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February 3, 2014, 11:03 AM

Holes in the Wall


“Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established.” PROV. 4:26

The Great Wall of China is one of the great wonders of the world, a true masterpiece of engineering. It's the only man-made structure that can be seen from outer space. Five to six horses could trot side by side on top of it.

The wall was built to protect China from invasion. Watchtowers and various battlements dot its construction at frequent intervals. But in the first hundred years after the wall was completed, enemies managed to invade the country three times, breaching the security of this enormous, rock-solid defense. How?

They didn't go over it. They didn't go through it. They didn't need to knock it down.  All the invaders had to do was bribe the gatekeepers.  While China was building this seemingly impenetrable defense system, they unfortunately neglected the greatest defense system—building a heart devoted to God and filled with integrity into their children's lives.

This is a cautionary tale for EVERY parent.  We all have dreams and want the best for our children.  We are vitally concerned with the education our kids receive and the skills they develop. We spend hours shuttling them to school and to various extracurricular activities, looking forward to the day when they will earn scholarships and enter the working world, establishing themselves in successful careers. But none of these accomplishments are worth anything without the character to back them up.

It's our children's CQ, not their IQ—their "character quotient," not their intelligence—that will secure their futures and enable them to stand strong in battle. 

That’s why we at Faith Academy focus on Shaping Hearts and Minds. 


Shaping hearts & Minds,

Dr. Chris


January 6, 2014, 10:06 AM

Live Backwards Forwards

I've done a lot of reflecting over the quality of my life, relationships, and the decisions I have made that have in turn made me.  Scary and exciting at the same time.  Socrates once said, "The unexamined life is not worth living."  He was right.  The difference between a goal and a dream is a timelineAs we begin 2014, I want to challenge you to live Backwards Forwards.

Pray, envision, and map out your goals with the end in mind and then work backwards to the action steps. 

  • What kind of relationships do you want to have?
  • What do you want to accomplish professionally?
  • What about financial goals? Your relationship with God?
  • How about your kids--what will you do to mentor and prepare them to be fully devoted followers of Christ?

When is NOW. Why delay another day what you can do today?

Fear cripples; Faith fuels.   

Live life on purpose. Live with passion. Live empowered by His Spirit (Ephesians 5:15-17).

No excuses.  With God all things are possible.

Let’s have our best year yet.  A year where we allow God to lead us and our families into all the wonderful things He has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9,10; Eph. 2:10)

Shaping hearts & Minds,

Dr. Chris Royael


December 16, 2013, 10:08 AM

Unpacking Christmas With Your Kids

Christmas is right around the corner and a lot is going on in our homes, churches, and, school.  As we enter this season, our prayer is that our hearts be filled with awe at what God did in the Incarnation--God taking on human likeness so we could REALLY behold Him and see Him for who He is and what He wants to do in our lives.  We are not forgotten.  He REALLY came.  He REALLY cares.  He REALLY is for us.  He moved into our neighborhood and that changes everything!

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” (John 1:14, MSG)

This Christmas let’s not take for granted what God did for us.  I encourage you to take the next few weeks to look at some passages in Scripture surrounding Jesus' birth in Matthew 1-3 and Luke 1-2 with your family and discuss what the biblical characters must have thought and felt (Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, Elizabeth & Zachariah to name a few).  Ask your kids to imagine being in their shoes--how would they respond to an angel showing up? Why was Jesus born?  What type of people did God choose to reveal Himself to & use to bring about our salvation?  What did Mary and Joseph risk in saying yes to God?  What were the different responses people had to His birth--shepherds, angels, wisemen, Herod, Anna & Simeon?

Last, consider identifying 3 people that your family can pray for the next several weeks to experience the love of Christ.  Consider inviting them to Church.  Christmas and Easter are the two highest attended weeks in Church and people are most open to coming if invited.  A relationship with Christ…now that's a gift that keeps on giving.

Shaping hearts and minds,

Dr. Chris

December 9, 2013, 10:28 AM

Making People feel Valuable Part IV

I believe today’s thought is especially pertinent in view of the holiday season.  Sometimes Christmas doesn’t always feel like the “most wonderful time of the year” when we are rushing from one place to the other, trying to meet people’s expectations, and trying to pack our days with good times and make memories.  Today, we’ll continue on with our series on Making People Feel Valuable with a glimpse into Jesus’ interaction with a particular woman.

Nugget:  Slowing down & listening communicates care and value.

