Grandparents Changing the Culture

A Million praying grandparentsIn the Generation to Generation section of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I stress that the most important task for parents and grandparents is to pass down to future generations the goodness of our Great God, and help their children and grandchildren enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus.

Lillian Penner, National Prayer Director for Christian Grandparenting Network (CGN,) and an endorser of Forsaken God?, shares my passion for mentoring the next generation. Lillian has a dream of A Million Praying Grandparents committing to pray intentionally and regularly for grandchildren and their parents. I asked Lillian to share her dream/passion with you because I believe you share my concern for our grandchildren and children growing up in a broken world that has forsaken and forgotten God.

I joined the Million Praying Grandparents as a grandparent who prays Scripture daily for our eleven grandchildren. It’s part of my morning quiet time, and I have seen God do amazing things, which I write about in Grammie’s Corner in my monthly online newsletter. This month you can read how 7-year old Sienna surprised Grampa and me when she announced that she wanted us to pray with her to accept Jesus into her heart. That blessing was the answer to many morning prayers.

Sienna and KatelynI learned about praying God’s will by praying Scripture for Sienna’s mommy. I share more about this way of praying in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter.

MESSAGE FROM LILLIAN PENNER

In a movement to unite grandparents to pray intentionally for the next generation, Christian Grandparenting Network is launching a globale prayer campaign for 2016: A Million Praying Grandparents. Can you imagine the impact of one million or more grandparents praying for their grandchildren?

The Mission Field

The mission of CGN is the mobilization of grandparents throughout the world to commit to pray daily for their grandchildren and their grandchildren’s parents. In Christian Living Today, Editor, Randy Swanson, wrote:

The role of Grandparenting is becoming more important than anyone would ever have imagined. The rescue of our culture may well rest on the shoulders of today’s grandparents.”

Perhaps at no time in history has the call been more urgent for intentional prayer.

If you grasp the urgency of our time, then I urge you to join the Million Praying Grandparents movement, linking arms in prayer for the next generation.

Our grandchildren are our primary mission field.

Sign Up Today to Be a Praying Grandparent

If you’re as worried as I am about the world our grandchildren are inheriting, I urge you to sign up for the Million Praying Grandparents Movement. By joining, you are declaring your commitment to pray regularly for your grandchildren.

In appreciation for making such a culture-changing commitment, you will receive a free printable copy of a Million Praying Grandparents Prayer Resource to guide in using God’s Word to pray for your grandchildren.

Now you must make a decision:

For the sake of the hearts, minds and souls of your grandchildren, will you say, “YES I will join the Million Praying Grandparents movement?”

Go to the Million Praying Grandparents website and follow the instructions to sign up!

Please also share the vision of a Million Praying Grandparents united in prayer for their grandchildren with your friends and family.

Together we can influence the next generation to know Christ and follow Him wholeheartedly! Together we can change the culture and a world that has forgotten and forsaken God. Don’t let that be your grandchildren’s future.

Excerpt from Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten.

Steve Green wrote a song with the chorus, “Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.” Someday we’ll all just be a memory, but let’s make sure that memory is a good one. In your sphere of influence, starting with your own family and church family, “tell them” all you’ve seen God do and his unchanging truths. Influence the next generations to love and obey God with born-again, Holy Spirit filled hearts.

I pray my [Janet’s] legacy to my children and grandchildren will be—Mom/Grammie was a woman who loved Jesus and lived what she believed.

If you’re a grandparent, you’ll want to join this movement of a Million Praying Grandparents.

If you’re a parent, you’ll want to forward this blog to your children’s grandparents.

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_MG_5006A LIL

Lillian Penner is the author of Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for Your Grandchildren and is the National Prayer Coordinator for Christian Grandparenting Network. An avid blogger, Lillian will break into smiles if you ask about her twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She and her husband, John, live in Portland, Oregon, where they are active in church ministries.

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Left for College a Christian, Returned an Atheist

 

First RC College Pre Group of High Schoolers

First RC College Prep Group of High Schoolers

My new book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, releases February 9. I have a section on Generation to Generation where I discuss the tragedy of losing the next generation for God, especially college age kids, and what we can do to keep them sold out for Jesus. I also share in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter how I ignored the warning signs when my daughter was taught about Darwinism and evolution in High School.

Then right before Christmas, I received this email from Sheryl Young asking if I would consider mentioning her ministry Ratio Christi. Sheryl didn’t know about my new book and I didn’t know about RC, but after I read her note, I knew why God had put us together. Sheryl wrote:

Ratio Christi has 150 chapters on college campuses teaching Christian apologetics – the history, philosophy and science which supports the Bible and the life, death & resurrection of Christ. This strengthens the students’ faith, helps to stem the tide of “youth flight” from church due to the secularization of our colleges, and makes our young people stronger witnesses. We have also now started doing high school apologetics and have a goal of being on all college campuses.

I knew I needed to hear more and I asked Sheryl to write a post for us to discuss. Sadly, what Sheryl talks about here doesn’t just happen in high school and on college campuses. My granddaughter was only in third grade when she was disciplined by a teacher for defending her Christian faith to two girls who were bullying her at school. My granddaughter was the one  called out, not the other two girls.

Her teacher told her not to talk about Jesus again at school, and I told my granddaughter that teacher was out of line and together we looked at the Scriptures:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16

“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” 2 Timothy 1:8

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

As we focus on January as National Mentoring Month, are your children, grandchildren, and mentees ready to defend their faith or will they succumb to teachers or other kids’ taunts? I pray my book encourages parents, grandparents, and mentors to equip their children to stand for their faith when under attack. Are your kids, grandkids, mentees ready? Are you ready?

What a Difference a College Class Makes in a Christian Kid’s Life

By Sheryl Young

“So how was your first semester of college?”

“Mom, dad, I’m an atheist now.”

