Meet the NEW Josie!

We are so proud of our sweet girl Josie who committed her life to following Jesus and took her first step of obedience by following His example and command in baptism. She's a new creation! @ Searcy, Arkansas

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Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. ~ Romans 6:3-4 [ESV]

What a great faith-filled family we had gathered for Josie's baptism!

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We had the whole Shack 10 together for the occasion.

From left, Kenneth, Josie, Robbie, Bryan, Shelby, Tanja, Bethany, Elly, Jillian, Jay

From left, Kenneth, Josie, Robbie, Bryan, Shelby, Tanja, Bethany, Elly, Jillian, Jay

Happy New Year! Now BE STILL! :-)

New year’s resolution time! It is a good idea to have a special time, at LEAST annually, to take stock and make some resolutions to “do better” where one has been lacking in the past year. I think of Paul’s resolution as he was leaving Athens and heading to Corinth. He said that he “resolved to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).

The video above is a song I wrote when I was helping to lead a summer camp that had as it’s theme for the summer “Be Still and Know”. I confess that I was NOT excited by this theme that I had inherited when I took the job as programming director of this camp. I would not have picked this as a theme for a summer camp if I had directed it for a hundred years. How was I supposed to design a camp where kids have the time of their lives - busy with lots of fun activities and, at the same time, teach them the importance of “being still”?!?

As I plunged in and began planning for the summer, I came to realize how radically counter-cultural this very Biblical message was. The enemy of our eternal souls does all he can to keep us from knowing God. One of his greatest tools is to keep us BUSY. He does NOT want us to slow down, reflect, take stock or seek truth in the quiet moments. Satan is happy for us to be busy, even if that busy-ness is doing good things, like ministry. Keep your foot on the gas. There’s SO MUCH to be done. (the snake whispers) Keep going. Keep spinning those wheels. Go! Get! Accelerate! Accomplish! Move! Meet! Program! Produce!

God says something different. He makes it clear when he says “Be still and know that I am God.”  Take time to JUST be with me and you will KNOW me.  

Think of all Jesus needed to accomplish in His ministry. He had three years to SAVE THE WORLD - three years to bring the Kingdom of God from heaven to earth. On top of that, He had this very limited amount of time to train up a group of rag tag disciples to continue His work, to multiply it, and to keep it alive until it spread to the “ends of the earth”. So, how did Jesus kick it off? He spent 40 days alone! Forty days doing “nothing” - or so it seemed in our subverted mentality of “productivity.” And throughout Christ’s ministry, He continued to get away and make time to be alone with His Father. He often left crowds to just be alone - crowds who were clamoring to be with Him. Wait! Weren’t those crowds the reason He came? How could he just up and leave them when He had so much to teach them, so many sick to heal, so many injustices to be made right?

If the very Son of God knew how much He needed to stop doing and spend time being, how on earth can I expect to be able to just stay busy and have what I need to live out God’s calling for my life?  

I resolve to be still and know, know nothing but Jesus, forget everything but Him and what His sacrifice means for me. I will prioritize time to just BE with my dear friend, my sweet Spirit, my big brother, my faithful Father, my everlasting King. I will not forsake my first love for an affair with His ministry.*  

My song says, “Be still and know that God is real.” I need the absolute reality of God to saturate every part of my life. One thing you will notice is that the song, like our lives each day, starts off slow and peaceful but quickly gets busy with all the parts going at the same time. The parts are all stating truth but, in their busy-ness, it can be hard to hear and know what is going on. As the song comes to a close, though, it simplifies, softens and we see that “He leads me beside the quiet waters, I am still and know that God is real.”  

Be sensitive to God’s leading, and let Him lead you away from the rush to a quiet place with Him. Know Him.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,

to the soul who seeks him.

It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

  ~ Lamentations 3:25-26

* my friend Jim Hall has a sign in his office with this statement - a great and needed reminder.

Twice Adopted

We are so proud of our daughter Jalynn Grace (11). She committed her life to Jesus today and followed His example and command in baptism. We rejoice in her new life in Christ and adoption into the family of God.

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. ~ Romans 8:15-17a

Perfect 10!!

We are so very excited to announce that our four new additions - Jalynn, Josie, Bryan and Elly - are now officially SHACKELFORDS!!  We are so blessed to permanently add the four beautiful children to our family.  Thank you for your prayers during this almost 2 year process!  (Okmulgee, Oklahoma)

Missions Conference Promo

This coming weekend, I will be speaking at a missions conference in Emporia, Kansas.  They asked me to make a promo for them to show the week before (last Sunday) - here is what I came up with: