Friday, October 30, 2009

Fall, Faith, & Fun

I used to love paint by number pictures. My type A, non-creative brain could easily create a masterpiece! The earth is alive with color right now, as if the hand of God was lavishly painting each tree and every leaf with rich and vibrant tones! Have you looked around lately? Have you paused from the hectic rhythm of life to marvel in the beauty that is exclusive only to autumn? My breath has been taken away many times over the past couple of weeks as I have tried to soak in what seems to be so fleeting. What have you done with your family to take advantage of the season?

We took my 16 month old niece to a beautiful park last weekend. After taking a bunch of pictures I was struck by one in particular. Raegan was standing in the middle of a pile of leaves with a look of pure wonder on her little face.

Don’t miss the little things…take time to enjoy, marvel, and wonder in the simple things around you. Recapture the beauty our Creator has surrounded us with by seeing it through the eyes of your children.

Take a trip to a park or even in your own backyard. Make leaf piles or build leaf houses with your kids! Afterwards, have them collect a few leaves and use them to make leaf-print placemats. You can find the directions right here!

As you are making the placemats with your children, remind them that just like these placemats will represent their place at your family table, Jesus also has a special place for them at His table in heaven.

- Nicole Hamlin, Family Ministry Intern

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don't Give Up!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

I've got great kids. I love them so much!

I know the same is true of you. I know because I've had some of your children in my Sunday school class. I've experienced their charming personalities and I've seen your tender love for them when you drop them off for, and pick them up from class.

Indeed, we have great kids.

But sometimes I feel weary in parenting. Sometimes I get tired of hearing my children complain. Sometimes I wonder if any of the spiritual training I'm trying to give them is making a difference. Sometimes I feel like a failure, and I want to quit.

Do you know what I mean?

However, the Word of God tells me not to give up. It promises me that one day my efforts will produce a harvest.

If only I don't give up.

So, although sometimes I find myself feeling weary, I will not give up. In spite of their tendency to eat with their fingers, I will keep reminding my children to use their forks. Though my children fight, I will continue to pray that God will place in their hearts a desire to live at peace with one another. While it may seem to be inconsequential, I will persist in hanging Bible verses on the bathroom mirrors because I know the kids read them. And even though I am not perfect, I will keep asking God to reflect His love through me to my children.

Because I know my God is faithful. I know He is the One who will ultimately raise these kids. I know I can trust Him. And I know He will produce a harvest, if only I don't give up.

Will you join me in NOT giving up?

~ Karen

Monday, October 26, 2009


I just received a truth that is rocking my world. How did I miss this all my life?

Poser. We have heard that word before. We all fit into that mold in one way or another. I truly have known poser days. But Philippians 2:3 just hit me upside the head. It states, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”

Don’t try to impress others? Man, do I ever want to impress others! I want people to think I have my junk together. Is that so bad? Why is it that being transparent - being real and open - is so hard to live day-to-day?

Easy! If I weren’t faking, posing, or painting on the face I wanted you to see, it would show you who I really am. And, that scares me. I know my heart and my thoughts and if you did, too, you would say, “Nut job!” But, here’s where the verse struck me, “…thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Honestly, I think I’ve always translated that word in my mind from “thinking” to “treating.”

Personally, I believe “thinking” is deeper and more intense than “treating.” Think of you as better? Hmmm…wouldn’t it be much easier to do this thing superficially, treat you nicely, put you first, give you my parking space? But, really I must be thinking of you as better, too.

That is where the poser comes in. I spend most of my life posing to others that I value them and think highly of them based on my actions towards them. We are a pretty civilized group, for the most part. We do treat most people kindly and, in an insincere kind of way, we are act as though we like those around us.

But what about our thoughts? Why did God ask for our thoughts in this verse and not just our actions? Is it possible to muster up thoughts of love, selflessness for our mother-in-law, our boss, our brother? Can we do this? Can we love and care for the hardest most difficult people in our life on a heart level? My first thought was, “not in this life time!” and then came Philippians 2:13 “God is … you the DESIRE and POWER to do what pleases Him”.

