Free Shipping. Click to learn more.

FREE SHIPPING — all orders over $50!
  • PreBuy Moms' Night Out

Monthly Archives: February 2013

  • A Year of Adventure

    Posted on February 7, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "... great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'" Lamentations 3:23b-24 (NIV)

    A few months ago my youngest daughter presented me and my husband with a proposal. An iMovie proposal. Complete with dramatic scenes and credits that rolled at the end.

    The message of the iMovie? A request ...

    "Please home school me."

    Oh my heavenly days, no.

    No.

    No.

    No.

    No.

    I'm not a teacher. I'm not patient. I'm not even nice some days.

    No.

    I tried homeschooling this darling in kindergarten and honestly thought I was going to lose my mind. I would watch other moms do this thing right. They were organized and scheduled and undistracted.

    Me? I looked like a dog's tongue when he's got his head stuck out the window of a truck going 70 miles per hour. Messy. Flapping about. Not pretty to look at.

    Can you imagine the conversations she will have about me with her therapist one day? No, let's not add homeschooling to the list of things Mom didn't do well.

    But then I got to thinking. What if I took a year of adventure with this beautiful young woman? What if I hit the pause button on all things typical and just took a year to do things differently? With her. For her. Could I do that?

    Okay, God if You want me to take a year of adventure with Brooke, I will wait for You to show me. I need You to help fill in the gaps where I'm weak.

    Then I met a math teacher who got excited about teaching my daughter a couple times a week.

    And a fabulous reading and writing tutor just happened to have a few days a week to do the same.

    My friend Kristi asked if Brooke could be in her small group Bible study this year.

    Another friend asked if Brooke wanted to take cheer leading classes at her gym.

    And I'd already been planning an educational trip to Sea World.

    So, the year of adventure started unfolding in front of me and I held tightly to these promises: "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him'" (Lamentations 3:21-24 NIV).

    I had no idea how this year would turn out. I thought I might royally mess up my child's education.

    But it has turned out to be a year we will never forget. While we are still living out the adventure, it has been a wonderful experience. One where we are growing, being stretched, and learning. Together.

    One where we've seen God's great love lower stress when stress can run high. A year I have had to depend on His compassion ... to receive for myself and to give to my daughter. Every new day, Brooke and I walk this adventure out, led by God who continues to fill in the gaps creatively.

    You too can have a year of adventure with your children. Maybe it's the year of them learning 12 Bible verses–one per month. Or maybe it could be the year of everybody making their bed at least 3-4 times per week. Or maybe it's the year of letter-writing, where you have them write one letter per week to brighten someone's day.

    One leap of faith. One year. God's compassion is there. The adventure is waiting. No pressure. Just intentional learning and fun.

    Dear Lord, equip me with the things I need for my year of adventure. Give me Your strength to help me step out of my comfort zone. Please use this as an opportunity for me to grow closer to my children and closer to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Say yes to your year of adventure! What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst is the perfect thing to read as you embark on an exciting journey to fulfill God's calling.

    Your year of adventure will hold many joys, but it may also hold frustrations. Be prepared to have godly reactions daily with Lysa TerKeurst's Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What kind of adventurous thing could you do with your kids this year?

    Pick something small. One thing. It doesn't have to be anything complicated, but should be something that will be a stretching experience for everyone.

    Power Verses:
    1 Corinthians 1:7-9, "God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that." (MSG)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Lamentations

  • Love Patiently

    Posted on February 6, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Love is patient. 1 Corinthians 13:4

    Patience is a natural expression of love, as people who are loved are shown patience. However, some relationships are harder  to patiently love. An unprovoked patience requires  a small capacity for love, but a provoked patience requires  a greater grace. A common love handles effortlessly being treated well, but love requires an uncommon patience when treated unjustly. Authentic love is willing to suffer long for the sake of the one being served. So, love patiently all people.

    Are your circumstances trying your patience? Has someone gotten on your last nerve and exhausted your patience? If so, join the company of those who need a fresh perspective of God’s patient love toward us. Yes, while we were still sinners, the Lord patiently allowed His son Jesus to suffer, so we could be set free from the shackles of sin. Christ loves patiently to the point of bearing our burdens with us. We are not discarded, but loved, in spite of our inconsistencies.

