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No one struggles alone. Family Fire looks through scriptural lenses at the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical facets of relationships in Christian marriage, parenting, dating, and intimacy.

October 13, 2014 0 0 comments
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Below you’ll find six tools to help the families in your congregation build faith at home during Easter. 

March 29, 2017 1 0 comments
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I’ve heard all of these statements in the past six months. Some might make you cringe, and some you may have said before. The point is not to shame you for things you’ve said in the past, but help you better navigate interacting with a grieving parent in the future.

March 28, 2017 5 12 comments
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Children learn through observation, but they learn best through participation! Check out this new tool that offers 10 meaningful ways to involve kids in worship.

February 23, 2017 1 0 comments
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One Sunday I noticed something strange. Even though we were usually the first car at church, my dad always chose to park in the worst spot. His explanation has stuck with me to this day. 

December 5, 2016 3 1 comments
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As I hear my friends reflect on the election’s outcome, I am hearing a loss for words about how to talk about this with children. It is in response to what I am hearing that I offer this devotion for parents.

November 10, 2016 5 1 comments
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The toolkit is divided into sections on becoming a storytelling church, shaping our stories, and sharing our stories in many different facets of your church’s ministry.

October 14, 2016 1 0 comments
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The Welcoming Children to the Lord’s Supper toolkit contains excellent resources to support parents/caregivers and children’s leaders as they engage kids in conversations about the Lord’s Supper.

September 7, 2016 0 0 comments
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In my Facebook feed, I've seen many mothers express the sadness of having a child start college and leave home. But these transition times remind me of all the people in church who have influenced our kids. 

August 31, 2016 0 0 comments
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A single parent has suffered loss—whether through death, desertion, separation or divorce. She/he will exhibit all the stages of grief but also needs to go on with daily life. Here are several ways a church can help. 

August 31, 2016 3 1 comments
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Since the release of the God Loves Me storybooks last October, grandparents have been sharing stories about the impact of the books. If you’d like your heart warmed today, read on.

May 31, 2016 1 0 comments
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It's one thing to paint a picture or try your hand at the pottery wheel (and if you mess up, so what?); it’s another thing entirely to work with living souls. The stakes feel so much higher.

May 19, 2016 2 1 comments
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A couple’s religious beliefs, or one partner’s lack thereof, should be looked at before tying the knot. A plan for dealing with differences should be agreed upon. But, the plan needs to be kept flexible. 

April 20, 2016 0 0 comments
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A recent article in Forbes magazine reported that Americans now spend more money on Easter candy than they do on Halloween candy. Have you noticed an increase in Easter consumerism?

April 5, 2016 2 4 comments
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We’ve been through times both of us hope never, ever to experience again. When God doesn’t pick up the phone, believers feel unspeakably alone. Then there are no words, only groaning.

January 13, 2016 2 0 comments
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Before the presents were neatly wrapped in bows, did you and your spouse have a discussion about Christmas? Specifically, did you set a limit on the number of gifts to give each child? 

December 18, 2015 0 0 comments
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Whether you are with new friends or familiar faces this Thanksgiving, we pray these cards will help you and your guests deepen your thankfulness to God and love for one another. 

November 16, 2015 0 0 comments
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Check out these two amazing resources for re-aligning you and your family's comings and goings to the rhythms of God's grace this Advent season and beyond. 

November 10, 2015 0 1 comments
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 In recent weeks, Family Fire from ReFrame Media has taken a close look at what it means to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance in personal relationships.

November 9, 2015 0 0 comments
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Amanda Barton has had a dream of writing a children's book that shows the realities, both good and hard in every adoption story. Her goal is a book that adds grace to both adopted children and their families as they discover the joys of adoption, even through the hard stuff.

That dream ...

October 13, 2015 0 0 comments
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My husband and I are expecting our first baby in January [insert panic and excitement]. Preparation is key, or so I've heard. For me, an unexpected Amazon delivery proved to be the best gift.

