Bring the Ephod


There are days, and then there are days.

Sometimes days last into seasons. The kind of seasons that bring storms, danger, trial and fear.

David was living on the run. As King Saul pursued David, David lived out one of those seasons. In 1 Samuel 23:9, when David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod!”

“Bring the ephod”!

Three little words that said so much.

The ephod, a part of the garment of the Old Testament priest, represents Christ, our high priest. Worn much like a tunic, it was made of fine linen with gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread. At the shoulders there were two onyx stones engraved with the names of the sons of Israel (Jacob).

The High Priests would bear God’s people, their sins, needs and burdens on their shoulders as they entered the place of God.  Christ, the High Priest, carries the whole burden alone.

When David said, “Bring the ephod,” David said, “God, we worship You.”

When David said, “Bring the ephod,” David said, “God, we need You.”

When David said, “Bring the ephod,” David said, “God, we trust You.”

When David said, “Bring the ephod,” he humbly acknowledged His dependence on God for His wisdom, direction, protection and sovereignty over not only his life, but the lives of those who were now with him. His request to “bring the ephod,” was a request to inquire of the Lord God Jehovah for deliverance.

I don’t know what you are going through today. I don’t know what season you are in your ministry, family, relationships, finances or health. But I know the One who does, and as you come before Him with your need in worship and faith, He is more than able to direct, protect and provide everything you need. You just need to ask. So, what are you waiting for?

Bring the ephod!

photocredit: Tim Farris 


God Speaks

God Speaks Logo - Small

God Speaks!
Uh-huh! He does! You betcha!

HiSKidZ in our KidZChurch are finishing up a series of lessons entitled, “God Speaks” from the folks at High Voltage Kids Ministry. Personally, I’ve been loving these lessons, and from what I’m hearing the kids are, too.

One of the highlights of a great series for me is when it becomes more than just a series or a great teaching for kids, but when God really speaks to me through it.

So, of course, it’s been super fun to see (or hear) how often and, all the ways, God has been speaking to me lately. I’m not completely sure whether He’s talking more or I’m listening more, but either way, it’s been so much fun!! Even when it’s not been so much fun–discipline isn’t always pleasant at the time, BUT. . . . in the end it’s soooo good, and it reminds me of how much I am loved.

It’s kind of funny, because with the exception of a few really dry times in my spiritual life, it always seemed to me like God has made His presence very real in my life. But this week, it’s like we went on a trip together and have just gotten in some extra great, extra good quality time.

Throughout the last couple of weeks we have taught that God speaks through people, circumstances, thoughts and the Word to correct us and direct us and comfort and encourage us. I think that in just this week alone, He has revealed Himself in all of those ways.

I’ve been encouraged, inspired, instructed, directed, corrected and cared for by the King of Kings, Father God, the Savior of the world, and I love, absolutely love, that it’s so personal.

What about you? Has God been speaking to you lately? If so, I hope it’s something you can share with someone so that He can speak to them through you, or share here, I’d love to hear how God has been speaking to you lately.

If you haven’t heard him lately, don’t give up, friend. Continue to seek Him, wait for Him, surrender to Him and praise Him until you hear Him speak again. As we say in early childhood, “Put on your listening ears!” God is here. God is real, and . . .

God Speaks!

Artwork courtesy of High Voltage Kids

How to Become a “Scent-sational” Kidmin Team


I put a new “Scentsy” wax cube in the warmer in my office today. I hadn’t used one for quite awhile, but the cold weather and gray skies made me want to warm up my space and my attitude. A sweet mix of peppermint and a little left over something or other was noticed by everyone who came by.

“Hmmmm. Something smells nice.”

“Oh, wow! Your office smells great.”

“What smells so good?”

The aroma in my office was sending some good vibrations throughout the church for sure, for sure.

Then a little later in the day I was Skyping with my friends Todd and Andy. We were chatting about blogging and we got on the topic of the attitudes and how we need to always be careful that we are conveying an attitude encouragement, humility and equipping rather than complaining, criticism or negativity.

