12 Ideas for Fall Fun for Families

Each year when the back-to-school chaos has settled and the leaves begin to fall from our trees, I take stock of how our family is faring spiritually. With the craziness of settling into a new school year and the many Summer and Fall ministry events we participate in, I always seem to feel the need to focus on family in the Fall.

Fall also seems to be a time of year to stop and take stock – are we doing all that we can to raise our family well? How can we make the most of this season to strengthen our family and our faith?

Here are a few ideas for enjoying Fall while also being purposeful as a parent.

12 Ideas and Faith-based Resources for Fall Fun for Families

1. The Pumpkin Gospel 

The Pumpkin Gospel is a fun way to teach children spiritual truth in an interactive way. All you need is a medium or large-sized pumpkin, a candle and matches, and about 20 minutes of time (you’ll need at least 10 to prep the pumpkin).  Gather the family around for this faith-based Fall fun for families!  The valuable lesson learned about how Jesus changes us from the inside out is guaranteed to stick with your children for years to come.

 

Join the ranks of work-in-progress parents and download your free printable version of the Pumpkin Gospel object lesson! Fall fun|kids|parenting|object lessons|Bible lesson|AWANA|Sunday School|Preschool |youth group|Christ-centered resources|redeeming Halloween

Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter (down at the bottom) to get your free printable version of the Pumpkin Gospel!

2. Ways to Cultivate Thankfulness in Your Home

Enjoy the Fall season as a family with this big list of Fall fun  and how-tos for families! Fall|Autumn|family fun|faith|faith-centered resources|family activities|Fall bucket list|Christian family|parenting|kids

With Fall being such a busy season, it’s easy to develop an attitude of ungratefulness. My friend Aimee shares 7 tips for cultivating thankfulness in your home. I especially like number 4 because it’s an idea I’ve been running across in Scripture recently. Maybe the Lord’s trying to tell me something? ;)

Enjoy the Fall season as a family with this big list of Fall fun  and how-tos for families! Fall|Autumn|family fun|faith|faith-centered resources|family activities|Fall bucket list|Christian family|parenting|kids

3. 10 Fall Outdoor Activities to Grow Closer to God and Others

This great article from Crosswalk suggests several ways to enjoy God’s beautiful creation while also strengthening family bonds. I love number 5 because you could enjoy Fall fun for families while also being missional!

4. Praying Scriptures of Thanksgiving

Enjoy the Fall season as a family with this big list of Fall fun  and how-tos for families! Fall|Autumn|family fun|faith|faith-centered resources|family activities|Fall bucket list|Christian family|parenting|kids

My friend Candace has put together a free printable list of Scriptures related to Thanksgiving. Stop by her blog for a reminder to focus on faith this Fall season. Involve the whole family in praying God’s Word – a unique way to enjoy Fall fun for families!

5. Thanksgiving Conversation Starters

Enjoy the Fall season as a family with this big list of Fall fun for families! Fall|Autumn|family fun|faith|faith-centered resources|family activities|Fall bucket list|Christian family|parenting|kids

Spice up your Thanksgiving conversation with this Fall fun activity for families from my friend Arabah Joy! She’s giving away this free printable, which includes 16 different conversation starters, over at her blog.

6. Family Thanksgiving Tree

Enjoy the Fall season as a family with this big list of Fall fun for families! Fall|Autumn|family fun|faith|faith-centered resources|family activities|Fall bucket list|Christian family|parenting|kids

Our family loves this faith-based, Fall tradition so much that we often leave our Thanksgiving Tree up for months afterwards. The Thanksgiving tree is an easy, hands-on activity to remember all of the things we have to be thankful for as a family. Each member of the family can be involved by creating their own leaves to add to the tree.

Not only is this Fall activity fun, but it’s also a beautiful visual reminder of God’s goodness!

Here’s another alternative for doing a Thankful Tree from my friend, Candace.

7. 15 Fall Date Night Ideas

Nothing’s better than enjoying the great outdoors with your loved ones! My friend Starla shares 15 different ideas for date nights (although many of these could double as Fall fun for families, too!).

8. 25 Frugal Fall Date Nights

Enjoy the Fall season as a family with this big list of Fall fun for families! Fall|Autumn|family fun|faith|faith-centered resources|family activities|Fall bucket list|Christian family|parenting|kids

Sarah Ann shares the best family resources over at her blog, and I appreciate the emphasis on keeping things frugal, too. Stop by for some great ideas on how to enjoy some Fall fun with your main man. :)

Make the most of this Fall season with your family using these faith-based resources and activities!  Fall traditions|family|kids|Christian family|faith-based resources|Bible lessons|fall fun for families|Fall activities|family fun night|Fall bucket list|grow in faith

9. 10 Fall Activities for Couples

Laura shares ten ways to celebrate Fall as a couple, but this post also includes a link to a free printable of 30 days of Fall activities that people of all ages can enjoy.  Stop by her blog for more Fall fun for families!

