Military Families & Adoption

Rick and Jessica (not their real names) walked into our service for the first time on Orphan Sunday. During that service, I unpacked God's love for the orphan from the scriptures.

To our surprise, and to the surprise of Rick and Jessica, God would lead them that day to begin the process of fostering to adopt. When I see those kids, I immediately remember hearing their parents say that first Sunday, "God is leading us to foster, and He confirmed it today in the service."

adoption.jpg

One of the amazing things about our church is the adoption culture that runs throughout it. We have had many military families who have adopted internationally and domestically.

Sarah and I are also on an adoption journey.

When we told our daughter Everly that we were going to adopt, she said, "I want a sister." (She already has two brothers—we feel her pain.) Our son Weston wanted to trade in his little brother for a Korean. We told him it didn't work like that.

With the uncertainty of the military life and the constant moving, why would any military family want to adopt?

That's an excellent question. We have found that many military families are motivated by the same reasons that we are.

Here's why we are choosing to adopt!

1. We are motivated by theology, not biology.

Most people assume that infertility is the chief reason for adoption. We didn't know when we were first married if we would be able to have biological children because Sarah had had leukemia when she was a child. The doctors had warned her that the treatments may have affected whether she could have children. We always knew this, and we kept adoption on the back burner. Fast forward 9.5 years, and we now have three amazing biological children.

Biology is not our motivation; theology is. We are adopting because we were adopted. Spiritually, God adopted us and brought us into His family—not because we were good, but because He is gracious. We had nothing to offer—nothing to bring to the table—and He still said, "I'll make you my child" (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). God is an adoptive Father!

2. We are motivated by the Global Orphan Crisis.

There are 153 million orphans in the world. If orphans made up the population of a country, they would be the 9th largest in the world.

Many of these kids end up aging out of the system. 60% of the girls who age out become prostitutes. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.

We can turn our heads, plug our ears, and walk away, but that doesn't change reality. Life can quickly become very indulgent and very narrow. The global orphan crisis bothers us because it bothers our Heavenly Father.

3. We are motivated by exposure.

We met orphans, and it changed us! We have close friends who have adopted internationally from the Congo and from South Korea. Other friends are providing traditional foster care or are adopting domestically. We have family members and friends who have helped to start orphanages in the Philippines and in Cambodia.

My wife has been exposed to orphans since she was young. I did not have that exposure until the past couple of years. I thought I was a pretty spiritual person. I could name famous pastors and theologians and had the privilege of meeting a few of them. I could name all types of theology books—but I could not name an orphan. That bothered me!

God has a plan to care for orphans—His people! When we deserved to be left lying in our sin—spiritual orphans—God Himself came and adopted us.

Are you Ready to Get to the Gospel at your Church?

READY?

Are you ready to get to the gospel with the person on your pew?  Let’s not be surprised that religious people show up at places where the Scriptures are read and preached and where God’s people gather to pray and praise Him [1].  Let’s not assume that the person sitting next to us knows the God whose rules they are trying to keep.  Let’s listen for opportunities at church, whether it is a message that is preached, a prayer that is prayed, or a song that is sung that would give us opportunities to ask gospel questions. Then, let’s be ready with our Bible to get to the gospel with our religious friend.

This is the second of three blogs where we are considering some ways we can get to the gospel with people we know. Becoming familiar with the following passage of Scripture in order to walk through it in a question-and-answer format is one possible way to get set to get to the gospel with someone who is counting on the things that they do or don’t do to make them right with God.

 

SET.

1) Get to know their understanding of the gospel- You are both hearing the same sermons, singing the same songs, participating on some level in similar ways in the life of the church.  It would seem natural that the gospel would be a part of your church conversations.  In other words, if the gospel is being faithfully preached at your church, it should not be difficult to bring it up in conversation.

 

2) Get to know your Bible- Become familiar with some bible passages that demonstrate the error of self-righteousness and the need for Christ’s righteousness. Luke 18:9-14 and Philippians 3:3-9 are good places to start. If it becomes plain through conversation that your friend is counting on their own righteousness, ask if you can share a bible passage that was helpful to you (if it was helpful). Have your friend read Luke 18:9-14. Then, go back and walk through the text as follows:

  • Ask– To whom is Jesus telling this parable? v.9
  • Answer– To those who think they are basically good people
  • Say– We can see the parable contrasts a Pharisee (a very religious person) and a tax collector (a person everyone would know as an obvious sinner).

