In about an hour I am leaving town to attend a wedding rehearsal. It is with great honor that I have been asked to take part in the wedding of my best friend. The honor and joy I feel for him comes from watching a new chapter be written on what has been a tough journey for him. I remember a time when all we saw in front of him were dark clouds and storms. Tomorrow night, his wedding will mark the start of a new journey and the completion of the promise of restoration. Below is a post I wrote a long time ago, but I thought it was worth a re-post. Thank you Lord for restoring what was once broken.

fc2b81f9-d8f0-4a57-a1c6-1943e5b50687.jpgA couple of months ago a strong wind came by and pretty well ripped the storm door on the front of our house right out of the door closers. Being the handy man that I am, I just took the screws out of the hinges, removed the door and put it in the garage! We still had the front door right? The house was still secure and functional, but clearly something wasn’t right. I am man enough to admit that the best tool I own is the phone book (to call someone that knows what they are doing) to fix these types of problems.

Over the weekend, the door was repaired and the front of our home has finally been restored. Not only that, but reinforcements are put in place so that it won’t happen again. I understand what David meant when he said –

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” – Psalm 51:12

I think of the mess that King David had made. He fell far from the little guy in the field with 5 smooth stones. He was worn out emotionally, physically, mentally and was desperate to be restored. Ever been there?

Have you ever restored something? I can remember when I was in High School, it was a really big deal to find an old car and restore it. I wouldn’t even know where to start, but I would know this…

Restoring something takes time

Restoring something takes patience

Restoring something removes the imperfections

Restoring something makes it new again

Restoring something, sometimes, makes it stronger than before

Now take those things we know about restoring something and place them over the hurts of ours and others. I think of friends that are going through struggles that we can never fully understand. I want so badly to just fix it. I want for nothing more than the TV version where they flip a house into a mansion in an hour (including commercials). I want to rejoice with them over the good news.  I want nothing more than for God to restore as only He can.

After a lengthy battle with the unimaginable, God restored to Job “twice as much as he lost” (Job 42:10). God is in the restoration business. While his version is not “made for TV”, it is certainly reality. It takes time. It takes patience. It removes the imperfections. It makes all things new and in many cases, stronger than before.

That’s what I’m praying for….

Restore To Me” by Mac Powell

Something Even BIGGER

Well friends, we’re back from a whirlwind 72 hour tour of Charlotte, North Carolina. Some of you may be looking at that picture and saying…”that looks like Columbus, Ohio”. If you did, you’re right. It is. On the heels of the big announcement from Friday, I have an even more wild and crazy one.

The Conrad Family is STAYING in Columbus, Ohio!

The details will be coming in future posts, but to give you an idea of what the next week to two weeks holds. I’m off to Denver Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m in Indianapolis on Thursday. We’re still scheduled to close on our house on the 19th. You read that correctly. As of the writing of this post, we are bound by our contract and due to sell our existing home. We could use a miracle on that minor detail.

If no miracles happen, we’re combing Hilliard for available homes which we can relocate to. Again, the details are crazy right now, but this is our “home” and we believe God wants us here. Even after the sale of our home and the prospect of being “homeless” in 2 short weeks.

I told you to buckle up. Much, much, much more to come!

“Crazy” by MercyMe

Something Big


In March of this year, we began a journey that took a BIG turn yesterday. Huge. In reviewing that post tonight. I recalled quoting the lyrics of John Waller when he sang:

“Something so big, it’s destined to fail without you Lord”

Friends, readers and those that may be visiting for the first time, I have an announcement to make….

In a little over two weeks, the Conrad family will become official residence of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Yes, you read that correctly. TWO WEEKS! I told you it was big. As late as Tuesday evening, I was just telling Heather that “if God wants us in Charlotte, He is going to make it pretty obvious”. In the category of “Be careful what you wish for” I got a call from our Realtor and friend Steve this morning to inform me that there was an offer on the table. Never expected that. While the offer was less than we were asking (common practice), it was in no way insulting and certainly within bargaining room. It also had a qualifier. Our potential buyer wanted to close by September 19th. They also wanted an answer by 8pm today.