10. How to {Simply} Host Thanksgiving Dinner

Enjoy the Fall season as a family with this big list of Fall fun  and how-tos for families! Fall|Autumn|family fun|faith|faith-centered resources|family activities|Fall bucket list|Christian family|parenting|kids

Nothing brings family together in the Fall season quite like Thanksgiving, right? But preparing a dinner for a large group of family and friends can be really overwhelming! My friend Ruthie has a nifty printable to help keep you organized so that you can stress less and enjoy your loved ones more.

Preparing Thanksgiving dinner together is definitely a favorite on our list of Fall fun for families!

11. Thanksgiving for the Military Family

Enjoy the Fall season as a family with this big list of Fall fun  and how-tos for families! Fall|Autumn|family fun|faith|faith-centered resources|family activities|Fall bucket list|Christian family|parenting|kids

My friend, Jen, shares about her Thanksgiving Attitude from the perspective of a military wife and what Thanksgiving really means to them. Enjoying Fall fun for families is definitely more challenging when some family members cannot be present!

12. We Give Thanks – Free Printable!

Enjoy the Fall season as a family with this big list of Fall fun  and how-tos for families! Fall|Autumn|family fun|faith|faith-centered resources|family activities|Fall bucket list|Christian family|parenting|kids

This pretty printable from my friend, Rosilind, will remind your family to focus on thankfulness this Fall season. Go grab yours now and start preparing for Fall! She also shares the story behind Thanksgiving – this is one we should be teaching our children and passing down from generation to generation. :)

Although Fall is typically a busy time of year, it’s also a great time to re-focus on the things that really matter in life. While you’re enjoying Fall fun for families, you’re also building important family bonds and strengthening traditions that will last. If you use some of the object lessons/activities listed above, you can even use this season to strengthen your family’s faith, as well.

How will your family celebrate the Fall season?

Jen :)

 

 

The Truth About a Faith That Stumbles on Water

A few weeks ago I posted the verse below from Galatians 6:9 about not growing weary of doing good, which has become my anchor in this season of busy schedules and church planting challenges. It’s perfect for this season because it easily applies to every area of my life in which I desire to remain steadfast.

Do not grow weary of setting aside time to abide in the Vine.

Do not grow weary of loving and listening to my husband.

Do not grow weary of training up my children.

Do not grow weary of being a good friend and neighbor.

Do not grow weary of keeping my home tidy.

Do not grow weary of eating healthy and exercising even when….maybe especially when… the scale doesn’t budge.

Do not grow weary of…

The list could extend for pages, really.

We've all heard the story of Peter walking on water, yet we often focus on the miracle itself rather than what it teaches us about faith. We want victorious faith - the kind that leaps and soars. But sometimes what we really need is a faith that stumbles on water. Click through to read more about why you need this kind of faith! Why You Need a Faith that Stumbles on Water

 

So, I posted this verse on the blog facebook page and after seeing it there a few times, kind of forgot about it.

And wouldn’t you know that after weeks of not having a single new visitor (and very few actual attendees), we had not one… not two… but three unexpected guests last Sunday! In fact, one couple has been invited nearly every week by my persistent husband since the church plant opened way back during Easter.

There’s more. After prayer walking that same Sunday afternoon, we had almost a dozen extra visitors during our bread ministry that week and actually ran out of bread!

Do you think maybe the Lord was trying to teach us something? ;)

Here’s the thing: Sometimes we’ve prayed for something so fervently, and for so long, that we quit waiting expectantly. And then when the answer comes, when the need is met, we fail to recognize the significance.

As a daughter of the Most High, I often grow childishly impatient. I want an answer right now. I want clarity. I want an inkling of the Father’s plan. I want some sort of tangible evidence that we are on the right path.

If I’m honest, I want miracles.

And this is where I can most relate to Peter, who asked to walk on water with Jesus and then stumbled, nearly drowning in his own doubt.

Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  Mt. 14:28-29

I’m sure that first step was a mountaintop experience, a spiritual high like none other. I’m sure Peter was elated, soaring on faith-wings that yearned to stretch wider and swoop higher!

Yes, I’m doing it. I’m doing it!

I’m equally certain that the floundering steps that followed were terrifying.

Maybe it felt like too big of a leap of faith. Maybe the wind and waves increased in size and ferocity. For whatever reason, his confidence wavered.

Wait, am I really doing this? What if I can’t keep it up?  What if my faith is too small?

But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Mt. 14:30-31

What right did Peter have to walk on water in the first place?

