Showing posts from March, 2013

Resources for Kids for Easter Week

So, I am probably late with this post.  Easter Sunday has come and gone.  However, there are some great resources that I recommend for Holy Week.  Most of these are available at your local Christian bookstore and might even be on sale now. 

In no particular order, I recommend the following books, videos, or items:

Lily's Easter Party by Crystal Bowman (Ages 4-7)-This new book tells the story of the Resurrection Eggs.Resurrection Eggs-12 eggs that tell the story from Palm Sunday through Easter.  I use every year to tell the true meaning of Easter to the kids in my church after an Easter egg hunt.God Rocks: Rez the Rock That Rolled Away-I have used this video the last two years.  It tells the story for children through music in a fun, creative, and age appropriate way.Little Colt's Palm Sunday by Michelle Adams-Great story to use on Palm Sunday.  I usually incorporate a live donkey that is used with this story.The Story of Jesus for Children-An older film that has been used aroun…

Forgiveness by Steven Furtick

On this Easter weekend, let these words from Steven Furtick remind you what Good Friday & Easter is all about.

Helpful and Inexpensive Resources for Easter Week

There are some great deals for resources on the cross and resurrection this week.  I have personally only read the one by John Piper.  But have read other books by R.C. Sproul and Jonathan Dodson.  If you are looking for a helpful resource this Easter week, I encourage you to check out the following links.

Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper.  Available for $.99 hereThe Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul.  Available here for free.Raised by Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson is also free here

 I also recommend the following books about Jesus:
Jesus Is ________________ by Judah SmithJesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchvidjian The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller The Gospel of Yes by Mike Glenn You can purchase these at Faith and Life Bookstore in Newton or your local Christian store.

Happy Birthday, Mackenzie!

Today  is my oldest daughter's 11th birthday.  I have previously shared on this blog about her birth.  She was born at 35 weeks and spent 2 weeks in the NICU.  If you would like to know more of the story, click here or here. We are thankful for God's protection, provision, and strength to bring her through those two weeks and to this day.  She has a sweet spirit and is loving, caring, and a servant.  If you see her today, wish her a happy birthday. 

Below you will find a picture that was taken last night during puppet practice.  Thanks Deb Buhrman for the great picture!

How Far Will Jesus Go? by Steven Furtick

Check out this short video by Steven Furtick sharing the good news of Easter.

Does Your Church Have A Jesus-Centered Culture?

In Chapter 6 of Creature of the Word by Chandler, Patterson, & Geiger, they discuss this question in great length.  It begins the second part of the book where they explain in more detail how the church and its leaders need to keep the gospel central as they seek to be prophet, priest, and king following Jesus' example.  We will not do it perfectly, but all of these need to be present.

Here are a few quotes from the chapter:
"The healthier the culture, the more likely the church will impact the community around her." "Spiritual growth is the working out of what God has worked and is working in us and church ministry consists of intentionally forming culture while realizing He is the One who ultimately does the transforming." "For a church culture to be centered on the gospel, there must be harmony between theology, philosophy, and practice." "All three types of leaders (prophet, priest, king) are necessary and essential, and all three types o…

Friend of Sinners

Have you ever pondered the statement that Jesus is a "friend of sinners?" That statement alone flies in the face of what many religious people believe and how they live.  Rather than hang out with the healthy, Jesus chose the sick.  In Judah Smith's book, Jesus Is            , he explains this concept.  Here are a few quotes from his book:

"But Jesus didn't care about the scandal. He cared about the scandalous." "If justice must be served, we are all in trouble because we all have sin." "Both extremes (self-righteous or self-condemning) come from focusing on rules rather than on a relationship with Jesus." "Jesus sees our sin more clearly than anyone, yet he loves us more than anyone." "Church is a place where a bunch of people who realize they need help get together to love Jesus and encourage each other." "But when sin becomes more important than the sinner, an alarm needs to go off in our heads."

Art of Marriage is April 5-6

Hesston MB is again hosting the Art of Marriage on April 5-6, 2013.  I would encourage all couples--seriously dating, engaged, newlywed, married with or without kids, empty nesters, or retired to attend.  This is a great investment in your marriage. 

The content is engaging, humorous, and very well done and covers the following topics:
Love Happens: God's Purpose and PlanLove Fades: Overcoming IsolationLove Dances: Fulfilling Our ResponsibilitiesLove Interrupted: Communication and ConflictLove Sizzles: Experiencing Real Intimacy (yes, they talk about sex)Love Always: Leaving a Lasting Legacy To register, sign up at Hesston MB, Zoar MB, or Koerner Heights churches.  Or you can register online at

Service and Evangelism

On Thursday of last week, I continued reading Creature of the Word: The Jesus Centered Church by Chandler, Patterson and Geiger.  I think I will be recommending this book to many people in the future.  The chapters I read last week focused on service and multiplication. 

Here are a few quotes for you today:
"Guilt-driven serving is the antithesis of Jesus-driven serving. . ."  "Wise church leaders will preach the gospel and provide opportunities for people to serve in response." "Churches centered on Jesus constantly remind their people how Christ has served and continues to serve them. And this becomes the one, the only, the supreme impetus for serving others." "Our real lives are a daring connection point between God and men for the healing of broken lives and a broken culture." "Regardless of where we, or the people we serve, are in spiritual maturity, we are instruments in the hand of God to see all things reconciled to God through Chri…

Who Is Jesus?

I am continuing to read Judah Smith's new book, Jesus Is          . 

