreciate us. Decades are spent gladly sowing their good soil for a chance to witness that single harvest known as adulthood. So it’s a nauseating discovery at harvest time to find that the source of our once sweet intoxication is now the rotting sweetness of a character fermenting in the field.

My son, at eighteen, was in deep trouble, not with the laws of man but with the seduction of man’s opinion. He had learned to live life so dishonestly that hurting people seemed a reasonable price for gaining favor with fools. And as his parents, dishonor was our bitter inheritance. Included were the lies to us and about us, the assumptions he allowed others to believe, and the harsh judgments of the misinformed that resulted. But most distressing of all was the impossibility of knowing the true depth of Godly soil left in his character – after all the years of planting and waiting for something good to grow.

When confronted he made no apology, responding only by summing his indifference into one, well timed, remorseless stare. It was a direct blow to his one-time single mom and champion for not coming to his rescue – not this time. And he began to leave without considering that it was also a direct blow to my wife. It was the moment that my anger grew legs and followed him abruptly through the front door and into the street.

With only an inch between the fog of my angry words and his hollow eyes, I made a final announcement. “If you want to hate us then hate us, but you will never again treat my wife this way. If this is how you choose to live you’ll have to do it elsewhere”. And with no phone, money, car or clothes, nothing but icy ground beneath his feet, he turned away as the temporary courage of teen bravado carried each reluctant foot step forward.  We hoped only that he’d spend a few hours becoming closer friends with regret but he was gone for nearly a year.

My wife looked at the door, fell to the ground, and gave the son she painfully delivered eighteen years earlier, to another subfreezing January night. “Lord, this is my son, do with him what you must”. It’s along the seams of a mother’s heart that we find the strength of her devotion. Not because the seam won’t tear but because it’s where she’s most willing to bend. She let go bravely as her own bag of sand began to tip the scales to our favor.

This went on in the midst of our financial meltdown and was part and parcel the continued stripping away of our self reliance. We’d lost everything and now everything included our son. He found refuge with people who considered us abusive and wouldn’t speak to us. They took him in without a word and by default fostered his staying away. The details we’ll leave with God but the lesson He leaves for us and all who will listen.

God knows the pain of betrayal very well but has never once been surprised by it. We on the other hand are nearly always surprised by it. In the end it makes the soul sick if we, like the alcoholic, continue to hold the nose, cover the eyes and drink the lie. We have to take the risk that will keep our children focused on God – even if we are hated for it. After all… what earthly risk outweighs the benefit of following the One who cannot be surprised?

Nine months later the phone rang and we knew there were tears on the other side. Sometimes God wrestles the heavy sacrifice from our arms in order to get them in the air. Other times He adds more weight to get us on the ground. Our son had been carrying his own bag of sand for all these months until finally, God gave him another one.  “Mom, dad…” his voice did not tremble but surrounded us with a gentle integrity.  ”I’m so sorry for what I’ve done, for the pain I’ve caused you. I was wrong. Do you think you will ever be able to forgive me?” With tears all around We love you son and we forgive you. Don’t worry anymore – it’s all in the past.”

Just enough sand to draw a fish is not enough to grow a fisher of men. If it feels like God is adding weight when His burden is supposed to be light, remember that he’s adding to your depth by giving you more sand – one bag at time until you learn to bend. The extra weight will tip the scales and the extra depth will bring your precious seed to harvest. Our son, now twenty, is preparing for work in ministry. He’s a devoted student of God’s word who loves to encourage others for Jesus. He honors us so much more than we could have ever imagined.  Glory to our God for He is faithful.

To my son who just turned twenty

For most it takes many birthdays to begin looking back across them all with gratitude. But occasionally… there’s a rare exception when a young man begins to listen for God’s voice, looks back briefly to see what He’s done and is thankful. You are one of those rare people who’ve chosen to see what God has done, and in turn, sees the trajectory of what He’s doing. As I look back across my own years I see that I’m thankful as well – thankful for being allowed to witness a miracle as my only son becomes my brother.

Dad’s back pocket proverbs

  1. Be surrendered instead of committed
  2. Get intimate with God – His voice is there
  3. Focus on how much God loves you. Your love for Him will grow from that
  4. Live by Matt 6:33 as your mandate
  5. Remember that God is the provider and you are His conduit
  6. Make sure others see the “Christ” instead of the “Christian”
  7. Love your mom & never forget how much she loves you (me too)

“Father we lift up our son that you would anoint him daily as the righteousness of God in Christ, transformed by the Hope of Glory living inside him. Let every day of his life be an honor to you and a blessing to those you lead across his path. Remind him of your unfailing love as you refine his character and let your Spirit burn faithfully in his heart as you assign purpose to each of his days. We surrender him and commit his life to you now as a young man of God, a city on a hill through which your light will forever pass. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.”

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#20 Unimpressed By The Impossible

The impossible setting:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick but hope without faith pulls the plug and watches the heart die. Lord…that our desire would be to make every act an act of worship, give us a broken heart, but give us one that refuses to be impressed by impossible circumstances.

The fall season has now arrived as an empty handed messenger. The income we’d hoped to see remains the income we hope to see eventually. Until then, we’ve stopped paying our mortgage in order to cover essentials. Better to face foreclosure in the next few months than to face the next few weeks without food and utilities. On the hands of another messenger, a five fingered version of our own Goliath, came a six figure lawsuit that was filed against me and set in motion last month. It’s a long story about rights, the rights of a bank to pay an attorney to convince a judge that a man with nothing can pay back everything from that nothing.

