Friday, May 29, 2015

Make this a Summer to Remember - Lisa Clark

Hey Moms! How many summers to do you have left with your kiddos at home?   3? 6? 9? 0? Oh no! Don’t cry! Get motivated to make this a summer to remember!

How many times have your summers come and gone and you say to yourself, “Well, that was fun but what did we do?  What did we accomplish?  I felt like a referee most of the summer!”

Many of us have been there.  Those 10-12 weeks go by very quickly.  Plan now to make each week special and intentional.  Here are some ideas:

Spend some time each week learning.  We don’t want our kids to lose what they’ve learned this school year, and we certainly don’t want them to be brain dead upon returning to school in August.  Spend some time, maybe an hour or two, each week working through old workbooks or maybe even pull out some flash cards.  This is especially important for those kids who struggle academically.  If nothing else, READ.  Make it your goal for your children to complete a novel or two this summer.  Readers are leaders!

Get physical! Ride bikes, walk trails, swim…but get outside as a family! Make physical activity a MUST each week.  Our kids are prone to stay inside and play video games.  Don’t let this be the highlight of your child’s summer.  Set limits on all electronics!  If your children are 14 or older, consider some kind of work opportunity for them.  Help them figure out how to get a job that is age appropriate.  Our children need to know what it means to work hard.  Before they graduate high school they need to have had a job…an employer…received an official paycheck.  It’s important!

Encourage spiritual growth.  Ensure your kids to have a devotional or bible study to work through each day.  Maybe this is a good summer to start a family devotional study together! Check out the Sky Ranch Devotional written for families by Stacy Davis.  Also, Holly Shiver’s book, “I Can Learn the Bible,” 52 devotionals and scripture memory, is a great resource to start this summer. 

Finally, SERVE.  This is the best way to grow as a family and to grow in your relationship with God.  Each week, set aside time to serve someone in your neighborhood, or a family member or in your church family.  Visit a nursing home.  Bake cookies for a neighbor.  Take a meal to someone who is in need of encouragement.  Write a note to a grandparent.  Make a donation.  The opportunities for service are limitless.  Service is our outward expression of love for our Father. 

So, let’s make the summer of 2015 the best yet! Moms, you steer the ship of your home.  You might want to take your calendar out now and start plugging in dates/times to make sure these things happen! Before you look up it will be August and another school year.  God bless you!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Community Valuing Relationships - Better Together Devotion by Stacy A. Davis

Family Fun Icebreaker: What is a good memory from a time shared with friends?

Topic Question: How are we Better Together?

Today’s Big Idea: Community Valuing Relationships
Finding a group of friends that treats you right can be hard. In a group of friends, joking that starts in fun sometimes goes too far and becomes hurtful; ego gets in the way. In God’s community, God doesn’t want joking at the expense of others. He wants real joy. God wants a community that loves at all times. God also desires a community that lives in unity with each other. He wants us to show loving-kindness, be good, and pleasant. God desires for you to be part of a group that through the unity of friendship points others to Jesus. If you are isolated and alone, God knows that you can struggle more to live life His right way. You can be tempted to live apart from God. You need to be in a group of people who will in a loving manner encourage you to listen to God’s direction.

Talk with God: Read the scriptures aloud.
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in
unity. Psalm 133:1 (NIV)
A friend loves at all times. Proverb 17:17 (NIV)

Walk with God: Read aloud and discuss.
You may not be part of a group outside of your family right now, and that is okay. Your family is the first community that God designed for you. God also wants you to be strengthened by godly peers. He wants you to be part of a group who loves you and encourages you outside of your family. God wants the church to be an accepting place. He wants you to feel welcome to join a group of friends who trust Jesus. He wants you to strengthen others and be strengthened by others. Even in church, however, it can be a challenge to find this group of encouraging friends. You may have to make many visits to several different groups until you find the right group for you. You may find God’s community in a Christian neighborhood group or a Christian group at school. God’s community is often in a church building but not limited to that location. Keep praying about finding His community, and He will lead you to the right place.

Discuss with your family: Do you think that anyone else feels unsure walking into a new group? What helps you make friends in a new group of people? What would be the benefits of being in a small group of godly friends?

Prayer suggestion: Pray for God to help you find a community of godly friends.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Tips from Tori!

