3 Ways to Intentionally Feed Your Child’s Faith This Summer 

Summer break is finally here and with it are several extra hours in the day to be intentional about building up their faith.  Whether your child is involved in a phenomenal children’s ministry programs, attends public school, is homeschooled, or attends a Christian school, you need to be diligent about ensuring that you fulfill your primary calling as their parent – to train them up in the ways of the Lord. While this is your task 24/7, summer break provides additional time and flexibility for you to focus on that priority.  Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commisison (at no additional cost to you) for purchase made through links. See my sidebar for more information.  Find a way to serve as a family Take time to enjoy summer freedom, but don’t waste it. Use your additional time to serve regularly with your kids. But don’t just cart them along to whatever your doing, be intentional about finding ways they can serve and explaining to them why it is important for the Christian faith.  Visit a nursing home. Let your children talk with the elderly residents and bring along some games to play.  Have them paint or color pictures to bring along to brighten up their rooms. But always explain the why. Remind your children of the Christian call to visit the sick and tell them that this is one way they can live that out.  Go to a local park or beach to clean-up trash. Again, remind your children of the why and the task God has given us to care for Creation. Then, enjoy some time in the water or swing set.  Make-up ziplock bags, filled with basic hygiene essentials and some non-perishable food, to keep in your car and give to those you see in need. This is a great way to teach your children about providing for the poor. If they’re older and able, it would wonderful to have them copy down Bible verses or little notes to include in the bags as well.  Begin the habit of family devotionals If the school year makes it hard to begin your day as a family with time in the Word together, take advantage of leisurely summer mornings and encourage your children to spend time, daily, reading their Bible by embracing setting the example of family devotionals. Spending time in the Bible…

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I’m #Blessed Because I’m Poor In Spirit

Blessed. It is a hashtag trend that always makes me stop. We want to be blessed and often, we smile and #blessed when posting pictures of idyllic families, perfect views, or smiling people.  But Jesus had a lot to say about blessings and, it didn’t have a lot to do with our circumstances, but our state of heart.  And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:2-3, ESV Blessed are the poor in spirit.  I don’t want to be poor in spirit. I want to be arrogantly self-assured. Instead of humbling admitting I’m at the end of my rope, that I’ve lost control, I want to share a polished, beautiful piece of art, not the busted state of my sinful heart.  But Jesus didn’t say blessed are those who house lavish, estates for hearts with room for others and perfect advice, He said blessed are the poor in spirit.  What does it look like to live with a spirit that is poor? Is that even something I want in my life?  Often, we talk about the riches that are ours in Christ but we gloss over passages like this and theorize away what it means to be poor in spirit. But the Kingdom of God doesn’t belong to those with perfect theology, it belongs to the poor in spirit. So maybe, just maybe, this deserves a bit more of our attention.  Blessed am I, not when I have an Instagram perfect moment with my Bible and my coffee, but when I’m crying on my kitchen floor because things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to. Blessed am I, not when I share an exciting announcement on Facebook, but when I’m crying out again to God because my heart is broken over a baby that isn’t coming. I am blessed, not in the moments when I feel worthy, but in the moments when I feel certain that I am desperately unworthy.  When we are poor in spirit, when we know the true state of ourselves, we are blessed.  The broken are not rejected by God, but instead, we are blessed by Him.  The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are poor in spirit.  What if, instead of fawning over the lives of those who see to be “blessed” by the lives we desire,…

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3 Christian Books I’m Reading This Summer