September 21, 2015 3 4 comments
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Rather than feeling guilty about the places where I am failing as a parent, I am resolving to take small steps to pass on my faith to them. I'm starting with "lunch box notes"... 

September 3, 2015 2 0 comments
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The school classroom is one setting where the protection of the home is mostly absent. Still, how can parents play a role in helping their children?

August 20, 2015 2 0 comments
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Children complain. They are children after all. But valuable skills and character are formed when we are prodded to do things like lessons or household chores. Here are just a few life-long habits to cultivate. 

July 28, 2015 1 1 comments
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Judges Chapter 17 tells of a little family that struggles with situations outrageously problematic and complicated. What can we learn from them?

July 14, 2015 1 0 comments

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BTW, one of the greatest books I've read that helps with some of these big questions is "Trusting God Even When Life Hurts" by the late Jerry Bridges. Soooo good. Blessings in Christ.

You said this so well, Angie! I am so sorry about the loss of your precious baby. No, nothing can ever replace any child you lose. We understand from our own losses - losing a 6-month pregnancy of twins who didn't separate, almost losing a 16-y.o. son, and then losing a 25-y.o. daughter. Your words speak eloquently to each of us. We, too, continue to grieve after all these yrs, but in a different way now than the immediate pain of loss. God bless you and your family as you travel this journey forward together on a path you never expected. With much love and hugs...

Thank you for sharing your experience in this way, Angie.

 In French, we have this proverb or saying that goes,"L'enfer est pavé de bonnes intentions," that could probably be translated as, "Hell is paved [over] with good intentions."  People may mean well, but some comments still hurt when you're on the receiving end.

Thank you for sharing.  I am so sorry for your loss.  I see that you miss your daughter very much, and I pray God will comfort you and guard your heart in Christ Jesus with His daily, hourly, moment by moment peace.

So true! Grief is a lifelong journey, but I'm so thankful for the hope we have in Jesus...wouldn't be able to get through the day without it, that's for sure!

Angie...........just some words from a friend in Illinois. I was ony 1 year old when my 10 year old brother fell from a tree and died a week later. I was only 2, when my 4 day-old brother died because of a mistake that a visiting-nurse made on him. We lost a son who died from esophageal cancer at the age of 35. My daughter-in-law, wrote a very similar article that you just wrote. You are so on the same page ! Because of my young age at the time of my 2 brothers death, I did not realize the impact my parents  had going though this experience of losing 2 sons at an early age, and one son at the age of 40. My mother told me that they were blessed with a very good pastor at the time who knew how to associate sorrow at the time these events happened. He turned out to be my parents best friend ! May God give you His PEACE !             Dean Koldenhoven

Thanks for sharing this, Angie. Such wise and practical advice.

Thank you for sharing a deeply felt issue.  May God continue to give you help in your sorrow.  Even though it diminishes over the years, it will never go away!  My wife and I lost our son 40 years ago and I still weep when I read articles and stories dealing with the loss of a son or daughter.  I weep for you but I glory in the hope that Jesus has made it possible for all of us and our children to be together for all eternity!  What a Savior!

 

Powerful, helpful and honest. Thank you for sharing! 

What a helpful and thoughtful article, Angie.  I hope this helps everyone who is experiencing heartache and who wonders how best to minister meaningfully to those experiencing heartache.  

Thank you for writing this, Angie. 

What a great story. Thanks, Staci. I'm reminded of how, more Sundays than not, my parents would invite someone over for coffee/lunch after church (especially new visitors). We met a lot of interesting people and, to us kids, it certainly modeled the value of hospitality. Plus I can't tell you how many times I've crossed paths with someone who made the connection and said 'hey, I was at your house once!'

Let's keep this thread going....who's next with an 'act of kindness' memory that left an impression?

I have no words to express my sorrow.  

I know God is sovereign.

i know God calls us to live in unity.