 

  • Ask– What do you notice about the Pharisee’s prayer? v.11-12
  • Answer– He considers himself a good person.
  1.  He compares himself to other men (wrong standard).
  2. He talks to God about the bad things he does not do.
  3. He talks to God about the good things he does do.
  • Ask– hat do you notice about the tax collector’s prayer? v.13
  • Answer– He knows he is not a good person.
  1. He has a posture of sorrow- eyes down, beating his breast.
  2. He pleads with God for mercy.
  • Ask- What is the result? v.14
  • Answer–
  1. The one who believe he was good went home still in his sins.
  2. The one who knew he was a sinner and cried out to God for mercy, went home right with God.
  3. Get to the gospel!
  • Ask– Where do you see yourself in this text? How come?

If your friend identifies with the Pharisee ask:

Are you willing to humble yourself, admit that you are a sinner, and cry out to God for mercy?

 

  • Say– Jesus lived the righteous life you failed to live, died on the cross to take the punishment you deserved, and rose from grave.
  • Say– If you will turn from your sin and trust Jesus alone to save you, God will forgive all your sins and count Jesus’ righteous life as belonging to you.
  1. If your friend identifies with the tax collector ask him to tell you about it.
  2. Make sure his testimony is one that expresses humble dependence on the mercy of God expressed in repentance of sin and faith in Christ alone.

 

GO!

  1. Go to church ready to hear the gospel and speak the gospel.
  2. Go pray for gospel opportunities at church.
  3. Go prepare for those opportunities with your Bible.
  • Memorize the questions and statements that go with Luke 18:9-14 from the above section.
  • Practice walking through these verses with someone until you are comfortable.
  • Consider where your friends might have questions and how you might answer them.

 

[1] Stott, John.  The Spirit, the Church, and the World. IVP, 1990, p. 312. 

Meet Tammie and read her "I Am Going" story.

1.  Tell us about yourself.
I am Tammie and have lived in Kentucky my entire life.  I have been married to the most amazing man, Rob, for 18 years.  We have 6 kids that we are very proud of and 4 grandkids that keep our lives very exciting.


2.  How did you come to Faith Family Church?
God brought us to Faith Family at a time when we were searching for a church to call home.  We had visited churches for about 4 months before walking in FFC and immediately knew this was where we were being led.


3.  How has the Christ-centered, expositional teaching helped you grow?
I have learned so much in the brief time that I have been exposed to this type of teaching.  Every teaching is tied back to the Scripture and is presented on a level that everyone understands.


4.  What books have you been reading lately?
Fervent by Priscilla Shirer


5.  When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing?  What are your other passions?
I stay active by refereeing soccer all year long.  Rob and I play volleyball a couple of times a week which I enjoy since we do that together.  We love spending time with our kids and grandkids whenever we can.  Friday night is always date night and we like going out and trying different restaurants.


6.  What has God been teaching you lately?
He is definitely working to teach me to be patient with other people.  I can be somewhat of a perfectionist and I expect that from the other people around me.  I am a work in progress.

 

7.  You put that you are going to "Serve in the Local Church."  What does that look like for you?
To me, serving in the local church is doing what needs to be done to further God's kingdom.  That can mean running the projector on Sunday mornings or making sure the church is cleaned each week.  
 

Are you Ready for Unplanned Time?

Ready?

6,566 looks like an ordinary number. It is not. It is the approximate number of days you will have with your children from birth to age 18. 

6,566 is not an ordinary number. It represents a childhood.

You will not always be setting an agenda for every moment in those 6,566 days, but you will always be setting a tone, a climate, or an environment that says, “This is what it is like to live for Jesus”.  That is a big deal. Because it is a big deal your unplanned time should not be unexamined time.  You should give considerable thought to what your children are “catching” about what it means to be a Christian, and what practical steps you can take to be READY for unplanned time.

 

 

SET.

Here are few ways to get SET for unplanned time with your kids:

1. Have planned time where you intentionally teach the truths of the faith in appropriate child-sized portions.

2. Plan unplanned time. What we have found is that God often graciously uses unplanned time to providentially bring to the forefront something we have been teaching or doing in our planned time.  These can be powerfully impactful moments in the life of your children. They will see that God is indeed real in the lives. So, intentionally set aside time where you are just going to be around.  

3. Get settled on a few  tone-setting, climate-establishing, vision-casting, this-is-what-it-means-to-live-for- Jesus categories that you want your kids to “catch” from you. You might consider the following list as a place to start:

  • In all things I want them to see me Depend on God
  • In all things I want them to see me Delight in God
  • In all things I want them to see me Demonstrate God’s goodness
  • In all things I want them to hear me and see me Declare God’s praises

 

GO!

Here are few steps you can take today no matter where you are in your 6,566 days.

