Saturday, May 8, 2010


Kevan's graduation ceremony at John Wesley College was this morning. Last night they had a "rehearsal dinner" for the families, and all the students wrote a little something about their families and their experience at the school. Of course (no surprise to anyone who knows Kevan) his comments were the highlight of everyone's evening. He was so gracious with his comments about all of us, and had the most amusing stories to tell in the most clever ways. Someone said he should write a book, and actually, he is working on one right now. This morning he rolled across the stage and looked so great in his cap and gown.

I wasn't sure why Kevan wanted to do the grad ceremony in the first place. He'd finished classes in October and has never seemed to be the type that valued ceremony that much. But this weekend, I think I figured out why it was important to him. Last night and today after the program, he was completely surrounded by people who were hugging him, patting him on the back, taking pictures with him, and laughing over memories made with him... it was amazing to see how many people's lives have been touched and changed by Kevan in the past two years. The faculty, the students, and even their families know and love Kevan because he has invested in their lives in a meaningful way. I couldn't tell you the names of two classes he took, but I could tell you about all the guys he let sleep on his couch or he gave good counsel to... in fact, I'm sure some of them graduated because of Kevan's wisdom and help.

I am so proud of who he is and how much his character and the quality of his ministry is like Jesus Christ's. Congratulations, Kevan. You did much more than pass classes and earn credits; you became a true man of God.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The blood of Jesus

"The blood of Jesus, it is like the widow's oil... it's enough to pay the price to set you free."

This morning I was listening to a song by Andrew Peterson, and this lyric stood out to me. It refers to the story in I Kings 17, in which Elijah told a widow to give him food, even though all she had was enough to feed her family one more meal. There are many ways people teach this story, different angles you can take in the "moral" that it portrays. We love to find morals, don't we? "And the moral of the story is..." Sometimes we like to use this story to teach the importance of blind faith, or sacrificial giving, or complete obedience. And I think all of those have their place and are accurate... but the song reminded me that there is so much more to Scripture, that God cannot be packaged into a moral or a three-point sermon. This story is actually a picture of the gospel, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and what it has to do with us: "It can fill up every jar and every heart that ever beat - when it's all you have, it's all you'll ever need."

The rest of the song also focuses on other stories from the Old Testament: the "leper's river" - in 2 Kings 5, when Naaman went to Elisha for healing, he was sent to the Jordan. It is like the blood of Jesus, which washes clean those to believe and are covered by it; "Elijah's fire," in I Kings 18, which he called down from heaven before the prophets of Baal. It is like the blood of Jesus - all our wisdom and efforts could never replace its power, and nothing we do can extinguish its power.

These made me think of other old familiar stories in the Bible, and how they are pictures of the gospel... Noah's ark in Genesis 7 is like the blood of Jesus, because it was the only way to be saved from the flood. The Red Sea in Exodus 14 is like the blood of Jesus, providing a path of freedom to those who trust in God and blocking and destroying those who refuse him. Rahab's scarlet chord in Joshua 2 is like the blood of Jesus, which is safety and hope and freedom and life for those who trust in it.... And it goes on.

One of my favorite quotes is one I heard from the pastor of a summer camp I went to as a teenager; he said: "Wherever you cut the Bible open, it bleeds the blood of Christ." It's interesting, we're so caught up in trying to find different morals and lessons, simplifying stories to teach children, and organizing them into easy-to-digest devotionals, that I think we forget the fact that the entire Bible is a picture pointing to Christ's sacrifice for us. It's not really all about how we manage money or how we obey laws or how we stay away from evil things... those are good things to learn, but don't overlook the fact that it's really - at the core - all about Jesus!

The Challenge: For those of you who know the old Sunday school stories so well that you are tempted to skim over them with a "bla, bla, bla..." go back and read them again, looking for the symbol of the blood of Jesus in those passages. It may revolutionize your Bible study time, and will most definitely make you more aware of the price that was paid for you, and that is was God's perfect plan from the beginning.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Vote for Wally!

I am really excited to tell you about the first children's book in my friend Marty's series, "The Adventures of Wally the Wheelchair," and I've decided it is high time I share that excitement with you!

The author, Marty, is a long-time friend of mine who has been a role-model for me. He has Spina Bifida, and uses a manual chair to get around. I look up to him because he has always been a trail-blazer for handi-capability in our community - he was one of the first students with a disability to attend a Forsyth County public school (Parkland), he is very athletic and has played many sports like tennis, basketball, and bowling, he coaches pee-wee teams and was a department store security guard for many years. Beyond his abilities and successes, Marty has a contagious optimism and love for life, a great sense of humor, and a solid sense of purpose and hope. He lives life to the fullest with his wife, Angela, and his daughter, Sarah, in Arcadia, NC.

The little boy in Marty's book is named Timmy, and the story of Timmy is really the story of Marty. Wally is a children's wheelchair, inspired by Marty's first wheelchair, and the experiences that Timmy and Wally have - for better or worse - are very much like the experiences Marty and his wheelchairs have had... and the experience many kids with disabilities have. These stories are positive and up-beat, funny and adventurous, and are meant to inspire and encourage kids with disabilities in a way no children's book has done before.

Timmy, the main character, is a little boy who cannot walk (his specific disability is not labeled), and his best friend is the wheelchair that helps him do all the things he cannot do alone. Because they have each other, the world is not a frightening and limited place anymore, but one grand adventure.

Aren't they cute?! My brother, Andrew Chandler, is doing the artwork for the book, so look for more great illustrations to come!
Not only will it benefit children with disabilities, but it will also help families who are trying to figure out how to do life with a disability - what things need to change, what obstacles need to be hurdled, what opportunities need to be sought out, what assistance needs to be fought for, and what things need to stay as close to "normal" as possible. It can also be a great tool to use with able-bodied children who meet peers with disabilities and have lots of questions.
Marty and I feel strongly that this is a much-needed resource that we would like to market to families, special needs schools, children's hospitals, summer camps, and wheelchair manufacturers. In order to make this dream come true, Marty submitted his idea to the "Pepsi Refresh Grant," which accepts 1,000 proposals each month for things that average people want to do to have a positive impact. But only 10 each month get accepted for grant funding! So we need you to vote for his idea, so it can have a better chance of being one of those 10. All you gotta do is click on the "Vote for this idea" button on the right panel of my blog.
Thanks so much for your support! We'll keep you all updated on this exciting project!