Showing posts from July, 2011

Lake Day & Outdoor Worship

Yesterday was our annual church family lake day. We had a great time trying to beat the heat at Harvey County East Lake. It was not that crowded so the kids were able to have a great time together. I realized that my kids really don't have much fear with regards to lakes or pools. They were quite the adventurers. Made this dad a little nervous. It was definitely over 100, but as long as you stayed in the water you did not notice it.

One of our church families brought a jet ski which was a highlight for my kiddos. Molly was a little nervous at first, but she got to ride with me & Wes on the jet ski while we pulled Mackenzie and Megan around. Mitchell had already rode around the lake several times with his friend, Aaron. I wish I had a camera because every time I looked at the girls, they had huge smiles on their faces. They did not want to get off. After a quick supper, they were ready to ride around again behind the jet ski. It was a great day of fun together!


Not the perfect parent?

I learned a long time ago that I was not the perfect parent. But rather than feel bad about it, I instead realized that it was necessary to come to this conclusion. Why? Because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who needs Jesus daily not just on the day of salvation. When I try and portray myself as a perfect parent, I distort reality and the gospel.

I get angry and yell at my kids. I lose patience quickly. I sometimes would rather be alone and watch what I want or do what I want. I don't always discipline effectively. Sometimes my love for my wife and children is lacking. Can you relate?

But before you think I am advocating mediocrity, please understand that this realization of my limitations again points me to Jesus. Without Him, I am nothing. Remember the verse about the vine and the branches. I must remain in Him. In every aspect of my life, I need Jesus to help me.

We have been given a great gift in that we have the Holy Spirit living within us. Now, w…

Two Exciting Developments in Publishing

As you may know, I had the great opportunity to attend the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta with my wife a few weeks ago. We had a blast! She learned a lot and was energized with some new ideas for Faith & Life Bookstore in Newton. By the way, stop by this week for some of her downpour deals of the day.
As I walked around the show, two developments (I am not going to call them trends because I hope they last longer than a trend) seemed to emerge. The first (which has been building recently) is a call for fathers to lead their homes spiritually. This is not just being a good dad by providing and protecting, but teaching your children about God in the home. This is probably fueled by the release of Courageous on Sept. 30th. Courageous is a great movie (I've seen it twice now) about fatherhood and faith. It has a great balance of humor, action, and drama. But connected to Courageous are several …

Good Coffee & Good Conversation

I met a friend for coffee today at Lincoln Perk. We talked for about two hours about the journeys we are both on spiritually. It was amazing to see how God had us on similar journeys. This conversation was a reminder to me how nothing is by accident. It was also a reminder about how God's Word is truth and no matter what the world says, we must still be faithful and follow the truths of Scripture.

We focused a lot on our desire for fathers to lead their homes spiritually. We shared what we had each done and how healthy churches and communities start in the home. It was fun to hear what each of us had read recently. But we were both quick to recognize that none of this is possible without the grace of God. We are sinners saved by grace. The gospel is central to all that we do. It must start there.

It was also an encouragement for me as I prepare to present a workshop at the Southern District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches next week about being a faith at home c…

When Ideas Become Reality

Over the last few weeks, I have seen God move in some exciting ways. First of all, I attended two seminars (Kansas Strengthening Families Summit & AMFM) within two weeks. Each had different takes on the area of marriage and family, but each also pointed in a similar direction. For the last few days, I have been sharing with different leaders a vision for strengthening marriages at Hesston MB. I value these conversations because they help tweak what God has put on my heart. I look forward to sharing this direction with the Body of Christ and community of Hesston very soon. It has been a joy to see how God is working and how He is using my gifts and passions to accomplish kingdom work.

I also shared several months ago about the "God idea" to write family devotions for Hide N Seek this year. I was starting to worry because the task is so enormous. However, last Friday, I made some great progress and now believe I will finish these devotions in time. They have been f…

Highs of the Week

Here are some highlights from my last week:
Seeing Grammie & Grandaddy after being gone for several months to South CarolinaLincoln Perk with the kidsIce Cream with the MournsPark & Pool Day with my church familyMolly's birthday supper & party with familySwimming with the kids 3 daysPlaying with Molly's new sprinkler on Friday nightShopping in WichitaFlip Flops & Flap JacksHaving fun in Children's Church

Fan or Follower?

