Monday, December 26, 2011

Thoughts about Holidays from a veteran

I was recently talking with a veteran from the war in Iraq.  As we talked about what it was like to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas away from family and friends.  It was a tender and tough conversation with the seasoned soldier.

As he shared what it was like, we talked about the marginal quality of the food.  "It didn't taste anything like my moms dinner."  Of course, it wasn't an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) but it wasn't that great.  "I really missed the meal with the family."  He also talked about the time around the table where they shared memories about their family, tradition and things that they would normally be doing.  You see, our military serve so that we can enjoy our freedoms.  Freedoms, we take for granted way to often.

Before we finished, he described what it was like to leave the DFAC (Dining Facility) after their Thanksgiving Dinner.

"We left the DFAC and we were hit with incoming mortars that the enemy was shooting in on us.  We ran for cover and saw that the area we were sitting near was destroyed."  "Not only that one mortar came in, we were hit with 5 other rounds."  "Not a great way to spend Thanksgiving!"

The conversation we shared opened my eyes to the way that our military spend their holidays.  You know, I may complain at times about the food, weather or other things when celebrating a holiday, and yet now, I am rethinking my responses.  I have not spent a major holiday in a foreign land nor in a war zone, but, I now really appreciate what I have.

It is very possible that I will be spending next Thanksgiving and Christmas away from my family so I have treasured this years time in a real deep and special way.  Thank you Lord for allowing me to enjoy a great time with my family this season and seasons past.

Praying for each of our military and thankful for their service and sacrifice so we can enjoy our celebrations in safety and comfortably.

May the Lord bless each of our military and their family during this holiday season.

Getting our Christmas Tree as a family, what a great day!

Thanksgiving dinner as a family where are thoughts turned to Tyler's battle buddies.

Christmas Eve Celebration with family! What a great time!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Joining Team Shackelford!!

In my last blog, I wrote about a young six year old that had join our team! Well, a few weeks later a four year old boy joined our team.  Incredible!!  I love how God works in building His team!!!

You see, we have always believed in ministry there are are three parts to our team, but only one I am not going to use the Trinity to describe it nor am I  going to use the clover or egg to explain it...just One team and three parts to it!

The first is PRAY! Those who pray for our ministry as the Lord directs! Daily, weekly or special times! His leading and prompting is when some pray! We love that!  Those our pray team members.

The second is PLAY!  Those that are physically involved in ministry with us! Baking cookies for a Bible study, making meals at camp with us, hosting a function at their home, preaching at a church with our former ministry, working on our vehicles, making curtains for our home as a gift and the list goes on! Those our play team members.

Then there are those that PAY!  Those who are led by the Spirit to financially give to our ministry so that we can do the work call has for us!  They give sacrificially and with their whole heart! They give so that we can go!  Some give monthly, quarterly, yearly and at special times with special gifts!  Each to their own ability and to the leading of the Spirit.  We are so blessed by them.  Those are the pay team.

One Team, One Focus, One Lord and One see people know Jesus!!!
You may be on one or more parts to the team but wherever the Lord has you, we are so thankful!!

This past month, the newest member on the play was at my house helping me to put stamps on the envelopes we used to mail out our ministry DVD.  What a big job and he was willing to help me out for just about two hours.  He was attentive to detail and did an amazing job.  He was so excited to help and did so with a grateful heart! While we were stamping them, I shared with him about Jesus and talked about what Julie and I are going to do! He got so excited! My little buddy "G" was excited to know that he was a part of our team!!

You see, know matter how small or big you think you part is, you are a part!! God uses every gift, talent and resource to His Glory if we will let Him lead and use us!

Thanks for being a part!

Are you a part of our team? Where is the Lord leading you to serve His people and His plan today? is where you can go to join our pay team. Contact us at for information about our pray, play and pay teams! We would love to share with you our needs and the opportunities for you to be a part!

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Not right now I am praying," she gently said...

Those were the words told to our friends grandson when he asked his grandmother if he could play with the GI Joe that was sitting on the sill of her kitchen window.  Gramma you see is one of our many team members in ministry!  As a reminder to pray for us, we have given many of our team members a plastic GI Joe.

I know, you are probably thinking that this is a scene from Toy Story.  Or you are thinking, "is this what Shack does in his free time, play with plastic army men?"  No, at least not all the time.  It is however the way that we encourage people to remember the ministry that they are a part of.

As our friend finished praying, she explained to her 6 year old son the reason for the GI Joe and why she was praying.  "Our friends work with the military and their families.  They are preparing to go to Germany and work with junior high and high school student and tell them about the love of Jesus.  So, everyday when I am at the sink and looking at the GI Joe, I stop and pray for the Shackelford's."

After the conversation, gramma let him play with the GI Joe.  As he was playing, she went to get another one that she had in the house.  Gramma proceeded to give it to her grandson and asked him if he would like to have his own.  Really excited, he said "Yes!"  She proceeded to explain to him that with it came the opportunity to remember to pray for the Shackelford's, the men and women that serve in the military as well as their families.

