Archives for April 2014

How to Help Vilonia AR in the Aftermath of a Tornado

I know at least one of the big reasons God planted my family in this community a little over a year ago.

Esther 4:14

14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Our family is a cog. A go-between. An ambassador. A contact from you to them. An adversary. We are ministers of Reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[b] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

If you prefer to give to someone you know, the valley church {our church plant} has set up an online giving site HERE. We plan to use these funds to help the community and possibly start to rebuild a meeting space.

download and print the list below HERE {as well as some added info for volunteers}


Beryl Baptist Church (873 Main St, Vilonia, AR 72173)
-Food and supplies (no clothes)

Point of Grace Baptist Church (767 Hwy. 64 B, Conway, AR 72032)
-Money, food, clothes, and supplies

Vilonia Church of Christ
(893 Main Street, Vilonia, AR 72173)
-Face masks
-Bottled Water/Drinks
-Work Gloves
-Storage Tubs with Lids (the lids are important!)
-Trash Bags
-Shovels and other Hand Tools
-Gift Cards
-Snack Foods (Individually wrapped, no cooking needed)
-Fuel for camp stoves

The Valley Church (PO Box 152 Vilonia AR 72173)
-gift cards
-small supplies


The Ministry Center will be accepting donations Tues-Thursday from 9-3
701 Polk St. (near Oak & Harkrider) Conway, AR 72034
-Non-perishable food items (easy open/easy prep)
-Baby formula
-Hand sanitizer
-Tarps (preferably large)
-Work gloves
-Heavy duty trash bags
-Plastic storage containers
-New blankets
-New pillows
-Personal hygiene items of all kinds
-Bottled water
-Over the counter meds
-First aide supplies

New Life Church Conway campus and GLR campus are taking donations of ALL kinds.
(8000 Chrystal Hill Rd. NLR, Ar)

The Vintage Marketplace
(444 Hwy 64 E, Conway, AR)
Our store will be a drop off point from 10-2 each day for supplies and non perishable items needed for tornado relief in Vilonia. Items needed at this time: plastic storage bins with lids, gallon buckets, work gloves, shovels, rakes, trash bags, flash lights, batteries, bottled water, non perishable snacks, sanitizing wipes, paper towels, and any items you think would help in clean up. Also needing kerosine lamps, candles, lighters, pillows, blankets, towels, and toiletries.
*A trailer full of flashlights, batteries, snacks, etc. can be picked up at Sweet Heat BBQ on the intersection of Hwy 64 & 107/Naylor Rd.


Select sources of food are scattered along Hwy 64/Main St
BBQ Lunch and Dinner will be provided at Vilonia First Baptist on Wed., April 30th
(1206 Main Street, Vilonia, AR)


(The shelters are providing cots, blankets and food for the displaced residents.)
Beryl Baptist Church (873 Main St, Vilonia)
Mars Hill Church of Christ (1028 County Line Road, Vilonia)
Point of Grace Baptist Church (767 Hwy. 64 B, Conway)
St. Joe’s Catholic Church (1115 College Ave., Conway)
Oak Bowery Baptist Church (889 Otto Road, Conway)
Antioch Baptist Church (150 Amity Road, Conway)


Salvation Army
-Donations can be made online at

-By phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY(1-800-725-2769).

-You can also text the word "STORM" to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone; to confirm your gift, respond with the word “Yes."*

-Donations in the form of checks designated to Arkansas Tornado Relief may also be mailed to:The Salvation ArmyPO Box 738North Little Rock, AR 72115-0738


"Gentle Hands Learning Center is extending our facility to you. If you need childcare while helping out, or if your home is destroyed, I personally want to welcome you to our center. This is my way of returning the blessing that we received 3 years ago; as being in the middle of repairing and dealing with insurance 3 years ago myself. My heart and prayers are with each and everyone that has been affected by this. God bless each and everyone of you."

Gentle Hands Learning Center
1003 Main Street.
Vilonia, AR 72173
796-8878 (After hours phone 501-514-4475)
Due to the curfew hours we are open
7:00am to 6:00pm Monday-Friday

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Should Recovering Hoarders Buy in Bulk?

