Advent: How To Celebrate the Season


Advent is just around the corner (it starts on November 29), and what better way is there to get our minds off of ourselves (or Covid or politics or …)  than by cozying in with God as we prepare for the arrival of Jesus as Messiah?

Journey with Us

We would like to invite you to journey with us through Advent. This has been a challenging year, and I think all of us could use some time to seek God and prepare our hearts for the holiday season. Mary and I will be leading a group of fellow adventurers on our Advent-urous: Seeking Jesus this Season Facebook group. Simply click on the link to check out the group and join. We’d love to have you. 

We will be using our Advent-urous Kindle devotional book that is available on Amazon. (It happens to be free if you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited.) This is a light time requirement. We have one reading/theme per week (5 weeks total) with suggested activities to explore the theme as little or as much as you’d like over the next seven days.


Many of our activities are simple and don’t require lots of preparation or resources.

  • For example, for the first Sunday, one of our activities is to try a new prayer posture.
  • Another is to pray by candlelight.
  • There are a few others that take a bit more preparation, but we tried to do a nice mix between the two.
  • If you wish, you can then share your thoughts and activities on our Facebook group page as you journey through the week.
  • For 2020, we’ve updated the book with a poem and a Christmas Eve Liturgy read aloud that you can add to your Christmas celebration with your family and friends if you’d like.

We hope to see you in our Advent-urous Facebook group. Just let us know in the comment section if you have any questions.

Advent Podcast

We wanted to share another resource with you. Several years ago, we recorded an Advent podcast. We hope it also helps prepare you for the season as we delve more deeply into the Christmas story.

Happy Advent!

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Reflections #22: The Faith of Miracles

Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’ Mark 2:3-5

The healing of the paralytic man is an incredible story. Jesus is in Capernaum, where so many healings happened. Not coincidentally, the people in this region had a strong faith. That realization made me stop and ask myself this question:

What is God wanting to do in my life, but He is waiting on my faith to grow up and catch up?

Perhaps you’ve wondered this same thing. Finish listening to this 5-minute meditation by clicking on the arrow below, or subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. If you like it, we’d appreciate if you’d leave us a review.

Thanks for listening. May your soul’s meditation be fuel for Spirit-led actions today!









Follow Along Advent Reading, Day 3

The Painted Advent devotional for today is named Heaven’s Loss.

This title made me consider something I’ve never thought of before—how hard it must have been for the angels to watch Jesus go. Jesus coming into the world is a startling event, a heavenly invasion. We could not come to God, so He sent His Son to us.

A Polarizing Event

His birth was also a polarizing event. The night He was born, the only place Joseph could find for the birth was a stable. While the shepherds, three wise men, and possibly Herod recognized Him for who he was, most did not. By worldly standards, He was born into a dubious situation. The village where Mary and Joseph lived believed Jesus to be born out of wedlock, a calamity for sure.

Yet the Bible is clear about Him. John 1:4 tells us “In Him was life and the life was the light of men.” From the very beginning, evil tried to snuff out that life, that light.

New Life

The wonder of it all is that when we invite Jesus into our own lives, He suffuses our very being with new life, His life in the form of the Holy Spirit who leads us and lights our way. When we align our will with His, our life takes on an earthly and heavenly significance  and purpose we would never be able to match on our own.

Heaven’s temporary loss was our eternal gain!

How has Jesus been “your gain”?






Reflections #5: At His Feet


Thank you for joining us for Reflections, short meditations on scripture intersecting life.

Show Notes

In today’s Reflections we are meditating on Luke 10:38-39:

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. 

As I read through the Bible, I see that Mary was not the only one who ended up at the Lord’s feet. Many others did too. And it was usually for one of two reasons:

  1. They were desperate for healing.
  2. They has just received their healing from Jesus.

What is it about being at the feet of Jesus that is so powerful? Let’s consider that question today on Reflections.

To listen to this short 5-minute podcast, just click on the arrow below. Or subscribe to us on iTunes. We’d love it if you’d leave us a review too.

Be sure to grab your journal and record your own meditations after listening to and praying through the reflection.

May your soul’s meditation be fuel for Spirit-led actions today!


Living by the Numbers God’s Way

LivingAny social media guru will tell you that when it comes to promoting yourself, it’s all about the numbers. Whether Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest is where you interact, the higher the number the better.

And lets not kid ourselves: it’s not only tweens and teens who are concerned about their followers. I know that once I post, I’m constantly checking back to see how many people are liking, loving, tweeting, or sharing it. I have even been known to let the activity, or lack thereof, on my accounts affect my attitude.

