August 2012

Super Volunteer {number 1}

I’m not sure what worship song it was this past Sunday, but it was really fast and full of energy.  Near the end I looked up at our drummer Justin Cook to see how in the world he was keeping up.  His arms must have been on fire.  At the last beat he glanced up with a huge smile on his face.  He really enjoys what he does.  I love seeing passionate people using their talents for God.  It’s such a blessing.

Then, I thought for a moment about Justin.  On that Sunday alone he would play the drums for two services, run the cameras after worship, we would see the baptism video he compiled and edited and to top it off, our Hot Springs campus would watch the sermon video he put together as well.  He was involved in four different areas in one day.  I love it!

I want to challenge everyone to get involved in your local church.  I promise there is a need somewhere.  Even if it seems like they have enough volunteers…there is always a need.  Don’t just go for the message or for the worship, or because your kids beg you to go…get involved!

Thank you Justin for all you do for the Lord!  We love you!

Parenting Cheats

I love it when I come across a great resource that I ACTUALLY use.  The other day while on Pinterest, I came across  I got sucked in by their article of creative discipline…a subject I am always curious about.  They have worksheets, articles, recipes, free printables, movie and music reviews and activity ideas.  I immediately signed up for their daily emails and haven’t been disappointed.  It has an “Espresso Minute” to start your day with and then ends with a “Pillow Talk”.  The Espresso Minute is a quick read on the topics of children or marriage.  The thing I really like about those are they give you practical ideas to put the lessons into action.  The Pillow Talk area has a question or two to ask your kids at night when putting them to bed.  They are great conversation starters to help kids open up when their usual response is, “nothing”.

Check it out…

They also have one for dads (I haven’t read anything on here but I’m sure if they recommend it, then it must be good.)…

Greater than Spielberg

There are so many movies that add rain to a scene just for dramatic effect. (  They must teach that at film school I guess.

Well, several weeks ago at church a friend of ours gave his testimony of how God saved his wife who had a major stroke this past year.  I think the entire congregation was in tears as he poured his heart out.  His love for his sweet wife was so evident…God’s love for them was so evident.  Then, at just the right moment, as if someone said, “cue the rain”, it started to pour.  Our metal roof was buzzing with water.

I don’t think many noticed the rain that day.  I like to think God was just adding it for dramatic effect.


Family Feud has it Wrong

One of my favorite games to play is Family Feud.  The other day I was playing it and it had the top 5 answers to things found in the Garden of Eden.  Oh, this was going to be cake.  Right?  Wrong.  I was so frustrated when I got the dreaded third strike.  I got them all but #2.

Survey says…

1. Tree
2. Devil
3. Apple
4. Snake
5. Adam and Eve

I was hung up because the top 5 answers didn’t include GOD!!  I couldn’t believe it.  How could so many have forgotten God was in the Garden of Eden? It breaks my heart.  But they got the two forms of Satan down.  Wow.

Sermon Recap {August 19, 2012}

My goal was to do a weekly recap of Shawn’s sermons.  Well…it hasn’t exactly happened the way I planned.  So, if I can put my yummy cup of coffee down I will attempt to write my first one.

Shawn spoke on everyone’s favorite thing – tithing!  Oh wow, does that word bring up a variety of emotions.  I don’t think he’s spoken on tithing in the one and a half years Echo has been around.  God gave him just the right words to help and challenge us all.

Malichi 3:8-14

 8“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. 11  “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; 12  “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts. The People Complain Harshly 13  “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the Lord, “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14  You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance,

Here’s a few of my favorite parts:

—  In verse 8 it speaks of robbing God.  For years I thought that if I didn’t tithe I was robbing God of money.  Silly girl.  God has all the money…he created it.  It’s referring to us robbing God of something he LOVES to do – bless us!

—  Our tithe is to be set apart.  He referred to the Garden of Eden and how there was one little tree that was set apart to not be eaten from.  When Adam and Eve decided to use that which was set apart, there were major consequences.  Why do we think tithing is any different?

—  Romans 11:16 talks about how the lump is also holy.  It’s not talking about lumpy gravy but the lump left over after the firstfruits.  God can do more with the 90 percent than we can do with 100 percent.  God wants to bless our 90.  Don’t rob him of that!

—  Another moment I really loved was at the conclusion of the service.  He asked everyone to stand up who started attending Echo since we’ve been meeting in our new building (which was 6 months ago).  I’m not good at estimating, but I’d say at least half ,if not more, stood up.  He asked them to remain standing and look around at those sitting.  It was a great picture. Those standing thanking those who were here before them who were faithful to tithe.  They paved the way  to their seat being filled. Well, actually, they paved the way to their seat being purchased!  And those seated seeing what their tithe was going towards…souls!

I was surprised to hear an overwhelmingly positive response from Sunday’s sermon.  We serve an awesome God people!  He cares about EVERY part of our lives, including our money.

Only the Best

There are a couple of devotionals I have emailed to me daily.  One is Wisdom Hunters and the other is Focus on the Family.  One of the things I love about reading them is that sometimes while reading them, my mind wanders to another place.  I think when we devote time to God it opens up the door for Him to talk to us.  God honors the time we devote to Him.  He uses our obedience to speak into our lives!  Most of the time, the lessons from the devotional are what I walk away with, which is great.  But other times, like today, I walk away with something else on my mind.

Today, the reading was about the importance of being a supportive wife.  But the thing I can’t stop thinking about is this…

My kids and husband see me at my best and at my worst.

I just sat there and thought about that for a bit.  Yes, we should be free to be ourselves at home.  But why is it that acquaintances or even strangers get the best and only the best from us?  We are more likely to be courteous when we don’t feel like it when we are in public.  Why don’t we give our families the same courtesy?  Is it really that hard?  I want my family to see me at my best and only my best!

Mom Guilt {Part Two}

Babies turn into toddlers.  Toddlers turn into children.  Children turn into teenagers.  Teenagers turn into adults.  I know this is the natural order of things.  Mothers raise their kids to be self sufficient, responsible adults.  But, that “new mom” guilt is rising up in me again.  Maybe because I’m in a new phase of motherhood.  I think I still consider myself a mother of two toddlers because that’s how I see them.  I’m loosing that hands-on role I may have complained about years ago…excited that a day would come when they could make their own breakfast on Saturdays and I could sleep in.  They still need an attentive mom, but they are growing up and I have to adapt yet again.  They are in the beginning stages of building their own lives.

So what does this mean for me?  It means I need to accept who I am in their lives now.  I shouldn’t feel guilty when they have to spend a day not doing exactly what they want.  (That will prepare them for having a family.)  I shouldn’t feel guilty when they have to go back to their room over and over to clean it because they continue to clean it half-way. (That will prepare them for having a job.)  I shouldn’t feel guilty when I check their homework and tell them to go back and correct the spelling and punctuation. (That will prepare them for high school.)  I shouldn’t feel guilty making one compromise their desires for the betterment of their sibling.  (That will prepare them for marriage.)  I shouldn’t feel guilty when I force them to pick up a mess that they didn’t make.  (That will prepare them to be a good friend.)   Sometimes at the end of the day I feel like the worst mom in the world because my boys didn’t enjoy their day like they had planned.  Or because they got mad at me for asking them to do something they didn’t want to do.  Well, as an adult, their day will be full of moments of doing something they didn’t want to do…it’s called responsibility.