    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

    Therefore, by God’s grace we demonstrate patient love towards those who do not demonstrate patient love toward us. Our frustrated friends could be stuck in their own crazy cycle of sin, still in need of a Savior. They are not capable of loving patiently, because they have yet to receive the genuine love of their Heavenly Father. Indeed, those of us who commune with the Prince of Peace know better, but those lacking peace struggle with patience. Love is patient with impatience.

    Moreover, see your marriage as a laboratory of learning how to love patiently the love of your life. Take the high ground of grace when you are hurt. Explain with loving patience to your husband or wife the pain you feel you carry alone. Let them in on your fears, dreams and angry feelings. When you express your emotions with patient love, you give permission for your spouse to do the same. Your love may suffer for a season, but your patience is a portrait of God’s grace.

    Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. Isaiah 38:17

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for loving me patiently, so I can love others patiently.

     

    Related Readings: Genesis 19:16; Exodus 34:6; Ephesians 1:4, 4:2; 1 Peter 3:8, 18

     

    Post/Tweet today: Take the high ground of grace when you are hurt. #grace

     

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Corinthians, Marriage

  • Remind Me Who I Am

    Posted on February 6, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him." John 13:23 (NIV)

    As a freshman in high school, a boy gave me the nickname "hips." Although I was thin, my shape wasn't popular like the models of that time. And from that point on I was keenly and uncomfortably aware that I didn't have a "desirable" figure.

    The name "hips" stuck in my mind for years, as I labeled myself un-athletic and uncoordinated. It didn't help that I got hit in the head at softball tryouts and was in the first cuts from the volleyball and basketball teams. I did get called back for a dancing spot in the school play, but went to the auditions in Levis 501 straight leg jeans. Not exactly sure what I was thinking that day ...

    Un-athletic isn't the only label I've given myself over the years. Some have been positive, others negative. Some based on fact, yet others based on emotion. The way I describe myself has a powerful effect on how I see myself ... on my self-worth, value and choices.

    The New Testament tells of a disciple of Jesus who had an interesting definition for himself, one that seemed to impact his life as well. In the book of John, one of the disciples is described this way: the one whom Jesus loved.

    Interestingly, this description is only found in the book of John, and scholars believe John the Apostle, the author of the book, was referring to himself.

    For years, I assumed this was a title the other disciples gave John. Perhaps they believed Jesus loved John more than the others. That wouldn't be uncommon, as siblings tend to have an unspoken understanding of one child being favored. But what if this title, this label, wasn't given by the others?

    Recently it hit me that this identity - one loved by Jesus - was how John described himself.

    John was confident of Jesus' love, and this had a powerful effect on how he lived his life. He didn't fear man's threats as he stood at the base of the cross, caring for Jesus' mother. Nor when he was among the first at the tomb, possibly facing bewildered and angry Roman soldiers. After the resurrection, John fearlessly preached the Good News alongside the others, and faced persecution and imprisonment. John's confidence of Jesus' love emboldened him.

    As I thought of all the descriptions I've given myself over the years, I realized that this one might be the most life-changing for me. It's one thing to identify myself as a Christian, as if it's a set of beliefs I adhere to. It's quite another to place myself in the "inner circle" because of Jesus' love for me. There's something that seems slightly presumptuous about that, and so it's safer to skirt on the edges of this relationship I have with Christ.

    And yet when I dare to admit the possibility that Jesus might love me as much as He loved John ... and that I too could call myself the one whom Jesus loves ... this knowledge changes who I am.

    I'm invited to His inner circle, today. The only thing that has ever held me back is me - and my faulty definitions of myself.

    Today, dear friend, this same identity is available to you. You are the disciple Jesus loves. Can you claim that for yourself? This life-changing identity is waiting for you to accept it.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me unconditionally. Thank You for inviting me in to Your inner circle. May this truth embroider itself on my heart. And may I walk in faith, strengthened by Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

    I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer

    Reflect and Respond:
    What labels have you accepted as true for yourself?

