Showing posts from December, 2011

It's Christmas Eve!

I cannot believe it is Christmas already.  Today, we are getting ready to travel and be with family which means laundry and getting dishes done.  Bethany had to work until 2 so we watched The Nativity Story.  It is fun to watch the story as you think about the Scriptures.

In a few hours, we will gather as a family and open our last box for "What God Wants for Christmas" and read the Christmas story.  We have picked a book that has been most age appropriate for our kids yet stays true to Scripture.  After this, we will open presents.  For the last few years, we have done 3 presents for each of our kids to keep it simple.  I am looking forward to seeing their reactions.

We then eat chili together and get ready for church.  I always enjoy Christmas Eve Services as we sing carols and get to end with candle lighting.  I hope you are enjoying your own Christmas traditions today. Blessings upon you and your family.  Drive safely and enjoy the celebration of our Savior's birth.

Best Christmas Movies to watch with kids

Well, Christmas is almost here.  I don't know about you, but once the kids are out of school for a few days, I enjoy sitting around watching a good movie or two.  So, I thought I would share some of my favorites.

For Younger Kids:

Veggie Tales: Saint Nicholas
Veggie Tales: The Little Drummer Boy (newest one)
Veggie Tales: It's a Meaningful Life
Veggie Tales: Madame Blueberry
Charlie Brown Christmas

For Older Children:

It's A Wonderful Life
The Nativity Story
A Christmas Story

I know I need to expand my repertoire of Christmas movies, but all of these are great to watch and great to discuss afterwards.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Are you a sinner or saint?

How would you answer that question?  Personally, I lean much more towards sinner.  But as we look at Scripture and better understand our identity in Christ, does that change the answer?  When we grapple with what Christ did through his life, death, and resurrection, does that impact how we see ourselves?  Is this just a theological debate or does it truly affect how we live the Christian life?

I am reading The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith.  His chapter entitled, "God Transforms" addresses the title of this post.  Smith argues that our narratives of being a sinner are false.  Before you get upset, he believes we still sin, but wonders if focusing on being a sinner fits with what Christ did on the cross and the rest of the New Testament . He reminds us that we are not under the power of sin any longer.  He says, "God is no longer dealing with you on the basis of your sin."  I look forward to discussing more of the details of this chapter during the Sun…

Christmas Devotions

As parents, how can we keep Jesus at the center of Christmas?  One of the ways we have used in the past is using a devotional book or activity during Advent.  We gather usually right after supper or at the dinner table and spend some time talking about the reason of the season.  For several years, we used "Adornaments" by Family Life.  They take the "I Am" passages of Scripture and have an ornament that has the day's reading inside and then you hang it on the tree.  I love this resource! However, it is out of print.

Another resource we have used is "The ADVENTure of Christmas" by Lisa Whelchel. "You take the good, you take the bad. . . The Facts of Life"  Yes, she was Blair on the Facts of Life.  She has written an excellent book that discusses the meaning behind the traditions of Christmas such as the tree, lights, etc.  We used this one last year.  It even has fun activities to go along with the stories.

This year we are using "What G…

Stop the Hop by Steven Furtick

This was one of my favorite posts of 2011 by Steven Furtick of Elevation Church.  You can visit his website here.

One of the things that really troubles me about the church today is the phenomenon of church hopping and church shopping. It’s a consumeristic mindset towards the body of Christ that grieves the heart of God.

It’s time for us to stop the hop. This isn’t Christianity. Jesus didn’t die so we could sample different churches like varieties of meat on a party platter. Jesus died to establish His church as the most powerful entity on the planet.

We are alive at the greatest time in history for the advance of the gospel. We have so much going for us.

We have the ability.
We have the resources.
We have the people.

What we don’t have is them committed to a place where they can actually be used for their God-ordained purpose.

If this generation doesn’t make the impact it should, it won’t be because it didn’t have the resources. Or even the passion. It will be because it was too b…

Children's Christmas Program

On Wednesday night, I was able to watch our Hide N Seek kids and fuzion students practice for the Christmas Program.  It was so exciting to see our children praising God and our 5th & 6th grade students reading Scripture & other readings and doing puppets.  There is nothing like watching children worship.  So, join us this Sunday at Hesston MB at 10:10 a.m. for our Children's Christmas program.

Days in Nebraska

Can someone tell me why whenever I visit Nebraska it is freezing cold? 

Despite the cold, it was a great two days away with my wife.  Bethany and I drove to Henderson, Nebraska on Sunday to set up for a book table at Bethesda Mennonite Church.  Faith & Life Bookstore, where Bethany is manager, has hosted a book table at this church for many years.  This was our second year to go.  I enjoy getting to see Bethany in action as a manager.  She has great ideas and does a great job helping customers. 

It was also a great treat to get away without the kids.  We are so thankful to have parents who help so graciously watch our kids when we are away.  We spent most of each day at the book table just reading and talking.  It was fun just to be together.  Then each evening we were able to go out and eat and have conversation without interruption (except for the loud group sitting next to us at Applebee's).  It was fun to get away from the routine and relax. An extra bonus was being togeth…

Book Review: The Love and Respect Experience

This devotional is based on the popular book by Emerson Eggerichs.  It has a great subtitle to get men to pick it up.  It says, "A Husband Friendly Devotional that Wives Truly Love." Why will men love it?  First of all, instead of becoming overwhelmed with 365 daily devotionals, this book only has one per week.  Second, the devotions tend to be short at only about 2-3 pages.  Third, it is easy to use as each devotional ends with a simple prayer prompt and an action step.  For those interested in using it in a small group or to go more in depth, Eggerichs also includes discussion questions for each week in the appendix.

What about the content?  I have not read Eggerichs book to compare, but I would assume based on the content of the devotionals that this would be a great resource for the person who does not like to read.  From my perspective, I think I understand many of the concepts from Eggerichs book by just reading the 52 devotionals.  Therefore, this can be a great help …