Doing Life Together at Journey

Rethink, Rebrand & Reinvent

  Generations is the Journey ministry team that serves Children and Students from Birth through High School. We have always believed and invested in children’s ministry at Journey and as we enter into a new generation we sense it’s time to make some adjustments to better serve families with children. So I’m excited to announce that:

Over the next 90 days we are going to RETHINK REBRAND & REINVENT the Generations Ministry!

 

Where we are now.

Here are a couple of stats you may want to know:

In 2017 we have ministered to a total of:

302 Babies and Preschoolers

730 Elementary Kids

126 Journey Students - Junior High and High School

Taking into consideration we have kids that were in two of these ministries during the year, for distinct individuals we have a total of 820 Generations Kids overall. That is a total of 428 families. We take this responsibility very serious and it’s an honor to serve your family and we want to do a better job.

We have THREE Campuses with 5 Sunday Experiences that offers ministry for Nursery,, Preschool and Kindergarten through 12 Years Old  and THREE Journey Students Experiences for Junior High and High School during the week. That’s a lot of ministry bases to cover. So we are going to adjust our large group meetings and Small group settings. We will evaluate the number of leaders we need to serve, our choice of curriculum, room design, worship style and story telling. In short it’s a new day for kids and students at Journey. Also I’m getting personally involved in leading our Generations team. Effective immediately, I’m joining the Generations team as the Elementary Pastor and I’ll be leading the Generations Lead Team for the next 90 Days as we Rethink, Rebrand and Reinvent Generations Minstry at Journey. We are meeting as a Lead Team each Wednesday to plan for the future of ministry for Journey Babies, Preschoolers, Kids and Students. We will be studying what works for us and what doesn’t.

We are all so excited about this new day at Journey!

Rethink. Rebrand. Reinvent.  

 

 

Doing Life Together

Country Roads

Jack’s Cookies and RC Cola was a weekly treat that we looked forward to as little boys. My dad farmed strawberries in rural Tangipohoa Parish in the 1960’s and there was a gas station about a mile away that sold snacks and soft drinks too. Mom would take us there in the car and sometimes she would let us walk to the store. Those days were my favorites, the days that she let us walk there. My brothers and my cousins would take the trip on foot and along the way we would laugh and talk and tell stories and avoid the occasional car that would pass. When we finally arrived at the little country gas station we were ready for a cold drink. That’s what we called soft drinks back then “cold drinks”. I would always get the same thing on these trips. I would buy an RC Cola and a Jack’s cookie. Together they cost about .10 cents. At that time RC Cola came in a bottle and Jack’s cookies came unwrapped and were displayed in a large glass cookie jar. On those hot summer days so long ago the pleasure of walking down country roads with cousins and brothers and with cold drinks and cookies in hand seemed just about perfect. In those moments all was right with the universe. 

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Doing Life Together

Journey GO Trips 2018!

Each year we respond to the Great Commission when Jesus called us to take the Gospel to the nations. We call these outreaches Journey GO Trips. A Go Trip consist of a Journey leader and small team of people from Journey that take a short term trip to serve the Lord and the local church. Each person pays their own way and joins the leader along with the other team members on mission trip.

Journey “GO Trips” 2018!

    This year we will travel to these 4 destinations:

    *Atlanta Dream Center

    *Dominion Republic

    *Brazil

    *Argentina

    -For more info Sign Up at Guest Services on all Campuses. 

    Are you called to Go?

Doing Life Together

Day #4 of the 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting

The first three days of the fast are usually the toughest so Today on Day #4, I woke up with a clear head and very little hunger pangs. I feel like I am getting in the zone. Each year during the Fast our church plants prayer flags around the Journey Prayer Walk on the I-12 Campus. On the flags we write prayer request and special needs. We plant the flags around the lake and pray over them each day. If you attend Journey this Sunday pick up a flag and a sharpie and write down your request. We will pray for you this week. I planted and prayed over a stack of flags this morning. Also we are praying every night on the Belle Chasse Campus and on Saturday morning at 6AM at the Pontchartrain Campus. We are getting prepared for 2018. Come on Jesus! 

