Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!!!

Just as our Lord and Savior was sent to RISE UP, we are also called to RISE UP.
More than 2000 people from Second baptist Church in Houston gathered to celebrate the ressurrection of Jesus a couple of years ago.  The purpose- to proclaim the ressurection of Jesus Christ and at the end of the dance, the dancers left their new shoes on the field to be donated through local charities to those in need.  

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Favorite Things

Titus 2 Women's Favorite Thing
No more tears while cutting onions. 
Available at and at Bed Bath and Beyond stores.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Friday Focus

Here I Am, Lord Send Me

God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. Live your life as an offering and answer his call by responding.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send Me!”

Isaiah 6:8

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Scattering Seeds… The Dental Chair

Scattering Seeds… The Dental Chair
By Carri Pratt

Does anybody have any idea how difficult it is to share Jesus when you have a bite block, water hose, drill, and fingers in your mouth while your tongue feels like it is 4 inches thick?

This was my latest challenge.  I had a root canal part one on Monday and was going back on Tuesday to finish up.  A friend of mine asked if I had witnessed to my dentist and I had to say no!  I put my knees to the floor and had a little conversation with God that went something like this, “Heavenly Father, I have a situation that I need some help with.  How can I follow your command to share the good news of Your Son while getting a root canal?”

His answer?  “Be quick” and “Go to Mardels.”  Well, that seemed pretty easy.  God knows all and in this case He knew Mardels would have a clearance rack with “The Case for Easter” blocking my path into the store.

As I sat down in the dental chair I immediately felt that nervous feeling that comes over you, much like right before a speaker goes onto the stage.  Perhaps it is stage fright.  A quick prayer to God and the Holy Spirit to take over and the dentist walks in.  God said to act quickly so I did, “Dr.” I said, “Are you a Christian?”  He looked at me a little surprised and then smiled. “Yes.  I am.  I’m Catholic.”  I smiled back and we shared that brief glance of sisterhood/brotherhood appreciation for The King.  Later I also spoke with his assistant, who was getting married and looking for a church.  I gave them both a copy of the book I had purchased.

The lesson learned for me is to make sure I take a chance in all situations to encourage other believers and share Jesus with unbelievers.  We never know who we are talking to unless we ask.

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: Who should I send? Who will go for Us?   I said: Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8 HCSB

Challenge:  Take a chance in an uncomfortable situation to share the Good News of Christ Jesus our King.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Advise and Resent

Advise and Resent
By Jenn Vaught
I love the beginning of Proverbs; Wisdom is talking to us telling us to seek out truth, understanding and knowledge.  In fact, Proverbs 1:20 (ESV) says, “Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice;Wisdom is actually yelling out to us!  It’s not just there for us to seek, but Wisdom tries to get OUR attention.  On a side note, I like that Wisdom is a “she,” probably because women have bigger mouths than men and we are more apt to yell out our opinions whether people want them or not!!  J Am I right??!!!
Seriously though, God has provided so much wisdom at our very fingertips, in our Bibles, in prayer through the Holy Spirit, in family, in our circle of Christian friendships, in church and in Sunday school classes.  God puts us in certain places at certain times for us to give knowledge to someone AND to gain knowledge from someone else.  So let’s take it a step further, do we take knowledge given to us as well as we give it to others?  Sometimes we don’t want to hear what constructive criticism Wisdom has to say.  How do we respond to that?  Do we answer back with a “Yes, thank you for letting me know” or “I will pray about that” or do we stick our head in the sand or do we get angry and all puffed up?  Ummm, I’ll be honest and say I’ll answer E, all the above!  Everyone who’s gone to church even for a little while knows this verse, but what about the few verses after it?  Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV) 5Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.    
CHALLENGE:  Do we take advantage of all that we have been blessed with, the tools and people around us that God has provided for us?  Proverbs 2:6-8 (ESV) 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.     