1. Go get yourself prepared to have planned time- In his book Intentional Parenting, Tad Thompson offers the following practical steps

  • Commit to reading the Bible from cover to cover in the next ninety days
  • Commit to reading one book a year from each of the following categories

                                               i.     The Gospel

                                             ii.     The Big Story (Biblical Theology)

                                            iii.     The Big Truths (Systematic Theology)

                                            iv.     The Great Commission

                                              v.     Spiritual Disciplines

                                            vi.     Christian Living

                                           vii.     Worldview

  • Discuss with other Christian parents
  • Commit to a church that values expositional preaching
  • Begin to share and model at home what you are learning

 

2. Go get honest about the tone you are setting in your house. Ask your spouse about it. Listen without defending yourself.  Compare it to the tone you want to set.

3. Go get alone with the Lord after that conversation. Repent where you need to repent. Seek wisdom where you need to seek wisdom. Give thanks where you need to give thanks.

4. Go get your calendar and plan some unplanned time with your kids.  Plan some regular tone checks with your spouse.

 

Each one of the 6,566 days are urgent, and cumulatively they take endurance. Are you ready? Commit to getting yourself set because God has given you the responsibility to protect and prepare your children. Do not neglect to pray fervently and persistently.  God is sovereign.  Not one effort of yours will bring your children to faith in Christ or bear fruit for Christ outside of His saving, sanctifying work in their lives.

Go enjoy the 6,566. They are a gift!

 

Meet Jalen & read his "I Am Going" Story.

1. Tell us about yourself.

I'm Jalen Cruz. I have a loving and beautiful wife named Samantha. We have a daughter named Nailah and a pit bull named Sasha. I am 22 years old and currently a soldier in the United States Army. I was born and raised in New York along with my wife. I enjoy spending quality family time to include walks, running, sports and taking our daughter to the park. We came to Christ for our daughter.

 

2. How did you hear about Faith Family Church?

I came to Faith Family through a really good friend of mine at work. His name is Gavin O'berry. His wife Briana had told my wife about this church in Oak Grove and invited us. When we arrived we were so welcomed. The feeling was like no other. Coming from a military background and being away from home, it felt like home.

 

3. How has the Christ-centered, expositional teaching helped you to grow?

Before attending Faith Family, I attended a Catholic Church. I knew I believed in God, but never really understood church or the Gospel. I always thought that by following the ten commandments and going to church every Sunday that I was going to heaven. Clearly, I was a so called "rookie."

Once I attended Faith Family, my knowledge has grown about God and who He really is. I came to Christ while attending Faith Family. From that moment on my life changed. I knew I had to be the head of the household and love my wife as God loved the church. God has done a "good number" on my heart.

 

4. What books have you been reading lately? 

The Song of Solomon
The book of Romans
Rediscovering Jesus by Matthew Kelly
Awaken Love by Kyle and Desirae Idleman

 

5. When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing? (What are your other passions?) 

I look forward to spending time with my family. The army causes me to be away from them for long periods of time, so I like to enjoy as much time as possible with them.

 

 

6.You put that you are going to "Serve My Country." Tell us what that looks for you.

Because He came to me, I am going to serve my country. That means that I will sacrifice my own well being for the benefit of my country. While doing that, I will spread the Gospel to those who desperately need Him, I will teach it to my fellow battle buddies, and express to them that God cares and loves them.

 

Meet Taylor & read his "I Am Going" story.

1. Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Taylor Carmichael. I was raised in Illinois where I went to college and graduated from Army Reserve Officer Training Program. Now, I am an Army cavalry officer here at Fort Campbell. This last January I married my life love, Rachel, and we continue to establish ourselves here as a new couple. Fun times!

 

2. How did you come to Faith Family Church? 

Rachel and I both believe God has provided us with Faith Family Church and the relationships we’ve had here. Our initial church search was frustrating because we couldn’t find one that met our priorities. It’s sad to know there are churches out there that don’t really pursue the heart of God or try to apply His will in life.

 

3. How has the Christ-centered, expositional teaching helped you to grow?

This kind of teaching is CRUCIAL because we have to separate the true God of the Bible from the god of our hearts. The reality of the Gospel is real and the reality of God is real. We have to be true and honest to the text in its proper context to uphold that.

 

4. What have you been reading recently?

  • Platoon Leader (James R. McDonough)
  • Naked Economics (Charles Wheelan)
  • Global Missions Handbook: A Guide for Crosscultural Service (Steve Hoke, Bill Taylor)
  • Team of Rivals (Doris Goodwin)
  • Seven Arrows (Matt Rogers, Donny Mathis)

 

5. When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing? (What are your other passions?)

I love being adventurous, traveling, and having fun with Rachel.  I enjoy reading when I have the brain power for it; video games are a nice break as well. The Army side of me likes shooting at the range, exercising, and hiking.

 

6. What has God been teaching you lately?

God has been teaching me that as Christians, he has a very high expectation of us, as his chosen children. We are holy and precious in his sight, not by our acts, but by the acts of Jesus and what he did to reestablish our broken relationships with God. I’ve been learning that the Holy Spirit leads us and directs us, but the forces from below are also trying to trick us and misguide us. I’ve been learning how to distinguish between the voices of each of them, which enables me to have clarity in seeking the real will of God.