Not only is gramma and grampa on our team, now so is their 6 year old grandson a part of our team.

Will you pray and ask God what part you can have on our team.  We are would love for you to be on our team if you aren't already!

There are three different parts to our team.  Some are able to be only on one part, others on two and then others on all three.  Where do you fit in?  Join the team that is making eternal differences in the lives of students and families in the military!!  Team Shackelford is in need of more team members! Let us know if you would like more information.

From 6 year old to 96 year olds, we have them all!! Thank you for being a part!

You can email me at for more information.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Counting Many Blessings

Having grown up in the church, I remember a favorite that we always sang and requested...Hymn number 474, Count Your Many Blessing.  Well, this past few days we have had as many of you know a huge bazaar as we downsize our home and earthly goods.  As we are doing the sale, we have been able to count so many blessing.
1.   God's provision for our lives
2.   God's care for our future
3.   God's direction in our lives for all of our life
4.   God's leading as we follow Him as He is righting new chapters for our life
5.   Great memories here in our home
6.   The blessing of friends and family that came through this weekend and through the years
7.   His knitting our lives with so many people and watching the tapestry come together in a beautiful way
8.   The blessing of trials that have produce character, faith, diligence and perseverance
9.   Brothers and sisters in Christ that have walked the road ahead of us that share and love on us
10. A wife that is creative and is a modern Proverbs 31 woman of God!!!
11. The memories of all the things that we have and have shared to make our home a home
12.  The opportunity to minister to people as they have come in our home this weekend
13.  Share the ministry God is leading us to with several that had no idea of our new ministry
14.  The opportunity to share the gospel with a few that have come through our house this weekend
15.  The ability to see the Lord sell and bring in people to buy our earthly treasures and then to say, "When I see this item, I will remember to pray for you and your ministry!" What a blessing!!

When you start to count the blessing that the Lord has and is doing, I literally stand in amazement!!!  He is so faithful.  He is so constant.  He is so caring.  He is so loving.

As we look ahead, we see the Lord writing so many new pages in our book about our life!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Courageous ~ The Movie

Last night my wife of 29 years and one of our children, Melanie, went to the opening of the new release of Courageous.  Wanting to see it, support the producing of good clean family movies we went! The third showing completely packed so that the theater had to open an additional theater and packed it as well, so we went to the 10pm show.

As we were there, I listened to numerous friends that passed by leaving the show and their comments and reactions to it.  I was then even more anxious to watch it.  As we sat through the preview, I began to rehearse the last 25 years of being a father, 29 years as a husband and definitely had moments of disappointment and yet, some incredible highlights.

Dancing with my daughters at weddings of friends or even in our living room when they were younger.  Taking my son to a men's retreat several times.  Talks over coffee at the house or their favorite coffee shop.  Working on their cars, mowing the lawn together of numerous other activities and events.  Even making it not only to games and events in school, but to their football, volleyball and basketball practices.

Making and creating memories for them and myself.  Being the best father I knew and know how to be.

You see, the world, Hollywood and the likes, have made the father out to be a stupid, self absorbed and lazy man.  Unfortunately, many men follow that role.  Many in our churches take that role too.  Because of that, the men that do this lose out on the very privilege and honor to impact lives now and eternally for good.

They trade selfish wants and desires to replace the position that God planned for them to have....shaping the next generations.  They have taken the easy way out when times got rough and jobs were lost.  When the marriage became tough, they quit.  When doing right was traded for compromise.  This has such an impact that the movie really captured that.

In the midst of the messes of life, and boy have I made some and had some, God intervenes when we are willing to "let go of the wheel" and allow Him to take the controls of our life.  When we do this, it isn't always easy, no, it just makes sense and gives a purpose and direction to where to go, what to do and how to do it.

In fact, God never promised that following Him completely would be easy, nice and fun.  He promised that He would be with us!  He in fact tells us that it will be difficult and we might be persecuted.  But, He would stay with us!  Never to leave us or forget about us!

Men, we need to make a decision.  It is either His way or the highway.  If we choose the highway, we then leave a massive ripple in the water of life that impacts and affects so many in it path.  If we choose His way, He will guide us, He will lead us, He will heal us, He will love us and the way He does, rebuilds, repairs and renews what He wants in our lives.

Go out and see the movie.  Take a friend, another family and make an eternal difference.  Don't quit and don't give up, Give over to God what is rightfully His...your life and and He will make you Courageous.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Today, September 17th, Julie and I celebrate 29 years of marriage to each other!  When I reflect over the past 29 years, there have been highlights and lowlights.  Times that were easy to love each other and times that were difficult.

And yet, now I can honestly say, HOW SWEET IT IS!!  To know the one you are with, to share with the one you are with and to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I married the woman for me!  We have experienced so much and yet, have so much more to experience.

We have cried, yes, I cry, we have laughed, hugged, cuddled, walked, ran, climbed and even just sat and were still.  During those times, we knew we had each other.  We have prayed, shared, dreamed, lived and loved like there is no one around and we did it together!

