Did You Miss These Top 10 Blogs from 2017?

If you are like me and like to browse Top 10 lists, here are the top 10 blogs from 2017 on my website. I don’t include blogs written from earlier years in the top 10, but I will put links to the top 3 at the bottom of the blog if you are curious.

For newbies to my site, I write and podcast about topics that will encourage, equip, and compel you to live a life on mission. Categories include Foster Care/Adoption, Local and International Missions, Discipleship, and Lifestyle.

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5 Insightful Suggestions to Help You Father Well

I recently began a podcast series entitled Dad to Dad. In these interviews I sit down with another adoptive dad and talk about what it is like to be an adoptive dad—our shortcomings, funny stories, and what we find that helps us to father well.

Recently I interviewed Marshall Lyles (if you missed it, you can get it HERE), and I asked Marshall this question—What helps you to father well? I liked his answer so much that I decided to write about it. Marshall shared four very insightful ideas that help him, and I add one more. Even though Marshall and I talk about being adoptive dads, these suggestions are helpful for every father.

5 Insightful Suggestions to Help You Father Well

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Dad to Dad Interview with Marshall Lyles [Podcast 37]

I invited my friend Marshall Lyles over to record a podcast as a part of the Dad to Dad series. To remind you, this series is me and another adoptive or foster dad talking about being a dad to a child from a hard place. We share the joys and challenges hoping that our conversation will encourage and equip you on this journey.

Many of you know Marshall as a counselor, mentor, teacher, and so on. But I asked Marshall to talk with me specifically as an adoptive dad which he enthusiastically embraced. Marshall is authentic (as you will hear from some of his self-deprecating stories) and shares with us as if we have been friends our entire lives.

Come listen in as Marshall and I share our hearts with you. I know you will enjoy our conversation.

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If You Can’t Foster or Adopt 10 Kids

Stand Up for at Least One

Let’s admit it. A stereotype exists for foster families. When I say foster, most picture the family that drives a large van or nowadays something like a Sprinter, has boxes of diapers and clothes stacked around their house, and the parents always have that “stressed but I am happy look”.

Then we say, “I am glad they are able to do that because I couldn’t”. After we excuse ourselves from fostering or adopting children, we don’t think about it until it confronts us again.

I am one of those persons that said that I could never be that kind of parent. I know that I couldn’t handle the chaos and change with many kids struggling with different kinds of trauma. I have enough of my own stuff to handle honestly.

However, in every community across our country children wait for a family to take them in either to foster or adopt.

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Petra—A Preschool for Foster & Underserved Children with Phil, Christal & Mindy [Podcast 36]

When a preschool told a local foster family that their foster daughter could not attend, this family decided to create a solution not only for themselves but other families. From that experience the idea for Petra Preschool evolved.

I interview Phil and Christal Murray, founders of Petra, and Mindy Lee, director of Petra as they share their passion, vision, and method of meeting the needs of foster and underserved preschool families.

I believe in what these guys are doing, and I wanted you to hear about it.

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What Happens When One Person Stands Up?

In 2004, Bishop Aaron Blake stood before his congregation with his adopted sons on his mind. He began sharing with his church that over 30,000 children were in the foster care system in Texas and about 500,000 in the United States.

Then Bishop Blake rhetorically asked, “Who will stand with me to defend, care, and support abused, abandon, and neglected children in our community?”

Unexpectedly one lady in the back of the church stood and replied, “I will”.

That one response led to another, and another, and another standing all around the church responding to Bishop Blake’s plea to stand with him. *story adapted from CAFO blog

Watch this video as Bishop Aaron Blake tells the story in his own words. And the amazing result.

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5 Reasons Why We Should Be Better at Hospitality

At a recent small group gathering that we call community group we discussed this scripture verse, “Do not neglect hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)

Interesting verse even if you don’t believe in angels which for the record I do.

As a group of suburban Americans we agreed that we do a poor job of showing hospitality to anyone much less to strangers. By hospitality I mean showing friends and strangers a warm, generous, friendly, generous reception into our homes.

Our tendency is to ask, maybe even demand, that guests schedule a time to come over to our house. Any spontaneous drop in gets met with a pause at the door and a look of “what are you doing here”.

What is it that makes it hard for us to be hospitable? Is it image management? Do we feel put out? Are we afraid of people we don’t know? Maybe we are just too busy.

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How Your Gifts and Talents Determine Your Purpose with Joe Sierra [Podcast 34]

We make a big deal out of finding our purpose in life. We want to have significance and do something great. But we can easily overlook what is right in front of us. God created all of us with talents, and He promises to give us gifts meant to accomplish His purpose.

In today’s podcast, I talk with Joe Sierra about how he learned about how God created him. What I have always admired about Joe is how he embraces his unique purpose. The cool thing is that in many ways Joe does this within the rhythm of his life.

Listen as Joe and I, two friends, sit on the back patio of my house and talk about how God will use us even within the things we enjoy.

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3 Reasons Foster and Adoptive Families Will Isolate

What You Need to Do to Reverse It

In a world where technology connects people in more ways over any distance than in other time in history, we might be more isolated than ever. We seem to have lost our ability to, well, connect.

I can hear you thinking, “Because of social media and technology, I reconnected with friends from high school and college.” or “I ‘talk’ to my family more often even though we live in different states or maybe countries.”

Technology, however, will not ever replace community…doing life together. That just can’t happen via text, on social media, or in an online group forum. When you are doing relationships in real time, you don’t get to take that selfie 10 times to present the “look” you want the world to get from you.

It’s live. It’s real. It’s raw.

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Identity, Purpose, and Belonging with Joe Elliott Founder of Catalyst Collective [Podcast 33]

Joe Elliott knew that he needed to do something different if he were to reach young adults. During a brain-storming session with several other youth pastors, many great ideas rose to the surface. But they all knew that if they began doing much of what they put down on paper, they all would get fired.

But Joe was in the right place at the right time to begin applying some of the ideas. Out of that the Catalyst Collective was born.

Joe is married, the father of three children, a dreamer, motivator, connector, and speaker. I look forward to you hearing from him.

Here is the interview on His Hands His Feet:

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