Monday, March 25, 2013

Family Matters

Family Matters: A Child’s Baptism
by Amy Gentry

Like most parents I secretly struggled when my very young child prayed to accept Christ.  Baptize now or wait until my child was a bit older.  I was torn! 
One side of me wanted to be known as the extraordinarily godly mom who had a holy child who just so happened to still be in preschool.  (That would reflect greatly upon me, right?)  The other side of me thought they were too young to really know what they were saying, that they didn’t know or have a complete understanding of  the real meaning of the sacrifice that was made them, that the sacrifice was being mocked by a child who just wanted to “go swimming” during church.
I was right in the middle of this tug of war over my daughter accepting Christ as her Lord, when God used something I heard in church to give me clarity.  My sweet daughter had been pushing to be baptized for months after she accepted Christ and every time her father and I would tell her that we were waiting for her to get a little bit older first.  But on that particular Sunday morning, my pastor reminded the congregation that the example of biblical baptism included immediate baptism - on the day of salvation the baptism occurred.   Refresh your memory with these examples:

·         The Eunuch was baptized immediately after Philip shared the Gospel with him (Mark 8:34-36),

·         Lydia and her entire household was baptized right after Paul shared with her and the Lord opened her heart to His message (Acts 16:13-15),

·         The jailer who encountered Paul and Silas just after the earthquake in the jail was baptized along with his whole household, in the middle of the night, after the word of the Lord was spoken to him (Acts 16:25-33).

My whole perspective changed!  I was being a stumbling block to the relationship that the Lord was beginning to forge with my daughter.  I didn’t have control over the timetable of the work that God was doing in her heart.  Believe it or not, I am not supposed to be a third wheel in their relationship.  He called her, so she should go.
After sharing with my husband what God had revealed to me, we were in agreement.  The very next Sunday during the invitation she asked, AGAIN, to be baptized.  And she was.
“But Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."” Matthew 19:14

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Menu Reminder!

Click on the picture for menus ideas for easy weekly planning!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Book Club Discussion: Margin

Click on the book to see our discussion of chapters 9 & 10 of Margin on Facebook!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


by Amy Gentry

 Why should I read the Bible every day?  Why should I pray even if I feel my prayers are bouncing off the ceiling?   Why should I wake up, before the roosters, to have a quiet time?  Why do I need to worship in a church building when I can stay home and watch a church service on TV?  Why should I serve others?  Why should I memorize and meditate on scripture?
I will share with you the secret, four little words that changed my life and my perspective-

Psalm 145:3 “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.”
Revelation 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
Psalm 18:3 “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.”

The Lord is worthy of my time, He is worthy of my love, and He is worthy to be invested in.  Worthy is the lamb who was slain for my iniquities. Worthy is the Holy One who was, and is, and is to come. 
“Filled with wonder,
Awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name
Jesus, Your Name is Power
Breath, and Living Water
Such a marvelous mystery”
-Revelation Song lyrics-

CHALLENGE: In the midst of the day to day, when you realize the hustle and bustle of the monotony of today is edging out your investment in your relationship with your Lord, remember, “HE IS WORTHY!”

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chocolate Nest

Chocolate Nest
1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
1/2 c. peanut butter (chunky is better)
4 c. chow mien noodles (6 oz. bag)
Robin’s Egg Candy
Melt the chocolate chips, stirring often.  Add the peanut butter.  Stir.  Add the chow mien noodles. Carefully stir till evenly coated.  Lay out wax paper.  Drop golf ball size clusters on the wax paper.  Let Cool and set. Add a few colored candies as eggs to the nests.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath
By Amy Gentry
            Have you ever wondered why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? In my house, the first one awake waits for a victim to come down the hallway without the color green displayed somewhere on their body so they can deliver a pinch to the offender. In Chicago, they color the river that runs through downtown green. Some restaurants have green food and drinks and a creepy looking leprechaun appears on most St. Patrick’s Day signs. I don’t really think that these traditions adequately express the value behind this day on the calendar.