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Doing Life Together

Goal Setting

During this season of Fasting and Prayer, it would be a good time to set goals for the New Year and maybe write or rewrite your Lifetime Goals. I’ve been setting goals for years and it always helps me to stay focused on my life’s purpose. Today write down some goals for one thing you want to accomplish today, three things over the next 30 Days, five things this year and begin a list of lifetime goals. Below you’ll find a goal setting workshop by Mark Batterson that will help you get started.

10 Steps to Setting Life Goals

by Mark Batterson

1. Start with Prayer

If you set goals in the context of prayer, there is a much higher likelihood that your goals will glorify God, and if they don’t glorify God, then they aren’t worth setting in the first place.  So start with prayer.

 

2. Check your Motives

If you set selfish goals, you’d be better off spiritually if you didn’t accomplish them.  That’s why you need to check your motives.

 

3. Think in Categories

My goals are broken in five categories: 1) family 2) influential 3) experiential 4) physical, and 5) travel.  The obvious omission is a category for spiritual goals, but that is by intention.  All of my goals have a spiritual dimension to them.

 

4. Be Specific

If a goal isn’t measurable, you have no way of knowing whether or not you’ve accomplished it.  Losing weight isn’t a goal if you don’t have a target weight within a target timeline.

 

 

5. Write It Down

I have a saying that I repeat to our family and our staff all the time: the shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory.  If you haven’t written down your goals, you haven’t really set them.  There is something powerful that happens when you verbalize a goal, whether that is in a conversation or in a journal.

 

6. Include Others

I used to have lots of personal goals, but I have replaced most of them with shared goals.  Nothing cements a relationship like a shared goal.  Goals are relational glue.  I’ve discovered that when you go after a goal with another person, it doubles your joy.

 

7. Celebrate Along the Way

When you accomplish a goal, celebrate it.  Whenever I write a new book, for example, our family celebrates with a special meal on the day the book is released.  And I get to choose the restaurant!

 

8. Dream Big

Your life goal list will include goals that are big and small.  It will include goals that are short-term and long-term.  But I have one piece of advice: make sure you have a few big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAGs) on the list.

 

9. Think Long

The sad truth is that most people spend more time planning their summer vacation than they do planning the rest of their life.  Goal setting is good stewardship.  Instead of letting things happen, goals help us make things happen.  Instead of living out of memory, goals help us live out of imagination.

 

10.  Pray Hard

Dreaming is a form of praying and praying is a form of dreaming.  The more you dream, the more you’ll pray.  And the more you pray, the more you’ll dream! 

Doing Life Together

Tips for Fasting

Tips for Fasting


Adapted from the writings of

Dr. Bill Bright

This entire article is available at cru.org It's entitled, "Your Personal Guide to Fasting and Prayer”.

I. Guard you Health                              If you have health issues or questions you should CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR before fasting.

In spite of the absolute safety and benefits of fasting, there are certain persons who should NEVER fast without professional supervision.


For example:


A. Persons who are physically too thin or emaciated.

B. Persons who are prone to anorexia, bulimia, or other behavioral disorders.

C. Those who suffer weakness or anemia.

D. Persons who have tumors, bleeding ulcers, cancer, blood diseases, or who have heart disease.

E. Those who suffer chronic problems with kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, or other important organs.

Individuals who take insulin for diabetes, or suffer any other blood sugar problem such as hyperglycemia.

F. Women who are pregnant or nursing.


II. What kind of fast should I do?

The Bible Recounts Primarily Two Types of Fasts. Partial. Complete.


Partial Fast:

A partial fast is described in the book of Daniel. Although the water fast seemed to be the custom of the prophet, there was a three-week period in which he only abstained from "delicacies," meat, and wine (Daniel 10:3).


Complete Fast:

The two variations of the complete fasts mentioned in the Bible are the "supernatural absolute" and the “absolute” fasts.


SUPERNATURAL ABSOLUTE:

The “Supernatural Absolute” Fast was with no food OR water. Moses, Jesus and Paul fasted at least once with this method.


Moses fasted for 40 Days when he received the 10 Commandments. (Exodus 34:28).


Jesus fasted 40 Days when He began his ministry. (Matthew 4).


