church attendance

How to Improve Your Church Attendance Experience

“…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”


Hebrews 10:25

Our world is seemingly becoming less concerned with God and more concerned with self. Society preaches being happy at all costs; putting our happiness above all else. When a weekly commitment that Christians are encouraged in the Bible to keep becomes a challenge to us because we do not feel like it, then it may be the time to remind ourselves that church is not really about us…it’s about God. Allow me to expand.


Of course, we receive amazing benefits from going to meeting Together (attending church),

But sometimes we need that powerful reminder that what tops the “Why Should We Go to Church?” list is the fact that the church/meeting together offers us an opportunity to give to God.

I can’t help but think that God is pleased when we give Him our best worship as we stand alongside our church family. #churchattendance Click To Tweet
attendance
free image pixabay.com modified by Mandy

Encountering the Irritating

Yet, in that church family, we will likely encounter people who irritate us from time to time. There comes a time to decide that pleasing God is more important than trying to avoid being offended by someone’s conduct, lifestyle, or personality. (Remember, there are others who put up with us on those occasions when we might be the ones irritating them!)

My Sunday School teacher, whom I happen to be married to, has said, “If you feel that church is missing something, maybe you are supposed to bring it.” In other words, instead of lamenting the lack of energy, excitement, or enthusiasm, perhaps we are being called to prayerfully initiate it. Instead of considering leaving a church because it doesn’t fulfill our needs, perhaps God is prodding us to stay and be a prayerful part of the solution. Instead of wishing people would change, perhaps God is teaching us to prayerfully change our attitude toward them.

If you feel that church is missing something, maybe you are supposed to bring it. #churchattendance Click To Tweet

Think of the possibilities

If our church is a Gospel-preaching, community-reaching, Bible-believing, Holy Spirit-receiving church, but there are some other aspects that we see as negative, just think what our positive, prayerful approach could possibly accomplish!

Lord, help me become excited about the wonderful opportunity of regularly attending church and being part of a church family. Help me to see and be thankful for the blessings I receive when I go to church, but to be even more concerned about the blessing I can be to others in my church family, as I put the focus on You and Your love. In Your name, I pray, Amen.

See you in Church!

Gwen

Table Mentoring book

Table Mentoring: Blessed to Be a Blessing

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not being paid to write this or being told what to say.

 

 Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide for Coming Alongside by Sue Moore Donaldson.

table mentoring book covver

I’ve had a desire to come alongside others for years now. (And have actually been doing it) But I really didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing. This little book gave me assurance that I was doing the right thing plus a few more pointers as well.

I’ve heard the admonishment that each of us should not only have a mentor but be a mentor as well. Are you turning back to give someone behind you a hand? This little guide will help you do it.

Here’s an excerpt Sue asked me to share with you …

In my early 20’s I met Jeanne Garrison. Jeanne was wise, gracious, funny, and for some reason, loved me. She showed it by pouring her wisdom into me, her time into my time, her life into my life. Living life with Jeanne alongside made all the difference.

I was a new college grad, starting my first whirl into the real work world—single and facing my first career, a new roommate, a new town, and a new church family. Not floundering exactly, but needing emotional, practical and spiritual support.

Meeting my Mentor

I don’t remember how we first met one-on-one. I do remember sitting at Jeanne’s table, talking and talking, usually a cup of tea in one hand and a pen in the other. (It was good to have a pen when I spent time with Jeanne.) I also remember Jeanne’s response: spoken with a smile, a gentle word, often a chuckle of understanding–never a judgment:

“You know, Sue, this is how it was with my mother.”

“Sounds like you could use help in this area – let me get this organized for you.”

“The most important thing you can tell your students is that God is your most important thing.”

You see why I was grateful. Everyone needs a Jeanne.

In my late 20’s I met Karen and Carol, Debbie and Gerri. They were high school Juniors—smart, motivated, filled with dreams and goals, and for some reason, they loved me, too. I asked them one afternoon:

“Would you like to meet with me after school some day–say, Wednesday? We can talk about your dreams and goals, your guy-relationships, your mom-relationships, and most of all, your relationship with God?”

They said, “Yes” and off we went. We met three months, once a week, and then, I sent each on their way: to meet with a Freshman girl. Fresh from our three months, on to a new three months. Table mentoring, one-to-one, one-to-three. Passing on what they knew, what I knew and now, I pass it on to you.

Table mentoring worked.

For me, for Jeanne, for high school girls ready to fly. And it can for you, as well.