We met at 6pm and prepared our counter offer knowing we might only get one shot at it. Knowing we might need to be house shopping in Charlotte this weekend, we requested their response by 10am. 30 minutes after leaving our home, our Realtor called and said:

“I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is Missy and I are going to really miss you guys. The good news is that you just sold your home.”

Just like that, in the matter of 8 hours the kite has officially been launched in the hurricane (Hannah to be exact). We’re headed to Charlotte tomorrow afternoon and will be barnstorm house shopping on Saturday and Church visiting on Sunday. There is much more to come on this story, but if I could ask your prayers for direction, discernment and wisdom this weekend they would sure be appreciated. We’re excited about chasing daylight while placing our trust in much greater hands.

I’m sure I’ll post some updates to Twitter and Facebook throughout the weekend. Thank you all for your prayers and sharing the journey so far. Buckle up friends…it’s going to be a wild ride!

“Something Big” by John Waller

Wide Open Spaces

529429219_bdfb0af58a.jpg10 years ago, Heather and I packed up a moving truck and left our hometown of Cleveland for Columbus. At the time a song by the Dixie Chicks had lyrics which said “She needed wide open spaces. Room to make a big mistake“. At the time of our “big move” (funny now) I remember wondering if we were doing the same thing. You see the decision came from Heather and I. We didn’t feel called to it. We just decided to move. God was at work, more despite our efforts and not because of them. I don’t know that we ever even prayed about it.

Fast forward 10 years and oh how the times have changed. Never more in our marriage have we talked, thought, prayed, discerned, sought Godly advice and prayed some more. This much I know for sure…we are at peace. We are at peace because we are following what we believe God has called us to. We have a peace because we are not forcing the issue. This time around, we are leaving a wide open space, but it is there for God to be God. Like riding the bike, He initiated, we responded knowing He will initiate again.

For the first night in a couple of weeks, I will go to bed with a complete peace. No matter what happens the next 2 weeks, the next month, the next year I am at peace with the course we have set. I don’t know what the journey to get there will look like, but that is not the point. The point is allowing room for God to be God and as my friend and mentor Denny said, “being available and obedient”.

Even in wide open spaces.

The Space In Between Us” by Building 429

He's Not Here!

“You Reign” by MercyMe


4But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”

Mark 16:4-7

Bring the…Reign

worship No, I didn’t misspell the word Reign. Yes, this is a post about a song by Mercyme, but it’s not the song you think it is. I had the opportunity to hear an interview with the guys from Mercyme this weekend on Sirius Satellite Radio. It was great background information on the CD and what went into writing it.

I have already told you that “God With Us” and “Finally Home” are certified hits on this CD, but the one below is one I cannot get away from. They said they wrote this CD for the church. They wrote it for worship. “You Reign” is no doubt one of those songs. I envision a large congregation, hands raised belting the chorus. Better yet, I envision a day when every knee will bow, every tongue confess.

I envision a day when all we can say or do is give glory and honor and praise to the one that is so worthy. “Glory in the highest…you reign”.

You Reign” by Mercyme from the CD “All That is Within Me“.

I'm Taking My Shoes Off…

prostrate.jpgI am convicted. I’ve been convicted all weekend. I was so convicted on Saturday morning that I found myself emotionally moved to a point I have not been in a long time. I think I might have even moved past convicted to the point of challenged. I don’t even know if I feel worthy to type these words…. We serve a HOLY God.

I am reminded of Moses and his face being radiant (Exodus 34:29-35). I am reminded of Isaiah’s Commission (Isaiah 6:1-9). I am convicted about my reaction when I see, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I have been in the very presence of the most high God.

On Friday, the network of people praying for Stef was nothing short of miraculous. To map out the people and places that prayers were being raised would be an unbelievable task. I believe with every ounce of my being that God met those requests for our brother. I believe that God worked and moved and that is where I am convicted and challenged. Did I drive away from that hospital on Friday changed? Did I go through the routine this weekend and take a moment to recognize that I was in the presence of God? Have I become jaded to those times when God answers prayers? What, if anything, can I do to show my thankfulness and gratitude?

