Story

One Church’s “Jesus Calling” Story

Pastor Cindy Ryan Sometimes the best view comes when looking backward. I am a pastor in a 2,800-member Methodist church in Texas. Like most pastors, my days are filled with typical church happenings: programs, studies, ministries, church members’ needs, planning, and leading weekly worship. Five years ago, I became aware that some women in our church were reading the devotional book Jesus Calling. They had been buzzing about the impact the book was having in their lives. But honestly, church members buzz often. They regularly tell their pastors about books or devotional materials we should read. With a full ministry plate and a busy family life, I’d had no time to read Jesus Calling, even to evaluate it. Their words and recommendations barely registered. Little did I know, God had a differ...

A Family’s Journey Through Addiction

Finding Hope One Day at a Time After both going through divorces, Steve and I, former high school classmates, reconnected. We’ve been married for twenty-seven years now. I had two sons, Brandon and Sean (now thirty-four and thirty-one), from my previous marriage. The boys always called Steve Dad, and he never felt any differently. Two years after we were married, our daughter Shannon was born (now twenty-five). We attended church regularly, participated in the kids’ sports, had family and friend get-togethers. Life was good. But fifteen years ago, our world began to crumble right before our eyes. We never could have imagined what was coming. Sean had always been the center of attention, outgoing and well-liked. He was a hard worker with many ambitions and dreams. Sean’s first job, at fifte...

The Wickes Honor Their Mother After Her Cancer Battle

‘Active and engaging’ would be two words to describe our mom, Amy Wicke. Outgoing and personable, she made friends quickly, and most of those friendships lasted her entire life. Her real passion was exercise. She loved running, bicycling, swimming, weight training, and aerobics classes—anything to keep moving and be outdoors. Mom’s age didn’t slow her down either. We remember her lobbying our dad to get us a trampoline, but she probably wanted it more than we did. Amy Wicke and Kids Our mom was also very competitive. When she was younger, she competed in gymnastics and swimming at a very high level. No matter what type of activity she was engaged in, Mom always wanted to improve. It turns out that her drive and competitive spirit would serve as an inspiration to many . . . In October 2002,...

A Lifestyle of Service To A New Generation

Utther Finau: My Mother’s Example I could tell you so much about my mom. I can still feel her amazing hugs that seemed to dissolve all my problems and can picture the smile that remained on her face even through the excruciating pain she endured. I could talk at length about how much I love and miss her. But what I remember the most is my mother’s love of giving. My mother, Atelina (Lina) Finau, truly had a servant’s heart. She always put others’ needs before her own, whether it was for her family, friends, or even complete strangers. Her desire to give came from her strong faith in God, and the greatest lesson she ever taught me was that we were put on this earth to help one another and that these selfless acts bring praise to the Lord. My mother followed her own teaching. She seized ever...

A Pastor Finds Strength and Grace to Lead Through Community Crises

By Dr. Cindy Ryan, associate pastor, First United Methodist Church Our senior pastor, my friend and colleague Ken Diehm, died suddenly in February 2011. Our congregation was rocked by waves of shock, grief, and change. I did the best I could to cope with my grief while pastoring a hurting church. I leaned daily on the words of Jesus Calling where I perceived God was telling me to look up and trust Him, no matter what. Six months to the day after Ken’s death, I found a lump in my breast. I was forty-nine years old and was not overly concerned but decided to have it checked. My doctor sent me for a mammogram. Those doctors recommended a biopsy. A few days after that, while at a staff planning retreat, I excused myself from my coworkers to answer a call from a number I didn’t recognize. A wom...

Letting Go – My Daughter Goes to College

Writer’s Digest award winning author, Sherri Gragg, reflects on the struggles and triumphs parents face as she prepares her oldest daughter for her journey to college.  by Sherri Gragg, author of Arms Open Wide: A Call to Linger in The Savior’s Presence Grieving in New Orleans Sometime around 3:00 a.m. The Big Easy finally settled down to sleep. Behind more layers of locked and barred gates and doors than I had ever experienced, I lay awake in the dark next to all that mattered most to me: my sleeping seventeen-year-old daughter. She wanted to leave me, you see, and I, like some kind of idiot, seemed to be assisting her in the process. I packed my bags and drove her across four states to an adorable Victorian rental that had looked so much more secure on VRBO (Vacation Renta...