I know God calls us to both speak the truth and speak it in love. 

 

But on Sunday I will sit with people whose decisions will intensely impact the marginalized in society in extremely negative ways. Many do so in utter ignorance of the pain this decision has on people who don't look like them.  It is mystifying to them. 

And I know that the church has been called to reconcile around the table since its inception... but I would be lying if I didn't say that I think we have lost our way as a church... and I weep.  Not metaphorically. I've been crying a lot these past few days, and not just weeping with those who weep.  Weeping when I'm alone too.  

I fear it will get much worse before it gets better.  

posted in: Blessed

Excellent article David.  Indeed, divorce is usually more destructive than the death of a spouse/parent.  Having a good "church family" can make a huge difference in the lives of these families.

Thank you for this...

posted in: Wondrous Statues

Thanks, Roger! Completely agree that we shouldn't be offended by the way others celebrate these holidays (I LOVED a good Easter Egg hunt growing up). But I also hope to be on the lookout for ways I can share what Christmas and Easter mean for me as a Jesus follower. 

It’s interesting to observe how people celebrate Easter, as well as Christmas.  I don’t think it is necessary to be offended by people who make Easter into a holiday of their own making.  For many, Easter is no more than a nice opportunity for family get-togethers and an opportunity to do something special for the children and grandchildren. Chocolate Easter bunnies are still standard Easter fare for many Americans and Canadians.  Even the U.S. president has a wonderful Easter egg hunt on the White House lawn.

For many North Americans, Easter is not a religious day of remembrance. The Christian message carries no meaning for them.  So why would they be inclined to celebrate it as such, any more than we would be inclined to celebrate Muslim or Jewish holidays according to their tradition.  North American culture is increasingly becoming multi cultural and multi religious.  The fact that North American businesses and work places give their employees off on these dates does not necessitate how these holidays should be spent.  So for increasing numbers of people, these holy days are becoming holidays, a time to enjoy family and friends.

I’ve heard it said that the date for Christmas was originally a pagan holiday that Christians chose to celebrate the birth of Jesus on.  So today we see, increasingly, our culture celebrating their own celebration on the date we celebrate the birth of Jesus on.  Perhaps it’s best if we just all get along together without taking offense. 

Thanks for the thoughtful comment and call to be bold, Esther. 

  Is it possible that we as Christians are too passive about letting our religious holiday be "perverted" into something it's not? We look the other way as Christmas becomes about Santa Claus and we shrug when the Easter Bunny gets all the attention. We join in with the commercialism. I have asked a  non Christian friend "Why are you celebrating a Christian holiday? Would you celebrate a  Islamic holiday?  If you did, do you think a Muslim would be OK with that, especially if you weren't on board with the meaning of it?"  I then went on to explain why I celebrate the holiday and its importance to me. It's a conversation we should have more often, maybe even in line as we buy the Easter candy. 

My calendar is also full of my own tasks and events that make time fly by! I like the idea of using this seasons calendar to re-align my time & priorities to focus on God's handiwork in everything. 

Thanks so much for sharing, Lauren! I really appreciate your honesty. There are so many different routes to becoming parents and it's a miracle no matter what route you take. I will have to check out the podcast! Thanks again. 

Thanks for sharing this book! 

Thank you for including the adoption-specific devotionals as well. As a prospective adoptive parent, I hesitated to read this article wondering if it would be relevant, but I'm glad I did! I actually listened to a podcast interview with the authors of Encouragement... last week, and I am definitely going to check that one out.

Just finished reading The Land Between by Jeff Manion which is a great book that gives biblical insights to times of transitions, waiting and anxiety.

I love this post and totally believe it! Thank you for sharing. I pray I will do a good job of these things with my own daughter.

Thanks, Robin. Good suggestion! 

Thanks for sharing this blog and this resource, Staci!  I also find www.imdb.com helpful, too, under their View Content Advisory link.