Who was he to make such a bold request?

He was no one.

A nobody.

Yet in the eyes of Jesus, he was worth an abundant amount of time, effort, and instruction. He was worth forgiving even as he was busy betraying.

And before Jesus left this earth, He claimed His Church would be built upon Peter. Imperfect Peter with the imperfect faith (Mt. 16:18).

You see, friends, we need a faith that leaps – yes, we do, but we also need a faith that stumbles on water.

We've all heard the story of Peter walking on water, yet we often focus on the miracle itself rather than what it teaches us about faith. We want victorious faith - the kind that leaps and soars. But sometimes what we really need is a faith that stumbles on water. Click through to read more about why you need this kind of faith! Why You Need a Faith that Stumbles

We need that sudden sinking, that floundering fear that drives us straight into the arms of our Savior. Because when we are weak, then we are strong (2 Cor. 12:10).

It’s when we begin to think that we can do it on our own, when that smidgen of self-righteousness and self-sufficiency sneaks its way in, that  we should truly be frightened. That truth has never been more clear to me than these last few years of struggle.

Friends, if I only talked about the faith that leaps, I’d be remiss.

I’d be painting only half of the picture.

The truth is that these last few months have been full of walking-on-water moments followed by sudden sinking and ultimately a return to the truth that trumps all others – we need Him.

We need our Father God.

We cannot do it alone as much as our perfectionism preaches to us that we can, for even our very faith comes from the Lord and not ourselves (Eph.2:8-9).

We need to keep believing that He will “show up” for us. We need to keep waiting expectantly. We need to look for the work-in-progress He is completing in us.

So, if you’ve had some of those moments of stumbling on the water lately, take heart and look to Jesus just as Peter did.

And in the words of Toby Mac,

“Keep walkin’.”

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Faith Filled Friday, Tell His Story

Why You Need to Take a Leap of Faith ~ and a Giveaway!

Sometimes, … no quite often, God asks us to do things that make us incredibly uncomfortable.  And like the shy kid who hates reading in front of the class, we have a choice to make.

Will we follow, take the leap of faith?

Or will we back away from the edge in fear and miss our chance to really soar?

The Father has been sending me quite the message about fear lately, and I know He’s sending some of you that same message, too.

Fear not.

It’s the same message from three years ago when I typed out my first public confession here in this space.  You see, I thought that blogging would be a less terrifying, safer way to obey the Lord in using this gift of writing for His glory.  I think about that now and just laugh because there is nothing less scary or safe about writing about the hard things in life.

There’s nothing safe about writing how you sometimes feel unloved, or you sometimes fail at loving others.  There’s nothing safe about writing out your own sin for the whole world to read.

Listen to me, friends, there’s nothing safe about sharing your story, whatever it might be, but there’s nothing quite as beautiful either because when you do, you get to hear “me, too” and “I needed that” and “thank you.”  You find out there are so many other work-in-progress women out there in the world who struggle through the same life lessons as you.

You learn that while you set out to encourage and exhort others through this thing called writing, your Father set out to encourage and exhort you.

But the most beautiful part?

You get to take part in God’s story.

That’s why you need a faith that leaps because when we obey, when we take that risk of being foolish for the sake of Christ, we join in the work of reaching others for His Name. And there is nothing more difficult yet infinitely more rewarding than that, is there?

 

When we reach the edge of the cliff the Lord leads us to, we have two choices: we can either back away in fear, or we can take a leap of faith. What leap is He asking you to take?  Why You Need a  Faith that Leaps

 

Is it worth it, this leap of faith?

Yes, a thousand times yes.

It’s worth it, friends.

That hard thing He wants you to do? That person you need to talk to? That story you need to share? That sin you need to confess? That future that He wants you to leap in to?

Take the leap, friend.

And I’m not talking about the feel-good, positive-vibes leap of faith in yourself. I’m not talking about the dream-your-own-dreams, you-can-do-it, make-your-own-destiny kind of leap.

I’m talking about the leap of faith that asks you to deny yourself and take up your cross. The leap of faith that scares the pants off of you because you’re fairly certain you are not capable on your own.  The leap of faith that is only possible because you serve the God of the impossible.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, andtake up his cross and follow Me.” Mt. 16:24 (NASB)

I’m talking about a leap of faith with its object and focus as the Creator of the Universe, the God who holds you in the palm of His hand, the One who will never leave you nor forsake, who plans to prosper you and not to harm you.

Take that leap of faith, friend.

To do otherwise is to willfully choose disobedience.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Heb. 11:6 (NASB)

Choose faith and find yourself in awe of the Lord who works in and through you!

Jen :)

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It was a big week for Being Confident of This!