Do you need a table to Table Mentor? No. But a table imbues intimacy—an elbow-touching-grab-a-hand-in-prayer type of closeness. Maybe not at the first meet-up, but definitely in the mix along the way.

Table, bench, back steps, dorm hallway, coffee house

—choose whichever promotes the progress of a hearty sharing. The place or porch doesn’t matter. Taking the time to listen does. Tell a story, gently nudge, cry some, laugh a lot, and give all to the Mighty Counselor before and after and maybe in the middle. Coming together until the misery is out of the commiserate as you both sit at Jesus’ feet.

come alongside

I love to describe MENTORING as “to come alongside”

which is found in The Message version of I Corinthians 1: 3 and 4–

“God comes alongside us when we go through hard times,

and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else

who is going through hard times so that we can be there for

that person just as God was there for us.” 

I Corinthians 1:3,4 MSG

 

Two things to consider:

  • We mentor another from our own experience of being mentored by God. As we experience God’s “alongside-ness” in our up’s and down’s, joys and sorrows, we can more naturally share His overflow with someone who is where we have been.

 

“God comes alongside us when we go through hard times…”

  • We mentor another by getting close enough so that mutual vulnerability is natural and trusted. Authenticity is the vanguard of artless discipleship.

“…He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”

 

You don’t need a table to be a Table Mentor.

You do need an ongoing relationship with the Ultimate Mentor, and a bold desire to get close to someone who needs to hear what you’ve learned.

-Excerpt from Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide for Coming Alongside, Sue Moore Donaldson

Are YOU mentoring someone?

How about giving it a try? Come alongside someone who is going through something you have gone through in the past. You won’t regret it.

Also, check out my review of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s book Adorned: Living Out the Gospel Together

I’ve been coming alongside people with Fibromyalgia.

Fibro is one of those Invisible Chronic Illnesses. It’s so hard for family and loved ones to understand what is going on. I have created a Facebook page to help the friends and family of fibro warriors. Come join us over at Fibromyalgia – Is It for Real?  Maybe we can answer some of your questions.

facebook page

Click on the image above to go to my Fibro Facebook page.

Mandy Farmer

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Sharing the Gospel

Sharing the Gospel: You CAN Do It

This week we have been focusing on the Great Commission. Glenae spoke of how our very lives should be a witness for Christ. And that is a very good place to start. But I wonder,

“When was the last time you led someone to Christ or even shared the gospel with a non-believer?”

When Was the Last Time You Led Someone to Christ? Click To Tweet
95%of all Christians have NEVER led someone to Christ.

This weekend, we watched some preaching from Greg Laurie. Wow! This guy is fast becoming one of my favorites. He’s such a wonderful Bible Teacher. And always leads people straight to the cross.

Not So Good News

Pastor Greg gave some very disturbing statistics about who is sharing the Gospel. He reported that only 95% of Christians have NEVER led someone to Christ and only 2% have ever shared the Gospel with a non-believer. This is very sad news since we have that only Good News that will fill the emptiness in a non-believers life.

We can give a lot of excuses for not sharing the Gospel. But will God accept your excuse when you stand before Him one day? Allow me to offer three ways to get around your excuses.

The sad truth. 95% of all Christians have never led someone to Christ. Click To Tweet

It’s Too Scary. I Don’t Talk so Good.

I understand. It’s a scary thought to share the gospel. But again, let me quote Pastor Greg. He said we recommend things all the time.

  • The best stores
  • My favorite restaurant
  • You’ve GOT to see this movie
  • Read this book!
  • The best vacation spot
Evangelism is a scary word but it is not that hard. Click To Tweet

So why can’t we recommend the best option for abundant life?

We have the answer folks. We need to be sharing it. 2 Kings 7:3-10 tells of four lepers that were starving and decided to go out to the enemy camp and see if they could find some food. To their amazement, the camp was deserted and food and clothing all left behind. They began to feast on the abundant foods but then realized they needed to share the wealth. They ran back to the city gates and told the people that the enemy camp was empty and the spoils were there for the taking.