I love you Julie!  I will always love you and wanted not only you to know that, but others!  Hard work, commitment and a focus off of me and on God makes a marriage work.  I am committed to you and will covenant with you again, as long as we both shall live!!!

I love you sweetheart!

The Times Together!!

My Sweet Bride!!

Your Knight for ever!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


This last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Men's Roundup in Lebanon, Oregon with 1800 men.  Although I didn't know all of them, I did know a good number of them.  I did have the privilege of attending it with 12 men specifically.  One of those 12 is a man that has impacted my life in some very powerful ways.

It was 9 years ago after a summer of camps, 9 different camps we ran, that my friend came to me and asked me this question.  "When do you Shack, ever do camp for you?"  I remember when he asked me that and my answer was not, "in a long time".  In fact, the last time I attended camp for me, was with my father in law, Bob McCaw in the early '90's.

Well, my friend said that it would happen yearly.  It has for nine years now!  In fact, three years ago, he made it possible for not only myself to go but he made it possible for Tyler to go.  That was 2008 and in 2009, Tyler headed to Iraq.  The weekend ended in 2008 like it did for me in 2011. Powerfully and tearfully.

How you might ask, the same men that laid hands on Tyler in '08 and circled around my son and covered him in prayer, did the same for me.

Tyler would head to the sandbox for twelve months on his mission with the US Army, me, well, I will head out Lording willing in the next few months for our ministry to the US Army and their families!  Different missions and yet, needing the circle of men to make it possible.

Never under estimate the power of men when they are united in the power of prayer.  It caused me to immediately tear up and then cry as these same men called on the Lord to direct, lead, guide, provide wisdom, bring a Barnabas in my life in Germany and provide for the remaining support we need to be fully funded.  What an awesome weekend!

The power of men is measured in my life by their influence in my life!  It is also measured by their commitment to hold a brother up in PRAYER!

Thanks to the men that circled me and prayed over me last weekend!  God bless each of you and keep you in HIS hands as well!  Love you men!  Wish I could join you next year but maybe, we can do one in Germany!!!!!!

Never under estimate the power of prayer!  I prayed over these two young men at camp this year and both are seeking the Lord!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Civilian child vs Military child

Thought that is was very true and appropriate to share with you regarding the students that we have the privilege of serving!  Hope that it gives you as new sense of appreciation for what we do with Cadence Student Ministries and an insight in our students and their resilience!

1. A civilian child usually dances around or talks during the National Anthem. A military child stands quietly with his hand over his heart.   

2. A civilian child sees race. A military child sees diversity.   

3. A civilian child has a best friend in his hometown. A military child has a best friend on almost every continent.   

4. A civilian child sees only the plane flying over. A military child not only can identify the type of plane flying but knows someone who works on them.   

5. A civilian child sees a person in uniform. A military child can tell you what branch he's in and what his rank is.   

6. A civilian child thinks home is where the heart is. A military child knows home is where the military sends you.  

7. A civilian child lives for tomorrow and what it might bring. A military child lives for today because tomorrow, Daddy might get called away again.   

8. A civilian child gets to kiss mommy and daddy goodnight each night. A military child sometimes has to kiss a picture of daddy or mommy goodnight.   

9. A civilian child talks on the phone for fun. A military child lives for the 15 minute phone calls once a week.   

10. A civilian child can read and write in English. A military child can read and write in acronym.   

11. A civilian child says "good-bye". A military child says "see you later" (don't we know it, there's never GOOD BYE).   

12. A civilian child gets to see things other kids would love to see. A military child gets to see things world leaders would love to see.   

13. A civilian child will probably go to the same school his entire life. A military child will probably change schools every 2 years.   

14. A civilian child might rarely leave his hometown for anything other than vacation. A military child will rarely see his "hometown" for anything other than vacation.   And finally...a civilian child supports our soldiers. A military child IS a soldier. The next time you say a prayer for our troops, please say a prayer for their families, especially their children back home that are trying to be strong. (They need your prayers, more than you'll ever know)

Reposted with permission and edited from Because sometimes military wives need to vent.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What is happening...

to us has been incredible!  It has been an incredible summer and the Lord is blessing and directing.  With candidacy and orientation over, we have begun to focus on the financial needs of our monthly support as well as closing things down here in Gresham.

We served for our last time in awhile at Camp Morrow where we have been serving for 30 years and we watched God do some incredible things.  Julie was the head cook for Jr High camp where we served record number of students and staff...200 mouths!!  I had the privilege of being one of two speakers and saw God doing incredible things in the hearts of staff and students that week.  Sharing my heart about the WORD and missions, God was definitely prompting students!  Heaven will tell the rest of the story!  Also, I got to help Julie with cooking that week and on the following weekend for Family Camp!
 Julie's homemade cinnamon rolls!!!  Would love to have one now!
 Working with my favorite gal!!! 30 years of making these!!  What a joy!!!  And tasty too!
Julie, Rick, Cara, Teresa and Mishawna praying as they start their day in the kitchen!