The facebook page reached 1,000 likes earlier last week, and with the Father’s help (because many, many times I wanted to just quit), we also passed the three-year mark here at the blog.  So, to celebrate this blogiversary and God’s faithfulness, let’s have a giveaway of some of my favorite Christian living resources! You won’t say no to that, right? ;)

Enter for your chance to win four amazing Christian Living resources!  Christian Living Giveaway at Being Confident of This

What I’m giving away to the winner:

By This Name by John Cross

This is our preferred Creation-to-Christ resource for strengthening anyone’s understanding of the Bible as a whole. It is our go-to tool for evangelism, discipleship, and so forth.

Every Wife’s Choice by Sarah Fairchild

My favorite resource for every marriage (and not just because it’s written by my talented sister)! Sarah delves into the greek roots of the famous First Corinthians 13 passage on love to reveal truths about the choices we have in loving our husbands. Packed with humorous anecdotes, this read will both challenge and encourage you as a wife.

Praying the Promises of the Cross by Arabah Joy

I had the privilege of working on the graphics for this printable prayer journal (pdf version).  Each day contains a brief yet powerful devotional reading about the promises of the cross, a scripture to read and write out, and a section to write out your own prayer.

Philippians 1:6 Printable from me

This 8×10 print will remind you of your work-in-progress status and the hope you have in Christ to one day be complete!  Be sure to hang it where you will see it often. :)

Okay, time to enter – and don’t forget to share this around so your friends can enter, too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Being Confident of This makes use of affiliate links. For more information, please see the homepage. Thank you for helping to support this blog!

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Faith Filled Friday, Coffee for Your Heart

Look to Jesus: A Review (and giveaway!)

If someone asked me if I trust God, I’d most likely answer yes, but I haven’t always trusted God in every circumstance.  In fact, during certain trials in my life when I felt I was drowning, trust seemed very hard to come by.

I’m certain I have more lessons in trust ahead of me, too.

That’s why Dawn Klinge’s new book Look to Jesus is so important.  My friend Dawn recently shared with us about how trusting Jesus is related to the joy we experience, but her book delves even more deeply into the topic of trust.

Klinge’s suggestion to trust God by looking to Jesus sounds so simple on the surface, maybe too simple. However, Klinge takes the reader on a journey to discover how looking to Jesus through various seasons of life leads to a deepening trust, one not easily shaken.

Along the way, Klinge takes time to explain basic doctrines that even seasoned believers may not fully understand, such as the Trinity.  I appreciate that the author lays this groundwork because if we don’t understand God’s character or how He operates, then we don’t really know God, do we?

And if we don’t really know Him, how can we trust Him?

In the first few chapters, Klinge rightly points out that we cannot generate trust on our own.  She encourages the reader to understand this truth by using her own life experiences.

“I’ve never needed to literally walk on water. But I have had storms in my life. In some of those storms, I’ve kept my eyes on Jesus and in some, I’ve looked around at my circumstances and started to sink – and I’ve called out to Jesus and he has rescued me. He wants to do the same for you.” ~Dawn Klinge, Look to Jesus (pg. 31)

But my favorite part of the book takes place in Chapter 4, when Klinge gets down to the nnitty-gritty of how we become conformed to the image of Christ, yet she also makes an important distinction between legalism and grace.  It’s this grace-filled approach which permeates the book that really resonates with me!

Dawn Klinge's new book, Look to Jesus, gently leads the reader to an understanding of how to trust God even during the painful trials of life.  Read here for a review and enter for your chance to win a copy of this new release!

Throughout Look to Jesus, Klinge supports her own words with a wealth of Scripture as well as well-chosen quotes from other authors and famous people from all walks of life. The reader will appreciate how the author weaves all of this knowledge into her own story of learning to trust God.

Out of all of the quotes chosen, however, the Oswald Chamber’s quote on page 58 is my favorite because it falls right in line with the purpose of this blog. The point of our faith journey is the process – the work-in-progress of being remade into His image, moment by moment, day by day.

I always enjoy a reminder of my work-in-progress status! :)

Another favorite moment took place in Chapter 6 when Klinge speaks to trusting God when life is hard.  I applaud Klinge for being brave enough to tackle this issue by sharing from her own pain.  I also agree with the author on her conclusion that pain has a purpose, one we cannot realize if we try to deny the pain of a difficult season of life.

More than that, I respect that Klinge points the reader to the truth that Jesus understands human pain because He endured pain himself!  Not only does he understand our pain, He wants to sit with us in the midst of it.

What I admire most about Look to Jesus is that any person who reads through the book will find a clear presentation of the gospel and what it means for us. In the final chapter, Klinge writes:

“Think of the high price God paid for you.