    How would your life be different if you believed you were the disciple Jesus loves?

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 5:1-2, "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (NIV)

    Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with John

  • Committed Love

    Posted on February 5, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

    Committed love is the high bar of behavior in marriage. It is not a convenient love that only remains loyal if it has feelings of love. Indeed, a devoted wife and husband love each other deeply. It is a depth of love not shaken by financial setbacks or a child who breaks their heart. Like western pioneers, a married couple committed to love circles their wagons in wholehearted dedication and stay faithful. Committed love finds a way to forgive and move forward by faith.

    Are you looking for a way out of your covenant with God or have you both shut the door on divorce? Your first commitment is to Christ and His commands. His heart’s desire is for you to cover the sins of your spouse with forgiveness and fidelity to your relationship. Love does not pay back by inflicting harm, but  gives back by believing the best. You know you have committed love for your spouse if your motivation is to heal their hurting heart. Your love flows from Jesus’ love.

    “Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John [Peter], do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” John 21:16

    Peter knew first hand the depth of Christ’s love that forgave him of his multiple sins of betrayal. Indeed, it is out of our incredible sense of being forgiven much that we love much. The reality of the depth of our sin heightens as we mature in the faith. Yes, it is the Lord’s precious forgiveness that constrains us to love deeply our dear wife or husband. Our committed love to each other is built upon Christ’s committed love to us. Marriage focused on Jesus loves one another like Jesus.

    What are some ways you can go deeper in your love for your spouse? You love deeply when you share with them the depth of gratitude you have for their love for you. You love deeply when you defend them in front of complaining children and when you show respect by not publicly criticizing them. You are capable oflovingyour spouse deeply when Christ has loved you deeply. Yes, your committed love is a compelling example of Jesus to your children and to their children.

    “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:47, NKJV

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for deeply loving me, so I in turn can deeply love my spouse.

     

    Related Readings: Proverbs 10:12; John 10:11; 1 Peter 1:22; James 5:20

     

    Post/Tweet today: Love does not pay back by inflicting harm, but  gives back by believing the best. #love

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Peter, Marriage

  • The Good Wife

    Posted on February 5, 2013 by Sharon Glasgow

    Sharon Glasgow

    "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10 (NIV)

    Being a good wife is a lot like being a good cook.

    Any cook using the same recipe and instructions can produce a dish that tastes entirely different from another's. Why is this?

    Well, attention to detail is one characteristic that distinguishes a good cook from an average one.

    Take fried apples for example. All you need are apples, sugar, butter and cinnamon. But, not every cook prepares them the same. I cook mine on high (I want them caramelized) and I never put a lid on the pan or they get mushy. If you take the same ingredients, cook them on low with a cover, you get a dish that doesn't resemble mine at all. The same recipe produces a totally different result.

    The same is true between a good wife and an average wife. There are hundreds of recipes for being a good wife using the same few ingredients: love, respect, communication, intimacy, time, service, and prayer. Even if the recipe is followed without one ingredient omitted, the outcome can be totally different.

    If you love in proportion to what is given you, the recipe will not rise to the fullest. Our key verse, Romans 12:10, tells us to be devoted in love. The word love as used here is an unconditional one with no expectations of a return. Love with every ounce of your being and when you have given all, squeeze even more out.

    I grew up lacking an understanding of respect. I loved my husband, but didn't respect all of his ideas or his role in our family. But through reading Scripture, God showed me the importance of respecting my husband. In fact, Romans 12:10 encourages us to honor our husbands by thinking more highly of them than ourselves. This meant I had to stop thinking my way was the only way! Once I learned to listen before reacting and respect his thoughts, I find Dale is actually right most often.

    Communication is a delicate balance of listening and talking. Listen not only with your ears but with your heart. One author broke down our key verse by saying, "They should speak honorably of each other ... and discourage that evil practice of whisperings, backbitings, and innuendos; they should treat each other with honor and respect in their common conversation."* Allow nothing to hinder this vital ingredient, including interrupting, assuming, or past conversations. He needs to know you care about his every thought, goal, and burden.

