Flashlight Morphs into Floodlight

flashlightMy LORD knows I keep moving the beam of my flashlight to find His footprints.

I want to follow His lead and keep up with His plan of progress for my life.

He knows I’m living in a world darkened by sin and it’s hard to see.

This week I caught a glimpse of the intense journey ahead.

It started the day I shoveled some snow. Nothing out of the ordinary for winter in Maine.

I didn’t do much, but I came inside and I was hurting.

At first it was a vague discomfort. That night my lower back started to ache.

By the next morning it earned the title pain and I applied heat to relax the muscles.

Three days later I had to admit I was in trouble. My lower left side felt the same way it had before my hip was replaced. The whole area was deteriorating and I was having trouble walking. My mind began to spin with the possibility that I’d injured my bionic implant.

Then what?  =8-O

The next day I gave in and called my surgeon’s office. He returned my call and, from what I was telling him, he said I likely strained my back. I did as he directed, applying ice and heat, and taking an anti-inflammatory.

My mind started to stew over possible scenarios. I’d lifted too much weight and pulled something apart. I’d reached out too far and loosened the screw holding in the socket. Or maybe I slightly dislocated the whole joint. Each one was more dreadful than the previous.

Three days later I had to take action. I reported that the symptoms were continuing and set an appointment to be seen. Three days later still I drove to the doctor’s office. From one dark thought to the next the pain became a monster ready to devour my life.

I was sure that any problems with the bionic device, even a small one, would mean more surgery. More surgery would mean repeating the recovery process. More downtime would mean I’d have to cancel my plans, especially my Spring Tour. More forced isolation would mean feeling helpless again. More inactivity, especially after such a remarkably speedy recovery, would lead to nothing but disappointment and fester into hopelessness.

I was convinced of every single detail.

Right there on Route 89, before I’d even gotten to the office I was caught in a death spiral. My world had closed in. Nothing but negative, even dire, possibilities remained open to me.

If you’ve been following this adventure with me in any other places, you’ll know how the appointment went. After extensive x-rays and a thorough examination I got a resounding message that the implant is fine. The conclusion is that I wrenched my back, causing the muscle memory to repeat the way it responded to my deteriorated hip. The tightness and spasms, awkwardness and instability were all a product of confused physical connections.

Are you with me?

The x-rays and the confidence of the doctor in what we were seeing brought my crazy-making mind to a halt. On my way out of the office I started willing my posture to be straight and my stride secure. There was a bit of stretching, but it felt good. My wild thoughts were dismissed by the facts. By the end of that day, without a single physical therapy appointment as prescribed, most of the pain and discomfort were gone.

I considered that reality as I climbed into bed 10 long days after I moved that bit of snows. The transformation was striking. I wondered what this experience might have to do with the rest of my life. It’s a question I ask myself often. Maybe that’s what pastor’s wives do through a life of sermon illustrations.

Whatever the reason, that’s when the floodlight came on.

floodlightWhat if the crazy-making process is a habit?

What if every time I/we participate in it, we’re actually crippling ourselves with our own thoughts?

What if it would only take a serious look at the facts to dissolve all the pain we put ourselves through?

Now THOSE are some answers to ponder.

More importantly, what if God delivered these circumstances to alert me/us to behavior that is stealing our joy? And He wants us content, fully enfolded in His arms.

In case you are caught in this dynamic, or have a friend who is (ahem), feel free to borrow my strategy.

Habit Busting Tactics

1. Ask Holy Spirit to wave a red flag at me when my mind is pulled in a wayward direction.

2. Respond immediately by shaking myself, turning away from the destructive behavior and toward the LORD.

3. Build a replacement habit by putting a Godward activity in its place, such as remembering who He is and how He loves me, reciting or meditating on Scripture, singing meaningful spiritual songs.

If this is all news to you, praise God for His gracious gift and share this with others.
If you too are being challenged in this area, what will you do to win the victory?

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Spring Tour

HeadshotMaybe you know us from our online presence.

Maybe you know us from our ministry to homeschool families.

Maybe you’ve read our book, Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship.

Maybe you like what we stand for and want more of what we have to offer.

Maybe you’ve been wishing you could interact with us in person.

If so, we’ve got a solution for you.

Spring is just around the corner, we hope. And Sandra plans to hit the road.

She’ll be in North Carolina May 17-21, moving on to Birmingham, Alabama for a few days.

Since she loves to travel and spend time with folks we’ve decided to open up her calendar for book signings and speaking invitations. She’ll be pleased to share from the content of Children in Church and, if it would be helpful, respond to your particular situation.

on from there
Sandra is definitely not a one-topic gal. She’s excited to meet with your small group, speak to a Sunday school class, offer a ladies retreat, or any such gathering according to your needs, theme, and schedule. Check out the list of other subjects she addresses.

We’ll be glad to brainstorm with you about planning your event.
Be sure to contact us soon. We’re looking to the LORD for His specific plan.

