Show Them Jesus

“Gradually, I saw that Joe’s chief purpose was just to let us see Jesus a little bigger and better than we’d seen him before.” – Show Them Jesus

41YDWctSBDLTeaching the Gospel to Kids was enough to peak our interest and Klumpenhower definitely came through. Too many times we look at “stories” in the Bible and boil them down to a moral lesson, an easy application, but that is missing the point. We shouldn’t miss the fact that our sin is the giant and Jesus is the one who defeated sin and death because we are looking at the “giants” in our life and thinking we are the hero. Matt and I are going to walk through this book and we hope you join us.

If you are a Sunday School teacher at Cornerstone, you should have a copy already. (If not, talk to Matt) But anyone is welcome to this conversation.

We will start with the first chapter next week!

And if you would like to read more from Jack Klumpenhower (He has even more great resources) check out his website.

Favorite Books of 2014… and a Giveaway!

 You and me Forever

You and Me Forever- Marriage in Light of Eternity
I enjoyed this book so much that I wrote them and asked for one to giveaway on this blog and they sent me one! So here you go… Enter to win! And check out my review here.

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Women Living Well
Courtney Joseph starts with the Word of God and helps women see the importance of it in their personal life, marriage, and motherhood. She point out pitfalls and gives biblical advice to walk with God through the challenges and blessings of life. It is very practical without being overwhelming.

Women of the Word
I think this is one of the most important books for all Christian women, but especially new Christians. It is a fantastic resource for studying God’s word effectively to know Him more not just gain knowledge.

The Hole in Our Holiness
“Be holy for I am holy” is being hidden away by many Christians today not wanting to offend, but joy and hope are being hidden away with it. Holiness is a vital part of the Christian life and can not be achieved merely by human effort.

unPlanned
Abby Johnson tells her story of wanting to help women. She started at Planned Parenthood to do just that, but after years and changes in herself and the organization she left. She got in her car and drove straight to the pro-life center down the street. Her story gave me understanding and compassion for people and issues of both sides of the fence. She glorifies God with her submission and trust in Him.

Fit to Burst
“If you find yourself in bed at night tallying what has been lost to you, you need to let go of that list.” Our children take from us all day long, but are we giving ourselves to them, and more importantly are we allowing Christ to fill us so that we have the right things to give? Rachel helps us to think theologically about motherhood.

I wish that I had more time to read because I love grabbing a cup of some goodness and sitting down with a good book. Unfortunately I am not in a stage of life for that. I usually read while the kids are in the bath or happily entertained with play dough for five minutes. I used to read before bed, but now I can’t make it through a paragraph before my eyes close forcing me to choose sleep instead.

I love getting suggestions for books because I definitely don’t take time to read a book just to see if it is good. So leave me a comment with your book recommendations!

 

 

Lookin’ for a Book: You and Me Forever

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Title: You and Me Forever, Marriage in Light of Eternity

Author: Francis and Lisa Chan

www.youandmeforever.org

Over all impressions:

The first time I heard Francis Chan speak he was still relatively unknown and at the time he had a passion for the gospel that moved me and is a part of my story of falling in love with evangelism. He was passionate and did “crazy” big things. This book is no different.

He questions the way evangelical Christians have “made an idol out of marriage and the family” asking if we have become too narrow in our focus forgetting the BIGGER picture. Eternity is the goal and by loving our families we can take part in the mission of God, but it is only a part.

Divorce is, in almost every circumstance, clearly forbidden in scripture, it isn’t even an option. So work fighting together for the gospel and fighting with each other will fade. Problems in marriage are better solved looking at Jesus than at each other. I really think Christians need to come back to this again and again because we forget that sinning against our spouses is sinning against God.

Our goal in marriage should be to glorify God and make disciples. This was the part that I really loved about the book. It is easier for me to decide to move to across the world than in the day to day set aside inconveniences and offenses for the purpose of making disciples. Everything about our lives should be for this purpose.

They end with parenting toward this goal as well. They confront the sin of letting our children think they are the center of the universe instead of teaching them the truth that God is the center. I have really being struggling through parenting in light of eternity, even before I started this book, and I think they should write a sequel with more practical advice on parenting.

The only thing I wish they would have covered was not sacrificing your family on the altar of ministry. Because they were fighting the opposite battle, I understand why they didn’t, but I think that can be an equal if not greater offense to God. I think may of the missionaries that physically or emotionally abandoned their families but brought the gospel to new places missed the mark.

Favorite Quotes:

“I have come to the conclusion that most marriage problems are not really marriage problems. They are God problems.”

“Being in war together is what keeps us from being at war with each other.”

“You should sit down with your spouse tonight and figure out how to structure your lives around the command to make disciples. This command should dictate everything about your life: where you live, where you work, where you spend your money, how you spend your time- everything!”

“Do I spend more time focusing on being a good spouse or parent, or more time focusing on being a godly person?”

“Statistics show that the vast majority of kids who grow up in these nice, comfortable, church-going homes where family is idolized walk away from the church once they turn eighteen, never to return.”

What I’m doing about it?

One of the questions helped Matt and I both to see that prayer is something we both need to give more priority to in our spiritual lives. We have started praying more together and keeping each other accountable to praying on our own.

I want my every decision to be about making disciples. When Matt and I met, we both said if we were ever going to get a tattoo it would be of the word eternity. Who knows maybe we will do it… or
maybe not, but we have started talking about what it really means for where we live, how we spend our time, how we spend our money and how we raise our kids. We need to protect them, but we also need to teach them to love God and others. That balance is very hard for me especially in such a different culture.

Have you read it? What did you think?
Do you think you would read it?

