• Leaving It All Behind

    By Craig Daniels

    What would it be like to suddenly get up, leave everything behind, and head for something new?  Some people would probably jump at that opportunity while others would want to really think it through and calculate the cost of such a rash move.  Who has the guts to jeopardize what they already have, to follow an unmarked path into the unknown? This is exactly what happened in the life of Matthew, one of the disciples of Jesus, and the human author of the first book of the New Testament.  Matthew was not a very popular guy, at least among his fellow Jews.  At that time in history, the Jewish nation was under the power and control of Rome, and Matthew was one of the Jews who had aligned himself with Rome and was employed by them as a tax collector. …

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  • Watching and Listening

    By Dorothy Hoerr

    Recently I was reminded of how important it is to watch and listen. My dog Charlie needed to have major surgery on his knee. After an overnight stay in the hospital, we went home with a battery of pain medications and a page of guidelines for knowing whether a dog has pain. Obviously, Charlie can’t tell me if his knee hurts, so I had to watch him carefully for signs that he needed medication. Is he shaking? Is his tail down? Is he keeping to himself, or making unusual noises? To know how an animal is feeling, we have to really look and listen. I think watching and listening are skills that God wants us to use with Him too. Yes, He wants us to talk to Him. Be He also wants us to look and listen for His guidance. …

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  • Show Up

    By Salina Iavarone

    I walked to the door and shot up a silent prayer that this was the right house.  Every fiber of my being wanted to get back in the car and drive away. Drive back to the safety of home.  Drive to Chick Fil A for a milkshake.  Drive anywhere.  Anything had to be better than the uncertainty that loomed on the other side of that door.  Would they be friendly? Would I have anything in common with these people?  Would I feel stupid?  What if it actually was stupid? Would they like me?  Would I like them??  Before my thoughts were able to spiral too far out of control, the door opened and I was greeted with a friendly smile and the rest is history.  I didn’t know it then, but that night would change my life. The hardest part …

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  • What to Do When the Bible Seems to Get Old

    By Chris Bisaccia

    I still remember vividly the first time I read the Bible of my own free will. I was 18 and had just come back from youth group where I had just accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I had a Bible in my room that I never touched, but when I got home that night I opened it up and started reading. I started in the book of Matthew and after only a few months I read all the gospels. I was raised Catholic and I heard many of the stories about Jesus before, but the difference was now that I truly believed in him they came alive for me like never before. I drank in Jesus’ words eagerly because they were nourishment for my soul. As I grew in my Christian walk, I went on reading plans where …

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  • Fourth Time is a Charm

    By Eric Stoudt

    Research shows that New Year’s resolutions almost always fail. My failure point is usually right around the second week of January. In years past I’ve even blown it on New Year’s Day, by piling the roasted pork and mashed potatoes way too high, then dousing the pile with a big scoop of gravy. Other times I would try a “small” piece of each pie on the table to get a sampling. A new thought came to me this year, “My 34th birthday is in February and I’m still wrestling with the same 34 lbs I’ve always battled against.” At the same time, I began hearing public service announcements on the radio giving warnings about obesity and pre-diabetes. I know they were applicable to my situation. This perspective gave me renewed feeling of conviction to do something about it. I’ve always …

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  • Self-Improvement Month

    By Alina Rodriguez

    Have you ever seen a group of runners jogging on a trail? Do you remember the person who was lagging way behind all of the others? Well. That would be me. Around two weeks ago, I started to run with the cross country team for my school. And, you guessed it, I’m typically dead last. Honestly, I don’t feel terrible about it. I do my best. Even though a runner in a group feels some competitive drive, cross country isn’t really about beating your teammates. It’s about surpassing what you did yesterday, even if it’s hard. Looking back on my first day of running, I see what I was doing wrong. I was constantly stopping and starting, because I wasn’t in shape enough to hold a fast pace. I had to drastically slow my running to be able to maintain …

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  • Help! I’m Bored During National Anti-Boredom Month!

    By Sherri McGaffin

    Did you know that July is National Anti-Boredom Month? I love looking up unique holidays and celebrations. (See, only a couple sentences into this post and I have already given you one idea of what to do when you’re bored.) By definition, ‘bored’ simply means that you have nothing to do or have no interest in the activity you are doing. Boredom can strike at anytime, anywhere, and with anybody. I think it’s pretty safe to say that everyone has experienced boredom at some time throughout their life. Even people with busy schedules can find themselves bored with their routine. A few weeks ago Annie wrote a blogpost (“Don’t Waste Your Summer”) that was filled with great suggestions about how to keep your kids occupied during summer break. My post is different in that it targets adults (with or without …

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  • 1776

    By Betsy Fick

    The Fourth of July is probably one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States. Maybe you attended a picnic and enjoyed some good food and good company. Maybe you saw an amazing firework display or watched a baseball game. No matter how you celebrated this national holiday, hopefully you took a moment to remember the historical significance of this particular date. Growing up, I loved school and learning and would have been hard-pressed to list a subject I didn’t like. However, I certainly wouldn’t have said that history was my favorite subject. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that history is quite fascinating and I really enjoy learning about the past! July 4, 1776. At some point in your life, you’ve probably seen an artistic representation of men in white wigs and colonial clothing signing the Declaration of …

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  • Life Isn’t Always An Amusement Park

    By Sherri McGaffin

    “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV) My post this month is taking me on a ride to a new dimension. When our blog team met in March, we were going over the calendar for the upcoming months and the the amusement park theme for VBS was revealed to us that night. Upon hearing this I thought of the saying, “Life isn’t always an amusement park.” I proposed the topic and claimed it for my June post. I had several months to work on it, but here I am less than two weeks away from the publishing date and I have yet to decide which angle I want to take. After mulling over different possibilities, …

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  • Fair Is Where You Get Cotton Candy

    By Jessica Fackler

    ‘Fair is where you get cotton candy’. I must say this to my kids at least 4 times a week. It used to be more frequent but I think they are finally catching on. Or they are becoming better at hiding their arguments from me and don’t require my intervention. Either way, if you have kids, IT’S NOT FAIR has echoed in your home a time or two. Or in your car. Or in a restaurant. Or in a store… As adults, we know the hard truth that life is rarely fair.  When the health fanatic becomes ill. When the cheater wins the game. When the liar is the favorite. When the sinner is given grace.  ITS NOT FAIR. I think we all struggle at times with the thought of a God who would offer a murderer the same grace …

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