This wilderness continues to break my heart by barely failing to kill it. So dimly lit were the days of the last few weeks that hope deferred became hope unplugged. Yet those same days were joyfully dark enough to expose the timid faith resting on my lampstand – faith like a bulb so loose in its socket that it flickers with every distant roar from a toothless lion. Saintly upon the floor or sinfully beneath it, my days were spent with hands cupped, a faithless smile, and a memory that lasts like penny gum – asking if He’s still generous – generous enough to drop another coin in the gum machine.  But instead of a coin He deposited a word in my heart.

“The sweet testimony of My extravagance is alive in you but it lives in your heart like an orphan.”

With an income that appears to be lost on the horizon, I cannot defend, I cannot replace and I cannot out swim a tidal wave born from the aftershock of my failure. All I have in this moment is that word to cover my needs. What does a generous God do with my sloppy faith?

Tour the prison:

I’ve never been bold like John the Baptist but I take great comfort in knowing that he was once afraid like me. Depression is a spirit that flings false testimony upon the mind like hot tar in the heat of discomfort. From Herod’s prison that spirit asked John if Jesus was really the one. And from the prison of my need it asks instead if that same one has left me for dead. The hand of depression holds circumstance like a chisel. Its skill is not in denying the truth but in chipping away at its context until the truth is no longer welcome. Like little bites of rotten food that eventually wrench the gut and gain our full attention, so the enemy uses false context to painfully remind us of our truthful circumstances.

If we listen, as I listened, then every missed mortgage payment, collection call and deputy at my door becomes a reminder of what God is NOT doing. The circumstances are accurate but no longer reside in the context of truth (what God IS doing). As a result, my outward faith toward God shifts inward toward me and eventually in the opposite direction toward the enemy (“Oh no…God isn’t meeting my needs, what shall I do? Who will help?”) The enemy builds prisons from the bricks of agreement. If he can gain our attention, he’ll start asking questions that are tough to ignore.  For example, here’s one that I’ve heard recently:

“You’ll remain faithful even if God doesn’t rescue your family. But if He doesn’t…will it not prove that faith actually makes little difference in your circumstance?”  

 Don’t answer! We’ve been had…  

The temptation to answer that is strongly linked with our desire to defend God as if we were David and the enemy was Goliath. The grit of an honest answer is our way of facing that villain but it’s only a trap loaded with inspiring bait. This villain is not a giant, he’s a pickpocket who steals everything while looking us in the eye and gently listening to our passionate response. The enemy was never really Goliath or the Philistines but rather the unbelieving heart of Saul and his army who feared them. So let’s be very clear, in the context of depression as a tactic… engaging in conversation with the enemy IS agreeing with the enemy. Goliath represents the opportunity we have to trust God for the impossible – a battle designed to break our heart and build our faith. Whereas the real enemy “unbelief” is simply designed to kill the heart until it is dead.

It was my willingness to engage the enemy that made the difference, not how I answered his question. Once the door was opened for conversation his questions became my own, turning my heart inward and launching a retreat that rendered me kingdom-useless for weeks. (“What have I done? What will people say who’ve seen God move, but now question my sanity? If foreclosure occurs where will we spend Christmas? How will we homeschool our kids?” etc…) He used my integrity to draw me into a battery of questions that surely led to unbelief. I literally felt sick for weeks.

Remember this…God isn’t leading us into conversations with the enemy. Those questions are not puzzles for us to solve, they are faith-grenades that we must avoid. It’s not a question of rebuke or casting anything out, it’s a question of knowing that he’s been rebuked, cast out and put behind Jesus. God is saying consider the source not the content. The questions are irrelevant – keep moving forward because answering irrelevant questions will always and only blow us off course.

Eyes ahead please…

If we consider the declaration “get behind me Satan” to mean “you’ll never again receive my focus” we begin to understand why our only option according Proverbs 4:25 is to look directly ahead. But it’s not a point-n-shoot trajectory. Knowing where “ahead” begins comes only from knowing where you’ve been. This is why remembering what God has done (our testimony) provides direction for knowing where He wants to go (the spirit of prophecy). The testimony of Jesus (who lives in us) is the spirit of prophecy. Rev19:10  But we need an unwavering belief in that knowledge (our faith) to generate forward progress – the substance that propelled David toward Goliath while everyone around him fainted.

Without being commanded, David stepped willingly into what God presented, an impossible circumstance that by faith he stewarded to victory. He was able to do this by prophesying victory over Goliath based on testimony “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Sam 17:37  God is a good provider, so we wait diligently on our break-through. But while waiting we must steward what He’s already given us, the fertile environment for break-through to occur (the setting).  We co-labor in the order of responsibility, our assignment is to fight the battle and God’s responsibility is to win the battle. We declare the victory by faith and He establishes our faith by the victory (for His glory). But it never happens if we forget the testimony that lives in our heart… because it lives there like an orphan.

Note from the King (as spoken to my heart):

You’ve been searching the skies for a cloudburst while standing in a pool of water – you don’t have to talk me into providing for you. Instead, embrace the depth of this struggle and steward it well. My water is gathered and stored here in your lowest place. Stop asking for rain and plant the seeds that I’ve already given you. And from the rich wet soil beneath your feet will spring trees of living sacrifices among the weeds. With a renewed mind I have given you this wilderness to civilize – With the light of men I have given you this darkness to illuminate – With my leaven I’ve given you this fire to make everything you touch rise with you. And having been crushed into salt, it’s with my hand that I will scatter you and make savory the culture that surrounds you.

Personal note:

A broken heart is good but it does not relieve us from the responsibility to live by faith. Only by a broken heart that’s full of faith are we able to face the impossible moment set before us, and steward it well. Thanks dear friends for your continued prayers. Blessings…

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