Category: Faith

GROUP Children’s Ministry Workshop

It may be Saturday, but that didn’t mean I was sleeping in. I was up bright & early (actually, dark & early) and headed to St Augustine to meet up with Liz and head to Jax. We attended GROUP Children’s Ministry workshop at Southpoint Community Church in Jacksonville. Can you just get a load of this church for a minute… 

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Okay, I need to brush up on my photography skills, but it was incredibly beautiful and unbelievably huge! So blown away by all this church offers the community. I wish I’d gotten pictures of the Sunday school rooms, because these kids got it good! Okay, enough of that, onto the workshop…

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Liz and I are the Children’s Ministry leaders at Lighthouse Bible Church in Palm Coast. We’ve been looking for ways to improve our lessons and get the kids more engaged. When Liz got an email from GROUP that they were coming to Jax, we jumped at the chance to attend.

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Our speaker Patty was the perfect mix of funny and down-to-business. We had a great 3 hour session with a ton of hands-on examples of REAL lessons to get our kids engaged and active in learning about the bible.

We learned a lot about how kids learn, the responsibility that the church plays in a child’s spiritual development, and how to best relate to the three main personality types that children typically fall into. Oh, did I mention… there were raffle drawings throughout the session. Liz won the first, and I won the second. SCORE for FREE books!

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I think it was a great way to kickstart our ministry into high gear. We’re more equipped and better prepared to mold young minds for the Glory of God!

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Because we’re all Superheroes when you think about it.

 

 

Five Things That Could Bring Me Down… But Won’t

  1. This week our car needed $2,000 in repairs. We were car-less for four days and had to rely on my gracious mom to drive us around. (Blake’s truck can’t fit two carseats.) We got the car back on Tuesday and it’s been running much better. I got in the car last night and saw this…
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  2. Our microwave broke. Well, not the actual microwave, but the entire front face of the microwave along with the handle… it fell off. Completely. Blake has tried to put it all back together, to no avail. Opening the microwave is like a workout in itself!
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  3. We thought we’d found the perfect house for my mom. It is small, beautiful, clean, & close. She was under contract for about a week, but the deal fell through Saturday night. We were all pretty bummed, but we’re trusting that God was saving us from a sticky situation.
  4. Cameron’s molars are coming in. I could just stop there, and anyone who has been around a teething toddler would take pity on us. He’s been sleeping well (thank you, Jesus!) but when he’s awake, he’s pretty grumpy.
  5. Work has been crazy. From projects to layoffs, I never know what to expect when I walk through the door each morning. It’s not healthy to worry so much over work, and I really try not to, but I think everyone has a little knot in their stomach this time of year. I just try to show up and do my best each day. I’ll keep showing up until they tell me not to.

I know, I know – none of those things are life-threatening. Maybe they’re not even life-changing. But they are enough to dampen your spirit and weigh you down. Add that to all of life’s other daily trials and you can start to feel angry, bitter, and unhappy.

I felt myself starting to crumple this week. LIFE started to get the best of me. Then I was reminded that my trials are thissmall compared to the Cross.

Today is Good Friday. Take a moment to just soak that in. Today is the day, 2,000+ years ago, that Jesus gathered with His disciples knowing full-well that this would be His last supper. Knowing that His disciple Judas would hand Him over to be crucified and that his best friend Peter would deny Him three times. Jesus knew that He would soon be arrested by authorities, beaten so fiercely that even the strongest man would beg for mercy, nailed to a cross hung between two thieves, and would ultimately die there. For you. And for me. Rather than dwelling on His circumstances or fearing what was to come, Jesus broke bread with His disciples. He drank wine with them. He washed their feet.

The Sinless Son of God took on the sins of this world, suffered and died so that WE can live. Just like He said He would.

So while we’re busy doing life, when we get exhausted, when we’re angry, when we feel bitter… even in those times, we’ve been offered this perfect gift of grace by a Savior who knows our true hearts and loves us anyway. He accepts us as we are. We cannot earn grace. We cannot buy salvation. It is a free gift offered to all, you just have to accept it. Once you let Jesus into your life, you can’t help but be forever changed.

So while life may seem ugly and hard, there is good news to hold onto. Death couldn’t keep Him. The grave couldn’t hold Him. After three days, Jesus rose from the grave. It is finished! He has Risen! And THAT, my friend, is good news today, tomorrow, and every day.

“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (Matthew 28:6 NIV)

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Resting on His Promises

Lately, I’ve felt a real notion that the devil is alive and well. He has been trying to invade our lives in more ways than I care to count. From health to employment to transportation to broken promises, he has weaseled his slippery hand into every area of our lives. And I don’t like it.

On this dreary Monday morning, I found myself sitting at my desk dwelling on each and every issue that is causing me worry and heartache. I’m an easy going person and typically let things roll off my back. But start messing with my family? I can physically feel the pressure of my problems mounting inside me. Just then, in the middle of my pity party, I remembered that I have the only Weapon stronger than the devil. My Savior has power over Satan. You see, the devil only wins if you let him. Jesus is control of all things – even the devil – and Jesus has my whole world in His steady hands. He isn’t going to me fall apart at the seams – not if I keep my focus on Him. He is my strength, my Guide, my Protector, my Shield. But, if I’m honest, I haven’t been looking to Him in the ways that I should. My stress levels have been high and my prayers have been short.

