Give me the "easy button"

The "easy" button seems to have taken over our way of doing life in our culture of ease, even in the life of believers.
Let's take the easy road.
If it's hard, don't do it.
If it makes me uncomfortable, I won't.
It's too risky, no thanks.
I may loose friends.
If I admit wrong, others will see my weakness.
I will look the other way, it's easier.
The cost is too much.
The sacrifice is too high, we just can't.

What do we forfeit by taking the easy way?
What would happen if we chose to not be so quick to hit the easy button?
The building of character.
Teaching our children by example.
Growing in endurance, a proven faith.
An opportunity for the gospel to be on display in our lives.
Transformation, sanctification.
The process of being refined, the ridding of idols, sins, etc. that keep us from being useful.
Fruit that seems to flourish after having gone through difficulties (because we abide in the Spirit) - love,  joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

In light of Scripture:
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4 ESV
it seems that pressing the "easy" button, or taking what seems to be the easy route will in the end be the greatest loss.

After Sunday morning...

After your time serving on Sunday morning, whether holding babies, building blocks, or teaching Biblical truths...PRAY!
I have found that Sunday afternoons were always the best time for me to pray for the children and families that I had just been with. Their needs, sweet faces are still fresh. Be the teacher who prays. You could be the only one who is praying for a particular child.
Take a prayer journal with you each week, record their needs, requests, praises...and follow up. You may be able to point out where God has answered a prayer too!
You are praying to the God who loves you enough and powerful enough to do more than we could ever ask or imagine! Pray.

Making a list and checking it twice!

This Christmas our family will be celebrating the birth of our Savior with our good friend Mariana, in some of the poorest barrios of Costa Rica.  We will work alongside Mariana to share the love of Jesus with teen moms and their babies, encourage those that mentor the teens, celebrate Christmas with the boys of Glorious Day Orphanage, and provide a Christmas morning meal while sharing the truth of hope born on Christmas morning with those in the barrio pictured above.
If you would like to help out, here's a list that we would love to provide for those we get to share the joy of Christmas with...

Mariana's Pura Vida Costa Rica Christmas Shopping List
These items will be for gift bags for the teen moms and for the boys at the Glorious Day Orphanage:
48 Christmas 12” x 8” Gift bags with handles -  
big bag full of candy 
big bag of chocolates 
17 scripture bookmarks
12 scripture bookmarks
12 scripture bookmarks
17 - 3 oz lotion     
12 - 3 oz lotion     
12 - 3 oz lotion 

17 pack of footie socks – grey or black
12 pack of footie socks – grey or black
12 pack of footie socks – grey or black ~ thank you!

17 - 4”x 6” sized journals for boys thank you!
12 - 4”x 6” sized journals for girls thank you!
12 - 4”x 6” sized journals for girls thank you!
17 packs of colored pencils thank you!
12 packs of colored pencils thank you!
12 packs of colored pencils thank you!
17 large sized toothpaste       17 toothbrushes ~ thank you!
12 large-sized toothpaste      12 toothbrushes ~ thank you!
12 large-sized toothpaste  ~ thank you!
17 bars of soap ~ thank you!
12 bars of soap ~ thank you!
12 bars of soap ~ thank you!
17 - chapstick ~ thank you!
12 toothbrushes ~ thank you!
12  chapstick ~ thank you!
12  chapstick ~ thank you!

Pura Vida Costa Rica Sponsor List
These items will be purchased locally:

Sponsor a Christmas meal & party for 17 boys $200.00
Sponsor a Christmas meal & party for 12 girls $120.00
Sponsor a Christmas meal &  party for 12 girls $120.00

Sponsor a Christmas morning breakfast for children in the barrio
$50.00 ~ thank you!
$50.00 ~ thank you!

Sponsor a buggy full of diapers $150.00
Sponsor a buggy full of diapers $150.00
Sponsor a bag full of baby formula $100.00 ~ thank you!
Sponsor a bag full of baby formula $100.00

Sponsor a $30 pair of shoes for the Glorious Day boys
                    X  X  X X  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  

Sponsor checks can be made out and mailed to:

CMC                                   or        HopePoint Church
P.O. Box 219228                          P.O. Box 170151
Houston, TX 219228                   Spartanburg, SC 29301
(memo: Mariana Melo)              (memo: Mariana Christmas)

Thanks for checking the list, and helping others hear the truth of a Savior born on Christmas Day and experience the joy of receiving a gift this Christmas!
You can email me or message me on facebook if you would like to give!


A Sunday morning thought, singing bad theology

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands!! 
And you know I will - nothing wrong with this song. 
We go for fun, we go for upbeat, we sometimes teach bad theology through the songs we sing.
Yes, even a few of those age old songs we loved to sing as a child... because certainly as Christians we will be inright outright upright downright happy all the time! Really?
For Sunday mornings worship leaders are intentional in choosing songs that are truth about Jesus, and sincere words for believers to sing to an incredible God...should we offer anything less to our children in their worship/music time?!
My desire is to not make a list of songs with bad/wrong theology...but to have us think of the songs that we sing! Especially on Sunday mornings, let's not overlook the importance of being intentional with the songs we lead our children in each week.

thankful...for pleasant aromas

This November I am giving thanks for much...and that includes the five senses God created.  So this week, along the way I am inhaling deep breaths, taking the time to stop and smell the...

freshly ground coffee beans
the wood burning in a campfire
fragrant blossoms of a tea olive plant
cool salty air at the coast (Thanksgiving I will be doing this)
crisp Autumn air (has it's on fresh scent bidding summer good-bye, welcoming cool nights, apples, the changing colors of leaves...)
a Votivo Bright Leaf Tobacco candle
earthy smell of soil while planting a winter garden
stew or soup that has been cooking in a slow cooker all day
rich smell of chocolate oatmeal cookies right out of the oven
pine sap
pages of an old book
early morning rain

when these scents fill my nostrils, I am thankful. Thankful for a creative God!