Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kenny Saylors on Hearing the Still Small Voice


It's my privilege to introduce you to the faith and work of Kenny Saylors today. I came to know Kenny through his brother and sister-in-law, Kyle Saylors and singer-songwriter Erica Lane. Together, these two gentleman are successfully using quality films to tell purposeful and powerful stories, many that feature the redemptive work of God. This is a talented and inspiring family folks!

The Saylors Brothers are the creative force behind more than 18 years of industry success with award-winning national and international hit music videos, motion pictures, television series and critically-acclaimed documentary films. Their works have been featured on and in Fox News, Newsweek, BBC, Time Magazine, NY Times, LA Times, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Forbes, Huffington Post, Indie Wire, Charisma, Christianity Today, among many others.  Last fall, the Saylors Brothers produced and directed the successful FOX Sports Television Docu-Series "The Gamebreaker" featuring NFL stars like Reggie Bush and DeMarcus Ware. You will definitely want to see their latest project, Veil of Tears, which hits theaters next month. But more on that in a moment.

First, I want you to hear something important and inspiring Kenny has to say about how we can experience God's voice in our lives.

Sadly, I hear many Christians say that they've never heard God speak to them. More commonly, I hear "it's been a long time" or something to that effect. After a few minutes of conversation, I find out that they spend maybe 5 or 10 minutes reading the Bible in a day, or even in an week. Many say they don't really read the Bible at all. It is the same with prayer. The time they spend with God is so minimal that it's difficult for them to recall the last time they spent more than a few minutes in prayer. And most of those minutes were spent in 'request mode' or times of desperation.

It's no wonder so many who say they believe in the Almighty God are bound by so much adversity in their lives and live in a state of perpetual worry and fear. How can one expect to live victoriously in Christ without hearing from Him? How can we know that we are where our place is in His will? How can we follow someone we never hear? How can we successfully attain our purpose for His Kingdom if we do not even hear His voice to know where He is leading?

You see, the Bible is the gateway to hearing from the Lord.  It's not called the Word of God in title only.  It still speaks to you and I today where we are. IT IS HIS WORD. Once you learn to hear the Lord through His words, then can you begin to hear Him more clearly with your heart. The Bible says in John 10:27 that "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." 

Following Jesus Christ is MORE than just knowing who Jesus is. It is HIM knowing each and every one of us in an intimate relationship—hearing His voice, knowing.

I am reminded of an incredible passage in 1 Kings:
"Then He said, 'Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.' And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice."  1 Kings 19:11-12  

As believers in Jesus, we often look for God in the thunder, in the lightening, in the fantastic and extraordinary circumstances. But it is often by these things we are distracted from hearing the true voice of the Lord. It is in the silence—alone, in the Word, in His presence—that He speaks in that still small voice to us.

My friend, don't expect to hear from the Lord if you're unwilling to "study to show yourself approved unto God" (2 Timothy 2:15) or unwilling to bow before Him—not with your requests but in denial of self to completely lay before Him your will in exchange for His.
My prayer today is that each of us reflect upon ourselves. If you have neglected your first love, I implore you to dust off that Bible and set aside time each day, not just to read a book but to experience a God who desperately wants to talk to you. He won't take the step to you until you make the first move and you'll never hear Him until you quiet your world to hear his precious voice. 
Thank you, Kenny, for urging us to be intentional about stillness with God and drawing near to Him through His Word.  Word of God, speak!

Now don't miss the opportunity to see the Saylor Brothers' gripping new documentary film, Veil of Tears.  It shares the untold story of millions of women in India who are culturally persecuted for no other reason than the fact that they are women. Narrated by Grammy-Nominated Recording Artist Natalie Grant, this film journeys where few outsiders have gone before to tell personal stories of tragedy, triumph and the resiliance of the human spirit.


"Veil of Tears" Official Movie Trailer 


Visit SEATZY to find out where Veil of Tears can be seen in a theatre near you and reserve your seats today!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Glory Story from Greg Lucas


Greg Lucas story in Wresting with An Angel included a great deal of inspiration for me personally and has much to teach about the presence, power and goodness of God when parenting a child with disabilities.  But whether or not your life circumstances are at all like Greg's, I believe you'll find something very valuable in reading this excerpt from his story today.

