Showing posts from November, 2012

Book Review: Closer to the Real Christmas Story

This Saturday, December 1st, from 10 a.m.-noon, you can get this book signed by the author, Jared Burkholder, at Faith & Life Bookstore in Newton, KS. With the upcoming book signing and because Jared lives in Hesston, I wanted to give a quick review of his book prior to beginning of Advent.

Jared writes, "In particular, I pray that this book will help parents meaningfully discuss the Christmas story with their children of all ages and develop in them critical thinking skills." The first part of the book includes short chapters which tell the Christmas story in chronological order. These chapters could easily be read during a time of family devotions during the Advent season.

One of my favorite parts of the book is at the end of each chapter. Burkholder includes "a gift" such as submission, protection, family, life, praise, etc. which includes a question related to it. It is then followed with an active way to share that gift including a Scripture.

But Burkho…

Vacation in Nebraska?

Yes, I spent my vacation this week in Nebraska.  I was pleased that it was not as cold as it has been the past few years.  Why did I spend 4 days in Nebraska?  My wife is manager of Faith & Life Bookstore in Newton, KS and we did books tables in Beatrice & Henderson.  My job was to load & unload books & gifts and to be the cashier.  It was fun!

This was work for Bethany, but for me it was a great vacation in many ways.  No, I was not on the beach or someplace warm, but I was with Bethany 24 hours a day.  It was a blessing! We talked about a lot of things and just spent time together.  We enjoyed romantic meals at Runza, Applebee's, Chipotle, & Wendy's. Hey, don't judge! We experienced an interesting hotel that was struggling to reach 1 star status.  We spent evenings watching TV & laughing together. I also was able to get some reading done for MB study conference in January.

It was also a joy to see my wife in action as a manager.  She is great at w…

Steven Furtick on giving

Generous Gift!

This past week, we received a generous gift from a church family.  If you have read my blog over the last four years, you know we have been trying to sell our house in Iola.  We finally closed on October 31, 2012.  We were so excited!  However, due to the down market, we ended up having to pay to sale our house.  I know it doesn't make sense and it really confuses our kids.  But it was our reality. 

Only a handful of people knew that we had to take money to closing.  We went to the bank on the 31st and basically depleted our checking and savings accounts to close on the house.  There was just enough money to keep both accounts open.  We were thankful that we did not need to borrow money from anyone.  Then unexpectedly, we received a gift that left us speechless!

It reminded me of a verse that has been important to me over these last four years.  Ephesians 3:20-21 says,
20 Now to him who is ableto do immeasurably more than all we askor imagine, according to his powerthat is at work …

Your Idenity

If you know me, one of my favorite messages to share with people is their identity in Christ.  Too often, as believers, we have a false understanding of who we are.  I preached on this subject in April.  If interested, see notes here.  I am also excited about a new book coming out in January by Mark Driscoll on this subject.

But today for all you tech-savvy people, I want to share an app that I read each morning.  It is a great reminder each day about who you are in Christ.

It is available in Android & Apple.  Here is where you can download the app:

Apple-Go to the app store and search for Identity in Christ Daily

Book Review: Red Letter Revolution

I have been reading Red Letter Revolution by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo. In the book, they describe a group called, "Red Letter Christians" who are seeking to follow what Jesus said. The cover of the book asks the question, "What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said?" I was fascinated by the cover and was excited to read the book.

There are many great things about this book. First, I enjoyed the conversational tone between Tony and Shane in each chapter. Their dialogue and questions and answers were helpful. Second, they do a great job covering many topics that most authors would avoid such as life, environment, women, racism, sexuality, war & violence, economics, reconciliation, etc. It is broken into three parts: Red Letter Theology, Red Letter Living, & Red Letter World.

I offer a mixed review of this book. In some ways, the book was great for me as it challenged my thinking and what I believe about specific issues. On the other hand, the book…

Baptizing my daughter

Today I had the privilege of baptizing, Megan, my 9 year old daughter. She has been talking about getting baptized for months. She kept asking questions and I told her to pray about it and we would go from there. She prayed and it kept being brought up. I am proud of her listening to the Holy Spirit's prompting and for the boldness He gave her as she shared her testimony and was baptized today. Here are some pictures:

Book Review: 52 Creative Family Time Experiences

In the introduction, the author describes the book in this way:

"52 Creative Family Time Experiences is designed to set up three kinds of epic moments with your kids:

1. Informal-daily moments when you can impress faith.
2. Intentional family times-that you schedule weekly, or every other week.
3. Milestones-holidays and rites of passage when you affirm spiritual growth.

As I read through this book, I was impressed with the authors understanding of culture as well as the biblical mandate for parents to pass on faith to their kids. Many books focus on one to the detriment of the other. 52 Creative Family Time Experiences does both!

Smith has done a great job incorporating creativity & activities to help teach the Bible. He has listed 52 activities to be done as families weekly or every other week. Several great features include: ways to adapt lesson for preschoolers and teenagers, engaging questions to point to who God is rather than just information, engaging & s…

Reading at the Perk

I have missed my days reading at the Perk. Today, I am back at it and enjoying several books this morning. Several of the quotes are from 52 Creative Family Time Experiences by Timothy Smith. Check back on Friday for a review of that book. Here are a few quotes:

"Take time to talk about HIS story. God's story is epic!"

"Gen iY is more likely to respond to talking story and having a conversation than a lecture-- especially preteens and teens."

"When it comes to kid's faith, parents get what they are."

"What would happen in our families if we had peanut butter faith--tasty, nutritious, simple and sticky?"

"Emphasize the character and attributes of God more than the hero in the story."

"A government can pass good laws, but no law can change a human heart. Only God can do that."

(Quote in chapter on politics) "We are setting ourselves up for disappointment if our hope is built on anything less than Jesus.&quo…

Election Results

No matter what the election results are today, the song below has been on my heart and mind.  I hope it will be a good reminder and encouragement to you.

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him
Who brings good news, good news;
Announcing peace, proclaiming news of happiness:
Our God reigns, our God reigns!Refrain Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!

Happy Anniversary!

No, it's not my wedding anniversary, but instead it is my 4 year anniversary at Hesston MB Church. I am thankful for this church and what God is doing here. I am blessed to be part of the staff and look forward to many more years together.

When Bethany and I decided to make the transition to Hesston, I was impressed with the community of Hesston as well as the church. I feel blessed to wake up every day and serve God and others through my position as Pastor of Children and Family. I am continually reminded how this ministry is a great fit for my spiritual gifts and passions.

I love that I get to invest in dads to be the spiritual leaders of their families. I look forward to more opportunities to equip parents to pass on faith in the home. I enjoy working with Children's Ministry workers on Sundays & Wednesday nights. I am excited about the marriage ministry plans that are just beginning in mentoring and for helping struggling marriages. I love planning for the fut…