I’m not sure but I can honestly say that the colors of fall were more brilliant this weekend (and I’m color blind!). The worship this morning was more amazing. My prayers and praises have been more frequent and honest. I have been moved by the glory of it all. I now wonder what it will be like when we are in the presence of God all the time. How amazing that time will be. It is no wonder that we will spend all of our days praising him.

God with Us….

For the first time today, I have been able to get a few minutes of quiet all alone. I am overwhelmed by the weight of what we witnessed today. There is so much to tell and so many thoughts that ran through my head as we waited for some news. There is one story in particular that I just have to share.

It was my absolute pleasure to meet Stef’s mom today and spend some time hearing stories about him. Those of you that follow Stef’s blog will remember this post from earlier this week where he talked about a sunrise. His mom told me today about the day that Stef was born. She said that right after he was born, the sun came up and through the window of her room. She said it “bathed and filled the room”. She said that at that moment, she knew that God had his hand on her sons life. She felt like God was showing her that he was going to be someone very special.

I think we would all agree.

It just so happens that Mercyme announced today that their new song (God with Us) is available on iTunes. You can bet I downloaded it and have listened to it several times. It’s perfect for what I am feeling at this very moment. The chorus is such a testimony to what we just witnessed.

All that is within me cries
For you alone be glorified
God with us
My heart sings a brand new song
The debt is paid
These chains our gone
God with us

God wasn’t only with us today, he is always with us. These chains are gone. He is able to do immeasurably more then I give him credit for. He deserves the honor. He deserves the glory. My heart indeed sings a brand new song today. God with us.

Prayer Update

We serve an awesome God! Before I type anything else, I want to acknowledge that we serve a God that deserves all the honor and glory and passion praising him with which we have all been praying for our brother Stef. Also, understand that I am hoping I give you all of the facts as I know them. There will be more definitive conversations tonight, but this is what we found out while we were there.
Stef’s surgery began a little later then anticipated around 9:30. About 2-3 hours into the surgery, we got the first call that the cancer was not as extensive as they originally thought. They said Stef was doing great and that they would be wrapping up and getting ready for the chemo bath. He said he would have another update for us in an hour. When the second call came in, it was to let us know that they were just wrapping up the chemo bath and the Stef had done great. What they found out when they went in is that some of the areas of concern (Bladder, Abdomen) were actually caused by “shadowing” in the imaging process and it does not appear that the cancer had spread to those areas. They removed the tumor from the colon and the omentum. They also removed the cancer from around the bladder and abdomen. It did not appear that it has entered either one at the time that I was there. From what they said, they were able to “peel it away” from those areas to remove it.

Again, this is all first reporting, so I will give a much more definitive update later when I get one and after Sandi has spoken to the Surgeon. She will ask about staging and some of the other questions that we are all wondering. The most important thing right now we can do is praise God for his hand in this surgery and for the great reports we received

We serve an awesome God! I will update you all again as soon as I receive more updates. Thank you for your prayers and thank GOD for his faithfulness, grace and mercy!

With Confidence!

hands-raised-welcome-photo.jpgMany of you have committed to praying for our brother Stef tomorrow and have been all week. For that I cannot thank you enough. Something hit me yesterday when I was reading over some verses of comfort that I had to share. Here’s the verse:

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” -Hebrews 4:16 (emphasis mine)

Those two little words jumped out at me. How often do I approach prayer time with confidence? How often do I approach moments of worship with confidence? I need to confess that most of those times are approached out of necessity and not with the confidence that God can and will do what only he can do. As with many things in life, confidence is the key. I need to approach this and every prayer time with confidence in God, in his plan, and in his provision. It’s the least I can do.

Let’s commit to one another that as we approach his throne today and tomorrow that we will do so WITH CONFIDENCE!

You are Near” by Hillsong from the CD “For This Cause”