What has God called you to do “one day”?

By Kevin Ganiere

My wife, Charonne, and I have long had the God given desire to be involved in foster care/adoption, but we always dreamed of doing it “one day”. You know, when the kids were older. However, our “one day” was trumped by God saying, “NOW.” Then lots of paper work, classes, and meetings with social workers, plus a six-month wait, brought us our first foster daughter.

It was an emotionally draining but exciting time for us as we welcomed this fragile three-month-old into our home. Doubts and fear about whether or not we would be able to handle this situation were put aside by the fact that God had called us to it.

Two plus years into foster care, our family of five turned to six as we welcomed our second foster daughter into the family. (Side note: Four kids are no joke!) More doubts and fear surrounding the challenges this little one has brought have once again been trumped by the fact that HE had called us to this. 

In 2 Samuel 23:14, David’s mighty men risked life and limb for a cool glass of water from a well that was beyond the enemy lines. Why? Because their King asked for it. Here is something I think we can get from this story of David’s men: They heard the request and acted. They didn’t say “Well maybe if we pass by there someday we could fetch that cold glass for you” or “after we defeat the enemy we can get that water.” They acted immediately.

I think a lot of times we miss out on the blessing of God because we don’t act immediately on what he says. But sometimes what God asks us to do is difficult or maybe embarrassing. When fear and doubt creep in, remember who called you – God, and then remember that fear is not from the Lord (2 Tim 1:7). You will never do anything great for God if you let fear paralyze you and keep you from doing what He has called you to do. 

So what about you? What has God called you to do? Have you let fear and doubt creep in or have you said “one day”. Don’t let your “one day” be a distant nothingness. Let your “one day” be TODAY!

Serving Your Family & at Church: How to Find Balance

By Cassie Voisin

My dream has finally come true. I am a Momma! Other then marrying Phil, it is the best decision I have ever made! I love my daughter, Emma, SO MUCH and I can’t imagine life without her!

Looking at Emma, I realize what a beauty and blessing God has trusted us with and I so badly want to lead and equip her with what it takes to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I want to model an amazing marriage so when she someday makes that decision she will know what a God-centered marriage should be like. I want her to love God with all of her heart and live palms up. To be a giver of her time, talent and treasure. 

I think a lot of families want this for their children, but balancing everything can be a struggle. Sometimes serving in the local church gets put on the back burner. Now, having Emma, I know just how much of a struggle it can be. There is work, family, friends, bills to pay, house to clean, games to go to, etc. But I know how important it is to put God first in all that we do and to model that for our children.  

Some people have a problem saying no when it gets to be more then they can handle. Ever hear of a jack of all trades, but a master of few? They have no problem serving in everything in ministry but put their family on the back burner. Others might not even serve at all in church and miss out on what God has asked of them completely. Me? I want to have a healthy balance. I want to serve in the local church whole heartedly in my spiritual giftings, but also serve my family and not neglect my role there.

There will sometimes be conflict between the two, but that doesn’t always mean that we are outside of God’s will. In Matthew 10:37 Jesus says, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Jesus is not prescribing conflict with our family, He is claiming for himself the right to be the center of our life.

What’s awesome about my job is that I get to help people put God in the center of their life. I also get to help them find the balance in serving and doing it within their spiritual gift mix. How cool is that!?

If you are new to Life Church or this is your home church and you are interested in getting connected, email me at cvoisin@lifechurchwi.com. I would love to find an area of ministry in your gift mix that will be a good balance for you and your family. 

You don’t want to miss out on what God has called you to do and also all the fun at Life Church! 

What’s So Spiritual about Monkey Bars?

By David Osterhaus

Do you remember playing outside at the park for hours when you were a child? Growing up, I spent hours and hours on playgrounds. And I am not ashamed to admit that I firmly believe I’m still 100% capable of crossing monkey bars and jumping from a swing set.

Recently I took my daughter to the Sussex Village Park. It’s a beautiful park, with areas for toddlers, elementary-age kids, and a ten-foot tall set of monkey bars for… well, 20-something-year-old children.

My wife and I eyed the large monkey bar set and she, being the wonderful and ladylike person that she is, boasted that she could cross them faster than I could. I will not comment on her performance, but I managed to cross the bars successfully on the first, okay, second attempt. Although to be honest, I was slightly concerned that my almost 200-pound frame might permanently damage a couple of the bars.

After successfully crossing, I stood up a little taller, rolled my shoulders back, and felt very proud of my performance, even though I was gasping for breath.

Later, as I reflected on this event, I realized that earlier I would have boasted in my abilities. I would have remembered how I had played a long time ago, and convinced myself that I could cross those bars with finesse.

There isn’t anything particularly spiritual about a set of monkey bars, but my day at the park helped me to remember that I was a different person yesterday. Today I can’t do the things I accomplished yesterday, but I can set my sights on new goals.  I am so blessed to have children and I love that even small moments like going to the park can be teaching moments.

Family Impact

By Ryan Coggins

Few people have left such a profound impression on my life as my grandpa. It wasn’t through his words or lectures, for neither were necessary to impact my life. It was through his tangible devotion to Christ that I saw what it meant to be a follower of Christ and a pastor.

I remember going to the grocery store or to a restaurant, and without fail, he would share his faith in Christ with someone. It was never forced, but through simple conversation, genuine care, and meeting felt needs, he left a mark on this world. He lived out the great commission daily.

I remember living with him and my grandma one summer in college, and I was astonished by how many hours he spent reading the Bible and praying. He told he he had read the Bible cover to cover four times that year and it was only May! This is a man who pastored for fifty years, and was a student of theology. He could probably quote most of the Bible. And yet, he would tell me (and still tells me) about things he never before saw in scripture. His love for the word was rich and deep.