As I got ready to head home for the day, I went to turn my warmer off and realized that our attitudes, and the attitudes of our teams, need to be a bit like that Scentsy.

A great attitude is like a pleasant aroma. It can literally change the atmosphere in a room–or a ministry.

We want our children’s ministry teams to draw people to them. We want people to be comforted, invigorated, motivated, and encouraged. We want to model Jesus in all we do!

How does that happen? A “scent-sational” kidmin team comes from individual “scent-sational” attitudes and efforts–from each member choosing daily to have attitudes like. . .


. . . regardless of our circumstances.

When we live out these types of attitudes, individually and collectively, people will take notice, they will be drawn to us and we will be a “pleasing aroma” not only to others, but to the Lord. We will not only be a “scent-sational” team member, but a “scent-sational” team.

So let’s get praying, let’s get choosing and let’s get using God’s power to permeate the space around us with the attitudes of Jesus as we serve together to be not just “scent-sational,” but sensational kidmin teams as we share Jesus with the children around us.

Finding Flowers Among the Weeds–Mama Mia Monday


Today I had the privilege of spending a couple hours in Hannibal, MO, with our summer intern, Rebekah. She’ll be leaving in a few days. VBS and camps are finished, and it was time for a bit of Sabbath rest enjoying God’s goodness along the river.

Near the banks of the Mississippi, we strolled down to a statue of Samuel Clemens which was surrounded by several flower gardens. Despite a summer of both flooding and a bit of drought, the flowers were doing quite nicely. We stumbled across the bed pictured above noticing the small, yet beautiful flowers and commenting on the fact that they were nestled among the weeds.

It struck me that as moms we can be tempted to forget that beautiful things can grow up among the weeds in our lives. What I mean is that, God is more than able to work in spite of our imperfections. Our children can grow–bloom even–despite the imperfect conditions we may present for them.

Mama Mia!

Now, I’m not suggesting that we throw all caution to the wind and not being careful or intentional about the things we do or say or teach our children. I am simply suggesting that we can rest assured that the God of the Universe can and will work in our children while He is working in us.

And that truth, like a walk by the river, is a very restful thing to experience. Flowers among the weeds, who knew?

He who began a good work in you


A Gift from Jacob–Word Up Wednesday



My friend Jacob goes to my church. He is a passionate little guy with a great zeal for life, and recently he gifted me with a little something he had made. Yeah, it’s the picture and writing above.

Needless to say, it knocked my socks off. First of all it’s just too cute. All of it, the spelling, the art work, the thought–over the top! Second of all, it’s just sweet. I mean, c’mon, he goes to my church and he LOVES church, “revivle” and HiSKidZ (the name of our ministry).

Not only that, Jacob filled his gift with appreciation, thankfulness and encouragement. Jacob, in his 1st grade way, reminded me of the things we are all supposed to be doing. 

Like it says WORD UP in Hebrews 3:13: 

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you are hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Jacob did that, and his parents tell me that he did it of his own initiative–out of a heart that is overflowing with thankfulness, joy and excitement for the things and people of God.

It took him a little time. It took him a little effort. It took a little risk, and it reaped a giant return. Because there’s just no way I could be the same after being encouraged like that. Nope. No way. On that day of revival when he gave that to me, I was tired; I was sick; and I didn’t even know that I was in need of that encouragement. But God did, and He used Jacob’s gift to strengthen and encourage me for the night ahead.

Encouragement  changes you. It softens you, it makes you smile and it helps to keep you from being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 

So maybe today you will find the time to take God at His Word and spend a minute or two encouraging someone. I hope if you are a parent or a kidmin leader that you will find ways to help your kids encourage others introducing them to the life changing power of encouragement!

The Lettuce People–Taste and See Sunday

lettuce heads2

How do you know God likes salad? Because He put so much “let us” in the Bible!