It is that time of year to be getting your camper ready for Sky Ranch summer camp!  Here are Top Ten Tips that have worked for us over the years…

  1. A suitcase, trunk or large duffel bag work great for packing.  You will see a variety of all.
  2. Don’t over pack…they will need mostly just t-shirts, and shorts.
  3. They will need some sort of water shoes that can be worn throughout the day.  Many of the campers like Chacos or a like brand of shoe as they have a back strap and stay on waking from activity to activity.
  4. Pack closed toe shoes too!
  5.  My girls prefer sheets and a blanket rather than a sleeping bag for their bunk.
  6.  For theme nights make a trip to your local Dollar Store or Thrift shop for items.
  7. Make a note or small package to be delivered daily to camper. Bring your goodies with you to drop off and Sky Ranch will deliver for you!
  8.  Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, bug spray and a refillable water bottle.
  9.  Send with notecards and stamps, who knows your camper might send you a letter homeJ!
  10. When you return home go to your local laundry mat and wash all clothes and bedding.  So much easier than one load at a time at home.

While your camper is away at Sky Ranch, pray for them daily.  This week will be life changing and you can be apart of that life change by praying for them, the counselors and staff!

-Tori Miller, SkyMoms Ministry Director

Friday, May 22, 2015

Community Committed to God - Better Together Devotion by Stacy A. Davis

Family Fun Icebreaker: Have you ever helped defend someone for doing the right thing? What happened?

Topic Question: How are we Better Together?

Today’s Big Idea: Community Committed to God
God’s community stands together in unity in the fight for God’s right lifestyle. The fight of God’s good against the evil of those who oppose God is in the minds and hearts of people. The struggle is not your typical fight, but the battle is just as real. The fight is for the soul of a person and is a fight for truth. In God’s community, you don’t fight alone, but there are many who join you by your side to fight. But you don’t fight with your fists or violence; instead, your weapons are praying, knowing scripture, speaking against sin and wrong-doing, or serving God as He directs. You are led in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 to fight for the knowledge of God or the whole Word of God, the Holy Bible. People will argue against the knowledge of God and your job is to speak up and make a stand for God by knowing His Word well enough to counter the argument. God calls His Word, the Holy Bible, the “Sword of the Spirit.” You are to be armed by knowing His message well enough to successfully say it in love.

Talk with God: Read the scripture aloud.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world
does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world.
On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up
against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to
make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)

Walk with God: Read aloud and discuss.
Is it easier to make a stand all by yourself or with a group who agrees with you? That is easy-- the group! A group can send a powerful message, which is why God designed His community to stand together for Him. Jesus prayed for our unity. Why? If we can be divided, we can be conquered. God’s love is the perfect bond of unity (Colossians 3:14). God wants a community that in love knows the message of the Bible, the Sword of the Spirit. Then, when God’s Word is attacked, this community knows God’s truth and can speak it in love. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 speaks of strongholds that are against the knowledge of God; these strongholds are lies that cause doubt in God’s Word. God shares that this fight is different, your weapon is the Word of God and there is power in the truth that is spoken. We are better together when God’s community speaks truth to demolish strongholds.

Discuss with your family: Do arguments over the message of the Bible cause distractions from the main truth that you are saved by faith in Jesus? If God’s community stands together in speaking truth of scripture, how could this unity help others listen to God’s life-changing message?

Prayer suggestion: Pray for God to help His community speak the truth in love.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ALL IN - Terrie Chevaillier

Work willingly at whatever you do,
 as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Colosians 3:23

If your kids are heading to Sky Ranch for camp this summer they will encounter the theme ALL IN!  It caused me to think a bit about what they might learn as they focus for one week, unplugged, and in the company of peers and godly mentors as they seek to know what it means to be ALL IN.  Should I start praying for them to learn this truth?  Maybe pray that they would come home from camp and start living this truth to be ALL IN as a fully devoted follower of Christ?

I will pray these things for them, but where I was really led was to pray them for myself.  It caused me to think if they spend an entire week learning this, how can I, as an influence in my home, model an ALL IN walk starting now and when they come home from camp?

