Give as you Can.

called-to-business

 

“According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments.” (Ezr 2:69)

 

 

The seemingly eternal question: how much should I give? If we have moved on from, “Should I give?” to the next stage, the question remains. We are called to give “according to our ability.” Each one of us has been blessed in different ways and with different measure. We are to give according to our resources, yet we all have a part to play.

It is not the amount or even the proportion, but we are all able and willing to be a part of God’s work and a reflection of His heart. Look at what God has already blessed you with.

Decide in your thankful heart what to give, and give cheerfully according to your ability.

Quick Prayer: Thank You that You ask me to give according to what You have already given me. Amen.

best regards and God bless,

 

 

About Mark Bilton

This article is Copyright © 2014, Called To Business, All Rights Reserved. Republished with permission. Mark is Founder of “Called to Business” (www.calledtobusiness.com). The mission of his organization is to encourage and equip Christians to be effective at WORK. And his desire is to affirm God’s calling in you; to enhance business leadership and influence, and to unlock the potential of your God given talents. Mark and his family live in Auckland, New Zealand.

How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home

Slide1Every Imperfect and Normal Family wants their kids to turn out right. So, we establish goals for character development and try to create an environment where our kids can mature. Church, school, sports teams, family relationships… each of these provides a context where our kids can learn to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Unfortunately, our “good” objectives might have absolutely nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we inadvertently end up raising pagans instead of Christians.

 We end up teaching the wrong thing because we have the wrong objectives.

Too many times, (Christian) parents have it as their goal to make their kids good and moral. It is as if the entire purpose of their family’s spiritual life is to shape their children into law-abiding citizens who stay out of trouble. The only problem with this goal is that it runs in stark contrast to what the Bible teaches. The gospel is not about making bad people moral, but about making dead people alive. If we teach morality without the transforming power of the gospel and the necessity of a life fully surrendered to God’s will, then we are raising moral pagans.

We end up teaching the wrong thing because we have the wrong objectives.

This sentiment was stirred in me afresh when I read an interview with Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer. He was reflecting on how the “Christian message” he was trying to teach wasn’t Christianity at all…

“I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, “Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,” or “Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!” But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality. . .

And that was such a huge shift for me from the American Christian ideal. We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god.”

So what is your objective?

Do you teach your kids “be good because the Bible tells you to” or do you teach your kids that they will never be good without Christ’s offer of grace? There is a huge difference. One leads to moralism; the other leads to brokenness. One leads to self-righteousness; the other leads to a life that realizes that Christ is everything and that nothing else matters.

I want my kids to be good. We all do. But as our kids grow up, the truth of the gospel can easily get lost somewhere between salvation (where we know we need Jesus) and living life (where we tend to say “I’ve got this”). My experience is that the vast majority of parents are encouraging moral behavior in their kids so that God will bless their (usually self-centered) pursuits. It’s the American Dream plus Jesus. And it produces good, moral pagans.

Because the world has enough pagans. Even plenty of really nice ones.

Consider the key objectives you have for your kids. Seriously, take a minute to think about what would deem you a successful parent. If your goals are focused on your kids’ behavior, their happiness, or their accomplishments (but don’t include a dependence upon Christ and a submission to His will and work), then you might want to make some adjustments.

Because the world has enough pagans. Even plenty of really nice ones. What we need is kids who fully grasp the reality that they have nothing to offer, but who intimately know a God who has everything they need.

*I have added a follow-up post that offer some suggestions of How to Guide Your Kid to a Faith That Lasts. I hope it’s helpful!

*Check out my brand new book: The Talk(s): A Parent’s Guide to Talking about Sex, Dating, and Other Unmentionables. It has been developed to assist parents as they help their kids navigate our hyper-sexualized culture. Whether your kids are 6 or 16, it provides practical help to help your kids to make wise choices in a messed-up world. Find out more at www.infoforfamilies.com.

 

About Barrett Johnson

Barrett Johnson is the husband to Jenifer and the father of five great kids (including four adolescents). He serves as the Family Minister at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church outside of Atlanta and his blog, INFO for Families, has more than 40,000 views each month. He has recently released his first book, “The Talk(s): A Parent’s Guide to Critical Conversations About Sex, Dating, and Other Unmentionables.” It has been created to help every parent to equip their kids to make wise choices in a sexually-charged culture. Find out more at www.infoforfamilies.com.

Unpacking the Vision

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We recently re-stated our ministry’s vision after several months of praying, thinking, and discussing. It’s BIG and BOLD and captures the essence of what we’ve been working towards from the very beginning.

My goal here is to help you understand the vision so that it’s crystal clear in your mind.

