Sometimes it seems like there is no one involved in certain areas of our government with a brain.  This has rang especially true in the area of immigration to me lately.  No matter what your thoughts are on immigration, when a guy tries to do things the right way, he deserves credit.

“Heren” is a young lady in our church that fell in love with Ricardo.  I married them and they seemed to really be good for each other.  Heren’s son, Ozman, is ten years old and he really looks up to Ricardo as a father figure. Ricardo was good for Ozman.  He also has a 3 year old daughter that misses her daddy.  He’s a hard worker and works hard as a drywall hanger to provide for the family.

Ricardo confessed a relationship with Christ and he was baptized at our church, MJLife.  He was always happy to help in whatever way that he could in the mission of the church.  He’s a good guy!

After a year of marriage things were going well but there was an issue that needed to be dealt with.  Ricardo was an undocumented alien.  He had entered the U.S. illegally and knew that he needed to take care of that situation.  He knew that he needed to gain legal status in the U.S. and that issue would always hanging over their new marriage.

Ricardo agreed to do the “right thing” and he went back to Mexico as part of the process to gain legal status.  He was told that it could take up to a year to be able to legally return to his new family.  Many of us at MJLife wrote letters on his behalf, substantiating his marriage to Heren and his involvement at MJLife.

After jumping through every hoop and providing every bit of information that was requested from him, he has now been told it may take up to another year because the immigration office needs MORE TIME to review documents.

This family NEEDS to be reunited NOW!  Heren needs her husband.  Ozman and Monica need Ricardo home too.

Ricardo and Heren’s story puts a face on this whole immigration issue for me.  The system is broken.  Will you help us in this matter?

Here’s how you can help:

PRAY:  We know that God can move mountains.  He will be the one ultimately to move the hearts of those involved to push this along

Write to Senator Corker and ask for his help.  Ask them to look into the case involving Ricardo Morales-Castellanos.  His Consular Case Number is:  MEP2012677022

(Ricardo needs an I-601 Waiver to come back.)

U.S. Senator Bob Corker

185 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C., 20510

Thanks for your help in getting this family reunited!

Write Your Own Story

January 15, 2013

Everyone likes a story.  Whenever I get together with old friends, it seems like the same stories always come up.  We laugh every time we tell them.  That’s the way a lot of stories are.

Other stories aren’t told because we aren’t proud of them, yet they are part of our history.  We didn’t intend for these stories to go the way they did.  It just seemed to turn out that way.  Maybe they were caused by mistakes and poor decisions and habits on our part.  We “own” them.

The truth is, we can impact the stories that we can tell in the future by the decisions that we make today.

In essence, we write much of our own stories.

Andy Stanley said, “Direction, not intention, determines our destination.”

If we keep doing the same things that we’ve always done, most likely, we’ll get the same results that we’ve been getting.

The way we live our lives is perfectly designed to get the results that we’ve been getting.   

If you don’t like something about where you’re headed, CHANGE IT TODAY!

Think about your habits today….  “Play it forward” and try to imagine what your life will be like if you keep making the same decisions that you’ve been making. 

  • Keep nagging your husband = Unhappy marriage continues & maybe divorce.
  • Overeating and gaining too much weight = Possible heart attack down the road
  • Overspending constantly = Possible bankruptcy and loss of house
  • Read Bible Everyday = Ready for whatever comes
  • Treat your wife with respect without fail = Happier home
  • Treat church like it’s not important = Teaching your kids to do the same

I don’t’ know what your “habits” are but I know that we write much of our own stories.  The best way to do that is to allow the “Author of Life” to help and guide us.

If we live our lives and make decisions according to His Word, without compromising, our story will be fuller and more meaningful.  He won’t force us.  It’s up to us.

What story are you writing today?


This post was inspired by Craig Groeschel and’s “My Story” series.  If you’re near Mt. Juliet, come hang with us at MJLifeChurch.  If not, check out online.

Top Blog Posts in 2012

January 6, 2013

I appreciate you guys reading my posts.  I’ve posted 101 posts the past 3 or so years.  I’m always humbled when someone leaves a comment and says that it was helpful or encouraging.
One thing that makes me proud is that of my four top posts of the year, one wasn’t even written by me.  “Learning to Walk in Step with God” was written by my daughter, Rebecca.  (I’m proud of her, btw!)
Anyway, here are my top 4 Blog Posts of 2012:

A friend mentioned that she wished she had a list of the best spiritual books.  There are so many good books to choose from but I thought I’d post the ones that have helped me the most thought the years.

