The Other Side

“35) On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.”36)Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 37) And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38) Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; 1) They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes.” Mark 4:35-38a & 5:1, NASB Did you see it? No? Let’s read it again. “35) On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36) Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 37) And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38) Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; 1) They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes.” See it that time? Still no? Okay, let me help. “He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side.“ Yeah…I know…it’s an easy phrase to overlook, but these few words are filled with much promise. Let me set the stage for you. Jesus had been preaching and teaching all day on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. When evening had come, He...

10 Tips to Survive the Summer Months

School’s out for the summer! And we all know what that means. The kids are home, all day, every day with no homework, book reports, or projects to keep them busy. Oy vey! The first weeks of summer vacation are usually spent sleeping in and enjoying unscheduled, unrushed days. But chances are it won’t be long before the kiddos are wandering aimlessly through the house bored out of their minds. Some what’s a mom to do? What’s a kid to do? How can both momma’s and kiddos survive the long summer months? With a little bit of planning your family can do more than just survive the summer months; you can make memories that will last a lifetime. Here are ten tips to help you survive and thrive as a family this summer. 1. Have a plan. It’s not necessary to plan out every minute of every day, but having a general plan for the summer months will keep everyone informed of upcoming activities and trips. Make the family’s summer calendar visible for all to see, hang it on the refrigerator, in the dining room, or in a highly trafficked area of your home. 2. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zones this summer. Learn to water ski or rock climb. Go camping (in a tent, right in your back yard!) or hike a nature trail. Find something you would not normally do and enjoy it as a family. Why not let each of your children choose an adventure and have the entire family participate. 3. Splish, splash, and enjoy the water! Find a cool body of...

Eyeball-to-Eyeball with Obedience

“18) And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19) Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20) They IMMEDIATELY left their nets and followed Him. 21) Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22) and IMMEDIATELY they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.” Matthew 4:18-22, NKJV Immediately. Without an interval of time. At this very moment. NOW. I don’t imagine Jesus’ command to follow was flippant. I doubt He mumbled it under His breath. He seems to me to be an eyeball-to-eyeball kind of guy. One who fixes His eyes upon yours and speaks words that pierce into the depths of your soul. I think that’s what happened on this day. Jesus saw them. He looked at them. His eyes met theirs and He spoke to their heart. And as soon as the command to follow left Jesus’ mouth, Peter and Andrew, James and John looked Obedience in the eyes. They asked no questions, made no excuses, didn’t hesitate in the least but immediately acted on their ‘yes’ and walked straight toward Obedience. These fishermen had no idea how their futures would unfold. They had no idea where this road, this Man, was about to lead them. Peter had no clue he’d be a key player in the building of the church. Andrew...

Praying Beyond the Dinner Table

“God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands, we are fed, give us Lord our daily bread. Amen.” It’s probably one of the first “prayers” we teach our kids. Before they can talk, while they’re babbling away in their highchairs, chomping on cheerios, we grab hold of their chubby little hands and say the blessing with them, teaching them to thank God for their food. As they grow, they start to repeat the words after us. Then, before you know it, they’re asking if they can pray by themselves. Of course we say ‘yes’ and with their precious voice and sincere heart they begin to proclaim that God is great and that He is good. They thank Him for the food. They ask Him to give us more daily bread. And, finally, with a long, drawn out, “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-men” they wrap up their prayer, and we smile big and tell them “good job!” I love these times! And, I wouldn’t trade hearing my kids say grace for anything in the world, but I want the prayers of my children to extend far beyond the dinner table. I want them to proclaim God’s greatness and His goodness in the midst of all life throws them. I want them to learn to thank Him for every single thing that their lives are blessed with and challenged by. I want them to ask God for things greater than physical food while understanding that He alone is their daily bread. I want my kids to commune with God. To fellowship with Him. To talk with Him...

Leading Kids to “See” Others

I get asked a series of questions quite often: How do you keep your kids from feeling like they’re entitled to certain things? How do you help them understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them? How do you help them look beyond themselves? My answer: First of all, we want each of our kids to know how very special they are and how much they’re loved. Each of them have certain likes and dislikes, and while we don’t cater to their every whim, we do make an effort to provide them with the things they enjoy. But, we also push them to look beyond themselves by serving and giving to others which, we believe, is foundational in sharing Jesus with those He brings into their lives. Here are a few simple ways we’re teaching our kids that sharing Jesus is a lifestyle we’re all called to live: ~We share. The conversation around the dinner table went something like this… Kids: There are kids in our neighborhood that don’t get healthy snacks. Could we buy extra fruit and share with them? Us: Absolutely! So now we buy extra apples when we go to the grocery store and our kids share them with the neighborhood kids. It may sound simple but I pray that our filling up hungry bellies with a healthy snacks will lead to filling up hungry hearts with Jesus. We also share sidewalk chalk, finger nail polish, kick-balls and footballs, Nerf guns and bullets, craft supplies, and anything else that fosters play and fun in our front yard. ~We give. Every few months we clean out closets...

The Great Commission Is For Us All

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20, NKJV (emphasis added) Far too often we reserve these verses for those who’ve been “called to be missionaries to the unreached people groups in our world” or to those “who have the gift of evangelism.” But when Jesus came and spoke, He spoke to us all. He commissioned us all. He commanded each and every one of us to go and make disciples and baptize and teach them. And the only gift you need to do this is the gift of your story; the story of how God has changed you from the inside out and is continuing to make all things new in your life. The only gift you need to go and make disciples is the gift of your story; the story of how God has changed you from the inside out. This sharing of our story has to be something that we’re intentional about doing because we get consumed with ourselves, our lives, our stuff, and we forget that we’ve been commissioned and commanded to go. We forget that there are people whom God has specifically placed within our sphere of influence to love on, to invest in, and to...

Thankful

Thankful. Thankful for family and friends, food and shelter, educations and careers, laughter and tears, joy and sadness, grace and mercy, forgiveness and redemption, God’s Word and those who teach it, freedom, love, the cross, Jesus....

Of This I Am Certain

Inside there is silence. My children and husband sleep soundly in their beds. Outside the world begins to stir. Trees sway left to right waking their extremities. Birds stretch wings and harmonize with neighbors in good morning songs. Squirrels scurry to and fro. Rabbits nibble on blades of grass. Deer forage through woods beyond. And the sun…it rises. Rays of brilliant gold, glistening yellow, and burnt orange burst forth from the once sleeping horizon. A lush over-sized crimson sofa welcomes me as I snuggle in deeply. Breathing in and exhaling long I’m always reminded of the Blood as I situate my frame for this early morning time. Bible in hand, I open to the book of John. And I read, “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’ ” John 8:12, NKJV He IS the light. This I know. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36, NKJV He IS freedom. This I know. “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ ” John 8:58, NKJV He IS the I AM of all that I am not. This I know. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:9 &...