Work willingly- at whatever I do?  Working inside and outside of the home with a willing and loving servant’s heart.  All In as I start my day in the Word before telling others what to do- in my home and outside of my home.  All in as I pray daily for my kids, my spouse, my friends, my church, Sky Ranch, and willingly wherever God leads me to pray.  All in as I say “NO” to things I have freedom to do but might cause my children to stumble.  All in as I use my words to build others up- refrain from gossip.  Willingly speak encouraging words when the name of another person comes up that brings up unpleasant or thoughts.   All in as I seek to model a servants heart inside and outside of our home.

It kind of changes everything when you realize you don’t have to do all of the above for people.  When we work willingly as unto the LORD others see we are ALL IN!  How?  Because when you are freed up from pleasing people, it seems to just all work a whole lot better and your life becomes a life of service to the Lord and not to the world.  To a watching home and world- this kind of ALL IN looks different.  Allusive?  Perhaps peaceful and at restful.  Working willingly at whatever.  ALL IN!

My kids are getting to that age where they seem to be learning more from my walk than my talk!  Can anyone else relate?  I guess this principal could have always been at work in their lives, but it appears to be key as they are in the teen age and college years.

So, I will pray for myself to be ALL IN as I send them off to Sky Ranch this summer to learn this truth as well.  My guess is -I will get to learn some things from them when they get home.  From past experience, the things I learn from them are life changing for myself.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Community of Compassion - Better Together Devotion by Stacy A. Davis

Family Fun Icebreaker: Who is an easy person for you to talk to? Why?

Topic Question: How are we Better Together?

Today’s Big Idea: Community of Compassion
God wants a community that shows compassion to the world around them. God wants His compassionate community to reflect His heart, sending the message that this compassion is due to God’s amazing grace! Your compassion for the right lifestyle should point others to Jesus and give them a desire to have that kind of heart. God has placed you in schools, in jobs, in friendships, and in a family. He wants your heart to reflect His moral values when you are around others. As the body of Christ that lives life around a world of immoral people, God wants you to stand out and be different, making moral or right choices. There is power in numbers, and by being part of a large group that shares God’s compassion with others; it gives glory to our amazing God! As a part of God’s community living out God’s moral values, you can be part of the group that influences others around you to do the right thing by your words and actions.

Talk with God: Read the scripture aloud.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle,
open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and
sincere. James 3:17 (ESV)

Walk with God: Read aloud and discuss.
God wants you to be part of the group that shines brightly. God wants you to “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 [NASB]). He wants His community to stand out in their words and behavior. He desires others to notice His group and wonder why they are different. One of the ways that you can stand out is in your conversations. You can listen well and look for the good in other people. You can compliment others, and you will stand out if you do. Some people look for the negative and make fun of others. God wants a community of people who show wisdom from above and are pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, merciful, good, impartial and sincere.

Discuss with your family: If you participate in a church service, project, or mission trip, how does that glorify God? How does donating or handing out food at a food pantry show sincere faith and compassion to others? What are other ways to show God’s compassion to the world?

Prayer suggestion: Pray for God to help your family reflect His good character in the community around you. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Mother's Prayer - Lisa Clark

Dear Lord,

Help me to be the person I expect my kids to be.


Maybe the shortest prayer ever written? Possibly.  Full of truth.  Absolutely.

As moms we expect SO MUCH out of our children.  And we should! Shoot for the stars and all that.  However, much, in my opinion, of what we want to see in our children we are unwilling to do, speak, be.

“The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.”  Luke 6:40

As moms, we are teaching ALL DAY LONG.  What we eat, what we drink, how we talk, when we talk, what we watch, what we don’t watch, how we serve, who we serve, what we read, and the list goes on and on and on and on.

If we want to see a certain behavior in our children we have to be willing to model it.  We have to be willing to learn new things if we want our children to learn what they need to know.  We are ALL a work in progress.  Never think it’s too late to be the person you want your children to be.  Never. 

And NEVER think that just because you’ve done it this way for years that it’s too late to quit or modify your behavior.  If you tend to be gossipy and have noticed the same characteristic in your child, then stop.  Pray for strength to not be a gossip.  Pray that God will strengthen you to quit.  Fill your mind with things above so that you notice and know when a situation to gossip is coming…and KNOW you’ve been equipped to not gossip. 