I remember hearing stories from my mom of the humble lifestyle she grew up in, as the daughter of a church-planter. Most of her upbringing was spent literally in church, because her bedroom in the church doubled as a Sunday School classroom on the weekend. My grandfather truly laid down his lifestyle for the sake of the call.

To this day, I have never heard my grandpa pray (which has been countless times) without crying. Although he’s built like a lumberjack, his heart is melted by the love and grace of his creator.

I’ve encountered many pastors in my life. I’ve known thousands of Christ Followers. But my grandpa showed me what it meant to be a pastor and follower of Christ like no one else. My prayer is that these words would one day be said of me.

Funny Quotes for Families

By David Osterhaus

Last week my wife and I welcomed our second child, a son. My wife and I were thrilled; our two-year-old daughter was blind-sided. The following parenting quotes (most by Bill Cosby) have kept my wife and I entertained during this past sleep deprived week:

"Even when freshly washed and relieved of all obvious confections, children tend to be sticky."

"The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable."

"Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell, the name will carry."

"The truth is that parents are not really interested in justice. They just want quiet."

"Having a child is surely the most beautifully irrational act that two people in love can commit."

"The arrival of a baby coincides with the departure of our minds."

"I guess the real reason that my wife and I had children is the same reason that Napoleon had for invading Russia: it seemed like a good idea at the time."

All joking aside, I feel blessed to be a father and am overjoyed to have added a new member to my family. Especially since he is a boy! God is so incredibly good, and even during these sleepless nights I am reminded of his love for me and the responsibility of showing God’s love to my growing family.

What Can Family Teach us about God?

Photo: Phil’s family

By Philip Voisin

I love family. My family has always been close, even as we have continued to grow. When Cassie and I got married, I then had the privilege of being able to start my own family with her AND I got to join hers! We’ve laughed together, cried together, shared our struggles, mourned together, learned from one another, and strengthened each other. I love the way family teaches me about God. God created the family in the garden, and through that left pieces of himself in the family. The family teaches us how God truly loves us. 

As a son, I experienced the unconditional love the father has for his son. When I did something wrong, my father still loved me. When I disappointed him, he still loved me.  I can’t thank him enough for the Godly example he set for me.

As a husband, I got to experience love in a different way. Love is not just a feeling but an action. It’s a choice. We, as Christians, are called the bride of Christ. Jesus loves us regardless of our actions. He continues to see us as his perfect bride, loves us as if we could do no wrong. I am still learning the true meaning of unconditional love (Cassie makes it easy), but God has shown me how truly limitless his love is for us.

Soon I will learn what it means to BE a father. I get to experience love from a different angle. I get to show the love of a father and at the same time learn how the Father loves me. Although this will be tough at times, I pray God gives me the strength to love unconditionally. I am so excited to be the example of this aspect of God’s unconditional love.

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God," 
1 John 3:1.

Parenting Tips from the Cosby Show

By Kevin Ganiere

Recently my family and I rid ourself of cable and discovered Netflix streaming. I am not receiving any monetary kickback from Netflix for this, but IT IS AWESOME! 

The best thing about Netflix is all the old shows you can watch. From old Dennis the Menance to the A-team, to my favorite, The Cosby Show. The show is truly a “family” show. I remember the show from when it was on network television. Back then, I thought it was mildly funny and tolerable, but as a parent , it is downright hysterical! So many situations on the show are one I have felt as a parent and can relate to. One of my favorite lines is where Dr. Huxtable says, “My wife and I have been married for 20 years and we grow closer everyday… Mainly because we are scared of the kids!”

There are so many great moments on the show, but what I am also finding is the way the Huxtables parent their children is a lost art. Here are some examples:

1. Respect is expected. Have you noticed on today’s sitcoms, the kids are super disrespectful? Well, not the Huxtables. The kids may talk back, but not without consequences.

2. Parents act as a team. Parents on today’s sitcoms are pushovers and most of the time are pitted against each other. Cliff and Claire are a team. They do not take sides and all decisions are mutual.

3. Wise (not frivolous) use of money is encouraged. Although both Cliff and Claire have high-paying careers, they value wise money choices over indulging in fads or trends. Theo, their oldest son, always tries to keep up with fashion trends, but Mr. Huxtable frequently reminds him to make wise decisions. 

4. Parents keep the romance alive in their relationship. Cliff and Claire continue to date each other. In one episode Cliff takes her out for a date night and tells her it is a “you’re not a mom night”. My wife thought that was pretty funny and has suggested we make date night “we’re are not parents night”.

5. When all else fails use humor! When your kids are throwing fits or sad or are crying, break out your Yoda voice or Fozzy the Bear voice and see what happens!

Facing a Challenge? God Will Not Let You Down

By Courtney Etzel

My husband, Brad, and I are excited and blessed to have a new addition to our family, a beautiful baby girl. She was born in November, and it was love at first sight! 

Leaving the hospital was very surreal; we had a baby and we were on our own. There were no nurses to help us or turn to for a quick question. Coming home was a huge adjustment. Brad was able to stay home for a few days but then had to go back to work. Then it was just me, our daughter, a research paper and four exams.  

At times it was difficult learning about a new baby, and trying to finish everything during finals week. I found myself questioning if I could work full time, be a full time student and a mom. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through.” 

I recently read a friend’s post that said, “God doesn’t give us what we can handle; God helps us handle what we are given.”  

We all find ourselves facing new challenges or struggles, wondering if we will make it through or if we will fail. This verse reminded me that no matter how difficult things may be, God will always be there to help me.

No matter what struggle or challenge you are facing, know that you are not alone and remember that God will never let you down. My hope is that this verse will bring you comfort knowing that with God’s help you can embrace any challenge.