Here goes:

“Experiencing God”, By Henry Blackaby  The Blackaby’s have written several books and they are all good.  “Experiencing God” is best if you can go through it with a group.  Believe it or not, when I teach it, I always use the Youth version.  My men’s group of 11 guys are loving it right now.

“Total Forgiveness”, by RT Kendall

GREAT BOOK that helps you walk through forgiving and understanding what forgiveness is AND what forgiveness is not.

“Crazy Love,” by Frances Chan   This book challenged me.  If you’ve grown complacent in your walk with Christ, this book will shake you up!

“Christian Atheist,” by Craig Groeschel  Craig says that a “Christian Atheist” says they believe in God but they live like He doesn’t exist.

“When God Doesn’t Make Sense,” by James Dobson  Sometimes we wonder why bad things happen to “good” people.  Dr. Dobson helped me walk through my doubts and wonderings about this several years ago.

“Not A Fan:  Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus”, by Kyle Idleman  This book challenges the “rich” in the world, and that includes you and me.

“Weird, Because Normal Isn’t Working,” by Craig Groeschel   Craig says that we should be weird in the way we look at our finances, relationships, money, careers, family, and every part of our lives.  Everyone else looks at them “normally” like the rest of the world and they’re a mess!  Be weird!

“The Pursuit of Holiness,” by Jerry Bridges  This is an oldie but a goodie.  I read it in college and it really taught me how God calls us to live a holy life.

“More Than  A Carpenter,” by Josh McDowell  This book explores the impact of Christ on the world.  Another one that I read in college that helped me stay the course!

This isn’t an exhaustive list.  These are just the ones that come to mind.  These aren’t just “good” books that I have read.  These books impacted my life as a Christ follower.

What books would you put on this list?

Books I Read In 2012

January 1, 2013

At the beginning of 2012, I set a personal goal to read at least 25 books.  I finished number 25 on December 31st.  lol  Some of these books I listened to via and some I read in the traditional way.  I can honestly say that I enjoyed each one.

Here are my top 5 Favorites and then I’ll list the rest in no particular order:

1.  “Deep and Wide” by Andy Stanley  Andy talks about his mission and vision to reach those who are far from God.  He also talks about methods to do that.  I loved this book as it challenged me and also helped me realize that I’m not as crazy as I thought I was in my pursuit to reach others that don’t know Him!  lol

2.  “Making Vision Stick”, by Andy Stanley  Yes, I love Andy’s brain.  This book is so practical about sharing vision in the church and in business.

3.  “Through My Eyes,” by Tim Tebow  It’s great seeing Tim live out his faith & seeing his heart.  Makes me like him even more and I hate that since he’s a Gator.

4.  “Hearing God,” Henry Blackaby and “How To Hear From God,” by Joyce Myer   Ok.  I know this is two different books but both are very good at helping to learn how and when God speaks.

5.  “Steve Jobs,” by Walter Isaacson  Steve was a real knucklehead and a genius at the same time.  His life story is a very interesting read.

Honorable Mentions

“How to Kill 11 Million People,” by Andy Andrews  This is a very short book and no, I’m not thinking of going into the serial killer occupation.  It explains how Hitler killed the Jews without a revolt on their part.  He did it one believable lie at a time until it was too late for them to react.  GREAT READ!

“The Blessed Church”, by Robert Morris  This book tells the story of Gateway Church and how God has blessed it.  There are some great lessons to learn from their experience in building the church.

“5 Levels of Leadership”, by John Maxwell  It’s Maxwell.  If you want to grow in leadership, he’s the one you have to read!

“God’s Smuggler”, by Brother Andrew  and “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom  Great books about the lives of real people depending upon God.

Here’s the Rest and I recommend All Of Them

“Being George Washington,” by Glen Beck

“King Me,” by Steve Farrar

“Killing Lincoln,” by Bill O’Reilly

“Winning The Food Fight,” by Steve Williets

“Seal Team 6,” by Howard Wasdin

“American Son,” by Marco Rubio

“The Explicit Gospel,” by Matt Chandler

“One Minute After You Die,” by Erwin Lutzer

“Son of Hamas,” by Masab Yousef

“No Easy Day,” by Mark Owen

“Unleashed,” by Perry Noble

“This Ain’t No Practice Life,” by Micheal Burt

“The Leadership Pill,” by Ken Blanchard