"Folding my arms on top of my cluttered desk, I lay my head down, finally and openly broken. I vividly recall asking God to take my life, thinking how easy death must be compared to all the suffering and heartache of the past few years. But like so many times in my undeserving existence, instead of sending death, God sent grace. The grace that brought the gospel of hope into our hearts sixteen years earlier would once again, through much suffering, prove faithful and amazing. 
True desperation is always the most fertile ground for God's grace to produce an abundant harvest of hope. And each time God has shown us His greatest glory, He has always first revealed our greatest despair.  
I am not one to implore the Lord to speak to me, open a Bible at random, and blindly place my finger on a passage of destiny. Yet I am very much aware of His voice in the written Scriptures, and of the power of His providence to place the right words at strategic moments before my obstinate mind and feeble eyes.  
This day He would choose the 3x5 card taped to the side of my bookshelf with the inspired and timely words of 2 Corinthians 1:8b-10: 
'For we are so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.'
...Letting go is always difficult. For parents, one of the most anxious, heartbreaking moments is when your child must be released into the world to take his or her own way in life. It is not simply the prospect of independent living that we find frightening. It is knowing that as we send our children out, life will inevitably serve up lessons involving failure and danger and risk. But when that child is severely disabled and entirely dependent on your care, guidance, protection and nurture—a child who has no voice, no ability to defend himself, no way of negotiating through these lesson of life—letting go seems more like the malpractice of accidental amputation than the outcome of successful surgery. 
But Kim and I have learned that faith means deciding, acting and committing to a course of action without fully understanding how things are going to work out. We also know that it is not our faith that contains the power to deliver—it is the object of our faith that both holds the power and determines the outcome. And when you see that the object of your faith is greater than anything in the universe, letting go is no longer the same things as giving up. 
Beneath the death grip of every parent holding tightly to their special needs child is the strong, reliable, and gentle hand of a Father who will never let go—the Deliverer, the Surgeon, the reliable object of our faith. Suffering reveals our need, and our need reveals the Savior. He will direct your life in whatever in whatever way is necessary to loosen your grip—not to take something away, but to make possible more than you could have ever hoped for or imagined. 
This is the grip of grace." 
If you have a Glory Story to share, please write us at info@walkrightin.org. Glory Stories are the experiences we live and talk about that point others to the power, presence and goodness of God.   What are you learning about God? How do you struggle in faith and how has God been showing you answers to questions? Has God surprised or encouraged you in some way lately? Tell someone!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Angela's Glory Story

(Above) Lukas — 2009

This Glory Story was originally posted in the spring of 2009 at www.findingglory.com and appears today with a marvelous update at the end. 

I would like to share my story with you about what "getting out of a comfort zone" (taking a step of faith in Jesus) looked like for me and my husband, James. 
My husband and I started dating in July of '98 and were quickly married in June of '99. It was quick but when you know, you know. We tried for years to have kids and with no luck. We even tried fertility and still no baby. Well, life changed for us drastically in June of 2005. We learned that my husband had a child out there from a prior relationship before we met. He never knew about this child and this really was a shock to both of us. There were moments for me of confusion, anger and sadness that I was not going to give him his first child. 
We went through the motions required to determine if this child was actually his. The day before Fathers Day we learned that James was indeed 99.99% the father of a little boy (7). He was actually born 3 months before we started dating. 
We were determined to make sure that we would be part of this child's life since we finally knew about him. We still were not prepared for what would lie ahead of us.  
We finally got to meet this precious boy (Lukas) to find that he was wheelchair-bound, non-verbal, drinking out of a bottle, not able to feed himself, mentally about 18 months and had many behaviors. But, oh boy, did he have a heart of gold and the smile to light up the world.  
Okay, so now we had found out about this boy and then learned he has special needs. What a shock!! There was no diagnois at this time. The mother was not actively trying to find one nor was she taking him to any type of therapy, relying completely on the school system to provide his care.  
We immedaitely starting having Lukas over every weekend and as often as we could. We wanted to build a relationship with him and see how we could improve his quality of life. There were so many unanswered questions and the mother was not cooperative. After many doctor appointments we learned that he was being abused at home and not getting quality care.   
We were successful in gaining custody and he came to live with us full time on June 23rd, 2006.  In the first two and a half years of having Lukas in our home he was able to walk, grew to functioning mentally at about 3 years old, was less combative, started drinking out of a cup and feeding himself, began playing with toys and was beginning to use a communication device to talk with us. We enjoyed wonderful moments with his smiles, hugs, and loving spirit. We also received a diagnosis. We found out in early 2008 that he has Angelman Syndrome with the deletion of the UBE3A gene.   
We prayed for children and our wish was granted — though not in the manner we thought would happen!  
God has a plan. I believe that with everything that I am. We are so blessed to have this little boy. It's not easy. Our support system is extremely small. Date nights do not happen. We spent many years married with no kids and the ability to do anything together. This has been a drastic change for us. But, we would not give it up for anything. Our faith has helped us through this time. I think that most marriages would not have made it through this.  
We were shaken out of our comfort zone, that is for sure. But, God is good. We have a wonderful child in our home who is thriving and improving each and every day!

