Archive for April, 2015

Fixing Toilets for Jesus…

Monday, April 27th, 2015
At Kent Christian Life Center speaking at their women's brunch

At Kent Christian Life Center speaking at their women’s brunch

Speaking at The Crossing Community Church

Speaking at The Crossing Community Church

Just got back from another weekend of ministry, and fixed my first toilet for Jesus. ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously, funny story, I was actually staying at the pastor’s house and we had noticed overnight that the toilet was dripping on the floor a bit. The pastor left early because the men were serving the brunch, and I noticed that the leak had gotten a lot worse – something in the supply line let go or something and I thought they were going to flood their bathroom during the brunch so I turned off the line and drained the tank. When I told Cheryl, the women’s ministry director and pastor’s wife, she was so embarrassed that I would do that and then when she introduced me, she said, “Jennifer Shaw is FULL-SERVICE. She does worship, she speaks, she writes songs and books, and this morning she fixed my toilet.” Hilarious! I’m sure one day God will show me how to use that as a sermon illustration…

Anyway, it was a lovely brunch at Kent Christian Life Center and so good to meet everyone there. The pastor and his wife were wonderful, and we had a great time with them.

The next day I was back in my hometown of Columbus and did the entire morning service for The Crossing Community Church in Hilliard. I was there last year, and it was great to be back! They have a wonderful heart for missions and also for the special needs community, two things that are very near and dear to my heart. So overall, a great weekend with new friends and old.

Amazing Weekend and New Article

Monday, April 20th, 2015
Speaking to the women at the Ladies in Faith Together Conference in Michigan

Speaking to the women at the Ladies in Faith Together Conference in Michigan

Doing guest worship and special music at Grace Church in Ohio

Doing guest worship and special music at Grace Church in Ohio

A new article about my Scripture Memory Songs has come out in a number of places, talking about Biblical illiteracy, and our hope to plant the Word of God into kids’ hearts. You can see it here from the Christian Telegraph.

This past weekend, I had the wonderful privilege of being the speaker for an event up in Sterling Heights, Michigan which brings together women from over 50 churches. It was so fun to see the body of Christ come together in that way! I spoke on the life of Esther and also led the worship, and had an amazing day. It was especially lovely to get to know all the women on the team who planned and put together the event – they were wonderful and so dedicated. And to top it off, we got so many Compassion children sponsored, and that is one of my favorite things about what I do!

The next day I was down in Toledo at Grace Church to do special music and guest worship. What an interesting morning! There was a pastor there from Poland who was visiting and giving the message, and he was updating the church on all that the Lord had been doing with their ministry in Poland. He was an amazing man, literally building a church from the people he and his wife and team were rescuing from the streets. It was so encouraging and a great reminder of the power of the grace of our God!

More ministry coming up this next week, and it’s been a busy spring. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the people of God I get to meet – heaven is going to be an awesome place!

Our New Scripture Memory album is here!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
The cover for the new album!

The cover for the new album!

I am so excited to announce that my new CD “Scripture Memory Songs For Kids and Families” is almost here!

We have just opened the pre-orders on my site. You can hear clips and see lyrics there as well. The official release for the project is May 19th, but we will be shipping all pre-orders as early as next week, more than a month before you will be able to get them anywhere else! Also, I will be signing any pre-orders from my site (unless you get a digital download – I’m not that good!!). Please note, I do have to unwrap and open the CDs to sign them, so if you don’t want that, just let us know when you order. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m so excited to see how God will use this new project. It’s very different from my mainstream albums, but I’ve just loved working on it, and it’s huge! It has 30 word-for-word Scripture memory songs from the NIV on it that even include the references; we sing them right in. It also has 9 other bonus Christian kid’s songs on it for 39 songs total. Even though it’s so many songs and twice the length of a regular album, we wanted to keep it affordable, so they are only $20 each.

These were designed for use with a VBS curriculum, but over the years, we’ve gotten emails from people who have used our Scripture songs in all kinds of ways – homeschooling, Sunday school, Christian school classes, and just popping it into the car stereo and learning Scripture together. I’ve even had adults tell me they use it all the time. It’s aimed at grade-school aged kids and has fun songs, and silly songs, and cool songs, and pretty songs. We really hope that it is a blessing to you and your family and the kids in your life!

Is the Bible valuable?

