Tag Archives: Focus on the Family

15 Ways Technology Has Improved My Spiritual Life

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Technology.  There are days I love it & other days I really wish I was born in Laura Ingalls’ time & could live in a cabin in the woods, milk the cow, sweep our dirt floor, & tend the stove all day.  But, then I remember I couldn’t do all that while listening to my iPod & quickly thank God I live in this day & age!

I think we all know the huge pitfalls of it in our spiritual lives: it can eat away at our time with frivolous nothingness between gaming, pintrest, twitter, etc., it feeds any perfectionist tendencies (you could make that photo perfect if you just run it through the photo editor one more time…), and can be a huge trap for porn of all kinds if you don’t put serious barriers on your devices.  But I got to thinking this week of all the really great ways technology has improved my spiritual life.  I list them here to give ideas if you’ve never thought to use it these ways.  Please add to the list if you have ways not listed here.  Let’s swap ideas!

1 – The last few years we finally gave in & started texting.  It has been SO encouraging at times we have needed immediate prayer to be able to text my Circle of Sisters &/or Keith’s Band of Brothers to pray for the situation.  The return text alert rings, even if we can’t read them right away, brings such encouragement knowing we are being covered! And my friends & I occasionally get so excited about a passage, we’ll text it to each other for encouragement.  Or a prayer for each other “out of the blue”.  It’s nice to be able to move as the Spirit moves without calling – they can read it when they get a chance.  It always makes my day when I get those kinds of texts!

2 – Speaking of prayer, every Tuesday we can join around the country on a phone conference call to pray for revival in our nation.  How cool is that??  One week I was privileged to pray with a man in Texas, woman in Mass, another in Michigan, etc.  So exciting!  For info on how to join in on the action, click here to visit the One Cry page.  Another great thing about these prayer conference calls is that even when I can’t join them, I signed up to get a text alert to remind me every Tuesday about it.  It’s amazing how fast a week goes by & I think, “Man, is it Tuesday again?”  It makes praying for our nation’s spiritual awakening a priority.  If I have gotten too busy that week to remember to pray for our nation, that little alert gives me the needed reminder.

3 – Our church has a facebook page as well as a ministry trailer in a trailer park.  The lady that coordinates things like after school tutoring, Good News Clubs, coat distributions, etc. posts needs every now & then.  Last week, a neighbor in the park needed a stove so she posted on our fb page.  It’s a great way to get the word out, spread the news for help, & allow others to pray for & contribute.  And you can pass the good news quickly when the prayer is answered.  Love it!!

4 – The last few days there has been a prayer summit in Colorado.  We could join Joni Eareckson Tada, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Shirley Dobson, David Jeremiah, etc. in the 27 hour prayercast in the comfort of our own home for free!  Amazing.

5 – Family worship rocks!  A surround sound home theater system is not out of the norm these days.  Twelve years ago, we had a small group that started using it for worship time.  The leader at that time made power points, but these days, Keith leads our family regularly with ease using YouTube playlists.  Can’t get any easier.  If we need the words, we just put one on with the lyrics.  And it’s so fun to crank the sound up & praise the Lord together!  Keith has lately been putting our family Bible reading up on the TV each night for our evening family devotional time.  He has it set up to mirror our computer (Air Parrot), & we can then read together on the big screen from whatever translation we wish (BIble Gateway), & we can even hear it read to us in various voices using the audio Bible found there.

6 – Can’t say enough about podcasts!  You become who you hang out with & thanks to podcasts, I can “hang out” with some really great people.  If you’ve never been to OnePlace,  go check it out & find some new “friends” to fill your mind with Truth on a regular basis.  We can get anything from daily encouragement from Joni Eareckson Tada & Revive Our Hearts, to our pastor’s sermon if we missed a Sunday or our national missions conference sessions from two years ago.  Keith likes to listen to the messages each week from our Virginia pastor we had when we first got married.  There’s kids programing, Focus on the Family, Phil Vischer now has a weekly podcast, etc.  You can listen on your own time: while mowing the lawn, baking a cake, or grocery shopping.  Plus, you can start & stop it as needed, like when you’re needed to stop & kiss a boo-boo!  Genius invention, that little Shuffle clipped to my collar.  Brings me encouragement daily.

