Join my family in reading through the scriptures this year.

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So last year my family tried to read the bible in a year.   We made it to April without many hick ups. Then we missed a few days and my wife and I kept reading through it until almost August. Then we fell off the wagon completely. Maybe it was because we moved or maybe it was because we lost focus on the goal. So here we are again ready to start a new year and I am determined yet again to read the scriptures as a family. I have the one year bibles out and ready to begin again. So who wants to join us. Who is ready to do this again. My goal is to post each week the readings we have read and the readings we are going to read for anyone who wants to join us. We may not make it the whole year and we may not make it a month but I am determined to keep my family in the word of Christ this year. I am determined to stay in the word myself this year.

It will be a journey. It will be funny at times, it will be awkward at times, and I guarantee Satan will be on the prowl trying to get us off the scriptures but I know my God is bigger.  I know being in the Word is so good for my family I am praying Christ will push us to the finish line this time.  So join us. You may miss a week, you may miss a month, But I would encourage you as we encourage each other as families to be in the Word. My God bless you this year as you walk with Him. God is good and in His word we are reminded of the work he is doing in our lives.

You can download a daily reader from: http://www.oneyearbibleonline.com/readingplan/oneyearbiblereadingplan.pdf

 Week one readings:
January 1 Genesis 1:1-2:25 Matthew 1:1-2:12 Psalm 1:1-6 Proverbs 1:1-6
January 2 Genesis 3:1-4:26 Matthew 2:13-3:6 Psalm 2:1-12 Proverbs 1:7-9
January 3 Genesis 5:1-7:24 Matthew 3:7-4:11 Psalm 3:1-8 Proverbs 1:10-19
January 4 Genesis 8:1-10:32 Matthew 4:12-25 Psalm 4:1-8 Proverbs 1:20-23
January 5 Genesis 11:1-13:4 Matthew 5:1-26 Psalm 5:1-12 Proverbs 1:24-28
January 6 Genesis 13:5-15:21 Matthew 5:27-48 Psalm 6:1-10 Proverbs 1:29-33
January 7 Genesis 16:1-18:15 Matthew 6:1-24 Psalm 7:1-17 Proverbs 2:1-5

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How can I pray for you? How can I help families see Jesus?

IMG_0005I must confess my prayer life is not all that good.  I have times when my prayer life is awesome.  Mostly I forget, fall asleep, or just plain don’t have the words.  To be real honest with you all prayer is something I have to structure. I need a purpose.  I need something to be doing.

Here is what I am going to do.  I am going to pray for you.  I want to spend this year in prayer for you.  I want to be in prayer for the families I serve in ministry.  I want to have God work through this means of talking with him so that you may be filled with Jesus.

This is probably the most important thing I can do for the families of the congregation I serve.  I am going to pray for them. No not all of them at once. Not the generic prayer for families each day but individuals.  I am going to pray for just a few each week.  It will probably take me the whole year to get through them all.  At this point I am not sure how many it will be but I plan to pray for 3 families a day.  I want to spend the whole day thinking about those three families and keeping them in constant prayer.  They will get a message from me a week ahead of time letting them know I will be praying for them, and asking if they have any needs.  Then I want to follow up and let them know I prayed for them.  I pray God will allow me to hear of stories of his work in their lives, but if not I want them to know someone cares.  That Jesus loves them.  I will be praying for their requests, but also that their faith may grow, that they would gather at God’s house and hear about Jesus.  I pray Jesus would be a part of their lives.

So what do I ask of you?  Well could you pray for me?  Could you pray I continue to do it.  When I am busy, or tired or lazy help me to continue to do it.  Help me to say nothing is more important than to pray for you.  Let us join together in prayer so that the world may know Jesus.

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:15-16 NIV

Jumping in the pool…why scars arent so bad in ministry!

11539202_677325718132_5953708130056976268_oWe all have scars.  I have a few from ministry.  Some of those scars are seen and others are right in the middle of my face. But scars can be a good thing if they are done for the sake of the Gospel.