            When I read about the life of Saint Patrick, I was so inspired about how the Lord took Patrick’s pain and gave him a passion. I was reminded of the scripture, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

            Saint Patrick lived from 389-461 A.D. and at the age of 16, Patrick was enslaved in Ireland. Patrick began to pray for his captors and for the local druid priests. He did not have a Bible in his hands, but he had scripture in his heart. The only other guidance he had was through prayer - so he prayed - all day, every day, throughout the day. After six years of slavery, he had a dream that the Lord’s voice told him that he would be returning to his homeland soon and that a ship was ready for him. Early the next morning he escaped - walking 200 miles to the sea port. When he rejoined his family he recounted his experiences as a slave, but Patrick knew that God had allowed his slavery in Ireland so that Patrick would grow to know God more and love him in a deeper way.

            In time he had a dream about the people of Ireland. They were asking him to walk among them again. After that, Patrick enthusiastically decided to go back to Ireland and share with the people there the Good News about Jesus Christ. With several years of preparation in the monasteries of France, Patrick was ordained and commissioned as a missionary to Ireland. It was not smooth sailing there; Patrick was persecuted by local pagans. But he said, “Daily I expect murder, fraud, or captivity, but I fear none of these things. I have cast myself into the hands of God Almighty, who rules everywhere, as the prophet says: ‘Cast your cares upon God, and He shall sustain you.” Ultimately, Patrick served Ireland as a missionary for Christ for forty years. Thousands were saved and many went on to serve in the ministry as missionaries due to Saint Patrick’s influence.

            Patrick had no idea that one day he would wear the label, ‘SAINT.’ He did not have selfish ambition or vain conceit, which in Greek means “vain glory.” Who was he there to bring glory to? He was there to bring glory to God! He did not return to Ireland to make himself known, he returned to make Christ known. He humbly considered the lives of the Irish pagans worth more than his own. Patrick was a man who had his priorities in order. He was more than willing to pay the cost for the salvation of the Irish people, he valued what was written in God’s Word, he prayed without ceasing, and he was a humble and committed servant.

            CHALLENGE: Take a good long look at yourself. What are your motives for serving those around you? Are you looking for recognition from God or from man? Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you just what motives lay beneath the surface. To take it a step further, ask the Lord to reveal to you someone that you could serve anonymously.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

March Book Corner - Case For Christ by Lee Strobel

The Case For Christ
by Lee Strobel
Case for Christ is an amazing book on apologetics, like all of Strobel’s books are!  Apologetics is a branch of theology that is concerned with proving the truth of Christianity.  Lee Strobel was an atheist (the best kind of teacher on apologetics mind you!) who wanted to prove that Christianity was bogus.  Well, God had other plans for that!  When his wife became a Christian, Strobel began studying the Bible, investigating Biblical claims trying to prove God didn’t exist. During this process, his heart was transformed and he became a Christian!  What a testimony!  Now he is the author of countless books proving that God does in fact exist and that he sent His only Son to die on the cross for us to save us from our sins.  What a great book for all of us to read this Easter season! 
“A seasoned journalist chases down the biggest story on record in The Case for Christ. Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, former Chicago Tribune legal editor Lee Strobel cross-examines a dozen experts with tough, point-blank questions in search of credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was positively the Son of God. This riveting quest for the truth about history's most compelling figure reads like a captivating, fast-paced novel, yet it's anything but fiction!  An ideal paperback for skeptics!”

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Friday Focus

Generosity Defeats Materialism

Jesus himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35b

Lord, Show me how to be a true blessing to others.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Retro Wednesday

Retro Wednesday
Guilt Free Cakes
Have you ever wanted to have your cake and eat it too?

These cake recipes are great for no guilt or at least low guilt desserts.


Devil's Food Cake mix

Can of Diet Coke (half of bottle)

2 tablespoons of chocolate icing melted to drizzle on top of finished cake

Mix the cake mix and diet coke together and bake in Bundt pan according to directions on box.

