All posts filed under: Personal Growth

Are You Allowing Christmas to be Personal?

In the life group Bailey and I are in, there is a couple who just had a baby. Over the past nine months we have experienced the excitement of their announcing they were pregnant, the gender reveal (in true mermaid fashion if you know Kyndel), the baby growing, baby showers, and finally the arrival of Miss Noël! Leading up to her birth, we talked a lot about her, how life would be different for their family and what we as a life group would do to support the new parents. Then, Noël was born. Everything we talked about was now in the hands of her parents. Noël was now real, not just an idea, but a person we could hold, touch, and embrace. I believe the same holds true when we experience Jesus. At some point in our lives, we  heard about Jesus, whether it was in church, small group, a casual conversation, a court room, a movie… We talked about this Jesus, but we didn’t really experience Him until we entered into a personal …

God Knows Your Mess and Accepts You

-written by Betsie Richards I’m sitting in an ICU waiting room, wishing I wasn’t here. To distract myself, I people watch. I’ve caught myself wondering the stories of all these people and their families. How did they end up here? What’s wrong with their loved one? Do they feel like we do? I could go up and introduce myself and get to know them but… yikes. Strangers. One thing I’ve noticed about my Mom during this hospital stay is, when she is feeling well enough, she makes a point to find out everyone’s name. Her nurse, the tech, the person taking her for a CT; then she typically thanks them by name. I’ve been scolding myself for not doing the same. For being willing to leave those I meet as anonymous or outsiders to my world. Sometimes I wonder if the shepherds felt like outsiders? We don’t know much about them specifically- not even their names. We know they weren’t the social elite of the time, they were probably smelly and dirty, they basically lived …

Can God’s Timing Be Perfect In My Struggle?

But when the right time came, God sent his son, born of a women, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. – Galatians 4:4-5 God, in His perfect timing, sent Christ into the world to rescue us from the penalty of sin. What does this phrase, “fullness of time,” mean to us? Why is it significant? In their commentary on the whole Bible, Fausset and Brown write: God does nothing prematurely, but, foreseeing the end from the beginning, waits till all is ripe for the execution of His purpose. Had Christ come directly after the fall, the enormity and deadly fruits of sin would not have been realized fully by man, so as to feel his desperate state and need of a Savior. Sin was fully developed. Man’s inability to save himself by obedience to the law, whether that of Moses, or that of conscience, was completely manifested; all the prophecies of various …

Stewardship Is More Than Money. It’s Everything.

Stewardship. What does this word make you think of? For me, my mind always goes right to church and managing money. Yes, we do say it in church and yes, we do steward money, but there is more to it. Stewardship is simply the conducting, supervising, or managing of something. While managing or stewarding money is a big part of our lives, there’s a lot more to manage than just money. My boys, Liam and Levi, are now 5 and 4 years old. They constantly keep Kelli and I on our toes. Sometimes managing the two of them seems impossible. But we seem to manage. (See what I did there?) We signed them up for fall baseball back at the end of summer, moving Levi up an age bracket as wanted them on the same team so we were together as a family on game days. The Rec Department needed more coaches so I volunteered to help. I was excited. This marked my 3rd time coaching, but my first time head coaching, both my boys …

How Can You Be Content With Less?

I think most would agree being content is not an attitude that comes easy. I wish I could just wake up content, but I think the opposite is true; I wake up wanting. I believe this is why Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11 he has “learned how to be content with whatever I have.” Have you ever seen an advertisement suggesting, “Don’t worry, you don’t need this.” Nope! Billions and billions and billions are spent on pushing back against contentment, convincing us stuff, trips, and food will bring about completion, then we will be content. But it’s only good until the next thing comes along. It never stops. So where does wanting end and being content begin? Are you ready for this, because it’s pretty genius… Jesus! As Shannon said, and many before him, and many after him, Jesus is enough. The first key to giving generously is being content. Why? Because we no longer hold tightly to anything anymore. There are no more strongholds to what we believe is ours, or to what …

But Its My Gift and I Don’t Want to Share

Remember the first day you got to drive a car? Alone? Maybe you were lucky enough to get a new car that day. Or maybe you were just grateful to be able to borrow the family car. Either way, you were given the gift of freedom. You didn’t have to depend on anyone to go where you wanted anymore. You could just go. I got to drive the family car when I was 16 and the privilege to do so was a gift I didn’t take lightly. I had dreams of grandeur, driving around and picking up my friends to go and do… I don’t know what. We didn’t do a whole lot other than hangout and play basketball. I found out quickly with my new found gift there was an expectation to share the gift with my sister. She was younger, but she needed the car to take her places also. I needed the car to get to the store, school, a friend’s house, and church. So did my sister. And now with the …

Do You Know the Secret to Generosity?

-written by Matt Clotfelter One of the all time greatest Disney movies is “Cool Runnings.” It is enticing–the struggle to overcome unbelievable odds. One of the climactic scenes of the movie has the two main characters discussing purpose. Derice, the bobsled driver, asks his coach, Irv, why he had cheated when he competed. Irv responds, “It’s quite simple, really. I had to win. You see, Derice, I’d made winning my whole life. And when you make winning your whole life, you have to keep on winning, no matter what. You understand that? A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.” So often, we feel compelled to win. Sometimes we are so compelled we will go to any length to be the victor, even at the expense of our integrity. And this is not confined just to sports; in business, relationships, and even arguments, winning is paramount. Even our modern American culture is rife with language that tells us we have to have it …

What Do You Think You Deserve?

Have you ever admitted to yourself that you don’t deserve something? In most situations and circumstances in life, we tend to tell ourselves we deserve it. Whether we say it aloud or not, our actions show this is what we think. I deserve this new job. I deserve a pay raise. I deserve my family. I deserve this house. I deserve a new car. I deserve these clothes. I deserve this vacation. You get the point. I can probably say that I have thought or said all of these things more than once in my life. So let me ask you: Do we deserve the love of God? For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 Let that verse resonate and then meditate on it. Do I really deserve this? Absolutely not, but this is the love of God and His generosity in action. I can go through a day, a …

Are You Living a Wholly Generous Life?

Don’t you love fall? The leaves are changing, the flannels come out of storage, the weather is cooling off, and everything is pumpkin spiced. This time of the year is beautiful. One of my favorite things to do in the fall is have bonfires. There is nothing more relaxing than getting together with my small group or a couple of guys and just sitting around a fire. When I have a bonfire, I like to go somewhere away from everything: out in the country, out in a field, or out in the woods. It fascinates me that bonfires can be seen for miles. People a couple of houses down can enjoy my fire form the comfort of their own homes. In the Bible, our lives in Christ are often referred to as a light. Our lives illuminate this dark world. But the thing is, this light does not come from us. The life that illuminates is merely reflecting the greatness of God. This light comes from the glory of the Gospel, the generous sacrifice of …

Are You Choosing Love in Your Marriage?

Have you ever been to a wedding where 1 Corinthians 13 was not quoted? Every wedding I’ve attended the preacher or someone giving a toast quoted this scripture with a smile on their face and a desire to see love win for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death. For this love to win, couples must choose to endure all things. Choosing to love with a never-ending persistence can be hard, so keep these three truths in mind. Love, even when it’s not fair or you don’t feel it. There may be times when your commitment is tested. To everything, there is a season and right now you might need to persevere and choose love. Possibly the greatest example in scripture of love enduring all things is found in the story of Hosea and Gomer where Hosea commits to love, even when it’s not fair. Hosea 3:1 says, “Then the LORD said to me, ’Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that …