A Body Gathered

My favorite thing about Sundays is getting to gather with fellow believers to celebrate Jesus. However, this wasn’t always the case.

I went through a period recently where this gathering produced some tough emotions and it was such a struggle for me. Frankly I found myself not wanting to attend, and dealing with panic attacks and extreme anxiety walking in the doors of a church. (Spoiler alert: anxiety has become a thorn in my side. I’d like to share more of that story another day).

When I was there, I couldn’t sing.

It was no mistake that we found ourselves sitting under teaching from Scripture discussing the church (and not sugar coating the good, bad, and ugly). It was no mistake we were singing songs reminding us of God’s faithfulness and goodness. I’m grateful for the role that Brainerd Baptist, Micah Fries, and the rest of their Pastoral team played in my story. They love Jesus, they love His Word, and they love people.

One of the new songs I heard during this time was one from Austin Stone Worship called “Jesus is Better.” Here are a couple of lines from the lyrics:

In all my sorrows, Jesus is better – make my heart believe
In all my victories, Jesus is better – make my heart believe
Than any comfort, Jesus is better – make my heart believe
More than all riches, Jesus is better – make my heart believe
Our souls declaring, Jesus is better – make my heart believe
Our song eternal, Jesus is better – make my heart believe

This was my prayer: Jesus you are better, make my heart believe.

And. He. Did.

Not even going to lie: this time wasn’t easy. It wasn’t pretty. But it also wasn’t meaningless. God allowed this season, this suffering for a purpose. He was using it to produce something in us, in me.

Brandi is the bestest person in the whole entire world. She carried an immense load for our family. There’s no doubt that she is God’s good gift to our family, and to me.

This morning I find myself anxious again: but it’s an anxious excitement to have the chance to gather again with the church. We’ll celebrate Jesus together, and then the church will scatter until we are able to gather again.

Maybe it’s your story that church doesn’t bring this level of excitement for you. Maybe for you it brings dread, or anxiety, or maybe it doesn’t produce any emotions at all.

There’s grace in abundance for that.

Because of that grace, today you’ll find me gathering with my family (most of which I don’t share any blood relation) to worship.

My song eternal: Jesus is Better,


Here’s the entirety of the song in case you want to listen:

Stay in Your Lane

From time to time I get frustrated at the political climate and the antics we see and I find myself communicating that frustration via social media. To be honest, it’s less of a frustration with politicians or government leaders as much as it is a frustration with people who claim to follow Jesus equating actions of their preferred political / governmental leader and standing for Jesus.

A couple of days ago this happened. I saw some of the comments made by our President regarding countries in Africa, and I saw comments made by those in the evangelical world commenting about President Trump standing for Christians and it was too much.

What followed was a smidge of a Tweetstorm…

I found myself questioning the wisdom of the posts immediately afterwards. Questioning whether I should just keep my mouth shut and “stay in my lane” so to speak.

Oddly, right after that I found myself struck with the realization that because I’m a middle class white male it’s an available option for me to close my mouth (and my eyes) to the issues surrounding us. Because in the eyes of society I sit in a position of power I have the option to ignore what others are saying and doing around me.

This was a heart wrenching realization and reminder of my privilege. 

As a follower of Jesus, this is actually my lane. Scripture is filled with commands and examples of the people following Jesus standing up for the oppressed, the downtrodden, those who have no voice.

‘Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy. ‘ Proverbs 31:8-9

‘Learn to do what is good. Pursue justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause. ‘ Isaiah 1:17

‘Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and needy; save them from the power of the wicked.” ‘ Psalms 82:3-4

‘Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world.’ James 1:27

There are countless other passages we could turn to to describe God’s call on his followers to protect others and speak up for them.

What does this mean for me? I”ll stay in my lane: but that lane includes doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly. Loving Jesus and allowing people to be oppressed simply does not go together. Let’s make the church great again by focusing on others, by serving others, by standing for other.

It seems fitting on this MLK Day to close with this quote by Martin Luther King Jr:

A religion true to its nature must also be concerned about man’s social conditions….A ny religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a dry-as-dust religion.

A New Journey

Welp, it’s been a minute since there’s been any action here on the blog, but there’s a story to tell and I’d like to finally start sharing it.

It was a cold, dark, and rainy night in 1984…

I’m joking. Not going that far back with this story.

