Out of the Mouth of Infants

mouth of Babes

There’s a park by my mom’s house that I always skate that’s just a couple rails and a box. I was there the other day and this little kid named Matthew came and started cruising around on his skateboard and talking to me. It seemed like he had just started getting into it and couldn’t have been older than 10 years old. The funny part about him is that he kept telling me to do tricks but he didn’t have the language to express the tricks he wanted me to do. Instead of saying “boardslide the rail,” he would say, “Go on the rail in the middle of your board.” Then I would go do it, and he would be like, “WOAH, YOU DID THE WHOLE THING IN THE MIDDLE!” One time I did a kickflip to a boardslide and he said something like, “WOAH, YOU DID A FLIP ONTO THE MIDDLE!” And he kept asking me to race him through the park, and I kept trying tricks along the way, and eventually he told me that if I tried a trick along the way and messed up I would automatically win. Imagine Olympic races with those rules.

The funny thing about this experience is that when we think about people to skate with that will push us to get better, we usually think of people that are better than us. But the reactions I would get from this kid was so amusing that I was having a blast trying things just to see what it would be. Matthew was pushing me based on the amount of excitement he was expressing, and it rubbed off on me and made me more excited to skate and try things.

Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unaware.” This kid was a Godsend, the joy in him and the joy that arose in me as a result was unmatched to anything I have ever encountered. Psalm 8:2 says, “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have ordained strength.” Out of the mouth and smiles of Matthew I saw the Lord expressing the joy and love he has for myself and all his children. Never fail to give attention to the little ones, there may be a Matthew encounter just waiting to happen.

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Little Ones

Meaning blog 2

I was at my local park the other day, and after I skated around for a bit I went to the back of the park so I could work on some flat ground tricks by myself. There were only 2 other people at the park so I thought a solo flat ground session would be feasible. But shortly after I started this kid (probably 11 or 12 years old) came over and started skating with me. At first I was a little annoyed and said to myself, “why do you have to come over here right when I start; you have the whole park, go skate something else.” Not my finest hour, I know. As we skated for a while though I started to enjoy the company, and as I watched this kid, I noticed that every time he would try a trick he would look up at me, either to see if I was watching or if I was going to show him my approval.

As I sat there watching him it reminded me of when I was that age, and how much I loved the praise and approval of all the older skaters. When an older guy that was really good gave me praise for my skating, it was the best feeling. When I realized that, I tried to keep expressing praise for the tricks that he was doing, and I could tell that it meant a lot to him.

As I skated with this kid for a bit, I realized that for some reason we were all created to need some type of assurance that we are doing good and that we mean something in the world. That void usually gets somewhat filled by our parents, then when we get a little older it’s by people we look up to, then the last step should be our Father in heaven. Acts 17:27 says, “That they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being.” That longing for assurance that our lives mean something was put in us in order for us to feel our way to God – the only one that truly fills that void. All the steps along the way (parents and role-models) are just glimpses of something better.

Along with this, me being annoyed at first by the kid that wanted to skate with me is a misrepresentation of the Christ in me. Something I often forget is that we get to show people what our God is like when we extend that assurance that they are doing well in life. I heard a pastor say the other day, “no one really cares about making money, what people are really striving for is to know that they are doing what they should be doing and are doing it well.” To know and trust Jesus is to know that we are enough, and that we are loved and valued more than we know. This assurance is not realized by many and it is part of the good news we get to share with people of knowing Christ. When we extend that praise and assurance that we have experienced from Christ to others, we get to give people a glimpse of what it means to know Him. Be quick to express praise to the little ones at the skate park, it may be the only expression of Christ they see that day.

Reflection Questions:

For some reason, humans are born with a need to feel valued and assured that we are doing well. How can we remember that we have all our love and value in Christ and make sure we communicate that to other people that may be lacking in that?

Jesus says in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” With this in mind, people experience Christ by how we choose to love them. My first response in this story I was not acting as a disciple of Christ, thereby cutting off the supply chain in my spirit for this kid to experience Christ. How can we make sure we are loving people in a way that demonstrates to them how Jesus loves them? What are some common responses from people that are not expressions of how Jesus loves?

Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” It is important to always remember that it is Christ who lives in you, infecting the world like a virus with His love. How can we make sure that we are carrying on this infectious love instead of stopping its spread?

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The People

Uniquely Common

Skateboarding can often bring out the animal in me. When I skate I tend to get in the zone and tune out everything and everyone around me. If I’m at a crowded skate park, people often feel like a nuisance – just something in my way. I become the only thing that matters at the skate park. I want to push myself and get better, and if anyone gets in the way of that I want to get angry. As I have gotten older I have gotten better at taming this animal in me, but the struggle is still very real for me.

I help out with a skate church in vacaville sometimes and for a while, every time I went I would get real aggressive, cut everyone off, and be way too into my own skating. I always left feeling guilty for the way I acted and often felt like that place was probably better off without me. I eventually just started taking weeks off because even though I had a desire to chill out, as soon as I got there I would just get all into it and not care about anyone else. I hoped that if I took breaks from going that I would come back more chill at some point, but it never seemed to happen.

The church we meet at is moving to a new building, and the other day we had a last night in the building service with all the skate ramps out. And at the end we were all skating and I was kind of taking it easy and watching everyone else, and as I was sitting there watching, I started thinking about all these skate kids that come every week (sometimes twice if they go to youth group, which a lot of them do) to skate and hear a little bit of Bible teaching. I remember when I was their age I didn’t know anybody that skated that had any involvement in anything church related, and here we are in a little indoor skate park set up full of skate kids that come to this thing and youth group every week. I couldn’t help thinking of how beautiful this place has been and how foolish it is to care more about my tricks than the people. A lot of these kids have little direction from their families, and for the most part, skateboarding is the only real family or meaning they have in the world. A lot of them have no money and their parents don’t buy them anything, so every time I give them some of my old stuff they’re always super grateful. Every time I show up some of them are always eager to show me what tricks they learned that week and I can tell that a lot of them look up to me. It’s crazy how someone can be a role model to kids just because of what they can do on a skateboard. After meditating on this for a while I began to feel remorse for all the times I couldn’t go to these skate church nights without getting angry and frustrated for people being in my way.

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about for the last several months that really hit me that night, is that everything we do is never about the thing. God didn’t give me skateboarding to just focus on being the best I can and pushing myself, but to love the people I come into contact with through it and show the love of Christ. We should push ourselves and always try to exceed our personal best, but never at the cost of making it more important than the people. In John 13:35, Jesus tells his disciples, “By this all will know that you are my disciples… if you have love for one another,” notice he didn’t say, “by the things you do and how good you are at them.” Do whatever it is you do well, but love the people you meet through it even better. Loving people well will always be a higher priority above our own ambitions. If we can’t love people through our ambitions than we are doing it wrong.

Reflection Questions:

Why is it so easy to get into this mind set that we are the only thing that matters right now? How can we keep ourselves from thinking like this?


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Surprised to be Alive


I have had a hurt ankle for about a month and a half now, and at times it can drive me a little crazy. Being hurt and not able to skate can often feel like a prison. Skateboarding is a big part of who I am and how I express myself, without it I don’t feel like I can truly be me. Being a skateboarder for 16 years, I’ve had to deal with the challenge of being hurt quite a few times. Throughout the years I have usually responded to injury with shock and amazement, as if some strange injustice has happened to me. I’ve come to realize though that the real surprise and amazement is when I can walk away from any skate park or skate spot without some kind of injury. First of all, skateboarding is a pretty injury prone activity, and secondly, it is not something that I am entitled too. Just like everything else in this world, skateboarding had a starting point, it didn’t always exist. Everyday that we are rewarded the luxury of being able to ride a skateboard is a huge surprise and a blessing. Our perspective shouldn’t be, “what a surprise and shock,” when we can’t skate, but when we can.