This past week we had an amazing VBS.  We had more kids attend VBS this year than any of the past 5.  We capped it off by collecting 545 items for food pantries in our area.  This led to my most recent scar.  I told the kids if they collected 500 canned goods I would jump into a pool of ice.  It was going to be awesome.  The kids were cheering, and excited when we brought them out to watch it. They were cheering me on.  I thought the worst that could happen was get some bumps or bruises jumping into the kiddy pool. I leaped and was in the water.  The pain wasn’t that bad but when I came out of the water I saw blood. My wife gave me the look that said “you did something very wrong to your face.” She grabbed my hat off my head and shoved it into my face so the children wouldn’t be further traumatized.  It was not my best moment in ministry.  Something that seemed so promising had gone so bad in a matter of seconds.

But I wouldn’t change a thing. I did get bandaged up and was able to walk back inside and share with kids I was alright and lead them in a prayer.  One of the themes for the week was Jesus heals us and so I tied it all together. It turned into a good moment to share Jesus. I am someone who will jump in a pool of ice water if I think it will  let me talk about Jesus with a kid. Heck the scar was a great story in the ER when I got my 11 stitches.  I got to share Jesus with a doctor, nurse and three paper work people. I don’t mind the scars in ministry because another family, kid, student, adult or whoever got to hear the good news of Jesus.  They got to see some crazy grown kid stand up and share Jesus. Who knows if they will ever be a believer in Christ. The Holy Spirit does that work anyway.  I never even know if the scar is worth it.

I do know this however, I would take all the scars in the world if it meant one more kid or family might know Jesus. So for all of you in ministry, either volunteer or paid professional lets make more scars so others can know this Jesus who loves and cares for us.  Lets tell the world even if it means some pain and scars.

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Psalm 51:8 ESV

I didn’t hear the sermon…but I saw Jesus and shared Jesus with my squirly neice.

DSC_0004I have a confession to make. This past Sunday I missed most of what happened in Church.  In fact I apparently missed my Brother in-law Pastor say that we worship three Gods in one person.(All pastor’s have slips  of the tongue) It was trinity Sunday and apparently he made this mistake during the opening announcements of the service. I tried to pay attention, I really did. However for this service I had one job in mind. I was going to keep my niece occupied so my Sister-in-law could enjoy the service of the baptism of her son. My self appointed job was sitting with my niece and trying to keep her quiet and distracted.  She is what I would call a wild child and I love her for it.  During the service I asked her in my quiet voice if I could suck her thumb that she was sucking.  I don’t know why I did it except she was starting to get noisy and point to Mom, and I though maybe it would make her smile. It did and for the whole hymn she kept trying to stick her disgusting thumbs into my mouth. (By the way she has a tendency to stick her hands in her diaper quite often just for the visual) This was the beginning of probably the most amazing worship service I have been a part of in awhile.

You see next my niece went up with all the other little kids and saw the baptism.  It was a very cool moment. When she returned, we spent the rest of the service quietly talking about it. Most of the message I spent pointing at the hymnal I was holding and showing her the baptism picture on it.  I quietly sat and talked with her about how she was baptized when she was a little baby and that one day she would be with Jesus. I talked about how I would be with Jesus because I was baptized too.  She smiled such a great smile and laughed her little laugh all very quietly. She would point to the baptismal font and then to herself and laugh. It was pure joy. We went to communion and I got to share with my niece about Jesus again. She smiled and we had the best time together. I held her and sang a hymn to her. At the last hymn she was tired and fell asleep in my arms. When the service was done the lady behind me said “What I did with that little girl was a miracle.”  I am not sure it was a miracle but It was a great day as an uncle because I got to share Jesus with my 2 year old niece.

It was not a miracle. It was a good weekend. It was a good day.  Two things I hope everyone takes from this story. First it is ok to give up a worship service to help a little one know Jesus and allow others to hear about him. It is ok to just pack it in and say you know what today is about my niece and everyone else in the room. I know parents who miss a lot in the service because they are devoting their lives to help their kids hear about Jesus.

Second and here is my challenge for congregations.  Maybe next week when you see that mom or dad who are struggling with their small child  to listen to the sermon you can sit next to them. Offer to hold one of the young ones during the service so they can hear about Jesus.  Take time with the little ones who are squirmy. Share Jesus  with them.  It can be a blessing for all involved.

but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14