 

7. You put that you are going to "Make Jesus Famous." Tell us what that looks for you.

I have a passion for impacting dark places, because Jesus has impacted me in a dark place. So making Jesus famous means putting myself on the line for others as Jesus did for me, all to God’s credit and fame. What does this look like practically? Well joining the Army has become a part of this mentality and goal—serving others in a dark place. Additionally, Rachel and I are looking at doing international humanitarian missions abroad in broken places after my time in the Army with these goals in mind.

Are you Ready for Sunday?

“READY? SET. GO!”

READY?

 Let’s imagine the perfect pre-church Sunday morning just happened.  All kids are clean. All kids are fed. The one who usually wears the mismatched socks, unprompted asks his fashionable older sister to help him pick out clothes. She decides not to experiment. The keys are in your hand. The kids are in their seats. The gas guage is on “F”. You are off.  

You pull into the church parking lot in enough time that if everyone followed your lead, usher unemployment would hit an all-time high. Here is the question: Even if all of this were to happen---- Are you ready for church? Are your ready to worship the Living God?

1.     Are you ready to Sing praises to Him?

2.     Are you ready to Sit under the preaching of His word?

3.     Are you ready to Stir up His people to love and good works?

There are plenty of things you and I will likely do to get ready for church this Sunday. How many of those things will fall outside the realm of hygiene, food, and fashion? How many of them will happen on a day other than Sunday?  Why should we care?

 

SET

Important things happen when the church meets. We are worshipping an eternal God. We are hearing preaching that God uses to impact the eternities of men and women and boys and girls.   We are helping each other fight the fight of faith. Important things happen when the church meets because things of eternal consequence happen when the church meets. How can we get ourselves set for such a thing as Sunday? Here are some suggestions:

1.     We can get ourselves set for Sunday by pursuing deep knowledge of God in His word Monday through Saturday so that our praise will be the overflow of hearts that have been filled with truth about God (Colossians 3:16). We can avoid being mouth-movers on Sunday by being heart-fillers Monday through Saturday.

2.     We can get ourselves set for Sunday by praying that our pastor will preach in such a way that he helps God’s people think His thoughts after Him. We can pray that the Lord will show us wondrous things in His word that will stir our hearts to joyful obedience (Psalm 119:18, James 1:22).

3.     We can get ourselves set for Sunday by pursuing deeper relationships with people and a wider understanding of God’s word so that our counsel and encouragement will spring from love that is rooted in truth (Colossians 3:16).

Now let’s imagine your Monday through Saturday looked something like the above…and then Sunday morning arrives. This time the fashionable older sister decides she will experiment. You can’t find your keys or the kids...at least initially. It is a hygiene, food, and fashion fiasco.  Even if all of this were to happen--- you are ready to GO. Below are some ways we can put one foot in front of the other when we GO.

 

GO

1.     Go with your heart already as full as possible with the word of God, so that when the unique experience of corporate worship begins you simply cannot hold back your joyful thanksgiving and praise.

2.      Go with the knowledge that when the word is read and preached you are hearing from God.  Let that knowledge impact the attention you give to preaching.  Go home and talk about the sermon with your family. Go find someone in your church of the same gender with whom you can talk about the sermon.  Pray prayers prompted by the passage that was preached. Go be a doer of the word.

3.     Go with some truth written down or memorized from your time in God’s word. Go with a commitment to listen to the people the Lord puts in your path this week. Go with an ear toward encouraging those people toward love and good works. Go early. Stay late. Ask simple questions related to the things of the Lord like:

a.     What did you read in your Bible this week?

b.     Is there anything I can pray about for you?

c.     How are things going in your walk with the Lord?

Are you ready for such a thing as Sunday? Are you ready to gather with your church? Get yourself set. Then---Go!

I Use "My Cancer" to Share "My Christ"

1) Tell us about yourself.

I’m Chadrick Larry Sr. My wife De'Shaundra and I are retired military. Both of us were born and raised in Texas. We have 3 beautiful children. Each day, I enjoy experiencing their individual uniqueness. My hobbies are wide spread, but no water sports. ;)

 

 

2) What have you been reading recently?

  • Experiencing God by Henry T. Blackaby
  • Five Points: Towards A Deeper Experience of God’s Grace by John Piper

 

3) When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing? (What are your other passions?)

I am currently battling cancer. I receive an experimental treatment two times a week. So being strong spiritually, mentally, physically is very important to me. My wife is my best friend and we enjoy every moment with each other.

My hobbies are widespread…being a foodie is one. We love trying new foods. We are always dipping and dabbing into new digs around and out of town.