 

 

Our Vision is to See All Christians Authentically Loving God and Loving Others.

“All Christians”

Note I didn’t say all people. We are about helping Christians (and those seeking Him). We’re trying to help those that want to be helped….those that acknowledge they need help. And through our message we are trying to convict folks that they need help. We aren’t trying to go out and evangelize and get new/more people into the kingdom. We believe that will happen naturally as the result of our work, but it’s not our focus. Helping those that are already here is already a God-sized challenge. And so we are confident that God will bring people that He calls into His church. For our part, He has given us the burden of helping them once they walk through that door.

“Authentically”

This qualifies the words that follow about loving God and loving others. Authentically means it’s real, sincere, genuine, and tangible. Going through the motions is not authentic.

the greatest commandment is to love God will ALL of our heart, mind, soul, and strength

Having great intentions or thoughts is not authentic. Jesus called out as a role model the Good Samaritan. He didn’t hold him up as a role model because he said “that’s really sad, I’ll pray for him” and continued walking by. The good Samaritan adjusted his life at a crucial moment in order to help his fellow man. His love was authentic and our love should be the same.

We all struggle with authenticity now and then. We want to do so much for so many people that we quickly become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. Or we give a little money to a good cause because it’s a whole lot easier than the alternatives. We often have great intentions, such as having a daily quiet time with our Lord, but then our busy lives cause us to lose focus and retreat from our plans.

“Loving God”

Our vision is based on Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God will ALL of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. This means we can’t pay lip service to loving God or partially loving God. He doesn’t want our divided attention. It begs the question “What does it mean to love God?” This means to truly (authentically) worship Him, praise Him, seek to know Him, seek to follow His ways, and ultimately to obey Him. We are to align our ways to His ways. We are to change our thinking to His thinking. We are to change our hearts to His heart. We are to live in His strength, not our own strength.

This is an area that I admittedly struggle. I think we all do. I don’t put myself on a pedestal and say “look at me” as a perfect example. I’m far from it. Like the apostle Paul, I’m merely human. The question in my mind is whether as a Christian I am struggling towards that ideal, acknowledging the grace that Christ gives even in my failing attempts, or is struggling towards that ideal not even on my radar.In this sense, our vision is an ideal worth seeking after. Are you seeking after it or not? You might know OF Christ or ABOUT Christ…but do you KNOW him and LOVE him enough to OBEY him?

humbly serve one another as an expression and reflection of God’s love for us

“and Loving Others” 

Jesus said that loving others was the 2nd greatest commandment. The Good Samaritan parable applies here as well. Loving others certainly includes praying for others, but it mustn’t stop there. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those we encounter, to love them in practical ways. I’m reminded of the teaching from James 2:16, ”If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” We are to feed the hungry, clothe the clothe-less, and care for orphans and widows. We are to care for our families, our neighbors, as well as love those we consider to be our enemies. We are to humbly serve one another as an expression and reflection of God’s love for us.

This too is not easy. It’s so much easier to think about and serve ourselves. That’s what comes naturally. But God never suggested that we should act naturally. Instead, God wants you and I to get out of our own skin long enough to see the world through His eyes and to authentically love others.

So, our vision is to see all Christians authentically loving God and loving others. It’s an ideal worth pursuing and a calling we take seriously. Won’t you join us?

 

 

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Time to Give.

called-to-business

“So that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” (Deu 14:29)

 Those of us who have been provided for have an obligation to meet the needs of others. In this case it is those who work fulltime for the church, foreigners, and those who have had misfortune in the loss of fathers and husbands, who were the providers of the time.

There are two groups that are a priority for God: those without finances and those who serve in church. We would do well to neglect neither.

There is a consequence attached to the actions we take. If we obey and provide for the poor and church workers, God Himself will bless us in all the work of our hands—that is, in our work at work.

Quick Prayer: Bless me as I give to Your house and the poor. Lord, according to Your Word may it be done to me. Amen.

 Best regards and God bless.

 

About Mark Bilton

This article is Copyright © 2014, Called To Business, All Rights Reserved. Republished with permission. Mark is Founder of “Called to Business” (www.calledtobusiness.com). The mission of his organization is to encourage and equip Christians to be effective at WORK. And his desire is to affirm God’s calling in you; to enhance business leadership and influence, and to unlock the potential of your God given talents. Mark and his family live in Auckland, New Zealand.

What is more important?

called-to-business“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Mat 23:23)

 

There is a lot of chatter in churches about giving. If we were to be perfectly transparent with each other, it is usually by leaders who want you to give more and churchgoers looking to give less.