We need to slow down so we can remember that people are what really matters to God.  People last forever.  Sometimes in on busyness, we view people as problems, interruptions, inconveniences.  Parenting, like relationships, is rarely ever opportune or convenient.

If you're like me, you tend to fill every time slot during the day.  Slowing down means building margin into your schedule so when Murphy shows up, the “unexpected” comes along, you are not overwhelmed and unprepared, freaking out. Building margins of time into our schedules enables us to respond to the opportunities God brings our way in a manner that helps us value instead of resent people.

In Mark 5, Jesus was on His way to heal Jairus' daughter, who was on her deathbed, when the woman with the issue of blood came out of nowhere and interrupted Jesus' agenda. Ever had a kamikaze, unexpected appointment, emergency, Maalox moment? Jesus could've viewed this woman as a distraction, a time-sucker, an energy-zapper.  But He didn't. He knew power had gone out of Him, He knew what had occurred, but He took time out of His busy schedule to listen to her story. 

33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. (Mark 5:33,NIV)

Isn't it amazing that the Omniscient One, the God who knows everything, takes the time to Stop, Look, and Listen.  He doesn’t shut us down and say, "You're boring Me" or "I already know" or, “Later.  I'm on my way to heal someone else.”  He takes the time to listen not for himself, but for others.  He gives people His undivided attention.  His attention validates people.

My youngest will sit on my lap, grab my chin, and make me look at her.  She won't proceed to tell me her news, show me her tricks, or giggle until she has my undivided attention.  Sometimes we need to put down the remote, get off our phones, stop “multitasking,” & look at the one’s God has placed in our lives.  We mustn’t sacrifice our family on the altar of a career or even a ministry. Our greatest mission field is our home, our marriage and our children. It does not matter how much we do or how successful we are, if home and family get the leftovers of our time, energy, emotions and spiritual service, we are walking in sin and disobedience.  We are not valuing them.

We need to slow down, savor our relationships and interactions with one another, and listen deeply. What is the other person really saying with their eyes, their body language & their tone?  What are their needs?  Can we meet their needs or connect them with someone who can? Slowing down and really listening communicates care and that you value the other person.

Shaping hearts and minds,

Dr. Chris



November 18, 2013, 12:19 PM

Make People Feel Valuable Part III

This week we are on part 3 of how we can champion the people in our lives and pull the best out of them. Everyone wants to be around people who make them feel good about themselves and are happy to see us.  People who learn how to celebrate and value others are seldom lonely because they sow seeds of friendship. They understand that God uses relationships to transform us and mature us.

Nugget:  celebrate the people around you.


Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’  Everyone.  No one enjoys being under-appreciated, over-looked or mistreated. No one.

People who value others live life with their eyes wide open. When they enter a room their actions don’t' say "Here I am;" rather, they shout, "There you are."  They get excited about interacting with others because like Mother Theresa says you never know when you are going to meet "Jesus in disguise."  Jesus said whatever we do to the "least" of these, we do it unto Him (Matt. 25:45).  How would our world be transformed if we embraced the truth:


Every person we meet is an opportunity to not only see Jesus, but to be Jesus.


So often we don't see others & celebrate people because we are self -absorbed, focused on ourselves--our needs, our wants, our agenda.

Jesus was other-focused. 

"That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage." (Mark, 10:45, MSG) 

When Jesus fed the 5,000 we often forget the context.  Suffering from the loss of His cousin, John the Baptist, Jesus went away for some “alone” time with His Father.  But, as He would soon find out, He had company-- and lots of it.  What did He do?  Send them away?  Run and hide?  No, seeing the hurting crowds Jesus, Himself hurting, felt compassion and healed the sick.  He saw their need, felt compassion, and did something.  Why?  Because Jesus celebrated & valued people. (Matt. 14:13-20)

Practically speaking:

  • Celebrate people.  One of the quickest ways to make people feel valued is by making a big to-do about them--"There you are." 
  • Acknowledge People.  Smile, make eye contact, shake their hand.  Note: acknowledging doesn’t necessarily mean approving.  We can agree to disagree & we can learn to accept without approving. This is part of unconditional love.
  • Value People for who they are, not just for what they can do for you.  Jesus touched the lepers--He valued them.  Value is communicated when you genuinely care for people as human beings and not human doings (and what they can do for you to help you build your kingdom).  

Celebrate others.Tell people what they mean to you.Build value.


Shaping hearts and minds,

Dr. Chris

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