We are now focused on our ministry team as well as serving in our local church.  Also, looking for opportunities in churches to share our ministry and with individuals! Let us know if you would like to consider being a part of our ministry team!

Thanks for praying, loving, encouraging and sharing in our life at this time! We are truly blessed to have you on our TEAM!

Monday, July 11, 2011

What is next?!

It has been a bit since I posted on our ministry blog...sorry!  It has been a bit of a whirlwind after being in Colorado and South Dakota for over three weeks.  What a good time and yet, tiring.  The time there was rewarding and yet, it is great to be home!

As you recall, I spoke at Galilee Bible Camp in Tennessee.  There were about 40 high school students and 15 staff serving the Lord!  It was my privilege to open the WORD and share my passion about Jesus to the students and the staff!  God did some great things in all of our lives.

Then, I flew to Denver, Colorado where I met Julie and we went through the official process of candidacy for ministry with Cadence International! We were officially accepted and then entered into a week of orientation and then followed by a week of visiting team members in SD and CO!!!  What a great time!!

Then we came home and began to process the events of the month of June and began to pray as we seek the Lord for His timing in our live.  We are now about to embark on a week of ministry at Camp Morrow where we have served the Lord together for almost 30 years!! Julie will be the head cook for Jr High camp and I have the privilege of being the missions speaker!  Then we will cook together for more than likely our last time there in a while.  Bitter sweet and yet it has been rewarding to serve there all of these years!!!  God is good and faithful!

After camp, July 17-24, we will begin focusing on selling our home and raising the remaining $2200.00 monthly support we need to get to Germany full time.  Our return date is not set as we wait direction from the Lord and the leadership of Cadence.  Pray as we seek Him for this!

We are blessed that each of you are a part of our team and ask that you would join us in praying as we seek Him.  Also, PLEASE pray for Julie as she injured her left arm while traveling after orientation.  She has little to no use of it and she is the head cook next week and the weekend after!  Thanks team!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It is Official!!!

On Saturday afternoon the 18th, Julie and I were officially accepted for full time ministry with Cadence International serving in Cadence Student Ministries.  We are so EXCITED!!!  We are also very thankful that each one of you have been praying for us and also being a BIG part of this process!

We are thrilled to now be officially appointed to ministry.  We still don't have a set time line nor do we have a lot of clearly defined direction but that will be coming in the next few months.

We want you to know though that your partnership in our ministry is crucial to the success and longevity of our ministry!  We are unable to do what the Lord has called us to if we don't have team members like you that are involved.

As you know, we have three types of team mates.  The first are those that "PRAY" for our family, life and ministry,  The second are those that "PAY" by giving sacrificially so that others may know about our Savior and have relationship with HIM!  The third are those that "PLAY" in ministry by participating in a physical way on location, with our family or meeting needs we have physically to do ministry!  All three areas are VITAL and CRITICAL to the ministry we are called too!


Friday, May 13, 2011

Ten day's and counting...

It is hard to believe that in such a short time as three months, so much has happened!  Some incredible things have happened and some strange things.  Time and space here may limit my ability to communicate with you the depth of it all but we would love to personally connect with you on this when we return home.

Highlights of our time in Germany:
- God provided incredible housing for us from the first day to our soon to be last
- Our apartment is fantastic and our neighbors are a real blessing to us
- We have been provided some great new starts to friendships with fellow CSM staff, chaplains, family members of our students and new friends as well
- We have been involved since day one in the lives of people that need or love Jesus and we have been able to challenge them right where they are
- We have been able to be involved in two different chapels and this has been a real joy and blessing
- I have been able to preach three different times here in the three months
- I have had the opportunity to lead several Bible studies with our middle school boys...great time!!!
- I have taught the WORD at youth group on several occasions and small groups at a week long camp
- While at spring break camp, we were in the ALP's of Garmisch...what a great place for camp!!!
- Julie and I have enjoyed many walks in our town of Kusel we live in and have been blessed by those
- Julie has ministered to the wives' of many deployed soldiers here in Baumholder
- Julie was able to attend PWOC Bible study on Tuesdays and connect there with women around the WORD
- Julie has loved, cared and fed our students on several occasions and as you know, she is good at all three of those
- We have developed relationships that will grow when we return in the fall full time...Lord willing!
- I have been able to build strong and growing relationships with our chaplains in Baumholder
- I had the honor of attending a memorial service for one of the four soldiers we have lost during our time humbling and sobering experience
- We have encouraged, taught and prayed with students on a weekly basis
- I had the opportunity to runs games for youth group several nights
- We have had the opportunity to me involved in a big way in the GREAT COMMISSION!!

There are more to share but as you see, we have had a full schedule and with only ten days left, they to are packed with opportunities to be involved in lives, ministry and the future of students here in Germany.