You are precious to Him and it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how terribly you’ve failed – because it’s not about you. It’s about Christ in you.  How could we possibly doubt that God would ever give up on us, ever fail us, when we consider what was done to earn our place in His family.” ~ Dawn Klinge, Look to Jesus (p.95)

What better way to close than to remind us that looking to Jesus, trusting God in every circumstance, is rooted in our identity in Christ.  He who paid the price for us will not turn away in our times of need!

Dawn Klinge's new book, Look to Jesus, gently leads the reader to an understanding of how to trust God even during the painful trials of life.  Read here for a review and enter for your chance to win a copy of this new release!

Although the tone of this book is more conversational in nature than some readers might be used to, the nuggets of truth throughout make it a good read for anyone.

If you haven’t already read Dawn’s book, I hope you’ll take the time to do so.I have no doubt you’ll find wisdom and encouragement that applies to your life.

And if you’d like a chance to win a free copy of Dawn’s book (PDF version), be sure to enter the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also  visit Dawn at her blog, Above the Waves, where she writes on life and faith.

Because of Him,

Jen :)

*A proof copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author for purposes of review. However, all opinions are my own!  Also, this post makes use of affiliate links. For more information on the affiliate links used by this blog, visit Being Confident of This’s homepage.

Sharing with: Grace and Truth,

My Favorite Life-changing Books

Obviously every good Christian girl would put the Bible at the top of a list of life-changing books. :) The Bible is first and foremost the ultimate resource for life in general, after all!

However, sometimes we read a book other than the Bible and understand spiritual truths in a whole new way. These are the type of books I’ve chosen for a list of life-changing books.

Each one has had an impact on how I understand and live out my Christian walk.  Some of them I am still learning from today!

*This post makes use of affiliate links. For more information, please visit Being Confident of This’s About page.  Thank you for supporting this blog!

Life-Changing Books

 

Life on the Edge

I read through this material when I was still in high school, and for me it was a life-changing book because it helped me plan for the future rather than be afraid of it. During those last few years of high school, students face enormous pressure to make important life decisions.

I highly recommend this book for young adults as they begin to face life on their own rather than under the safety of their parents’ wings!

The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus

This book is another pick from my high school years, but one that I actually still use. Although I grew up in a Christian home with parents who were faithful to teach me about God’s Word, I still didn’t have a solid grasp on the overall themes of the Bible and how the Old Testament connected to the New Testament (and why that’s important!).

Reading through The Stranger, which focuses on the overarching themes of the Bible from creation to Christ,  gave me a very clear picture of God’s love for and plan for mankind from the very beginning!  I now use it whenever I disciple others.  The Stranger will speak to unbelievers as well as those who have believed for many years!

The Circle Series by Ted Dekker

Every book lover surely includes some excellent fiction writing on a list of life-changing books!  As a lifelong book-lover, I’ve read an abundance of classic, secular, and Christian fiction, and one of my favorite authors of all is Ted Dekker. Each one of his riveting tales teaches readers a lesson about faith. But this series in particular stands out above the others.

The spiritual allegory that runs throughout Black, Red, White, and Green is rich and the vivid imagery helped me understand things like baptism and dying to sin/rising in Christ in a whole new way.  Most of all, I loved how the characters pursued one another and how they were pursued by the Christ-like archetype. The Circle Series is like the Chronicles of Narnia, but for adults! :)

And for the youth in your life, The Lost Books Series is a thrilling companion to the Circle Series!

First Place (Bible Study Series)

This life-changing book and subsequent series of devotionals helped me to see how letting food control my life is really a sin issue.  I also learned how to change the way I ate by learning to read nutritional information, cooking with better ingredients, etc.

But what I like most about this particular series is the focus on putting Christ first. Being healthy physically is important, but being healthy spiritually is more important!

Although the Bible is the ultimate resource for life, sometimes other books help us understand spiritual truths in a whole new way, like these life-changing books!  Find out which ones made the list.

Believing God (the Bible Study)

Although I don’t agree with everything this author claims, I can whole-heartedly recommend this bible study.  I actually read the workbook version of this book and really enjoyed the depth of bible study and Hebrew/Greek word study.

I call this book life-changing because it helped me realize that although I claimed to believe God and believe His character is true, I often failed to live that out. I wasn’t thinking and acting on my so-called belief. Instead I worried and mistrusted and misunderstood the hard things in life.

Trust Without Borders

This lovely devotional made for easy reading yet contained surprising depth.  Author Arabah Joy utilizes modern day parables to teach valuable lessons about trusting God.

She has a way of getting to the heart of the issue that leads to lots of light-bulb moments! I often re-read each day because each one was packed with so much good information to really chew on.