Reserving my energy for my children is a priority. I love to play with them. Friday through Sundays, I enjoy watching movies with them. We have a small place, but I have attempted to place the Regal Cinema in our living room! :) 

4) You are GOING to "Share Your Testimony"! Tell us what that looks for you.

I use MY CANCER to share MY CHRIST! 

Even when the doctors tell me, “This is impossible. I’m sorry it’s out of our hands.” I know it’s in God’s hand. God is faithful. 

I Am Going to Disciple My Child

1. Tell us about yourself. 

 

I am Samantha Cruz. My husband Jalen and I have a beautiful, outgoing, and precious daughter, Nailah. I am a U.S. Air Force veteran and my husband is an active duty soldier for the U.S. Army. We were both born and raised in New York.  We love spending time with each other by going for walks, wrestling with our daughter, and laughing at each other until we're both in tears. We came to Christ for our daughter.

 

2. How did you come to Faith Family Church? 

 

We came to Faith Family by our good friends, the O’berrys. Jalen and Gavin were in the same unit, so Briana and I became good friends. She sent me a text inviting us to church the Sunday of February 28th. I will never forget the feeling I felt when I walked through those doors. I felt like I was home. Being military, that’s a hard feeling to capture.

 

3. How has the Christ-centered, expositional teaching helped you to grow?

 

Before I attended Faith Family, I had only gone to church a couple of times. So, my knowledge of the Bible was slim to none. Once I became a Christian, I did not know what to do next so I joined a couple of growth groups. I was taught how to pray, how to read the Bible, and how to physically live for Christ. Everything I know today about our Lord is because God has placed me in these amazing growth groups.

 

4. What have you been reading recently?

 

      A Little God Time for Mothers by BroadStreet Publishing

      Seamless by Angie Smith

      Book of Philippians

      Book of Genesis

 

5. When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing? (What are your other passions?)

 

I am a homemaker, so I am always home. I really enjoy being a wife and a mom. Seeing my husband come home from a long day at work and get trampled by our daughter and dog is a beautiful sight to see. I love seeing my daughter learn new things and I enjoy watching cartoons with her on the couch while eating cheerios. I also enjoying running outside with my daughter in a jogging stroller.  

 

6. What has God been teaching you lately?

 

Being in the Word a lot more, the Lord has been teaching me how to love like Him. Letting go of past situations and forgiving those who have hurt me because Christ forgives me for all of my sins.

 

7. You put that you are going to "Disciple Nailah." Tell us what that looks for you.

 

Because He came to me I am going to disciple my child. That means I will be teaching my daughter everything I learn about our Lord and Savior so when God calls her to accept him, she will be ready.

Because He Came...We Are Going!

A few months ago, I challenged our church to spend 2% of their lives each year on a foreign mission field. That works out to be about one week a year. Here is what we've found...that 2% of your life will radically transform the other 98%.

 

 

Many churches have a good program to reach the reached – and no program to reach the unreached. Some of our church's opportunities for GOING will be to "reached" areas and some will be to "unreached" areas of the world. We're thrilled to announce that one of these trips will be GOING to the country of Honduras next June.

 

May God wreck our comfortable Christianity and send us to the nations. His Gospel is more important than our comforts. John Falconer would add,

“I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light.”

 

At Faith Family Church, we have a motto and a vision. It goes like this:

Faith Family Church is a Great Commission church, which means that every ministry is a Great Commission ministry, every growth group is a Great Commission growth group, every nursery a Great Commission nursery, every child's class a Great Commission child’s class, and by God’s grace, every member a Great Commission member. We GO because He CAME!

 

*We are indebted to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for this emphasis and idea. We are also encouraging our people to enroll in the SEBTS Great Commission Certificate Training Program. You will be hearing more about it in the future, but until then check out more details here http://cert.sebts.edu.

Four Ways to Invest in God’s Work

Faith Family Church believes that giving is a biblical principle established by God. We are to give generously (2 Cor. 9:7–8), cheerfully (Matt. 6:1–4), and regularly (1 Cor. 16:2).

We give for two reasons: 1) to obey the command 2) to protect our hearts from the slavery of materialism.

Here are four ways to give: 

1.     Campus Giving

Place your gifts in an offering basket during any worship service. The church at Philippi (a church plant just like us) gave generously, sacrificially, and cheerfully. What moved them to give? They treasured Jesus above all. 

 

2.     Online Giving

There are two ways to give online: a one-time gift or a reoccurring gift. There are many advantages to scheduling your reoccurring gift. Here are few:

 

  • Convenience

When you sign up to give online you are deciding in advance to faithfully give. You can set up a recurring contribution that is scheduled to come out of your account on the day you specify.

 

  • Simplicity

You won’t have to remember whether you gave this month or send in an offering by mail when you’re on a trip.

