Yesterday I got to guest lead worship at Karl Rd. Baptist Church here in Columbus. This was especially fun for me because I’ve attended Bible Study Fellowship here for eons, and it was great to have a chance to help them out for a change. This church has a tremendous ministry right in their neighborhood and to the 600+ women and hundreds of children that come with them every week. It was great to be with them, and I’m happy to be heading back in August too!
This past week was “Adventure Week” or VBS at our old church. I worked there for over 12 years, and in that time I wrote several plays and music for the week. Even though I’ve left the position there as music director, it’s been so fun that they’ve invited me back to help with the play, and my older daughter, Rinnah, has had a part in it last year and this. Seriously, what a joy to see your child do a play you wrote in order that younger kids might meet the Lord!
This year we were at a school training us all to be God’s sidekicks – He is our superhero! Here’s a picture of my daughter as “Zelda” with her on-stage brother “Dexter” played by Kody. They had so much fun. And over 40 kids started a new relationship with God that week. What could better?
The American Church Magazine just published an article I wrote called “Why Has My Congregation Stopped Singing?” It’s a practical article about things churches can do to increase participation in worship. I visit so many churches every year, and I see the same things over and over again – I just felt compelled to write it. Now that I have, the response has been tremendous! It was a real struggle for me to keep it to the length the magazine asked for. Maybe I should make it a book?
You can find it here – let me know what you think and what your church does well or could improve in the comments!
Last night I got to do the speaking and music for Maranatha Baptist’s annual Spring Tea. This was just a beautiful event. It’s held in a very standard gym, but it was amazing how the women transformed it, and they had worked so hard to make it lovely for all the women coming! This is an outreach event they do every year for their family, friends, and co-workers, and we heard afterward that several women started a relationship with the Lord that night. There is nothing better you could ever tell me! They treated me so kindly, it was just a pleasure to be with them. Thanks for having me!
Allow me a mom moment here. All of my kids do interesting and sometimes unusual things, and this week I got to take our younger daughter, Rachel, to compete in the nationals for archery. She qualified last year too and got eighth in the country! Since my only experience with archery was at summer camp as a kid with arrows shaped more like boomerangs, I am lucky to still be alive. We have no idea where she got this talent.
Nationals were held in Louisville, KY and we took my mom along too – three generations together for girl time. It’s a really interesting thing to do, actually. There are thousands of archers from all over the country and they are competing hundreds at a time. Rachel has moved up an age division, so this year she was competing against her grade and also the two above it. She had an arrow go bad in the second to the last round, but she still tied her personal best competition score and took 22nd. We were so proud of her! I don’t know how she does it, but she stays cool as a cucumber.
Thanks for letting me brag a bit. Hopefully I’ll get to do it again next year.
I had a great time with The Crossing Community Church last! Last fall, an attender there saw me at a women’s event at another church and decided she wanted to sponsor a ministry event for her whole church. I loved this, and also loved how her whole church supported it! We did a concert ministry event open to everyone and it was so much fun. My favorite part was when we were doing a kid’s Scripture memory song and several teenagers came to help a young man with cerebral palsy get out of his wheelchair so he could dance too. And we got so many kids sponsored that night as well! What a heart for helping at this church. Thanks for having me, and thanks for starting the whole thing, Kathy! Hope I see you all again soon.
I was helping out in my son’s Sunday School class last Sunday. I came as a volunteer, so they just ask you to show up and be an extra pair of hands and play with the kids – I didn’t have to prep or teach anything. As a consequence, I had no idea what the story was going to be that day, and I assumed it would be something about Palm Sunday because it was, well, Palm Sunday. But actually, they were already teaching about when Jesus had risen and was appearing to His disciples.
The teacher asked, “How did they know Jesus was really alive and not just a ghost or something?” and one of the boys said, “Because He could eat and had a body and stuff.” She said, “Right! So they knew He was alive. Is He still alive today?” and the kids all answered with that kind of blase assurance that Sunday School can give, “Yes.”
Pretty straightforward Sunday School lesson, right? But wait, it blew my mind. I was sitting there thinking, kids, have you really thought about that? Because Jesus died 2000 years ago. Two thousand years. No one lives two thousand years. No one live two hundred years! And yet He is still alive. Why? Because He beat death. He defeated it! Death no longer exists for Him – He will live forever.
It made me want to jump up and shout it – Jesus is still alive! This is not some trite answer we learn about something that happened thousands of years ago. It’s still relevant today, and why? Because Jesus didn’t defeat death so He could live forever – He already had that right. He defeated death so that we could live forever.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” – Jesus (John 5:24).