Why are we keeping it all to ourselves when we have the best thing since sliced bread. Even better. 🙂

Share the Good News? I Don’t Know Enough

Me Disciple? I Don't Know Enough. Click To Tweet

Simple solution. Learn more. There are many tracts and sources available to teach us how to evangelize. There’s the Roman Road and the A, B, C’s which I have right here on this blog. I have used the Wordless Book in my children’s ministry for a long time. This one uses colors to share the gospel. There is now a colorful soccer ball you can use to share the plan of salvation. One summer I taught our church children to tell the Gospel using the colors. They were all given their own soccer ball at the end of the summer. For all these avenues there are cards with all the pertinent information so that it can easily be shared, such as this one

If you would like more ideas, I recommend heading on over to The Navigators website. They have several ways to lead people to Christ, even one where you only need ONE BIBLE VERSE. You can learn one verse, can’t you? You probably already know it. (Romans 6:23)

Bridges International is another helpful resource for learning how to share the Gospel using the Four Spiritual Laws. This is the process that beings with “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”

I Don’t Know What to Say

Again I say, learn. Start taking your quiet time seriously. Don’t just stop for 5 minutes and read a bible verse. Dig deep into God’s word and see what you learn. He will show you great and mighty things.

Sharing the Gospel? I don't know what to say. Click To Tweet

None of us know everything. If you get stuck when you are sharing the gospel, take them to someone smarter than you. Our son is like a complete Bible commentary. When I have a question, I got to him and he hasn’t failed me yet to give a good answer. Do you have someone in your life that has Bible knowledge? (your pastor, for one) Tap into them, give them a call or take your friend to meet him.

You Can DO it
Photo credit: free image at Canva.com Modified by Mandy

God promises in His word that He will give you the words to say. Just trust Him to do it. If you don’t have the words, He will bring someone along to help you out. He did it for Moses, he’ll do it for you.

I’ll tell you this. Leading someone to Christ is the most amazing thing that will ever happen to you. You will be blessed beyond blessed.

I would love to hear about a time you led someone to Christ. Share your story in the comments to encourage others.

Mandy Farmer
Gaither Vocal Band – Can’t Stop talking About it

How to Drink Your Eight Glasses of Water a Day

Q: Are You Getting Enough Water? Are you Staying Hydrated?

divider

We all know that we’re supposed to drink “8 glasses of water a day”. We’ve been told this forever. But for one reason or another, most of us are guilty of not doing it. We go around dehydrated and don’t even realize it. And our body pays for it, especially the kidneys.

Did you know that some hunger pains are actually signs of thirst?  Studies show that many times people will eat when they are only thirsty. So maybe we should try drinking a glass of water when you get the urge to eat.

Did you know that the main cause of kidney stones is dehydration? Wow! kidney stones are caused by dehydration and poor diet. Check it out on this report.

Furthermore, did you know that dehydration causes a lack of energy, lowers cognitive skills, and may affect your mood? There are ten or more dangers of dehydration. You can read about that right here.

Actually, we may need more than 8 glasses of water.

Your Weight in lbs / 2 Equals number of ounces to drink each day.

There are a lot of factors to figure this, such as where you live and how much exercise you get. My nutritionist said you should take your weight in pounds divide it in half and THAT is how many ounces of water you should drink each day. Oh boy! If you weigh 200 pounds or more, you are gonna be floating away. But then again, it could help you lose weight, get your blood pressure under control, and many other things. I have also been told that the running to the restroom issue will go away once your body acclimates itself to receiving the right amount of water. My experience is that this is true.

eight glasses of water
photo credit free at canva.com: modified by Mandy

Ways to get your 8 glasses of water a day. Click To Tweet

*This page contains affiliate links.

Here are 8 Ways I Get my 8 Glasses

  1. Make Rules. When I first became aware that I was not getting enough fluids, I made rules such as I cannot have anything other than water, each day, until I have had my 8 glasses. Ok. You can have your coffee in the morning. But after that, no tea or coke or whatever, until you have finished off 8 glasses of watHere’s 8 ways I Ger. And DON’T try to gulp it all down in the first hour of the day. Not helpful folks.
  2. Drink 16 oz first thing in the morning. This might be a little difficult at first. Start small and build up to it. As a result, your body will wake up, kick-start your metabolism, and get “things” moving. If you know what I mean.
  3. Do drink a full glass of water before each meal and snack.  They say that this will help curb your appetite. As I said before, thirst is often disguised as hunger pangs. It will also, fill you up a bit so that you don’t eat as much.
  4. Keep a glass of ice water on your desk, on your bed stand, and in your car. This way, you can sip on water throughout the day. Before you know it, you will have your goal accomplished. Get yourself a Bubba Cup. The steel ones will keep your water cold for 12 hours or more. Ours, keeps water cool all night long. It even still has ice in it! I fill this cup before I go to bed and sip on it whenever I am aroused. In the morning, I pretty much have 16-20 oz finished off.
  5. Be sure to drink a full glass of water when taking medications. I can take an aspirin at a drinking fountain with one sip but use the opportunity to get in a full glass. If you are taking an RX, you should be doing this anyway.
  6. Get a Water Purifier. We don’t all live out in the country with a nice deep well with cool, fresh water in it. And some tap water can taste pretty nasty. We use a filter from Pur. Awesome little attachment that goes right on the faucet.
  7. Additionally, Improve the Taste with Infused Water. Purchase flavored or seltzer water. However, be sure that you don’t select drinks that have sugar added.  Or, you could make your own flavored water. … Draw a pitcher of water each night before bed. Add a few pieces of fruit, vegetables, herbs, and VOILA! In the morning, tasty water. I have enjoyed one with cucumbers and mint. An added advantage here would be that when the pitcher is empty, you know you’ve met your goal! Michele shared about making Kefir Water here.
  8. Finally, Eat More Fruits and Vegetables. They are made up of 20% water, which equals more fluids!