 

 

Anita, it may be logical to say that after looking at the diversity and balance of creation one must acknowledge a creator.  But it's not logical to say that he created it in seven consecutive days only some 8,000 years ago when science argues for a much longer process.

When one looks at an intricately crafted piece of jewelry, one knows there is a jeweler who crafted it. When one looks at the world in all its diversity and balance, one knows there must be a Creator. That's not primitive; that's logical.

Thanks Ron for your article questioning the loss of interest in the abortion debate.  Although some of your concern is justified, I’m not sure if your (or John Zylstra’s) target of blame is altogether justified.  I find that in many arguments a person who wants to justify their own position, does so by painting the other side at such an extreme that even the other side wouldn’t agree with the position painted.  To think that if discovering evolution was a fraud would  somehow remove the doubts in regard to committing abortions, that is going to such an extreme.  I don’t think, for the most part, that committing abortions and belief in evolution are related.  I can see how you might make such an argument, but I doubt that those who believe in evolution, Christian or otherwise, would agree with you. What discredits the Biblical creation account, is that it is tied so tightly to a very primitive perspective of reality that does not correlate to reality or reason as we experience reality today.  Perhaps the creation account makes sense to someone explaining the sound of thunder as God bowling in heaven.  But that doesn’t sit well with very many people today.  So if evolution was completely disproved, that wouldn’t mean that people would return to a Biblical view of the origins of earth and life.  People would still look for an explanation that correlates to reality as we know it today, and not some primitive explanation of reality.  So, I doubt that abortion and doubts about Biblical creation really relate to each other, as you suggest John.  I know that the issue of the image of God and the sanctity of life are embedded in the creation account, but I doubt that these issues will change the thinking in regard to the right to life debate.  And I doubt, Ron, that questioning these issues will lead to the devaluation of human life or the unabated moral decay of humanity, as you suggest.  Just a casual reading of history will call into question such a perspective. Perhaps, such straw men that you have presented will convince a narrow segment of Christianity, but not most people.

Well said.  It would be ironic if discovering that evolution is a fraud, would save more lives than an actual pro-life campaign.  As I am reading Exodus 21 and 22 right now, and re-discovering all the laws and rules and guidelines for living, it is clear that being fair and considering the welfare of others is fundamental to those laws.  Those laws were the foundation of most of our western civilization laws, and even find parallels in other eastern societies as well. Those rules included a need to care for the widow and orphan.   Imbedded in those rules was this one:  If two men are fighting, and accidentally injure a pregnant woman, and she gives birth prematurely, then if the child is healthy, only a payment of damages to the family (husband) will be required as he stipulates.  But if injury results, then eye for eye, foot for foot, etc.  The unborn child was treated with respect and consideration.  

Under an evolutionary system, the weak and helpless are worth less than others, because the fit survive.  Dramatically different ethics.  This difference is well masked by rhetoric and fine sounding words, but it impacts how laws are made and enforced.  

The thing I remember about the Spartan civilization of ancient Greece, was the common practicide of infanticide through deliberate neglect.  If this world survives another thousand years, what will be remembered about our civilization is abortion of millions of children.  

Great idea, Karen.  In our church a verse is written in each Bible that is given to 2nd graders.  The verse is chosen by the pastor for that child.  In worship during the presentation the pastor reads the verse to the child before the Bible is given to the child.  Often that verse is one that the kids recall when they profess their faith.

posted in: The Cookbook Bible

Thank you for sharing this, Laura! I like the idea of honoring the small occasions in our family's life. Our oldest child recently graduated the eight grade, and her school doesn't have a ceremony or anything to mark it, but I have been wondering how our family might mark, even in a small way, this milestone in her life as she sets of for high school. I am eager to check this book out.

This book inspired me to start a new family tradition for Pentecost! I like the ideas involving kites and wind that the author suggested for Pentecost, but I've always noticed a certain flower that blooms in the spring that reminds me of a flame. So my family (which includes my husband and two-year-old daughter) planted an orange celosia plumosa flower as we talked about the Pentecost story. Then we sang a simple song that I learned through the Little Lamb's curriculum which is set to the tune of the Farmer in the Dell: 

The birthday of the church! 