This dreaded conversation took place in the home of a friend of mine, but it’s happening throughout the United States today. It’s no wonder, with kids from Christian homes hearing the following statements almost as soon as they reach the college campus:

“There is no good reason to believe in Christ.”

“There is no logic or reason to Christianity.”

“You will not mention God in my classroom.”

It should be no secret to any Christian family today that colleges and universities have become a bastion of secularism and atheism. The atheist movement in academia is trying at every turn to move students away from a firm faith in Christ.

God’s Not Dead may be a movie with fictional characters such as a bitter atheist professor and few students with the courage to stand against him, but it is based on real-life events.

Make no mistake. Christian parents and grandparents are doing their children a great disservice by telling them that Christianity is just “because the Bible says so” or “because the pastor says so” or “because I say so.” It’s like sending them straight from grade school to college. It simply doesn’t hold any water in today’s culture.

1 Peter 3:15 says: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (NIV). We don’t show respect for nonbelievers, or ourselves, when we haven’t researched the reasons for our faith. Having “blind faith” may be good inside churched walls, but it won’t be understood by outsiders: it’s foolishness to them (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Josh McDowell, a foremost expert comparing Christian with secular youth, says in The Last Christian Generation: “The majority of our churched young people do not believe Christ is the Son of God, do not believe the Holy Spirit is a real entity, and think ‘doing good’ earns them a place in Heaven.”

What do we expect when they get one hour of Sunday school or youth group, and eight hours in school where they’re taught “there’s no absolute truth” and the Bible isn’t acceptable?

Are We Exaggerating the “youth exodus” from Church?

No. Statistics in various studies show that 50 to 70 percent of American youth drop out of church and leave their Christian beliefs between the ages of 18 and 22. For example, in David Kinnaman’s 2011 book You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church . . . and Rethinking Faith, he cites research showing nearly three out of every five young Christians disconnect from their churches after the age of 15. That’s nearly 70 percent.

The increasing number of atheist professors on college campuses is a direct connection to students losing faith. A study at George Mason University revealed that the percentage of professing atheists and agnostics among college professors is 26 percent higher than the general U.S. population. In addition, 51 percent of professors describe the Bible as “an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts,” while only 6 percent of college professors say the Bible is “the actual word of God.”

We’ve all heard the stories of Christmas song censorship, valedictorians forbidden to mention God, and football teams not allowed to have student-led prayer. Many school districts do not understand – or choose to ignore – the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment on school property, especially when it comes to Christianity. Christian students and faculty are having their rights and viewpoints trampled.

“Political correctness” isn’t limited to public education. Many private schools, even some in Christian denominations, now support the “valuing diversity” theme that makes allowances for those who do not hold to biblical principles.

Let’s hear it from the young people – how do they feel?

I [Sheryl Young] work with a ministry called Ratio Christi, and I thank Janet Thompson for letting me write here about this issue. Ratio Christi (“Reason of Christ” in Latin) is a nonprofit international campus ministry with over 150 chapters, which exist to encourage and strengthen the faith of Christian students through the use of intellectual investigation called “Christian apologetics” – learning the historical, scientific and philosophical evidence that gives logic, reason and credibility to our Christian faith when presenting it to others.

Curtis Hrischuk, the chapter director for Ratio Christi at North Carolina State University, says: “Most of the students we get are confused when they arrive at college. They’re realizing that they don’t have a strong basis for their faith, and they’re looking for help.”

Ratio Christi’s chapter leaders often hear from their Christian students that even throughout high school they didn’t receive a strong basis of theology to prepare them to face the secular pressure once they got to college. Many felt their church youth groups were all fun and games to keep them occupied, or automatically supposed that kids who came to church were already grounded in the faith and didn’t need much help. Some felt they could speak about deep Christian issues with their parents, and others didn’t.

Grant, a student from the University of Alabama says, “My youth group studied the Bible but (the teachers) pre-supposed that we accepted it as truth.”

Or Bentley from the University of Mississippi: “I was missing the historical, foundation principles and background of Christianity.  I felt it was extremely important to understand who God is, why I believe what I believe, and understand how to defend my faith against those who might try to disrupt it.”

Going back to McDowell’s The Last Christian Generation, he writes of his surveys:

  • Only 33 percent of churched youth said church would be part of their lives when they leave home.
  • 63 percent of them don’t believe Jesus is the only true way to God.
  • Only 6 percent of publicly schooled children now come away with a true belief in the Bible.

It cannot continue to be a church mantra, or a mantra in Christian homes, that our blind faith is enough. Not if we want our kids to keep their faith intact and be persuasive witnesses for Christianity later in life.

 Ratio Christi Can Help

RC Large Logo.jpg Ratio Christi (RC) students learn to present factual and philosophical evidence for God in classrooms led by atheist professors or to other groups of nonbelievers – and they often end up getting that opportunity. RC students and leaders invite atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and adherents to any religion to attend sessions and investigate the claims of Christianity in friendly discussions.

The nonprofit ministry’s president, Corey Miller, says, “Students who identify themselves as Christians at the beginning of college, with the rest of their lives and careers ahead of them, are under fierce attack and are leaving the Christian faith in alarming numbers.”

A Ratio Christi club member from the University of Virginia, Caitlin says, “If it weren’t for Ratio Christi, I’m not sure I would still be a Christian.” CaitlinBentley adds, “Ratio Christi has taught me how to converse with others about Christianity. It has helped me become more comfortable about being an evangelist of Christ to others.”

Here’s a student named Blake from a Ratio Christi high school-aged group preparing for college:

“Apologetics has given me compelling evidence for the existence of God, the reliability of the Bible, and so much more! I strongly believe that if it wasn’t for apologetics, I would not be as effective a witness for Christ.”

