Does God Speak Your Language? An interview with Brian Smith about Davar [Podcast 039]

Do you like to hear a good story? Does your family tell the same stories over and over even passing some down from generation to generation?

Since the beginning of time, people have learned by hearing stories. Although many people groups formed an alphabet and a written language, to this day around 80% of the people in the world are oral preference learners. This is why it is important that we make audio recordings of God’s Word in as many languages as possible.

In today’s episode, I interview Brian Smith, chairman of the board of directors for Davar Partners International.

What you will hear on the podcast:

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What’s Happening at Missional Lifestyle and His Hands His Feet in 2018

Happy New Year! I enjoyed our holiday season, but I am ready to get back into a groove. It seemed like I was in the holi-daze from Thanksgiving through New Years. We did our annual beach week during Thanksgiving with my side of the family. Then Danielle, my son, and I took a 5-day cruise out of Galveston the second week of December. Then of course Christmas and New Years followed on the heels of that.

During the downtime and trips, I had time to think through what I hope 2018 to look like for me here at Missional Lifestyle and His Hands His Feet. (that is the blog and podcast for those who didn’t know) I am excited about this year. I hope you are too!

Here is what I am working on for 2018:

  • I will continue to create free written content that covers foster care/adoption and other missional topics like local ministry opportunities, foreign missions, mentoring/discipleship, generosity, and so on.
  • His Hands His Feet podcast enters its second year. I have more Dad to Dad episodes, interviews with foreign missionaries, interviews with non profit leaders, updates from Danielle and I about our adoption journey, and much more.

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My Motivation for 2018

You won’t find things like bringing a child into your family as your own, spending time with a lonely widow or homeless man, or visiting someone in prison on too many 2018 resolution or goal lists.

I don’t know many people who wake up in the morning saying, “Today, I am going to leave my comfort zone and hang out with someone who looks, thinks, or acts differently than I do”.

Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves just isn’t how we are hard-wired. Instead we think of ourselves and our own family and close friends.

We need a motivation that prompts us to do things outside of ourselves. For many that is a sense of justice. Maybe some do it out of obligation or guilt. For others it is for the recognition that it brings.

So what is my motivation for 2018?

I am like many of you, I set some business goals for my writing, blogging, podcasting, and a couple of new things for this year.

I also set a couple of personal goals too. They are quite simple. One is to avoid complaining and criticizing. I do this in my mind more than I vocalize it, except around home. The flip side to that is to use words of kindness and encouragement.

My wife is doing the happy dance about that goal.

The other is one that I know will impact every area of my life, especially when it comes to successfully living a life sent. It doesn’t have anything to do with the external motivations listed above.

My one other goal is to spend scheduled, intimate time with God.

On our property, down the hill from our house we have a large oak tree with two benches under it. I have spent a lot of time clearing cedar and brush on our property, and I will often take a break sitting on one of those benches. I find peace in the beauty, and it directs my thoughts and heart toward God.

But what happens far too often is that I don’t prioritize times to spend with God. Yes, I will read some scripture in the morning. Some days I will journal some thoughts or prayers.

So I decided that I will spend 2-3 mornings by going down the hill without my phone. Just my Bible, journal, and a pen. And spend time with God in what has become a sacred place for me.

Our church called us to a time of prayer and fasting this week. That is how I am beginning 2018. Praying and fasting as I seek God. He is who makes it a priority to place a child into a family, who cares for the widow and the one who doesn’t have a place to call home. God doesn’t forget the one who is in prison, and yes, He set the example of leaving His place of comfort, not just comfort, perfection, and entering our world.

As I spend time with Him…as we spend time with Him, His nature becomes our nature.

If that is the one and only goal that I accomplish this year, it will be the best year ever.

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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