So, there you have it. 8 ways to help get your 8 glasses of water each day. Go do the math and see how much you really need and start doing these things today. Soon, you will find your blood pressure dropping, your bowels moving better, and you will have so much more energy. You might even lose a little weight.

How do you keep hydrated? Let us know in the comments.

Mandy Farmer




How to Find Hope in the Hard Places

hard places book
image provided for Sarah Beckman

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not being paid to write this or being told what to say.

There’s nothing like reading a book that you wish you had earlier but then realizing the Lord directed you to survive in the very way the author has suggested. That’s what I found in Sarah Beckman’s book, Hope for the Hard Places. That is exactly what happened to me.

Our family has had our share of hard places: chronic pain, job loss, bankruptcy, grief, You name it. Sarah offers some definite steps in how to handle a crisis. And everyone, one time or another, will need this guide.

If you are in a hard place, this book is for you. It’s a beautiful guide to making it through the worst of times whether it is from grief or sickness or any other trial. If you need encouragement, go ahead and read the last chapter.
Then start from the beginning and read IT through. This book is filled with practical advice along with the spiritual. Trust me you will be glad you picked this one up.

Everyone will need this guidebook sooner or later. Buy it today, get bonuses. #hopeforthehardplaces #pastors #grief #cancer #chronicillness Click To Tweet

Sarah will tell you how to place the right people around you and what you need to have at your access. She will offer you great ways to get what you most desperately need in your own time of crisis. This book will help you deal with words that hurt and friends that disappear. Sarah will also help you look inward to change impossible expectations and how to give yourself grace when you fail to rise to your own expectations for yourself.

hard times without missteps

Most importantly, she talks about your own soul-care for this, to me, is the most important thing you can do in a crisis because as the scriptures say,  “For what profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul” (Matthew 16:26) I’ll let you get the whole explanation by reading the book yourself but here are the steps in a nutshell.

5 Steps of Soul-care during a Crisis

  • Listen to God – Ask “Why me?” but also “What now?”
  • Be Honest with Trusted Friends – tell them what you need
  • Trust God without any Expectations – He sees you & knows what you need
  • Choose Joy – A positive outlook makes all the difference
  • Spend Regular time in God’s Word – Cindy Barnes recently wrote this about regular time with God here on the blog.

Get bonus products by ordering today ~ LAUNCH DAY, March 5th

Hope for the Hard Places

There is so, so much more in this wonderful guide for the hard places. Please go get your own copy to read and keep on your shelf. Trust me. You or someone near you will need it soon.

The Perfect Guide for When you are in Hard Places. #grief #cancer #chronic illness Click To Tweet

And Hold on to Jesus, He’s got this.

Mandy Farmer

P.S. Free Resource – How Can I Help

I wrote about how How you can Help Others when they are in crisis. There is a free resource there.


You may also like Sarah’s book, Alongside which guides you to come alongside a friend who is in crisis.


Celebrating the Bride-To-Be

Sooner or later you will find yourself hosting a bridal shower.  For some, this is nerve-racking and others it is right up their alley.  Celebrating the bride-to-be is a time-honored tradition and held in high esteem.  The key to a successful shower is to plan and host within your budget and abilities.  You do not need to be a “Martha Stewart”, just be you.  And YOU can find lots of help if you just ask and seek.