Home school groups, school teachers, clergy, church members, parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens are welcome to get involved with RC at all levels, from prayer to becoming RC mentors. Individuals and churches can “adopt a college” to help start a RC chapter if there  isn’t one at their nearest college. Parents might want to learn apologetics along with their kids so that there are no blank stares across the dinner table if a teen comes home excited about what they are discovering.

Learn more about how you can get involved with Ratio Christi, or find a college chapter. If a student can’t find an existing chapter at a college of their choice, or wants to find out how to get involved at the high school level, Contact Us. Young people are our future. Helping them know their Lord is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

Sheryl Young is the Media Outreach Coordinator for Ratio Christi, and interviews many chapter students and leaders for RC’s national newsletter.

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Love Your Body—Don’t Drink Alcohol

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

 

I know this isn’t going to be a popular post for some of you, but as Christians taking care of this temple of a body God has given us, I feel we need to talk about it on our Love Your Body Monday. If you start to get defensive while reading this blog, ask yourself: “Why can’t I give up alcohol?”

I don’t drink. There was a time in my backsliding years when I did drink, and I can tell you for certain no one could ever convince me to go back to those dark days. Alcohol is a “socially acceptable” drug that is high in calories, expensive, hard on your body, and results in distinct changes in your personality and actions, lowers your inhibitions, and is an inexcusably horrific and often deadly role model for the next generation.

When I read Wikipedia’s definition of alcohol, I have to ask myself why any Christian would want to spend their money, calories, reputation, brain cells, and witness on this drug—

An alcoholic beverage is a drink which contains a substantial amount of the psychoactive drug ethanol (informally called alcohol). As one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the world, such drinks have an important social role in most cultures. Because of their potential for abuse, almost all countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption. Some countries ban such activities entirely. The global alcoholic beverages industry exceeded $1 trillion in 2014.

Let me further define psychoactive drugs. I don’t think it’s what God had in mind when he told us to purposely renew our minds and run from worldly pleasures:

A psychoactive drug, psychopharmaceutical, or psychotropic is any chemical substance that changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, or consciousness. These substances may be used recreationally, to purposefully alter one’s consciousness.

Parents and Grandparents The Children in Your Family are Watching You!

I’m most concerned about the parents and grandparents who drink and role model—yes mentor—drinking alcohol to their children and grandchildren in what should be a safe place for children, their home. Children are drinking at earlier and earlier ages and where do they first see it consumed? 99% of the time, it’s in their own homes. If you’re a parent who drinks, you have to take full responsibility if your child starts drinking. I’m not saying they won’t drink if you don’t drink, but at least you’re not leading, enabling, and displaying to them that it’s acceptable.

Mariel Hemingway,, actress and granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, said in an interview: “What I DO know is that my father drank, and when he drank he changed. And I watched it with both my parents. I watched it with my sisters. By the fourth glass of wine they were not the same people … there was a darkness that had sort of overcome them.”

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5

Here’s an alarming trend amongst mommies…It’s called…

Moms Who Need____________

How would you fill in that blank?

Whatever you put in the blank—a rest, a break, a nap, love, peace, quiet—if you fill it in with “Jesus” and His Word, He’ll help you with all He knows you need.

Moms Who Need The Lord and His Word would be the right answer.

But I was saddened to learn that over 707,872 moms fill in the blank, and fill-up their glasses, with “Wine.” Yes, the “Moms Who Need Wine” Facebook page has that many “likes”. They also have a website that sells T-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, and water bottles with their logo (picture below) and, of course, sell wine by the case.

drunk mommies

“Moms Who Need Wine” Facebook profile picture and logo

The premise of this group is that they can’t get through a day of mothering without drinking. Does that alarm you as much as it does me? These are moms who are responsible for infants, toddlers, kids, neighbor’s kids, your kids, carpools, driving with innocent children in the backseat. No one can dispute that alcohol impairs all your faculties, and yet, these moms laugh and cavort on Facebook about their drinking while mothering like a group of barroom drunks.

Kids Play, Mommies Drink

Playdate with wine

Play date “snacks” from the “Moms Who Need Wine” Facebook page

These wine-drinking mommies aren’t hanging out in bars…they’re changing diapers, vacuuming, cooking, driving cars, pushing strollers, helping at school, and meeting at play dates to share a bottle of wine, referred to as “mommy juice”. Maybe some of them are your friends or neighbors…maybe one is you….

Mommies Beware—You’re Being Targeted

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”—1 Peter 5:8 NLT

A Times Magazine article titled “Mother’s Liquid Helper. Raising children? Raise a glass!” reported that wineries are marketing directly to moms of young kids. “Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington has begun a Facebook campaign asking women to customize an equation to sum up what makes them want a glass. (“Me + a glass of wine – juice boxes + quiet time for 15 minutes = My Chateau.”) The ads tagline: ‘It’s where you become you again’—will run in places women go when they’re stressed out about taking care of their family, including Food Network Magazine, parents.com, and Rachael Ray’s website”.

Clos LaChance Winery has a “MommyJuice line, and another winery calls their mommy-targeted wine, “Mommy’s Time Out.

When I spoke on this alarming trend at a retreat recently, a young woman came up to me afterwards thanking me for taking on this challenging topic. She said she was an ER Nurse and had recently seen three young mothers die because of cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcoholism. Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, who championed this mommy-drinking trend with her blog and best sellers Naptime Is the New Happy Hour and Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay, eventually had to admit she had a drinking problem, and quit.

Sobering Topic

I’m not judging whether someone chooses to drink alcohol, but if you care about your health, your body, your witness, your children, your grandchildren, your finances, possibly your life … I am questioning the when and the why.

“Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” Proverbs 20:21

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What’s Your Story?

Little girl praying

As many of you know, I’ve been writing the past three months on a new book which will be out March, 2016, How Good is God? I Can’t Remember … Creating a Culture of Memories.  I hope you’ve enjoyed all the guests who have enriched this blog with posts on many varied topics. I’m blessed to have so many talented and gifted author friends and I know you enjoy hearing from them.

