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CHRI’s 21st Anniversary is Here – A Message from General Manager Bill Stevens

March 2nd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in CHRI

An Open Letter to Parents Whose Kids are Being Loud in Church

March 2nd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Encouragement
You are doing something really, really important. I know it’s not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.

I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant car seat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them.

And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper. I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet, as you feel everyone’s eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.

I know you’re wondering is this worth it? Why do I bother? I know you often leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But what you are doing with your kids in church is so important.

When you are here, the church is filled with a joyful noise. When you are here, the Body of Christ is more fully present. When you are here, we are reminded that this worship thing we do isn’t about Bible study or personal, quiet contemplation but coming together to worship as a community where all are welcome, where we share in the Word and Sacrament together. When you are here, I have hope that these pews won’t be empty in 10 years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship. I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it’s too late. They are learning that worship is important.

I see them learning. In the midst of the cries, whines and giggles, in the midst of the crinkling of pretzel bags and the growing pile of crumbs, I see a little girl who insists on going two pews up to share peace with someone she’s never met. I hear a little boy slurping (quite loudly) every last drop of his communion wine out of the cup determined not to miss a drop of Jesus. I watch a child excitedly color a cross and point to the one in the front of the sanctuary. I hear the echos of Amens just a few seconds after the rest of the community says it together. I watch a boy just learning to read try to sound out the words in the worship book or count his way to Hymn 672. Even on weeks when I can’t see my own children learning because, well, it’s one of those mornings, I can see your children learning.

I know how hard it is to do what you’re doing, but I want you to know, it matters. It matters to me. It matters to my children to not be alone in the pew. It matters to the congregation to know that families care about faith, to see young people … and even on those weeks when you can’t see the little moments, it matters to your children.

It matters that they learn that worship is what we do as a community of faith, that everyone is welcome, that their worship matters. When we teach children that their worship matters, we teach them that they are enough right here and right now as members of the church community. They don’t need to wait until they can believe, pray or worship a certain way to be welcome here, and I know adults who are still looking to be shown that. It matters that children learn that they are an integral part of this church, that their prayers, their songs and even their badly timed (or perfectly timed depending on who you ask) cries and whines are a joyful noise because it means they are present. I know it’s hard, but thank you for what you do when you bring your children to church. Please know that your family—with all of its noise, struggle, commotion and joy—are not simply tolerated, you are a vital part of the community gathered in worship.

Adapted from:

7 Questions Every Husband Should Be Asking Himself

March 2nd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips
Why do we men have an easier time talking about our favorite teams than our marriages? Is it because we don’t care? No. Is it because we care more about sports or politics than our marriages? Definitely not.

I suspect that for most of us, there’s insecurity and uncertainty. Reflecting upon our performance as husbands feels threatening. Our first thought might be: What am I doing wrong? And who wants to talk about that? (I realize there may be exceptions, and I ask those self-assured husbands to intercede for the rest of us.)

I might venture to say that we keep up with our marriages in similar fashion as those of us who live in New England—but who aren’t football fans—keep up with the Patriots: just enough to nod intelligently while the true fan goes on and on about Brady and Belichick. This strategy works when Christian men talk to other Christian men. The trouble comes when the truest fan of marriage, your wife, asks, “How do you think you’re doing as a Christian husband?”

After 26 years of marriage and hundreds of hours sitting with other men as we process our relational failures and occasional successes, we might want to consider how our reluctance to engage with our friends on this topic might end up blocking us from our desired goal. In the hope of fostering dialogue, here are seven starters to ask each other.