Can He give me the desire to love others with a deep and honest love that does not end with a thought of, “that person drives me crazy!”. Can do away with the pretense? Can the poser become real? God says Yes!

~ Tim

Friday, October 23, 2009

Neighborhood Outreach Idea

Ever get caught up thinking, “Why am I really here? What are we doing?” There are so many pressures on our time and on us, as individuals and families. It’s easy to feel torn: We’re pulled in so many different directions.

It’s simple, I know, but Jesus said, "Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the Godflavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept.

We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:13-16, The Message)

God’s plan for growing us up is that we become Godly parents building faith into their children (see Deuteronomy 6). It all begins with the family, but it doesn’t end with family. His plan for reaching the world is us, His church. And, He made it clear: we are to be light shining bright in this dark world.

On October 31, when much of our culture celebrates darkness and death, we want to be light bearers, celebrating Jesus, the very breath of life. Because of our very busy lives, many neighbors don’t get to know one another. So why don't we consider this: opening our homes to build relationships with others. How? Maybe instead of passing out candy from behind our doors, we invite a group of neighbors to roast s'mores in our front yard. Or, make a fun activity out of hiding candy in a haystack in our driveway to foster interaction and fun with those neighbors around us. If you'll click here , you'll find a variety ideas for family fun!

Let's be the light we were intended to be.

-Belinda Lund-Bjarki, Trinity's Children's Ministry Director

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I love that God still speaks...I love that he speaks through His Word and His creation. And, recently, I was in awe of how others speak yet I hear His voice so clearly.

That was definitely the case this weekend when my husband and I went out to dinner with a couple that we have not connected with since college. They were within leadership of our campus group at MSU 25 years ago. We had wonderful conversation about family and work and life in general. We spoke of miraculous things we each had seen God do and then some how we ended up on the topic of marriage...specifically our marriage.

The gentleman began to describe his thoughts and concerns when he first heard we were getting married--something like, "Those two are so opposite...this is going to be interesting." Now looking back, I'm sure many people thought the same thing. Let's put it nicely - my husband can be described as a calm, gentle, easy-going type of guy while I, on the other hand, can be described as rather strong-willed and high maintenance type of gal. Yet, God brought the two of us together and the sparks began to fly!

Our friend continued to describe stages that he, in his forty some years of marriage and ministry, has watched couples transition through. Sometimes successfully and sometimes not so successfully. He described the first three stages which made complete sense - it seemed like we had just gotten through them. First, we come together because we are ATTRACTED to each others' differences. Then we marry and becomes ANNOYED by the very things that attracted us! This leads us to the third stage - ANGER. We become angry because we cannot seem to change them. This third stage is the point at which marriages seem to thrive or die. You have a critical choice to make at this point --were you in this for the long haul or not? It is usually at this point that one or both of the spouses, if they can't get past the anger, find someone they are attracted to and start the three stages all over again.

If you make it past the ANGER stage you begin to ACQUIESCE (big word for you basically give up trying to change the other spouse). Then you begin to ACCEPT the spouse which allows you to move toward actually ADMIRING the spouse that used to drive you crazy. Finally you come to the end where you actually ADORE your mate and can't imagine how you could ever live without them.

When he got done going through the list, I had tears in my eyes. With each and every stage he described, my heart resonated. I knew these stages, I had lived through these stages. I actually had lived in the annoyed and anger stage for a very long time and did not know or really care that there were any other stages. Now looking back, I am so thankful we have found life on the other side of anger and frustration in our marriage. Most of all, I am so amazed to see how God had changed ME. And, in changing ME, He has changed our marriage, stage by stage.

~ Wendy

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cupcakes & Fire Engines

In our last Parent's Community class, nearly 50 Trinity families joined together to live out "SERVING like CHRIST" (Philippians 2). Both parents and children decorated and delivered treats to our local firefighters who risk their lives to keep us safe. We hit 11 fire stations in the Greater Lansing area and had a BLAST!! It was so cool to see families interacting together and reaching beyond themselves.

