9 12 2014

Stress. Can you feel your stomach tighten and your face contort just thinking about that word? Children can be a source of stress, but play is a wonderful antidote to anxiety. Play can soften the toughest of kids and play can bring about greater family or group health. Most importantly, play is a gift from God to be fully enjoyed. Understandably, play cannot be perfectly enjoyed until the New Earth comes, but we can share in glimpses of that great hope to one day come! What are some ways you’ve seen play reduce stress?

Lasagna and Other Things Worthwhile

17 06 2010

Everything worthwhile requires perseverance. An NBA championship, summiting Everest, lasagna, a fixed and well running car, building a house, training kids to make wise choices, completing a LEGO starship and the most rewarding by an infinite measure: the prize of Christ-apart from perseverance, none of these are attained.

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Many have gone before us in this life of faith. They are an example to us.

Many things weigh us down. We must remove them.

Many grimy sins stick to us. One at a time, we peal them off.

There is a hard race in front of us. We can endure!

Jesus is our perfect example. We fix our eyes on Him.

We have a cross to bear. We can embrace it because of our joy in Jesus.

Opposition is hostile. Contemplating Jesus keeps us going.

Emotional Fruit Salad

21 05 2010

What does this picture do to your emotions?

This past year the children’s ministry volunteers at our church played a game called Emotional Fruit Salad. (You can learn how to play this game by clicking here for your next party!) Some who are, let’s say, a little more conservative, wanted to shoot me I’m sure, but we all had a good laugh by the end of it. The game seeks to help with the expression of extreme emotions. I wanted to emphasize how important it is that we learn to express all kinds of emotions not only in life, but also very intentionally as we serve and teach kids.

Most of us go through life expressing very few emotions. Yet God created us with a great variety of emotions that we can tap into. The emotions in our lives reflect our heart. A mundane emotional face reflects (possibly) an apathetic heart. A bright and cheerful face, however, can reveal a joyful heart.

We are not complete victims of our emotions. Rather, we do have much ability to affect them. Emotions are commanded in Scripture. Our theme verse for the year was this: “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:2-3).” We see emotions from birth. Like a baby longs for his mom, we can desperately desire the goodness of God. Such an emotionally packed verse!

So choose to smile big today. Not in a fake or forced sort of way, but because you choose to believe in the abounding goodness of God. This will not only encourage your own heart, but also the hearts of those you meet with every day. Set a goal and see how much happiness you can spread over the next week.

I love Craig Jutila’s take on this in his blog, “Every Day is a Terrible Day.”

Picture from:

When Marriage Gets Tough

4 05 2010

Marriage is never easy. I was just reading about good old Jacob. You know the deceiver in the book of Genesis? The trickster got tricked into marrying the “ugly” woman first, then got the pretty one. He always showed favourtism toward Rachel. Conflicts of preference, conflicts of wealth, conflicts with in-laws, conflicts with kids. That story is packed with conflicts! Adam and Eve married into a perfect relationship. Sin made and still makes marriage difficult.

What will you do with your conflicts? Will you passively let them build and build to the point of desperation? Or will you make war against the sin in your marriage? Will you take an honest look at your conflicts and the roots of those conflicts?

Yesterday, my wife and I got into an easily resolvable conflict. She was engaged with our fantastic kids in a game of Boggle Jr. A conflict between the two children arose while I was disengaged, mindlessly browsing the web. You know what I should’ve done. (Sorry Butterfly.)

For the sake of your family, and for the glory of Jesus, don’t be cowards and hide from your sin. Be open, honest and humble. Engage your sin in battle with the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17, Matthew 4:1-11). Then watch, as your marriage soars towards greater and greater joy!

For further tips, click on the following links from iMom (helpful for dads too):

04-27-10 EM - 3 Secrets About the Male Brain

A Marriage Expert Says, “Help!”

iSpecialist Greg Smalley thought marriage would be a breeze.  But two years into his own marriage, he felt like he and his wife were just one argument away from serious trouble.  The problem?   They were pushing each other’s buttons to the point where even minor disagreements became huge fights.

In this week’s Learn A Latte, Dr. Smalley shares how they stopped that cycle.  He also has these 6 tips for marital conflict without casualties.

The Pursuing Love of God: A Model for Marriage

28 04 2010

My natural tendency is to run from God. God’s constant action is to run to me. I’d rather sin. God would rather deliver me from that destruction. I’d rather avoid God after I’ve done wrong. He wants to come close to forgive. Time and time again throughout Scripture we see God reaching out to people who are unwilling to receive Him:

  • Adam and Eve disobey, cover up and hide. God looks to see if they will confess so He can forgive.
  • Cain does wrong. God warns him that if he’s not careful, his sin will destroy him.
  • All mankind lives completely evil. God gives them many years of warning while Noah builds the ark before the flood.
  • Pharaoh enslaves the Israelites. God shows His great power, but Pharaoh hardens his heart further.
  • Israel rebels. God sends judges to save them…Israel continues to rebel.
  • David commits adultery so God sends Nathan to confront him. Finally, someone who receives God’s love!
  • Israel rebels more. God waits and waits and waits for them to turn back to Him and then sends them into exile.
  • A son takes his father’s inheritance, leaves, becomes ruined. When he returns to his father, his father runs to him in love.

Read the rest of this entry »

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