Strawberry Bake Mix

Can of Diet Mountain Dew (half of bottle)

Topping: lite cool whip

Lemon Cake Mix

Can of Sprite Zero

2 tablespoons of lemon icing melted and drizzled

Pink Lemonade Cake Mix

Can of Sprite Zero

Chocolate Cake Mix

Can of Diet Coke or Cherry Coke Zero


The possibilities are endless! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

His Hands and Feet

His Hands and Feet
By Stephanie H.
 ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
A mission trip to India!  Where do I begin?
In the beginning:  The company my husband works for hires contractors from India and one of the contractors and my husband became great friends.  He was such a sweet guy.  He became like family.  Our kids called him Uncle John.  He ate with us, we took him to his first professional hockey and baseball game, we took him to church…  While he was taking in our culture I began to become very interested in his culture.  I found myself wanting to go to India.  Not too long after, we had a couple come to our Sunday School class that had just moved back from India!  That Christmas our women’s ministry had a luncheon and the speaker was from a ministry called Rahab’s Rope and they go to….. you guessed it… India!  During this luncheon God moved in my heart.  After the speaker finished speaking I looked around the table and I was the only one in tears.  I was completely broken for these ladies in India and wanted to go.  I would love to say I signed up right then and went, but it took a few years to get there.  I know God’s timing is perfect and I can’t imagine a better time.  God worked out every detail, every stumbling block, EVERYTHING!  I had no anxieties about going.  I couldn’t get there fast enough.
After a full 24 hours of travel, I had finally arrived in India.
While I was there God showed me over and over again that we just need to be an obedient, willing body and He will use us and He will be glorified!  There were times that I wondered how we would be received by the ladies and children we met that spoke a different language, but it never mattered.  They loved us and we fell in love with them.  Hugs, smiles, laughter, joy, love, photography, food are all universal languages.  It does not take a public speaker to reach hearts and share God’s love.  It takes us being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  My prayer for the trip from the time I knew I was going was that we would be the Hands and feet of Jesus.
If we are to truly become Jesus' hands and feet, we must share His love for "the least of these."  He touched lepers – we touched women and children with HIV/Aids, He welcomed women and children – we did also, He dined with criminals – we shared cookies and tea with women that have been sold into a life of crime, He championed the poor – we gave gifts and encouraged the poor, He defended the powerless – He gave the woman and children power through us.  Jesus spent His time on earth with the hated and the outcasts and claimed that He had come to "preach good news to the poor."  We spent our time in India with society’s hated and outcast, but they are so loved by Him!!!
India is a physically, emotionally, and spiritually hard place, but when God stretches us, He is with us.  I live such a clean comfortable life in America and I am often thinking of ways to make it cleaner and more comfortable instead of thinking of ways to get out of my comfort and let God stretch me.  We might not see immediate fruits from our labor, but if God can take this slightly OCD, germaphobe to India then I know He will take what we planted and grow something beautiful.
Challenge:  How can we be stretched?  How can God use us in our neighborhoods?  How can we be the hands and feet of Jesus to the people around us?
Everytime I hear this song I picture the precious children we met in India.  I picture Jesus placing crowns on their heads.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Menu Reminder!

Click on the picture to see our menu ideas for easy weekly planning!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Crucified for Lent

Crucified for Lent
By Carri Pratt

I really love my husband.  I did not fully realize how deeply I loved my husband until I decided to crucify my past hurts and my selfishness to the cross in honor of the lent season.  I decided this year rather than just giving up sweets I would give up anger and frustration towards my spouse as well.  Easier said then done. 

I also made a vow to serve my husband in some way every day as Jesus served others.  One night when he arrived home from work I walked over to him, plopped a pillow down in front of him, took off his shoes and began to massage his feet (probably his favorite act of service).  He looked at me in disbelief and asked me why I was doing this and I replied, “because I love you.”  It was an incredible moment between us.

I continued to pray that God would strengthen me and do this through me.  I prayed that God would give me His love for my husband and that I would have a burning desire for him.