    Do not neglect intimacy! The spicier you make this ingredient, the easier the other ingredients gel together into the perfect recipe.

    I'm not the perfect housekeeper, but I try my best. Serving my husband by keeping our home organized and clean, cooking meals he enjoys, and creating an atmosphere of love makes my recipe great!

    Time with him is a vital ingredient too. So, I go everywhere he goes whenever possible. When our five girls were little we would all hop in the vehicle to get gas or pick up nails from the hardware store just to be with him.

    Many nights I wake up and while he sleeps, I watch him and pray. I pray for his health, his work, and his dreams to be fulfilled. Make time each day to regularly pray for your husband, and sprinkle in prayers throughout your day as well. The Lord will be faithful to answer.

    The Good Wife Recipe is about being devoted to one another in love and honoring each other above ourselves. I've noticed that the more I put into the recipe, the more I get out of it ... and the more passionate my marriage is. The more passionate it becomes the less work it is. My desire to love becomes greater, ability to respect becomes second nature, communication becomes like-minded, intimacy is sweeter, and time with him is my desire not a duty.

    Being a good wife is a lot like being a good cook. Anyone using the same recipe and instructions can produce a marriage that is entirely different from another. The secret to The Good Wife Recipe: do not neglect one ingredient. It will be how deliberate you are with the finer details that will determine the outcome.

    Dear Lord, help me be the wife I need to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you using all the ingredients mentioned in this devotion in your marriage?

    Everyone's taste is different. Which ingredient needs adjusting for your husband's preferences?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 12:4, "A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones." (NIV)

    * Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

    © 2013 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Romans

  • Marriage Intentionality

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Marriage should be honored by all.” Hebrews 13:4
    Successful marriages require intentionality. Indeed, most marriages that please the Lord do not happen by accident. There is a prayerful pattern of planning and wise choices that come with a meaningful marriage. The husband and wife honor one another by aspiring to each other’s interests. They connect at deeper emotional levels because they take the time to communicate their feelings. By God’s grace they understand each other's needs and help satisfy those needs.
    How can we be intentional with our spouse? Our acts of service are an example of how we can show them tangible ways we care. If we are the recipient of a deliciously prepared meal, we can insist on clearing the table and cleaning up the kitchen. If our car requires maintenance or repair, we can take the lead taking care of the need. Perhaps we collaborate over a grocery list and then quietly make a trip to the market and purchase the items. Intentional service shows love.
    “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13

     

    Moreover, intentional marriages set goals to get better. You may decide as a couple to dialogue daily, date weekly and depart quarterly. Daily dialogue is a sure fire way to keep the fire of your relationship burning brightly. Consistent emotional connection between husband and wife is necessary to feel loved. Weekly date nights give you an opportunity to romance one another and have fun. Intimacy takes intentionality. Make a marriage plan so life doesn’t make plans for you.

    Above all else, have spiritual intentionality in your marriage. Take the time for prayer walks and initiate talks about spiritual matters. Volunteer together at church and/or in your community. Keep your individual quiet times a priority and then share with one another what the Lord is teaching you. Perhaps you serve on a mission trip together at home and/or overseas. Marriage intentionality honors the Lord and honors you and your spouse. So, be prayerfully intentional!

    “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

    Prayer: Dear Lord give us wisdom in our marriage to model Your intentional love and care.

    Related Readings: Psalm 133:1; Philippians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22
    Post/Tweet today: Intentional marriages set goals to get better: dialogue daily, date weekly, depart quarterly. #marriage
    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry
    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Hebrews, Marriage

  • A Q&A with John Bevere on Relentless

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by John van der Veen

    John Bevere

    Marked by boldness and passion, John Bevere delivers uncompromising truth through his award-winning curriculums and best-selling books, now in more than 60 languages, including Extraordinary, The Bait of Satan, Drawing Near and Driven by Eternity. He is an international speaker and co-host of The Messenger TV program broadcast worldwide.