I have always heard great things about buying in bulk to save money. With four children 5-years-old and younger, I am desperate to save money where ever I can. Living frugal is essential for my family BUT I've also learned, being a recovering hoarder means buying in bulk is not always cost-effective.

I'm confessing all and hopefully helping those who are also recovering hoarders on the Homemaker's Challenge today. I'll be covering 3 things that may cause hoarding rather than smart bulk shopping, 3 signs that you may struggle with hoarding as well as 3 questions every hoarder should ask themselves before buying in bulk. Won't you jump over and give it a read?

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The Night of the Tornado 2014

The Lord is our protector.

The Lord is our shelter.

We have asked to be used. The time is now.

Sunday April 27th, 2014

7:15pm We calmly had our children prepare for bed: PJs, potty, brush teeth. Then they gathered their “sleeping stuff” and headed to the playroom where we had cleared out the school table and doll house and replaced it with a futon, flashlights, a shelf of boots, water bottles, pull-ups, and sugar cookies. They sat and goofed off while we attempted to stay self-controlled as we watched and listening to the weather reports of a quickly approaching tornado.

The power went out.

We snuggled together on the futon, nursed the baby, and read a look-n-find Elmo book by flashlight as Matt and I glanced at each other as we heard the storm silence and then the train approach.

A few minutes passed. The kids finished their book. I strapped the sleepy infant in her carrier and we waited. I can only imagine the wait Noah and his family has after God shut the arch door and they waited for the rain to begin. The unknown.

8:30pm Matt snuck out to see if he could get a radio with batteries and signal on his phone. We began playing music for our kids and by no coincidence, the song proclaimed:

“Oh Lord my Lord, you keep us safe. You will protect us. You will keep us safe and watch over us in our coming and going, forever.”

9:00pm Matt headed out to check on dear family-friends. We got word that the tornado passed through their side of town and there was nothing left. The neighbors told me the by-pass apparently looks like a war-zone. The houses behind the sonic in the middle of town are pretty badly damaged. The neighborhood less than ½ a mile away has some damage.

And here I sit. Home intact. Family safely sleeping. Writing. Listing to the terrifying sound of sirens while I have no signal to the rest of the world.

We, like Noah, sent out our birds to check for safe ground. My Matt-bird hasn’t returned. I’m not sure I’m ready to hear what he found. The thought of death and destruction are making my insides cringe.

I just got a text from the family we set out in search of.

“Are y’all ok? Our family is alive. The Lord spared us. All the houses are gone. Many on our road are missing.”

10:00pm The kids' music has stopped. I think they are all 4 finally asleep after the nervous whimpering stopped. I’m sitting here in a big house with a single flashlight lighting the hall for the kids room and the bathroom. I don’t know where that big tub of emergency candles is. I don’t know where my husband is either.

I sit and wait. I’m a worker bee who likes a plan of attack. I don’t know what to do in the silent wait listing to cars and trucks roam up and down near our house in search of people, damage, and destruction. I don’t know how to prepare to be the help God has sent me here to be.

Writing is focusing my thoughts. I want to take captive my thoughts and not let satan run ramped with them through the muck of fear.

My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do!

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MNO is coming Sooooon!

Moms' Night Out
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Celebrate the Moms in Your Church with Laughter
As a pastor, would you ever think of laughing off Mother's Day? Well, this year, you should! The new movie MOMS' NIGHT OUT is a wholesome and hilarious comedy that will help your church truly celebrate the role of moms.

Watch How Pastors Are Using This Movie

Watch This Hilarious Scene
Great Free Resources
There's a heartfelt scene toward the end of MOMS' NIGHT OUT that encourages and celebrates moms. You can download that scene for free on the movie's resource site. In addition, you can access a Mother's Day message from Dr. David Platt and find other great tools as well.

Visit Church Resources

Make the Most of Moms' Night Out
Make the Most of Moms' Night Out
Pastor Michael Catt's Sherwood Baptist Church is buying out seats at their local theater to celebrate moms in their church and their community. "Absolutely, I would recommend it. We're not going to do service Mother's Day Sunday night. We're encouraging people to go to the theater."