Paul went on an absolute fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:9).





ABSOLUTE FAST:

This is the fast that I practice.

I strongly advice you to drink plenty of liquids. Obviously, if God leads you to undertake an absolute fast, you should obey. If so, be certain, without doubt, that God is leading you.


Water-only fasts that last for more than several days need to be undertaken with complete rest and under medical supervision because of the extreme danger of over-toxification, breakdown of vital body tissues, and loss of electrolytes.


I personally RECOMMEND and PRACTICE water and juice fasting, especially if you are going to fast for an extended period of time. This type of fast will provide you with more energy than absolute or water-only fasts and still lead you into the humbling experience of denying your desire for solid food that you can chew.


When it comes to making your final decision about what type of fast is right for you, the best advise I can give you is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will guide your heart and mind as to what is best for you. Remember, the most important consideration in fasting is your motive. Why are you fasting? To seek something personally from God's hand or to seek His face in worship, praise and thanksgiving?


III.  Physical Preparation


Although fasting is primarily a spiritual discipline, it begins in the physical realm. You should not fast without specific physical preparation.


If you plan on fasting for several days, you will find it helpful to begin by eating smaller meals before you abstain altogether. Resist the urge to have that "last big feast" before the fast. Cutting down on your meals a few days before you begin the fast will signal your mind, stomach, and appetite that less food is acceptable.


Some health professionals suggest eating only raw foods for two days before starting a fast. I also recommend weaning yourself off caffeine and sugar products to ease your initial hunger or discomfort at the early stages of your fast.


IV. Manage Your Schedule

Reasons for schedule adjustments, especially during an extended fast, are two-fold...


The first is physical. Throughout your fast, you may feel somewhat weaker than normal. During the first few days, you may feel tired and irritable. Lightening your workload and cutting down on strenuous exercise would be a very good idea to maintain your health and your morale.


The second reason is spiritual. Fasting is not just denying yourself food. It is exchanging the needs of the physical body for those of the spiritual. Long times of prayer and reading God's Word will be very essential if you are to enter into a more intimate communion with God to maintain your fast to its completion. While fasting, if you dissipate your energy on numerous errands or busy-work to the neglect of spending special time with God, you will starve both physically and spiritually. You will find yourself becoming discouraged and frustrated with your fast instead of being benefited and uplifted and blessed. I don't want that to happen to you.


The more time you spend with God in fellowship, worship, and adoration of Him, and the more you read and meditate upon His Word, the greater your effectiveness will be in prayer and the more meaningful your fast will be. So I encourage you to arrange your schedule accordingly!



V. Stay Focused & Use Wisdom

Receiving God's best blessing from a fast requires solid commitment. Arranging special time each day with God is absolutely crucial in attaining intimate communion with the Father. You must devote yourself to seeking God's face, even (and especially) during those times in which you feel weak, vulnerable, or irritable. Read His Word and pray during what were mealtimes. Meditate on Him when you awake in the night. Sing praises to Him whenever you please. Focus on your Heavenly Father and make every act one of praise and worship. God will enable you to experience His command to "pray without ceasing" as you seek His presence.


May the grace of Jesus and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit keep you.

Doing Life Together

How to pray one hour.

How to pray for ONE HOUR


Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, not what words to say or even where to pray but he gave us a model to follow. I use this model to pray for one hour and so could you. Prayer is a conversation between you and your Creator. Talk. Listen. Enjoy. You will come away from your prayer time refreshed and inspired. Pray like Jesus.


This prayer model is based on the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.  It is intended to be a guide to build your prayer time around.  As you spend time with Jesus use these scriptures as a guide to pray. Read Matthew 6:9-13 before you begin.

Spend about 10 Minutes at each prayer station and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit.


One hour a day!

Pray as He leads you.

Listen to His voice.

Keep a daily journal.

Station 1 - Faith

Our Father in Heaven, May your name be honored.


Begin your time of prayer with WORSHIP. Tell God that you love Him and then tell Him why. List the good things in your life and give thanks for each of them. 

1 Thessalonians 5:17-19 - 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19Do not put out the Spirit's fire;



Station 2 - Humility

Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.


