Make 2018 a Gospel Centered year + a BIG announcement!

We've always been a little scattered and disorganized in our morning God-space, obviously complicating the whole process and making it entirely too difficult to stay. on. task. This year, we have a plan! I'm sharing just a few tips and resources that I know will simplify our God-space and deepen our time with Him each day... read on to hear more, and stick around to the end, because I've got a little announcement to make! 

1. Find a Gospel-centered devotional

I'm one day in, so I can't say a whole lot about this devotional I'm reading this year... I can say that, historically, I have not been successful at staying on task with devotionals, and essentially gave up trying years ago... until Chris, Jane, Jessica, Isabel, and more, and more, and more friends just kept talking about this one. I stole Chris's copy and the inside cover did it for me... I'm in!

"Mornings can be tough. Sometimes, a hearty breakfast and strong cup of coffee just aren't enough.....Paul David Tripp wants to energize you with the most potent encouragement imaginable: the gospel. Forget "behavior modification" or feel-good aphorisms.....what we really need is an encounter with the living God...." -New Morning Mercies

Y'all, I'm determined to finish this, and I'm excited about it! Click the cover below to take a look!


2. Find a Gospel-centered children's Bible

Devotionals and books about the Bible are AWESOME, but don't let those resources take priority over His actual Word: the Bible. I'm still reading through the Gospel of John, but another way I'll be digging into His word is through a solid, Gospel-centered children's Bible. Specifically, we'll be reading The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible. There is so much I love about this Bible. It's laid out in 52 stories that point straight to the Gospel, with a discussion question, and short explanation for each story. The stories are perfectly worded for young listeners, and SO adorably illustrated! AND since the scripture references are included, you can read the Word right along with your toddlers and preschoolers. We’ll be reading one story a week, and I am really looking forward to the learning that will happen throughout the days of each week as we repeat and dive into the same stories in the BIG Bible and this children’s Bible. Check it out!

More Gospel centered children's Bibles and other resources:


3. Find a Gospel-Centered Bible reading plan for your young readers

True... We don't have young readers... but we DO have two of these on our book shelf waiting for two young readers to fill their pages with notes and questions! 

What I love so much about this book is that it actually teaches kids from a very young age how to read the Bible, and takes them on an exploration from Genesis to Revelation. It's a simple guided tour through Scripture, with daily reading prompts, thought-provoking questions, and space for writing each day. And on Sunday, there's space for kids to take sermon notes! Which I think is awesome! Anyway... I'm excited for my kids to put this book to use in the future, but it's so good I had to go ahead and share with y'all now!

More Gospel-centered devotional material for young readers (and pre-readers!)


Last but not least: Plan ahead and stay on task!

...and now that announcement. One last resource we'll be using to simplify and stay on task in our God-space this year:

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This is a faith planner and journal for moms that has everything you'll need to stay accountable and on task as you and your children focus your hearts on GROWTH this year! Much, much more to come, I just could not hold this in for one more second! This is a project I have prayed over, created, recreated, scrapped all-together and picked back up because I just believe in it SO much. It has been in the works for over a year now, and I am so excited to be so close to having this project in my hands and available to moms like me, who need a little help staying on task. I could go on for days, y'all. And I will, trust me... I am just SO thrilled to be sharing this with you now, and can't wait to show you bits and pieces of it as it comes more and more together! Just this little blurb for now, but don't worry, I'll be updating every step, and when it's finally available for preorder, we'll go ahead and have a BIG party!

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Non-perishables in a perishing world - gleanings from John chapter three

This post is part of a weekly share of gleanings from the book of John. Click here for more information, and read to the bottom to join the conversation! 


Several years ago I worked in a food bank, always asking friends and church members to donate non-perishables. Why? Because the lifespan of perishables was already diminishing. Before long those items would be moldy, rotten, and tossed…

Sound familiar?

It should, because that’s me and you! Perishable from birth… And that’s the nature of our existence that this third chapter of John addresses.

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I have known John 3:16 my whole life. And I bet you have too. Is there a more “famous” Bible verse??

And I think I have misunderstood it’s message my whole life too. That’s unfortunate because, y’all… this is the Gospel! The Good news of Jesus!

Perhaps my misunderstanding was due to lack of investigation. Did I ever read it within it’s context, or consider to whom Jesus spoke these words? Did I ever compare the words in the 16th verse to the story in the two previous verses? Or look into Jesus’ God-given mission in the following verse? So let’s back up and jump forward a bit, and look at verses 14-17.