Photo Credit jill 111

Here comes the bride

I have had the pleasure of helping plan, serve at, and to host a few bridal showers.  I personally love to plan, organize and execute.  However I recognize for some this is not “their jam”, so I just want to assure you there is loads of help out there.  You can either choose to take on this honor and plan it yourself, phone a friend and explain your desperation, or you can hire a local event planner.  For the purpose of this article, you are going to grab the bull by the horns, so… “Let’s Do This!” Continue reading

What's Love Gogt

What’s Love Got To Do With it?

love in the world

Where is love? What is Love?

If you look around our world, watch the news, or even scroll through Facebook you will see that our world seems to be all upside-down. People seem to have completely lost sight of the things of God. Or worse, they have defied Him and blatantly speak evil as if to dare God to do something about it. At times, my heart becomes fearful at what God will do. It may not be here on earth but one day there will be a judgment for all who have not bowed down to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

But isn’t God a God of Love?

You might ask about this loving God and think, “If he loves us all, surely He wouldn’t send us to hell and the burning lake of fire. He would love us too much to do that, right?” Well, do you ever punish your children because you love them. Do you warn them and warn them until finally you have to say, “Ok, you’ll have to learn this one the hard way.”

I recently heard Greg Laurie explain it this way. God loves us so much that He gives us a choice. He doesn’t force himself on us. If we want to choose Him, we can live with Him forever in heaven. However, if we wish to get as far away from God as possible here on earth, then he will give us our desire in eternity and allow us to be with Satan and His demons in Hell.

An Upside-Down Kind of Love

In essence, the problem is that we have become completely mixed up about the love of God. We use the word love in so many ways that it has lost it’s meaning completely. We love ice cream and we love God in the same breath. How is that possible and what does it really mean to love?

Let me share a few words from R.C. Sproul’s book, The Love of God.

In secular usage, love is also more passive than active. Love is something that happens to us, something over which we have no control. We speak about “falling in love.” We equate falling with an accidental action, not with a decision. We fall when we slip or are pushed or otherwise knocked over. The old ballad declared, “I didn’t slip, I wasn’t pushed, I fell … in love.” Another old standard celebrated the passive power of love with the words “Zing went the strings of my heart.” Our heartstrings do not go “zing” because of a conscious decision of the mind to engage in a certain action. This view of love portrays it as a romantic power that creates flutters in the heart, trembling in the knees, and flip-flops in the stomach.
On the other hand, the biblical view stresses the active side of love. For example, we are commanded to love not only our neighbor but even our enemy. How does one fall in love with an enemy? To love one’s enemy presupposes that enmity is real. We really do have enemies, and we usually do not like them very much. But the command is not to like our enemies; it is to love them. But how do we love someone we don’t like?
Sometimes lovers declare that they do not only love each other but like each other as well. The cultural view of love suggests that it is possible to love without liking. That may be true if love is used as a synonym for a sexual or chemical attraction. But it makes no sense if love is defined in terms of personal affection. In that sense, love goes beyond and builds on liking.
To love our enemies means primarily that we behave in a loving way toward them. We treat them with the same kindness and integrity that we treat our friends. Herein is the active aspect of love. It is action that is commanded by God, not a feeling.

The Definition of Love

The fact is, there are many different definitions of love. Even in the original Greek, The Bible uses several completely different words for “love”. Here are four of them I retrieved from Precept Ministries International

  1. Φιλἐω (Phileō) – This is brotherly love. The love you have for a friend.
  2. Ἀγάπη or Ἀγαπάω (Agapē or Agapaō) – Unconditional love. Love that keeps on loving even when love is not returned or when a person is unworthy of love, or unlovable.
  3. Στοργή (Storgē) – based on chemistry. It is a quiet, abiding feeling within a man that rests on something close to him and that he feels good about
  4. Εροσ (Eros) – erotic love. Love based on self-satisfaction.
Defining Love Click To Tweet

Discussion on Love

I recently came into a discussion about loving others, even the unworthy, unlovable or our enemies. I have been studying to find true answers and I hope that soon I will continue this discussion about the Love of God,  loving others, and loving ourselves. In the meantime, check out my post on How Jesus loved the lost.

Be blessed in His love and let it flow through you to everyone with whom you come into contact.

Mandy Farmer
What's Love Got to DO With It? Click To Tweet

Never Despise Small Beginnings

Have you Chosen your One Word for 2019?

So, everyone is talking resolutions or #ONEWORD365 so I may as well join in the “fun”. Honestly, it’s getting a bit frustrating to meet any kind of goal these days. I’m coming up on 8 years of chronic pain. As you may have noticed just by looking at my one words I started out with a good attitude but to tell the truth, I’m getting frustrated about it all.