I heard someone say the other day, “don’t be surprised that people die, be surprised that people are still living.” When you think about all the chaos, disease, and things that can go dramatically wrong in life, it is a shock that anyone makes it very long. People die at 30 and people are surprised that they died so young, but the real surprise is that they lived so long. Just like skateboarding, life is dangerous, lots of things can go wrong, and everyday we live that nothing does is a surprise, not the opposite. Everyday that we can live, laugh, and learn is a blessing and should amaze us that we can do it at all. Nobody is entitled to life, for it didn’t always exist and it doesn’t have to exist.

I hear old people say a lot, “When you get to be my age, just waking up is a surprise.” If we all adopted that mentality life would be a lot sweeter. When we realize that we are not entitled to anything, everyday becomes like Christmas morning. Psalm 16:2 says, “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord, I have no good apart from you.” Everything we have is intentionally crafted and presented to us by a loving heavenly father. Everyday that we can live, and everyday that we can skate is a gift, it is not owed to us. So next time you find yourself not able to skate or in some kind of hardship, don’t be surprised that life is a little hard at the moment, be thankful for all the days that were good, for we are not owed or entitled to any of it. Everything in our world and our life hangs by a thread and can come crumbling down at any moment. If it all hangs by a thread, it shouldn’t be a surprise when something crumbles. The real surprise is all the days that it didn’t.

Reflection Questions:

Many people get mad at God for all the suffering in the world and say, “how could God let this happen?” If we shifted our focus to gratitude for all the times when there is not suffering, when everything in the world says there should be more of it, how would that change our attitude and perception of suffering?

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Let the Children Come


I was at a skate park the other day and there were these two little kids (probably no older than 8) that were hanging out and asking everyone if they could use their board. I said no at first because I had just arrived and was eager to skate, and for whatever reason everyone else was telling them no too. After I had skated for a while I finally agreed to let one of them ride my board, and when he finally got his hands on one it brought the biggest smile to my face as I watched him ride around the park. For one, he was better than I expected him to be. He could ride down and up all the banks and  turn decent enough not to fall off the board when he went around sharp corners. But what really made me laugh was his lack of care for anything going on around him. He was so excited to be on a board he didn’t pay any attention to anything around him. My friend Steven went to try something down the stairs and as soon he hit the ground a board went flying at him because the kid tried to jump down the stairs right behind him. We both couldn’t help but laugh hysterically. He was so young and excited to be on a board, skate park etiquette didn’t matter all that much.

As I sat there watching him, it became funny to me how I first didn’t want to give my board up, and then how happy it made me when I finally did. It reminded me of all the times Jesus was interrupted during his life and the good that always came from it. Most (if not all) the miracles Jesus performed during his ministry happened when he was on his way somewhere or busy doing something else. It was the interruptions in His life that really fueled his ministry and brought fourth all his greatest works.

It also reminded me of the scene in Matthew 19:13-15 when people are bringing children to Jesus to pray for them, but the disciples are trying to turn them away. But as a result, Jesus gets upset and says to His disciples, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for such belongs the kingdom of God.” I picture the disciples in this scenario sitting there watching Jesus with the children and saying to themselves, “look how funny they are, why did we ever turn them away,” just how I felt with the kid at the skate park.

A lot of the time it is in the interruptions and in those moments that first seem like hassles that we often see God move the most. I probably made that kid’s day and created a memory that he may never forget, and to think I first saw him as a nuisance that was in the way of my skating. Jesus says in Matthew 25:37-40, “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” We show our love for God by how we choose to love people. Sometimes it seems like a hassle or a nuisance, but once we do it, we will be glad we did. From now and into eternity. Not only do we live forever with Jesus in Heaven, but we live forever in the people that we make those memories with. There have been countless times when someone has made an impact on my life that I will never forget that may have seemed like no big deal or some small matter to them. What we do and how we treat people matters, in the present and into eternity. 