  1. How’s your prayer life?  Do you pray when no one is looking? When our interchanges with the Lord are self-initiated rather than dependent upon our wives, pastors, or small group leaders, we have more objectivity in the face of our failures. We don’t have to be perennially ashamed and generically guilty. We can build on the foundation of the Lord’s forgiveness and make better choices that are likely to stick. We can pray for our wife to be blessed beyond measure, even through us.
  2. How well are you listening to your wife? When she asks you to put down your phone or close your computer for the tenth time, does her disappointment register or do you simply feel annoyed? She didn’t just want to talk: she wanted you to listen. And to care. Did you remember to ask her about the concerns she voiced during your conversation the night before? We serve our wives through listening and following up on what was said.
  3. Are you aware of your mistakes? If you’re not saying “I’m sorry” on a regular basis, you’re probably not paying attention. (And yes, this goes both ways.) This includes apologizing for obvious infractions (like when you spilled your work frustration onto her and the kids) as well as the more mundane ones (forgetting to change the light bulb she can’t reach). Owning our mistakes helps our wives to trust us and keeps us in reality.
  4. Are you doing the things you promise to do? Early in our marriage, I would attempt to jettison out of conflict by promising that I would never do it again. (Itbeing any number of indiscretions such as being late for dinner or over-reacting during a conflict.) I had no idea what I was talking about and this only led to disappointment when I did the exact same thing two months later. A sincere apology is undercut by an unfounded promise and a bad track record. The truth is, I may continue to be late, to overreact, or forget to replace the light bulbs. Instead of overpromising, I’ve learned to let her know that I’m aware of my specific shortcomings and to keep her posted on how I am addressing them.
  5. Are you serving your home other than through your income? Yes, she may be more perceptive about what the children need and more efficient at running the home, but that doesn’t mean you can defer. For me, deferring usually comes to a screaming halt when I happen upon something that isn’t performed to my specifications (a missing check in the register or another unmatched sock).  All of my previous blithe indifference becomes a dictatorship about how things should be done. It goes much better for me if I help a little at a time, and keep my overwrought master schemes to myself.
  6. Are you digging into Scripture so that you understand what God is asking of you? Far too many of us think we know what Scripture says about marital relationships but really only vaguely remember what serves our best interests. Do your own work. Spend time going through the entire arc of Scripture so that you can truly understand what sacrificial love and godly submission look like. (Hint: The latter does not mean you can play the submission card when you want sex.) Give God the opportunity to correct you so your wife doesn’t have to. (See #3 above.)
  7. Are you pursuing sobriety—in thought and deed? Jesus tells us to pluck out our eyes, cut off our hands and feet, and cauterize our hearts rather than continue to sin. That seems to imply that what we do with our eyes, our minds, and our sexuality deeply impacts those who are closest to us. Software safeguards are the least we can do and maybe it’s time to take it to the next level and talk about your areas of sin and struggle with other men instead of avoiding it and pontificating about how magnificently the QB did in the second half. When you go first and say the obvious, you are likely to be met with support, camaraderie, and relief. And my guess is you’ll discover that talking about your marriage with other men will actually help you become a better husband.


How to Keep Your Kids Busy this March Break

March 2nd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in For Kids

It’s almost Spring Break all across the country. Kids are getting excited and parents are looking for creative ideas to make sure everyone is having a great time.

Make some new memories this week and try some of these fun activities with your family.

Hot Chocolate Station

Soon it will be summer and hot chocolate will be a memory of the past. Have one last hot chocolate celebration. Get some cocoa mix, fun toppings and cute cups and let your kids get creative. Pair this with a family movie and everyone will have a great night!

Glow Stick Fun

There are so many fun things to do with glow sticks! Snap a glow stick then carefully cut it open and pour it into a jar. The jar will glow all night and makes a great lantern for a sleepover! You could also insert snapped glow sticks into white balloons and created cool glow in the dark balloons. Make your house light up all night!

A wonderful book to pair with this activity is God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner. A beautiful story for children about the creation of light and how God’s light can shine through all of us.

Crayon Art

Find a canvas and all those extra crayons you have around the house. Hot glue the crayons onto the canvas and get ready for a beautiful artistic creation to form right in front of your eyes. Place your canvas outside (if it’s hot where you live) and the crayons will melt. Otherwise, you can do this indoors using a hair dryer. Your kids will love hanging their crayon art up on their walls!

Recycle Bin Bowling

Find some empty plastic bottles in your recycling bin and use them to create a fun game of bowling. Fill them with water and add some food coloring and the kids can bowl all day! This is a great driveway activity.

The best part about Spring Break is spending time together as a family. Try some of these ideas to make your week extra fun!


Easter on Pinterest

March 2nd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Family

St. Patrick’s Day on Pinterest

March 2nd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Family