    John enjoys living in Colorado Springs with his wife, Lisa, also a best-selling author and speaker, and their four sons.

    Below is a question and answer that we did with John over his new book, Relentless.

    What drove you to write Relentless?

    In Ecclesiastes 7:8, Solomon wrote that “finishing is better than starting” (NLT). When we look at various areas of life—such as relationships, careers, or business endeavors—we know this to be true. How we finish is more important than how we begin. Yet I am honestly concerned that many believers are not going to finish well. As I have traveled and ministered for more than two decades, I have encountered so many who have walked away from the faith or lost their passion for God. Why? Because they were not armed to suffer. When trouble arose financially, physically, relationally, or spiritually they did not know how to fight in faith.

    Imagine an army going into war without any guns, bullets, or protective gear. It would be ludicrous! This army certainly would not win, and they might not even survive. This “strategy” sounds absurd, yet many in the Church are just as ill prepared for the hardships they will face in this life. And make no mistake, we will all face trials—Jesus promised as much in John 16:33. Therefore it is vital that God’s people are equipped for suffering. Relentless is a tool for arming believers with the Word of God so that they can fight these battles and come out on top.

    How did you wake up to "unlock your tenacity" for Christ?

    When I became a child of God in 1979, my mother told me, “John, this is one of your new fads. You’ll quit this just like you’ve quit everything else.” As stinging as her words were, they were not without cause. Whether it was sports, hobbies, or relationships, I had always given up. But I discovered that God gave me a new nature when I was born again. According to the apostles John and Peter, it wasn’t just a different human nature: it was God’s nature! (See 1 John 4:17 and 2 Peter 1:4.) Hebrews says, “Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably” (12:28 NKJV). I discovered that God’s grace is what gives us the ability, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to live well and finish strong. Once I received these sure promises, I became a relentless believer.

    What are the biggest challenges Christian men face today and how can they be overcome?

    Standing for truth and not backing down to the crowd’s desire. The only way to overcome this is to have a close relationship with the Holy Spirit and regularly feed on God’s word.

    Do you think the evangelical church here in North America is doing well, or are we limping along?

    I am privileged to minister in some of the most innovative and passionate churches in North America. Yet I would still say that Americans are sometimes the hardest people in the world to minister to. The reason for this is that they are trying to understand kingdom principles from a democratic mindset. God’s kingdom is not a democracy: it’s a kingdom, and He alone is on the throne. This disconnect in the minds of American believers is especially apparent when teaching on subjects like honor and authority.

    What is your favorite winter sport? Why?

    Hockey. I played until I was 44 and then laid it down. Now it’s golf! It is my favorite sport every season of the year. So I bring my clubs wherever I go if the weather is suitable.

     


    This post was posted in Interviews and was tagged with Featured, Sports, Church, Ecclesiastes, John Bevere, Relentless, Men

  • Follow Me - an intro to David Platt's new book Pt. 4

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by Family Christian

    David Platt

    David Platt, author of the New York Times bestselling book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, wants to know: "What did Jesus really mean when He said, 'Follow me'?"

    Here is David talking about his new book.

    Praying the Sinner's Prayer


    This post was posted in Books and was tagged with David Platt

  • A Chat With Jake Ousley

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by Family Christian

    Jake Ousley (photo by Eric Staples)

    Jake Ousley is a singer/songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. And you are going to love him, if you don’t already. Sure, it’s his voice and songwriting that got you here. Because his songs pull at you like the feeling you get when you pull up to your house from being gone too long, or when you have a good night with great friends. That kind of sentiment in his songwriting is what got him here. But it’s also the talent and the time and the way he glides words up to music and makes them dance together.

    FCS: Can you give us a little background yourself?

    I was born in Jackson, Mississippi. I Lived there for the first 11 years of my life and then moved to Henderson, Kentucky when my dad’s department at International Paper got bough out by another company. I moved to Nashville, TN in 2003 to go to school at Belmont University, then spent 2008-2009 living right near Grand Rapids. So, Nashville feels like home now, but Grand Rapids is starting to become a close second as much time as I spend here.