Reflection Questions:

Isn’t it funny how it is in the nuisances’ and interruptions of life where God seems to use us the most? That homeless guy you saw coming towards you while on your way somewhere that you were hoping wouldn’t say anything, but he did, and as a result you had an experience you will never forget. I heard a pastor say once that we should make time for interruptions on our commutes because of these truths. What do you think could happen if we weren’t always going about our day with tunnel vision and we’re making time for interruptions?

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Losing Focus

Processed with VSCOcam with kk1 preset

Dealing with distraction is a big part of skateboarding. If we’re skating by a street, people will often shout at us as they drive by. At skate parks it’s hard not to worry about someone getting in our way, and of course there’s always the big cracks right before or at the bottom of our favorite stair sets. So many things come against us that mess with our heads and cause us to lose focus. The biggest struggle in landing a trick can often be just blocking out the distractions that get in the way. Skateboarding is often just a game of, “can we stay focused?”

In life there always seems to be a constant flood of distractions coming at us that try to steal our focus away from the things we want to do or what God wants us to do. The bible paints a good picture on this in the story of Samson and Delilah (Judges 13-16). Samson was a man born with exceptional strength that was given him by God in order to deliver Israel from the Philistines that had been oppressing them. Samson had some heroic moments that show him walking in this purpose, but for the most part, he did not succeed. Samson’s strength was in his hair, and as long as he kept his hair he would keep his strength, but because he lacked the inner strength to block out distraction, he traded the Lord’s call on his life for a dead end romance that costed him everything. Delilah was hired by the philistines to seduce him and find out where his strength lied so they could kill him. If you read the story, there’s obvious signs of Delilah not really caring about him, but because he was so easily distracted and couldn’t focus on the Lord and His purpose for his life, he failed at his mission and the whole nation suffered. The Lord wanted to use him to deliver Israel, but since he failed they had to wait till King David came around many years later to pick up his slack. Like Samson, we all have things that God has created us to do, and many of us unfortunately fall victim to the distractions of the world and trade it in for something meaningless. As skateboarders, if we can’t work passed distraction we won’t be landing very many tricks, and as Christians we will never walk in God’s purpose for our lives.

Genesis 4:7 says, “sin is crouching at the door, it’s desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Distraction and temptations to sin are always gnawing at us, but we have to learn to master it, block it out, and press on. Bastien Salabanzi said in an interview that through skating with Geoff Rowley and Arto Saari he learned that people that skate big stuff aren’t able to do so because they aren’t scared, but because they have mastered it and can control it. And it’s the same way with the Lord – distractions, temptations, and fear will always be there to try and get our focus off of the Lord, but we must master and rule over it. I’ve noticed that every time I see a homeless person that I want to help, there is always this powerful impulse telling me, “don’t do it.” I have to rule over this if I want to help anyone. Being able to stay focused on the things of the Lord is a skill we are always working on. When temptations come hollering at us, we need to have the courage and the wisdom not to bend to its calling. Proverbs 22:3 says, “The wise sees danger and hides himself, but the naive go on and suffer for it.” And Deuteronomy 30:20 says, “Therefore choose life that your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days.” God is our life, our everything. There will be times when temptations will arise to get us to think differently, but we need to be wise and hold fast to our God. He is the one that gives our lives meaning and purpose, nothing else. Keep your eyes and focus on the Lord, only then does anyone truly live.

Reflection Questions:

Fear and distractions will always be things that get in our way and keep us from doing the things we want to do. What are some ways that we can grow in mastering these in order to get passed them?

I’m sure you have heard the cliche, “love is blind.” How does this relate to Samson and Delilah and what can we learn from this story in regards to this?

Romantic love has a way of blinding people as to what everyone can see except for the couple of the negative repercussions of what the romance is doing to one or both of the people involved. How can we make sure that we don’t end up in a Samson and Delilah type of relationship where we are sacrificing God’s calling on our lives for the sake of the romance?