You might’ve noticed that my social media presence (I’m looking at you Facebook) has not been what was my “norm” over the past couple of months. Heck, I even shut it down for a month or so. The past 8-12 months have been the most difficult of my life. The toll that it has taken on our lives physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally is absurdly high. There is more to that story that I think is important for me to share, but not today.

Let’s fast forward. We find ourselves doing something that we really didn’t think we’d do. We moved from Atlanta a month ago and moved to Chattanooga. While the draw to Chattanooga has always been present for us (hello rivers, mountains, and city living!) we really never thought it would be our reality. That changed and we felt like God was opening the door and changing some of our direction and focus for the next season of our lives. Looking back over the past month it is amazing to even consider how God knew this was what we needed to survive the latest battle we’d face.

Brandi and I feel a huge burden to be restorers. We believe that God has allowed us to endure a large amount of suffering (again, another story for another day) so that we might have the ability to partner with others and see them be restored, and to help others see their ability to play a role in the restoration of others.

What does that mean?

We are in the beginning stages of starting a non-profit that is dedicated to the restoration of people, families, and communities from their place of brokenness back to their intended design.

Our vision is to partner with churches, families, organizations, and other groups to pair them with an individual, a family, or even a community to see restoration take place. Our desire is to help the church of Jesus be the hands and feet of Jesus in the midst of the brokenness of the world we live in. It’s not our goal or desire to be an organization that does all of the restoring, but rather see a movement of restoration take place across the land. This can only happen if we’re willing to leave our comfort zones and engage with the broken.

Currently we’re working to get all of the administrative tasks taken care of- Business incorporation, non-profit status, board of directors, the list goes on and on.

Personally, we’re also working on being restored ourselves. Right now I just feel broken and Bran has carried extra weight in all the areas of our family.

How can you help?

  • Pray for our continued restoration
  • Pray for clarity around the vision of what God is allowing us to do here
  • Consider partnering with us by donating your time or abilities to help see restoration take place
  • Buy Brandi nice things. She deserves it for putting up with me. 😉


There’s way more to this story to tell. And we’re finally ready to share it…

I quit my job today


I think I’ve gone off the deep end. I turned in my resignation notice today for the best job I’ve ever had. I have been working part-time (and later full-time) for Apple since we’ve moved into the city. Working for Apple has been an amazing experience for my family. The benefits have been the best we’ve ever had, the pay has been more than fair, and the culture of the company is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.

But I quit.

Why? Because my family and I moved into the city to plant a church, to see the city of Atlanta saturated with the Gospel and my job with Apple has turned into a roadblock for that to happen effectively. This is not a decision that came lightly for us, Brandi and I recognize the hurdles ahead. The decision didn’t come without plenty of worries (that are still present). Things like insurance, finances, food, my kids weigh heavily on me; but at the end of the day what I want to leave my kids with is an example of following Jesus no matter how crazy it may seem. Is this a safe decision? Not really. But I’m convinced that when we get to Heaven we will never be asked how many times we went the safe route.

There’s a really awesome video of Francis Chan that talks some about this idea of safety and risk. Do me a favor and take four minutes of your day to watch:

Where to from here?

We need your help. Primarily we need you to pray for our family specifically. Pray for clarity and discernment to seek out the right direction for our lives. Second, our church plant is actively seeking out additional partners (both churches and individuals) to come alongside of us in our mission to saturate the city with the Gospel. We would love to have the opportunity to come to your church/small group/mission team meeting to discuss the vision God has given us in this work. If you would like to set something up simply shoot us an email at Info@TapestryATL.com. To find out more about our church plant you can check out our website: TapestryATL.com. The fact is that without partners supporting the work we cannot make it. Would you consider donating to Tapestry? Would you consider partnering with us in this work? I am also looking for part time work that I can do on the side so if you know of someone looking for someone that can dabble in website creation, lawn maintenance, technology support, cow milking, kid watching or anything in between let me know.

Much love to you guys,
Kris and Brandi

Feeling the Sunshine Love

SOARD LogoAs you guys know we spent a little time hanging out at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta recently (as our luck would have it we were there for Brandi’s birthday which was way more expensive than flying her to New York and staying at the Ritz, but that’s a story for another day).

On Friday (Brandi’s birthday) we had a couple of visitors- Valerie Alino and one of her friends, affectionately nicknamed “The Latino Rockstars”, stopped by to spread some love and cheer. We know Val and her friends through Sunshine On A Ranney Day (SOARD)- the world’s greatest charity who built a room for Karson on to our house. It was the greatest thing- they love all of the families they have done makeovers for- and consider them all family! Because of their love for the families they wanted to reach out to us while we were in the Hospital and love on us. They brought us some snacks and balloons, but most of all they brought us love. They reminded us that they don’t view their makeover families as “causes” to help, but family to love on.