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Is the Bible valuable?

Most people would say, โ€œOf course.โ€ Even if they don’t believe it or agree with it, they might value it for historical purposes or it’s cultural weight. But is the Bible valuable to you? Christians are supposed to value the Bible as the Word of God Himself.

And yet, a study by LifeWay Research states that only 45 percent of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week. Over a third only read it once or twice a month. Eighteen percent of church attenders say they never read the Bible at all.

That makes me so sad. I wonder if they know what they are missing.

Have you ever thought about what an amazing thing it is that we have access to the very Word of God? That He has told us all about Himself and all about us and human nature? That He has given us instructions to have โ€œlife and life to the fullโ€ (John 10:10)? It’s sitting there waiting, but sometimes I think the very fact that it is so accessible makes us treat it very casually.

So, practically, how do we start reading and learning from the Bible if we haven’t been doing that before? I will tell you, I have struggled in this area for a long time. I am not a morning person, and I’m not super organized, so trying to follow the standard of getting up before dawn and spending hours in a quiet time before my family was awake was never going to work for me โ€“ in fact, thinking that people were doing that was discouraging to me. How could I measure up?

Eugene Peterson says that we need โ€œa long obedience in the same direction.โ€ My undergraduate degree is in piano performance. When my kids started piano lessons, their first teacher was excited that I would surely be super intense about it and told them they needed to practice for an hour a day. I told her I was going to require 15 minutes from them, and she was not very happy with me. But I required 15 focused minutes. No messing around, it had to be 15 concentrated minutes and it had to be every single day. After that they could play around, play whatever they wanted or not play at all. I didn’t care. You see, I’d already taught piano for years. Most kids their age couldn’t concentrate for much longer than that anyway, and they might play an hour, but they weren’t really working on anything. When it was that long, they were discouraged and got bored and it took the fun out of it. What we found was that my kids learned fast. And they played a lot more than that 15 minutes because they were getting it and playing for the enjoyment of it. It’s amazing what 15 focused minutes can do. (Disclaimer โ€“ my kids were little and their practice time increased as they got older. Please do not hit your piano teacher over the head with this article when he or she tells you your child needs to do more!)

This principle can be applied to so many things. Five minutes at something every day of your life can change your life. Small things add up. It’s so easy to say, โ€œWell, what’s five minutes?โ€ but five minutes times 365 days can turn into quite a skill or knowledge set.

So with the Bible, I tried to get my kids in a daily habit, and they tied it to something to help them remember. Rinnah reads right when she wakes up. Rachel reads while she’s doing her hair (she has a lot of hair, and has this magical ability to do it without looking while sitting cross-legged in the middle of her floor with a Bible in her lap). Toby reads his while eating his breakfast every day. You are going to wake up every day. You will eat food at some point in every day. If you have hair like Rachel’s you will need to spend time doing it every day. Pick something as your mnemonic, and use that. My kids probably read the Bible for 5-10 minutes every day. That’s it. We talk about what they are reading at dinner and it’s casual. They might ask me a question about it while we’re putting shoes on for school or when we’re in the car. But they have read a tremendous amount over time because they do it every day, and I hope they are setting habits that will last their entire lives.

It is still a struggle for me personally. I love the Bible, but I know my tendency to be lazy about it. So for me, I make sure I’m always in an organized Bible study. That way I have built in accountability โ€“ someone is going to know (other than me and God!) whether I did my study at the end of the week, and that really helps me be motivated. Some people do not need that outside help, but I know I do, so I sign up and I ask God to help me be faithful, and He does!

There’s an old hymn that has a line that reads, โ€œThere’s a famine for the Word.โ€ It’s true. How are we to represent God in this world if we don’t know what He’s telling us to do or who He is? The more I read and study my Bible, the more excited I get, the more connections I make, the more the Holy Spirit reveals Himself through the pages. It’s changed my life and my entire world view. Just like my kids playing for fun after their practice time, that long obedience has gotten me excited to dig into the Bible at all times, not just when I “have to.”

Don’t miss that blessing! Don’t miss out on one of the greatest gifts God has ever given us; the ability to know Him through His Word!

One of the Scripture songs on the new album is a great ending and reminder:

โ€œAll Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteous so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.โ€ 2 Tim 3:16-17

Let’s dig in to the Word so we can give out to our world!