The Case for a Creator

Especially now, when Creationism is under constant attack, understanding the real scientific evidence for why we believe what we believe is key.  For that reason, The Case for a Creator is life-changing because it defines our very beginnings here on this beautiful planet.

The author takes the reader through a study of creation from the perspective of physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy, and so forth. One of the things I love most about this book is that when readers start to grasp the significance of why our Earth is positioned the way it is, and so forth, they can’t help but be awestruck by our Mighty God.

If you are an analytical thinker who loves facts and data, then this book is for you!

The Screwtape Letters

My second fiction pick, The Screwtape Letters, is a life-changing book because it opens our eyes to the very real spiritual warfare going on all around us.

I don’t think I ever realized before how sneaky our enemy is, especially in using good things to distract us from the best thing, our relationship with Christ.  Go read it, and anything else by C.S. Lewis, for that matter. :)

Messy Spirituality

I’m not sure I actually agree with all that this author had to say, either. Why include it on a list of life-changing books then, you ask? Because I’m not a fan of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  But more than that, this author challenged my view of what being a Christian looks like in a way my perfectionist nature didn’t like at first. :)

He also broadened my view of grace, took it out of my nice neat little box and made it, well…messy.  I never thought of myself as a self-righteous person before starting this book, but it was the catalyst for seeing my own sin in this area. I’d say that qualifies as a life-changing book!

Although the Bible is the ultimate resource , sometimes other books help us understand spiritual truths in a whole new way, like these life-changing books! These  ten books will challenge your faith in new ways!  Life-changing books, books that change your thinking, best books for growing your faith, books that will change your life, best Christian books, favorite Christian novels

 

The Purpose Driven Life

Here’s another book whose author I don’t always agree with, especially in regards to some of his statements in more recent years. Nevertheless, The Purpose Driven Life had a profound impact on my understanding of my purpose in Christ.

You see, as a perfectionist, I was one of those good Christian girls who relied much more on performance than on grace without even realizing it.  Yet in my heart, I truly wanted to serve the Lord.

I just didn’t realize that worshiping and serving the Lord doesn’t always involve big things or ministries!

Sometimes serving the Lord is as simple as taking care of my family by washing the dishes or cooking a meal. That might sound silly, but realizing that I could do even those very small acts of obedience in service to the Lord gave me a satisfaction in life that I previously lacked.

Missionary Autobiographies

God at the Controls, God Planted Five Seeds, Peace Child, Through Gates of Splendor and others I can’t remember the titles of are also on my list of life-changing books.

As a child of overseas missionaries, these books helped me understand the great need for the Gospel to reach so many unreached nations.  They also helped me witness the power of God to use difficult life circumstances, even death, in the lives of His people to impact whole tribes and communities – talk about life-changing books!

Other Heroes of the Faith Autobiographies

The Confessions, The Hiding Place, and others.  There is nothing like hearing the story of a fellow believer’s faithfulness to challenge and boost our own faith!

I hope you find at least a few that you haven’t yet read from my favorite life-changing books.  Try out some new ones from the list and see how your faith is challenged.

And as with all things you read or hear, please check them against the truth of the Word!

Jen :)

Sharing with: A Little R and R,

The Most Important Part of the Missionary Kid Experience

The question of where I am from has to be the most difficult question to answer when I meet new people.

I’m an MK, missionary kid. I’ve lived in Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and even overseas in Papua New Guinea. I’ve left a little piece of my heart in each of these places, so deciding which to call my “home” is impossible!

And usually when I bring up the fact that I’m an MK, a host of other questions follow, questions that are complicated to answer in a brief get-to-know-you conversation.

The truth is that being an MK is sometimes difficult. We left the States for Papua New Guinea (PNG) when I was fourteen years old. Prior to that, we  moved every 1-2 years, so saying goodbye was a part of life, a part that certainly never got any easier.

The Most Important Thing I Could Tell You About the MK Experience - Growing up as an MK certainly isn't easy.  Missionary Kids face many unique trials that make life both interesting and hard at times.  However, the blessings of the MK experience far outweighed any trials that I experienced in my time as a missionary kid!

When we arrived in PNG, my siblings and I faced other trials, such as beginning at a new school, adjusting to life without modern conveniences, and handling less freedom (mainly for girls, as it wasn’t safe to walk about alone). But the hardest part? The hardest part was living apart from our parents in a family-style dorm.

Moving to a third-world country was hard enough, but add in teenage hormones and it might just be a recipe for disaster. :)

Making new friends at that age is always hard, but it was complicated by the fact that I was once again, the “new girl” in a school full of students who had mostly known each other all of their lives. I felt out of place and alone at first, with my parents only accessibly by short-wave radio.