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Lunatics with friends

AZ Chillin

Skateboarding is fun and I love it, but there are moments when it makes me feel like a looney. I scream and yell, snap at people, and have no care whatsoever for other people around me. It amazes me how I can do this and still have friends, and how people can put up with me acting like a madman. Something I love about the skateboarding community is the mutual understanding that we have with each other. We understand the struggle of suffering through a trick and all the frustration that comes with it. Everyone that skates has their moments of battling a trick and becoming aggravated as a result of it, so they understand and aren’t necessarily surprised if someone starts acting a little crazy. Skateboarders can act like looneys and still have friends because we all have experienced the struggle and can relate with it.

In everyday life, we also have our moments of life getting the best of us, causing us to do stupid things. In spite of these moments, the Creator who knows everything about us and every wicked thought of ours still calls us his friend. Jesus says in John 15:15, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” Just like a skateboarder can have friends because they understand the struggle, He too can call us His because He understands ours. Hebrews 4:15-16, speaking of Jesus says, “For we do not have a hight priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Because God became man, lived among us and dealt with the same temptations as we do, he can relate with us when we succumb to them and can even offer aid. 

We all have our moments of acting a little crazy and doing stupid things. Without our friends that understand our struggles we wouldn’t have any friends for very long, and without a God that understands our frustration, pain, and sorrow, we wouldn’t have a very loving or accepting God.

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Arizona Trip: Unity in Diversity

Tailslide Ditch

Phoenix Dream Center – probably the most diverse ministry I’ve ever seen. From rescuing girls out of sex slavery to skate ministry, they seem to to do it all. We (Embassador Skateboards) recently had the privilege of being able to do a skate demo as a part of an outreach event there, which was quite an experience and an eye opener.

The first thing that really struck me about this trip, is that the Phoenix Dream Center does all sorts of ministries. They have a thriving ministry that rescues and rehabilitates girls that have been sex trafficked, which has a success rate of about 90 percent – apparently the highest in the nation. They have a drug rehabilitation program, a homeless shelter, a youth outreach program, a skate ministry, and few other things. For me, I have always struggled a little bit with the fact that I chose to do skate ministry instead of something more noble like rescuing girls out of sex slavery, but coming here it was cool to see so many ministries working side by side. It gave me a little assurance that ministry is ministry, no matter how noble one may appear, they all have the same purpose or end. We are all doing what we can to love people well and express the love of Jesus we’ve experienced. Everyone just has different talents and interests that causes them to go about it differently.

Secondly, after we did the demo we got to hang out with a lot of the kids, and it was crazy to hear some of their stories. One of them who’s name was Corey, looked like your average, harmless skate rat, and no one would ever guess that he has a history of violence which caused him to get kicked out of every school in Phoenix, and that some of his decisions had led him and his best friend to get shot at. He luckily didn’t get hit, but his best friend was shot 6 times and Corey had to watch him take his final breaths as he tried to assure him that he was going to make it and that everything was going to be alright. I didn’t think these kinds of stories happened to skate kids; I never thought it I would ever meet a skateboarder that had to watch his best friend die in his arms because of some shady business. This story showed me that broken people that are in need of some serious spiritual guidance and breakthroughs are in all scenes and come in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t matter what kind of ministry we are involved in, hurting people that need to have their relationship with their heavenly father restored are everywhere.

I’ve never left a skate demo which such a gladness that such a place exists. Somewhere that recognizes that all ministries are interconnected and that hurting people with gnarly backgrounds come in every fashion. It doesn’t matter what kind of ministry we are involved in, as long as we are doing what we can with the gifts and talents God has given us, we are going to make an impact on people. We are all working together to bring light and healing to the world. Phoenix Dream Center really showcases this truth, and I am super thankful I got to see it.

Here is our tour video from the trip. Enjoy





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Never Forsaken

Photo Jun 03, 6 00 35 PM

26 years old and still skateboarding – it boggles my mind sometimes. Most of my friends that I grew up skating with haven’t touched a board in years, but after 16 years of skateboarding I’ve never been able to put it down. I’ve had my moments of thinking my time may be up, but there has always been something in me that won’t let me actually commit to it.

