Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. ~Colossians 3:23

Life is short.

So short.

Recently, a beloved brother in the Lord passed away. He was in his early 40’s and had a beautiful wife and three kids. He was the type of guy who did not withhold himself from anyone. He was outgoing, generous, and incredibly deliberate when it came to sharing His faith in Jesus Christ. Whether he was well and things were going great OR he was incredibly sick and in pain, he praised the Lord for it all. He had joy when most people would throw their fists in the air and curse God. His life was too short. But he used his time incredibly well.

I want to live life on mission just like him.

Colossians 3:23 speaks of doing everything we do as if we are doing it for the Lord. You might have a job. But you don’t work for your boss. You were made to work for the Lord- whether you believe that to be true or not, you were made to work for Him. So whether you are a child of God, a mom, a dad, a teacher, a lawyer, a barista, a janitor, a bus driver, an NFL quarterback, a retiree, unemployed, a police officer, a fire fighter, a doctor, WHATEVER YOU DO- God has made you to reflect His righteousness, His goodness, His truth, His love and all of His character to those you interact with in your sphere of influence.

So how do we do it? How do we make the most of our time? Well, I would like to suggest that it can’t happen by accident. It happens when we are doing life deliberately: prayerfully, passionately, and purposefully. That means we have to think through things. We have to reflect and make some choices to change in areas where we are dissatisfied. It means praying and asking God to convict us both our areas of success and failure. It means submitting ourselves to Him in areas where we are failing. 1 Peter 5:5 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” This means that if we submit and humble ourselves to Him, He will give us the grace we need in all circumstances. But when we refuse to bow to Him and admit our need for Him, we will most certainly find ourselves at battle with Him. He is always guaranteed to win.

During our time of prayer and reflection, it may be wise to do some journaling. Write out our roles: are you a child of God?, are you married?, a parent?, an employee?, a son/daughter?, a friend?, etc. List them and write down your responsibilities in those areas. Make a goal in each area. Then, go through your list of roles and give each a number, signifying importance (#1 being the most important).

Finally, use a planner or a piece of notebook paper to create a weekly or monthly schedule and appoint time to tend to each of your roles and goals. Give first priority to your most important role, then your second, and so on…. If your “plate” is overly full, you may find that you run out of time to do everything. That’s ok! You may need to say NO to some things. And saying NO to some things means you can say YES to more important things- thereby honoring the Lord by doing what you do heartily, unto Him.

So what do you say? Are you doing everything you do heartily, as unto the Lord? Are you making the most of the very short time here on Earth? I know I could stand to re-evaluate and shore up some areas! I’d love to hear your thoughts, so PLEASE, share your comments below!!

Keep Doing Life Deliberately,

Trisha

P.S. If you are a homeschool parent (or know someone who is!), watch and share my latest YouTube video on How To Prevent and Correct Homeschool Burnout. I hope you find it to be a blessing.❤️

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That’s a big title, I know. And I bet you didn’t know that God requires that His people homeschool their kids. But it’s there. Just look at Deuteronomy 6:4-9~

4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Ok, so He’s not talking necessarily about academically educating your children at home. BUT, He is talking about educating your children at home. Our faith in Jesus Christ is not to be a one day a week experience. God commands parents to not only walk with Him themselves, but to teach their children to walk with Him, as well. It is NOT the Church’s primary responsibility to disciple your children- it is primarily the parents’ responsibility to train up their children to know and love the Lord. There is so much rich instruction given in these verses. God does not require that our kids go through a formal curriculum or that they go through a confirmation class- though those things are good and worthy of our time. But God desires for Christian parents to saturate their homes with talk of His goodness, His love, His instructions, His promises. Above all, He wants parents to teach their kids not to be good people, but to be people who can’t help but do good things because they are so consumed by their love of God which permeates every aspect of their being: their heart, soul and might.

It is our conviction, that one of the best ways to convey this love is by home educating our children. This is our strongest motivator for homeschooling. The public school system is certainly NOT going to teach our kids to love the Lord. Their peers at school (on the whole) are not going to teach them to love the Lord. But if we educate them at home, for better or for worse, we (their parent’s) get to be their biggest influencers. And you better believe, we feel the weight of that responsibility.