MARVELOUS UPDATE:  
Angela originally shared this story in 2009. Since that time, Lukas has made ongoing and encouraging developmental progress while the family has continued bonding and growing together. Angela gave birth to Lukas' little brother Brody in May 2012. 
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17
May we never stop being amazed by how creatively and beautifully God reveals His presence, power and goodness in our lives!

(Above) Lukas and his little brother Brody — November 2012

Monday, February 3, 2014

Let's Get Real!



My book Living Your Glory Story releases next week and I’m so excited to be part of getting this message out because we’re giving voice to the marvelous activities of God. This is a book about rising above the noise of our culture and getting real about how we’re encountering (sometimes even struggling to encounter) God.

Glory Stories are the experiences we live and talk about that point to the power, presence and goodness of God.  We all have them.

Sometimes our Glory Story is the statement of a single sentence. Other times it’s a conversation shared over coffee. Hopefully, our Glory Stories are also told in the way we live out our lives day in and day out.  In any case, Glory Stories highlight the power, presence and goodness of the Divine. God is the feature. We are the context.

This isn’t a book about evangelism, although there can be an evangelistic result. This isn’t a book that suggests telling a Glory Story is easy, but it does acknowledge that it’s necessary and we make it harder than it needs to be.  There are too many great reasons for Christ-loving people to be talking about how real and near and powerful God is today. 

There have been occasions when listening to other’s Glory Stories powerfully served to bolster and enrich my faith. Ever since our daughter was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, hearing about God’s goodness and sovereignty in disability from other parents who have “walked in my shoes” has been life-giving and reminds me that I’m never alone despite feeling very isolated sometimes.

Living Your Glory Story is also a book about friendship. I’m excited because I believe it will serve to deepen and strengthen many relationships and marriages. I dedicated the book to the memory of my dear friend Jennifer Kreykes who became my neighbor when I was 3 years old. She remained one of my closest friends until cancer took her in our early thirties.
Jennifer & Lisa, 1981

Jennifer and I started out as preschool playmates who grew into penpals and teenagers at the piano singing Amy Grant songs like “Tender Tennessee Christmases” and the “Arms of Love.” She wrote poems, I wrote songs and we both wrote dozens of letters. Together, we explored young faith and encouraged each other in how God was speaking even before either of us really understood the tangibility of His voice.

Then our faith unexpectedly and almost simultaneously grew more firmly rooted in our deep affection for Jesus through adversity hard-fought in the terrors of cancer and disability. Little did either of us know what a harvest of faith would grow out of those too few years together.

Jennifer lived the Glory Story and greatly enhanced my vision for how to live it. She inspired me to cling to God’s Word and let my Light shine. She proved to me that it is not the length of a friendship that matters but whether, through that friendship, we take each other to the feet of Jesus.

Living Your Glory Story is a quick-read (only 64 pages) but, I pray, jam-packed with encouragement and empowerment for you. 

In writing this book, I had one single aim — to get us all out there living and sharing our stories in ways that make life together more fulfilling and God better known.

I hope you enjoy it!

Order at Walk Right In Ministries or find Living Your Glory Story on Amazon.

Please pray with me that this book contributes to a revival of intimacy with the Father and deepened passions to share that with others!

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