Here are a few quotes to ponder:
"We need to abandon our scale and adopt God's because our misguided labels keep us from the right kind of interaction with people." "The good news is that Jesus came to reveal a God who defines us not by our actions but by his love." "We just have to remember that rules are not proof of our spirituality.  If anything, they are proof of our sinfulness, a reminder that we have a tendency toward wrongdoing and that we need help." "Whether I am better than you or worse than you really doesn't matter. What matters is that I recognize my need for Jesus."

Spring Break

Here are pictures from vacation in Branson:

Vacation, here I come!

Today, begins my vacation. I am so excited to be spending it with my family in Branson, MO.  We plan to go to Silver Dollar City three days and spend some time in Yates Center after leaving Branson.  I look forward to riding Silver Dollar City's newest roller coaster, Outlaw Run. 

I wrote a few posts before leaving on vacation so check out the blog over the next few days.

As you read this, I might be flying through the Ozark Mountains on one of many great roller coasters.

The Secret by Steven Furtick

Today, Steven Furtick on his website posted the following message clip.  It was so great that I had to share.  Do you want to know the secret to a victorious Christian life?  Watch this short clip.

fuzion collected lots of food!

We had about 25 fuzion students for our service project tonight. They collected over 400 items to benefit the Hesston Resource Center. Great job serving God and our community.

Why We Worship from Creature of the Word

On Thursday, I continued reading from Chapter 2 of Creature of the Word by Chandler, Patterson and Geiger. My blue highlighter is running out of ink. This chapter was full of gospel truth and application. It will be a challenge but I will share just a few quotes to impact your head and heart.

"When we sin, we are ultimately worshipping something other than God, placing an idol on the throne of our lives."

"Therefore, unconfessed sin is actually the foolish decision to run away from our healing and growth rather than toward it."

"Worship flourishes when people know this--when we know who we are, know who He is, and then stare into that massive, terrifying gap that Jesus has filled with blood-bought grace and forgiveness."

"Understanding God's nature in a deep way should lead to an emotive response that creates an even deeper hunger to meditation on Him all the more. The mind and the heart feed each other."

"Private worship excites us …

Why You Don't Have to be Afraid of God? by Steven Furtick

Hesston MB Family Service Project at MCC

Here are some pictures from our family service project at MCC. We were able to make about 200 school kits in less than 2 hours and would have done more if we had not run out of supplies. Thanks to everyone who came today!

Beyond Forgiveness and Heaven

I am continuing to read Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper. This short book with short chapters has been a great read during this time of Lent. It is great to be reminded and taught about the multiple reasons Jesus died beyond just forgiveness and heaven.

Here are a few reasons for you to ponder today:

To Bring Us To Faith and Keep Us Faithful
To Take Away Our Condemnation
To Abolish Rituals as Basis for Salvation
To Make Us Holy, Blameless, and Perfect
To Give Us a Clear Conscience
I want to close with a few quotes that impacted me today:

"The suffering of Christ secures our perfection so firmly that it is already now a reality. Therefore, we fight against our sin not simply to become perfect, but because we are. The death of Jesus is the key to battling our imperfections on the firm foundation of our perfection."

"When our conscience rises up and condemns us, where will we turn? We turn to Christ."

Jesus Is ________ by Judah Smith

Today, I began reading Jesus Is ________ by Judah Smith. He begins the book with the story of Zacchaeus. I look forward to reading the rest of the book. Here are a few quotes from Chapter 1:

"Nowhere in the Bible, however, do we find God distinguishing between levels of sin. God doesn't share our rating system. To him, all sin is equally evil, and all sinners are equally lovable. Obviously sins have different consequences: some will get you incarcerated or your face punched in, while others won't even be noticed. But God just calls sin, sin."

"What changed Zacchaeus? Biblical principle? Personal devotion? Religious duty and deeds? No-just a few moments with God in the flesh."

"Jesus is not your accuser. He's not your prosecutor. He's not your judge. He's your friend and your rescuer. Like Zacchaeus, just spend time with Jesus."

"Don't allow the opinions of other people to shape your concept of him. Get to know him for yours…

Jesus Today

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I have been blessed by Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  I enjoy the perspective she offers as she shares God's Word as if God is speaking to us.  I have bought multiple copies and given them away.  I finally decided to buy it for my phone.

She has come out with other devotionals, but the one I am reading each morning now is Jesus Today: Experiencing Hope through His Presence. It was written during a difficult time in her life when she was dealing with health issues. I am only six days in, but would recommend it based on what I have read so far.  Here is a quote from today's reading:

“So dare to ask great things of Me, remembering who I am. I am able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you ask or think. Pondering My limitless ability to help you will strengthen your faith and encourage you to pray boldly.”

Believe the Truth

As I shared in my sermon on Feb. 17th, Michelle Anaya leads Bible memory on Wednesday nights.  She does a great job helping kids memorize Scripture in fun and creative ways.  One of the things she starts with for the younger kids is the question, "why do we memorize Scripture?"  It has several answers, but the one I want to focus on is this answer: "if we don't know the truth, then we will believe the lie."

I challenged the congregation to know the truth about who God is and their identity in Christ from Scripture, not from what others say, what the world says, how they feel, or what their circumstances seem to say.  How are you today?  Are you believing God's Word or something else?

As a believer, this is who you are today from Ephesians 1:
ChosenBlamelessForgivenRedeemedLovedAdoptedBlessedHolySaintSealed by the Holy Spirit

New Authors to me

Over the last few weeks, I have discovered some new authors via articles, blog posts, or books.  I thought I would share a few of them with you today.

Judah Smith, author of Jesus Is __________ and this great postFrank Viola, author of numerous books and this great post on our identity in Christ Eric Geiger and Josh Patterson as they collaborate with Matt Chandler on Creature of the WordAndrew Farley, author of The Naked Gospel & God Without Religion Have a great weekend!