The curriculum used public schools (and most private schools, for that matter) will not teach them to love the Lord. When homeschooling, we get to choose what curriculum we use. We opt to use Christ-centered curriculum that points our children to the truths of God’s Word- whether we examine the character and choices of men throughout history, examine science through the lens of scripture, marvel at God’s orderly character through math, or read literature examining the worldview and choices of characters.

Finally and most importantly, we can open up God’s Word every day together, pray, discuss what the Word means and how it applies to our lives (and your kids don’t have to be academically educated at home to do that!). It is our greatest delight to intercede for others with our children, to hear them ask questions about God’s Word and to see them choose to seek Him on their own. But these beautiful jewels of love for the Lord and character growth are not accidents. They are also not works that we can fabricate or magically produce as parents. They are gifts of grace from God- a beautiful blessing as we pour the love of God into our kids and watch Him grow them from the inside out.

Our kids are not perfect. They are as flawed and sinful as their mom and dad. Homeschooling is not perfect. Every homeschooling family struggles in different ways. But it is a gift from God to spend quantity and quality time with our kids, influencing them to love and follow hard after the Lord who loves them so much, “He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

If you would like to hear more about WHY we chose to homeschool, click on this link to see my latest video: The Top 10 Reasons Why We Chose to Homeschool

How do YOU deliberately influence your kids to follow Christ? We’d love to hear what that looks like in your family, so PLEASE, share in the comments below!!

Until next time, keep doing life deliberately,

Trisha

This morning started off with a bang. Well, not literally, but close. Our missions team to Mexico boarded our plane only to find out 45 minutes later that our radio transmitter is broken and either needs to be repaired OR we will have to board another plane. Either way, we will most likely miss our connecting flight. We’ll see. 😬

On the upside of things, I have the great privilege of going to Mexico with 14 outstanding individuals- one of which is my daughter, Hannah. The last time she was on an airplane she was 10 months old. And this is her first international experience and missions trip. We are all kinds of excited over here! I have literally dreamed of taking our children on missions trips since before they were born.  My various experiences on short term missions trips have had such a profound impact on my life: learning about other cultures, stepping out of my comfort zone to share the Gospel, doing things I would never do at home, deepening relationships with people from our home church as we share a cross cultural experience, worshiping God in a different language, etc.  I want my kids to see that God is not an American God. He is active and present throughout the entire world. His Son, Jesus Christ, came to be a savior for ALL people of every nation, language and skin color.  I want them to see real need and understand how much we have both been entrusted with and have excess of .  I want them to get a glimpse of God’s purpose for their lives- which somehow seems to gain clarity when one is removed from the distractions of our American materialism. I want them to see that this life is not about them- it is about Jesus Christ and living to be useful to Him in whatever vocations or contexts He gives us.

So… if you think about us this week, will you please say a prayer for our team? We have many young people on our team. Pray that:

  • this trip would have a profound impact on their lives
  • we would have hearts to see the physical and spiritual needs of others and a quickness to serve
  • we would bond tightly as a team- laugh, cry and be authentic with one another
  • we would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and respond to His promptings
  • we would have safe travels and logistics for our disrupted flights would be worked out
  • we would have great personal times in the Word and as a team
  • our families with be protected from harm, illness and attack in our absence

Thank you so much for your prayers- they are the greatest blessing to us as a team!! Stay tuned for more updates here through the week.

A short term missions trip changed my life.

No joke. No exaggeration.

As an 18 year old, newly committed follower of Christ, I traveled to Kharkov, Ukraine with 5 other members of my church. It took planes, trains and automobiles to get to our destination, where we spent two weeks teaching the scriptures, sharing the gospel, and loving orphans. Along with my senior pastor and our translator, I stayed with a tent making pastor and his beautiful wife and children.   

(From left to right) My teammate, Jennifer, Elena, myself and Natasha. Elena and Natasha are the daughters of my then houseparents in Ukraine.

