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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Monday, April 18, 2016
The County Fair always makes me think about life. Maybe it's the aroma of corn dogs, popcorn, cotton candy and turkey legs that does it to me. Or the barkers who yell, "Step right up!" Or, "We have a winner!" I guess it could be the lights and booming music, but I think it's something else.

I spent four agonizing hours (and considerable cash) at the County Fair last week so my son could go with a friend and ride some rides. There was a musical group at the main stage that I had never heard, but the audience had because they knew all the songs. I didn't understand the words, but maybe that's not a bad thing.

I believe I was the only person among the thousands in attendance who was reading a Writer's Digest magazine, but I didn't see everybody, so don't hold me to that.

Other than three camels and a seal, I didn't recognize anyone in the crowd. (They were here last year.) Sitting there watching the humanity rush like a river, I didn't see one face I knew. And that bothered me.

I've been in this area since 2009. Surely I should have seen someone I recognized. (Perhaps someone I knew saw me and turned another direction?)

As I watched the guy with the toy he sent high into the air that lit up and came back to him like a boomerang (only $10 for 3 toys), I wondered what his life was like outside of the fair? How does he deal with the daily secondhand smoke?

Five ponies with saddles stood in a circle, waiting for riders. Three men talked and laughed nearby and the ponies never moved. Sometimes I feel like those ponies, but I'm not as patient or cute. They looked lonely and tired. Like they wanted to see a familiar face.

Just about everyone of age had a plastic cup filled with Budweiser or a tall can. An older woman sauntered by, a man with a cane following, walking spider-like to catch up. He gestured and raised his voice, pointed his cane in the air and threw out his other hand. I couldn't understand what he was saying. The woman didn't say much, just kept walking. The veins in the man's neck stood out as he railed. I never did find out their problem or if it was just his, though I admit I did follow them for a while.

Just after 10 p.m. my phone dinged. It was my son. "Come to Wave Rave."

"Ok," I texted.

I was standing in front of the barbecue place that had the beer-battered onion rings for $10. Nearby was the stand selling fried pecan pie. No kidding. I had no idea where Wave Rave was, but I was pretty sure I had been past it about a dozen times.

Past the basketball game with the bent rims, past the quarter tossing game where no one wins, past the ride where you drop from a great height, the Haunted House, G-Force, the Ferris Wheel, another haunted house—this one wasn't quite as ghoulish as the first—and another stand selling fried Twinkies and corn on the cob. Cash only.

The man with the cane and the woman passed me going the other way, his arm around her, walking as if they'd never fought a day in their lives.

And there it was. Wave Rave. And there was my son and his friend, talking and laughing as they waited in line.

And the world felt a lot less lonesome.

As far as I know, the ponies are still waiting.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
We had a chicken coop made for us by a neighborhood young man. It is hawk-proof and coyote-proof, the two main predators here in AZ. We had gotten these chickens for their eggs, but even more for the life they bring. We have friends who have chickens and we wanted to try it out.

Another friend advised, "Don't name them. Once you name them, you won't be able to let go."

So one day Miss Perkins was by the scrub oak, and Tiger was by the coop...

You see, I did name them.

At first they all looked the same. Then I noticed FLASH. Flash was the fastest chicken. Two little black feathers in the back and she RAN everywhere.

My son named Miss Perkins. Don't ask me why he named her that. I have no idea. But the name fit.

We had six Rhode Island Reds, then one died and we got one more Red and a black-and-white chicken we called Tiger, for the same reason we call my program Chris Fabry Live!—we're just not that creative.

Nadine sold us our chickens. She said, "Keep them in the coop at first and then let them walk around. They'll find shelter. Let them free range." So for a week or so we kept a tight rein. Then, I would leave them out for an hour and let them roam, then entice them back to the coop with food and close them in.

Tiger and Miss Perkins were the hardest to get back to the coop because the other chickens were merciless. I think they were racist toward Tiger—but Miss Perkins was a Red, too. I don’t understand it.