I was surprised when several people asked me if I thought this would be my last book? I wasn’t sure why they would ask that except for the fact that we were under great spiritual attack and duress while I wrote on a topic that the enemy hates–remembering God in a culture that is quickly forgetting God.

But that would never stop me from writing and speaking for the Lord, until the day He decides to take me home. My ministry is About His Work Ministries and I plan on being about His work until my last breath. So it might not surprise you that I’m gearing up for the next book. I gave you a glimpse into it several months ago when I asked for stories, but I switched plans when the How Good is God? book had such a short deadline. So now I’m back to the mentoring book and I need your stories.

Do You Have a Mentoring Story?

If you follow me, you know that my passion is mentoring—Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s faithfulness. Since I wrote Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry in 1997, God has been starting mentoring ministries in churches all over the world, and mentors and mentees (M&M’s) have been experiencing the blessings of mentoring.

Over the years, many ministry leaders have sent me stories about starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, and many M&M’s have sent me their stories too; but I also know there are many untold stories that would bless my readers. Will you help me write this book?

I Need Your Help

The working title is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Here’s what I could use:

  1. What would you want to read about in a mentoring book about the seasons of a woman’s life?
  2. What would encourage you to be a mentor or mentee?
  3. If you’ve been in a mentoring relationship—either as a mentor or mentee or both—would you tell me your story? Even if it didn’t go like you planned.

If you would like to share your story, please leave a comment and how to contact you. Or go to the contact page on this website and leave me a message with your email address and I’ll give you more details.

Generation to Generation

FullSizeRender-2My 9-year-old granddaughter Katelyn asked if she could have one of my books for Easter, which made my heart swell with joy. I decided she was not too young for us to do a Bible study together, so I gave her Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha: Sisters in Christ.

An important aspect of remembering God, is helping the next generation know God. It’s our job description as Christian men and women!

Together we can reach, encourage, and teach what we’ve been taught to the next generation.

 Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives.

Titus 2:1-6. The Message

 

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Sadie Let Her Light Shine!

Sadie RobertsonSadie Robertson shines on the last night of Dancing with the Stars!

I’m not typically a follower of Dancing with the Stars. The only clips I see are when we DVR Castle and the DVR tapes the end of DWTS. As we fast forward, I notice that the costumes are often revealing and the dances sensuous. But all that changed this season when I heard that Sadie Robertson, granddaughter of Phil and Kay Robertson and of Chrys and John Howard, was going on the show: I took notice.

I’ll still have to admit that we didn’t watch any of the shows, but Monday nights before bed, I watched the online video clips of Sadie’s dances and cast my vote.

Backing Up a Bit

We are strong supporters of the Robertson family and their bold profession of faith that runs throughout their popular TV program Duck Dynasty, in their public appearances, and in private life. What Christian could not support that kind of a witness? Willie Robertson is the son of Phil and Kay Robertson and Sadie Robertson’s proud dad.

Sadie’s mom, Korie Howard Robertson, is the daughter of Chrys and John Howard who were my publishers for Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer and Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. I first met the Howards when they came to a conference at Saddleback Church. We had already signed the contract for Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer and they wanted to meet me. This was my first “trade” book contract after publishing the Woman to Woman Mentoring Resources with LifeWay, who flew me to Nashville, so I thought meeting the editors was the norm in Christian Publishing. Seventeen books later, I now know it’s not.

Chrys and John Howard were down-to-earth people interested my journey through breast cancer. John had just battled colon cancer, so we understood much about each others journey before we even met. I appreciated Chrys and John for their sincerity and profession of faith from the minute I met them on the Saddleback Church patio.

After the release of Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer, I was often at publishing events with the Howards and they welcomed me as family, just as they did with all their authors. They always invited me to dinner with them and supported my writing and ministry. So I was thrilled when we signed a second contract for Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter and I was able to stay in the Howard Books family.

The Howards later sold their publishing company to Simon & Schuster and are no longer the owners of Howard Books, but we are still friends. So it was with surprise and delight when I started reading about this new program that was taking TV by storm, Duck Dynasty, and read that Willie Robertson was married to Korie Howard Robertson, the Howard’s daughter.

It wasn’t long before Dave and I were Duck Dynasty fans, and after hearing Phil Robertson preach at Saddleback Church, we were fans of Phil too. How could we not be? The Robertsons use whatever fame and fortune God blesses them with to further the kingdom and tell the world about Jesus.

This Little Light of Mine . . . I am Going to Let It Shine

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

When I heard that Sadie Robertson was going to be on Dancing with the Stars, I knew the Lord was opening up yet another “worldly” platform for Jesus to shine through the Robertsons…and shine He did. From the very beginning of the show, the media focused on Sadie setting boundaries on her costumes, dance moves, and choreography. The news liked to say her refusal to wear sinuous, revealing costumes was because of a segment on Duck Dynasty where her dad Willie insisted that her prom dress be modest. So at first the media and the show made a big deal about Willie approving of her costumes, but Sadie said that offended her a bit because it wasn’t just her dad’s approval she was seeking, it was God’s. She wouldn’t wear anything that offended God anyway, so of course her Dad would approve.

During the first few weeks, I read many speculations that Sadie wouldn’t be taken seriously because of her age and her values/faith. The media said the judges and audience would judge her harshly because of her “morals and faith” and didn’t give her much of a chance at success. I think at first this might have been true; but so many were praying for her, and there was just no way the judges and the audience could find fault with the effort, enthusiasm, and earnestness with which she gave her all and did fantastic. Soon the media swapped those dire predictions for acknowledgement of how well she was doing and the amazing talent she was showing and developing. That’s what happens when God’s on your side.