“I Trust You, Jesus”: A New Habit From Jesus Calling

Deborah Jentsch tells the story of how she integrated a new habit inspired by Jesus Calling. Saying ‘I trust You, Jesus’ to whatever comes. Calling On Jesus Up On The Mountain For the second year in a row I read these words from the Jesus Calling devotional on January 4: “I want you to learn a new habit. Try saying, ‘I trust You, Jesus,’ in response to whatever happens to you.” I reminded my husband of what we had read after reaching the top of the mountain we were about to ski down. Kurt realized his skis wouldn’t fit onto his boots while trying to snap them into place. Inadvertently, he had grabbed the wrong rental skis, amidst the many placed in ski racks the day before. Encouraging him to say, “I trust You, Jesus” in response to this frustrating circumstance was much easier t...

Cross Country Cycle, Sharing Jesus Calling

Journey with Fargo ND teacher Paul Shol, on his 4,500 mile cross country cycle trip. Paul set out with the goal of sharing the Jesus Calling Devotional. Read about how you can support him, and get inspired along the way. What it Takes to Bike Across America Hi! My name is Paul Shol. I recently embarked on a cross-country bike trip, named “Paul’s Legacy Tour,” across the Northern United States. I started on July 5 on the Pacific Ocean, just west of Eugene, Oregon, and will end in late August or early September, some 4,500 miles later, in Bar Harbor, Maine, at the Atlantic Ocean. Let me introduce myself a bit more. I am a twenty-nine-year-old from Fargo, North Dakota, and a high school math teacher. When I decided to go on this bike tour, I created a schedule for riding that would put m...

Grace, Not Perfection: What Matters Most In Life

Emily Ley is the author of Grace Not Perfection (October 4th, HarperCollins Christian Publishing) and creator of the Simplified Planner®, a tool that helps busy women everywhere simplify their lives, organize their days, and prioritize what’s truly important to them in life. A Dream Built From Humble Beginnings Hi! I’m Emily. I’m a businesswoman, wife, and mama to three who loves Friday night pizza parties on the floor, strong cappuccinos with my husband, and making memories to savor with my twin toddlers and brand-new kindergartner (*sniff*).  The season I find myself in is a busy one, to say the least. And in the midst of my circus, I’m so thankful for my foundation, my faith in Jesus. The more I stop and intentionally seek Him, the more I see His threads in my life, the ones He’s w...

10 Tips for a Joy-Filled Life by Sarah Young

Dear Friend, I wrote Jesus Always, my new 365-day devotional, with a desire to help readers live a joy-filled life. No matter what is happening in our world, we Christians can find Joy in Jesus. I want to share with you 10 tips to help you approach every day joyfully. Each tip includes an excerpt from Jesus Always plus one or more scripture references. As in all my books, the devotions in Jesus Always are written from the perspective of Jesus speaking to you, the reader. My hope and prayer is that these 10 tips will draw you closer to Jesus and help you embrace Joy in His Presence. 1. Stay in Communication with Jesus, Your Joy I am your Joy! These four words can light up your life. Since I am always with you, the Joy of My Presence is continually accessible to you. You can open up to My Pr...

Still Letting Go – A Mother’s Goodbye to Her College Bound Daughter

Sherri Gragg, Writer’s Digest award winner and author of Arms Open Wide: A Call to Linger in The Savior’s Presence, continues the story of taking her daughter to college. An Emotional Goodbye From Mother to Daughter The door to her dorm room closed gently behind us as Meg took a deep breath and turned to face me. “Well…bye,” she said. She was right. This was it. There were no more reasonable excuses to delay, certainly not any that would allow me to go back home with any dignity left intact. I reached out and pulled her, perhaps a little bit too tightly, into my arms. I buried my face into her neck, whispered how much I loved her, and then…I let her go. I blinked back tears, stepped back, took her hands in mine, and said, “You are going to be ok.” She looked into my eyes for a long moment,...

God’s New Name for You

Many voices vie for control of your mind, especially when you sit in silence. . . . Refuse to let other voices tie you up in knots. My sheep know My voice and follow Me wherever I lead.   Jesus Calling, March 3 The weekend following my engagement, one of my families came to town to visit—the Meyerand family, with whom I lived as I was completing my senior year of high school. We had a full day of touring my fiancé’s hometown and introducing our families to one another. Their presence was so meaningful during our engagement bliss. My sister Cindy Meyerand planned a day full of bridal appointments, and I was bracing myself for the possibility that wedding dress shopping might feel a little bit like bathing suit shopping—dreadful. I expected to be insecure about the extra pounds I w...

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