Is giving important? Yes it is, and it should not be neglected. But more important is justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the behaviors we should covet and endeavor to have in abundance.

Please give, and give regularly and generously, but never forget the priorities that are the fruit of a life transformed by Jesus: faithfulness, mercy, and justice.

Quick Prayer: Thank You for the pattern and discipline of regular giving. Amen.

About Mark Bilton

This article is Copyright © 2014, Called To Business, All Rights Reserved. Republished with permission. Mark is Founder of “Called to Business” (www.calledtobusiness.com). The mission of his organization is to encourage and equip Christians to be effective at WORK. And his desire is to affirm God’s calling in you; to enhance business leadership and influence, and to unlock the potential of your God given talents. Mark and his family live in Auckland, New Zealand.

Giving as Worship

called-to-business

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Mat 2:11)

 

When Jesus was a young child, the wise men came and worshipped Him. Then they gave Him gifts. This was a part of the act of paying homage to the newborn king. They honored Him with their giving.

 We too are called to worship in our giving. Sometimes we can be moved to bring something of value to Him. It is not giving to a church or to a worthy cause but just giving something of value to Him, to worship and to adore.

I am not sure how that transaction occurs in our hearts, but it is certainly saying you are worth more to me than gold.

Quick Prayer: I just want to worship and adore You. Amen.

About Mark Bilton

This article is Copyright © 2014, Called To Business, All Rights Reserved. Republished with permission. Mark is Founder of “Called to Business” (www.calledtobusiness.com). The mission of his organization is to encourage and equip Christians to be effective at WORK. And his desire is to affirm God’s calling in you; to enhance business leadership and influence, and to unlock the potential of your God given talents. Mark and his family live in Auckland, New Zealand.

What shows the love of God?

called-to-business“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John 3:17)

How is the love of God demonstrated in us? What is the way in which our faith is demonstrated and evidenced? This powerful Scripture speaks to the reaction we have to those in need around us.

Quick Prayer: Show me a physical need I can meet today please, Lord. Amen.

I had this verse printed on my checks. Back in the day before the proliferation electronic commerce, I used to write a lot of checks. It made me think about my priorities every time I wrote one out.

There are practical physical needs we can meet every day. Will we walk on by and have no pity, or will the love of God in us compel us to act?

Quick Prayer: Show me a physical need I can meet today please, Lord. Amen.

About Mark Bilton

This article is Copyright © 2014, Called To Business, All Rights Reserved. Republished with permission. Mark is Founder of “Called to Business” (www.calledtobusiness.com). The mission of his organization is to encourage and equip Christians to be effective at WORK. And his desire is to affirm God’s calling in you; to enhance business leadership and influence, and to unlock the potential of your God given talents. Mark and his family live in Auckland, New Zealand.

A New Bold Vision Of The Future

Our Mission and Vision

Every few years, it’s good to revisit what you are doing and why. This ministry is no exception. In fact, through the help of some very wise counsel, we have actually defined our vision of the future for the 1st time since founding Changing the Face of Christianity.

We have always been focused on reversing negative Christian stereotypes and I thought that was actually a vision/mission. As it turns out, that was really more of an anti-vision. In other words, we knew what we wanted to change (negative stereotypes), but we never clearly defined what we wanted to change TO. In comes the vision….

Our Vision

Our Vision is to See All Christians Authentically Loving God and Loving Others (Matthew 22:36-40)

What’s Next?

Our Vision is to see all Christians authentically loving God and loving others

 So, does this mean we are no longer focused on reversing negative Christian stereotypes? Not at all. One of our strategic goals will continue to address that problem. However, what it does mean is we have a clearer focus on what we are working towards. Our mission will be to work on strategic, purposeful goals that will lead us to fulfillment of the vision. In my view, negative Christian stereotypes will be reversed when we start authentically loving God and loving others. I’ll post more on our redefined mission statement as well as our strategic plan in an upcoming article. If you want to see our Strategic Plan google doc, click here. We’re busy working on a three-year strategic plan, with measurable goals, benchmarks, core values, etc. Check out the google doc to see our progress.

We hope you will enthusiastically join us in passionately pursuing this new bold vision of the future. Leave a comment and share your thoughts about our new vision below. Thanks!

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Changing the Face of Christianity. May God bless you and your families with love and joy this holiday season.

1 Thessalonians 5:18, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

This is Love-1 John 4:7-11

1 John 4: 7-11I really enjoy the writing of the apostle John. He truly embraced the command to love one another and he taught us to do the same.

And this is not just a world teaching. John always ties the command to love one another back to the life modeled by Jesus Christ.

[Read more...]