    FCS: What’s it like living in Nashville?

    I love it. It’s a big city with a small town feel. You can get all the action you want on a Saturday night but still sit in a backyard in some neighborhood just 2 miles from downtown and feel like your miles from the city. I love that about it. Did I mention that it’s also a music town?

    FCS: You’ve been involved for quite a while with Young Life; how did that start with you?

    If I really think way back, I have to credit my sister Lindsay for introducing me to Young Life. Young Life had already been started up in Henderson, KY by the time my family moved there. My sister was the one who plugged in the local area as a Wyldlife leader. I was conveniently in middle school at the time, so, my early memories of Young Life were large gatherings of middle schoolers at this entertainment center place across the river from our hometown. A Hundred or so middle-schoolers terrorizing this place with video games and go –karts and everything else under the sun. Really fun.

    As I got older I became close with the area director at the time, Chris Dillbeck.  I grew up in the church, so I was familiar with what it meant to be a Christian, but Chris was the first person that I had ever encountered that seemed to really think about what it meant to connect what he believed and how he lived. It was an on-going conversation with him. Not only that, but he was more real than I had ever experienced anyone else to be. More raw. That helped me process the idea that faith and life are connected. I credit Young Life for that.

    From there, I had lots of involvement with Young Life. I spent several summers volunteering at different camps around the country doing what they call Work Crew, and Summer Staff.

    The most profound of all those experiences for me, though, was probably when I found Wilderness Ranch in Creede, Colorado. I spent one summer at this Young Life based backpacking ministry in 2007 and was hooked. I came back 3 summers after that serving as a Trail Guide. Trail guides were responsible for taking high school students on 6 day back packing trips. You can imagine the stories

    All of those summers during high school and college were so full, but my favorite of all was being at Wilderness in the San Juan Mountains in late may. There’s often still snow on the ground then…and its beautiful. Some of my favorites times have been with the community there at Wilderness.

    FCS: There is some great history with Young Life and the artists coming from the organization – is there anyone you look up to that’s walked this line before you?

    Oh man. Well… All of them? Ha. Ha. I mean… I was a Bebo Norman fan. I don’t know who wasn’t after Ten Thousand Days came out. I still listen to that record every now and then. And I’ve had minimal interaction with Ed Cash. I love his production, again…who doesn’t?

    But the first person I ever met at a young life event that kind of introduced me to the idea of what a special musician was, was Dave Barnes. Dave and I met at a weekend in Indiana and hit it off from the get go. He was the older, way cooler, version of me in my own mind. Ha. Maybe other 16 year olds were thinking the same thing, but we stayed in touch and became pretty good buddies when I moved to Nashville to go to Belmont in 2003. If you know Dave, you know that there’s not many people, that don’t like him. But he had a significant impact on me both personally and musically in those early days. We still hang out today. So that’s cool.

    FCS: I understand that you’ve spent time touring as a manager for another friend of FCS, Matt Wertz.  Tell us about that experience.

    Yeah! Those are funny days to look back on. I wasn’t cut out to be a tour manager. Matt really put with a lot to have someone out on the road as young and inexperienced as I was. Ha.

    I took a leave of absence from Belmont my second semester – that was the official term for it if you didn’t want to say you were “dropping out” – and went on the road with Wertz. Again, it was comical because I am an obvious, right brained, dreamer, creative type. So, to have a job where I was responsible for a lot of logistical, moving parts and a lot of major, day-to-day details was quite a stretch for my personality. Matt had a ton of grace with me. We luckily – thank the lord -  can laugh about it today.

    If I learned anything about an independent musicians career during that time it was how much it helps to show people that you are thankful. I remember very vividly the nights where Matt would wear out his voice from talking to people after shows. It put something in me deep to watch that.

    FCS: When did you decide that music was for you?

    I’m not positive I’ve decided yet. Ha! No… I kind of fell in love with the idea of the acoustic guitar as soon as I saw it. My dad had one tucked underneath his bed in our house in Kentucky. I think I tried to figure out to play it about 1,000,000,000 times before he realized I wasn’t going to stop and bought me an official lesson.

