New Year, New Goals

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Happy New Year!

As we turn over a new calendar we like to sit down and plan for the new year.  What goals do we have?  What new challenges will we face?  What new things will we tackle?  Here are a few posts that discuss different kinds of goals for you to consider.  Several of these posts have free worksheets that you can print off to assist you in your planning, dreaming, and praying.  Enjoy!

Goal Post:  Don’t kick it wide left – take some time to think and pray about your goals!

Goals and ArmorIn order to accomplish our goals, we are going to have to fight!  This is how we suit up for battle and train our kids.  

Growth and Goals: Are you growing in the right direction?

Goals For Your Kids:  Goals – they’re not just for adults anymore!  Click here to find out more about how we are going to help our kids reflect on last year and look forward to the next!  

Marriage and Parenting GoalsPlan to start the year out right! Download our free worksheet to help you discuss your growth areas for this year.  

Career Goals: What are your values?  What small goals do you have?  What huge goals?  What actions are required?  This is a great time to think about these questions.  

Personal Goals:  Personal goals are like a compass – no matter how far off course you get, you always know which way you are going.  


Here are some of the worksheets with the date changed to 2016 if you are a type-A person like Dana and care about those types of details!

2016 Kid’s New Years Eve Interview

2016 Kid’s Goals 

2016 Gals Personal Goals

2016 Guys Personal Goals

Merry Christmas!

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For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

I was reminded of this verse by a dear friend this last week. Of course I see this verse at Christmas time every year – in a card, in a song or on a Christmas decoration. But this year the verse has really struck me.  I have finally listened to the actual words and it has brought joy and comfort to my soul.

Holidays are full of emotion. Sometimes they are wonderful emotions. It can be a time where the family gathers, traditions are completed, love is exchanged and memories are made. Other times holidays can be full of pain and turmoil. The loss of a loved one is heavy on your heart, feelings of hurt and pain rise, opinions are made known, sickness steals and frustrations surface. But as I think about this one verse, I am overwhelmed by the promise of what we were given on that miraculous night 2,000 years ago.

That night that Jesus was born, we were also given a…. Continue Reading…

Tabernacle: God With Us

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God is a brilliant author, a master storyteller, a gifted movie director.  His story sticks to simple and powerful themes, with added layers of meaning that crescendo to an eternal grand finale. One of these powerful themes that we were able to experience yesterday was this truth:  God Is WITH Us! 

There is a neat organization called The Tabernacle Experience.  They have created a life-size replica of the original tabernacle and courtyard, and it travels around the country so that people can see what it was like.  We walked through it with our kids and another family, and we experienced the sights, sounds, and smells of that long ago time.  We saw the fire on the altar, the wash basin, the candles, the bread, the incense, and last of all, the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place.  It was a wonderful reminder of a chapter in God’s perfect story, especially right after the Day of Atonement.  It was awe-inspiring to imagine that God met with His people in that tent, so long ago.  But to fully understand the story of God With Us, we have to start at the beginning.  Continue Reading…

Day of Atonement: Humble Soul, Clean Heart

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Today is Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, which is probably the most important Jewish holiday of all.  In fact, the Day of Atonement was so important to the Jews that traditionally they would spend 40 days preparing for it.  (30 days as an introduction to the Feast of Trumpets, and then 10 more intense days after)  This is a time to examine yourself and repent.  Fasting is a common part of this holiday, because it helps you to focus on the spiritual world.

Humble Yourself…

Leviticus 16:29-31
“This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you;  for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord.  It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute. Continue Reading…

Independence Day

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We hold these truths to be self-evident:

  1. That all men are created equal
  2. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
  3. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
  4. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

And so they did.

The 4th of July is a good day to remember this.  We can spend a few moments in gratitude to the generation of men and women that courageously threw off the tyranny of an imperial monarchy and laid the foundation for a new nation and new government.  A government of the people, by the people and for the people.

We can also be thankful for the many freedoms that we have, and the amazing ways we can exercise those freedoms.  Most of all, we can be thankful for the Creator who gave these freedoms to us.  He is our wise King, our perfect Lawgiver, and our just Judge.  No matter what happens on this earth, we can find peace in that knowledge.

Here is some Independence Day information:

National Archives:  Declaration of Independence

History Channel: Declaration of Independence

Uncomfortable, Humble, Stinky, Beautiful Servant Leadership

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During Passover, Jesus gave His followers an incredible object lesson in Servant Leadership.  He stooped down, took off his outer clothes, and thus looking the part of a slave, he proceeded to wash their feet.  His actions and words revealed a type of leadership that was uncomfortable, humble, stinky…and beautiful. Continue Reading…

Lent: From 60 to 0

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Car lovers know that a car’s acceleration is described by the amount of time it takes to go from a standstill (0 mph) to 60 mph.  Today I’m talking about the opposite effect – how long does it take to slow down from 60 to 0?

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.  This is not a holiday that we have emphasized in the traditional way, but I definitely like its concept.  We feel that it is important to spend some time getting ready for the Easter and Passover week, which is the most meaningful time of the year for us.  It is just not possible to wake up on Easter morning and grasp the full depth of the day if you have not been preparing your heart and your mind.  Life moves so fast – I want to be able to come to a full and complete stop on this week so that we can truly focus and be changed.

Some people give things up for Lent, which is a great way to teach yourself discipline and to willingly take on a tiny bit of suffering that reminds us of Christ’s incredible suffering.  It is also a good reminder that Jesus’ betrayal and murder were terrible and somber events.  We should therefore commemorate it with solemnity.

The main thing that we try to do each year is to read through the exodus story and the events leading up to the crucifixion.  Our minds and hearts do well with repetition, so it can’t hurt to keep reading through them:

  • Exodus 1-12
  • Matthew 26,27
  • Mark 14, 15
  • Luke 22, 23
  • John 12-20

By reading through these stories we get ready for Palm Sunday and the events that follow.

I hope that you join us over the next 40 days to decelerate and focus.  We’d love to know – what do you do to observe the ancient holiday of Lent?  How do you prepare for Easter?

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

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Do you know that God loves you? That He would do anything for you?

Read these verses that were meant just for you!! Believe in His love!

God Loves You!

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

God Chose You!

1 Thessalonians 1:4 (NLT) We know, dear brothers and sisters,that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.

God Delights in You!

Psalm 37:23 (NLT) The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

God Has Great Plans For You!

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


Happy Valentine’s Day! God loves you!!!


Valentine’s Wreath

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February is the perfect month to talk with your kids about what true love is really like. Two great Bible passages to base your conversation on is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and Galatians 5:22-23.


1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIRV)

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people’s wrongs. Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up. Love never fails.

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIRV)

22 But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful23 and gentle and having control of oneself.

  Continue Reading…


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I don’t think that those of us who were born in the 70’s or 80’s can really understand what things were like back then, but here is a lesson that I can learn from MLK:

Words are powerful.  Leaders make a difference.  Continue Reading…

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