Tag Archives: family

The Only Thing That Counts

Good morning friends! I hope you are enjoying these summer months. We are in Montana, visiting family right now, and last night as we were sitting outside eating ice cream (yesterday was National Ice Cream Day in case you didn’t know. . . however, I think every day should be considered National Ice Cream Day!!) I was reminded again how much I love summer. It is by far my favorite season.

One of the things I love about summer is the time I get to spend in God’s Word with my kids. We are doing a summer reading plan together and it does this mama’s heart good to see them reading God’s Word. In fact, this was my 16 year old daughter’s observation from today’s reading in James 2:18-19: “People will know you by what you do, not just what you say you are.” Isn’t that good, and so true?

As I was trying to read my Bible, I had this cute little companion. I think she was intrigued by my morning breath. *smile*

Eva

Kate and Eva

I had two days of reading to catch up on, and Galatians 5:6 is the verse that spoke to me – “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” I used the T I M E method of Bible study to interact with this verse:

T(heme): Our faith in Jesus isn’t expressed by merely saying we’re a believer, it is expressed through our love for others.

I (mportant word/s):    Value & Expressing

M (eaning of word/s): Value – to be of force, avail

Expressing – to display one’s activity, show one’s self operative

E (ncouragement): Lord, please help me to express my faith in You through my genuine, agape (Your) love for others. This is the kind of love that never gives up on them, just like You never give up on me. In Jesus’ Name and for His sake, Amen.

Isn’t it interesting that our faith in Jesus is not a force to be reckoned with until it is expressed through our love for others? Love is the most powerful force in the universe. The good news is that as we continue to walk with Jesus, His love saturates every pore of our being and we begin to love Him and others with the same love He has showered upon us.

Let’ love with Jesus love today, it’s the only thing that counts!

With God’s Great Love, Your Friend in Ministry,

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Lessons Learned the Past 10 Years, Part 1

Last week, I shared the story of our journey to Cheney 10 years ago. In some ways, it seems just like yesterday. In other ways, it seems like a lifetime ago. Time passes both like a flash of lightning and at a snail’s pace simultaneously.

There have been many ministry lessons that I have learned these past 10 years. Although what I’ve learned is in the context of serving at a church, I believe these lessons can be translated into other parts of life as well. In the next few blog posts, I will be sharing several lessons learned. I will start with the number one thing:

#1) How to Keep Family before Ministry

God’s ordained order of priority in life is #1 God, #2 family, #3 work. When you are “work”ing in ministry, sometimes the lines get blurred between God and work and then family is what suffers. My relationship with God is separate from working in the church. It is obeying Him, spending time with Him, honoring Him in my thoughts and actions.

As I keep God first, my next priority is to my family, the very people He placed in my home. I need to spend adequate time with them in order to build strong relationships with each of them – hubby and each child. I am foolish when I expect my schedule or others to make boundaries for me . . . that’s just not going to happen. If I am going to have proper boundaries, I am going to need to be the one to set them.

It can be difficult to have both mom and dad working in ministry. Yet, I am grateful that I have been able to set my schedule so that my family comes before work. This past year has been sobering for me as I realized I have 5 years left before my youngest graduates from high school and leaves home. Only 2 years for my daughter. I don’t want to have regrets that I didn’t spend as much time with them as I could because I was too busy “doing the Lord’s work”. For the past 16 years, the “Lord’s work” has been raising my kids as much as it’s been teaching His Word or discipling women or praying for others.

I have been so blessed that as I have set my boundaries for what is healthy for our family, our church leadership and congregation has gotten on board and not had unrealistic expectations of what I can do in the church. They have been a gift of God’s grace to me and I believe both our family and our church have been blessed because we are following God’s order of priorities.

How about you? Are you following God’s order? Is He first? Does He get your time? How much of your heart does he have right now? Is there anything you are placing as more important than Him?

Now what about your family? Do they have a higher priority of your time and attention than your work, or even your “ministry”? If someone asked them, would they say that you make them a priority? Do they feel loved and cared for?

Finally, your work. Whatever God has called you to do; He will give you the ability and strength to do. Rely upon Him and His strength. If you are in a busy season of life, use wisdom in how you spend your time. There is only so much you can get done in a day. There is always tomorrow. I promise you, if you keep God first and then your family next after that, God will help you with your work, whatever that may be! Take it one day at a time. Say “No” when you have to. Rely upon Him and His strength.

You can do it. I believe in you.

Your Friend in Ministry,

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Ministry to College Students

We live in a college town, in fact, when school is in session, the population of our little city increases by about 40% or more.  “Doing church” in a college town is interesting.  When we first arrived (nine years ago) our church attendance was about eighty people, 50% of them were college students.  We quickly learned that you cannot build a church with college students, for a variety of reasons including that they are very transient and the majority of them leave town after they graduate.  As the years have gone by, things have balanced out and we are now a multi-generational church with people of all ages and stages of life.

However, since we are in a college town, it is imperative that we minister to the college students God sends our way.  We have tried different things to reach out to them: tailgating parties at the football games, small groups, a Sunday night service geared to them, etc . . .  We finally realized that there are wonderfully effective campus ministries, meeting the spiritual needs of the college students.  What could we offer them that would be different and unique?

One of the things we heard over and over from college students is that they want to be a part of a family.  That’s what they are missing while away from home.  We have a lot of families in our church, how could we match up these families with these students?  This fall we implemented “Adopt an Eagle”.  (The eagle is our university’s mascot.)  It is a really simple yet effective strategy for connecting students with families in our church.  The families adopt a small group of about five students and have them over for dinner two times a month.  That’s it – nothing more.  At this point we have about ten families and 50 college students participating.

As students come to the families homes to eat a home cooked meal, they feel like they are a part of that family.  They get away from their dorm or apartment and sit around the dinner table and share what’s going on in their life.  The parents get to listen to the students share and encourage them.  I speak from my own experience that this has become as meaningful to the families as it has to the students.  In fact, I call our group of students “Our Little Eaglets” and am learning to love them as parents love their own children.

We had them over for Easter dinner last Sunday and even had an Easter Egg Hunt, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Easter Egg Hunt

One of our Little Eaglets brought us a card on Easter – this is what it said:

Card from Danae

Curious about what Philippians 1:3 says?  “I thank my God every time I remember you.”   Who would have known something as simple as having five students over for dinner twice a month would make such a big impact on their lives.  Are there college students (or young people that age) at your church?  Could you reach out to them with Jesus’ love and a meal?

Your Friend in Ministry,

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