Since posting the picture of my lettuce head creations on Facebook recently, I’ve had several people ask me just what in the world I was doing with those little lettuce people. I don’t know! Seriously, where I came up with this one, I’m not sure. I just know that I wanted something to help a group of young college women I was sharing with this weekend remember the “let us’s” of Hebrews 10. So those five beautiful lettuce heads were just a silly and simple reminder of the five powerful instructions given to us in this call to persevere.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.
Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but
Let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:19-25

Beyond these important words, we talked about understanding our hope, our calling and our identity. Things I think I’m going to save for later blogs because they are a dish in their own rights, and these words are so powerful in the context of which they are written.

Verses 16-17 remind us of why need need to live out the let us’s.

“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds, “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.”

When we realize, recognize and remember what has been done for us, it should be unfathomable that we could want to live any other way than for Him. However, when we choose not to live out the “Let us’s,” opting for something seemingly tastier, but not nearly as good for us, we quickly fail to realize, recognize and remember those precious things.

When we loosen our grip and stop holding on unswervingly to our hope, when we choose to simply spur one another rather then spurring one another on, when we give up meeting together, and we fail to encourage, we are in danger. God knew it, and He loves us enough to warn and remind us what we need to do to guard what has been given to us.

The next few verses remind us of something completely different–what happens when we choose not to live as “let us” people. Something I’d rather not taste and see, but are definately worthy of a “Mama Mia.” (That will be Monday’s post!)

So break out the lettuce heads, and “let us” begin living out the words God has served up for us.

Taste and See–The Lord, He is Good Indeed!

If I Could Only Bottle That

Things We Love About Ms DawnHa-ha! God has just been surprising me all over the place lately. Generally I’m the one who is in charge of the surprises, secret little blessings, etc. and lately I’ve been on the receiving side of those things, and I have to admit it’s been shaking me up a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I like it! I’m just not used to it. And today I was blessed to finish up church to find a couple of little Christmas gift bags on my desk. It was a crazy, good day in the children’s department (I trust the big people had it so good!) and so I scooped up my packages and headed home to make a quiche and muffins for my hungry hair cut getting family.

gabys's giftWe finished lunch, started the dishes and settled down for some football. We were rounding what son #2, Trevor, calls “nap-thirty” when I remembered the packages in my car. I hustled out to get them and started with the smallest– a tiny, sparkly handmade package filled with a mini hand sanitizer and made by my super crafty, tea drinking friend, Gaby. I’m always in awe of not only her mad crafting skills, but the ginormous amount of love she puts into each and every one of her creations. Needless to say, I was blessed beyong measure.

Next I opened a “super cute” bag from my friend, Chris and her family. To say this gift was the perfect fit would be an understatement as Chris gifted me with something called “Total Cluster Fudge–cuz friends don’t let friends eat fruitcake!” The name alone is a great gift! Basically it is a jar of “rich, chewy blonde and chocolate caramel brownie with layers of chocolate sauce, white chips and m&ms!” Yikes! It came with it’s own spoon and all you have to do is dig in! However, after eating it, I believe nothing will be a perfect fit for a while. While I don’t see Chris as often as I used to, I love how she remembers the little things that make me smile. Chris's gift

I reached for the final bag and pulled out the rhinestone topped jar shown above labeled “Things We Love About Ms Dawn.” Well, who wouldn’t love that? A jar full of affirmation! It appears my friend Amy, and a couple other of my friend/volunteers, got HiSKidZ together and had them write on little slips on paper things they like about me. It was quite revealing. Apparantly I have much better hair than I realized, way cooler clothes than I realized and found out that my teaching and music times really are reaching kids hearts. As I thought about my 3 gifts today I realized that none were expensive but all three are priceless–because they are gifts of love. Today after coming off a week of the flu, this crazy, good day of teaching, and a feeling of being in a state of perpetual behindedness, God reached down and reminded me that He loves me, and He did that in the simplest of ways–through those around me. It reminded me of something my mom used to say, “Now, if you could only bottle that. . . .” and I realize that is exactly what we need to do. Acts of love, encouragement and kindness need to be multiplied, reproduced and shared at every opportunity!