This amazing family sacrificed their food, beds, privacy and comforts to host this insignificant teen. That week I experienced a God who loves His church around the world. I saw the smiles, heard the laughter of orphans who played soccer with us and delighted in the taste of gummy worms. I saw fearful hearts soften with compassion as we shared the gospel with their former communist neighbors. My heart was bound up with those that I traveled and served with- memories of laughter, illness, stepping out of our comfort zones, receiving sacrificial hospitality, and so much more.  

These beautiful people are the pastors and their families of the church we ministered with during our time in Ukraine.

And my experience in Ukraine is not unique. Since that time, I have been to Rwanda and multiple times to Belize. The joy of serving Christ with those at my church is irreplaceable- linking us together in a common hope and mission- sharing the gospel and strengthening the global Church. Consistently, my fellow team mates and myself return home fired up, ready to serve God in new ways at home, passionate for the Lord’s church. 

This is the cabin I lived in for two months in Belize (2000)- no electricity or hot water, nightly bed checks for geckos and scorpions, regular extermination of tarantulas and snakes. We often awoke to the sounds of Macaws and monkeys playing in the nearby trees.

Short terms missions trips provide opportunities for team members to do things they have never done before. When I went to Rwanda, multiple teammates shared the gospel- an experience they had never had before. The joy they felt prompted them to come home and serve in the local church in ways they had never served before! In Belize, teammates taught scripture and led worship- things they had never dared to do at home before. But now that those barriers of self-consciousness have been broken, who knows what they might dare to do in the name of Christ!  

Prior to my service in Belize in 2000, I had been terrified of singing solo and leading worship. That experience helped give me the confidence to lead worship in my local church as an adult.

I do not know what kind of impact I have made in others during these trips. I trust that somehow God has used these times to encourage other believers, spread the Good News of Jesus, and draw unbelievers to Himself. I know I am forever changed by each country, culture, church and person I have had the privilege of meeting. I have seen prayers answered in profound ways, come to understand God’s Word in a new light, and learned to appreciate different ways of worshipping God.

Have you ever served on a short term missions trip? If not, is it possible that God is calling YOU to step out of your comfort zone to serve Him in a new country and culture??  Is He calling you to go again?? I’d love to hear from YOU!! 

This is the team of my most recent missions trip to Belize. Our purpose was to equip and encourage the Church in Belize, mainly through teaching and the sharing of the Gospel.

When people return home from a missions trip, they are often asked, “How was your trip?!” Generally speaking, people want to hear, “It was great,” and then be relinquished to go about their business. It’s no one’s fault, really, but for those returning from a trip, whose lives have been forever impacted, it can be disheartening to so flippantly respond about our time away. I have been pondering how to briefly, but honestly relay to others about our time in Belize. The phrase that comes to mind:

It was hard to come home.

I was privileged to share the Gospel with this man, Tash, and a lovely Mayan woman named Angelcita while we were in Placencia.  Suddenly I found myself looking for opportunities to share the gospel where I might have otherwise tried to avoid talking to strangers.
I was privileged to share the Gospel with this man, Tash, and a lovely Mayan woman named Angelcita while we were in Placencia. Suddenly I found myself looking for opportunities to share the gospel where I might have otherwise tried to avoid talking to strangers.
It was hard to come home.  And probably not for the reasons you think. Yes, it’s beautiful. Yes, it was HOT after being in frigid Wisconsin all winter. Yes, it was a break from my regular responsibilities of cooking, cleaning and homeschooling.   But that’s not why it was hard to come home.  I have developed a love for the missionaries we partner with.  They are people that I want to be like- in them I observed people who purposefully encounter strangers, ready to share the Gospel or intentionally seeking to encourage a brother or sister in Christ.  Man, I want to be like that! I want to be so Kingdom-minded that I seize every opportunity to share the love of Christ with others, rather than hoping a stranger won’t strike up an awkward conversation with me in the local coffee shop.

It was hard to come home because it was the first time that I returned to the same place of ministry, able to reconnect with people I had met before.  How SWEET it was to see familiar faces and receive a smile, or even a hug, of recognition!  How wonderful to be warmly welcomed by missionaries and pastors, knowing that we are partnering together to lead people to Christ and to strengthen the Church through teaching and equipping.

