Friday, January 29, 2010

True North FUN

Do you have some sportsmen in your family?
Like tasting wild game?
Looking for something special to do this weekend?

Trinity's Men's Ministry - True North - is holding the 2010 Sportsmen's Banquet and Wild Game Tasting event this weekend. And you're invited!
There will be displays, clinics, game tasting, a silent auction, a meal and a program. And the best part? You don't even have to be a guy to go! Women are welcome, too.
Tickets are almost sold out for Saturday, but we have it on good authority that there is plenty of room Friday. Tickets will be available at the door up until meal time. (6:00 Friday, and 5:45 Saturday)
Click here for complete details on Trinity's website. Then grab the family and head on over to the church!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Praying for our Children

As parents, I think one of the greatest things we can do for our children is to pray for them. And sometimes it's easy to know what to pray.

*Our children are facing a struggle, and we pray for resolution to their trouble.
*They have a test coming up in school, and we pray they will do well.
*There's an overload in the sibling rivalry realm, and we pray for peace.
*They're driving us nuts, and we pray that God will grant us patience.

Ahem, I mean, I'm not the only one who experiences this, am I?

Yes. It's easy to consider the moment and pray accordingly, but what about our children's futures? How can we pray thoughtfully and intentionally beyond the momentary circumstance?
I have a good friend who gave me something that helps me pray for my children. It's a bookmark I keep in my Bible and it has printed on it, 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for your Kids. There are prayers written out for each day of the month which lead me in how to pray for my children.
Today is the 27th and this is what I'm praying: "Lord, please instill in my children a soul that 'followeth hard after thee.' (Ps. 63:8 KJV)

Yes! Today I am praying that my children will develop a Passion for God.

Will you join me?


Monday, January 25, 2010

No Accident

My 19 year old daughter was recently in a car accident. She is ok. The little girl she had in the car was ok. The car was not ok. It is totaled.
Yet I am so thankful.

In years past, thankfulness would not have been my response. My typical mode of response was nothing less than FREAK OUT. And then after a while, continue to freak out and heap on the blame and assign plenty of guilt. But, praise God, that was not the response this time.

My response this time made me realize something had changed in me. I understood that I am not in control. I became convinced that my God is trustworthy and that He really, really loves me.

Believe it or not, I haven't always believed these things about God. Sure, I said I believed them. I even lead Bible studies on believing and trusting God. But my actions and reactions showed what I really believed--that I didn't trust God (I trusted me), and I didn't think HE was paying attention. I thought I needed to make my plans succeed and, therefore, I needed to manipulate and control life.

Yet over the last few years, I have gotten personal with HIM. I have found that even when there was pain and suffering, He was there with me. When life didn’t go my way, He showed a better way. When my expectations in others were disappointed, He remained faithful. Even when others rejected me, He always accepted me.

So today, I rest in the fact that God is GOOD. I choose to trust HIM because He has proven Himself trustworthy. God has shown me that He is in control - even in the midst of the painful, scary, out of control events in my life. God has done an amazing work in me. And in the face of my daughter's car accident, I have come to understand that His work in my life has been purposeful. That the change I see in me was no accident!

And bottom line - I know in the depths of my heart His incredible love for me.

Do you?


Friday, January 22, 2010

FUN with Check-in

Have you heard? Trinity's Children's Ministry is soon going to transition to registering children’s weekend attendance electronically. Doing this will make our children safer, be more efficient, and save us all time.
But since change can sometimes be painful, we thought it would be a good idea to ease you into things right here at Faith, Family & Fun.
Yep. We're always looking out for you!

You may have already noticed the kiosks, like this one, where you’ll register your children. To transition to this new system, we will begin registering ONLY elementary children electronically. All children, infant to pre-kindergarten, continue to register as you currently do.

For electronic attendance, here’s what you’ll do:

Each week, stop at a kiosk and register each child in your family. There are 4 kiosks and a computer at the registration desk for you to choose from.

Begin by entering the last name of your child.
Select the child you want to register.
Select the group/room you would like to register your child for.
After entering your information, labels will be generated for you. Then, take your child to the appropriate room. Parents, or a designated family member, are expected to both drop off and pick up children at each service.

When you register each child, you’ll receive 3 labels per child per weekend service.
1. One label is for room attendance. You’ll take this tag and hand it to your child’s room volunteer.
2. One label is a nametag that goes right on the child.
3. One label is for you, the parent or individual dropping the child off. This matches the child’s nametag and allows only you - with this label receipt - to pick that child up from that room. This label will function in a similar way to the current “family number.”

When it’s time for you to pick up your child, bring your matching label to the room and show it to the room volunteer. Both your tag and your child’s tag will be matched with the attendance label.

For the first few weeks of this transition, we need you to update some of your child and family information. We’ll have a card by the kiosks for you to fill out. This will include updating your e-mail address and child allergies. It is important that we have this information.

Once families are comfortable with enrolling elementary children electronically, we will begin transitioning Early Childhood families. While we are in the midst of this transition, there will be someone at each kiosk to help and assist you with any questions you may have. Also, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions by emailing Ashley at:

Looking forward to continuing to grow with you and your precious children.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Raising Great Kids

Were you at the Christmas Eve service at Trinity last month?