This Holy Week, the time when we look at what Christ did on the cross, when we mourn His death, and praise Him for His humility and love and suffering on our behalf, and when we jump for joy on Easter Sunday because we know that death could not hold him, but He is risen from the dead, let’s not make this some historic thing that’s nice to remember. This is for now, this is for today. This is for you, and your life and your future, and He has defeated death forever!
That should never stop blowing our minds. Because Jesus is STILL alive!
You may or may not know that Ohio is actually the home to the largest population of Amish anywhere in the world. We live in Columbus, a city of about 2 million people right in the center of the state, and here, you would never know it, but if you drive a couple of hours north and east of here, you really have to start driving slowly because you will come around a bend and run a buggy off the road.
This past weekend I did a women’s conference in Walnut Creek, a very Amish town, and it was such a wonderful getaway with the Lord! It was hosted by Northampton Bible Church which is closer to the Cleveland area. My mom and I drove up and got there at just the time school was letting out, so we had to drive very carefully as there were buggies, walkers, and bicyclists everywhere! I love getting up there – it truly is so peaceful, and the food is outstanding. My kids go to camp very near here, and so we can tell you all our favorite bakeries.
I taught on learning to be yielded to God’s plan in your life. I love how God never stops teaching us, and that is one of the lessons I am most grateful for because I wouldn’t be doing any of what I’m doing today if He hadn’t taught me that. And it’s also a lesson I need to remember every single day and choose to follow. We had such a wonderful time getting to know the ladies, and look forward to getting to be back here soon!
You know, over the years, the Lord has really clarified for me what the heartbeat of our ministry is. First and foremost, it is the Gospel. What we really want is to show people Jesus. If you haven’t met Him before, I’d like to introduce you. And if you know Him, I’d like to call you to follow Him more closely and live your life more fully for Him.
One of the ways God has allowed us to do that is through missions around the world, and in that process, God has really broken our hearts for children in poverty and slavery, and for families who are trying to make it work despite great odds stacked against them. We want to be the hands and feet of Christ and to love not just with words, but with actions and in truth!
We have made the exciting decision this week to start working with Compassion International. They share those same loves, the love for God and introducing people to Him, and the desire to help children and families in poverty live their lives to their greatest potential. We’ve sponsored a Compassion child in Tanzania named Kennedy for the last 7 years or so, and the more I learn about the organization, the more excited I am about what God is doing through them and how we can help. If you’d like to sponsor a Compassion Child and help release them from poverty, I’d love to hear from you! You can always contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to connect you!
My family and I just got back from a wonderful spring break in Florida. We really needed the time together, and we were so happy for the blessing of a break and some sun! It’s been the worst winter any of us can remember, and we were ready to get out of Dodge!
I had some ministry events at the end of the week, so we took the whole family and spent a few days beforehand in Orlando before heading down to Bonita Springs and Sanibel Island. I have mentioned the tough and emotional week we’d had making some ministry decisions, and it was so amazing that the day we had finally made our decision, I looked out of the hotel room and a skywriter wrote “Trust Jesus” right outside our window! God is so fun and so good. And it made me wonder how many people needed that same message as we all stared at the sky.
We headed down further south at the end of the week and got to see some very close family friends, the Lunds. They are almost like second parents to me and I’ve known them my whole life. It was especially precious time too, since Mr. Lund was just diagnosed with an aggressive form of kidney cancer. We are praying hard for them, and having the time with them was priceless.
Sunday morning I got to be with First Presbyterian Church in Bonita Springs again. They are a wonderful church, and I have really enjoyed connecting with their worship pastor, Jeff, and the senior pastor over the years. They have a pretty formal service, and they literally made me cry in their rehearsal as I listened to their 100 voice choir and amazing organ on “How Great Thou Art.” Our home church is very contemporary, and I was happy that my kids would get a chance to hear that – it was a blessing to me. I shared a little of our story and my song “Someday.” Pastor Doug had an inspiring sermon looking at Gethsemane, and it was a great morning all around for us.
That evening, I was back at Sanibel Community Church. This is such a great place – the people just obviously love the Lord with their whole hearts, and they have this amazing, laid-back island vibe. They had built a new sanctuary since I was there last, and I was so happy for them. It was a beautiful facility, and since their original sanctuary is historic, they hadn’t been allowed to add on and were just crammed in there for multiple services. We had a great night of ministry, and everyone from the church (especially you guys, Patrick and George – you know who you are!) were such a blessing to us all!
We drove about 4 hours after the concert, and then another 14 the next day to get home. That was crazy! And drove through one tornado warning in GA to boot. But it was such a great week with my family, and I’m so glad we were able to go!