Are you a fan or follower of Jesus? Kyle Idleman in his book, Not A Fan, challenges us to answer that question. I started reading this book on Thursday and can already see it is going to be a great book. Idleman shares the definition of a fan as "an enthusiastic admirer." Here are a few quotes from the first chapter:

"The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren't actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them." pg. 25

"If you find yourself measuring your relationship with Jesus by comparing yourself to others, that is likely a self-indictment." pg. 26

Sun Stand Still by Furtick

I finished reading Sun Stand Still today by Steven Furtick. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you are looking for a book to challenge your prayer life, this is it! Furtick does a great job of keeping the Bible as a foundation while at the same time challenging believers to pray big. I have enjoyed watching Furtick's messages online as well. He has some helpful chapters on what if your prayers go unanswered and the difference between hope & faith. Here are a few quotes from the last few chapters of the book:

"That is why the Word of God is so crucial to audacious faith." pg. 157

"Audacious prayer must be tethered to practical obedience." pg. 173

"You do the natural. Trust God for the super." pg. 177

"Praying Sun Stand Still prayers isn't about thinking audacious thoughts. It's about activating audacious faith. It's about making your move. Pushing while you pray." pg. 180

"Hope is the blueprint. Faith is the contracto…

Books I am reading

Here is my current list of books I am reading right now. Krissinda at the Perk made this great blended caramel latte that I had to post a picture.Will finish today:Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick
Why We Love the Church by DeYoung & KluckA few chapters in:Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony
Who Stole My Church? by Gordon MacDonaldStarting this week:Impress Faith on Your Kids by Mark Holmen
Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman
Sample from Resolution for Men by Alex & Stephen Kendrick

Pictures from Molly's Birthday

Here are a few pictures from Molly's birthday. Thanks to all who celebrated with us & for phone calls, cards, & gifts from family & friends.

Happy Birthday Molly!

Today is my youngest daughters birthday. She turns 4 years old today.

I can vividly remember the day I found out that we were going to be having another baby. To say I was shocked or surprised would be an understatement. I thought our family was complete with 3. I found out on my birthday.

Fast forward to July 20, 2007, when beautiful Molly entered the world. She was born c-section and did not immediately start crying like all the rest of our kids did. Those were a few, scary minutes as the nurses sucked fluid out of her lungs which eventually allowed her to let out a scream.

From Day 1, the word that can best describe Molly is joy. She was our easiest baby by far. When she would go into stores, she would catch someone's eye and smile real big. People always would comment on her smile and the joy she brings. She knows how to light up a room. She makes me laugh on a daily basis. Even though she was my surprise baby, I cannot imagine life without her.

Thank you God for th…

Bethany Withdrawal

Yesterday was the first day in a week when I didn't spend most of the day with Bethany. It was a weird feeling on Monday when I didn't see her until the evening. On our vacation, we spent most of the day together each day with little to no breaks. It was a great time growing together as a couple and strengthening our marriage. We had some great conversations and a lot of fun. We love our kids, but this was a great trip to focus on our marriage. I have heard several speakers say that at least once a year a couple should get away for at least a night together. I have tried to do this every year, but have not always succeeded. But after our vacation away, I would highly recommend it.

Husbands, what is your plan to take your wife away for a night or weekend?

Remember it does not have to be expensive, but it is an important investment in your relationship.

Daddy Day at 105°

What do you do when it's 105° outside?  We made a trip to the Perk this morning. Then did some cleaning of our bedrooms & finally headed to the pool.  Here are a few pictures. Enjoy & hopefully they can help keep you thinking "cool"!

Fun in Yates Center

While Bethany and I were in Atlanta, the kids spent the week in Yates Center. They have been looking forward to this time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins for weeks. Molly has been asking since the middle of June when she gets to go to grandma's house. The middle girls love seeing their cousins and spending time with them.

They had a great time in Yates Center. They went to five different pools while they were there. Also, enjoyed some shopping and basketball practice. They enjoyed eating at Aunt Kay Jean's and attending a baby shower for Allison (Matile) Garst. We were told that grandma makes the best macaroni and cheese.

I think the kids were ready to be home, but they were glad to have had so much fun and spend "a lot of days" with Mason, Maddie, & Morgan.

Grandaddy's Home

Today we are headed to Wichita to see Bethany's parents. Grandaddy has been working in South Carolina since January. The kids have really missed their Grandaddy. Grammie has been with him a lot too and they have missed her as well.