 

  • Transparency

You have the ability to quickly see your online giving history directly through our giving portal instead of having to contact our Finance Department for a personalized report.

 

 

3.     “Matching Gift Campaign” Giving

A matching gift represents a gift that is contingent (dependent on the gifts of other donors) on one or more specific projects.

 

For example: "We have received a matching gift pledge from one of our loyal donors, who has committed to match gifts received by December 31 up to $50,000 for the building fund. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to double your gift to our ministry.”

 

4.     Non-cash Giving

Some of you may be interested in donating assets like: stocks, bonds, mutual fund shares, or real property.

Some Christians have committed to making their biggest contribution at the end of their lives. This is possible by naming Faith Family Church as a beneficiary on their life-insurance policy.

 

Meet Rob & read his "I am going" story.

1. Tell us about yourself.

I am originally from Michigan, moved to Kentucky (by way of a 7-year stop in Indiana) through my job. The company I worked for at the time had a plant in Glasgow, KY which I was transferred to. That is where I met my wonderful wife, Tammie, who I have been married to since 1998. We have 6 children between us: Robert, Samantha, Amanda, Jessica, Matthew, and Michael. We also have 4 grandchildren: Mikayla, Jaylyn, Jackson, and Katharina.

 

2. How did you come to Faith Family Church?

TOTAL God thing. We visited many churches. There was nothing WRONG with any of them, we just didn’t feel that any of them were where we were supposed to be. The first time we came to Faith Family was actually a week we originally had planned to visit another church. Miraculously (pun intended!) that church cancelled due to weather. Some friends called and said they were going to visit Faith Family and asked if we wanted to come also. We did, and from that day on, we knew that Faith Family is where God led us to attend.

 

3. How has the Christ-centered, expositional teaching helped you to grow?

Theology certainly is important. Bad theology leads to bad decisions.

 

4. When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing? (What are your other passions?)

Seeing my wonderful wife. We have (at minimum) a weekly date night, but we just enjoy being with each other regardless of what we are doing. We also love having the kids/grandkids come by and visit. I like music, both listening to it and playing it.

 

5. What has God been teaching you lately?

God has really reinforced to me that the church is not a country club, and that our relationships with other Christians should be more than sharing a couple hours together on a Sunday morning in the same building. I’ve always known that of course, but it has really been eye-opening recently.

Church is not a Country Club.

6. You put that you are going to “Serve In The Local Church.” Tell us what that looks for you.

For me, part of that is using the musical gifts that God has given me by being a part of leading worship with music. But it is much more than that. Serving means doing what needs to be done if you have the ability to do so. God doesn’t give us abilities to keep them to ourselves. We are to use them for Him. That may mean helping someone in need, that may mean filling in to lead a small group, that may mean sharing your life experience and how God brought you through situations, that may mean repairing a wall, and the list goes on. It also means trying to live as an example for others, mentoring those that may be at a different place in their walk. I hope I am up to the challenge!

"Because He Came...I Am Going to Mentor Woman"

1. Tell us about yourself. 

I'm Karen. I am originally from Hopkinsville although I lived in Houston for nine years, where I met my wonderful husband Doug. We have been married for 28 years. I come from a large, loving family and am the third of six children. I work at a local nursing home, helping residents and their families through the often confusing and difficult process of dealing with insurance and obtaining medical assistance for long-term care. God prepared me for this job while my mother was a resident in this same nursing home. He used a very difficult time in my life to uniquely equip me to help others through this difficult time in their lives.

 

2. How did you come to Faith Family Church?

My husband and I are part of the original group that planted Faith Family with a desire to reach the unchurched military families and equip them to leave us as missionaries as they go to wherever the Army sends them next. I am so grateful for the sweet families I have been able to meet and love, but I hate when they have to leave us.

3. How has the Christ-centered, expositional teaching helped you to grow?

The way that scripture is explained by our elders helps me to better understand how awesome God is and how He wants me to serve. I've come to understand that the culture and historical settings make the Bible come alive.

 

4. What have you been reading recently?

Jesus in the Present Tense: The I AM Statements of Christ by Warren Weirsbe

....A great study of what the I AM statements mean for us.

 

Seven Arrows by Matt Rogers and Donny Mathis

....this teaches you how to study the Bible and apply it to your life.

 

Wildflowers of Terezin by Robert Elmer

....a Christian fiction novel set in Copenhagen during the Nazi occupation.

 

5. When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing? (What are your other passions?)

I look forward to spending time with Doug. On the weekends we like to go for a drive in the country and find interesting and beautiful things to take photograph. I also love to can and bake. 

 

6. You put that you are going to Mentor ladies. Tell us what that looks for you.

The Bible says in Titus 2:3-5 that older women should teach younger women to love their husbands and children to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God.

I am doing this by leading a women's small group each week.  I love helping them to understand who God is and what He wants from them.

