February 2016 Posts

Ultimate Easter Giveaway!

Easter is one of our favorite holidays, and our Kid Talk Tuesday team is excited to present to you our ultimate Easter giveaway! Share the meaning behind Easter through these fun books and stickers!
Enter now for a chance to win all these great prizes!


Easter Giveaway



The Arc 12: The Lifegiving Home with Sally Clarkson

In this episode of The Arc podcast, Joy talks with Sally Clarkson about her new book The Lifegiving Home.


More about The Lifegiving Home:

How to make home your family’s favorite place to be . . . all year long.
Does your home sometimes feel like just a place to eat, sleep, and change clothes on the way to the next activity? Do you long for “home” to mean more than a place where you stash your stuff? Wouldn’t you love it to become a haven of warmth, rest, and joy . . . the one place where you and your family can’t wait to be?
There is good news waiting for you in the pages of The Lifegiving Home. Every day of your family’s life can be as special and important to you as it already is to God. In this unique book designed to help your family enjoy and celebrate every month of the year together, you’ll discover the secrets of a life-giving home from a mother who created one and her daughter who was raised…


Listen here:

How to Make Your Church a Place Where Millennials Stay

Within the last several decades, the world has shifted dramatically. The cracks of this fundamental shift appear everywhere: in our economy, in our cultural debates, in our political landscape, and, most important, in our churches. The problem is we tend to overreact to these changes, fearing that Christianity is dying. We need better Generational IQ, so we can respond to the changes but not be terrified by them.

Watch this video to learn how to make your church a place where millennials stay.

Discussion Questions
1. Are the Millennials who grew up in your church staying once they get out of high school or college?

2. Which of the five recommendations will you implement first?

3. Specifically what will you do first to move forward with your selected recommendation?

Watch more videos and download discussion questions to learn more.


ShawHaydn Shaw is a leading expert on understanding generational differences and transforming negative work environments and employees. He is a full-time speaker and consultant for FranklinCovey specializing in leadership, execution, and personal productivity methodologies. Before that, he was a minister for nine years and has a seminary degree.

Haydn has worked with more than 1,000 businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and governmental agencies. He speaks and consults in excess of 170 days each year for clients who consistently invite him back. Recently hailed as a “leadership guru” by the Washington Post, Haydn Shaw has delivered hundreds of convention keynote or intimate off-site addresses. Known for taking groups from hilarity to deep reflection, he combines rich content with modern teaching methods. Having worked with hundreds of organizations, Haydn employs practical and inspiring examples from the boardroom and from the front line of business.

Haydn Shaw travels from Chicago, where he lives in a multigenerational household with his family.

Your New Money Mindset: How to Create a Healthy Relationship with Money

MoneyI get more than a little crazy when I hear the word sale! The moment I think I’m getting a great deal, I lose all common sense — I’ll buy just about anything marked 50 percent off.

At my first job I discovered that wearing a coat and tie was obligatory for just about every male with a desk job. I decided that I needed more than the one suit my parents had bought for me. One of my coworkers told me about a discount store nearby. It sounded like the perfect place for me! At the store I spotted exactly what I was looking for: the sale rack. Nothing hanging there was even mildly eye-catching. Nothing was my size. But when something is marked down, those issues are mere details. I picked an ugly brown pattern that was the best of the worst. I honestly didn’t think it looked too bad. I should have known otherwise when the salesperson tried to talk me out of it.

I didn’t wear that suit for long. My parents saw it and were horrified—so aghast that they bought me another suit and threw in a sport coat. Given their frugal streak—which I inherited—you can guess how bad I must have looked. (I would like to say I learned my lesson, but as I write, I’m wearing a pair of shoes I also purchased on sale. I’m confident they’ll feel comfortable when they eventually stretch out.)

Is wanting more bad?