7 – Our worship leader recently started posting new songs she wants to teach the congregation on our church facebook account.  What a great idea!  Now we can listen at home & get the tune & words down so we are freed up to worship in cooperate worship time.  I enjoy new songs, but hate that awkward first few weeks when I can’t sing along because I don’t know the tune or words.  Those of us who can read music REALLY Do miss hymnals at times like that.  This eliminates that frustration.

8 – When I led our church children’s group, I started a blog to keep parents informed on what we talked about, up coming events, pictures, etc.  It also worked well to keep my stuff organized as a leader.  To see what I mean, click here.

9 – I’ve seen church sites feature testimonies for a few reasons. First it gives a way to share that testimony!  Secondly, it’s a great way for new members to get to know others in the church.  I love the idea & wish more churches did it.  Click here to see how one church does it.

10 – It’s so easy these days to just click & get a monthly prayer sheet to print & pray.  Here’s the pdf for October 2013 for an example.  Or find a great Bible reading plan (Click here for the one we use).

11 – It’s great to be able to get book, game, and movie reviews with a Christian perspective.  Plugged In is our go-to source.  We don’t watch a movie without first checking it out here.

12 – You can get things put daily into your email to remind you to pray, or give you a devotional from your favorite devo writer, etc.  We’ve gotten My Utmost For His Highest, Prayer Challenges from Revive Our Hearts, Commands of Christ, Unreached People Group of the Day, etc.

13 – There are some GREAT websites for kids these days: Adventures in Odyssey for free on line listening, Studio 252 for weekly Bible stories that connect with monthly character qualities all rolled into a cool TV show format, G.C. Kidz Club is a great missions site for kids, & Club Jelly Telly for fresh Christian children’s programing to name a few.

14 – The every day DVD is still amazing.  The fact that I can “travel” with my family any night of the week to the Holy Land & get top notch teaching at the press of a button is incredible.  If you’ve never seen Ray Vander Laan, the next 22 minutes you have free, treat yourself here then go watch more.   We watched the lesson linked below last night with the kids.  I dare you to watch it without being moved to tears by the end.  They never disappoint!  Just one of so many great resources we have at our fingertips these days.

15 – It is so easy to get $$ to people when they need it.  Last year, we had a friend pass away who had a loved one living 2,000 miles away in seminary.  Rather than give flowers, we really wanted to help him get home to be with his family.  Within 24 hours, we were able to get the news, pass the news around to friends all over the country, collect $$ via paypal, & put the gift electronically in this brother’s church fund (they have a way you can give on line) so the pastor was able to personally hand him the love gift with a note from all of us & start making flight arrangements!  Simply amazing.  Most charity organizations now have sites were you can give monthly, one time, it keeps track of what & when you gave for tax purposes for you, too.  And if you have missionaries you support, you can do it all on line & many save oodles of money having their prayer letters on line, too.  My, this list keeps getting longer…

So which of these do you use?  In what other ways has technology bettered your spiritual life?  Do share!


Podcast Potpourri & Job

Just a quick check in to share a few podcasts that have really spoken to me in the last few days..