We are blessed to know Pete and Holly, the founders of SOARD, and their amazing team of volunteers, but more importantly we are blessed to be part of the SOARD family!

photo credit: Hamed Saber via photopin cc

From a Mama’s Heart

medium_586305185There are so many things that have been running around in our heads over the past several days, some of which I plan on writing about in the coming days, but Brandi wanted to share something from her heart about Karson. Read on…

So, blogging isn’t really my strong suit which is why I generally leave it to Kristopher. However, I really wanted to share some things with you all.

I want to start by thanking all of you for your prayers, messages, groceries, meals, and help with the boys. I’m not sure how families go through a crisis like we experienced without family and friends to help support them. I’m grateful for each of you and the love that you have poured out on our family.

Another thing that I want to share with you is what I think you should expect to see from me in the near future. We are learning a new normal for Karson and our family and that is going to take time. I have been dealing with bouts of anxiety that at times are almost debilitating. Thankfully, I am surrounded by many who are continually speaking truth into my life. However, there are times that even discussing Karson and what happened with him causes me anxiety to the point that breathing is difficult. So, if you have questions and want specifics I ask that you go to Kristopher. I don’t mind you asking how he’s feeling but please don’t ask me for details about his seizures and hospital stay. I hope that this is something that in the future is better controlled but for now this is what I think is best. Please don’t ask the other boys about any of this either as they are each dealing in their own way and discussing it with someone other than Kristopher or I is not in their best interest.

Also, it is highly unlikely that I will be letting Karson leave my sight, aside from him being with Kristopher, for the very near future. Please don’t be offended but instead remember that this is a new normal for us and it is going to take me some time to adjust. Right now I need to be near him or I need to know that his daddy is right with him. This is as much for my peace of mind as it is to assure that Karson is comfortable while he is adjusting to his new medicine and way of life. This is very scary for all of us and I know that each of you understand that.

Lots of you have asked what you can do. My answer is to continue to cover us in prayer. This is not something we will be dealing with for a few days or even a few weeks. This is our new life. Pray for Kar, that he will continue to respond to the meds and that his body will continue to gain energy as he recoups from his hospital stay. Pray that Kristopher and I know what is the best for him and the other boys. And lastly, pray for the other 3 boys as they adjust to the new ways of life for us.

Finally, I want to share how God has worked in me through this. I was absolutely petrified when Karson had his seizure at home Thursday. However, God gave me the ability to handle the situation the best way I knew how and to keep it together until I could get the help we needed. Since that day the anxiety has been hanging like a dark cloud over me. Like I shared, at times it was debilitating to the point that me focusing on breathing was all I could handle. I shared this with a few of you and I know I have been covered in prayer specifically for peace and many of you have spoken truth to me. However, I was still battling extreme moments of anxiety up until yesterday afternoon. Kristopher took Kar to run some errands and Kristopher’s mom was watching the other boys so I could try and rest. I was laying down and the “what ifs” along with the anxiety attempted to take over. I asked God why He wouldn’t allow the peace in my life that I along with many of my friends were asking for. I reminded Him that I have been praying and searching scripture with no real results. Laying there He pushed back on me and told me that while I had done those things I had yet to CHOOSE peace. My first thought was to argue but after thinking for a minute I decided that maybe He was right. I asked for peace, I read scripture about peace but I didn’t choose peace. Choosing peace means relinquishing control. Control that I didn’t really have anyway. So, I decided to choose peace. I finished the day a little less anxious than the days before and I slept better last night than the nights before. Will I be anxious again? It’s very likely but I know now that peace is my choice. God provides it, I have to choose to rest in it.

Thank you for your prayers and thank you for the love you’ve shown my family. I am grateful to have you in our life as we walk this new road.


photo credit: kudaker via photopin cc

An Update on my Kar

Hey Guys,

Many of you are aware that Karson is in the hospital following a seizure Thursday afternoon. You have been praying for him, and reaching out to us offering your prayers and support. We are so grateful for that love, and especially your prayers. We wanted to let you guys know what’s going on- and it was simply easiest and most efficient to do it here rather than try and text, message, call, each one of you.

