being present.

I haven’t been present here for a while. It’s been a crazy year. And how in the world is August almost over?

God has been growing us like crazy. Individually, in our marriage, as parents, as leaders. It’s been really exciting, but I haven’t had the words to process it just yet, the words to share it. And perhaps the bravery. Over the next few weeks, I am going to try and share what God has been doing in our lives. The ways He has been moving in us and our circumstances. We are pretty excited about the steps our family is taking.

I’d have to say that it all started in February. Last fall, we had the opportunity to lead Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at our church. We started attending Emmanuel the previous January, and had gotten somewhat involved, were loving the services, but didn’t feel completely connected yet.
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Our pastor mentioned that he was hoping to get FPU up and running at the church, and since we had wanted to take the class before, but had never had the chance, we practically begged volunteered to lead it- just so we could make sure it actually happened. We went through the class by ourselves, but we were really excited to get to facilitate it with out church.

The course it’s self is awesome- I consider it an excellent springboard to get you thinking about how to be a good steward of God’s money. Honestly, ever single thing in that class was probably taught in a class in school at sometime- but it should be a class every senior has to take. It’s revolutionary.
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The biggest take away we got from the class, was the idea that a budget has to be re-written every single month.

I mean really. DUH. DUH. How exactly did I miss that concept??

Every month is going to have different expenses, and each category might change a bit from month to month, but as long as it stays at a zero based budget- you are golden. While we were not outspending our means, and have been debt free for years (except for our rental property mortgage and current mortgage), but we definitely were not managing our blessings to the best of our abilities, for ourselves or for God’s will.
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We had an awesome class and got to really bond with some of the people in the class. We learned a ton, and watched as many others did too. There is something so empowering about watching people take control of their finances for God’s will. One of our favorite parts was getting to do a study together, it allowed lots of opportunities to communicate and evaluate where we were feeling called to spend our money. We graduated 30 families from that class, and their stories are incredible. God really moved in a lot of hearts during that course.
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On the heels of our first Financial Peace University, we were asked to lead a Connection Group. Our church doesn’t do a traditional Sunday School time, and instead does connection groups throughout the week. In the fall, we do a church-wide campaign and have small groups that are led by church members at different times through the week. In the spring, the leaders get to choose what study they lead.

I spent a lot of time looking in what direction we wanted to go. Jace and I were going to be leading this together, so I really wanted it to be something we would enjoy doing with other couples. I had been hearing about this book going around- Seven, by Jen Hatmaker, a friend had posted her initial reactions on it, and I had just ordered it. Then I discovered there was a small group study that had been developed after the book.
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I begged convinced Jace, cleared it with our pastor and was so excited!! We were looking forward to a chance to shake up the everyday normal life we were living. We were seeking guidance as to where God was calling us and what our ministry might be. I’ll continue with that in another update, as that small group study was absolutely life changing for us! There’s a lot more to come.
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