What is the purpose of Devotions by Chris?
The purpose of my site is to bring daily encouragement to other believers who struggle how I once did. I use everyday life stories, analogies and God’s Word to help believers grow in their relationship with God. I want readers to start their day thinking about God by reading one of these short devotionals. I hope they find practical advice for taking that next step of faith.
Chris, your readers are familiar with a series of events in your life that influences the character of your blog; you’ve also shared those details on this blog. So what happened to you on and around September 25, 2003?
I hit rock bottom in my life. In the previous five months, my now ex-wife ran off with another man; the building I leased for my business didn’t renew my agreement; I had to find and build out another rental space while being gouged on rent where I was; I had to take on a business partner to help; I continually ran into issues with the build-out; the IRS came after me for back taxes; and I faced bankruptcy. On September 25th my partner, seeing I was against the ropes, pulled out and I lost the business.
My brother would call me hourly to make sure I was still alive. He told me that he couldn’t have survived everything that was happening to me. I actually considered it when the business was taken from me. That’s when I laid on my living room floor crying and told God, “I can’t do it anymore. This has got to be the bottom. I won’t survive if it falls out again.” I felt God say, “Finally.” He reminded me of his words to Paul: “My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” I had finally quit trying to do everything in my strength and learned to rely on His.
I went to the calendar and wrote “The Bottom” on it and vowed that no matter what happened or how long it took, I would climb out of that hole. Each year I celebrate September 25th as the day I learned to fully trust God’s strength in my life. It reminds me that I can’t make it through life alone. I wasn’t created to; I was created to need God. I fail in my own strength, but in his strength I am more than a conqueror.
How do you respond to the question “Why does God allow pain?”
I wrote about this in a piece called “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People“. I believe God uses these times of pain in our lives like a gardener uses pruning shears. In order to grow, we must be pruned. In order to fully trust God, we have to come to the point where we trust his strength more than our own. I like to say that the amount of pain you endure is proportionate to the amount of joy you are capable of experiencing. I know joy because I’ve known pain.
You’ve led several mission trips to Haiti, including one from which you’ve just returned. What is the focus of these missions?
James 1:27 says that pure and undefiled religion is caring for orphans and widows. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Between the 2010 earthquake, the AIDS epidemic, and 70 percent unemployment, there are over 400,000 orphans in Haiti. Parents have to choose whether they will live or their kids will live. In every case, the parents choose themselves.
I work with an organization called Coreluv. What I do is take teams and introduce them to the problem. I put them to work in the orphanages and show them how the little they have in their hands is enough to be used by God.
We work all day painting, feeding, building, or whatever is needed to make life better for these orphans. I call it putting sweat equity in the Kingdom of God. We love on the kids, play with them, and share the hope that Jesus brings. We also visit one of poorest communities to feed kids whose parents can’t feed them. We’ve built a school to educate these children and hopefully help them break the cycle of poverty.
How else do you serve in ministry?
I’ve always considered myself a part-time minister, but my pastor called me out on. He told me about his ordination; my grandfather was the presbyter of his ordination. My grandfather told him, “There is no such thing as a part-time minister. You can have a full-time job on the side; but if you are called to ministry, you should be doing it full-time.”
That said, I blog daily, I volunteer and give where I can, and help lead our church’s first impressions team. I also connect with people through church or my website and pray daily for them. I have a rule that if you ask me for prayer, I stop everything that I’m doing and pray for you right then. That way you know for certain that I’ve prayed for you.
You say that your drive to work is a prayer time in which you focus on a blog topic or scripture. What is your writing process?
I spend several hours a day in prayer as part of my daily routine. I once heard that D.L. Moody prayed for eight hours a day. That’s been my goal. I start each day with a quick prayer thanking God for the day and asking him to speak through me to someone. After that, I continue praying as I get ready for work.
Each night, I find a way to read God’s Word. I don’t have a set limit, but I do have a plan. I read until God highlights a certain scripture. I meditate on it, and think how it applies to me and how it could apply to others. I go to bed thinking about it, and then I wake up early to write. I pray that God would speak through me so I can write the right words; then He can bring the right people to read them at the right time. I post the devotion to my site and use HootSuite to time tweets and Facebook posts throughout the day.
Why do you do “Scriptures” every Friday?
I get a lot of questions about what God’s Word says about certain topics. I decided to choose a topic each week and post Bible verses on that topic. It requires some research on my part as well as searching through different versions so the most understandable message comes across. I believe when you look at a familiar scripture in a different version it opens up new insight.
Fridays have always been the least visited day on my site. Since changing to the “Scriptures” theme, they are now one of my most viewed. I believe people are curious what God’s Word says about life and every day things we struggle with. “Scriptures” posts give me the opportunity to show people what it says.
What Christian WordPress blogs do you regularly read?
Where do you see yourself ministry-wise in 10 years?
In full-time evangelism. I believe I am called to be a part of the next Great Awakening and will be instrumental in winning, training, and utilizing laborers to bring in the final harvest. My first post, “The Vision”, is about this.
What are two things readers would be surprised to know about you?
1. I do all my writing and publishing on an iPad. I don’t do any of it on a laptop or desktop.
2. After three years of marriage, my wife and I invited her parents to move in with us. So my in-laws and for a while my wife’s two sisters lived with us.
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