Yesterday was a good day for Karson. After being on IV fluids overnight he was definitely more himself. We were able to get him to eat some applesauce, and then around dinner time he ate a good bit and actually drank some chocolate milk. He had an EEG yesterday afternoon to try and check what might be going on to cause his seizures. He was not himself during that- because he was super cooperative! (If you know Karson you know that he is not known for his cooperation). Here is a picture of him during the test- we were laughing at his personality showing as he was chewing on the straw…some of the time he was laughing and clapping too.IMG_6613 IMG_6614 IMG_6615

All things were pointing towards us being able to be discharged sometime today mid day (Saturday). However, we had a pretty rough night. Karson had two different seizures last night which was pretty scary for Bran and I. The hospital staff as always were amazing (have we mentioned how much we love Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta?) We have already met with one of the neurologists this morning and the charge nurse is Karson’s nurse for the day. They want him to be seizure free for 24 hours, not have any adverse reactions to the meds, and be “himself” before they’ll talk about us leaving. We are so grateful for their desire to pursue the cause of these seizures and to take the best care of Kar.

Brandi and I are good- worried, concerned, but good. The boys are being taken care of so they’re good as well. What we need most is your prayers. Please pray for wisdom and discernment for the doctors and other team members caring for Karson. Please pray for the meds to work to control his seizures. Please pray for the cause of his seizures to be found. Please pray for clarity of mind and wisdom for Brandi and I.

We love you and are grateful for you.

Here is the verses I have been dwelling on and constantly praying:

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippines 4:6-7

Simple Service. Everyday Missionaries

IMG_8228Yesterday since the majority of our students were out of school for MLK day we decided to do some sort of service activity. We didn’t do anything really complicated- it was rather simple actually. We took them to our house and made a lot of homemade sugar cookies, bagged them up, and took them around to my neighborhood.

I think that we tend to have the mindset that “serving” means going downtown Atlanta feeding the homeless, or doing something for widows or orphans, but that is not the case. To be clear- it is important, necessary even, to care for the widows, poor, and orphaned but that is not the only groups that we should serve and love on. Serving can become like a mission trip if we are not careful- something we schedule and leave our homes to do, and then return to our comfort zones.

Serving should be something we do right in our backyard. At Crossroads we say that we want to develop fully devoted followers of Jesus, not living for themselves, but as everyday missionaries. That can look like many things- but it doesn’t have to be super complicated. It can be something really simple- like taking sugar cookies to your neighbors. I want my kids, and my students to realize that they should be considering themselves missionaries every day, in every place they find themselves.

So what about you- how can you be a missionary today?

A Prayer About the Easy Life


I confess that I desire the easy life, and yet that this is not my life. While I do not pray to have an easy life, that is the desires that I have within me. I often wonder why life seems so difficult, why living according to your plan is so hard if that is what I should be doing. In my mind I would admit that I have believed that to follow you means that things should go well. I want that life, I want a life free from obstacles, free from conflict, free from troubles, free from diseases, free from problems, free from heartaches.

However, as I study your word I see that you have never promised your followers an easy life. In fact, the opposite is true- you have promised that there will be many troubles. You have promised me that the world will indeed hate me, and that there will be persecutions because you were persecuted (John 15:18:21). You made it plain in scripture that the life of a disciple would not be an easy one- but you provide hope and peace because you have overcome the world, you have overcome the persecution and death (John 16:33).

Help me Father not to cause conflict in my life and call it “persecution.” Guide my steps, my words- direct my path along your ways. Help me to see where I am failing in my flesh and causing grief to come upon myself. May my words and actions be pleasing to you, and bring you glory. Forgive me for where I have failed you.

Father help me to look outside of myself and realize that I do in fact have the easy life. You have blessed me tremendously- with a wonderful family, in a wonderful country, with a wonderful church, with a wonderful pastor. Forgive me for looking at the negative things, and not realizing how abundantly blessed I am in this life. I have not been attacked for my faith, I do not have to fear for safety of myself or my family because I am a Christian- something that many both in the early church, and today around the world do fear.

You are King.

May I live for your name.


The Making of a Picture

Each Christmas it is our tradition to buy our boys matching pajamas, or at least similar pajamas…this year we got them vintagey Avengers pajamas. We wound up with a really cute picture that Brandi posted via her social media:


What you can’t tell is some of the hilariousness (and even frustration) that led to this picture. Here’s some of the pictures we didn’t post: Continue reading “The Making of a Picture”