But by far one of the blessings of being an MK and moving to PNG was that I attended a small, Christian school run by other missionaries. Making friends was a little easier due to the fact that most of us lived together (on the school base), played together (sports like soccer, volleyball, softball, and basketball) and went to class together.

In fact, in my case the blessings of life as an MK far outweighed the trials.

I watched my parents live out their faith in a very practical way. I also lived alongside other godly examples: teachers, dorm parents, coaches, youth leaders, and other missionaries who had devoted themselves to the spread of the gospel.  Seeing their faith in action had a profound impact on me.

Additionally, I made friends who came from all over the world – Canada, Ireland, Australia, PNG, India, England and more – and learned what living in a third world country is really like. I learned a new culture and some of a new language, two in fact!

More importantly, I saw people go hungry, both spiritually and physically, a lesson I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

As an MK, I also experienced quite a bit of adventure. I swam in the ocean and played on an “untouched” beach when our class traveled to a port city. I climbed Mt. Elimbari with my family and made it halfway up Mt. Wilhelm with my class, the highest in the country at an elevation of over 14,000 feet.

The Most Important Thing I Could Tell You About the MK Experience - Mount Elimbari, Papua New Guinea.  Any MK will tell you that missionary kid problems differ from those of other kids.  Being an MK certainly isn't easy, but even though it's difficult the experience of being an MK is full of blessings, as well.

Mount Elimbari, Papua New Guinea

The Most Important Thing I Could Tell You About the MK Experience - Mount Elimbari, Papua New Guinea.  Any MK will tell you that missionary kid problems differ from those of other kids.  Being an MK certainly isn't easy, but even though it's difficult the experience of being an MK is full of blessings, as well.

The Most Important Thing I Could Tell You About the MK Experience - Mount Elimbari, Papua New Guinea.  Any MK will tell you that missionary kid problems differ from those of other kids.  Being an MK certainly isn't easy, but even though it's difficult the experience of being an MK is full of blessings, as well.

I jumped from a two-story cliff into a pool of water at Keia Falls, multiple times. I hiked in the “bush,” ate fresh tropical fruit, and attended many “mumus,” feasts cooked in a large pit in the ground filled with pork or chicken, sweet potatoes of all varieties, greens, and sometimes corn, my favorite.

During school breaks, I spent time in the tribe with my parents in our bush house – a small house of woven bamboo and pit-pit (a smaller reed) with a tin roof, up on stilts, on the side of a red-clay mountain range. The view was to die for! :)

Sometimes I really miss living in PNG. Life there was quieter and slower-paced. We spent little time watching our tiny tv on batter power. We spent much time outdoors, enjoying the beautiful landscape. We played a lot of board games, even by kerosene lantern, and ate a lot of stove-popped popcorn.

Certainly the most important thing I could tell you about being an MK is that I wouldn’t choose any differently, in spite of the tough times.

Because the best blessing I received during those years was better than every good opportunity I listed above.

The best blessing was an opportunity to grow near to the Lord.

During those years in PNG, my faith became real and personal to me. The Lord removed all of my comforts, everything I leaned on (including my parents), to bring me into a deeper walk with Himself. At times, He even removed my very health. But it wasn’t for naught. There was purpose in even the most painful trials.

He pursued me, all the way to Papua New Guinea and back.

He pursues me still.

So maybe the best answer to “Where are you from?” is to simply say:
I’m an MK, so I’m from all over the place!
I don’t have just one home; I have many.
But I know Who I belong to.
And He’s been faithful all along the way!

“Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”  Psalm 36:5

Jen :)

This post has been published in The Missional Handbook by Rosilind Jukic.  If you have any interest in missions, this book contains a wealth of information from a variety of perspectives (affiliate link).

Sharing with: The Loft, Make Your Home Sing Mondays, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Tell His Story, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Grace and Truth

Come Away With Me

Weary.

Burdened.

Just plain tired of being tired.

Sometimes we don’t realize how worn out we are until we have a chance to get away, a chance to rest, a chance to “be still.”  We don’t realize we’ve become weary in following our Father. We don’t realize we’ve become weary in serving others.

This past week we took some rest at a cabin in the woods during our children’s Spring Break.

I noticed that I didn’t feel as needy this year as I did last. Last year I was nearly desperate for some time away. Life seemed so very overwhelming in many ways then. And it’s not that life never feel overwhelming now, either, but it was different then.

I wanted relief.

I yearned for escape.

I thought that by “getting away” from it all, I might find peace from life’s problems. But those problems just followed me wherever I went.

I was looking for rest in the wrong places.

Come Away With Me, Rest, relaxation, get-away, finding-rest-in-Jesus

This year hasn’t been quite so difficult thus far, in spite of the flu-turned-bronchitis-add-to-that-mono months of December and January.  I have only one word for the difference – contentment. In general, I am content.