14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:14-17)

Numbers 21:4-9 tells the story mentioned in 14&15. Click on the link and read through it briefly… it’s an important part of the investigation, because it reminds us that looking upon the serpent did not save those who were well, but those who were already bitten, already perishing… and gave them life.

Perfect segway to Jesus’ presentation of His own Gospel, which He shared with a Pharisee, somebody who believed he was well because of his many “righteous” works.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Should. Not. Perish… but have eternal life! Eternally non-perishable! Saved from decay, mold, and the being tossed!

And remember the nature of perishables? Already diminishing! That’s where the next verse comes in… and that’s where my years of misunderstanding came in as well.

I always read these verses in regards to two separate groups of people: the condemned and the not-condemned, the lost and the saved. Not only is that thinking deeply flawed, but it is a BIG disservice to the awe and gravity of what Jesus came to do!

The beauty and great impact of these passages comes when we realize and accept that Jesus is speaking to ONE group: the condemned. I am in that group and so are you… and so is every human who has ever existed… including our precious little ones. Already condemned. Diminishing, perishing from the moment of our birth. Enemies, completely unworthy of His great grace that brings salvation to those who would never turn to Him if not drawn by Him.

Jesus did not come to this world in judgement or in order to condemn a world which was already condemned in it’s entirety. Jesus came into the world in grace, in order to rescue us, His enemies, and willingly receive the punishment we all deserve. Jesus came into the world as a substitute for our condemnation. Jesus came into the world so that when His Father looks upon His children, He won’t see you and me in our filthy, rotten, perishing condemnation. Instead, He will see the righteousness of Jesus covering each of us whose hearts He has given the gift of belief!

And what a gift it is to share this grace with our children when we encounter various sins in our families. What a privilege and responsibility to model unconditional love and forgiveness despite the behaviors we see in these little ones, and the behaviors they see in us. What a challenge to live and love the way Jesus did, patiently dealing with Nicodemus and the Pharisees in their endless questions, doubts and traps… and what a celebration to see them turn to Him as He calls them forth!

I hope you are reading these scriptures with your little ones, they are immeasurably valuable and eternally fruitful!


If you're journeying through the Gospel of John with us (or if you'd like to!), click below to download your guide through chapter three!


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Remember and Believe - gleanings from John chapter two

 Remember and Believe - gleanings from John chapter two

This post is part of a weekly share of gleanings from the book of John. Click here for more information, and read to the bottom to join the conversation! 

I'll never forget the time a friend tried to comfort me as my two pound daughter lay in a NICU isolette twenty minutes away from her daddy, me, and her own crib.

She said, “One day you'll forget any of this ever happened.”

I confidently responded, “I hope I don’t. I wouldn't trade these moments for a full term pregnancy.” Despite the grief and trauma of the NICU, I meant those words. God was doing miraculous things, and my faith was being stretched and strengthened every day.

She’ll be five soon... and I really hate to say this, but some days I forget any of that ever happened.

My friend was right.

This is a problem, y’all. As moms, these days we spend with our little ones are precious and important, but can become so routine and so monotonous that the miracle that made us moms gets lost in the mundane. If you’re reading John with me, the second chapter cuts right to the heart of the problem!

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I thought I was pretty - gleanings from John chapter one

I thought I was pretty - gleanings from John chapter one

As I’ve read through the Gospel of John, so many memories have been stirring… and as I’ve worked through them, I’ve been constantly drawn to you: the young girls crying themselves to sleep at night, praying to be somebody they’re not, begging to be somebody worth knowing. I see you in my story, and I see us in John. May I share with you?

 

I remember being very young, around five or six, and my dad asking me what I liked about myself.

I said, "I think I'm pretty."

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We're Singing: Seeds Family Worship

We're Singing: Seeds Family Worship

My Mercy is a songbird. She loves music and she LOVES to sing. She sings about activities she's doing, she sings herself to sleep at night, she sings to her dolls and toys... and let's not forget her daily Frozen and Moana performances!

It always amazes me how she remembers words of songs she hasn't heard in months... but then again, I know in a heartbeat I could sing every word of "I Will Always Love You" or "Hero." No doubt, no matter how many months or years have passed. 

There is just something about music that clicks in our brains and memory.

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