  • Prayer & the Sabbath – interview with Jack Hayford.  Well worth the listen.  Great ideas on prayer & thoughts on the Sabbath.
  • the physical & spiritual health connection – two part interview with Gary Thomas.  Well put!  Encouraging & insightful.
  • Forgiving – David Meece shares his testimony on how God delivered him from bitterness.  (There are two parts but if you’re short on time, the second gives you the meat of it.)
  • Is God Really Good? – fits well with just finishing up the book of Job.  Sooo many truths in this 25 minutes!  Psalm 119:68 – “You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.”
  • Heart for the Disabled & the power of words – Joni has been sharing various families to encourage all last week.  Listeners are invited to send notes to gather & have sent for Valentine’s Day for them.  I’ve been so blessed & encouraged all week, had to share this one, too!  Encouraging & blessing others is one of my themes for 2013.  Perfect!  Proverbs 25:11 – “Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.”
  • New fiction trilogy in the making – Can’t wait to read this one, Fatherless, by Kurt Bruner & Dr. Dobson.  Next up, Childless then Godless.  “You want to convince the unconvinced?  Don’t call to arms, call to art.” (Paul Harvey)  Part two of the conversation is excellent, too!
  • A Vision for Revival in Your Church – A panel of ministers talk about praying for revival in the church: Byron Paulus (from Life Action Ministries), Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Pastor Michael Catt, & Pastor Jim Cymbala.  Two part podcast, but well worth the time to listen.  Joining them!

Reading through Job these days.  Just finished so want to jot down a few reflections.  Lessons learned:

  • Wisdom – Seek it!  Make it a lifelong priority.  Be intentional about it.
  • Job’s friends were pretty good; even came a long distance to sit for a full week in silence before speaking!  They had a lot of great things to say, but much of it was honestly poor timing.  In the end, God was angry with them (42:7, 8) & God told them they were wrong about Him.  Praying for more ability to choose wise words & right timing.  Convicted about my words, timing, & tone.
  • Judgmental – don’t be!
  • God’s response to Job – There are times & situations were things just don’t seem right.  It can really be frustrating.  But even when things seem “unjust” or “wrong”, I can trust 100% that it is in the Lord’s safe hands & under His control.  Sometimes, no matter how wise you might be, it is impossible to see God’s perspective on a situation.  Job was completely innocent, but there was no way he could know what was going on in the heavenly realm.  It was frustrating to Job & baffling to his friends.  God doesn’t have to explain Himself to us.  Once Job heard God, he stood humbly silent before His Maker.  Good response.
  • Once again, PRAYER!  In chapter 42, God told Job to pray for his friends & THEN they would be accepted (vs.8).  Sobering.  These guys were godfearing yet wrong.  I find it interesting that God accepted Job’s prayers on their behalf.  Points out the power of prayer – beyond our understanding.

Great quotes heard lately & not to be forgotten…

  • “Show me that you are redeemed, then I will believe in your redeemer.” – Nietzsche
  • “God is good whether of not His choices seem right to us, whether or not we feel it, whether or not it seems true, and whether or not He gives us everything that we want.” – Nancy Leigh DeMoss
  • “What are you believing that’s not the truth? How do we counter that?  We always counter lies with the Truth. We replace the lies; we displace the lies with the Truth.”  (Goal in ministry – help your children & those to whom you minister learn to council their own hearts according to the Truth.)
  • “His name was known all over the empire. He was Caesar.  The whole of the Roman world bowed to his will.  The life of that mighty empire revolved around this man, Nero Caesar.  Then there stood before him this obscure little Jew, Paul the Apostle, from a despised Roman province.Paul stood in chains before Nero…  Yet today we name our sons Paul & our dogs Nero.” – Pastor Ray Stedman
  • “That happens.” – Jack Wayne, when his game chair rocked all the way back & he lay on the floor staring at the ceiling.  Hilarious!!
  • “I love you because that’s Who I am.” – a man said to his wife after her double mastectomy, reflecting how/why God loves us.  Beautiful.

The Bigger Family, Part 2

“Everyone’s a little off except you & me. And sometimes I wonder about you!”

