• Engage

    The Simple Life

    Our American culture makes it quite difficult to live a simple life. Simplifying our lives doesn’t automatically come from living without money. It’s more about living with focus and without so much busyness. We can live on a farm or in poverty and have cluttered lives. What is at the heart of a simple life? Why are we so frazzled and exhausted? Jesus calls us to simplify our lives by seeking first God’s kingdom and his righteousness (Mt. 6:33). We prioritize living out the character and actions of Christ that bring his kingdom light to our world. That focus puts all else into perspective so that we make wise decisions.…

  • Engage

    Giant Hogweed and the Tyranny of the Urgent

    In taking time to read the news this week, I saw this headline that made me stop and take notice: “Beware of plant that can cause blindness.” Well, as a gardener, I had to click on the link and read that article! According to health officials in Michigan, a plant called “Giant Hogweed” (what a name!) recently discovered in that state can cause painful bruises, burns and blindness. Growing up to 18 feet tall, Giant Hogweed (top, at right) is photo-reactive, meaning that in sunlight it begins to burn. “When the plant touches human skin, it can cause small fluid-filled vesicles” that can develop into permanent purplish-black scars and blindness if it comes into contact…

  • Heartprints

    Give It Away!

    PROBLEM: When I first got in children’s ministry as a paid staff member at a church I ran into a challenge that I didn’t anticipate going in regarding how I handle my ministry responsibilities.  I held a posture of ownership and thought that if I didn’t do ALL of the work then it would either not get done right and/or my leadership would think I was just trying to pawn it off on others.  I needed to have control over everything! I attended every meeting (during and after normal hours), I assigned myself responsibility for all kinds of things whether I had the time or not and I placed expectations…

  • Heartprints

    Don’t Load Your Horse to Heavy!

    A few Sunday’s ago our church’s custodian Jose and I were chatting about life and he told me that often we tend to live our lives in state of imbalance.  He shared with me a story regarding travel in his country.   Jose is from a small third-world village in South America, where some roads are not driven on by cars but instead traveled on only by horseback.  He mentioned a particular hill close to his home that requires a horse to get over and that people will load their horse with many bags that hang off the sides of the horse.  He said that often people will load their horse…

  • Heartprints

    The Top 5 Greatest Threats to the Family!

    Ok…I’m not really a great authority on this and I don’t have statistics to back up anything mainly because I don’t have the time to research them but from experience and talking to a great number of families in the past 14+ years of ministry, I see the following as the 5 greatest threats to the family: –          The Messed Up Marriage –The messed up marriage is in short the marriage where the priorities of the marriage center on everything but the most important things (see Target Practice blog here for list of most important things).  Work, money, hobbies are just a few of those family threatening priorities.    –         …

  • Engage

    Valentine’s Day–What’s the Mark of True Love?

    How real is love? Valentine’s Day is a good time to assess how much we love both our significant others and our God. The definitive mark of true love is willing sacrifice.    Every relationship has some element of sacrifice, but what’s the attitude behind it? Is it out of coercion, a sense of “ought,” or joy?   The depth of God’s love for us is marked by the willingness of Jesus, God himself, to come to earth, become man, live among us, and die a cruel death on the cross carrying the ugliness of our sins and those of the world. “For this is the way God loved the…

  • Engage

    What a Waste!

    What do you think of when you hear the word waste? Trash? Food that is thrown out? Efforts that don’t bear fruit? Conversations that land on deaf ears? Addicts? Frivolously spent money? Unused goods? As this year of 2014 begins I have been convicted of waste in my own life. My primary problem  is wasted time. I find myself busy on my computer doing something positive and productive, and then decide to take a few minutes to play solitaire. Before I know it, I have wasted fifteen minutes on nothing. The time is gone, never to be replaced. I am certainly not advocating forsaking leisure or fun entirely, but how…

  • Heartprints

    1 Hour a Week!

    Does anybody have an hour this week to help me with something?  I just need someone to come and hang out with some children for an hour while their parents go hear a life changing message from God. No?…really?  Not one hour? So you’re telling me that out of the 100 plus hours that you have each week you don’t have ONE single hour that you can help care for some kids with me?  What if I told you that the Pastor appreciates it! What if I tell you that we desperately need you?  What if I told you that it’s for God?  Would that matter?  No?….. Really?  Why can’t…

  • Heartprints

    Target Practice Recap!

    This past weekend was very cool for me. I was given the opportunity to preach to the congregation of my church about a subject that I’m very passionate about…the family!  I believe that the family is God’s greatest passion on the earth behind the heart of the individual. I preached on God First, Spouse Second and Kids Third!  This topic is rather controversial to a lot of people because they believe in alternate priority patterns. Here’s a recap of the sermon: The Problem: –          We are all perfectly imperfect sinners raising our families in a completely dysfunctional world and that’s why we need a Perfectly Perfect Savior with a completely…

  • Engage

    Number One Priority

    “What is your highest priority in life?” How would you answer that question? What do most women say? A recent survey of Christian women by George Barna found that 53% ranked family first, while only 16% prioritized their faith. The total number of women who responded with health, career, and comfortable lifestyle is larger than the group that chose faith.We women have significant influence and responsibility when it comes to our husbands, our children, and often other extended family members. God gives us such relationships as a stewardship, and we want to be found faithful in the end. We have the opportunity to exert more influence there than anywhere else;…