Remember hearing Kirk Cousins speak about his faith?

Wasn't that an inspiring moment as a parent???

I remember sitting in the balcony listening to Kirk, and praying that my boys will grow up to be fine, godly young men like him.
Yes, I was picturing in my mind - my two boys as well-spoken, faith-filled young men. Ahhhh. *peaceful sigh*

Then we went home.
I don't remember what happened, but something set one of my son's off and it was not pleasant. He was yelling and arguing and being disrespectful. And that image I'd had in my mind an hour before? It was long gone.
Then suddenly I wondered, When Kirk was a pre-teen, did he ever have moments like this one? Is there still hope for my son?

So, do you know what I did?

I emailed Don Cousins and I asked him. And I asked him what he thought the most important thing was that he did as a parent, raising Kirk.

Don's reply?

Yes. Kirk had moments, too. All kids do, he assured me. (Thanks, Don!) He said it was the grace of God working in Kirk that made him the young man he is today.
Don also pointed me to a sermon he gave at Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Holland about parenting. It is filled with principles he believes are crucial to us as parents, from Deuteronomy 6.
Click here to listen. You'll be glad you did!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Just Give It

You never really understand how much you need your vacuum until it breaks—especially if you have a dog and three kids.
When our vacuum broke down for the second time in three months, we decided to purchase a new one. While the old one sat in the garage—waiting to be set out with the trash - I began to wonder, what if the old vacuum could be repaired? That would mean we could have two vacuums which would be great in case one broke again. So I took it to the repair shop and, sure enough, for a small fee this vacuum could be repaired.
A couple weeks went by and I kind of forgot about the vacuum. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. Finally I went in and picked it up. As I was putting it in the trunk, I sensed God saying, “Who needs this vacuum?”
Of course my answer was, “I do!” I proceeded to explain to God all the reasons a second vacuum would be helpful in our home. Yet, I sensed Him asking once again, “Who needs this vacuum?”
A name came to my mind.
I wish I could tell you that immediately after the name popped into my mind, I proceeded to drive it right over to that individual’s home. But I didn't. I drove around with that vacuum in the back of my car for days. I knew who I was to give it to, I just didn’t want to part with my second vacuum.
The next week, a Bible verse came to my mind “if a man has two vacuums and sees someone who has none, you are to give the vacuum to them.” (my very loose paraphrase) I called and asked if this family needed it (they said yes) and proceeded to drive it right over to their home.

I am beginning to understand that God wants to provide for others and He wants to use us to do it. We need to unclasp our fist, ask with whom we can share, listen for His prompting, and JUST GIVE IT.

Have you ever sensed God prompting you to give something away? What happened?

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's COOOOLD outside!

People often ask me, "Why in the world did you move from Maui to Michigan?"
Honestly, during January and February I begin to question this myself. But there are a few places in town that we enjoy during the cold winter months:

Jumpin Jax: Jumpin' Jax is a 10,000 square foot facility with 7 big inflatables, and a NEW JUST for toddlers area, for your child's enjoyment. There are obstacle courses and slides, fun for all ages and parents are welcome to bounce too. Our kids bounced for 4+ hours and took great naps!!

Red Cedar Gymnastics: There's an open gym time for kids to play on the trampolines, bars, beams, rings, bouncy floor, etc. It's a great alternative to signing up for weekly classes and the kids love the treat!
Edru Skate: Enjoyment for the whole family, skating lessons, laser tag, special parties and much more. They have a special skate time for toddlers where you can bring your own push toys. Skate rentals available.
FunTyme Adventure Park: We love the mini-lane bowling, arcade games and indoor golf dome. Free parking and food on site. Phone for hours of operation, varies by season. There's one on Jolly Rd West of Okemos Rd and another in Mason.
Time together as a family is a wonderful thing!
What are your favorite places to go???


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Time with God

Marvin Williams is our new Senior Teaching Pastor at Trinity and through the course of interviews, someone asked Marvin to talk about his personal relationship with Christ. He shared about his times studying the Bible, journaling and prayer, which were all things I expected to hear. And I am glad he is investing that time with the LORD.

But then Marvin said something I hadn't anticipated hearing.

He said that most recently, he has found community with Christ through his relationship with those in his family.

When he loves and serves his wife, he senses God's presence.

When he plays basketball with his boys, or stops to have a coke with his daughter, he finds community with Christ.

Time with God is a part of his everyday life. It isn't just the time he spends alone in the scriptures.

I find this concept so freeing and encouraging as a parent. To be sure, I enjoy my time alone with the Lord. But I have found a new sense of God's presence with me as I live out my roles as wife and mother.

*To know that I can experience God and have community with Christ while I am doing the "duties" of a wife and mother - even the boring, mundane things like folding laundry and cleaning up spills.

*To know that HE is with me in every single moment.

Ahhh! This delights my heart!