A farmer friend of mine says chickens can be really, really mean. And I believe it. But I grew to really like these creatures—who don't do anything but peck, poop, and lay eggs. They make this interesting noise, too. And they have bright, inquisitive eyes.

The most fun I had with them was calling them to one side of the yard, holding out cabbage or lettuce or Andrea's kefir grains, which they loved. I would call them over, then run toward the coop and they would follow—of course, Flash in front, in a V formation. It was like the geese in Fly Away Home. And I would call the kids out—hey, watch this!

Every morning I let the chickens out, saying "Hello, ladies!" as I approached. Tiger was always the first out of the coop, probably because of all the abuse she was getting in there.

And if they were in the yard, just opening the door caused them to look up and move toward the house. If I was feeling a little down, I could always go stand out back and those chickens would come around me and pay attention.

Soon it got to the point where I just let them stay in the yard. There are hawks nearby, but I would take my hat and flap it, and the chickens would immediately run for the scrub oak. I saw coyotes in the neighborhood, but they didn’t look very hungry. At night you could hear them howl. But again... what were the chances?

Plus, there's something about the freedom of chickens who stay near the coop. I don't want to coop up an animal. That seems cruel to me. Let them roam.

Last Thursday... or Wednesday, the days blur together... I looked at the clock. It was after 6:00 and I hadn't put "the girls" to bed. I had been covering the coop with a tarp when it was cold, but it was getting warmer now. I had fed them at 4:00 and watered them.

So I ambled out back with a flashlight and bent down to look inside. Two Reds and Tiger were in the laying boxes. I looked on the roost. No chickens. Looked in the corners, where they can hunker down. No chickens.

I shone the flashlight on the scrub oaks. No chickens. I walked toward the more open area. No chickens.

And then, in a scratched-out part of the grass and gravel and sand that is our yard, I saw her. Miss Perkins. Actually, I don't know if it was Miss Perkins, but it was a Red. And her eyes were closed. And her body was lifeless... no movement.

Why would anyone want to hurt my chickens?

And immediately I felt this... ownership. I had been a bad chicken farmer. I had been derelict in my duty to protect. And here was the lifeless chicken in front of me... a few feathers around, but otherwise intact.

It was Tuesday night, now that I think of it, because the trash is picked up on Wednesday.

I picked her up and wrapped her in a plastic coffin, said a few words, and took her to the bin at the end of the driveway and let her go.

And I told my wife and kids.

The other three chickens are still missing, and we can only assume the worst.

Now I've been dealing with the question, "What do we do now? How do we keep these chickens safe?"

And I've been thinking about the lessons to be learned. The first one is how desperately vulnerable my chickens were to a predator. Because the truth is hard to believe: My chickens have an enemy.

LESSONS FROM THE CHICKEN COOP
  1. My chickens have an enemy.
  2. The enemy will devour the flock.
  3. The enemy will kill and leave a chicken behind.
  4. The enemy wants nothing more than to KILL, STEAL, and DESTROY.
  5. The enemy will return to wreak more havoc.

    (Now, let's be honest—if we looked at this from the coyote's perspective, we might hear him giving thanks to God for His provision for the pups today. So I'm disparaging the coyotes and painting them as all evil. Which isn't really fair, since they were here before my chickens were. But the analogy is still true for you and me, as it concerns our enemy.)
  6. We don't pay attention to the warning signs.
  7. We deny the truth, thinking THAT CAN'T HAPPEN TO ME.
  8. Once the enemy strikes, it changes everything. (Do you know how often I let the chickens out now? Not very. We're all scarred by this.)
  9. But the chickens forget. Every day when I open the door, they're ready to run. They evidently have very little short-term memory. As a protector, I have to remember for them.
  10. What did Jesus say about wolves?
How much more valuable we are than chickens (and sparrows)! And yet, God has left us in a vulnerable place. Not without protection, or hope, but still vulnerable. I think He did that for a reason. I think you and I become stronger because of the reality of an enemy—and we become more dependent on our Owner because of it.

Saturday, August 1, 2015
http://chrisfabry.com/war-room
The Kendrick brothers have their story about how the film War Room originated. I have my own story that I brought to the writing of the novel based on the film.