Summer reading is a favorite pastime for many. For me, it’s been a quite eclectic bundle this summer. I had a few books sent to me to review, representing several different types.  While the following post contains reviews on books that I received in echange for a review, you can have confidence that all opinions expressed are my own. I want to share exactly what I thought of each one of these books so that you might find a helpful book for your summer. Note: This post contains affiliate links. 10 Minutes in the Psalms The book of Psalms has been the poetry of my life for the last few years. Because of that, I was naturally drawn to this book. 10 Minutes in the Psalms is a short, 46-day devotional that leads you through the entire book of Psalms. The premise is that it’s about 10 minutes of reading and then a short devotional based on the passage read.  I appreciated the insightful, scripturally-rooted nature of this book. Often, devotionals tend to be nice platitudes inspired by a single verse or passage. This book avoids that entirely. The bulk of your reading is not the author, but Scripture. Then, the author provides some practical implications for your life from that passage. The emphasis is not “look at what I have to say” but look at what God has said. It is a charming composition that makes reading through a book of the Bible approachable and simple. It was informative and clearly well-researched. I learned new information about the individual psalmists and felt the humanity in the psalms like never before. This book is simple enough for new believers but yet, appeals to all levels and would be appropriate for even a seasoned believer. I highly recommend this book as a great introduction to encourage the habit of daily Bible reading.  Pre-order your copy here now! Pushing Into Joy by Hannah Grimley Hannah Grimley’s writing is real and authentic. This book is a brave tribute to how God called her to push into joy during one of the most desperate, broken seasons of her life.  Pushing into Joy is a 27 day devotional, designed to be visited again and again. There are journaling areas for you to leave several responses, as you journey through joy in different parts of life.  While the book left me wanting more Scripture to truly…

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Dinner with Sinners Like Jesus Taught Us

I’m big on appearances. I want to be thought of as the model Christian woman without actually doing the hard work required to earn the title. Instead of serving and loving and giving of myself, I dress up my life like a Pharisee so that others think I’m worthy of admiration.  One of the ways I curate my life to achieve this illusion is by surrounding myself with others who do all of these things so that I can piggyback on their holiness.  One of the things I avoid doing is bringing into my life anyone who might go rogue or tarnish that reputation.  I wish that I could tell you something different. I wish that I could give you the story of a woman who loves extravagantly. But I do not.  I do, however, have a different role model for us to examine, one much better than myself, one who was known, not for guarding His reputation, but for earning the title “Friend of Sinners.” While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 2:15-22, ESV Jesus didn’t care about His reputation. He didn’t care about what others falsely accused Him of. He cared about reaching the hearts that have been battered and bruised by the pain of the world.  He entered the homes of those no one would enter and sat and hear their stories. Instead of waiting until they were “acceptable” company, He dwelt with them because He saw what we couldn’t – that none of use are acceptable company.  Christ did not give us an example of keeping our lives separate from sinners, He gave us the example of radically loving and embracing sinners into our lives.  I don’t like to pretend like I’ve embraced broken people well. But there have been a few times where, despite myself, God has worked through me and allowed me to forge meaningful relationships with those seeking Him.  And each…

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Hospitality: 3 Compelling Reasons Why You Need To Make Opening Your Home A Priority

I love the idea of being hospitable but, when push comes to shove, introverted me would rather retreat deeply into my home and myself, citing some need for self-care or boundaries. I have board upon board of ideas for recipes to make, parties to host, and a home to decorate perfectly. If you search “hostess” your Pinterest feed will populate with a how to make all of this envy-worthy – your home, your food, and your looks. But that’s not what hospitality is about. Hospitality is a fiercely-spiritual issue.  For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. – Titus 1:7-8 ESV It isn’t an issue of having a home perfectly crafted, it’s a heart condition. It’s a spirit that says, “Here I am! Use me! Use this house.” One of the markers of our faith is our reputation for being hospitable. It’s a qualification given to distinguish those who are able to be leaders in the Church. They must be hospitable.  So why is it such a struggle?  Why do you fight in opening our doors, in opening ourselves, up to those around us?  It is a constant battle to surrender self, for others. Hospitality demands that of us. We can’t hide away, but must be open and vulnerable with our times and our selves.  Hospitality demands humility. True hospitality means that we have to offer up who we are and can’t maintain the appearance of who we wish to be. It means we open our homes and offer ourselves, without pretending.  When we open our homes and our lives to those around us, they see the good and the bad. They see our strengths and our weaknesses. We can serve as an encouragement, and allow them to encourage the weakness we have. Hospitality isn’t about arranging a home that makes other’s envious, it’s about opening our homes to show others the heart we have for who God is and what He has done.  We don’t offer hospitality as an end in itself, we do it to glorify our Lord and express love for our neighbors.  While this sometimes looks like trying to make your home particularly lovely, it often looks simply inviting people to join you in your day to day…

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