Before Chronic Pain, I tried to set goals that never seemed to accomplish much. Then I learned about ONEWORD365. This challenge is where you choose a word that you apply to your life throughout the year. Whenever you have a decision to make or an issue to deal with, you apply the word and let it make you a better person. I liked the idea so decided to try it out. Continue reading

comfort able

Does God Comfort Us to Make us Comfortable?

Comfort

Spiritually, when we think of comfort, we probably think of consoling someone in their grief or loss. And this would be something that we naturally do. We also think of how God comforts us through our sorrows. But let’s think for a moment about how much comfort we should expect to receive. As Christians, should we be “comfortable” all the time?

In today’s society, we are told that we all should be able to live in the lap of luxury, be comfortable. If we are living right then God will bless us. But I wonder how much this is what God really wants for us. I’m thinking that when we are comfortable we tend to forget God. So maybe we need to just be more content wherever we are in life.

God’s Word says

“In this world, you will have trouble.” John 16

And in James …

2 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1
If we are always comfortable, we usually tend to stay put and not really grow. It’s like the birds with their babies. The nest is made soft and comfortable when the baby birds are born, but when it is time for them to leave the nest, the mother will stir things up, make it uneasy so that the baby bird will decide they want to leave. In doing so they learn to fly, learn to hunt for their own food and fend for themselves.

In her book, Unashamed, Christine Caine says that

God gives us comfort to make us comfort-able, not necessarily comfortable.

So What Do You Think?

How is it for us?

  • Do we want to stay in the nest, nice and cozy?
  • Do we complain when things get uncomfortable in our life and ask God, “Why is this happening?” and beg Him to remove us from the trial?
  • Maybe it’s time for us to grow up and learn from the trials and then pass the blessing on to others.

 

What do you think? Share your comments below.

 

Mandy Farmer

Christ in Christmas

How to Keep Christ in Christmas

Luke 10:41-42 The Message (MSG)
41-42 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

How Do We Keep Christ in Christmas?

In our anticipation of Christmas, we often become stressed and over-worked planning and preparing for this most blessed holiday. Somehow, in the mix, we end up forgetting what it’s all about. I want to do whatever it takes to find Christ in Christmas so that others will see Him too.

Here are a few ideas I have that will help us throw out the unnecessary and help keep the focus on Christ this year.

First of all, Limit the Decorations

SImple Christmas

We’ve found that we can get in the spirit with very little decor. We’ve limited our decorations to a small tree, a wreath on the door, and one special seasonal spot in the living room (the mantel if you have one.) We have a little cubby in the entertainment center which used to hold a TV. My hubby installed a mirror in the back of it and this is now our one place to put some seasonal decorations.) We have little or no cost and little or no headaches getting it done! Make you decorations things that will remind you of Christ such as a nativity scene.

 

How about a family tradition decorating the tree. Try this idea :

For every ornament placed on the tree be able to relate it to Christ somehow or a prayer for a person or nation.

Secondly, Limit the Activities

Choose Christmas activities that include the whole family and that keep Christ in Christmas. Attend a religious Christmas concert or presentation. Participate in selfless projects where you are showing Christ to others. Such as serving at the homeless shelter or even caroling. My family went caroling to friends and neighbors every Christmas Eve and delivered Cinnamon rolls. What fond memories I have of this annual event.

We had a family friend who limited attending Christmas parties to ONE for the season! Some activities are unavoidable, such as school concerts or workplace events, but think of the time and money saved if you stop attending every party for which you receive an invitation. Give your regrets and move on.  This will give you so much more family time and reduce all that rushing around trying to get places.

In Contrast, Add Family Advent Devotions

When I was growing up, we always took time for advent devotions. We added a piece of the nativity each night through Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, We read the final devotion and placed baby Jesus in the creche BEFORE passing out gifts. This is still a vivid memory for me. I do my best to read advent devotions with our family every year.

Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift {affiliate link} is a wonderful book fo advent using the Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree teaches us how God had a plan from the very beginning of time. You will read about the people in Jesus’ ancestry beginning with Adam and Eve. The theme uses the scripture from Isaiah 11 “Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot.”

Ann gives the scriptures and beautifully tells the story with family discussion questions and an activity for the day. If you do these activities, Christ will certainly be kept in Christmas.

Join us as we  Keep Christ in Christmas!