Deb and I (and the whole family) will be coming to Washington between April 30th and May 22nd.
We want to watch the movie with you, hear your reactions, give a personal update on our ministry, and invite more people to join in on what God is doing.
We’ll be at Regal Cinemas at the Columbia Mall in Kennewick, WA to view the film on both May 1st and 3rd. Next month we’ll send out details about hosting a dinner gathering before the movie.
Do you remember the first time you held a baby? So small and fragile, so cute and cuddly. And if it was your own child perhaps you tried to soak up the moment so that it would be seared in your memory. You tried to imagine what they would be like as they grew from the babe you are now holding into a toddler, then the elementary years, then the teen years, and finally a young adult.
As Deb and I have seen our girls become young ladies we can confirm that indeed, “the days are long, but the years are short”. Anna will turn 18 in just six short months from now.
With that in mind, FamilyLife is launching the biggest content launch in our 42 year history. FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting™ is a video curriculum that can be done individually or as a couple online, or with others in a small group format and it launches on May 1st. And the first step of the launch is FamilyLife’s first full-length feature film, Like Arrows. (I’ll share more about Art of Parenting in a future post.)
Like Arrows will be available in theaters only on May 1st and 3rd. The movie tells the story of one couple’s raw parenting journey from before marriage all the way through their 50th anniversary.
It’s being shown in 900+ theaters across the country, so there’s probably one near you. But based on preliminary response, we expect many theaters to sell out. So invite another couple to join you and get your tickets today.
After previewing the movie, one father commented, “I thought I was doing a pretty good job as a father, but I realize now that it’s not enough just to have peace in the house. I need to start thinking bigger. This movie has inspired me to get more involved with my kids. They grow up too fast.”
They grow up fast indeed, and that’s why we are so thankful for your partnership that allows us to be part of this important launch.
Together we’re transforming generations!
Sometimes at FamilyLife we receive requests for help and in our flesh we’ll wonder, “Is there really hope for this marriage?” Consider one wife who contacted FamilyLife with this email:
"I am unsure if you can help with this question but my husband and I have been married for just over a year and have some very serious issues. These issues showed up before marriage but, of course, have only seemed to get worse.
I grew up in a verbally and physically abusive household and so did he. I can be very harsh with my tongue and say things that my husband doesn't like by saying he doesn't make enough money or cursing at him.
He tells me to stop it and if I don't he becomes very aggressive and will block me leaving the room, push me, spit in my face, grab me by the hair, and start calling me names and telling me how I need to respect him.
I am definitely not innocent and am trying to work on taming my tongue but am very concerned about my husband being physically aggressive as he seems to not be able to control himself in these moments. I am also concerned as we have an infant son who I am scared will learn that this is normal behavior. Any advice on what we should do to resolve these issues would be greatly appreciated."
It would easy to simply shrug our shoulders, shake our heads, and give a trite answer like, “We’ll be praying for you”, but in our hearts not really believing anything will change.
But praise be to God who is still in the business of changing hearts and rescuing souls! He is still “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” (Eph 3:20, ESV)
One of FamilyLife’s ministry advisors responded to the wife who wrote in. And although we don’t yet know the rest of her story, we do know that God has transformed marriages like hers in the past, and by faith we know He is able to do it again.
Recently on FamilyLife’s Facebook page, a question was posed: What one word would you use to complete the phrase, “Parenting is…”? We received hundreds of responses. Some of those included: challenging, crazy, heart breaking, rewarding, adventurous, fulfilling, hard, sanctifying, fun,…etc. etc.
How would you answer that question...either from experience or observation?
The point is that for many of us the parenting journey is many things at different stages of the journey. The waiting and expectation of your first child may have been filled with excitement and anticipation. Or perhaps you were filled with worry and doubt. The toddler, elementary, adolescent, and teen years only bring more adventures and questions.
There are joyous times full of laughter at the things our kids say and do. And at other times there are moments of frustration, fear, and bewilderment as we wonder, “why is our kid doing/saying those things?”
For the last 2 months I’ve had the opportunity to travel all around the country meeting couples, with kids at different ages, as they previewed FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting™ resource (due to be released next May). And in each city, I met couples who were grateful for the wisdom and teaching found in the series.
One father astutely observed that in each of the teaching sessions, the speakers who were younger described the ideals they hoped to be teaching their kids, while the older couples were describing the mistakes they had made in their parenting. Depending on where you are in your parenting journey, you may feel full of hope or full of regrets. Our goal with this series is not to heap condemnation on parents, but instead to give parents practical help, a jolt of hope, and new vision for parenting their kids in light of eternity. We want you to know that it’s never too late to start making the right decisions in your parenting; God is able to redeem the time the enemy has stolen.
Remember Galatians 6:9 - “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Now that’s parenting. Don’t give up, keep doing good, because you will reap a harvest!
She's a mother and grandmother that Anna and Danielle met on their Haiti trip. Her daughter and grandkids live with her.
The team was able to plant some trees at her home. To talk and laugh with her. To be with her.
Meet Gloria (girl in pink):
She's about 11 years old. Danielle met her and her friends as they were playing by the small pool of water near their home. It's the same water where they bathe and wash their clothes.
The team played with these girls and other kids in the neighborhood. They laughed, They hugged. They were with them.
Mission of Hope:
And this is the church that the team was serving while in Haiti. Everything they did was in service to the organization/church that would be there long after they were gone.
So what's the full impact of our girls traveling to Haiti for a week? We may never know. We do know that they went to be the hands and feet of Jesus. They planted trees that would provide shade for the Haitian kids for years to come. They painted homes to breathe fresh life into their humble homes. And they went and were with them. Jesus called us to "…go into all the world…".
So now what?
And one mission trip at a time our girls are starting to catch the vision for what that Great Commission is calling all believers to. I can see their eyes being opened to a world beyond what the typical American teenager experiences; school, music, tv, movies, Netflix, social media.
They are getting to see other cultures. Cultures that Jesus gave his life for. They are getting to see that the Church of Christ is spread out beyond the walls of the building we attend on the weekends. There are believers all over the world lifting up the name of Jesus and proclaiming his good news to those around them.
And little by little, I can see that they are becoming more and more aware of how God is weaving their story into His Story. I pray that they will always know their purpose and place because they know Him.
One of our favorite aspects about being on staff with Cru is the biennial All Staff Conferences held in Ft. Collins every other year.
This year the them was "With…"; as in "with the Lord", "with each other", "with our partners", "with you".
We don't do ministry alone. We work with other staff members who are with us on the same mission. And all of us couldn't do what we do without our generous partners who give to enable the work and your prayers which prepare the way for us in the spiritual realm.
The main takeaway I took from this year's speakers and messages is that the mission to spread the gospel is more important now than ever. And as an organization we must do everything we can to make sure there are no obstacles to us accomplishing that mission.
Now more than ever we must be like Paul and “become all things to all people, that by all means [we] might save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22) Jesus is coming soon!
We are so blessed to be in ministry with a team of partners who give and pray so that others may be introduced to Jesus.
See more pics of Cru17 taken by Cru staff on this flickr page.