    As far as listening to music, it was probably early Chris Rice songs and some James Taylor stuff that really made me fall in love with the singer-songwriter thing. (I’ve told Chris that, now just need to meet James Taylor somehow…anybody?) There’s something really honest about just one person and their instrument. Ya know?

    FCS: So let’s talk a little about your music.  How do you describe your music?  Where do you find inspiration?

    That has become a challenge. Sometimes it depends on who you’re talking to. The more I’ve played though, the more I’ve been told that I sound like the guy from Rascall Flatts, and then occasionally James Taylor, and Hunter Hayes. I take all of those as massive compliments. Gary LeVox is probably one of the better singers I’ve ever heard. And Hunter Hayes is easily as talented. If I can sing half the licks those guys can in a few years, I’ll feel pretty good.

    The country thing is funny to me because it really just happened. All through college I was much more in to independent Singer-Songwriters like David Gray, David Mead, etc. Also, it’s apparent that I was into singers named David. Ha. But guys like that were definitely not country music. So, it’s funny to get compared to people that I wasn’t listening to in the beginning. I have warmed up to a lot to Country Music though in the last few years.

    This new record, Counting Down The Days is really a blend of Americana, pop, and country influences. There are some songs on this album that were intentionally written to a pop audience and then some more written to an Allison Kraus kind of vibe too.

    I find inspiration from everything. That sounds broad. I know. I just to mean to say that I’m a passionate person that loves living. That also sounds very general. Hang with me…ha… Most of my most heart-felt songs seem to center around relationship. Whether its one ending or beginning, or struggling to survive…a lot of my songs come from my own personal experience or experiences I’ve heard about first hand from friends.

    And then a lot of the time I’ll hear a song that will make me want to write a song. I wrote “When It Rains” with Josh Robinson after listening to “Even the Rain” by Gabe Dixon about a thousand times. I love the idea and the word pictures he creates in that song.

    FCS: You have a new album out, Counting Down the Days – tell us a little about it.

    Well…for one it was a ton of fun making it. Just Robinson and Matt Campbell – the guys who produced it – are really talented and did an incredible job finding the right production for these songs. The 9 songs were written over the course of about a year in 2011.

    I am more proud of this record than of anything I’ve done so far. I listen to it like its not my own sometimes. Ha ha. AND I feel really blessed to have been able to successfully fund the whole project through Kickstarter, a website that helps people fund creative projects. There’s no way I would have ever been able to record an album of this quality without the support of all the people that funded it through Kickstarter.

    FCS: You have quite the tour schedule right now – what’s been your favorite venue to play at recently?

    I do. It’s exciting. Well, I mentioned loving Grand Rapids. So, the Intersection isn’t bad. But a few others would be Common Grounds in Waco, Texas and then Natasha’s Bistro in Lexington, Kentucky. I’ve got some great friends in both places, and it always seems to be a good time if we go through those cities.

    FCS: Alright – one last question – energy drinks or Starbucks?  Given all your driving for your tours, I have to assume it’s one of them.

    I’m a massive coffee fan. I’ve had to develop some self-control in the coffee arena lately. I do a ton of driving so its too easy to pull off at every Starbucks I see. But I love straight, black coffee from Starbucks. No red-bulls, No monsters, No 5-hour energy. Just black coffee.

    Endorsements:

    “Jake has been a dear friend for a long long time, so when he told me he had started to write and sing i didn’t know if he was joking or not. But it’s no joke, my friends. His songs get stuck in my head, as much, if not more than some of my favorite artists out there. He has the unique gift of having a voice that perfectly suits his songs, both of which I LOVE.”

    - Dave Barnes

    “Jake Ousley sings with an earnestness and longing that draw me in every time. His songs, like Jake, draw from a deep well that is instantly endearing and relatable- you’re gonna love him!”

    – Matt Wertz


    This post was posted in Music, Interviews and was tagged with Featured, Bebo Norman, Jake Ousley, Young Life, Dave Barnes, Matt Wertz, Chris Rice

  • The Joneses are Overrated

    Posted on February 4, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13 (HCSB)

    Psst ... I have a little secret.