Julie and I would like you to know how much we appreciate your love, prayers and support for our ministry to the students of our US Military families!  They are the present and future of our society!  We know that you would be blessed to know that they are resilient and responsive to the things of the Lord when you simply reach out in love and show them you care!  We have done that...may the Lord bless our time here and bring us back quickly to continue this ministry for His glory.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hear the bells ringing...

As I reflect back on the weekend just past, I am reminded that here in our little town of Kusel, the bells of the two churches were ringing almost non stop.  You would have thought something big was happening in town.  Well, there was but it really took place over 2000 years ago.

It was in the town of Jerusalem where the miracle of the rebirth took place.  After the first original Black Friday, Passover, Jesus of Nazareth took the entire worlds weight of sin and shame on His shoulders.  There He paid the price for the debt that none of us could ever pay for the things that separated us from Him.  There, the payment was made and there the Eternal King died only to change the course of history.

After He died, His body that was broken for you and I was taken off the cross, laid in a borrow tomb where His body was wrapped in swaddling clothes and washed in frankincense and myrrh for the entombment.  Only thing is, His reservation for the grave had been made in eternity past that He would only stay there for three days.  You see, Jesus rebuilt the temple, His Temple, in three days!

His resurrection from the grave made it possible for us to have a rebirth of our own temple so that He would have a place to reside in us for His glory!  The key, we have to accept the fact that He gave up heaven to come to earth to pay for my debt with His death and was buried in a grave and then, ROSE FROM THE GRAVE!!  Thus, gaining victory over sin and death!!!  Praise be to Him for His Glorious work!

So you see, although the bells rang continuously here in Kusel, they were marking the event of Resurrection Sunday...they thought Easter, I know better!! It was marking the anniversary that my Lord and Savior gave me the ability to have a rebirth and to enter into a relationship with Him.  It also was to invite those that don't usually come to church to come.

I trust that they did but I pray that the Gospel was shared and that one or some came to a personal knowledge of their need for a Loving and Merciful Savior to be their Lord.

The next time you hear bells ringing, stop and wonder, "What are they ringing for?"  Maybe they are announcing a worldwide event like the event of Resurrection Sunday!  What an event!

Church in the Rock in Idar - Oberstein, Germany

Monday, April 18, 2011

In the presence of a King...

I had the most incredible privilege and a great opportunity yesterday to preach at the Gospel Service on our post we serve at.  It was as you know, Palm Sunday and I shared from the Word the story from Mark about the triumphal entry of Jesus into the city.

I unpacked the  context of the passage as well as the historical importance that we see there.  When you understand the context, the text becomes alive and fresh.  We see there that the King to be, Jesus the Son of God, came into Jerusalem not to take over as earthly king that the people wanted but He came into town to announce His plan to complete the assignment that the Trinity had in place from eternity past to secure the possibility for you and I to enter into a personal relationship with Him.  He then, becomes my King, my Savior, my Master, my Lord and my Friend!  With all that in place and having happened, I now am in the presence of a King.

In addition to the preaching at the service, I also had a unique privilege and honor to have in our service in the front row, a modern day king.  One of the worshippers with us on Sunday is a king in Africa.  When I was preaching, I realized that not only was I sharing about the King of Kings, but, in my presence was a king,

I was humbled by that fact.  The reality of serving our Eternal King and now I serve alongside and worship with a king.  What an honor!

How is it, we don't treat our Heavenly King with the honor and respect He deserves?  When you talk with our friend that is a king, he is so humble, focused on Jesus for himself, his family and his people and it is an honor to know him and together, we serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lord.

Next time you begin to worship at church, remember that you are in the presence of a King.  We are to honor Him, love Him, worship Him, serve Him and be low before Him.  The question is how often do you and I realize and recognize this?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

From hopeless to happiness in a year!

Have you ever felt that your life had no hope? That all joy and happiness had been snatched away and that everything you worked for was thrown to the curb?  In the midst of life you find yourself questioning everything going on and the words that were spoken to you aren't true seem to drowned out everything that is true?  Well, yesterday the 8th of April, Julie and I reflected over the past year.  Wow, what a time of reflection.

We were told a year ago a number of perceptions that were not true.  That day rang out in my heart then with a ton of hurt and emotions that were painful and almost devastating.  The words that were said caused both of us to reflect on the pain as well as cause us to run fully into the arms of a Heavenly Father that only speaks truth.  And when He speaks hard truth, it is totally surrounded and couched in love.  Perfect, eternal and completely unconditional love.

During the course of the year, we experienced many ups and downs.  We felt isolation, abandonment, disillusionment and betrayal.  With the help of the Lord as we questioned and wondered what was up we found ourselves finding confidence in Him and not in man.  We would find ourselves on our knees and in the Word and being strengthened by Him.  As scripture say, in our weakness, He makes us strong.

We found ourselves being cared for and loved on by some wonderful missionaries that had been in almost identical situations through the course of their year in ministry.    Their care through the course of the year was so beneficial and helpful that we were finding ourselves renewed, restored and refreshed.