Learn More About Group Tickets

What Other Pastors Are Saying
What Other Pastors Are Saying

"MOMS' NIGHT OUT is a "very funny movie that is entertaining, while at the same time has an underlying message that needs to be heard."
David Platt, Senior Pastor, The Church at Brook Hills, Author, Radical
"MOMS' NIGHT OUT is not only an incredibly funny and relatable film for moms, but SURPRISE! A movie that the whole family will still be laughing about and quoting days after seeing it. Count this family in for a Family Movie Night on Mother's Day weekend."
Pastors Matthew and Caroline Barnett, Dream Center and Angelus Temple
"MOMS' NIGHT OUT will literally have you 'rolling in the aisle' and talking about it for days and weeks to come. Truly, it is a gift this Mother's Day worth investing in."
Keith Loy, Lead Pastor, Celebrate Community Church

Watch the Trailer

In Theaters
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Teachable Easter Baskets

Just like we try to be purposeful during the Christmas season we also want to use the Easter season to not only have fun among those we are called to love but to also teach and celebrate what Easter really is.

unEaster Baskets

I mean, its only the day we celebrate the most important event in the history of people. {yeah, I’m Sorry…My Kids Don’t Believe in the Easter Bunny. Don't ask, they'll be confused.} The day a Perfect Man with all resources at His disposal chose to conduct the largest bailout that has ever been and ever will be for all the scanky, dirty, and despicably unworthy- US. I don't know about you, but a creepy bunny bringing cavity inducing goodies to my littles just doesn't seem to do such an event justice.

I got the idea of unEaster baskets from good oh Amanda. Now, don't think this amazingness went down all glamorous with no squabbles, confusion, and utter annoyance at my littles inability to understand simple directions but it was more purposeful than just sitting out baskets of goodies while giving credit to a cute furry mammal.

unEaster Baskets:

Sin Creats Rocky Hard Hearts

  • During their nap I put together their Easter baskets with little goodies I'd been collecting and hid them.
  • As they began waking up I was still finishing up writing egg labels that helped make everything in the basket point back to Jesus in our lives.
  • When they were all awake, I had sat them all at the coffee table with a bucket of rocks and markers.
  • We walked through what sin was: bad choices, and how those sins hardened our hearts like rocks.
  • Then we talked about Ezekiel where is says God is going to take our rocked up hearts and replace them with new ones.
  • After much confusion and worries over whether they would get in trouble for confessing, they each came up with a couple bad choices they had made and we drew a picture of or wrote the word on the rock.

Here comes the fun part:

Start an unEaster Basket tradition with your kids celebrating the real meaning of Easter while being purposeful with gift giving

  • We all walked outside with our sin while we talked about how Jesus said He promised to take our sins away and chunk them as far as the east is from the west: so far we couldn't even see them on the other side of the fence.
  • While we talked, we wondered to the back of the yard where I had hidden their baskets under a red bedsheet.
  •  Then I reminded them that on a Friday, Jesus, who was perfect and never made a single bad choice, picked to pay for all our sin by dying.
  • I ask them to chunk their rocks onto the sheet that was a picture of His blood that paid for our bad choices.
  • When all the rocks were on there, I told them how God redeems all those bad things, takes them away, and replaces them, just like our rocky hearts, with new exciting things.
    an unEaster Basket tradition making the gospel come to life for littles
  • I pulled the sheet off the tops of the baskets while wadding the rocks up inside it, revealing their baskets of gifts.
  • We sat on the trampoline and read through the promises of Jesus and they found what represented that in their baskets as a reminder of that truth.
  • Then we wore sunglasses, ate candy, and squabbled over how to get off the trampoline and how much candy they were allowed to eat at once.
    an unEaster Basket tradition

Just when I began to get annoyed, explaining to hubs that I thought it was a waste, He just smiled and said he liked it. When we were putting everyone to bed {EARLY because of sleep deprivation this week}, Jamin ask Matt what Easter was. Matt told him that it was the day we celebrate Jesus coming back to life. To which Jamin responded, "and taking our rocks?" #winning I think this will be a regular tradition, of sorts.

What kind of tradition does your family have to celebrate the true meaning of Easter?

Ideas for purposing Easter basket goodies:

 Purposeful Easter Basket Gifts

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