We are looking forward to some time with them this afternoon since it has been 3 months since we have seen him. This time away has been a reminder to cherish the time you have with your friends and family. Hopefully, we will post some pictures of our "mini-reunion".

Try and stay cool as our 100 degree days continue in Kansas!

fuzion planning

I love planning for the Fall! Today, I met with my fuzion leaders and had a great time discussing our fall calendar and our plans. If you have a 5th or 6th grader, they will definitely want to be a part of fuzion this year. Here are a few details about the upcoming year:
Monthly service projects-This is a very important part of why we do fuzion. Some of these include: Valentine's to the Villa, MCC Kits, Raking leaves, etc.Lessons focusing on these questions: What is a Christian? What is worship? How do I study my Bible?Rewards for Bible memory-come to the parent's meeting on Aug. 31st to hear what is planned for December & JuneWhat is the format? Games, large group lesson, small group time, & give awaysIf you have questions or are interested in fuzion for this year, please let me know. It is a going to be a great year of fun, service & learning! Did I mention new t-shirts too?

Dad & Kid Water Day

Hey Dads! What memories are you making with your kids this summer? What have you done with them that is reminding them of your love? What are you doing just for fun? What have you taught them about God?

The Saturday before I left for Atlanta, I organized a Dad & Kid Water Day at the church. We had a few families show up and we had a great time. This would be simple for you to do at home (except for those in Hesston because of the outdoor watering restrictions possibly coming). All you need to do is get a few squirt guns and look on the internet for some fun games. Here is a list of what we did:

Slip N SlidesSponge RelayWater Balloon RelayDip, Dip, DumpExterminatorWet & Wild Kick Ball (or Wiffle Ball)Mr. Whale, What Time is it?Squirt Gun FightDads, our kids need us! Make it a priority to finish the summer well by showing love, having fun, and passing on your faith.

Airport Adventure

Today we were supposed to fly out of Atlanta at 4. Our first flight was canceled & I quickly got on my phone & rebooked a later flight on an app on my phone. While waiting we met a group from CrossPoint Church who were returning from Kenya. We started talking because I had on a Sterling College shirt. The guy asked when I graduated because his brother went there. Found out it was Lance Albin (brother of Curt & brother in law of Katie). They had already missed one flight & were ready to be home after a 2 week mission trip. It was fun talking with them & we offered to give up our seats if it would allow them to get home.We went to our gate but found out we were confirmed but did not have seats. Therefore we were eligible to receive $400 in Delta dollars, a hotel, & food vouchers. Now we hope to get home & see our kids but glad to meet new friends in the body of Christ.

Tuesday Afternoon at ICRS 2011

Here are some pictures from the afternoon.

Tuesday at ICRS

Check out these pictures from this morning.  All my kids should be excited as the girls love Franesca & Mitchell loves Toby MacAlso dolphin picture from front of Westin for Megan.

AMFM Conference-General Session 4

Our final session was led by Jay & Laura Lafoon. They have described themselves as "edutainers." They shared a lot of laughs in regards in our marriage. The focused on three points: motivate, innovate, and emulate. In talking about sex, they stressed the difference between willing & want to. Early in their marriage, many fights were over these terms and how she viewed them as the same and he didn't. According to him, willing equals obligation. Want to equals priority. Use the areas that couples fight about: money, sex, & family to teach truth. God has placed his thumbprint on us. God has a "to-do list" and our name is one of the lines to complete that item. As a couple if we hope to bring about change, we need to be ourselves. We need to vulnerable and transparent, not perfect.

Think about this quote: "Every thought you have, every word you say, every action you make brings a degree of joy or pain to your spouse."

Jay closed by sh…

ICRS 2011

I am spending several days in Atlanta with Bethany at the International Christian Retail Show. We have had a packed two days. Here are a few photos.

AMFM Conference-Workshops Day 3

On Day 3 (Thursday), the final day of AMFM, I was again able to attend 3 workshops. They were: Engaging the Church in Caring for Divorcees & Single Parent Families, Desire in Marriage, and Creating Events that Matter for Married Couples.

Engaging the Church in Caring For Divorcees & Single Parent Families-The first workshop was very thought provoking regarding the church's view of divorced people. The presenter was Wes Butler. He started by sharing from several Scriptures: Genesis 16:13, John 4:29-30, Matthew 19:8, Psalm 68:5, James 1:27. He posed the question: Are single parents present-day widows & orphans?

