Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Good Quote

This is one of the best, most accurate quotes I have ever heard:

"Sometimes God calms the storm...and sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms his child."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My 26th!

A big thanks to Michael for putting this together!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Faltering Steps

Brennan Manning is amazing:

When I get sprayed by the storms of life and find my faith has faltered, my courage has gone south, I often turn to Matthew 14:22-23. Jesus sees the disciples caught up in a squall. It is between three and six A.M. He comes walking toward them on the water. They are terrified. "Its a ghost," they cried out in fear. He says, "Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid."

Peter, nothing if not brash, decides to test the voice. "Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water." The tentative faith of that fearful "if" quickly deteriorates into sheer terror as Peter begins to walk to Jesus.

I find comfort in knowing that the rock on which Jesus would build his Church sank like a stone.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Race Cars and Needed Mistakes

When I was a child, my Dad was a drive and mechanic for an off-road racing team called Firehouse Racing. We spent weekend after weekend in the desert watching the dark maroon dune buggy with the number 1 on the side race by, cheering on the team. My dad would always try to include me when the car came into the pit. My esteemed position was window wiper and occasionally I would have the honor of holding a wrench or refueling. When the race was over, they would let me sit in the drivers seat and I would pretend that I was racing the car through the desert.

As I got older my Dad would take me out in the buggy and we would do a lap or portion of the track when no one was around. It always amazed me how he could maneuver that car at such high speeds through such narrow spaces.

One day when I was old enough, my dad decided to let me drive the car. I was ecstatic. Finally! I hopped in the seat and we took off. The power of the engine scared me at first so I cruised in second gear for a while to get used the car. My dad gave me a few lessons on how to use the cars weight and the terrain to my advantage. I was getting confident and started racing through the narrow washes. At one point, I lost control and we flew through a massive bush and stalled. I immediately apologized and said I hope I hadn’t broken anything.

Usually you would expect a response like, “I hope you didn’t break anything either!” but my dad looked over at me and said, “You know Mike, if you drive this car and never break anything on it, you aren’t driving the car the way it was meant to be used.”

That response has been floating around in my head the past few weeks.

I have felt so much pressure with this new project the past few months not to mess anything up. But I feel like to often I let my fear of “breaking something” stop me from fully using the gifts God has given me. I’m afraid of messing things up. I am afraid of making mistakes. I am afraid of failing.

But maybe a mistake here and there isn’t all that bad. If we play it safe all the time, we never give ourselves the opportunity to reach for the sky. We sell ourselves short. Our fear of messing things up ends up holding us back from accomplishing what our hearts desire.

This year I am asking God to give me the courage to not be afraid of breaking something. I am asking God to give me the wisdom and discernment to look back on the mistakes I make and not only see the lesson to be learned, but also to walk confidently forward with the knowledge that I am putting every ounce of my heart into this.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Coming Home...?

I have had a difficult time in the past months trying to put some things I’ve been experiencing emotionally into words.

In November I returned to my home state of California for the first time in nearly 1-½ years. In my head it was like a glorious homecoming and for the first few weeks that’s what it felt like. It was overwhelming at times, but overall it felt amazing to be back in the presence of family and friends, and it was as if nothing had changed. My relationships seemed to simply pick up where they had left off before I left.

But after a few weeks, I began to get an odd longing for “home”, which immediately confused me. How could I be longing for “home” when I was at home, the place that I have called home my entire life? This made me restless and a bit frustrated. I was hoping that California would fulfill all of my expectations of “being home” and it seemed like there was something missing. When I was around people I loved and cared about I immediately felt at home but in general it felt like something was missing. I couldn’t figure out what I was longing for at that point. Was I longing for the life I had before I left? Was it my “home” in China? I couldn’t identify it.

It wasn’t until a conversation a few nights ago with my friend Michael that everything began to make a bit more sense. He has been living in China for 2 years and goes to the States for about 3 months each year to see family and friends. I started to explain to him the way I was feeling and he immediately understood. He explained it as almost living 2 lives: One here in China and one in the US. And because there are people you care about and love in both places you never feel completely at home in one place.

Thinking about it like that makes the old clique “Home is where the heart is” much more real. When I went to California I was expecting an overwhelming feeling of being at home just because that’s the physical place I called home my entire life. But really, the times that I felt at home in the US were not because of the place, the geography, the physical location, but because of the people I was surrounded by.

Home is never a city, state, or country. Home is a hug. Home is dinner with good friends. Home is fixing a car with Dad. Home is having the kids at the orphanage over to watch a movie. Home is a long train ride with great conversation.

With that in mind, I can honestly say tt’s good to be home.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Believe in Them/Us

I was watching a show on Discovery Channel the other day about renewable energy. There was a women from Manila who was working on developing a system that would use waste from the city to fuel public transportation. Towards the end of the segment she said she hoped that this source of energy would be used throughout Manila and eventually throughout the world.

In my head, my initial reaction to that comment was, “Wouldn’t that be great…” with a very sarcastic tone.

Then immediately I began to think, all she really needs to make that vision a possibility is a group of people who believe in her and her idea. A group of people who see the beauty of her ideas and see to it that they do everything they can to make her ideas possible.

As I began working through that in my head I realized that the only reason I am able to be doing what I am doing now is because of an amazing group of people (some I have met and some I haven’t) that decided for some reason to believe in me and the ideas that God has laid on my heart.

There are so many amazing Ideas sitting in living rooms watching Discovery Channel that need someone to believe in them. They are all around us. Ideas that can breath life into our daily routines. Ideas that can change the world.

All we have to do is take the time to believe in them.

Thank you to all who have put the time and effort into believing in me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Hello All!

For those who dont know me my name is Mike Shook and I am currently living in central China.

I've spent the past 2 years on a journey around the world - - and at the end of the journey God opened the doors for me to work more extensively with a group of amazing adolescent children at a government orphanage in central China. For more info on our work please check out our website:

For those who have followed and supported me the past few years, thank you again. Thank you for your continuous encouragement and prayers through the ups and downs of my crazy journey.

This is a new chapter in my life and I am excited to see what God has in store.