At the most basic level, there is nothing wrong with wanting more. Jesus himself says, “I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). The quest for abundance—for ourselves and others—is a healthy human instinct. Longing for a better life, to improve ourselves and our family’s circumstances, and to leave the world better than we found it are all parts of how God made us.

But yet, that natural desire to have a better life is overtaken by the loud voice of our culture telling us “more is better.” There is always a new iPhone or iPad or iSomething coming out. When everyone else is sprinting in a full-out race to have more, it’s tough to stand on the sidelines. And it’s tough to know what a healthy desire for abundance is, versus an unhealthy belief that “more” makes you happy.

It’s that struggle that led me to collaborate with a colleague to write a book about how to have a healthy relationship with money. There are three reasons we think this journey is incredibly important.

Why Having a Healthy Relationship with Money Matters

First, Jesus makes money a crucial topic. It’s impossible to miss in Scripture how often he talks about our unhealthy relationship with money, and how easily we make money an idol that usurps the place of more important things. Jesus aims to lead us to life, and we can think of nothing better than that.

Second, this journey will change you. However you would describe your feelings about money—unease, tension, bondage, discouragement, dissatisfaction, even boredom—we want to help you break free from the debilitating effects of consumerism.

Third, the transformation you experience will change the world. We believe that if people—especially Christians—could have a healthier relationship with money, it would change the world. We envision a world of human flourishing where both a financial sense of well-being and joyful generosity prevail. We believe change can happen better, faster, and further than any of us think possible. We truly believe that people can be free from the slavery of a consumer culture by having a right relationship with money as taught by Jesus and other voices of Scripture, and as a result they will live openheartedly with their time, energy and money.

Taking the First Steps

Imagine a life where you control your money instead of your money controlling you. Don’t believe your money is in control? Do you find yourself wrestling with credit card debt you can’t pay off, or a car you can’t afford, or a house worth less than you owe on it? Do you find the “happiness” of buying something online becoming more and more of a habit? Here are some steps you can take to start considering how to have a healthier relationship with money and find a more openhearted way of living.


First, take a look at your current relationship with money. You can use an online assessment tool like the New Money Mindset Assessment tool. You’ll get four scores; each score measures one aspect of your relationship with money. Or simply take some time to look at your habits and think about the role of money in your life.


Next, try adding more “good stuff” to your life. By that I don’t mean another round of spending! I’m talking about leading with generosity grounded in grace. Instead of putting all your energy into cutting, focus on giving. If you’re stingy, like I am, try tipping a little extra for services, or buying the nicer present that you normally wouldn’t. And it doesn’t have to be financial. Send a thank you email to one person each day, every day for a week; pay someone an unexpected compliment; spend more time listening to someone. Or sign up for a volunteer shift . When you choose to live generously, you break your own persistent desire for more.

Shrink the Change

Another approach is what the Heath brothers (Chip and Dan Heath, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard) call “Shrink the Change.” Take housecleaning, for example. If you tell yourself you have to clean the whole house, the Heath brothers suggest you might never get started. But if you clean for ten minutes and then stop, they would say that’s a success, just to get started. Try applying that concept to money. If saving 10% more each month feels out of reach, start with one percent more than you save right now. Aim to increase by one-percent every three to six months until you reach your goal. By making the goal easily attainable, you can get yourself started.

This post was originally featured on Living Well, Spending Less.


Buy Your New Money Mindset: How to Create a Healthy Relationship with Money at Tyndale.com.

Download the New Money Mindset Study Guide to facilitate discussion with a small group or class.

Find Teaching Series Materials Tools for a four-week series to work through the book for teaching a class or content to develop a sermon series.

About the Authors

HewittBrad Hewitt is a CEO with a unique perspective. Since 2010, Brad has served as president and CEO of Thrivent Financial, a not-for-profit Fortune 500 organization. In this role, he has made it his work to help Americans rediscover a healthy relationship with money. At the heart of this relationship is the idea that being wise with money and generosity go hand in hand. He and his wife, Sue, have two adult children and live in Minnesota.