Our family was living in Illinois and attending a new church. We went through the new members class and met a couple a little older than us originally from China. They told their story, smiling as they spoke of the grace of God in their lives, and asked us all to pray for their son, Christopher.

"He is in prison now," Angela said.

Christopher had informed his parents years earlier that he was gay. He had moved to Atlanta, was in the party scene there, and dealt drugs. He was arrested and incarcerated.

But God had done something miraculous in Christopher's life. He had found a Bible in a prison trash can and began to read. This was just before he discovered he was HIV+. The news hit him hard, but God's Word hit him harder.

Angela's husband, Leon, was a dentist and we began taking our kids to have their teeth cleaned at his practice, which was in an office attached to his home. Years later, I was at their house and Angela asked if I would like to see her prayer room.

I had heard much about how hard Angela prayed for Christopher. She stormed the gates of heaven on her knees. She took me to a bathroom off the second floor of the house. It looked like any other bathroom, except that the shower stall was covered with notes and verses and people's names. The tub was covered by a thin rug.



Angela was so committed to praying for her son that she set apart that bathroom exclusively for prayer. I never forgot that scene, nor what happened to Christopher. When he was released from prison, he attended Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College. Today, he teaches the Bible at Moody.

No one is saying that if you find a "War Room" and use it that your children will become Bible teachers or that your marriage will be fully restored or that any of the cause-and-effect types of answers to prayer will happen. But when you bring God into the equations of your life and you allow Him access to your heart, and you surrender yourself and your problems to Him, He will honor that commitment and that trust you put in Him.

I don't know how prayer works. But I know it does. And I believe God is drawing us to Himself in times of our desperate need of Him. And I'm grateful for those who are willing to surrender and display that with their lives.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
I said it out loud and to no one in particular during the NCAA tournament. “I miss Billy Packer.” It wasn’t because I didn’t like the commentators, necessarily. It wasn’t because Billy Packer was always right about all of his analysis. I remember Billy Packer and Jim Thacker announcing ACC games when I was a kid. Billy Packer was the first person to introduce me to the intricacies of basketball. So I miss Billy Packer because of his connection with my childhood.

I miss Adrian Rogers. You can still hear him on the radio, but I miss his voice talking to me on the phone. “Hello Chris,” he would say with that deep bass of his. “And how is your family?” He said “family” “Famly.”

I miss the sound of my dad's tractor early in the morning.

I miss the excitement that sports used to give me. How exciting opening day of baseball was. How exciting the pennant races. They don’t hold the same fascination with me that I had as a child. Maybe because I don’t have my father to share those games with or Joe Nuxhall, the old left hander, rounding third and heading for home.

I miss Donald Cole, Radio Pastor at Moody. Pastor Cole had the warmest, kindest, least-hurried delivery of anyone I’ve ever known. He was a second father to many of us. He would parse Hebrews 6 or speak at a fundraiser with the same intensity. The same resolve. And I miss his wife, Naomi.

What we miss says a lot about us as human beings because human beings long for things that last and, in this life, nothing does. Tiger Woods looks old and he’s still a kid.

I miss the covered bridge in my hometown.

I miss playing records at the radio station. I miss how everything was done live and how not much of anything is live these days. I miss singing hymns in church and all four stanzas in four part harmony. (That doesn’t mean I hate worship songs, it just means I miss hymns.)

I miss being able to have an opinion about something and then having to think through whether it’s worth it to express that opinion in fear of a lawsuit.

I miss Mike Sullivan. Mike was an outstanding student and athlete at my high school. Everybody wanted to be like Mike. Until he was diagnosed. And he lived his final days well. I didn’t talk to him after high school, but I miss Mike Sullivan. Tim Alford, too.

I miss hearing people on the radio and wondering what they look like and then seeing their pictures and saying, “That’s not you.” First time I saw Larry King I was shocked. You can’t be like that anymore.

I miss pushing a stroller and watching people make faces at my children. I don’t miss diapers and runny noses and having to tie shoes over and over again, but I would probably endure that for another chance to parent better.