Thank You, Lord, for using Marvin to open my eyes so that I may recognize Your presence more and more.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Prayer and Popcorn

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

The area of prayer can be a struggle for my children. Throughout the day, I will find little things we can stop to pray ambulance rushing past - we pray for the person who is hurt; a new scrape from a fall - we pray that Jesus will bring healing; a sick friend or relative – we pray Jesus helps them feel better. Of course, they have the meal time and night time prayers mastered, but getting them to open up to Jesus, about any personal fears and struggles or even personal words of thankfulness, can be difficult.

The other night we decided to pray in a circle all holding hands. I explained that I would start and that they could jump in - at any time - and add to the prayer. My son says, “oh, a popcorn prayer!”. Perfect, I thought, he knows how this works.

It started out simply enough. Jimmy said a few words to get things moving along and then Anna (3 year old) chimes in with “I am thankful for popcorn”. My husband and I smiled a bit...makes sense, it’s fresh on her mind. This was followed by words of thanks for the wii, cake, babies, popcorn (again by Anna -perhaps she had her own agenda). Of course, it was quite giggly at this point. Just when I had given up hope, Leah gave thanks for all the people in her family, each of us by name. Ahh…a step in the right direction!

Sometimes living out our faith in front of our children can feel awkward. We may not have the right words to say to help them open up. Timing can be everything! Waiting for the right quiet moment to bring them into prayer before God is important (instead of forcing a bedtime prayer when emotions are running high and the battle for bedtime has begun. Anyone?)

Our first popcorn prayer may have centered too much around popcorn but hopefully the next time we hold each other’s hands and come before God we can pick up where we left off – with giggles included!

~ Kelly

Friday, January 8, 2010

FUN with Spiritual Growth? Absolutely!

Have you entered the world of Webkinz?? Our girls are HOOKED!! Webkinz are plush pets that each come with a unique secret code. With it, you enter Webkinz World where you care for your virtual pet, answer trivia, earn KinzCash to buy virtual items such as furniture, clothing, charms, food and many other things.

Well, there is a free website similar to Webkinz but for older children that can help your child grow spiritually. Compassion International designed an interactive online journey into four distant villages. Your kids will explore fun games while discovering some of the stark realities of the developing world. They'll learn things they never knew, keep a prayer journal, read Bible verses on poverty, and much more.

Plant the seed of compassion in your child's heart. Check it out!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

In-the-Moment Prayer Partners

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. ~ Ephesians 6:18

The other night my husband was talking to our son about a concern he had regarding our son's friends. Things started getting heated - as our son wanted to be treated like the grown-up he wishes to be, rather than the child he is.

Been there?

Listening to the two of them arguing, part of me wanted to jump in and add my two cent's worth. I wanted to tell my son about the many times I thought my parents didn't know what they were talking about. Then I would have added that now - as an adult – I understand what they were saying, and I wish they had provided more guidance for me to make wise choices as a teen.
But, listening to the two of them arguing, I knew my son was in no way ready to listen to my two cent's worth. Not even one of them!
Instead of opening my mouth, I opened my heart and began praying. I prayed for my husband and asked God to direct his words. I prayed for my son and asked God to give him ears to hear. I prayed this situation would ultimately have a good ending.

As I sat there praying, it occurred to me how valuable it would be for parents to have in-the-moment prayer partners. When you're "in the middle of it" with one of your children, wouldn't you like to know someone is holding you before God in prayer, asking Him to give you wisdom and work in your situation?
How about asking your spouse to pray for you in those moments?
Are you willing to do the same?
If you aren't married, or your spouse isn't a believer, is there someone else you can ask to fill that role? Someone you can text in the middle of the battle - simply saying, PRAY- and trust them to take it from there?

This parenting thing is tough stuff, and we need all the help we can get. Let's pray for each other!


Monday, January 4, 2010

A Fixed Gaze

I was in Kohl’s the other day when I saw a mom with her three or four year old daughter, over in the toy section. Something caught the little girl's attention. She was so captivated by it that she pulled on her mom’s arm to get her attention.
“Mommy, I see a...” she expressed with tenacity.
Then this woman gently spoke of something in another section of the store that she wanted to take her daughter over to see. In an instant, that little girl's total attention switched from one object to another. Completely.

I wonder sometimes if that is how we are as children of God. The initial object that catches our complete gaze is God. We see so much when we first come into relationship with Him. We see His love, His grace, His mercy, His salvation, and His power and strength. We also see our need, our sin, our shame, our incompleteness, and our deep longing. We “want” Him.
But just like the dogs in the movie “UP”, it is as if someone whispers SQUIRREL and our gaze shifts. Distraction has been placed before us and our flesh responds with lightening speed. Suddenly we can’t even remember what held our attention before. We are on to the next object of our attention.
I can’t help but wonder how many times my gaze has shifted that fast - away from the face of the one I hold as most dear, to the possibility of something else. I have done this with my God, my husband, my children, and my dear friends. I have also done this with the calling He has placed before me at times.
Thankfully, there seems to be a way for my gaze to be more constant. As God has drawn me closer to Himself, less and less seems to distract me. It is as if I am so close to Him that any additional stimuli are hedged out. Oh, how I desire to focus on the one I love, to the exclusion of all else.
As we are beginning this new year, I am praying for myself and my family - that we may draw close and not be led away.

How do you keep your gaze fixed upon God?