Then, we began to find the Lord directing us to a new ministry and the opportunity to experience a rebirth of the passion and desires that the Lord had given us.  With the gifts and toolset that the Lord has blessed us with, He was going to use it again to His Glory.  We knew that He was rebuilding in our lives what had been taken away.  We had gone from hopelessness and despair to happiness and delight in Him.

Yesterday, walking hand in hand down the cobble stone streets of Kusel, Germany, we knew we were right where God wants us.  We have been experiencing a real since of peace as well as fulfillment in our ministry He has brought us too!  Who would ever have thought a year ago we would be in Germany working in the lives of our US military students here in Baumholder.  God is definitely using us and what a joy it has been.

Some very impactful words were given to us by a dear friend a year ago that have become our focus in life and ministry.  "Broken people minister to Broken People!"  That is so true and it is a joy that we are being able to put it into practice, because there are many broken people here.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"I am so glad that you came..."

Recently we wrapped up youth group and I had been teaching that night and one of students came up to me and said, "I am so glad that you came over here to take over the youth group."  "What will it take to have you come back this fall?"  "We really need to have you and mama Shack back here!"

That brought me to tears as I realized not only is it God's plan that Julie and I are here now and how critical the need is for us to be here in the fall Lord willing.

It is a real eye opener when you work with students and find the need is great in their life to have people care, love and share in their lives.  They are longing for acceptance as well as unconditional love.  They are seeking for this with everything they do and are.  Our students here have that even intensified having one of their parents deployed downrange in the Middle East.  They have intense need to know the one who made them and and have a personal relationship with their creator.  What a great privilege to serve them and point them to our Heavenly Father!

When you stop for just a moment and reflect on what he was expressing it is the very heart beat of what God wants!  That everyone would know Him and all would see Him through us.  The desire to know the WORD and the Truth and as we if we are willing to serve and love others, they will see Jesus in us.

Would you continue to pray for us as we serve the students in Baumholder with Cadence Student Ministries and as we seek the Lord for His leading as we desire to return in the fall.  We need to have more people join our ministry team in order for this to happen and God has that under control as well.  Pray that He will lead the right people to join our current team that are impacting lives here for eternity.  We are truly blessed that you are committed to us and Him as we fulfill the Great Commission together!

In response to his statement..."I am so glad that you came..." We are so glad that we came and that you sent us here!  God is being glorified by you through us!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

On the lighter side of life!

With the fact that I just turned 50, I guess that this is starting to be a bit fitting or at least funny.  Trust that you enjoy it...

SENIORS TEXTING CODE.....ATD..At The Doctors. BFF..Best Friend Fell. BTW..Bring the Wheelchair. BYOT..Bring Your Own Teeth. FWIW..Forgot Where I Was. GGPBL..Gotta Go Pacemaker Battery Low. GHA..Got Heartburn Again. IMHO..Is My Hearing-Aid On. LMDO..Laughing My Dentures Out. OMMR..On My Massage Recliner. OMSG ..Oh My! Sorry, Gas. ROFLACGU....Rolling On Floor Laughing And Can't Get Up... TTYL..Talk To You Louder.

Hope you enjoyed it and thought that a little humor to keep things lighter never hurt!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Friends that care and love!

Ministry sometimes can be very difficult and yet, it is also very rewarding! When the Lord takes you somewhere that He wants you, He will always allow you the ability to adjust, adapt and provide for you the needs you have.  We have definitely experienced that in our lives through the years of ministry.

This ministry assignment is no different.  Although this run is a shorter time, we knew leaving friends and family from home and traveling 6800 miles would not be easy.  We also knew it meant that we would be giving up a lot of the things we were used to and that we would be entering and learning TWO cultures!! The obstacles in front of us seemed huge and yet, we knew that the Lord would take care of us.

He has!!! It is incredible to see the many answered prayers that we are witnessing and a part of.  We really were praying that the Lord would connect us to the Cadence Student Ministry staff...we believe He has and is! We prayed that we could connect with the students at youth group...we are!  We also prayed that Julie would find a friend that would be able to relate, understand and share many of the same passions in life and walk with God...HE HAS AND IS!!!!

God is all about friendship and relationship and ministry is all about friendship and relationship! We are so incredibly blessed that the Lord would do what He is doing and that we would get to be a part of what He is doing and how He is doing it!

We are so grateful to Him as He continues to build relationships, connections and more in His timing, plan and will!  There is no better place to be than in His will!!

We know that the Lord is leading, directing and guiding us and the friends that we are able to enjoy here, help take a bit of the pain from separating for a time back home a bit easier!  Thank you for being a part of that and being involved in lives for eternity.  Our lives and the lives of our military students here in Baumholder!!!

We are so blessed with friends here to share in the ministry as well as in the journey of life!  Thanks to all our friends back home that are traveling with us as well!

Friday, March 18, 2011

When excitement fades away...