I love how Gaby gave me a gift of bottled sanitizer which reminds me how God protects me from the dangers of this world. Chris gave me a bottled brownie which reminds me of how God is my comfort and the giver of all good things, and Amy and HiSKidZ gave me a jar of love which, according to Scripture, pretty much covers everything else! And it doesn’t get much better than this–“I like your dance moves and thank you for the pickles!” I love my job and those I am blessed to do it with! Now to share with someone else the, “if I could only bottle it,” gift of love God shared with me today!

Bubble People

This morning as I enjoy day two of my STAY-CATION, (day one was a little rough due to sleep deprivation and a sinus headache) I am reading about my main man Paul (Bible man, not husband man–that main man is Tim). Anyhow, in reading about Paul, I notice that he was in prison, having done nothing wrong but preach that people should repent and turn to God, proving their repentance by their deeds. (Acts 26:20) Imagine that, people getting upset about the truth.

BUT. . . . into prison and on his way to Rome he goes. People who hear his story know he isn’t guilty of anything, but at this point what’s a guy going to do? God wants Paul in Rome. So to Rome he will go–by boat, or ship or whatever you want to call it. We see that Paul is “on board” with God’s plan, and that he is in the care of a centurian named Julius. We also see that Julius was prone to show kindness to Paul and allowed him, at their first stop, to go see some friends so that they might care for his needs.

Julius was a “bubble person“–Yep! That’s what he was, and so were the unnamed friends who were all about meeting some needs. Paul’s life was filled with some haters, but floating around in the midst of all the anger were these bubble people. He had them in his life, and we have them, too.

Bubble people are those people who are interspersed in your days or weeks or months who add a factor of joy and caring to other wise unpleasantness. I mean the fact of the matter is, alot of the people we come across are not that happy, or helpful or kind, and there are times in our lives and certainly in our ministries that we begin to focus on those people. I heard Craig Jutila once call them “Moses people.” Those people that when you see them they make you want to part!!

But bubble people aren’t like that. Bubble people are like bubbles. They make everything better just by being there, and they don’t even know it! I mean think about it. There are few things going on that bubbles can’t make better. It’s really hard to be around bubbles and not smile–at least a little. They bring a sparkle and a smile and even, yes, even laughter to the crustiest of us. Kids know something we adults often forget. Everything is better with bubbles! (and you, “soap in your eyes is not good” people, you can just read my next post BUBBLE BUSTIN’ PEOPLE) No matter what’s goin’ on there is joy in bubbles.

As I continue to think back to the beginnings of my life in ministry, I first began to think about bubbles when Lucy Swindoll spoke about them at a Women of Faith conference years ago. She was talking in more general terms about our circumstances, but the truth is still simply profound! Although I didn’t think about bubble people until later,the truth is there will be those days, or those weeks, maybe even those months, where you are feeling overwhelmed by bubble busters, and you need to remember the bubble people. People whose very lives, their existance, their momentary presence in a room or in your life changes everything for the better. And those people are around us. They are on our team, they are in our stores, or our neighborhoods, or our kids’ school. They are there, and we are better for them.

So if you are battling a little discouragement, or you have some bubble busters in your ministry right now, be sure to be on the look out for the bubble people around you and take a little time to play with them. Grab a coffee or a Diet Coke or some chocolate or if you must, something healthy, and spend some time enjoying those bubble people in your life because they have the power to change how you look at everything else. When you focus on the joy of the great people in your corner, and the God who has put them there, all the other stuff fades in comparison.

Which is why I love my bubble people prayer from Philippians 1:3
I thank my God everytime I remember the bubble people . I am truly, truly thankful for you.


Today was one of those days that makes it all worth it. I had just gotten to MOPS when a friend of mine got out of her van with her two sons. The older son was with her today because of parent teacher conferences at the local school. We said hello, and made some chit chat about my favorite color orange when he walks up, looks right at me and says, “BARF!” I was kind of taken back, and I looked down to see if what I was wearing was somehow offensive (I knew I had neither barfed or been barfed upon this morning) and he says again with gusto, “BARF!”