Sadie had no dance experience, and yet we watched her week after week give amazing performances that shocked the judges and the audience. She had hopes of making it through the third round of dances, and last week we saw her and her dance partner, Mark Ballas, as one of the four finalists and many thought she would win. She came in second, which was still phenomenal for a girl who had never danced before.

But more important than whether she placed first or second, was the impact of her sweet attitude, even under criticism—her smile, sincere and bright—her “light” that all the judges commented was infectious and shined through all her performances on and off the stage.

We know where that “light” comes from—the world was seeing Jesus’ light shine through this 17-year old young lady, who put herself out there for the scrutiny of the world, and even some Christians I might add, but she never let her light go out. The program aired her testimony and didn’t edit out when she talked about God and Jesus. One headline said she prayed twice before each performance, once with her family and once with her dance partner, Mark Ballas.

All Glory to God’: Sadie Robertson’s Inspiring ‘DWTS’ Farewell Message — and Why One Judge Called Her ‘An Excellent Role Model’

Before millions of people, Sadie expressed her gratitude at the end of the show and thanked God for the journey.

“It’s just been an amazing experience. I just want to say I’m so thankful to God who has brought me this far in this competition,” she said. “I feel like I really accomplished what I wanted to accomplish on this show and I’m so glad it was Alfonso. He deserves it.”

In an Instagram message posted after the finale, Sadie also thanked her fans for helping her make it to the end of the competition and, again, offered up praise to God for the experience.

“All glory to God for this crazy experience,” she said.

The judges had plenty to say about Robertson’s skills on the dance floor, also showering her with praise for her moral character and peppy demeanor.

“Sadie, I think you’re an excellent role model and a representation of what youth should be today,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba proclaimed. “You’re clean, you’re elegant … everything about you I love.”

Bruno Tonioli added, ”Your personality is so bubbly, so vivacious, your charm always shines through in everything you do. Mark has really done a fantastic job in making you look like a dancing princess.”

I’m Facebook friends with John and Chrys Howard, and as I watched the glowing comments and congratulations flood their Facebook pages, this comment captured the ministry Sadie has had—

“Congratulations on all she has achieved and thank her for inspiring us to live out our faith every moment and always reach for the stars!”

The Bible tells us not to hide our light, but to let it shine for the world to see. The brightest a light shines is in the dark. When we only give our testimony or witness to other believers, we may be preaching to the choir already living in the light. But when we’re willing to take the challenge of letting our light shine into the darkness, that’s where we can really light up the world. Sadie danced her way into the hearts of a dark dark world, and her light became the topic of conversation. Often it was said with a baffled or surprised influx…like I don’t know what this is I’m seeing in you, but I like it. Sadie and her family always let everyone know that light was Jesus.

A Family Ministry

Unlike so many innocent young “stars” that have been thrown into the limelight by their families, who seem to let their precious daughters go the way of the world, the Robertsons and Howards were with Sadie every step of the DWTS journey. Grandma Chrys Howard, “2-Mama” made the commitment to be with Sadie the entire time she was in Los Angeles. And every show had many of the Robertson-Howard clan cheering for Sadie and Mark.

The last night of the finals, the camera caught the tears of proud daddy Willie Robertson as he watched his precious daughter shine on the dance floor. How many girls long for a daddy that sensitive who sees the beauty and grace of the young woman his daughter is becoming?

What Can We Learn from Sadie?

I posted on my FB page:

This is the face of a leader in the next generation for Christ! Without any dancing experience, she came in 2nd last night in ‪#‎DWTS but on God’s platform she’s a winner. She was a bright light shining in LA and to millions who watched. It was a joy to watch her win over the judges. Last night judge Carrie Ann Inaba (who I thought had been really hard on Sadie and admits that she was skeptical in the beginning) commented also on Sadie’s “light” and smile and said she was a role model for her generation! That’s huge coming out of Hollywood. Sadie was bold about her faith and standards in a loving natural way that won over everyone’s hearts. Keep shining that light for Jesus Sadie…God has great plans for you. And mamas let Sadie and her family be a role model for your daughters and granddaughters!

Sadie had a book release during her time on DWTS Live Original: How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to Her Values . This would make a great Christmas present for your teenage girls.

Sadies' book 2

Sadie has also teamed up with fashion designer Sherri Hill to create a collection of “daddy approved” prom dresses, which balance fashion with modesty and fill a niche for Christian girls and their families.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

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Calling all Grandparents!

Grandparents Day of Prayer September 7, 2014

Grandparents Day of Prayer September 7, 2014

 

 My husband and I are the proud grandparents of 11 grandchildren, who are spread all over the United States. We make the rounds at least once a year to see them all, but even though I can’t be with them face-to-face on a regular basis, I do come face-to-face with the Lord daily praying for these special gifts He has blessed us with as grandparents.

I can think of no better way to celebrate Grandparents Day, September 7, 2014, then to join other grandparents in the nation standing in the gap and devoting the day to praying for our grandchildren. Following is a guest post from my dear friend Lillian Penner, the National Prayer Coordinator for Christian Grandparenting Network.

By Lillian Penner–

If you believe in the power of prayer, join grandparents throughout the world in making National Grandparents Day on September 7, 2014 a Day of Prayer for our grandchildren.

Today our nation is under attack like never before educationally, socially, financially and spiritually. Christianity is under assault and parents and grandparents are involved in a tug of war for the hearts and minds of their children.

A Spiritual Battle for the Souls of Our Grandchildren

Our grandchildren live in a desperate moral and spiritual climate while navigating in a world hostile to truth. Satan has launched an aggressive attack on our families, schools, and our nation to desensitize our children to truth and righteousness. Perhaps at no other time in our history is a call to prayer more urgently needed than it is today.

Many years ago, Queen Esther stood in the gap for her people, the Jews, when their physical lives were threatened. In our day, grandparents can stand in the gap for the spiritual lives of their grandchildren just as Esther did.