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That being said, I list here some of the things I appreciate about these men/ministries in the Bigger Family. I’ve heard at least one warning about every last one of them, even the Donut Man! I do not list the complaints here to avoid promoting fodder. Although I don’t agree 100% with any of them, I love each one & I’m sure if we had the time to sit & chat, they’d find things to disagree with me about & perhaps would, as iron sharpens iron, straighten me out on a few things I’m “sure” I’m right on. If you haven’t heard any their contravercies yet, you either will in time, or perhaps you’re in a crowd of folk that have a “whatever you believe is nice for you” attitude which is somewhere between unloving due to apathy & so far watered down they don’t amount to anything (no salt & light left). Go find some friends who will challenge you to dig a little deeper spiritually. Start chatting it up with your friends about spiritual things. The old saying about not talking politics or religion is for the birds. That’s where all the good conversations take place! That being said, here’s my list of brothers/sisters & things I appreciate about them…

Michael & Debbie Pearl I love her book Created to Be His Help Meet. Their writings on parenthood have also given me the courage to do what I need to do at times when everywhere else, we hear tenderfooted parenting. They say some things out there that no one else has the courage to say. I like that.

Voddie Bauchum is another one of those who stir the church thinking pot a bit & it’s what I like about him.

Bill Gothard Next to my parents, this man has had the most influence in my character, etc. I am so grateful my parents took the effort to get me to his conferences through the years! Those seven principles have had a huge impact in my life & in who I am today.

Doug Philips His promotion of getting back to family & family based worship is wonderful. I appreciate his celebration of the genders, too. It’s great to be a woman & I want my daughter to embrace that early on. I want my boys to be all boy & love it! That’s been lost in the last generation & Doug’s reclaiming it. Thank you!

Ken Ham Can I just say I LOVE teaching Genesis? I’ve loved it since before I heard Ken’s phrase “back to Genesis”.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss Honestly, I haven’t heard one negative thing about her. I keep waiting. She’d be the first to say she’s not perfect, but usually someone who says the things she says can’t stay under the radar too long without someone getting their toes stepped on & dissing her. But when I do hear it, I will still respect her right up there at the top. She is showing us how to be a woman (single or married), Godly, under authority, serving the Family in so many ways. I just love her, can you tell?

Billy Graham He has faithfully been sharing the Gospel message for decades. He has lived a God-honoring & long life, never once disgracing the Gospel with scandal. He has been used to reach Presidents when no one else could. I so admire & respect him for that!

James Dobson Adventures in Odyssey, That the World May Know, Focus radio, The Truth Project are just a few of the many ways he has blessed my family. Thank you, Dr. Dobson, for doing the ministry God put before you.

Jerry Falwell Keith & I wouldn’t have met, I wouldn’t have spent four years in Korea to name just two ways this man has probably more personally changed my life than anyone besides my own dear parents. Two of my three sisters-in-law are mine due to his ministry. My husband was discipled through his ministry. My life would look completely different if he hadn’t “taken that mountain”. I will be forever grateful!

Rick Warren He’s kind of the Billy Graham of our generation. See above – same as for Billy G. Actually, Keith & I have discussed how similar Rick Warren & Jerry Falwell are. People wouldn’t normally say that, thinking Jerry was always wearing a suit & Rick always wears a Hawaiian shirt, but they both are willing to try great things for God, are reaching out to the lost with a smile, take a lot of hits from Christians & non alike, & dream big!

The Donut Man My family has been so blessed by his ability to put God’s Word to music in a fun way. Music makes it stick! God definitely gave him a gift & I’m thankful he is using it.

Anyone have others to add to the list?


Truth Project for Children

Keith went down to Kentucky to train in The Truth Project last year. Since then, our church has had several Truth Project groups, both adult and teen. It is a must for any college bound teen and their parents! This is a great series to have a middle schooler start going through probably once a year to get grounding in the basics before heading out into the world. My parents did that for me with the Gothard seminar from seventh to twelfth grade & I’m so glad they did. It takes a few hearings to let it really sink in. I found I learned new things each time I went. That’s what The Truth Project is like.