    The Joneses are overrated.

    Oh, I know we'd never think that from the way the Joneses appear, but they are not all they're cracked up to be.

    In my mom's day, you only saw the Joneses a few times a week. Maybe you bumped into them on your way into church or perhaps at the PTA meeting. You know, as you were getting into your dented and faded grey mini van while they were piling happily into their new spit-shined Chevrolet.

    What a difference a decade (or two) makes! The Joneses now perpetually parade in front of our eyes nearly 24 hours a day. Where?

    On our computer news feeds. And smart phones. On Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. The "look at me!" Joneses and all their profile-picture-perfect lives. It can tempt us to become jealous and discontent.

    One day an online friend posted: "Fettuccini Alfredo, fresh beans from the garden, and my famous raspberry cheesecake. It's what's for dinner!" A second friend's status read: "Who-hoo! Paid off the mortgage. We're now debt-free!" And still another, "Our Jimmy got student of the month!"

    All of this took place while I was ordering pizza (for the second time that week!), piecing together the mortgage money and answering a call from the middle school vice-principal's office where my son sat, busted for an inappropriate prank.

    Yes, the Joneses invade our homes and our thoughts several times a day through social media and the Internet, robbing us of contentment. Why?

    Comparisons.

    Comparisons always deal a deathblow to our contentment. When we see others owning, enjoying, or experiencing what we do not have, but wish we did, it may make us discontent.

    In a letter to the believers in Philippi, the Apostle Paul penned Philippians 4:11-13 which begins "For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."

    The Greek word rendered "content" here denotes more than just a throwing up of arms in reluctant acceptance. At its hub it literally means: "to be satisfied to the point where I am no longer disturbed or disquieted."

    God has already prepared a place of contentment for us when the car breaks down, the bills are hard to meet, and our "Johnny" acts out ... again. We find that place when we take our eyes off of our situation (and off of the screen) and fix them solely upon God.

    When we adopt this attitude, we live out the truth I once heard author Elisabeth Elliot declare: "The difference is Christ in me. Not me in a different set of circumstances."

    To truly embrace our circumstances, we must decide to stop pleading, "God, get me out of here!" and learn to humbly ask instead, "Lord, why have You brought me here? What are You trying to reveal to me that I would never discover if You were to suddenly pluck me out of this situation? What godly character qualities are You trying to grow in me? Patience? Trust? Faith? Compassion?"

    When we cease making comparisons and instead willingly embrace our current lot in life, welcoming all that God will teach us through it, we will finally unearth the secret Paul knew. True contentment is not merely having what you want, it is wanting nothing more than what you already have.

    We can only do this when we stop looking at the Joneses and turn our eyes to Jesus Christ who gives us strength.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for looking around and comparing myself or my circumstances to others. May I look only to You for contentment and peace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you want more encouragement on this topic, check out Karen Ehman's new book and DVD curriculum LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In what areas of your life do comparisons impact your contentment? Marriage? Children? Finances? Work? Relationships? Looks?

    Pick one of those areas and write out a prayer to God asking Him to shift your perspective from comparing to being content. Post it next to your computer screen or on your bathroom mirror.

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 14:30 "A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones." (HCSB)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Philippians

Items 41 to 50 of 55 total

Helping you find, grow, share and celebrate your faith
Who doesn't love free shipping!? At Family Christian, you can qualify TWO ways:

1. To your door (just $50 minimum)*

No coupon required! Simply add $50 worth of merchandise to your cart and select the "Free Shipping" option under "Shipping Method." Easy as pie.

* Valid on merchandise totaling $50 or more before taxes. Please keep in mind this is valid on domestic ground shipping to addresses within the U.S. only, not valid toward international delivery. Additional charges apply for express shipping. Terms subject to change without notice.

2. To your store (no minimum order required!)*

At checkout, select "Ship to your local Family Christian store" and enter your zip code to find our closest location. Not sure if there is a Family Christian nearby? Find your local store now.

* Valid on select merchandise only
Loading... Loading...