* Lookin’ for a Book? I love reading but don’t have time to read a bad book, and I’m guessing you don’t either. That’s why I love talking about books because we can learn from each other what is good and what can be skipped! If you have any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them!

Favorite books of 2013

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Dad is Fat -A hilarious comedy on parenting. Matt and I read it out loud mostly on drives back and forth from Kampala and it was great comic relief for parenting two under two

Give them Grace– A fabulous resource on gospel centered parenting. Real grace doesn’t give in, it pursues holiness while keeping salvation central. It has been a great help in disciplining Micah setting the standard at God’s standard and consistently telling him that we need Jesus not just to help us obey (moralism) but to forgive us and make us new creations.

African Friends and Money Matters– A must read for anyone interacting with African cultures. It has proven again and again to be spot on. In the West we keep business and personal separate, but in African culture you can’t have one without the other.

When Helping Hurts– How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor and yourself. I could read this book again and again and continue to learn so much from it because it is such a hard thing. We have people ask us for money almost every time we leave our compound. People that all have real needs. One of the biggest helps for me was the difference between relief, rehabilitation, and development.

Don’t Make Me Count to Three– Can you tell I have an almost two year old by the books I have read. This one was also fantastic. Micah you need to obey all the way, right away with a happy heart. There is a consequence RIGHT NOW because you didn’t obey a. right away b. all the way c. with a happy heart. It has already been so helpful to us and  Micah to know what to expect. We discipline out of obedience to God not because we love it. Our children have offended God not us.

Treasuring God in our Traditions– Noel Piper is a woman of God and I really appreciate her intentionality. My goal for 2013 was to be intentional with holidays and with the everyday. She encouraged spotlighting Christ with all of our traditions in many practical ways. This would be my highest recommendation for a young family.

American Heiress– The only fiction I finished this year. If you like Downton Abbey you too would love this book. I wish I read more fiction but there are so many other books I want to read and I never know what novels are worth the time. If you have any favorites I would love to expand my fiction reading.

Loving the Little Years– This is an easy read with encouraging stories for mothers with little kiddos. Because of this I have a great tool that I use pretty much everyday. “This (crazy moment) will be over in ten minutes”. My favorite track event in High School was the 300 hurdles it was always brutal and always worth it at the finish line. I would always focus on getting to just the next hurdle. When I get up in the morning I try to take one hurdle at a time (running in the power of the Holy Spirit) and at bed time it is always worth it.

The Pursuit of God– This is one of my favorite books of all time. Doesn’t the title just draw you closer to the Lord. I promise this one won’t disapoint!
The Jesus Story Book Bible- Matt said just the other day, “I think this is better than half of the Bible commentaries I have read.” I can’t agree with him more. She does a fantastic job telling the story of Jesus throughout the entire Bible in simple but not watered down truths.

The Bible– I think too many people think the Bible is too obvious to put on a favorite book list, but I think it is a great tactic of the devil to get believers to love Christian books more than the only living and active Word. Book loving friends do not read a good book neglecting the Best.

I would love to hear what you are reading! Here is my reading list for 2014 so far and I would love to add some tried and true books to it. Happy Reading!

Treasuring God in Our Traditions

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Saturday afternoon we had an Independence day BBQ with some friends here. It was a huge blessing to me to have hotdogs, s’mores, and light sparklers. Not because of the things themselves, but they reminded me of the many July 4th holidays that I spent with family and friends at our family cabin enjoying the extra time together. Often singing songs around the camp fire celebrating our freedom of religion or hiking Laramie Peak and enjoying God’s incredible creation from the top of the mountain.
Saturday morning we had been to the market as a family, a new Saturday morning routine we have started, to get most of our food for the week, great the women who I have become friends with, pray for their families, and get our new favorite breakfast, Uganda’s version of a breakfast burrito. And Saturday afternoon I realized another benefit of our Saturday morning routine. The people at the market had told our friend about how awesome Matt was to come with me and “the twins” (Micah and Julia are really 15 months apart, but I appreciate that many Ugandans realize that they are enough work to be twins). By being present with us, Matt is making a statement of the importance of family and the importance of a father and husband being involved in family life. I pray that not only the people around us, but also Micah will see the repetition and learn the truth that a godly husband and father, by the grace of God, lays down his life for his family putting their needs above his own.
All of this reminded me of  a book which if you are looking for a good one to read I would suggest Treasuring God In Our Traditions by Noel Piper. It has been the best book on family life that I have read this year. She talks from experience and scripture about the impact that the traditions of everyday and the “especially” days make in our families. “We are always teaching our children, whether we mean to or not. Our children come to believe, probably unconsciously, that whatever is repeated regularly has significance. It was God’s design that learning happen by frequent and regular repetition.”
The little things of the day are important and create a framework even for young children. What we do today will impact what our children will do when they are adults and what they will do with their children just as the traditions that our parents impact us. “We want our families to be a picture of God to others and for our children and our children’s children to know God as much as possible at whatever age.” What i repeatedly do, my children will assume is important. What are they seeing that I treasure in life?
Then there are the traditions of the special days like birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Independence Day, and so on. As an adult looking back, one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving was that there were always pieces of corn set by our dinner plates that we would hold up as we went around the table saying things that we were thankful for that year. It is a tradition that I brought into my marriage and family. Basically how can we make the most of Christ not just the traditions of the world on special days. Noel gives some examples of things that their family has done and my favorite was to set the Christmas presents under the nativity scene instead of under the tree. It is a small shift that makes a big difference.
As a young family it is the perfect time to be intentional about starting some traditions of our own and purposefully showing Christ in the everyday and the special days. What are some of your favorite family traditions? I’d love to hear…