This is Zelda and I, working together again after we met initially at Camp Machaca in 2000.
This is Zelda and I, working together again after we met initially at Camp Machaca in 2000.
It was amazing to meet up with Zelda, a young woman I had worked with at Machaca Summer Camp in 2000.  How sweet it is to see her steadfastly serving the Lord 15 years later! It was wonderful to once again see little girls we played with last October.  Where six months ago there were shy smiles and play time, now there were warm hugs, selfies, singing, showing us their homes, learning about their lives and growing in relationship.

It was so fun to reconnect with these little cuties when we visited their home village of Machaca in April.  Our team initially met them in October 2014.
It was so fun to reconnect with these little cuties when we visited their home village of Machaca in April. Our team initially met them in October 2014.
It was hard to come home because life is relatively simple in Belize- or atleast it appeared that way to me.  Part of the simplicity is due to poverty- if you don’t have money to spend on stuff, you don’t have stuff to complicate your life.  Joe and I came away with a strong desire to simplify our lives- from diminishing our excessive wardrobes, to purging the ridiculous amount of toys our kids own, to limiting the media that our family has access to.  All of our “stuff” gets in the way of our family’s relationship with Christ- time spent managing our excess is time spent distracted from our Lord. 

I come away from our time in Belize with new perspective regarding what it important, what is of eternal value, and what some of the distractions are that I need to eliminate from my life.  I have a renewed sense of mission- God has called me to be a missionary at all times, wherever I may be.  I am to love my neighbor (everyone) and seize every opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those I encounter.  That means I have to be prepared to share the Gospel!  Nothing is more important than fulfilling that mission- whether it is training up my children to know the Lord, discipling the women in my small group, or traveling around the world on a short term missions trip.  My desire is to be useful to the Lord by Doing Life Deliberately!!

In His Love,

Trisha

 

 

 Today Joe and I, along with a team of 6 others, are heading back to the Toledo District in southern Belize. Last October we had the privilege of meeting and partnering in gospel ministry with Bob and Rhonda Farley, missionaries to Belize for over a decade. This region of Belize is the poorest of all the districts, with only 11 of 52 villages having access to electricity. The average worker in Belize makes less than $400 annually. And though the name of Jesus is familiar to Belizeans, their access to spiritual growth resources is very limited as their is no Bible college or seminary in the country to try pastors.

That’s where our mission comes in.

This week our team will be partnering with the Belize Training Center, which the Farley’s have established near Punta Gorda, to train and disciple pastors and their families. We will bring teaching, encouragement, and counseling in hopes of strengthening and encouraging the faith of our Belizean brothers and sisters in Christ.

Would you like to partner with us???

The thought of traveling overseas to serve others seems daunting to some. But every missionary, short term or long term, needs faithful partners in prayer: 

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

There is a very real spiritual battle going on for the souls of men. We need God to fight for us, in response to the prayers of His people. 

If you take this calling to prayer and spreading the gospel seriously, would you please commit to partner with us in prayer? 

Please pray:

  • For health and safety- pray that God will keep us safe from harm in travel, protection from food borne illness or personal health issues that the team might have. I have a pretty severe cold at the moment.
  • For our team to work in unity. Pray that we will communicate well, encourage one other, and bless one another.
  • For language barriers- that we will be understood regardless of language and cultural differences. Pray that God will provide skilled translators and that what God wants to say to His children will be communicated clearly.
  • For humility- that our hearts will be soft and open to where God’s Spirit is leading us, open to His conviction and His work. Pray that we will not be arrogant or rude, thinking we know it all, but that we will be eager to learn and serve.
  • For us to be uncomfortable- that we will step out of our comfort zones to strike up conversations with nationals, make attempts to learn their languages, worship in a new or different way. 
  • For us to be a blessing- both to the Farley family and all the locals we encounter. Pray that our words will be matched with loving actions that draw others to Christ.
  • For our families that we leave behind and entrust to the care of friends and family. Ask God to keep them safe and cover them with His presence. Pray that they would feel included in this process, even if they can’t be physically present with us.

Thank you for joining us in prayer!! What a blessing it is to walk this path with you. I look forward to paying pictures and updates as things ice forward.

Blessings,

Trisha