The numbers game is no new phenomenon. Oh, no. It’s been around for a long time; it’s just that now the results are so … visible. Everyone can see at a glance how you’re doing.

Well, you may be surprised to know that numbers are important to God too, but not in the way they are to us. He has a whole different take on numbers, one that we should pay attention to.

Living By the Numbers God’s Way

  • 10,000 x 10,000: “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand,” Revelation 5:11. When you do the math on 10,000 x 10,000, that adds up to 100 million angels circling the throne of God and singing praise to Jesus. But, it doesn’t stop there. It goes beyond viral to every creature in heaven and on earth and under the sea (v. 13).  I can’t imagine a more glorious spectacle than this one.
  • 7,000: “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him,” 1 Kings 19:18. In this verse, God is encouraging his worn-out prophet Elijah that he is not the only one left who is still serving the Lord. And so should we take courage when we feel overwhelmed and washed out in our ministries. God always leaves a remnant.
  • 5000: Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children,” Matthew 14:19-21. In this beautiful story, Jesus miraculously multiplies a little boy’s lunch to feed 5ooo+ hungry people. When we give him what we have to use, he’ll do the same for us.
  • 1000: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked,” Psalm 84:10. There is no better place to be than in the presence of our Lord. Life lived with Him is as rich as it gets.
  • 300: “So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others,” Judges 7:8. Gideon started out with 32,000 warriors to go to battle against the camp of Midian, who were “as thick as locusts,” but God told Gideon to take only 300 men, because He wanted to show it was with the Lord’s might that they would be defeated, not man’s. When I feel discouraged at the overwhelming odds facing me, I need only remember that if God is on my side, the odds don’t matter.
  • 40: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting for 4o days and 40 nights, he was hungry,” Matthew 4:1-2. The number 4o is used often in the Bible, many times having to do with times of trials. One of the things that I glean from these circumstances is that God is always faithful and gives strength and wisdom to the ones going through difficulties.
  • 10: In Exodus 20:1-17 God first gives the 10 Commandments to the Israelites to follow. so that they  will remain in good standing with the Lord. Today the law has been superseded by grace with Jesus’ death on the cross, but the 10 Commandments still remain guidelines for us to live by.
  • 3: “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again,” Mark 8:31. What must have been happening spiritually during those three days is awesome to contemplate, for Acts 2:24 tells us that God raised Jesus from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was “impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.” What is also incredible is that God makes that same Resurrection power available for us in ministry, as Ephesians 1:18-21 tells us! These three days make all the difference between Christianity and any other religion.
  • 1: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time,” 1 Timothy 2:5-6. Our eternity is determined by only One, Jesus, and what we believe about Him. Have you given your life to Him? It’s as simple as confessing your sin, accepting that Jesus took the penalty for your sin, and asking Him to take control of your life. He’ll change your life in ways you never dreamed possible.

God Trumps the Numbers

My takeaway from our brief biblical tour through some important numbers in the Bible is that God is not limited by numbers. From viral proportions down to one, God knows each need and will work in any and every situation that we ask Him to. When we are apt to obsess about our social media standing, let’s do the following:

Instead of counting followers, let’s follow.

Instead of tweeting, let’s sing his praises

Instead of updating your wall, lets break some down in the name of Jesus.

Action Steps

  1. Discouraged by a small number of people signed up for your event or Bible study? Go with it. Someone needs to hear your message, and God will multiply it to others.
  2. Overwhelmed by a larger-than-expected turnout? Ask God to bless your 5 loaves and 2 fish.
  3. Remember, though, that the most important number is One, Jesus, and your relationship to Him. If you’ve made a decision to follow Him today, leave us a comment or contact us and let us know. We are praying for you!


i pray: new life


i pray

short podcasts to bring the sacred into your everyday

Do you only have a few minutes for prayer today? You’re in the right place! Try one of our new i pray podcasts. A few minutes is all you need to pray God’s word into any situation by interceding for friends, family, and yourself. 

Show Notes

Today we are praying about new life. Jesus is the only one, the only Savior who beat death and rose again. He is the difference. When we accept His sacrifice on the cross, taking the penalty of our sins upon Himself, then we also get to experience eternal life! When we die, we have the assurance that we will be with Him in heaven.

Abundant Life Today

But this promise is also for abundant life right now. God wants to do something new in us and through us. Today let’s pray through Isaiah 43:18-19 for this new thing to spring up within us. Feel free to add your prayers or ask for prayer in the comment section.

Pray on!

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