Humble yourself before the Lord. Deal with your sin and pride honestly.  CONFESS your weaknesses and open your heart to receive His strength. 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Station 3 - Dependence


Give us this day our daily bread.

Present to the Lord your needs. Ask for what you lack. Believe that you'll have what you


ASK. Pray for wisdom and pray for the Favor of God.

Luke 2:52 - And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Station 4 - Forgiveness

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.


Release those who have wronged you. FORGIVE those who have hurt you. Make a choice to move on. Forget the things that are behind you. 

Philippians 3:13 - Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,



Station 5 - Deliverance

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.


Trust God to deliver you from the evil of this world. Put on the whole ARMOR OF GOD. Ask for boldness and confidence. 

Ephesians 6:10-18

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Station 6 - Worship

For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.


Conclude your prayer time the same way that you started it. WORSHIP. SING. MEDITATE. THINK.

Psalms 23:1-6 - 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

  2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,  he leads me beside quiet waters, 

3 he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Doing Life Together

21 Day Prayer Guide 2018

Dear Journey Family,

Our 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer begins on Monday January 1, 2018. Set aside time to pray each day, decide on a plan of fasting that works for you and let’s pursue the Lord together to kick off this new year. I encourage you to pray, read your Bible and keep a Journal of your experience. Also this Prayer Guide is posted on the Journey App. Take it with you wherever you go. 2018 can be your best year ever! There is also more information about Fasting on the Journey App if you want to know more. If this is your first time to fast I urge you to use wisdom and if you’re not sure what to do you should see your doctor. 

Here’s the 21 Day Prayer Guide with a list of people and events to pray for with Journey each day, 

 

Day 1

Pray for the grace of God to be on the vision of Journey.

 

Pray for Pastor Doug & Rachel McAllister and their family.

 

Pray for the 10 Easter Experiences happening on our Three campuses and the Online Campus.

 

Day 2

Pray for the members of the "Go Team" who serve in the ministry at Journey.

 

Pray for the Lead Team and their families. Pastor Ken Maat, Pastor Tanya Camper, Jeremey Charbonnet.

 

Pray for the STEP Classes. First Step and Next Step. First Step is an Online Video and Next Step is a luncheon that meets on each campus on the last Sunday of each month.

 

Day 3

Pray for our 100 Small Group Leaders, Assistant Leaders and members.

 

Pray for Journey Essentials, our discipleship ministry.

 

Pray for the Journey pastors and support staff: Luis Padilla, Chris Buckel, Michael Lahman, Alvin Chartier, Dan and Angel Mesman, Kirk Plaisance, Karen McLaney, Koni Maat, Lisa Krumm, Cecelia Hopes and Kathy Crosby, Christian McAllister, Cade McAllister, Noah Neyland, Dennis Clark.

 

Pray for the Journey Mothers Day Out our Director Karen McLaney and her team.

 

Day 4

Pray for the Weekend Teams on both campuses: Safety, Cafe, Hospitality, Guest Services, Ushers, Greeters, Check-In, Clean Team,

 

Pray for Weekend Team Directors, Coordinators and Teams on All Campuses.

 

Pray for the Givers at Journey who give generously with their tithes and offerings each week.

 

Pray for the REACH CAMPAIGN that raises funds to reach NEW people and support our Campuses.

 

Pray for the Kingdom Financial Coalition. KFC is the Journey ministry to serve our business leaders and entrepreneurs.

 

Day 5

Pray for the Journey worship bands and media teams and our

Worship Pastor Rachel McAllister.

 

Pray for the Journey Altar Ministry times and  teams on all the Campuses that each person would have an experience with the Holy Spirit.

 

Day 6

Pray for the Journey Teaching Team who brings the Word each Experience. Doug McAllister, Ken Maat, Luis Padilla, Alvin Chartier and Chris Buckel.

 

Pray for the Online Campus, the Online Team and the folks that watch each week.

 

Pray for our Audio and Video Podcast that is available on the Journey App and on the Journey website.

 

Pray for all the Journey Campuses: physical plant, equipment and maintenance.

 

 

Day 7

Pray for the Summer of Service on the Northshore and New Orleans as we share the Good News with our neighbors.