We had heard they were going to be working on a children’s version & I have been waiting with anticipation. IT’S HERE!! Adventures in Odyssey‘s new CD set is The Truth Project for children – The Truth Chronicles. Can’ wait to get my hands on it! Nate listens to AIO literally every time he works with his Legos & if you know him at all, that’s pretty often. I’m ordering a copy for our church library & will try to write a review when we’re done listening.


Chapman Interview

This is late, but I just now was able to listen to part three this morning after starting this over a week ago. If you haven’t heard Dr. Dobson’s interview with Stephen Curtis Chapman about the accident, try to take some time out for it this week. Tears poured as I listened – part three especially resonated with my thoughts after God took Dad Home…

Dobson: “Stephen, are you & Mary Beth angry at God?”
Chapman: “We are not. Honestly. I am angry… very, very angry at the Enemy of God… the Thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.”

My feelings exactly! This whole grief process over the last few years has driven me there, too. Have I written about it? Yeah, I guess I have somewhat (last paragraph). I’ll leave it at that.

Part one fills you in on what happened, part two tells us more about who Maria is, and part three talks about life since. Grab tissues, just a warning.


Bringing Up the Next Generation

Yeah! It looks like Dr. Dobson will be finishing up the long awaited sequel “Bringing Up Girls” in 2009. We so appreciated his book on boys; it will be interesting to see what he has for the girls. In his monthly letter, he says when he wrote Boys eight years ago, he was convinced the boy issues in this century were of greater concern than girls. Since researching over the last few years, he can now say that girls today face every bit as much trouble as boys. Parenting in this generation demands home spiritual training. We can’t rely on the schools (even Christian ones), church, youth group, etc. to do it.

Interestingly, an article for pastors this month from the Focus Magazine goes hand in hand…

“We’re in a situation like Israel’s Judges 2:10. ‘After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord, nor what He had done for Israel.’ We may be facing a similar danger today if churches are not able to engage parents in the spiritual training of their children. Consider the following decline among each successive generation, noted by Thom Rainer in his book, The Bridger Generation:

Builder Generation (born 1927-1945) – 65% are evangelical Christians
Boomers (born 1946-1964) – 35% are evangelical Christians
Generation X (born 1965-1976) – 16% are evangelical Christians
Bridgers (born 1977-1994) – 4% estimated to be evangelical Christians

Pastors, this is the future of the church. It’s time to think not only about where your church will be in the next year or five years, but also where it’s going to be in 50 to 100 years. Start assessing how your church can better minister to families and influence their future for Christ. You have to do something different from what you’ve been doing if you want to see young people walk in the purpose & plans of God throughout their entire lives…

Pastors & church leaders have to start training their congregants to pass their faith to the next generation, creating a cycle of faith-building through the strongest relationships in the home… Your church’s role is to build families for Christ’s kingdom, to help marriages thrive and stay strong, to create mentoring relationships within the body, to train the adults so they can train their kids in the faith.

If pastors & churches start seeing their roles as a partner to families for the future faith of the youngest generations, then they can reverse the trend of declining faith in America. – Chris Abeyta, director of Church outreach at Focus on the Family

Amen!! My parents started preaching this years ago. We have got to train parents how to train up their children spiritually. The church has got to see it’s role as shepherding partners with the parents instead of parents thinking their children’s spiritual food will all come from the church. It doesn’t work that way.

Dobson finished his letter asking for prayer as he works to finish this latest book. Join me will you?

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PS – April 13, 2010 was the release of this book. For more info, go here.


Loaded iPod Giveaway

Have you heard about the Focus on the Family iPod give away? To celebrate 20 years of Adventures in Odyssey, every day for 12 days they are giving away 3 iPods loaded with Odyssey & Christmas listening (Radio Theatre’s Christmas Carol, etc.) – there are 8 days left. They’ve made some nice changes to their site making it super easy to listen to broadcasts, etc. Check them out when you have time. To enter the contest, you have to watch a little video clip & listen for the word of the day & each home can only enter once a day. Somebody’s gotta win – it may as well be you!!

Click here to enter.

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