I also work with a lot of younger women and strive to live my life in such a way that points them to Jesus. I use the opportunities God gives me to share my faith with them and give them Godly advice. 

One of my most treasured times of teaching younger women was when I had the opportunity to teach young pastors wives in Honduras what it meant to be a Godly wife. 

"I am Going" to Reach the World

1. Tell us about yourself.

I’m Mark! I’m in my 50s, happily married to my lovely wife, Tambra, for 36 years. We have two daughters, Rachel and Brianna. We also have two grandchildren, Melissa and Michael. For fun, I love to hike and be outdoors or on the lakes. I also love to travel. As a hobby, I write fiction. Oh yes, I also play the drums a bit.

 

2. What have you been reading recently?

  • The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist by Andy Bannister
  • Erasing Hell by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle
  • Answering Jihad by Nabeel Qureshi

 

3. What has God been teaching you lately?

To be aware of both the wonderful, miraculous things He is doing around me every day and the opportunities He is opening for me to share my faith.

God gives me opportunities to share my faith

4. You put that you are going to “Reach the World”. Tell us what that looks for you.

First, it means to reach MY world (locally).

Secondly, it means doing what I can to help reach the unreached.

I really look forward to an extended time of prayer. I love that time with the Lord.

1. Tell us about yourself.

My name is Dee Anna McGhee.  I grew up on a farm in Hopkinsville, enjoying farm life with my 3 brothers and sister.  When I graduated from Hopkinsville High I left for 42 years, never dreaming I would ever come back.  The Lord brought me back 17years ago, in answer to prayer.  My life has really been full of God’s faithfulness and direction.  I was one of those who when I gave my life to Christ about the fifth grade, I did it wholeheartedly, and He has directed my life and grown me in miraculous ways all along the way. 

 

 

I have raised 3 precious sons, retired from teaching school in Metro Nashville for 20+ years, raised emus, owned a gift shop with my sister, done some writing, and with my brothers and sister ran the family farm.  I now live in the Village at Christian Care Communities, a retirement community, which also was a God directed move.  

 

Soon after moving back to Hopkinsville, God gave me the command to “Equip the Saints”.   I did not fully understand until shortly after, in God’s timing, opportunities opened up for me to do more extensive teaching of the Bible.  I became much more conscious of opportunities to help others walk with the Lord, and He enabled me, as He promises when He calls us.  I love watching others grow and am beginning to see some of them become faithful Christian leaders.   Of course, any teacher learns much more than his/her students and I have come to love studying the Word and deepening my understanding of God’s great love. 

 

God has enabled me and prepared me to carry out His command in many ways.   

 

Today, I am helping with ladies study groups at FFC. I teach a group of elderly ladies at Friendship House here at Christian Care. I try to make books available through the library that will help in Christian growth.  I am beginning to see more and more opportunities to witness here on this campus.  Even as I am writing this, a neighbor came by anxious about a questionable mammogram.  I was able to encourage and pray with her.  Oh, I also work with the finances of FFC as treasurer.

 

2. How did you come to FFC?

I am one of the original 12 who felt the Lord calling us to plant a church in Oak Grove, specifically aimed at spreading the Word to the military and equipping them to be witnesses for the Lord as they move away from Fort Campbell and spread out over the world!  We have sought the Lord’s will every step of the way, and His blessings have been amazing.

 

3. How has Christ-centered, expositional teaching helped you grow?

 

I have grown in understanding the importance of the context as it fits into the setting and relationship of the verses before and after a particular passage.  I am constantly delighted how Brother Kyle adds so much insight and cultural understanding to a passage and fits it all together.  As I have broadened my own study and preparation for teaching, with this awareness, I have gained an even greater hunger for God’s Word.

 

4. What have you been reading lately? 

 

Most of my reading lately has been surveying possible new books of study for the library.   Right now, I am in the middle of “Seven Arrows” by Rogers and Mathis.

 

5. What are my passions or “free time” activities?

 

I read Christian fiction while I am bicycling and if I just need to “cool it.”  I play pony canasta with a group of ladies here in the Village one afternoon a week, which I thoroughly enjoy, but also consider it a ministry.    

My family is definitely changing in that my brothers are having serious health problems and my grandkids are getting out of college, becoming engaged, etc. so I am trying to spend much more time with them and looking for spiritual growth and witnessing opportunities.

 

A passion?  I really look forward to and try to guard an extended time of prayer one morning and early afternoon a week.  I love that time with the Lord.  This is a priority for me. 

A group of us studying “Masterlife” found out what a blessing this was as we set aside 4 hours of personal prayer.  It truly makes a difference!

When God Starts a Work...He Always Finishes it!