Today we found ourselves full of joy and anticipation when we headed into the CSM Field Directors office in Kaiserslautern (K-town).  We were gonna go to customs together, fill out some paperwork and Julie and I would have a set of wheels to drive on and off base for ministry without having to rely on others.  Well, after 3 minutes at the desk of US Customs officer Harris's desk, our excitement and joy when to frustration and disappointment.  You know, it was like filling a balloon with air and then watching it be released by the prick of a pin and not being able to reinflate the balloon.  That was our day today!  Oh well, our prayer all afternoon has been, "Lord, what lesson is there in this for us to learn and what can we praise You for through this?"

I would love to tell you all that I have the answer to that question and yet, I don't have it yet.  Other than, it provided for some great fellowship with other CSM staff and it also made time for a meal with our field director, Nate Johnson.  That was great...thanks Nate.

Although, when you stop and think about it, the opportunity to spend the evening with my wife in K-town in the youth center was great!  I love hanging out with my, I am praising the Lord for that!  Also, the opportunity to fellowship with CSM staff members.  All told, we are thankful even when the air was let out of our balloon we held onto oh so briefly.

Despite this additional slow down and set back, as well as the lack of our military ID, ministry is happening and we are loving our students from Baumholder...or B-town as we call it.  The need is great and the opportunity to minister to them and speak into their lives is powerful and wonderful.  It is life changing for us as well.  We are truly blessed by the Lord to be led here and to serve here!

We do know that there is a sense of urgency in our returning in the fall and we find ourselves at the feet of God awaiting His leading and confirmation.  I plan to write on that in the next week.  Until then, know that we are doing what He wants us to do and working with those that He is working in!

We want to thank each of you for praying for us and being a part of our life and ministry to military students in B-town.  Blessing on you and yours!!

When excitement fades away...we know that there is Joy in the Lord and knowing that He is in Total Control of ALL THINGS!!!  Thank you Lord for knowing You provide the peace we need!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday morning with a Soldier and a Cup of Joe!

Shoe is on the other foot today, at Java Cafe on base today and a soldier bought my coffee...usually I am doing that! What a blessing to share Jesus with him over a cup of joe!   He is here on a transfer from another base for a short time before heading downrange to Afghanistan.  He was open to dialogue about Jesus and His love but no real decision.  My job, plant the seed and water it.  In the face of life, we often need to just be willing to share and not force.  We must share the WORD and LOVE of Jesus and leave the eternal work to the Father.  

Finished my Face to Face read through today! Another sweet time in the WORD with God and a cup of God's brew!!!  Love to see what He has for us in His eternal WORD if we only look and listen.

Now FB time and then study time for youth group teaching tonight!!! Looking forward to it...1600 to 1800 Jr Hi and then 1830 to 2030 for High doing ministry!! Julie is at PWOC a women's Bible study her on base with Lori Alsup!  What else does He have in store for me today...can't wait and see!

Would you pray that our ID cards would happen quickly for us.  We are in need of them and yet, we know we have to wait on Him for them.  Makes shopping for food and other items very difficult as we have to buy of base and it is quite a bit more.  It also is stopping us from being able to drive.  In His time and needing His help.

Thanks for praying!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

God is so Good!

This past week has been an incredible week.  We found ourselves running from one event and activity to another since we arrived.  Many of you know that are time here is 10  weeks long and we are now into our second week.  There is so much ministry that needs to be done and we are feeling a strong since of urgency  for us to return full time.

We have started working with the chaplains on our base meeting them personally and in chapel meetings.  The opportunity to serve and work with these chaplains is a real honor!  We are praying that the Lord will direct and guide in these relationships to His Glory.

We are also meeting and being involved in the lives of our students that God has brought into our lives here in Baumholder, Germany.  The students are so great and they are also very welcoming to us.  Julie and I are certainly blessed that the Lord would take our gifts giving by Him and use them here!

We are also grateful that the Lord is allowing us to be able to serve with CSM and to begin to get to know as well a work with them.  What a great staff and family!  They have really blessed us by welcoming us and just making us feel a part of the team!  Thanks and we are looking forward to serving with them now and later.

We would ask you to pray that the Lord would begin to expedite the process for us so that we can return as soon as possible because the need is so great!  We are so excited to return this fall Lord willing!

Also please pray that the Lord would help expedite our I.D. process which is really slowing down the process of intrigrating in to ministry as well as being able to drive and travel without being a burden on other staff.  They are great and sacrificing but it would be easier!

Our love and prayers are with each of you! Thanks for being a member of our team!  Thanks for praying for us and our ministry.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

We have arrived!

Julie and I are so excited that to share that we are here in Germany and that the Lord is already working things out.  We arrived in country at 0810 yesterday morning, Wednesday the 2nd.  The flights were uneventful however, we were surrounded by crying babies which it would have been nice to have had Nanny Melanie there with us!  Oh well, the flight went good...thanks for the prayers.