It is absolutely remarkable the feelings and turmoil I have been through in such a short amount of time.  I have experienced immense vulnerability, paranoid thoughts of him having an affair and leaving me, magical moments of bliss, renewed memories of when we first met, and most pleasantly surprising is a heated passion behind closed doors.  (my friends refer to this as an additional fruit of the spirit “passion fruit”)

The only way I can make sense out of this is that I am finally following God’s design for marriage.  I am not living just for myself but also for my husband while being obedient to Jesus Christ.  Paul stated it this way, “and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 HCSB  If Christ did that for me, then surely I can do that for my husband.

I could not have imagined the blissful feelings within my heart towards my man.  “Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desires.”  Psalm 37:4 NLT 

Challenge:  Trust that God’s ways are best and take a chance that the result will be your heart’s desire.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Club Discussion: Margin

Click the book to see our discussion on chapters 7 & 8 on Facebook!  

The Friday Focus

Good, Better or Best?

Don’t fill up your schedule with merely good things. Hold out for only the best for you, your family and your time. It’s ok to say no to good things.  Keep it simple while keeping it best!

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  Isaiah 30:21

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Question and Answer

Q and A
by Amy Gentry

Q: Why did the Southern Baptist Convention change its name?

A: This past summer during an annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, an alternative name was successfully voted in by a slim margin, 53% to 46%.  “Great Commission Baptist.”  How will an alternate name be used?  According to,

The measure, effective immediately, allows churches affiliated with the SBC to call themselves by the new descriptor "Great Commission Baptists" to indicate their involvement with the denomination. Churches of the SBC have the option of using the informal, non-legal name as a stand-alone title, together with the SBC formal name, or not at all.”

The official name for the past 167 years will remain the same.  Supporters of the alternate name say the word “Southern” has been a hindrance to evangelism for church planters.  Southern Baptist churches are reaching into all 50 states causing the name “Southern” to be too geographically labeling.  Supporters believe the alternate name will be more inviting to churches throughout the country and thus a more inviting name to those seeking a house of worship.

 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ministry - Rahab's Rope

Rahab's Rope exists to give hope and opportunity to women and girls that have been forced into the commercial sex trade of India. By creating a safe and loving environment, they are enabled to grow and develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. Rahab’s Rope provides basic education and vocational training for each girl and woman who come through their centers; ultimately, allowing them to integrate into their communities in a positive and constructive manner. 

“Rahab was a prostitute found in the book of Joshua. The rope in the story represents Rahab's rescue both physically and spiritually, and there is a high probability that Rahab made the rope herself. Our hope is that, just as the rope that Rahab made represents her rescue, the skills taught to the women at our women's centers will represent their physical and spiritual rescue as well. It seemed fitting for Rahab's Rope to be our name."  Vicki Moore, Founder of Rahab’s Rope
For more information go to: 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Vinedresser is Never Closer To The Vine Than When He is Pruning It

The Vinedresser is Never Closer To The Vine Than When He is Pruning It

by Kim Hawkins

To be pruned is not a fun process. It actually hurts. Throughout the years, I have sought to be free from what has hindered me. Asking the Lord to reveal and remove what needs to go is a bold move. You have to be ready! Here we go!

Gossip? Yep, It’s gotta go! Ouch!

Pride? No, no, I don’t deal with that. (The Lord revealed pride in me when I’m driving)  Conviction!

Comparing myself to others? Painfully true.

Unforgiveness? Duh! Ok, it took a few times to get rid of that one.

Protective walls up? Yes. Defensiveness? Sure. Anger? Ok.

Unbelief? Sadly, yes. Shame? Guilt?? Fear???

I think I need a few Band-Aids, but ahhhhh, I am so much lighter! You simply cannot argue when the Lord shows you something. He nails it on the head. He was patiently waiting for me to be willing to be free.

Why are we determined to carry so much? Why are we so reluctant to hand over all our junk? Jesus already took it all upon himself at the cross. Removing the dead branches spurs new growth.

“By their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:16a

“I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” -John 15:5

Challenge: Be willing to let yourself be pruned, the results are fruitful!

Friday, March 1, 2013

March Bible Verse

The Friday Focus

Humility is

 Not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.  –C.S. Lewis

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2