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Is your screen blank?

What would you do if your life got wiped clean?
That’s what happened to us last week.
Our websites became blank pages.th-3

We were sad, confused, frustrated, needy, . . .
We didn’t know where to turn or how to proceed.
We wanted our websites back.

The Crash took us back to our own experience.
In the fall of 2013 our life got wiped clean.
We wanted our international life back.

We were sailing along building a meaningful life in Prague. Then Curt got sick. Three near-death episodes and two emergency surgeries later he was stabilized. A fragile Curt and a worried Sandra boarded a plane. Uncertainty lasted for months before we could return to our adopted city. Financial support dwindled. In the end we had to leave our friends and colleagues behind along with our lovely flat. We arrived in Boston, sad, confused, frustrated, needy …

The plain white computer screen where Lifework Forum used to live is a good illustration of where we were in June 2014. We did some fumbling around, trying to figure out what to do next. As with the website, we finally gave up on our own knowledge and efforts, and turned to the proper source of expert assistance. We’re happy to report that God received us and is restoring us. The more fully we lean on Him the greater our awareness and understanding, our confidence and courage.

We’ve shared the message that a believer’s life is their work for nearly 25 years. And here we are taking on that very process ourselves. The screen of our future is as empty as it was in 1976 when we were united in Christ at L’Abri. We’ve walked through the years step by step and we continue to do so. We know our rebuild will take more time than the one the techie guys finally accomplished at our website.

We’re excited and slightly overwhelmed by what’s ahead. The great I AM is
reviving our vision, calling us forward, guiding our steps as He rebuilds the screen of our life. His design includes His chosen ones as active participants. We carry our hopes and dreams to Him along with our weaknesses and failures. He encourages us with love and Truth.

What about you? How do you make your life your work?



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Test to correct error

If you receive this new post as an email, please let us know.   Thank you.

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The Dross Eradicator, repost

FlamesI wonder how you’re doing.
Have you been memorizing?
Where are you in the process?

I’m struggling with the discipline,
but I’m enjoying the effort to focus.
Actually it’s the results I’m enjoying.

As I sing through the verses I’m able to concentrate more fully on the meaning of each phrase. Since I’m singing by myself I can adjust my speed however I like.

For example, when I’m learning I go really slowly.
When I feel more confident I sing right along.
Sometimes I even stop and let the tears flow until I can carry on.

I mean, it’s not all that easy to keep singing when you consider the powerful implications in verse 2.

Today’s verse comes from a passage that sustained my heart when my father died. The Holy Spirit brought it to my mind and it’s been with me ever since. As a matter of fact, I marked it in my Bible 25 years ago by putting my own name wherever a pronoun appears.

“When you [Sandra] walk through the fire,
you [Sandra] will not be burned;
the flames will not set you [Sandra] ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your [Sandra’s] Savior.”  Psalm 43:2a-3a

The notes help me apply the Truth more intimately.
You could mark your Bible too.

Verse 4
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;

Not ‘If’ but ‘When’ fiery trials appear. I can expect them.
The path I’m on is the one marked out for me.
God’s saving favor is ENOUGH to meet my needs.
Not ‘maybe’ but ‘shall be’ my supply. I can count on it.

tea cup
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design

Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

The Father’s goal is NOT to incinerate me.
His specific purpose is to prepare me for eternity.
He will destroy my human flaws, and polish my divine imageness. from Genesis 1:27

How marvelous it is to consider these truths.
They are not only to me or for me.
They are for every one who’s heart is wrapped up in Christ.
Be encouraged!

Ponder, revel, exalt, rejoice.

John Rippon wrote ‘How Firm a Foundation’ in 1787.
If the tune would be helpful, feel free to use the recording.


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Asleep or Alive? Your Choice.

Good FairyThe Sleeping Beauty

I think battles are won by goodness. I think I’d rather be the hero in someone else’s story than asleep in my own. I think I’d rather be able to stand up against the forces of evil with a confidence that God’s goodness will prevail – and that, possessing such confidence, I will become both brave and gentle, both strong and beautiful.

Read and enjoy the lovely photos …

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Absolutely NO children allowed. We’re worshipping here.

Perhaps you’ve read about this incident on FaceBook. It first appeared on January 21, 2015 at a blog called “Pajama Pages.”

Last Sunday morning, Connor Shaw, the former USC Gamecocks quarterback and current Cleveland Browns backup quarterback, tried to attend a NewSpring service with his family, but found that NewSpring’s “children bouncers” (their term) prohibited his children from entering the auditorium with him.

He wasn’t impressed, and said so on Twitter:300x300xDot_not_touch-300x300.png.pagespeed.ic.lwg19gt7nx

Me & my wife were told we can’t go to congregation with our daughter. Too young?!? Don’t think He would approve ‪@newspringMatthew18:1-3

(Read the entire piece here).