The funny thing is that Easter Sunday is just one week away. On that day, I’ll join with my church family in celebrating the resurrection of our King.

Jesus died so I can live. I owe Him my whole life. So these problems that I dwell on aren’t even my own. He’s going to act according to His perfect will for my life and the lives of those who love Him. I will rest on His promises and trust in His Word.

There is no better day than today to run back into the arms of Jesus.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

In the midst of a trial

I don’t want to kill your mood, but I’ve got to be honest… Real life is tough!

The last few weeks (or maybe even months) have been really difficult for a lot of people close to us. It seems like illness is creeping up all around us. When our friends are suffering, we try to do anything and everything we can to bring them comfort and support. We rally around them, bring them meals, send cards of encouragement, or give them a big bear hug. And while I’m sure those things are appreciated, let’s face it – we’re not truly helping them feel better. At least not for very long.

I think that in the midst of turmoil, we often lose sight of the only source of hope that will never betray us. We have a holy Savior who loves us and extends His grace to us. Even when we least expect it. God provides for us according to His timing, not our own. Life is full of heartache. Instead of pulling away from God in anger and resentment, why don’t we fall on our knees before God and ask that He fill us with peace?

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16

I’m not saying that it’s easy. It is hard for us to live with God at our focus when we are hurting so deeply. That is why it is so important to be in God’s Word in the good times and in the bad. If we are daily equipping ourselves with the Armor of God, we’ll be better able to withstand (or at least endure) the difficulties that come our way.

We were never promised an easy ride in this world. In fact, we were promised the opposite.  Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Trials make us stronger, more Christ-like, and better witnesses to others.

Don’t take my word for it. In many ways, I’m writing this post as much for myself as I am for you. I, too, need to be reminded that My God is a faithful and loving God. Jesus is my Protector, my Hope, my Redeemer. I just want Him to be those things for you as well, and then maybe, just maybe, we can be made stronger through our trials.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Merry Christmas!

I hope that you’re home is filled with the spirit of Christmas! Christmas has changed quite a bit in our house since we’ve had little ones roaming around. This year we’re especially excited because Cameron will at least have some idea of what is going on.

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We try not to go overboard with Christmas gifts for the kids. They just had birthdays last month and they already have rooms overflowing with toys. We stick to a few fun gifts, some necessities, and leave the spoiling to the grandparents! (They’re good at it!)

Kailey is finally at an age where she recognizing December 25th not only as Christmas, but also as Jesus’ birthday. In an effort to keep our focus on the Reason for the Season, we’ve been discussing why we do certain things this time of year. I think this message can benefit all of us, at any age. I hope it can be a blessing to you!

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We decorate the Christmas tree with lights
symbolizing that Jesus is the Light of the world.

The gifts under the Christmas Tree represent the greatest gift of all,
Jesus, and the salvation He offers.

The Christmas tree represents the cross on which Jesus died
to cover a multitude of sins… your sins and mine.

As we gather together with family and friends to open presents and share a meal, let’s remember the Reason for the Season – God’s Only Son took on flesh, lived a perfect life, and then was crucified for US so that we may live in HIM. Life gets a whole lot brighter when you have the gift of eternal life.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

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We hope you have a Very Merry Christmas and that your day is filled with peace and love.

Living Proof LIVE!

I am SO pumped I could shout! In fact, I did! A few times. This weekend I snuck away with my mom and sister-in-law to a Living Proof conference! If you haven’t heard of Beth Moore, or if you haven’t done one of her bible studies, I encourage you with everything in me to take the time and DO IT! It will change your life in more ways than I can count. And if you can see her in person, you DO NOT want to miss it!

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When I was several months pregnant with Kailey, I went away for the weekend with my church group to a Deeper Still conference. This was the first time I’ve seen Beth live (yes, we’re on a first name basis 😉 ). She shared the weekend hosting with Kay Arthur (a very deep, devoted Christian woman who spends her life sharing Jesus with women) and Priscilla Shirer (daughter of world-renowned Pastor, Dr. Tony Evans and a great speaker and encourager of women). This conference convicted me to my core in the best way possible. It encouraged me, brought me to my knees, tore out my heart, and then renewed my strength.

When we heard she was coming to Daytona Beach, we couldn’t miss it! We bought tickets right away, ensuring there was no way that “something” could come up and pull us away. In fact, the event occurred on the weekend of my daughter’s fourth birthday and that still didn’t stop us.

6,700 women gathered together. Praised Jesus. Held hands with each other. Cried together. Laughed A LOT. And grew. Deeply. It was incredible and much needed. I think it could have lasted an entire week and we still wouldn’t have wanted it to end. We cannot wait to hear this wise woman speak to us again!

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