I’m certain the difference can be attributed to my walk with the Lord, which has been a little closer and a lot sweeter lately. I’m learning that no matter what comes my way, He is my only source of life, love, strength, shelter, and so much more.

In Him, I find rest.

Come-Away-With-Me, finding-rest-in-Jesus,  in-need-of-rest, feeling-weary

 

It’s that rest born from trust that leads to peace and joy beyond our understanding.

It’s a supernatural rest that doesn’t make sense using man’s logic because from the outside perspective our lives might look a little hectic. And the world would tell us, take some time for yourself. Quit serving others and serve self. You deserve it. You neeeeed it.

But I hear another voice that says take up your cross and follow me.

And just when I’m feeling overwhelmed that sweet reminder comes that by His side the burden will also be light.

Don’t get me wrong, now. I’m not against rest and I certainly need physical rest at times myself. But even more than physical rest, I need spiritual rest.

Do you have it, my sisters in Christ?

Do you have rest? If not, it’s yours for the taking and you can find it by abiding in Him moment by moment, day by day, trust building upon trust.

How-to-find-rest, Come to Me, Come-Away-With-Me. finding-rest-in-Jesus, I-need-rest, feeling-weary

Sometimes we need a rest.

But sometimes we just need Jesus!

Jen :)

While we were away, I had the opportunity to spend time taking pictures.  Lately I’m often reminded of the power of the Cross.  It’s because of the cross we can cease striving and be still. It’s because of the cross we can rest in the gift that is Grace.

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Beyond Comfort ~ Grace and Truth Week 10

Hello, friends! How has your week been? I’ll be honest. It’s been a little up and down here. I’ve learned that I do really well persevering as long as I’m receiving fairly constant encouragement and seeing results. But the minute I run into a roadblock, I often begin to lose heart.

Earlier this year when I wrote about the word Persevere being my word for the year, I had no idea how much I needed to learn in this area. Part of persevering for me seems to be maintaining hope.  It’s obviously still a work in progress, but the Father has been faithful in giving me this lesson in many different areas of my life. He’s making the message nearly impossible to miss. :)

Last week’s Grace and Truth was full of repeated messages as well, it seems! I read several posts about letting go of fear so that we might become who God created us to be. I also read a few about how BIG our Father God truly is.  But two posts stood out to me in particular because of some situations we have faced both in our family and in ministry.

Meredith from According2Meredith wrote about how often we let others down when they need help the most – perhaps because of mistakes they have made, etc.. I agree with much of what she wrote and think it falls right in line with Agape love – that unconditional love Jesus shows to all of us sinners who mess up time and time again.  Loving others requires us to go beyond what we are comfortable with.

Along the same lines, Ruth from The Mustard Seed wrote about practicing what we preach in the Church.  Is it possible that our churches have become so “middle-class” as to make those who feel lesser-than avoid them?  How can we reach those who really need to hear Truth?

It’s easy to grow comfortable in our Christian “bubbles” and forget about the world out there that desperately needs saving!  I know I’m guilty of losing that urgency from time to time.

I look forward to reading what you all have to share this week!

Jen :)

 

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Comfort Eating ~ Grace and Truth Week 8

Hello, readers! No doubt you have noticed some changes ’round here. I’m really excited to have the new and improved Being Confident of This up and running in time for this week’s Grace and Truth link-up.

Now, if I could only learn to use the new and improved features well….  Let’s just say it’s a work in progess. It’s a good thing I have excellent blogging friends to help me iron out the kinks! :)

Last week I featured two bloggers whose posts really encouraged me, but there was one more that I really wanted to share with you all as well. So, this week I want you to meet Rosilind Jukic from A Little R and R. Since I’ve been sharing about my weight loss journey lately, her post about comfort eating fits right in with that theme. I greatly appreciate her candor about such a personal subject!

The Father has been helping me to follow my healthy living plans more carefully the last week or two and I’m starting to see some success! Isn’t it exciting to see the fruits of your efforts?

Trusting Him to continue the good work,
Jen :)

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Spring and Fret ~ Grace and Truth Week 7

The Grace and Truth link-up was full of great reads last week, so much so that I had an unusually difficult time choosing just one to feature. So, I’m slightly bending the rules today to include at least a couple of the posts that were meaningful to me. :)

I really enjoyed this upbeat and hope-filled post from Cathy at Thoughts on Books about waiting for Spring. It’s full of beautiful photos and edifying scriptures.

One other post I just had to feature is Arabah Joy’s What You Really Need to Fast From This Lent. She breaks down a simple but powerful verse and wrings every bit of truth from the pieces!

I hope you take time to stop by the blogs above and be encouraged by the words there!

Jen :)

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Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

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3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

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5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

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