Cavin Harper, Executive Director of Christian Grandparenting Network (CGN) says in his book, Courageous Grandparenting, “Builders and Boomer generations represent the majority of today’s grandparents. There are nearly eighty million of us. Yet on our watch we have stood by in silence and allowed the Father of lies to inject his venom into our culture, hardening men’s hearts to the truth.”

The Power of Prayer

However, grandparents who believe in the power of prayer can pray that their grandchildren will not become casualties of falling captive to the enemy’s deception. We are engaged in a spiritual battle that requires prayer as the weapon. As grandparents, we have an opportunity to imprint another generation with His love and faithfulness.

When Nehemiah faced opposition in building the wall in Jerusalem, he told the people, “Don’t be afraid of them, Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, sons, and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (Nehemiah 4:14). Just as Nehemiah asked the people to fight for their families, we as grandparents need to use our prayers to fight the opposition from the enemy our grandchildren face today.

Unite with Grandparents Around the World

Over the last three years, thousands of grandparents have united in prayer on the National Grandparents Day in September and made it a Day of Prayer for their families. Again, CGN invites you to be a part of this movement to intentionally pray for our grandchildren, our families, and our world making it a Grandparents’ Day of Prayer (GDOP).

In addition, we are also looking for volunteers who will take the lead to organize an event calling grandparents to join in prayer on September 7. This event could be in your church,  your home, a retirement complex, or any meeting location you choose. CGN will provide step-by-step guidelines, resources, and online tools to help you create a successful event that will engage grandparents in prayer for your event.

Will you accept the challenge to join grandparents throughout the world to unite in prayer on September 7 for their grandchildren?

Check out our website for blogs, endorsements, testimonials and promotional materials and free downloads.www.grandparentsdayofprayer.com

For additional information, contact Lillian Penner, Nat’l Prayer Coordinator for CGN lpenner@christiangrandparenting.net.

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What is Your Apology Language?

 Sienna's graduation day from Kindergarten

“I hear you, but I don’t know what you said . . .”

That was the response from 5-year-old granddaughter Sienna after I had given her and her two older siblings three things to remember about going to the pool that day. When I asked them each to repeat back to me what I said, Sienna couldn’t remember. Finally, she cried out the above statement.

An “ah ha” moment for me.

Flashing before my eyes were all the frustrated conversations I had had with my husband when he couldn’t remember something I had said. I would say, “You don’t listen to me.” To which he would respond, “I am listening to you. I hear you.” There we would be at a standstill . . . . if he heard me, why didn’t he know what I said?

Then little Sienna put it all in perspective—I wasn’t speaking his or her “language.” I wasn’t saying things in a way that resonated with them, so they had no idea what I said.

5 Love Languages

As I’ve said in earlier posts, Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the bestseller 5 Love Languages, was our speaker for the Love Song Couples Getaway. You are probably familiar with his conclusions that we all have a love language and we typically love others in the “language” that speaks to us. They are:
1. Words of affirmation
2. Gifts
3. Acts of service
4. Quality time
5. Physical touch

He commented that usually a husband and wife have different love languages or “dialects,” and it’s important we learn to speak the language of our spouse. My love language is acts of service, and my husband’s is physical touch. So if I hold his hand while we’re walking somewhere or when we’re sitting next to each other, he feels loved and happy. If he sees things that need fixing around the house and fixes them without me asking or reminding him, I feel loved and cherished.

Interestingly, our children and teenagers all have a love language too, and it’s vital that parents learn what makes their children feel loved. Not speaking their love language can lead to a rebellious teen.

For more information, and to take a test to determine your love language, go to Dr. Chapman’s website.

5 Apology Languages

New to me was Dr. Chapman’s discovery that people apologize five basic ways. We all have an “apology language” which makes us feel the apology is sincere. If you don’t apologize in the language that speaks to me, there’s a good chance I’ll have trouble believing that you really mean it.

Here they are:
1. Expressing regret: “I’m sorry that I . . . .” Note that just saying, “I’m sorry” is not enough. These people need to hear what you are sorry for, and for goodness sake, don’t follow it with “but . . . .”
2. Accepting responsibility: “I was wrong . . . .”
3. Offering to make restitution: “What can I do to make this right?”
4. Genuinely repenting or desire to change: “I don’t like what I just did. I don’t want it to keep happening.”
5. Requesting forgiveness: “Will you forgive me?” If you want to communicate a sincere apology that the other person receives well, you have to learn the other person’s apology language.

What is Your Apology Language?

If you don’t know what speaks to you as a sincere apology allowing you to forgive, Dr. Chapman said to ask yourself these three questions:
1. When I apologize, what do I typically say or do?
2. What hurts me most deeply about this situation? Why am I having trouble forgiving? This person needs #4, a repentance apology because they feel like someone is saying just they’re sorry, but keep on offending.
3. What could they say, or do, that would make it easier for me to forgive them?

If You’re Married . . .

Pastor Rick on couples forgivingPastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church

In my Bible study, Face-to-Face with Euodia and Syntyche: From Conflict to Community, I discuss forgiveness myths that often keep us from receiving the peace that comes from forgiving someone, whether or not they apologize.

EuodiaSyntycheCover72dpi1-200x300

 

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Share the Good News of Easter

Cowboy Easter Breakfast

Traditionally, Christmas and Easter are the two occasions when people who don’t normally attend church will put on their best clothes and go to church. Or maybe a neighbor or family member has invited them to attend and they feel obligated. Whatever the reason, it’s always a good thing when people hear about the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For some, this might be the year the gospel message resonates in their hearts and minds—they stop resisting the call to become a follower of Jesus.

Invite Someone to Church on Easter

We don’t know when or where conversions will take place so that’s why we need to continue offering everyone an opportunity to receive Christ’s invitation. Maybe your heart has become hardened by the rejection of numerous invitations to attend church with you—don’t let that happen. Don’t give up. You never know when God has planned for them to say, “Yes”!

