Families Again
Families Again
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Families Again
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Missionaries Aren't Perfect...
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Family

What is that old saying...Christians aren't perfect just forgiven? Well, that's kind of the way I feel as a missionary right now. No, not as a missionary. Really as a parent.

Every year I try to do something special as a family for Thanksgiving and for Advent. I want my boys to know the real story behind Thanksgiving and not the watered down, revisionist, public school version. I want them to remember the real meaning of Christmas among all of the decorations, business, and secularization of the holiday. For Thanksgiving I always read accurate stories of what happened with the pilgrims and indians. For Christmas I always try to celebrate Advent, the days leading up to Christmas, in a special way. A couple of years ago we actually had Advent candles that we lit along with an Advent story and craft. One year I made them each an advent calendar. This year, I found a great 25 day Advent devotional called A Jesus Advent Celebration written by Ann Voskamp. Ann, who blogs on A Holy Experience, takes us on a journey through the Old Testament as she reminds us of how everything in the Old Testament prepares us for the birth of Christ. After each wonderful devotional, there is a beautiful ornament that you print, cut out, add yarn and hang on your Jesse Tree.

Jesse what? Jesse tree:

 1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
   from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
   the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
   the Spirit of counsel and of might,
   the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. Isaiah 11:1-3

Of course this passage is talking about Jesus. Jesus came from the line of Jesse, David's father but the analogy goes much deeper than that. As Ann explains, we are like stumps. We have sinned and, just like a fallen tree, we have been cut off from God. But we can live again. A Saviour is coming! We are counting down the days and, as we do, our Jesse tree is becoming more full.

So, what is my problem? Why am I saying that I'm not perfect? Well, it seems that the holiday season always makes me reflect on God and family. It urges me to be a better father and spiritual leader in my home. That's why I try to have Thanksgiving and Advent devotionals. Unfortunately, my good intentions don't bear much fruit the rest of the year. My children aren't used to sitting down for even 10 minutes each evening to devote some time to the Lord. Hence, we always have some problems. Oh, it's to be expected. Joshua's medications are wearing off by that time and it is always close to Jacob's bedtime. Still, though, I should be more faithful, and, therefore, my children may get into the habit of evening devotions as a family.

You would think that it would be easy for a missionary family to have some family time with the Lord. After all, we are missionaries aren't we? We should be used to this. Yes, we are missionaries, but all missionaries are Christians. And, what is that saying that I eluded to above? Christians aren't perfect...just forgiven. Well, I'm sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but I'm not perfect. As much as I try I don't have nightly devotions with my family year round.

But, this year is a new year. It's a new holiday season. Perhaps Ann Voskamp's Advent devotional will lead to better things. Please pray with me that it will. In the meantime, it's never too late to start an advent tradition with your family. We didn't begin on the first day, so for the first few days we doubled up on the short devotions (less than 5 min. each) until we caught up. You can still download and enjoy A Jesus Advent Celebration this year with your family. It's free to download! Just go to Ann Voskamp's blog by clicking here - A Holy Experience - and you will find instructions on how to download this great ebook. Hopefully you too will start a lasting tradition with you family this glorious season. Enjoy!

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:09 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 9 December 2010 12:02 AM CST
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Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Please Stop Me Before It's Too Late!
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: General

My name is "Tim" and I'm a bookaholic! Haven't I said that once already recently? If I haven't then I should have! You'll never guess what I've up and done this time. I've signed up to be a book reviewer with a great group called First Wild Card. It's a lot like the TOS Homeschool Crew but instead of homeschool products it's books. And, the great thing is, you pretty much get to choose what books you want to review. You are supposed to do at least one a month, but you pick and choose yourself from the offerings. I just applied for two books to be reviewed in January. I don't know what will happen. I'll let you know.


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Posted by tink38570 at 9:49 PM CST
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Sunday, 5 December 2010
This is a Must Read - It Will Touch Your Heart
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Family

I know the following story isn't a Christmas story, but I think it fits in quite well with this season. I got it from the website Mikey's Funnies which I found through Ann Voskamp's great blog A Holy Experience. I made sure that the story was not copyrighted before I printed it, but go to Mikey's Funnies to find a great response to this story and then head over to A Holy Experience to read another touching entry. You'll be glad you did.


The Rich Family In Church
By Eddie Ogan

I'll never forget Easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister Ocy was 12, and my older sister Darlene 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad had died five years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to raise and no money.