We hit the ground running and we have been enjoying our time.  We were met at the airport in Frankfurt by two fellow CSM staff, Beth and Janessa who live and serve in Kaiserslautern.  We were taken from there to the hospitality house with Lou and Cathy where we are calling home until Friday.  What a warm welcome and great place to stay!  We also met Nate and his family at the house and visited for a while!  Then, to stay awake and beat some of the jet lag, Janessa took us to Ktown for the day to stay awake and see a few of the sights!  What a blast we had.  Then Rich stopped by for a good visit and spent time together talking!  He and Melissa serve in Baumholder and we have the privilege of going and serving them there during our time in country.

Then after a great dinner by Cathy, we loaded up into two vans and went for some dessert...italian ice! What a great time as we celebrated two birthdays of Nate and Louise daughters.  We had a blast and I spent time holding their little boy!  What a cutie!  Then, off to bed and oh did we sleep! It was great!

We started today with our own time in Word and coffee and what a way to begin.  Then a meeting with Nate and Heather, another new CSM team member.  Then, off to lunch with Brad and Debbie Elgen who run the house ministry in Baumholder.  The wiener schintzel was great and the atmosphere was just what Julie likes!!  We really enjoyed our time and our food with them.  Then back to the house for another orientation time with Nate which was good and tonight, dinner with more staff from the local CSM and game night!

Tomorrow, Friday, we are off to Stuttgart and a weekend at SEMP which is our student youth leadership retreat! Pray for safety as we travel, a time of connection as well as a time where God will meet the students and staff in a strong and deep way!

We have arrived and are already rolling.  Thanks for covering us in prayer and with your love.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Departure Day is Near

With only 4 full days left before we embark on an new chapter of our life, we are torn.  Yes, torn.  It has been an exciting time to see what God has and is doing in our lives and yet, leaving family and friends behind is so tough. Therefore, the state of being torn.

And yet, as a dear brother and pastor of ours, Dan Franklin said, "God wants you to put aside your agenda and follow His Agenda!"  You know what, His agenda is definitely the one I want to follow.  His leading is covered by His eternal hands and arms that hold us, secure us and take us where He wants us.  When we choose to follow His agenda, the blessings from His storehouse began to and continue to flow!

We have seen from our airline tickets being covered completely by some outstanding folks that care and love to another team member sharing wisdom and inside from the view of a retired US Army chaplain.  We have witnessed team members sacrificially giving to our monthly support and outgoing expenses.  Our prayer team increasing daily and knowing that the Lord is totally in control.

Also, today, the women of our home church honored my wife by sharing about how her passion for the Lord, His Word and passion for them has encouraged them, motivated them and pointed them to our Eternal Groom, Jesus!!  What a great tribute and way to honor my lady!! That makes me feel great!

Thanks for the love, support, encouragement, prayers and sacrificial giving to ensure that this generation of students in Germany experience the love of Jesus from us through your part of being on our team.

With that, we depart on the 1st of March from PDX to start this new chapter!  Thanks for being a part of ministry that impacts lives around the world.  We will be at the airport at 9 am to check in and then travel to Frankfurt to serve God and to serve our military and the Cadence Student Ministry staff!

Thanks again!  Our love and God's blessing on each of you!  Shack and Julie

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Plane Left Without Me!

Some of you know that I was scheduled to leave on 31 January for our short term assignment with Cadence Student Ministry.  This was changed due to the lack of housing there in Baumholder.  The Lord, as He always does, wasn't surprised by this.  Although I was a bit disappointed, I am thrilled that I get to enter into ministry in Germany with my wife at my side.

We have done ministry for 29 years together and I was not real excited about starting in a new culture with out her.  Now, we leave on 1 March and will be there through the 23rd or so of May.  When we return, we will head off to a Family Camp where I have the pleasure of teaching from the Word of God!! Can't wait.

As for the plane leaving, it has gone, landed and is well, who knows, stranded by ice and snow in the mid west or on the east coast by now.  That is okay...I am here!!

I just finished an email update that was sent out. If you don't receive that and would like to, send me your email address and I would love to add you to our list.  Thanks for your prayers and encouragement as we embark on a new adventure and journey!

If you would also like to join our ministry support team, you can do so by clicking on this link and scrolling to our name, Shackelford, Jeff 10767 and give there.

Blessing to each of you as you read this and pray for us!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A glimpse into the ministry!

Cadence Student Ministries

The uncertainty military youth feel and their longing for meaningful friendships and lasting truths immediately place Cadence Student Ministries (CSM) youth leaders in a position to influence these students and their futures. These leaders serve the on-base chapel as a youth pastor would serve a church in the U.S., equipping the local parishes and program volunteers to minister to their community’s youth, starting with the youth in the chapel by building a safe community for them, equipping them to minister to their peers, engaging them in a meaningful relationship with their creator, and empowering them to use their gifts to minister wherever they go.

Cadence Student Ministries was formerly called Malachi Youth Ministries. This new name further unifies this student ministry as a part of Cadence International, however CSM continues with its same mission: to reach the youth dependents of U.S. military. To find out more about this ministry, please review A new website for Cadence Student Ministries is forthcoming.