 

Pray for Compassion Outreach as we 'help hurting people' in our communities.

 

Day 8

Pray for our SUM Cohort students working toward their college degree in ministry.

(School of Urban Missions)

 

Pray for the Mardi Gras Outreach 2018. Our students will be on Bourbon Street each reaching out to people.

 

Pray for our Small Group Leaders training weekend in August.

 

Pray for our Generations Team! Journey Students Ministries that serve Nursery, Preschool, Kids Town, Ignite and Momentum.

 

 

Day 9

Pray for our Local and Foreign Missionaries.

(See the separate card for a full list of our Missionaries available at Guest Services).

 

Pray for the 2018 Missions Conference at Journey in October.

 

Day 10

Pray for our Local Outreach Partners:

 

Pray for the Pregnancy Help Center in Slidell.

 

Pray for the Community Christian Concern in Slidell.

 

Pray for Compassion Outreach.

 

Pray for the New Orleans Mission.

 

Day 11

Pray for our "GO Trips" which are Journey's Short-Term Foreign Outreaches to the nations.

2018 Trips:

Atlanta Dream Center

Dominion Republic

Brazil

Argentina

 

Day 12

Pray for our College Missionaries:

Eric Treuil - UL

Chris Buckel - Delgado

Matt Degeir - Tulane

Jonathan Buras - LSU

Day 13

Pray for our church planting work in Louisiana:

 

The LA Church Multiplication Network.

1,000 Strong Leaders and 300 Healthy Churches.

 

Pray for our church planting work nationwide:

The Church Multiplication Network.

Planting 10,000 new churches.

 

Day 14

Pray for our sister churches:

 

Journey Church Cleveland, Ohio

Pastor Jim & Jennifer Wilkes.

 

Freedom Church Carrolton, TX

Pastor Kendall & Starla Bridges

 

Crossroads Church Lafayette, LA

Pastor Jeff & Donna Ables

 

Shreveport Community Church

Shreveport, LA

Pastor Denny & Deanza Duron

 

Crossing Place Church

Morgan City, LA

Pastor Den & Bonnie Hussey

 

North Point Community Church

Bossier City, LA

Pastor Philip & Destiny Deas

 

Saints Community Church

Ne Orleans, LA

Pastor Wayne & Kristy Northup

 

Day 15

Pray for the Prophetic Presbytery coming First Wednesday  May 2018

 

Pray for Mother's Day and Father's Day ministry on both campuses.

 

Pray for the First Wednesday Experience monthly as we focus on the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

 

Pray for our Marriage Weekends coming to each Campus in February.

 

Day 16

Pray for "Journey Essentials" our 3 year system that builds Fully Devoted Followers of Jesus.

 

Pray for our Spring, Summer and Fall Semesters of Small Groups.

 

Day 17

Pray for our students who are graduating from High School and College this year.

 

Pray for our Quarterly Water Baptisms on each Campus.

 

Pray for the Monthly Communion on each Campus that each Believer would grow in intimacy with Jesus.

 

Pray for the babies being dedicated to Jesus this year and their families.

 

Day 18

Pray for our future Journey Campuses that we will plant in and around Lake Pontchartrain.

 

Pray for the new Spanish Campus that we are planting in Belle Chasse.

 

Pray for the new Sunday Experiences that we will add to each Journey Campus.

 

Day 19

Pray for the Journey Care ministry that prays for and visit the sick and cares for the  hurting people in our Fellowship.

 

Pray for our Louisiana District Council and the General Council of the Assemblies of God and our leaders.

 

Pray for our State Bishop Scott Holmes and his team.

 

Pray for our General Superintendent Doug Clay and his team in the National Office.

 

Day 20

Pray for Summer Camps for our children and students.

Pray for 'Kids Conference' coming this summer to all Journey Campuses.

 

Pray for all the leaders and students who are in the Journey Small Groups

 

Pray for the Journey Students Winter Camp.

 

Day 21

Pray for Big Events 2018

 

April

Easter Weekend at Journey  that many lives will be changed.

 

July

“Grilling and Chilling” Summer Outreach on each Campus at the conclusion of Summer of Service in July.