Plan an Outreach Event

How about having an outreach Easter breakfast, or picnic or brunch or street BBQ in your neighborhood! During conversations, be open with why you celebrate Easter and what it means to you. Be prepared to answer questions.

Our church hosts a Cowboy Easter Breakfast down by the river behind our church. People in the community attend from every walk-of-life and every faith. It’s a great time of eating breakfast and drinking coffee around the campfires and there’s always a gospel message and testimonies.

Two years ago, when we had only lived here a year, I was asked to be the Cowboy Breakfast speaker. I felt humbled, hesitant, and excited. I said I would have to pray and know that God really wanted me to do this.

The awesome thing about living the Christian life is that when we pray, God answers—maybe through reading the Bible, or a sermon, or song, or even movies or TV. This time He used the big screen. We were at our kids’ church, The Pursuit in Meridian, worshipping and singing when they put Acts 20:24 on the screen:

 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. Acts 20:24 (NLT)

Since my writing and speaking ministry is About His Work Ministries, I knew this was a message from the Lord assuring me that my work was to tell the Gospel story and the Good News that JESUS IS ALIVE! I also knew that there would be many unbelievers at the breakfast and God was giving me an opportunity to be a bold evangelist.

Let Your Children Participate

Encourage your children and grandchildren to invited unchurched friends to go to Sunday School with them on Easter and to come to your outreach event.

When I spoke at the Cowboy Breakfast, my then 6-year-old granddaughter Katelyn shared the microphone with me to recite John 3:16. I was so proud of her! Just this week she told me, “Grammie, I want to share John 3:16 at the Cowboy Breakfast again.” Could we be grooming the next family evangelist? Grammie-Katelyn-Cowboy-642x250

God blessed Katelyn and me with a boldness that morning to share the Gospel. Here’s what one attendee remarked:

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your message at the Cowboy Breakfast. It was clearly presented and probably the best explanation that I have heard so that people are not confused about making a commitment to Christ. So often people are afraid to say what is needed because they are concerned about offending their audience. It was import that you were clear on what sin is and how to make a personal commitment. I also received feedback from members of our Vineyard Home Study Group that were pleased that the truth could be so clearly spoken.Thanks again for the time and effort that you put into preparation for those who needed to hear this message.

Share Your Testimony

Last year at the Cowboy Breakfast, my husband Dave shared his testimony of turning from a self-motivated man to a man solely motivated by Christ. IMG_4102

Who needs to hear this Easter what Christ has done for you and can do for them?

Cowboy Easter Sunday Mornin’—Rod Nichols

On an Easter Sunday mornin’
‘fore the sun has yet to rise,
the roundup crew will gather ’round
to await the newborn sky.

It’s a cowboy sunrise service
neath the purple, gray and gold,
in remem’brance of a story,
that’s the greatest ever told.


Someone may say a word or two
in a simple, cowboy prayer.
Another hand may lead a hymn
for the boys still kneelin’ there.


Then the sun will climb toward heaven
from below the eastern range,
like the Lord’s ascent in glory
as it lights the darkened  plain.

When the service, then, has ended,
and the day has been reborn,
each man will know the gift of life,
on an Easter Sunday morn.

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How to Share the Easter Message with Your Children & Grandchildren

 Kathy Howard Easter 1969

Kathy Howard with her father and brother, Easter 1969

In preparation for Easter, I’m sharing this post written by my dear friend and fellow author, Kathy Howard. She has some great ideas and projects for helping our families remember the real reason for Easter, beyond the Easter baskets and brunch…

Easter Memories

Rich memories of childhood Easters keep popping up in my mind. I can still feel the cold metal of the folding chair as I sat with my family in the church parking lot waiting for the first rays of the sun to make their appearance. And with the sun, the somber notes of “low in the grave He lay…” became the joyous thunder of “up from the grave He arose (He arose), with a mighty triumph o’er His foes.” After prayer and singing, everyone escaped the chilly air and enjoyed pancakes and sausage in the church fellowship hall.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the impact Easter had on me as a child. I also have wonderful memories of Christmas, but Easter took root in my soul from an early age. Even then, I must have sensed the eternal significance of Christ’s death and resurrection. As parents and grandparents, we have a great opportunity – and God-given responsibility – to make sure our children understand the great truth and power of Easter.

5 Ways to Celebrate a Meaningful Easter

Below are five easy, but memorable, ways to help your children understand the Easter story. Make sure you check out the links for details and more information:

1.     Make a Set of Resurrection EggsThis is a fun way to “concretely” share the Easter story with your kids. You can purchase a ready-made set, but putting them together with your kids is part of the fun. Here are the instructions for making your own Resurrection Eggs.

Resurrection Eggs

2.     Watch a Movie Together – One great way to start a conversation with your children about the Easter is by watching a movie that portrays the Easter story or illustrates its truths. Several great ones are available. Just choose one that is age-appropriate for the kids in your life. Here are a few suggestions:

3.     Attend a Good Friday Service or Event – Many churches have services on Good Friday to help us remember Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. This is a great opportunity to talk about Jesus’ death and what it accomplished for us. Cochrane, the small town where we lived in Canada, had a “Cross Walk.” Members from all areas of the community met downtown and prayerfully followed the cross as a volunteer carried it through the streets.

 
4.     Make Resurrection CookiesUse this tasty object lesson to teach your kids about the empty tomb. Make them on Saturday night and enjoy them first thing Sunday. Here’s the recipe and how-to’s for Resurrection Cookies.

 
5.     Experience the Easter Sunrise – Like the women who went to the tomb, be up and ready to greet the first light of Sunday morning. You can do this at an official sunrise service or in your own backyard. Friday was somber. Sunday is a celebration! (And don’t forget the pancake breakfast!)

I’d love to hear about your childhood Easter memories! Also, please share ways you celebrate Easter with your kids and grandkids.