The birthday of the church! 

We celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the church!

The wind was very strong

The Holy Spirit came,

Disciples told of Jesus love and praised his holy name! 

We will probably outgrow that song as my kids grow up, but I hope to continue planting the flower each year! Now it sits in a pot near our deck reminding us of the important day when the Holy Spirit came in a new way. My daughter waters it while she plays with her water table and sings the Pentecost song! 

 

Thank you, Laura, for this lovely post on my book! If people are interested in checking it out, they can find it at Chalice Press or Amazon

Congratulations to you on your son's wedding; what a joyous occasion! 

 

 

Hi Albert, Gald you contacted mickie.  Hope she writes you back soon.  She's a terrific resource!

Thanks J. for the directional shove  :>) ....I've made contact with Mickie and awaiting a response.....

Hi Albert, It's an excellent question and idea to give new parents such a thing.  I want to suggest you contact someone via Facebook; her name is Mickie O'Donnell.  She was my CE professor at Trinity International Divinity School and she's a Director of Children's Ministries in Connecticut.  Two years ago I got reacquainted with her (after many yrs of being out of seminary) and I was impressed with her creative ideas in ministry.  Ask her the same question and I bet she'll have an idea for you!

OK, well keep in touch....I'm finishing up a ministry directory, I've been working on first....so it will probbly be another few weeks yet....

Good plan, Albert! I'm sorry that we don't already have a pamphlet to offer--I'd love to see the one you write when you're finished. The Jesus Storybook Bible is a great resource. Sounds like your church is very serious about supporting families--that's wonderful!

Derek:

I'll just reiterate what I repled to Jolanda, below...I'm director of youth ministry but overseeing hospitality by designed default. (equipping parents, families etc makes my job easier too, eh?) We're already handing out the Sarah Loyd-Jones Bible (great resource) and want to include an equipping pamphlet/brochure to be inserted into it for these new parents - church or unchurched bkgrds. I think the Home Grown Book will be a great resource for me to use as a framework for a pamphlet I will write, design, print myself. Maybe, if I'm satisfied with it's results I can send it your way to see if you think it is worthy for your arsenal of resources, as well.....thank you for responding personally....you were VERY helpful...

Jolanda:

Thanks for your add'l, positive & helpful comments; I'm director of youth ministry built overseeing hospitality by designed default. (equipping parents, families etc makes my job easier too, eh?) We're already handing out the Sarah Loyd-Jones Bible (great resource) and want to include an equipping pamphlet/brochure to be inserted into it for these new parents - church or unchurched bkgrds. I think the Home Grown Book will be a great resource for me to use as a framework for a pamphlet I will write, design, print myself. Maybe, if I'm satisfied with it's results I can send it your way to see if you think it is worthy for your arsenal of resources, as well.....

Hi Albert, I also work for Faith Alive. I was just talking with Carol Slager, the director of congregational life and education at Modesto CRC, she said they ordered 30 copies of Homegrown so that could put one in each parent's box at church. They used the book as part of a parent’s class during Sunday school, but they wanted to make sure everyone had a copy, even if they didn't attend. I thought that was a cool idea! 

I'm a new mom and I'm accumulating lots of books to help me along, but the nice thing about this one is that you don't have to read it straight through. You can skim the questions and just read the page or two that are relevant at the moment. It’s good, practical stuff with lots of ideas. I think it would work for what you’ve mentioned, especially if the person visiting would include a little note in the cover that mentions a question or two they find most helpful. Sounds like you’re doing a great job reaching out to young families. We need lots of support! It’s a whole new adventure, and a big learning curve!! 