I’m still a little confused, when he says, “Believe, Repent, Admit and Follow!” At this point the light bulb in my head goes off, and I realize that he is talking about a lesson I taught at his week of camp last July.

“You remembered!” I enthusiastically exclaimed, offering up a little high five.

“Oh I remember it all. Every lesson, and so does my friend _____________.” (I’m not giving the names away here).

Well, I have to tell you that those words are now tucked inside one of the pockets of my heart. When a middle school aged boy remembers an entire week of camp lessons, you know you have been part of an amazing God thing in the proportional size of a book of Acts miracle! It’s one of those things you know you can take no credit for, but you still get to stand in awe just knowing that you even got to be a part of it.

And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this little miracle crossed my path on the day after the dean of that week of camp sent out his invitation to return to teach again next year. (Which I was considering saying “no” to due to some scheduling issues.)

So today, if you are a Sunday School teacher, a children’s minister, a preacher, mom, dad, volunteer or anyone doing anything anywhere to help kids know Jesus, I just want to remind you that you are doing something BIG! You are making a difference! You are part of a miracle! So don’t give up, don’t give in, and don’t stop pouring your heart and His heart into their hearts.

Oh, and want to know what the BARF lesson was all about??? Check out the “On the Kids’ Menu” page on the blog, and feel free to share one of your best moments in ministry below.

The Man Who Waters His Trees

Living in the Midwest where we are suffering a bit of a drought, my husband recently told me about the husband of a woman he works with who has been watering his trees. Because of watering his trees, they have a water bill somewhat larger than normal. Now where we live most people aren’t big into watering. We don’t have sprinkler systems, or even those old fashioned sprinklers that sway back and forth—the kind I remember running through as a kid. We just let our grass fade away and die. I think, in part, because we aren’t too into paying big water bills.

But this man has chosen to water anyway. He’s chosen not to take the risk of losing something of value to him. His theory is that he’s going to pay one way or another, sooner or later. Either he can pay now by watering, or he will pay later when he has diseased or dead trees that need to be removed. Because then he will pay again to purchase new ones, pay to have them replanted and wait for them to grow and mature. He realizes that he will spend even more in cooling fees as he waits for his trees to grow large enough to provide shade for his home. He’s done the math and has come to realize that it is wiser to pay the price now for what he wants in the end.

I think there’s a lot more wisdom here than just whether or not to water your trees. Think about how often we just let things slide because we are hoping for a turnaround or we don’t want to pay the cost. I certainly understand that there are times when things are bad, really bad, and your choice is losing a tree or feeding your kids, so you lose a tree. But there are so many times when things aren’t that desperate, and we fail to stop to count the cost on the things that are of greatest value to us: things like our marriages, our children, our character, our witness, our prayer lives or the study of the Word. The cost seems too high, and so we wait it out, thinking that sooner or later the rain will come again, and things will be better without us having to pay a dime.

Sadly, those times often don’t come, and rather than losing some trees, we lose our marriages, relationships with God and people, or our children and the chance to help them come to salvation. It seems to me that we can learn a lot from the man who waters his trees. It was when my husband told me about “the tree waterer” that I noticed for the first time that one of our trees, in July mind you, was losing its leaves—not a good sign at all. No kidding! It looked like October in our front yard. Yet somehow I just walked right by not really caring that my tree was dying before my very eyes because I didn’t want to pay an extra $10 a month for water. Now every day I go out and water that tree—just enough that the leaves are no longer falling, and they are green again rather than brown.

But it wasn’t just the tree. I have to confess that after my husband told me about the tree waterer, I stopped to take a look and noticed that I was suffering some drought damage as well. You see, I had gotten so busy that my prayer life was a bit droopy, my relationships were suffering a bit and I wasn’t growing like I had been just a few months earlier. So I counted the cost and asked myself what I really wanted in the end, and I got to watering, deciding it was time to cut out a few good things to make time for the best things, paying the price now rather than paying the price later, and of course, growth has returned.

How about you? Are you suffering a little summer drought? Are there any trees in your yard or in your life that need some watering?