>Chicago! Chicago!

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I love my homecity, man. 

It’s called, “Chitown,” “the Windy City,” “Second City,” “New York Done Right,” even Kanye West nicknamed it as “Da Chi!”
It’s acclaimed for its uber-cool people: Al Capone, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Harry Carey, Mike Ditka, Chris Farley, the Blues Brothers.
It’s further acclaimed for being the 3rd largest city in the US!
It receives honorable mention for the tallest building in the world because it was,
’til the Japanese made the antennas on theirs taller….whatever.
It has a breathtaking Fall season:












The winters are brutal, but it’s a great place for snow-angels:










Ah….summertime in Chitown:









So what’s your hometown? Click on “comment” and tell us why you love it!

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>THE FROG STORY

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The other day, DJ & Andy found a frog.

They didn’t want it to die, so they put it in a bucket.
They didn’t want it to be thirsty, so they put water in the bucket.
They didn’t want him to be hungry so they put a dead worm in the bucket.
They didn’t want him to be cold, so they put a fabric softener sheet in the bucket.
They didn’t want him to be bored, so they put leaves for him to jump on in the bucket.
They didn’t want him to sink to the bottom so they put water up to the top of the bucket.


The frog jumped out.


This is life.


We are frogs.


God gives us ALL the comforts and provisions we need.
Everything we think we need….He knows the better of those needs.
When we are in his Kingdom (bucket), we will never be uncared for.
He will ceasingly, tirelessly, eternally work to care for His creation.
Even go to the extreme of jumping out of the bucket to a cross…for us.


But sometimes, frogs jump out.
Or worse, frogs miss the hands that want to put them in.
I hope none of you are the latter.
Today, if you’re a frog in the bucket,
thank Him for rescuing you and putting you there.

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>CARTWHEELS IN THE LAWN

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We were at this conference in Indiana. And right there, smack dab in the middle of the conference lawn, Ricky & I decided to do cartwheels. (Props, Igor, for capturing it).
Sometimes, its good to let your hair down (sorry, Ricky) and do something unpredictable, eh? You see that onlooker in the background? Maybe seeing us do something out-of-the-ordinary inspired him to do something out-of-the-ordinary? What if spontaneity & fun were pay-it-forwards? Where our spontaneity blesses another, and in turn, comes back to bless us? King David was a regimented leader, but the bible says one time he danced for joy in the streets…NAKED (see more onnaked here). Though his spontaneity ticked off his wife, it paved the way for others to release their crazy-joy too.
Once in awhile, I like to unleash my unpredictability. Are you with me? Do tell!
Many will be inspired by YOUR cartwheel-in-the-lawn!

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>Quiet Shout #4

>“I have seen his ways, but I will hear him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him.” Isaiah 57:18

We don’t know each other very well, but your recent email gave me a nudge that it’s to you I will dedicate this 4th Quiet Shout. 
I am sorry for your recent news, although you seem to have a great handle on the diagnosis and prognosis!
Remember that one time we met for coffee? You tried to sell me something and I tried to “sell” you God? Well, I don’t know where you are with Him, but I am praying you are one step closer than when we met. 
And I just wanted you to know that when we are emotionally and physically afflicted, nobody truly knows more than Jesus. He endured the greatest of afflictions when He hung on the cross. And He is the ultimate Red Cross who can rescue our lives with the greatest of healing and the deepest of hope. 
I prayed for you today and I just wanted you to, one more time, that God loves you very, very much. 
And as you move forward with medicine, I hope God moves IN and becomes your Red Cross Savior.

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>Quiet Shout #3

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“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21


This is to someone who has hugely impacted me and my home…
In your past, you greatly suffered; lately, you’ve endured suffering again. I’ve prayed so hard for you. But I just want you to know that in your suffering, you are an amazing example to so many. This could be difficult to find solace in, but you exude such peace because HE is your solace.
You are the breathtaking evidence of Jesus:
He suffered, you’ve suffered.
He endured, you’ve endured,
He was steadfast, you’ve been steadfast.
He loved in his suffering, you’ve loved in your suffering.
Ya know, for the world, suffering can be in vain.
But for you, suffering has been your offering TO Jesus, and OF Jesus
to many, many, many people.
And one day, in heaven, when your beautiful crown is placed on your beautiful head
and God reveals to you ALL who are there because of your example,
I will be in the front row, crying and cheering for you.


Love ya bunches and praying for you tons.