MolineJames Moline, Ph.D., believes that developing the opportunity for generosity to build God’s kingdom on earth stands as a central issue of our times. As a licensed psychologist, confidant and advisor, Jim has built a 30-year career consulting with global companies about providing senior leadership excellence, managing across borders, and transforming their organizations in an era of rapid change and uncertainty. As a former tenured professor, Jim is passionate about influencing lifelong learning in the communities he serves. He and his family live in Minnesota.

Where More Loving Relationships Begin

Smalley MemeBut the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22-23

Anyone who gets married, soon becomes very aware of his or her spouse’s problematic attitudes and behaviors — and thinks their input, directly or subtly, can fix their spouse.

Believe me, I’ve tried with all my might to let my husband, Greg, know that he should stop watching as much television, or work a little less or put his dishes in the dishwasher. I’ve often done this covertly. But when subtle input didn’t work, I would get frustrated and feel like giving up. In my heart, I knew I couldn’t change him.

I used to say things like, “I can’t change Greg. He’s going to do what he’s going to do.” But then the Lord would say ever so gently to me, “No, you can’t change him, but I can. And I can also change you.” Ouch.

Honestly, it was much easier, more fun and self-justifying to talk about what my husband was or wasn’t doing in our relationship. That definitely kept the focus off me. But ultimately it kept me from growing as a person. It kept me from having to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Many of the things I disliked about Greg reflected things I disliked about myself. But I couldn’t see my flaws until I stopped looking at my husband and started looking at myself. Learning to focus on the ways God wants to change me has been an ongoing process.

That’s really the bottom line: A more loving relationship with our spouses (or with other family members and friends, for that matter) begins with us. It begins with the realization that we cannot change anyone — including our husbands.

LoveEach of us can, however, take a penetrating look at ourselves and ask, “How can I become the best wife I can be? How can I approach my relationship with my husband differently? What can I do to nurture a more vibrant, loving relationship with him?”

Once we’ve embraced the truth that a more loving relationship with our spouses begins with us, we may find that our hearts aren’t all that thrilled about taking the first steps toward change.


In fact, the condition of our hearts is often the first change that needs to take place.

Change, like love, is a matter of the will. But it also involves the heart. And heart-level change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time.

Disillusionment and broken dreams may have caused many of us to wrap our hearts in thick, self-protective layers of armor, closing them off from our husbands for years. Hurt and resentment may have grown deep roots. We may long for more loving relationships with our husbands, but before we can truly open our hearts again, the armor needs to be stripped away, and our stony hearts need to soften.

For many of us, letting down our guard and softening our hearts may seem impossible. Thankfully, we belong to a God who is a heart specialist. Just as He alone can change the hearts of our spouses, He alone can change our hearts.

An amazing thing happens when we allow God to change our hearts. He fills us with His unconditional love and enables us to reach out to our husbands wholeheartedly without demands or preconditions.

Romans 5:5b reminds us, “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (NIV-1984). As we focus on becoming more like Jesus, the fruit of His Spirit will grow in our hearts, and His love will flow through us to influence our marriages and our spouses.

Ephesians 6:7, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” (NIV)

God’s love has the power to transform even the most hopeless relationship. Do you believe that? What past hurts or experiences are keeping you from embracing that truth with confidence?

Being wholehearted means giving ourselves fully in every aspect of our relationships with our spouses. Not out of a sense of duty, but because we’re ultimately serving the Lord. If you were filled with God’s unconditional, wholehearted love, what is one way you could reach out to your spouse today without demands or preconditions?

About the Author

Erin Smalley has published numerous articles for ParentLife, HomeLife, and Marriage Partnership magazines. She works alongside her husband, Greg Smalley, at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs. Together the Smalleys encourage couples toward developing a deeply satisfying marriage. Erin and Greg most recently wrote Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage: 12 Secrets for a Lifelong Romance.


This article was originally published on Proverbs 31.