The Small Group Outtakes

One of my favorite parts of the Life Together series in Ephesians were the “spoof” videos that the worship and media teams made as part of the Ten Commandments of Community mini-series.

When Jim told me what the worship team was planning, I wasn’t sure it was a good idea — and that was before I was asked to be in them — because it is a lot of work to make one funny skit, but ten in a row!

Jim and I enjoyed getting to be part of the videos even though we had to do most of the scenes several times because we couldn’t keep straight faces.  For a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the fun making the videos, here are some of our favorite outtakes from The Small Group video series.

All is well,


Favorite Sermons of the Year — #5

Do you have a favorite sermon from the past year?  One where God really met you where you had a need?  Perhaps one that especially challenged or encouraged you?  I have my favorites.  Over the next five weeks, I thought I would share my  “Five Favorite Sermons of the Year” with you.

My #5 favorite sermon from the past year was:

#5: LIFE {TOGETHER} (#3): Jesus

I loved the way that this sermon came together.  Using His full name, Lord Jesus Christ, we had an opportunity to teach through the basics of who Jesus is.  Any time you have a chance to think about who Jesus is, it is a wonderful opportunity to see the Lord at work.



I John 2:3-6

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.  This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

NIV (1984)

Roelofs Family

Drew, Claire, Will, Lauren and Arika Roelofs

It was a joy to be able to pray for our friends, Drew and Arika Roelofs, as they prepare to leave for Zambia in early July.

It is so beautiful to claim God’s promises for them in this great adventure of faith:

Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there.

If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

If I settle on the far side of the sea,

Even there your hand will guide me,

Your right hand will hold me fast

–Psalm 139:7-10

If you would like to follow their journey, please check out their blog at

I know they would appreciate your prayers.

All is well,


Training Up A Child

On Sunday, we looked at Ephesians 6:4, which instructs fathers not to “exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Jim quoted the following definition from Andrew Lincoln in the Word Biblical Commentary, Ephesians on exasperating a child:

This involves avoiding attitudes, words, and actions which would drive a child to angry exasperation or resentment and thus rules out severe discipline, unreasonably harsh demands, abuse of authority, arbitrariness, unfairness, constant nagging and condemnation, subjecting a child to humiliation, and all forms of gross insensitivity to a child’s needs and sensibilities.

If that is a great summary of what not to do, I have included an additional resource on advice from the Bible on what to do when training and instructing children that Jim prepared for the sermon entitled, “Character Education,” which he gave on July 11, 2010 as part of our series on Proverbs — “Navigate Life.”

Character Education Notes

All is well,


Prayer Guide For Children

As I mentioned in the service this morning, I was given a copy of the March/April 2012 edition of PrayerConnect magazine this week.  Inside was the article, “31 Ways to Pray for Your Teen” that I thought would be really helpful for parents.

Although this is specifically aimed at teenagers, parents can easily adapt this guide when praying for their child(ren), regardless of their ages.

Prayer Article, Part 1

Prayer Article, Part 2





Happy Mother’s Day

Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother. Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed upon me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me.

–C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle in London

Mount Rushmore and Mothering

This week I was thinking about my role as a mother with Mother’s Day approaching on Sunday.  In the midst of bickering children and piles of laundry, God reminded me of a passage from Jim’s book, The Gift of Church:

Is there a more inefficient job in all the world than being a mother?  The return on investment is often painfully low.  Day after day, sweeping the same floors, reading the same books, and probing for information about how school went in an attempt to raise godly, mature, successful children can seem as efficient as carving Mount Rushmore with a toothpick.  If we were to judge simply by outward appearances, it would seem that camp directors are much more effective at transforming the lives of children and youth than mothers.  Many are the stories of children who show up to camp frightened and uninterested, only to leave a week or two later with new friends and new ambitions — often professing a life-changing experience at camp.  Perhaps we should consider a massive layoff of mothers and just send our kids to camp.

Before you take me seriously, let’s admit that in some ways the mothering process is, indeed, terribly ‘inefficient’ if we are simply looking for quick results.  But it is precisely because the process is slow and lengthy that real change occurs.  Camp has its place — that one-week, mountain-top experience that is part of longer-term transformation — but it isn’t the model for raising children.  Character is developed and lives are molded and shaped by the ‘slow and steady’ progress of nurturing that occurs day in and day out.  This is what gives motherhood (and parenting in general) the power to bring about authentic change that leads to maturity.

The same is true of church.

So, Moms, if you feel like you are carving Mount Rushmore with a toothpick this week (such a painfully accurate metaphor for mothering young children especially), be encouraged that your Christ-life attitudes and actions are molding your children’s character for eternity.  And, maybe a little of your own character in the process too.

All is well,



Verses on Work

Sunday’s sermon, “Work,” from our Life Together series looked at God’s instructions for godly behavior at the workplace and in school from Ephesians 6:5-9.

As you are reflecting on the sermon from Sunday and what God may be asking you to do, consider some of the verses from Proverbs related to work.

Proverbs on Work:

  • Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8)
  • Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.  He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. (Proverbs 10:4-5)
  • He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment. (Proverbs 12:11; also Proverbs 28:19)
  • From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him. (Proverbs 12:14)
  • Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor. (Proverbs 12:24)
  • Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases it. (Proverbs 13:11) NASB
  • All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23)
  • The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on. (Proverbs 16:26)
  • Laziness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle man will suffer hunger. (Proverbs 19:15)  NASB
  • A sluggard does not plough in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing. (Proverbs 20:4)
  • The sluggard’s craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. (Proverbs 21:25)
  • Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men. (Proverbs 22:29)
  • I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 24:30-34)
  • The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly. (Proverbs 26:15-16)
  • She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.  She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. (Proverbs 31:13-16)
  • Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (Proverbs 31:31)

 All the verses are from the NIV unless otherwise indicated.

Lead Me

The Christian group, Sanctus Real, has a song entitled “Lead Me,” that reflects some of the ideas from our mini-series on marriage.  The song, written from a husband’s perspective, is his realization that his wife and children need him to be the spiritual leader in the home, and his response to that request.

You can watch it here or simply read the lyrics below.

Lead Me

I look around and see my wonderful life

Almost perfect from the outside

In picture frames, I see my beautiful wife

Always smiling, but on the inside

Oh, I can hear her saying


Lead me with strong hands

Stand up when I can’t

Don’t leave me hungry for love

Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you’re willing to fight

That I’m still the love of your life

I know we call this our home but I still feel alone


I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes

They’re just children

From the outside I’m working hard,

I tell myself they’ll be fine

They’re independent, but on the inside

Oh, I can hear them saying


Lead me with strong hands

Stand up when I can’t

Don’t leave me hungry for love

Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you’re willing to fight

That I’m still the love of your life

I know we call this our home but I still feel alone


So Father, give me the strength

To be everything I’m called to be

Oh Father, show me the way to lead them

Won’t You lead me?


To lead them with strong hands

To stand up when they can’t

Don’t want to leave them hungry for love

Chasing things that I could give up
I’ll show them I’m willing to fight

And give them the best of my life

So we can call this our home


Lead me ’cause I can’t do this alone
Father, lead me ’cause I can’t do this alone