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Do You Know Jesus?

do-you-know-himDo you really know Jesus? Let’s see about that…

1 John 2:3-6 NIV

“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
[Read more...]

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Forgiveness

bigstock-Lost-and-alone-17960060

Pardon me while I ramble on about forgiveness for a little bit. I have seen quite a few people who are struggling GREATLY in this area lately. As a matter of fact, this is one of the reasons that I take leave from facebook occasionally. It isn’t just one of “those” friends either…you know the kind of friends that I am talking about; the ones who you just block after a day or two of realizing that every word that comes out of their mouth is negative? (If I just made you paranoid then I’m not talking about you, because those people truly do not care if they offend.)
[Read more...]

About laura deleon

In 2004, at the ripe old age of 23, Jesus Christ met Laura DeLeon, His beloved prodigal daughter, in a hopeless pile of shame and regret on her bedroom floor. It was here, that the truth that she had always known traveled from her head and into her heart. His brilliant love and forgiveness altered her life's path and the great adventure of following after her King began. Having also struggled with severe depression and anxiety in different seasons of her life, she feels that she has been given a special ministry in helping others who walk down this road as well. Just as He called and continues to call her from her ashes and into a life of beauty and redemption, she now hopes to inspire other captives into His precious Arms. Laura is an Air Force wife, mother of 3, and a student at Liberty University, pursuing her degree in Christian counseling, with the purpose of showing others that Grace has no limits and that nobody is beyond Christ's reach.

Be Like Christ – Deny Self

bigstock-Two-palms-open-up-as-a-gesture-18057638What does it mean to be like Christ, or to become more like Him? Study God’s word and you will find that Jesus did not pursue his own will or pleasures. He was devoted to doing the work of God the father in spite of the consequences from the men of his day.

And so to become more like Jesus Christ, we must do the same. We must seek to understand and do God’s will in this life, in spite of what it might cost us.

This is easy to say, but harder to do. Yet, when we became Christians, that was the commitment we made… to follow and obey God’s will in our life, accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior AND LORD.

In the comments, share what grade would you give yourself on this and what part of your life needs to be conformed to God’s will.

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Watered Down Gospel?

Jesus 

Is today’s Gospel watered down?

Follow Me

David Platt’s video, “Follow Me” start with a story of a man who was trying to escape going to hell.  This man one day says the “sinner’s prayer” and is told he does not have to worry about hell any longer.  David Platt then question the significance of this statement, Is this what it means to follow Jesus?

A Palatable Gospel

The video then goes on to discuss the type of commitment that Jesus wants from us.  Is it as easy and simple as saying a short prayer or does following Jesus require a lot more than that?  Have we water down the gospel to make it more palatable?

Follow me – David Platt


 

 

What do you think?

Use the comment section below to let us know what do you think about this subject and/or this video.  We would love to hear your opinion.  Thanks!

About Karen Smith

Karen Brooks Smith is a guest blogger and passionate volunteer at Changing the Face of Christianity. Karen became a Christian in her early adulthood. She isn't religious, but has a relationship with Jesus Christ. Karen recognizes the differences between the church of this world and the church of the Bible and is motivated to reconcile those differences in our culture. Karen enjoys volunteering with her Church’s youth group, her children’s school and with the Girl Scouts. However, her most important blessing and ministry is her wonderful husband and three delightful daughters.

Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns

Casting Crowns

Many times Christains are called judgemental.  Does our behavior support this judgement on us?

Log in your eye
In Matthew 7 Jesus says, ““Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”  Judgement in the place of love is something that every person seems to struggle with at time even back then.  However, Jesus calls us not to judge.

“Let our hearts be led by mercy”
The Casting Crowns song Jesus, Friend of Sinners address this need for His love over judgement.  Take a listen to the song and read they lyrics.  How does this strong impact you?  Listen for the lyrics like “Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers. Let our hearts be led by mercy.”  Let God uses this song to impact your heart!

Jesus, Friend of Sinners
Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

Yeah…

Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who’s writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they’re the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

‘Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast
Yeah…
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

What do you think?

Use the comment section below to let us know about other songs that have inspired you. We would love to highlight them in future articles. Thanks!

About Karen Smith

Karen Brooks Smith is a guest blogger and passionate volunteer at Changing the Face of Christianity. Karen became a Christian in her early adulthood. She isn't religious, but has a relationship with Jesus Christ. Karen recognizes the differences between the church of this world and the church of the Bible and is motivated to reconcile those differences in our culture. Karen enjoys volunteering with her Church’s youth group, her children’s school and with the Girl Scouts. However, her most important blessing and ministry is her wonderful husband and three delightful daughters.