I miss the wide-open expanse of life that seemed to stretch out forever and go on past the hills and across rivers and lakes. I live in a time-ravaged world now and I miss the one that had no such limitations.

I miss the illusion that everything, with enough time, is going to work out okay. Because everything does not work out okay, at least in this life. You lose your health or your mind. Friends betray. Lovers wound. And even worse, you’ll do the same. You won’t live up to your own expectations, and if you do, you’ll have aimed way too low.

I miss the blissful ignorance of youth, where all you needed was a little air in your tires and a bottle of pop and a candy bar.

I miss Chuck Colson.

I miss the silence between people before smart phones. Now there’s silence but no connection, just heads down and living somewhere other than where we are.

What do you miss? And what does that hole in your heart say about you and the world around you and the God who is there?

Saturday, March 7, 2015
The mind is an amazing thing. It can recall stuff from years ago with just a slightest hint of an aroma.

I had a list of things, tissues, a recycle bin, a movie for my son, stevia packets and various things that totaled $63 by the time I was done. What I didn’t expect was to encounter my father in the dairy aisle.

One of the items on the list was plain yogurt. I checked the stale date and made sure we had time to consume it. Then I headed for the electronics section, passing the end of the candy aisle where there were various gums, mints and treats.

And there it hit me—the mint smell I remembered from childhood.

By LabyrinthX (Peppermints) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I drew closer. The whiff of peppermint was unmistakable. And a vision flashed through the synapses. My father in the chair in the corner of the living room. Sitting with his legs crossed. Coat and tie on. He always wore a coat and tie to church. And he always popped one of those peppermint things in his mouth, the round kind with the red swirls in them.

And he smiled and held one out.

As a kid, I really didn’t like the peppermint candy. It was not as exotic as other flavors. To my father, it was all he needed. Fresh breath. A sweet taste.

That was 50 years ago, probably. I remember the smell of peppermint and Sundays. Green Wrigley gum, too, when he didn’t have the mints. And the sound of the wrappers as he opened them.

Sundays are peppermint in my mind. And now you know why.

Monday, February 2, 2015
Dear Woman behind me yesterday in church, over my left shoulder, who talked through the first part of the message:

I can’t tell you how much I dislike it when people talk at the movie theater while I’m trying to concentrate on the film. I teach my kids that when things come to a start, no matter where you are, you should stop talking out of respect for others. You close your mouth, put away your devices, and listen.

I consider church an important place to stop talking. Worship is us entering God’s presence and corporately telling the truth about Him and us. We are flawed; He is holy. We are incapable of saving ourselves; He is more than capable to save us. We sing about God’s mercies and grace and love. We listen to God’s Word being taught. But we don’t chit-chat.

You were talking. Right behind me to my left. You were saying something important, I’m sure, to whomever was right next to you. All through the singing. All through the announcements.

Now, it helped that the music was loud yesterday. I couldn’t tell what you were saying, of course, and I tried to sing the words as loudly as I could. Something about His love never failing, I think—I can’t remember now because all I can think about is you talking.

It sounded like this: “Pss pss and then I wanted to . . . pss pss.” And as the music got louder, which it generally does, you amped up the talking. “PSSS PSSSS . . .”

I seriously thought about moving—of getting out of my seat and going somewhere else—but since I had come in late, and since the congregation was pretty much full, I decided to tough it out. Surely, I thought, you will stop talking once the pastor comes to the front.

Now, I mentioned that I came in late. This was because my teenage daughter wanted to drive and I made the decision that I would allow her to do this, and, though I won’t go into all of it, trust me, we would have been on time if I had driven. She’s learning, so cut her some slack. Don’t judge me because I came in late, because there’s a good reason. I can’t stand it when people judge me when they don’t know the whole story.

So the announcements were over and the dramatic beginning of the message played on the screen—a church building with lightning and thundering music. “Things that Scare Me About Church” was the title and this was the final message. The pastor gave a brief introduction about the series and I was distracted because YOU WERE TALKING AGAIN.