Riley, our 4 year old, meticulously iced and decorated her cupcakes with 5 m&m’s. When she heard that she could eat one, her eyes got BIG and she proceeded to load it with so many m&m’s that you couldn't find one bit of the frosting! I couldn't stop laughing!

Our family went to the Marshall Street fire station. We were given a HUGE welcome…kids hopped on the trucks, toured the facility, ate popcorn, sat around with the firemen.
This was a wonderful experience. Our children learned the joy of serving others! God truly does work through M&Ms, cupcakes and little hands! Check out our Parents Community...we meet from 6:30-8pm at Trinity on Wednesday nights through November 4th. We'd love to see you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Time Better Spent

I've always spent time on the computer. Sometimes, in the evening, surfing aimlessly. You know...checking in on the celebrity scene ( a little time salivating over new shoe arrivals ( in on my teams (espn, checking the weather back home so i could feel sorry for myself about how cold it is here ( Sorry, I'm a southerner having a tad bit of difficulty (understatement) adjusting to the cold.

HOWEVER, something then happened. I stumbled across Beth Moore's blog last Christmas. And, honestly, i can't remember what happened after that. In what order. How it began to snowball. But, today, i have a handful of blogs I love visiting.

Blogs that feed my faith while often making me laugh and sometimes cry: Lysa Terkeurst, It's Almost Naptime, Jordan Jones, Surviving Motherhood.

Blogs that are creative, inspiring, just plain fun to look at Fabulous K, Simply Seleta.

Blogs that get me in the mood for a little home decorating A Soft Place to Land and the Nesting Place.

Let me give you just a taste of what I'm talking about. Promise me, if you don't read anything else today you'll read this.

See what I mean?

Today I don't know the latest celebrity going into rehab. I couldn't tell ya what Nine West's new fall line looks like. And, I don't know today's temperature back home. (Of course, I still check in on my beloved Spartans.) NOW my time on the computer is better spent because of many gifted folks, sharing a little of themselves -- their faith, their creativity, their talent.

As we begin sharing on our new Faith, Family and Fun blog, we encourage you to visit often. It is our hope to come along beside you - in your faith walk and the faith walk of your family. Let's do this together - let's share our faith, our creativity and our talents!

This blog was created to provide a special (and fun) opportunity to build a new found sense of community, with an increased level of connection. Trinity families - and all those who visit this site - who may not have connected before can connect now! A great way to do this to share your comments. By commenting on our various posts, you share your insights and maybe even your struggles. We want to hear from you! To learn how to post a comment, please simply click on the word "Questions" found above.

~Leigh Ann

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Measure of Success

Ryan and I are in the early stages of raising our family. We have a four year old, three year old and six month old. The other night our conversation became quite serious. As parents, in the midst of it all, how do we know if we are successfully raising our children? How do we measure our success (or lack thereof)?

Do we look around - to the families we admire - and see how we're measuring up? Do we compare the behavior and hearts of our children with other children? What measuring stick do we use? How do we gauge? How do we know?

When we look at scripture, it all points back to loving the Lord and loving others. Deuteronomy 6:5 -7 gives us clear instructions for raising our children.

5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

In a society where families are busier than ever, how do we keep Deuteronomy 6:5-7 the foundation, the guiding force in raising our family?

God designed the HOME to be the primary place for spiritual growth. Studies show that parents are 2 – 3 times more influential in the faith development of their children…more than any pastor or church program. Yet, we see today spiritual life in the home is virtually non-existent.

Research tells us that fewer than 10 percent of churched families read the Bible, pray (other than at meal times), or do acts of service together as a family.

At Trinity, we are committed to helping families Build Faith @ Home. We created this blog as a way to inspire, motivate and equip you as parents in reaching your kids for Christ. Each week, we will feature new posts emphasizing Faith (Monday), Family (Wednesday) and Fun (Friday).

Please join us as we grow and learn together! Bookmark this page and check in often!

~ Sharina