Is this easy? No.  Is this possible?  Yes. And it’s important.  Moms, we need to be more prayerful and less fretful.  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Community of Godly Devotion - Better Together Devotion by Stacy A. Davis

Family Fun Icebreaker: What is your favorite form of worship?

Topic Question: How are we Better Together?

Today’s Big Idea: Community of Godly Devotion
God wants your family to be part of a community that honors and respects Him. God’s desire is that the honor and respect that His community shows will encourage others to want to know Jesus, too. God is sovereign, or rules over all things. He actively controls  everything that happens. He spoke all things into existence (Psalm 33:9); He deserves the respect that is due to One who is that powerful! He has His throne in the heavens and rules over all (Psalm 103:19). He shows you an amazing amount of kindness by wanting a personal relationship with you. As a result of accepting Him, your heart will naturally feel a loving devotion toward Him, a true loyalty, and it will cause you to speak with respect to Him and about Him. God wants His community of like-minded people to be dedicated to respect, devotion, and acting honorably toward Him.

Talk with God: Read the scriptures aloud.
The LORD is a great God and a great King above all gods.
Psalm 95:3 (ESV)
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his
kingdom rules over all. Psalm 103:19 (ESV)

Walk with God: Read aloud and discuss.
When you love the Lord and recognize Him as a great God and great King above all others, it will be evident in the words that you choose to say about Him; your words reflect your heart. God wants you to be in a community that speaks respectfully of Him by not using His name, or His Son’s name, in vain (meaning using the words “God” or “Jesus Christ” like a cuss word). He desires for you to share how much He has done for you to others. Your actions will speak even louder than your words by keeping a special day to honor Him set aside. By going to church and by making church friends and activities a priority to you and your family, you are making a statement about God that other people are seeing. You can show others that you respect God as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Discuss with your family: What are ways your family can show others that they are devoted to God? When you honor something, how do you show that it is important to you? What are ways to show that you honor God?

Prayer suggestion: Pray for God to help you show Him the amazing honor that He is due.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Giving - SkyMom Erika Kruckenberg

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”  Winston Churchill

This quote speaks to me each day. When I open my journal – it’s on the top of the page, look on my “ism” wall and it is bold and bright – no way to miss it! Let’s read that quote again, “we make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” If you think about where you are today – the whole crazy picture – ups and downs, good times, not so good times, friends that are still with you, friends that have faded into the past – ask yourself – what have you given? This is not meant to be a contest on who has done the most or the least for that matter – just simply a check in to say “what have you given?” 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Community of Righteousness - Better Together Devotion by Stacy A. Davis

Family Fun Icebreaker: What is something that you like doing as a family?

Topic Question: How are we Better Together?

Today’s Big Idea: Community of Righteousness
God wants His community to make a stand for the lifestyle that He says is right, and His desire is for this group to guide others to Jesus. When you tell others outside God’s community about Jesus and are mocked for it, you are suffering for what is right. Should you stop telling others about Jesus because of the suffering? No, God tells you that you are blessed and to keep doing the right thing. Your devotion shows that you must really believe in Jesus to continue sharing His message while enduring persecution. Don’t be surprised if you have difficulty when you make a stand for right values; others outside of God’s community will not agree with you. However, God has a big community of followers. You can tell who the other members are because, like you, they will also stand for God’s way and their words and actions will agree with scripture. The unity of the group standing together for Jesus speaks volumes to those who are watching.

Talk with God: Read the scriptures aloud.
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.
1 Peter 3:14 (NIV)
When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous,
even as Christ is righteous. John 3:7 (NLT)

Walk with God: Read aloud and discuss.
You are part of a big team; God’s community will make a difference in our world. This group will help the world be a better place! Keep telling the truth in love and continue speaking about moral values. If others get mad at you for trusting all of God’s Word, stand firm and continue believing all of scripture. Keep telling others about the hope of Jesus, sharing the truth that God is God alone. God tells you to expect some suffering. You are doing the right thing. God promises to strengthen you and He will be a shield for you, if you will take refuge in Him (Psalm 18:30). Know that you are not alone; God’s community is agreeing with and supporting you.

Discuss with your family: Peer pressure can be a form of suffering. What has helped you overcome peer pressure and make a stand for God’s right values? How can making a stand for God while enduring suffering encourage others to trust in Jesus?

Prayer suggestion: Pray for God’s strength to help you stand for His right way.