Albert,

Yep, I do work for Faith Alive. Home Grown deals with all the topics you mentioned and more. It's actually set up in a question and answer format---perfect for busy parents and those who aren't interested in reading a chapter book. It allows them to skim through topics and check out different questions as they need to.  

Some of the questions (there are 111 of them)  that are answered are "How soon should I start talking to my child about God?", "How do I pray with my child?", "What's the big deal about baptism?", "How do I explain death to my child?", and "When can we do devotions if we don't eat together?" The answers are practical, helpful and shared with humor.

If you'd like to see a sample of the author's writing style, see the "Home Grown Faith" article in the August issue of The Banner.  There is also a sample on the product page.  

As far as a pamphlet-type resource, there isn't anything that I know of that we offer.  An excellent idea though! 

Derek 

 

Derek:

Thanks! you're editor at Faith Alive, correct?

(1) Does Home Grown specifically have a chapter that deals specifically with these concerns with practical ideas to encourage action on the part of parents?

 

(2) And does the Denomination print any handy pamphlets to pass on to the "non-reader" book crowd of parents...that we can insert in the children's Bibles we give out?

Hi Albert, 

Check out the Homegrown book from Faith Alive.  It touches on all sorts of topics on parenting. http://www.faithaliveresources.org/Products/151370/home-grown-handbook-for-christian-parenting.aspx

There are also videos and a study guides available for groups of parents that want to form a small group of new parents  together.  

 

Derek

The Jack Stockton recitation is very nice.  It is basically the text to a song by the duo Aaron Jeffrey.  I’m not convinced that this young man has a particularly deep understanding of how Jesus can be found in every book of the Bible since he is merely reciting something someone else has written.  And, in listening to the recitation, I’m also not convinced that the writer has nailed it either.

But neither of those things are your point – your point is that you’d like your kids to have a deep understanding of the books of the Bible.  I agree – although I would suggest that many of the adults in our congregations would also struggle with just such an assignment!

Fortunately there are some excellent resources available to help us learn these things.  One that I particularly like is The Jesus Bible Storybook by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  It is outstanding.  But you should also be aware that the curriculum produced by Faith Alive Resources is created so that students will get a deep understanding of the Bible in context and also from a Reformed and Christ-centered perspective.  I think if you look carefully at any of their curriculums, including the new Dwell and also the new We, designed for intergenerational gatherings, you will be quite impressed with how theologically sound they are.

For use at home, look at the Nurture blog http://www.nurturekidsfaith.org/ has some great suggestions.

Hi Spitfire, after reading your last reply I was thinking, some people received new names in the bible, i.e. Abraham, Jacob, and more, I like Spitfire, but I thought that "Peacemaker" would suit you very well! ( I don't expect you to change it though, but God loves the Peace Maker). Yes, you can share it with anyone you want, my comments like anything else in this world are not my own but belong to God,( and He forgives all the dumb things I say too!), after all He knows before I speak what is going to come out, John.

Hi John,

I got the nickname a long time ago at work, they said I was a ‘real spitfire’...I was not sure if that was a good or bad thing for a long time!!  My dad said they used to call women spitfire if they were opinionated and hot-headed...But it worked out to be a good thing, as they meant I was a go-getter and an independent thinker (another way to say, ‘good worker’, I guess)...it just stuck with me all these years. 

Thank you so much for helping me think this through out loud!  I learned the, “Oops!  Did I really just SEND that?”  lesson as well :)  A few of us have got together to talk about this in the practical, legal way, and we also spent time praying for patience and guidance...I am not sure what is happening now, as no one from the school has called or emailed back.  I will post how it unfolds and turns out—simply in case this can help someone else going through the same thing.

I have a question for you though---would you mind if I shared this with a couple of people who are really keen on ‘spitting fire’?  I think it might help calm a few hearts to see this can be discussed rather than fought about...our lives are about setting a Christian example, and I am worried  that our emotions are going to cause way too much hurt—(and burn a few bridges if we spit fire!)

~spitfire

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