By 1946 my older sisters were married and my brothers had left home. A month before Easter the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially.

When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. When we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn't listen to the radio, we'd save money on that month's electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make three pot holders to sell for $1.

We made $20 on pot holders. That month was one of the best of our lives.

Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we'd sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in church, so figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.

The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change.

We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before.

That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn't care that we wouldn't have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering.

We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn't own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn't seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet.

But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in their new clothes, and I felt rich.

When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of us kids put in a $20.

As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn't say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen $1 bills.

Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn't talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn't have our Mom and Dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware and see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night.

We had two knifes that we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn't have a lot of things that other people had, but I'd never thought we were poor.

That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn't like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed—I didn't even want to go back to church. Everyone there probably already knew we were poor!

I thought about school. I was in the ninth grade and at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew that we were poor. I decided that I could quit school since I had finished the eighth grade. That was all the law required at that time. We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn't know. We'd never known we were poor. We didn't want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn't talk on the way.

Mom started to sing, but no one joined in and she only sang one verse. At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, "Can't we all sacrifice to help these poor people?" We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week.

Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, and I handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering.

When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn't expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, "You must have some rich people in this church."

Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that "little over $100."

We were the rich family in the church! Hadn't the missionary said so? From that day on I've never been poor again. I've always remembered how rich I am because I have Jesus!

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Posted by tink38570 at 12:55 AM CST
Updated: Sunday, 5 December 2010 1:00 AM CST
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Thursday, 2 December 2010
I've Got You!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Compassion International


Stayed tuned for a special announcement about Compassion International coming soon!

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Posted by tink38570 at 9:46 PM CST
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Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Please Pray About Our Prayer!
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Ministry

Believe it or not, we have been the directors of Good News Mission for over 10 years now. It just seems like yesterday that we volunteered to help out - never knowing that it would lead to this.

Sarah and my prayer has always been for the low income folks that we minister to would grow strong in the Lord and that they would lean on Him to help them in the situations that they are in. Sarah especially has been working with the women - she calls them "my ladies" - for these many years and has seen much growth.

I have been convicted for the last few months to take the folks of the mission to a new level in their walk with the Lord. A couple of weeks ago the Lord put a thought in my mind that really worked out in a neat way. I have always been interested in the way the Lord uses numbers in the Bible. The numbers 7 and 12 are used a lot but when God put that thought in my mind, it came with the number 40. Forty is also used many times - it rained for 40 days and 40 nights during the great flood, the Israelites were punished to wander 40 years in the wilderness, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert praying and fasting, there are 40 days between Easter and Pentecost. Forty seems to be very important, and listen to this!

God impressed upon me that I should challenge the folks 40 days of Prayer and I should present it the following Sunday. Here is where it gets really neat. I looked at the calendar to see when the 40 days would start and end. The next Sunday was November the 21st. There were 9 days left in November and there are 31 days in December which means that there were exactly 40 days left in the year!

So, Good News Mission is praying out the year! I challenged the adults to pray by themselves, with their spouses and with their families. I challenged them to let their kids see them pray and hear them pray. I challenged them to pray on their knees if they could. I urged them to encourage one another by calling or texting each other and reminding them to pray. They were to pray for each other, the mission, the projects, the town and then on up to our nation and world. They were to pray for specifics, not just these "Now I lay me down to sleep" type things. And, they were not to forget to praise God.

We have taught on prayer before, but this is really the first time we have presented this type of challenge. The next Tuesday at Bible Club, I passed out these reminder cards to hang on their refrigerators:

Now I am asking you. Please pray for Good News Mission and the people we serve. For some of the folks that attend, this is a big step for them but they really need this challenge. Living in a low income housing area is not easy. There are drugs. There is alcohol. There is sexual promiscuity. There are financial woes - some of their own making and some not. We have to deal with these things regularly as the directors of the mission. Please pray that this 40 day challenge will make an impact. Pray also for Sarah and I and our family as we minister to these folks. We really appreciate all of the support that you have given us over the years. Some of the readers of this blog know us personally, some have just stumbled upon my humble writings and visit every once in a while, but many of you pray for us regularly. Please don't stop. We really covet your prayers. Thank you for them.


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Posted by tink38570 at 10:02 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, 1 December 2010 10:19 PM CST
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