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>Quiet Shout #2

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Sending this quiet shout to someone I care deeply for:

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
You know Jesus.
You asked Him into your heart.
So no matter what you’ve done,
no matter what you are doing,
no matter who you are doing it with,
no matter where you go,
no matter why…Jesus won’t leave you.
You may not be living the truth, but you have the Truth in your heart.
And Jesus said His truth will set you free.
And Jesus died for that promise.
And Jesus came back from death for that promise.
And Jesus already bore ALL of what you are doing through nails and thorns.
And you don’t need to figure out what to do,
cause He already did.
Just talk to Him and give him a shot at revealing to you the best of all freedoms.
You know I love ya, man,
and I am praying for you.

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>Quiet Shout #1

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For the next 5 posts, I will send out an anonymous shout (dedication) to someone I’m thinking about. I’m praying it will encourage you and believing God will use it to encourage another.


“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
“Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.'” (Luke 23:42-43)

None of us know when our final hour will be. Often, we don’t know when another’s final hour will be. And even more often, we simply don’t know what another says to God in their final hour. That is why, I suppose, it isn’t for me to judge or assume the content of that moment. When my cousin committed suicide last year, I don’t know what his final hour was like. But God does. And so I leave the final hours of those I love in His lap – that’s all I can do, and I gotta believe, that is all I need.
Praying for you.

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>Tin Man, parte dos

>A cool chic on our staff asked if I could attach some scripture to my Tin Man post.
“Well, cool chic, thanks for asking! It’d be my honor…”

If your heart is breaking, here are some verses to pour over, treasure within, and clutch tightly:

“Sustain me according to Your promises, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.” 
Psalm 119:116

“I live in a high and holy place, BUT also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
Isaiah 57:15

And my all-time favorite:
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8

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>Tin Man

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My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.
 – Jesus (Matthew 26:38)

Now I know I’ve got a heart, ’cause it’s breaking. –The Tin Man (Wizard of Oz)


We are so different, aren’t we?
But we ARE made in the image of God,
so there ARE some commonalities:
We all have a heart, & we’ve all had it broken.
So has Jesus.
No heart broke more, no heart hurt more, no heart anguished more…than His.
One of the times I feel the loneliest is when my heart is breaking. During those times, it seems like nobody runs parallel to my pain. You too?
But Jesus does.
When our heart is breaking, He runs parallel to our pain because He knows what its like
and only HE can get into our heart to fix it.
A clogged heart can be medicated by a doctor.
A hurting heart IS mended by God.
He doesn’t need a knife, or anesthesia, or even time.
As soon as your heart is breaking…His is too
and He is immediately there to begin mending.
Surely we WILL have a heart that breaks (just ask the Tin Man) but we don’t need to travel on brick roads and HOPE the man is behind the curtain.
We merely travel as far as a whisper of a prayer, and God’s already waiting in our heart to heal it.

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>Guest Blogger: My Mom!!

>My Mom sent this email to me a few days ago. She gave me her permission to post it. I”d like to say something after you read this….

HEATHER …. I WILL NEVER FORGET THE DAY YOU WERE BORN ….MY FIRST BORN ..IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL FALL DAY AND I WENT INTO LABOR THAT MORNING . YOUR BIRTH WAS UNIQUE BECAUSE YOU WERE GOING TO BE BORN AT HOME. AS LABOR PROGRESSED I BECAME MORE AND MORE EXCITED TO SEE MY BABY !! THE PRESENCE OF GOD WAS SO STRONG IN OUR LIVES THAT DAY . A FRIEND CAME OVER AND MADE A COMMENT ABOUT THE ATMOSPHERE OF OUR HOME WHEN SHE WALKED IN .SHE SAID, “I SENSE SUCH PEACE HERE TODAY.” I AM CONVINCED JESUS WAS THERE AND HIS ANGELS WERE BUSY !! SOON THE TIME CAME TO GIVE BIRTH ..FIVE GOOD PUSHES AND THERE YOU WERE ..A BABY GIRL !!!! ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL !! LITTLE PINK CHEEKS PERFECT ROUND FACE ..JUST A BEAUTIFUL NEWBORN ..I WAS ON CLOUD NINE ..I JUST COULDN’T BELIEVE THAT YOU WERE FINALLY HERE. I WAS A MOM FOR THE FIRST TIME AND THE LOVE WAS IMMEDIATE . ….HERE YOU ARE TODAY . I CAN NOW SEE WHERE GOD ANSWERED THAT PRAYER I PRAYED MANY YEARS AGO. LOVE , MOM
This was neat to hear from my mom. It meant a whole bunch to me. Do you have someone who speaks value and hope into your life? You say you don’t? I can hear you, and I am so sorry. But please hear this: If nobody on Earth is speaking the miracle of YOUR life…God already has, God is, and God always will. If you can’t hear other’s voices of value and hope in your ears, listen to your heart – God always wants to speak to you there.

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