August 2013 I moved to Florida to work with an action sports ministry just after I finished my first video part, “It is Written.” Going into Florida my main concern was continuing the strides I was making in filming and pushing what little career I had going as a skateboarder. I was doing quite a bit of traveling and doing lots of demos with Embassador Skateboards, I had just gotten hooked up with Varsity Shades, things were going good. Then I chose to take a little risk and move across the country to do full time skate ministry, only to learn that my expectations going in were very unrealistic, causing me to go into burnout mode. I left Florida and moved to the sacramento area after being there for 8 months when I was supposed to be there for a year, and I left thinking I was pretty much done with skateboarding and any kind of ministry that may go with it. I moved to sacramento for a girl that I had started talking to when I was in Florida, and When I got there, my only concern was to find a job that I could make a decent living from and get married as quickly as possible. Because of my experiences in Florida, I was able to shift all my focus on getting married and away from anything related to skateboarding. Skateboarding began to feel more and more like a waste of time. All of my friends that I skated with and were involved in Embassador with had high hopes for me coming back to California and picking up where I left off – only to find out that my priorities had changed and none of it really mattered to me anymore. I had become someone that I had always despised, someone that gave up skateboarding and their dreams for a stable job and a wife (except I was only ever aspiring for these, they never actually came). Luckily, that relationship ended after 9 months, which put me into a bit of a daze after building my entire life around it. I had refused to accept that it was really over for months. But my heavenly father started his graceful process of gradually putting me back together and making me into the person he created me to be. After months and months of trying to push skateboarding away, God would gracefully bring it back to me. Through all this there were many times where I wanted to tell my sponsors that I was done; I did tell Embassador that I could no longer be Am (semi-pro), but I never told Varsity anything, thinking they would pick up on my change of priorities and I would eventually just drift away. But both companies surprisingly never gave me the boot or gave up on me.

After many months of uncertainty, and speculation, God has finally brought me back to a place where I feel like I am using skateboarding for a good purpose again. I’m filming regularly again, spending a lot of time at skateparks getting to know people, and doing skate demos with Embassador (even booking a bit of my own that has caused me to make a little money from skateboarding). Paul says in Philippians 1:6, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” This verse essentially sums up this whole journey. Even in my running and confusion, thinking I knew what I needed and what was best for me, God never left me or gave up on me. God has placed me in a position where I can use skateboarding to bring glory and honor to Him, and even when I tried to run away from it He was there guiding me back to it. Our God is so good, it took some gnarly life circumstances for me to really see that, and I’m sure I’ll see it even more as I get older and go through more things in life.

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Kilian Martin

Kilian Martin

If you’ve never seen Kilian Martin skate, he is truly a remarkable skateboarder, but what makes Kilian Martin great, is not just his abilities, but his dedicated filmer and editor – Bret Novak. Kilian Martin has been a great skateboarder for quite some time, but his career did not really take off till Bret Novak discovered him and saw a greatness that they could only reach as a team. Together they have been able to travel the world and capture all the remarkable shots that have come with every new Kilian Martin part we have grown to love. What makes filming video parts really special, is the relationship between filmer and skateboarder.

Many people may think that all the filmer really does is capture the talent of the skateboarder, but it is something much more than that. A filmer is a coach, a motivator, and most of all – a vision caster. A lot of the time, skateboarders don’t really know what they’re a capable of until a good filmer comes along side them and helps them reach they’re true potential. They come up with ideas for them and push them to a level that they know the skateboarder is capable of, and they help them press on and keep trying when they feel like they’re legs are about to give out. No one believes in and motivates a skateboarder like their filmer; they make the skateboarder look and be better.

What filmers do for skateboarders is a lot like what Christ does for us. Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” When we start to develop a relationship with Christ, someone that knows what we are truly capable of, he begins to make us a better human being with a greater capacity to love people, handle the storms of life with joy in our hearts, and to accomplish the work that he has laid before us. When we give our life to God, he brings us to a greater potential that we never thought we could reach, as Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” Because of the relationship I have with Christ, many times I’ve been able to say to myself, “I can’t believe I’m really doing this.” Christ accomplishes great works in His children, and there’s nothing more beautiful than that.


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