How should the church engage? He shared several thoughts. First, we must allow the broken & hurting in. See Proverbs 14:4. We must also be willing to get our hands and feet dirty. He stresses this is not just programs, but walking with people through difficult processes. We need to be incarnational-how can we help with finances, meals, other needs?He r…

AMFM Conference-General Session 3

The third general session was held on Wednesday afternoon and was led by John McGee who is a pastor of marriage ministry at Watermark Church. He was to answer the question: What needs to happen to change marriage ministry? He started his time by showing a video that shared statistics that we all know in relation to marriage and family.

He started by saying that we in the church need to believe that marriage ministry is our job and that we have something to say. We cannot always be afraid of messiness and send hurting people away when the church can minister to hurting couples and has a message that can impact marriages. He believes that if the church does this-9 things will happen:
Cause us to handle the issues in the church first. God's Word, God's People, God's Spirit has something to say.Cause us to pursue excellence and rigor.
Cause us to have a strategic discipleship plan and not an over reliance on programs. He shared what Watermark Church does in the area of pr…

AMFM Conference-Workshops Day 2

On Day 2 (Wednesday), we were able to attend 2 workshops because we had another general session in the afternoon. We were also able to watch a pre-screening of the movie, "Courageous." On Wednesday, I attended workshops on Tangible Tools for Couples in Crisis & Pastors-the Perfect Parents?

Tangible Tools for Couples-Clint & Penny Bragg were the presenters of this workshop. They presented us with many free resources. The Bragg's started their presentation by sharing about their journey through crisis, divorce, and then reconciliation. Their presentation was based on the tools that they used personally and have continued to use with couples. If you have read my previous blog entry, this is used not as a first response, but as a couple works through reconciliation. They shared several handouts which included tips to reconcile relationships, beginning the healing process, roadblocks to reconciliation, 5 tangible tools, how to pray effectively for a marriage in cr…

AMFM Conference-General Session 2

Day 2 was Wednesday and included hearing from Todd Wagner who is the lead pastor at Watermark Church, which was the host location of the conference. Wagner was answering the following question: What needs to change in the church to become agents of reconciliation? He asked what the greatest evil was in our culture. His belief is that the greatest evil today is the dead church. He went on to explain that there are 3 divine institutions and they are the family (Deuteronomy 6), government (Romans 13), and the church (1 Peter 2, Acts 2).

He went on to explain that a dead church is led by weak or lazy men or by men who do not lead well. He shared from Malachi 1, Lamentations 2 about which he explained that the problems were the leaders. He then had us open to Proverbs 6:16-19 and read. He asked what do these have in common? Answer: they all break relationships. Relationships matter and we need to be about strengthening & helping relationships in our culture as the church.

He o…

AMFM Conference-Workshops Day 1

After the first general session, we could choose from many different workshops. We were able to attend 3 workshops on Tuesday. I attended the following workshops: Marriage Mentoring: 12 Conversations for Building Strong Marriages, Reconciling Troubled Marriages-Even with an Unwilling Spouse!, & Cultivating Sexually Healthy Families: Skills for 21st Century Parents. See highlights from each below.

Marriage Mentoring-My first workshop was led by Ed & Rhonda Gray. They shared about a resource they have developed called 12 Conversations. They shared from their experiences in working with couples. Their belief is "it is wise to focus on nurturing strong marriages rather than waiting to repair damaged marriages." They also shared that there is power in stories and that mentor couples are more powerful than just sharing a book that might help a couple. They shared about how marriage mentoring comes from a good marriage not a perfect marriage. They also stressed the …

AMFM Conference-General Session 1

I had the privilege of attending the Association of Marriage and Family Ministry (AMFM) Conference in Dallas on June 20-23, 2011. The conference began on Monday night with Date Night Dallas featuring Tim Hawkins. I have seen Tim several times and he did not disappoint. It was nice to laugh after a 6 hour drive.

The actual conference began on Tuesday morning. Our first general session speaker was Bishop Joseph Walker. He talked about the change needed in the culture and did that by sharing 5 points. His first point was that people need a clear vision. Our world need to see that relationships have a purpose. He shared the illustration about a quarterback and receiver. A quarterback is throwing where the receiver is to be not where he is currently. He shared that our culture is like the defensive back who tries to give a hard hit at line of scrimmage to throw the receiver off his timing. This hit keeps the receiver from reaching his purpose which is to catch the ball. He said …