 

October

“Party On” our church’s 22nd birthday celebration and our ALL NEW Missions Conference.

Doing Life Together

Christmas 2017

This Christmas has been one of the best ones yet. We had snow in Louisiana this winter, I found a CD with most of my Christmas favorites (it played on repeat in the Seqouah for a month) and all our kids came home for Christmas. Very special indeed. I’m grateful for all the kindness the Lord has shown us. But now the season is over and we prepare for new things in the New Year! As we finish out this year, take down the Christmas decorations and eat the last of the holiday foods, my heart is full. Our Family is good, Journey is blessed and I’m excited about the future. But above all things, Jesus is still the center of the human experience. His birthday is celebrated around the globe and here in America we are saying, “Merry Christmas” again. Ah, the wonders of Christmas. That little baby in Bethlehem still changes the world. 

Doing Life Together

Christmas 1968

The first Christmas that I can remember well was in 1968. I was six years old and had just started the 1st grade. There are a few flash memories that I have of the times before that Christmas, like my sisters wedding when I was 4 years old and then the times I was picking strawberries in my dads fields and playing with my cousins in the woods around our house. But the Christmas of 1968 stands out clearly in mind. Mom and Dad loaded us up with gifts to open and among them my most prized gift was the Cowboy and Indian dress up clothes. (This was long before the time of every body getting offended about everything.)  There was no cultural appropriation present, just kids free to imagine themselves in another place and time. My brother Ronnie Bruce and I played with our bow and arrows and six shooters for hours on end. We would fight over who got to be the Indian. So we took turns. My sister Mary was the oldest of the five kids and I was the youngest. She was already married to her husband Cornelius and he was like another brother to our family. Cornelius would later be drafted into the Marine Corp and he taught me the words to the Marine Corp Hymn. Well, in 1968 Mary and Cornelius bought me and my brother the Alvin & the Chipmonks Christmas album and we played it non stop on the record player. We loved that record even though Alvin was a major jerk to Dave and the other Chipmonks. Every time I hear those songs it feels like 1968 again. Christmas is still special to me to this day. It’s the music, the gifts, the food and time with family.

    Little did we know nor suspect that after the Christmas of 1968 our lives would change forever. In early 1969 our little farm house burned to the ground. My parents woke us up in the middle of the night and got all 4 of the boys safely out of the burning house. They brought us outside and put us safely away from the fire in my dads old car. I remember sitting in the front seat with my brothers watching my dad and the volunteer fireman fighting the flames. The battle raged on through the night but it was a total loss. The little house burned to the ground. The front seat of the old car started to get cold and the firemen were losing the battle with the fire and it occurred to me that all of my Christmas toys were in the house. All I could think of was - I will never get to be an Indian again. It’s funny what your value system looks like when you’re six years old. My most valuable possession then was my bow and arrows and now they were gone. It seemed like such a great loss from my perspective. But as I grew up my value system changed and the lessons that I learned that night came into focus and they still shape my character and define my values.

    Now that I look back at the last 50 years I see that what was really important survived the fire. My family walked away intact. Together. That fire and the loss of that Christmas created in me a deep love of family and a strong desire to protect the people that I love. How is it that complete loss and utter desperation always clarifies what’s really important. They teach values and principles that you’ll learn no where else. I remember Momma yelling to wake us in a burning house and my dad carrying me to safety and then huddling together with my brothers in the front seat of that old car. I remember watching the firemen battle the blazes and I remember the feeling in my gut of losing all the things that I loved. Now I know it’s not what I lost that night but it’s what I discovered that matters most. People. Events. Values. The people and the events on that cold night in 1969 left a deep impression on my life. It still shapes my values to this day. From the perspective of my six year old self I suffered a great loss But ironically every thing I needed in my life either survived or was born in the fire.

Family. Faith. Love of Christmas. 

Betwen you and me I’m still six years old and love to pretend that I’m an Indian tracking my brother through the woods near my childhood home. 

Merry Christmas from our family to yours. Whatever fire that you’re battling this year hold on tight to your faith in Jesus, love your family and listen to the music. 

Doing Life Together