1. Tell us about yourself.

Hello everyone, I am De’Shaundra Larry; most people call me Dee. Matter of fact, if you call me De’Shaundra…I probably won’t respond because it’s been years since I have heard it. I am a proud wife to Chad, and mother of three little handfuls Amari (10), Chadrick (9), and Denver (7). Just kidding, they are a wonderful little bunch. I enjoy snacking; I am currently eating as I type. Did I mention that I am quite the multitasker? My husband and I are from a small town in Texas. Yes, being from Texas makes me extra special. I came to Christ when He revealed to me that He is the best thing I never knew I needed.

 

 

2. How did you come to Faith Family Church?

God led us to Faith Family Church (FFC); funny enough, the same Sunday we decided to attend FFC we got invited to worship with another local church. We knew in our hearts, though, that God had already chosen our church home. I’m so glad we followed God’s direction.

 

3. What have you been reading recently?

Seamless by Angie Smith

 

4. When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing? (What are your other passions?)

The best part of my job is its location, my home. I am the vice-president of operations at Larry Inc. I have a bachelor’s in domestic engineering with a minor in household management. I currently oversee three departments, cooking, cleaning, and education. My job allows me to do some of my favorite things like napping on the job, Netflix binging, and finding the last pack of gushers before my kids return from school.

 

5. What has God been teaching you lately?

A few weeks ago our teaching pastor (Vance) spoke a powerful message about turning blessings into burdens. God used that sermon to highlight the blessings in my life that I had sadly turned into burdens. I still struggle with this, and find it hard sometimes to look at aspects of my life as blessings. But, where God starts a work He finishes a work, and on the days I slip He reminds me of all my blessings.

Where God starts a work–He finishes it.

6. You put that you are going to Share The Gospel. Tell us what that looks for you.

To me it looks like a God-led woman, doing His work, and trusting in Him to give her all the courage, boldness, and wisdom to share HIS Word.

Rachel's "I Am Going" Story

Rachel's "I Am Going" Story

1. Tell us about yourself.

My name is Rachel, and I’m a Kentucky transplant. I hail originally from the Chicago area – grew up in Hammond, Indiana, and finished high school in Oak Park, Illinois. My husband, Taylor, and I met back in college at the University of Illinois through a Christian ministry called Cru. Just this January we tied the knot, and I joined him here in Oak Grove. I miss Chicago and the big city vibe, but I am learning to love the Oak Grove and Madisonville areas and the slower pace (plus Nashville is close!).

My vocation is completely rooted in my relationship with Christ – in high school, God wrecked this sheltered girl's world and showed me the nearness of the tragedies of this world: poverty, human trafficking, family brokenness, suicide, and the like. He called me to be part of the solution, to show his peace in this world as He is making all things new. Now, I do His work as a school-based therapist in Hopkins County, walking alongside middle and high schoolers. I have the sweet opportunity to show love to students who are living with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, difficult home situations, behavioral issues, and more. This vocation can be emotionally and mentally taxing, so I love to be creative in my free time (sketching or hand-lettering lately) to decompress and exercise my brain in a different way.

2. How did you come to Faith Family Church?

Taylor and I were searching for churches in the area, and did not feel like we found the place God was leading us yet. We received a mailer from Faith Family Church, which prompted us to visit, and we didn’t have to search anymore!

It is such a relief having a church “home,” where we can serve others, reach out to the community, and get filled up with Christ-centered teaching.

 

3. How has the Christ-centered, expositional teaching helped you to grow?

Teaching that is solid and Christ-centered is life-giving and life-changing. Each week, I learn more about Christ and how faith saturates every area of my life. I recently started walking through the book of Mark during my morning quiet times, and now the sermon series is also on Mark! It has been wonderful working through the texts, and then a few weeks later hearing it preached upon and still learning something new.

 

4. What have you been reading recently?

When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

  • A great book about how to help those in need without unintentionally hurting them or yourself. A must read!!

The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath by Mark Buchanan

  • Taylor and I are reading this together as a way to slow down and truly appreciate resting in God. It’s changed how we view rest and Sabbath immensely.

 

5. When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing? (What are your other passions?)

I love coming home and giving my husband a giant hug. We’ve made a habit of serving each other by switching off who cooks dinner, and then the other person cleans up. We love having slow, restful evenings full of reading, movie-watching, and prayer time. Sometimes I’ll pull out my art bin and work on something creative – from decorating my planner to putting together something for the walls of our home. We also love having other military couples over for dinner and board games!

6. You put that you are going to Hopkins County Schools. Tell us what that looks for you.

Going to Hopkins County Schools looks like showering students and staff with Christ’s love.

I have the unique opportunity to show teens who are going through hurt an example of a Christ-follower and of the life abundant they can have.

I also come into contact with school staff, paraprofessionals, and clinic staff that I enjoy learning from and speaking truth into their lives.