“New Spring” refers to New Spring Church, a multi-campus group in South Carolina, led by controversial pastor Perry Noble. This is not a post intended to bash Perry Noble or New Spring Church, although I certainly could spend some time on our differences. No, it is my intent to bash a heinous and unbiblical policy being followed (and forcefully, according to Pajama Pages.

It is contrary to God’s Word to forcibly separate worshiping families. Throughout God’s Word we see pictures of the generations worshiping together. Where were the children during the feeding of the 5,000? There were elders and children and those “nursing at the breast” at the sacred assembly we read about in Joel 2:15-16. No need for a full Biblical exposition. You can find that in Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship.

This separation of families is what was done in the Soviet Union and its satellites. This is a practice long-associated with cults. It should not be practiced in the church. A separate “cry room” may be necessary. A changing room for diapers and other issues is fine. Even a voluntary opportunity for families to spend some time apart.  It should be the goal of every congregation, however,  to foster an atmosphere in which families can worship together. It won’t always be easy. It won’t always be fun. In the end, however, it will be rewarding as we train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the LORD.

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Back Online

JanIt’s Sunday, 11 January, and we are back in the internet world. In case you didn’t know, we took a break offline to gather our thoughts before the LORD. That was supposed to end on New Year’s Day, but circumstances extended that time. And in a way, we feel we’re only now getting down to the nitty-gritty of exactly where He wants us to go and how to get there.

Our return to cyberspace is a cautious one. We’re learning that on our knees is the best place to be no matter what’s going on around us. Wouldn’t you think we would have learned that by now?


Well, we would … actually, we did and it was nearly disastrous.

Anyway, we’re moving forward with the LWF ministry of writing and speaking. There is at least one invitation in the wings. We will be keeping you, our faithful LWF fans, informed of  our schedule so you can pray for us, make plans to catch up with us in person, or support us in any other way you can.

News to be posted here and over at Lifework Forum facebook.  Keep prayin’.

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Pause and Pursue

Us 4Greetings to you in this special Advent and Nativity season.

We trust God is blessing you and your family as you remember the first coming of the Savior of the world.

One way we’ve decided to celebrate this year is to PAUSE from the internet and PURSUE God separately and as a couple.

We feel strongly that we need to submit ourselves anew to His will for us and our ministry for the coming year.

There will likely be times when we need to enter cyberspace. For example, we hope to maintain our blogging schedules, but for the most part we intend to be offline.

We will miss you and hope you miss us. Whenever we come to mind, please pray God’s power and love, wisdom and mercy, grace and peace over us as we seek His face. We expect to return on 1 January 2015 refreshed and ready to move forward.

May our Loving Father bless you and keep you close between now and then.

with confidence in His sovereignty,
Curt & Sandra

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Hung up in the Dark?

Help BagWe’re still reading through the book of Numbers.

I’m still soaking up Truth and joy.

We were in chapter 10 today, but a cross reference took me back to Exodus 40:17.

“So the tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year.”

This is a simple statement that signals how long it took, after escaping Pharoah, for the Israelites to build the tabernacle of the Testimony. They spent one full year gathering materials and following the specific directions God gave them. The primary assignment for the first year of freedom was to construct a central place to worship the great I AM.

Things got interesting less than two months later.

“On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle of the Testimony. Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran. They set out, this first time, at the LORD’s command through Moses.” Numbers 10:11-13

This was not a helter-skelter, grab a bag and go departure.

Verses 14-36 provide extensive information about the details of the journey: how the divisions proceeded, who their leaders were, what the tasks of the Levites were, how Moses addressed the LORD on rising to move and stopping to rest.

One specific point stands out to me.

“The tabernacle was to be set up before they arrived.” Numbers 10:21

The passage could be seen as simple information about a change in location. Since God chose to have the episode recorded and protected through the years, it speaks to me about a much larger dynamic.

1) When I find myself caught in a set of circumstances God has arranged I want to be alert that He’s probably got more in mind than spinning my wheels. I want to make the most of every situation the Father orchestrates to nurture my growth and development. My recent surgery and recovery is an excellent case in point.

Please cause me to harken to Your voice, especially when I feel stuck, Dear Abba.

2) When it’s time to move onward God will provide a signal that will be clear. It may not be as obvious to the eye as a visible cloud that drifts toward the horizon or a pillar of fire to light a path at night. I want to keep my heart and mind tuned to recognize the message when it’s given. It could be as obvious as a return to full mobility.

Please keep me vigilant and responsive to Your call, Gracious LORD.

3) When God gives the specific direction and process for stepping out, it may not be about how to line up. The example given here is that the place of worship was the most significant item to transport. And it was to be erected before the camp as a whole settled into place. I want to maintain the precedents God set for the Israelites; trust, obedience, worship.

Please secure my thoughts and attitudes to Your priorities, Glorious Father.

How about you?
Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a brown paper bag?
Do you try to fight your own way out or do you turn to God?

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