What was so important? The Super Bowl, perhaps? Your 401K? An issue at work? The sharks dancing with Katy Perry? I don’t care what it was about, it could WAIT. And if it couldn’t wait, you could have gone out into the lobby or the courtyard or to your car or anywhere but BEHIND ME to my left!

I seriously thought about getting up and leaving as the message began. There was an empty spot on the back row of the upper tier where there was no one seated. I also thought about turning around and giving you the stink eye, but I held back. I gritted my teeth and held back . . . I don’t know why. Just one glare was probably all you needed, but I don’t like to glare in church. I save that for when fewer people can see me. But I was glaring in my heart. At you.

The pastor, trying to speak over your whispering, began to talk about how people outside of church think of people inside. And the overwhelming thought people out there have is that people inside the church are the people who are AGAINST stuff. We’re against abortion and gays. We’re against all kinds of ungodly behavior and if we could just get people to live like WE live, then the country wouldn’t be in such bad shape. And I was thinking, if I could just get you to stop talking I could LISTEN!

Fortunately, you finally stopped talking. For some reason you quieted yourself. And I was able to finally concentrate on what the pastor was talking about. He was saying that we, as followers of Jesus, should be known for our love for each other instead of all the stuff we’re against. That there’s a time to stand for righteousness and confront sin, but that people “out there” ought to be able to see us loving each other and wonder what’s going on. They ought to be asking the question, “What’s going on in that place with those people?” It was a challenging message because it’s a lot easier to be the Pharisee, the one who thinks he’s doing everything right and looks down on the “tax collector.”

I was really enjoying the message, the quiet from you, when, to my surprise, something happened that I didn’t expect. And I don’t think you or anyone else around us understood. Some saliva went down the wrong pipe as I was sitting there and I leaned forward and coughed. I didn’t have the flu, I wasn’t spreading germs, it was just this uncontrollable thing that happened and the more I coughed the redder my face got, probably; I wasn’t looking in a mirror. But I had to cough. It was involuntary. My body just took over, as it were. And then I tried to suppress it.

And you know what happens when you try to suppress it—it gets worse. And I sat there muting my cough and thinking, “If only I had a glass of water. Or a cough drop.” But I didn’t have either. So I sat there, trying to stay in control, but not doing a very good job of it, thinking of how far away from the exit I was and looking at the couple in front of me shifting in their seats like they were trying to listen to the pastor’s next point.

It was then that I felt a tap on my shoulder. My left shoulder. And I turned to see your face and I knew at that moment you were the one who had been talking. You were the one I had been seething about in the recesses of my heart. You were the one who was holding a cough drop out to me, whispering, “Would you like this?”

I smiled and grabbed the cough drop like it was the last life preserver on the Titanic. I opened it discreetly, so it wouldn’t make a lot of noise—you know I hate making noise in church. But the wrapper wasn’t coming off. It was kind of sliding around. I think this cough drop had been in your purse for a few services. Maybe a few churches. Maybe you hesitated to offer it to me because it was so old. I’m glad you didn’t hold back, because when I got the gummy wrapper off and put it in my mouth, I think I heard angels sing. Seriously, the menthol just burst through my nasal passages and I felt like Julie Andrews spinning around on the mountain, singing at the top of my voice.

The cough went away. I settled in as the lozenge dissolved. I was able to relax. I listened to the message. And as I did, I realized you had seen the struggle I was in and responded. You took a risk to reach out to a stranger and help. I, on the other hand, had been angry at you for talking. For whispering. For interrupting my worship experience. And I never asked what you were talking about, who you were talking to—I never considered that perhaps there was something more going on than I perceived. Perhaps there was WORSHIP going on that I didn’t know about. Perhaps I could have prayed for you and your friend beside you.

I thought about that through the message, through communion, through the closing song. And then it was over. And I stood and looked back, and you were hugging your friend. And I think I saw tears in her eyes. I touched your left shoulder and said, “Thank you.” You nodded and smiled at me.

Dear Woman behind me yesterday in church, over my left shoulder, who talked through the first part of the message, who I thought was keeping me from worship: I thank you for showing me more about myself than I was able to perceive on my own.