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Lessons From A Life Well Lived

Jan Holsclaws celebration sunriseSunrise from Jan and Jim’s backyard the day we celebrated Jan’s commencement to her Heavenly home!

I met Jan Holsclaw when she and husband Jim were speaking at Idyllwild Bible Church. Dave and I have a cabin in Idyllwild and were at IBC the same weekend the Holsclaws were visiting. At that time, Jim and Jan worked for Wycliffe Bible Translators and they were giving a report to IBC who helped support their ministry.

Jan spoke of her battle with ovarian cancer that was in remission. After the service, I introduced myself to Jan as a fellow cancer survivor and gave her a copy of my book Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer. Jan and Jim live in Florida, so an email friendship developed over the miles. Jan often referred to our “chance” meeting as a divine appointment.

A Team of Rope Holders

Sadly, it wasn’t long after we met that Jan’s cancer returned and she was in for the battle of her life . . . for her life. Jan and Jim started email updates to a team of friends and family they called their “rope holders” from the story in Mark 2:3-5 and Luke 5:18-20 where friends tied ropes to a mat and lowered a paralytic man through the roof of the house where Jesus was preaching. Loving friends displaying their faith in Jesus—that’s what Jan’s rope holders were to her too.

So over the next few years, Jan and Jim sent the rope holders email updates of Jan’s journey through extensive and ongoing chemo and treatments, and we lifted Jan and Jim before the Lord. We prayed for their specific requests and rejoiced in their good days and praises.

The doctors told them to do all the things they wanted to do and see family as much as possible. Use the time they had wisely, and that’s just what they did. Jim retired from Wycliffe, and during Jan’s good times or breaks in treatment, they traveled to see their children and grandchildren spread throughout the United States and China.

Lesson: We need each other. Learn how to “receive” well. Life is precious. Live like you’re dying.

 

A Praise Journal in the Midst of Crisis

Jan started a “Thankful List” which she often shared with her rope holders. When I asked her about it, she said:

How does it encourage me? When I’m down or discouraged or sad or ‘tired of the cancer/chemo routine,’ if I start adding to my “thankful list” it doesn’t take long before my focus is no longer on “poor me,” but on the Lord and on how incredibly blessed I am. I can literally sense my spirit being lifted into His presence. It’s sort of like a 180 degree turn around. Absolutely amazing. Even when I think to myself… “I can’t think of ONE thing for which I’m thankful” . . . all I have to do is START WRITING, and then my mind is filled with TONS of things for which I’m thankful.

“I Will Trust You” was the subject line of a rope holders’ email on February 6, 2014, as Jan’s health was rapidly deteriorating. She continued to tell us how much our prayers and emails meant to her and Jim:

Again, thank you SO MUCH for your precious words that touch us so deeply, and often bring tears. You simply can’t know how much they mean, and how they minister to us…over and over and over again! We’re trying to keep our hearts focused on Him, reminding ourselves that whatever we find out, He is with us, He’s holding us close, we need not fear and we can trust Him. A song that has been SO meaningful to us in the last few days is Sovereign by Chris Tomlin.

Lesson: If your faith is a little shaky today, listen to praise music. Jan and Jim found comfort in the YOU TUBE version of Sovereign.

 

On February 7, 2014, Jan wrote to her rope holders—

The sobering part of it all, is that when I now return to a chemo that has worked in the past, there’s generally only a 20-30% chance that it will now be effective against the cancer.

Still Jan finds things to be thankful for—

I am SO THANKFUL for:

A good appetite. (And I don’t want to EVER take that for granted!)

Restful sleep at night.

My wonderful, godly doctor.

My amazing husband who cares for me 24/7.

Our precious kids, their spouses, and our grandkids.

God’s Sovereignty and His tender, loving care.

Our incredible team of rope holders (YOU) and your touching words of encouragement.

Lesson: If you’re going through a tough time, start a Thankful List. It’s hard to stay down when you’re looking up.

Jan with her therapy dog Wally Jon

February 24, 2014 Jan with her “therapy dog” Wally Jon

How to Live Well for Jesus and Die Well in Jesus

March 4, 2014 the rope holders received an email from son Jon, “Finally Free!” Saturday March 8, thanks to the technology of “Streamline,” I watched the Celebration of Jan’s Life. Jan didn’t want a sermon; she wanted casual dress, her favorite music, and a chance for everyone who wanted to share their memories at an open microphone.

We heard from friends, neighbors, hospital staff, fellow ministry servants, and her doctors. All had the same message: Jan showed us how to live well for Jesus and how to die well in Jesus. Here was some of her legacy shared at the celebration:

  • She showed us how to behave in suffering. Not to be inward focused but to reach out and let her rope holders know how much she needed them.
  • There was a width and breadth of ministry during her last seven years. Her mission: May God get the glory and win the day, every day.
  • She taught us how to be a gracious “receiver.” When she was well she gave, but when she was ill, she could receive our help.
  • Jan loved life and fought it through to the very end.
  • She loved her family so much and taught us how to be better wives, moms, and grandmothers.
  • Jan had faith and trust and gave thanks in all circumstances.
  • Jan and Jim didn’t just talk about the Lord, they lived out their faith.
  • From a hospital staff member: they were always encouraging to the hospital staff—even the lady cleaning the floors. They left their mark on the staff.
  • A neighbor who saw Jan and Jim walking hand in hand while she did her morning run soon was getting hugs and friendship from Jan.
  • Her doctors considered it a privilege to be in the presence of patients like Jim and Jan. They ministered to their doctors during the doctors’ tough times and struggles.
  • Jan taught us how to die.
Lesson: How we live our life in good times and hard times is a ministry—it’s our legacy.

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

1 Corinthians 15:54-56 (NLT)

Jan and Jim 48 year anniversary

Jan and Jim on their 48th Anniversary August 2013

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