This Is Going To Be Awesome! My Upcoming Mother--Son Trip To Forest Home!

Thank you, in advance, to Forest Home for hosting me and my boys for Mother--Son Weekend of camp! All opinions and text are my own.

The other day I took my son, Quinn, on a special “Mommy Date” to the location of his choice. Subway sandwiches, of course.  There we sat, just he and I, enjoying ham and cheese and unhurried quality time. He was in a state of bliss! Never stopped smiling, seriously. So of course, neither did I!

As the middle child, he often gets sidestepped for this or that—and he will always be the one wearing the most hand-me-downs or called on to be flexible. So when Forest Home asked if I would like to attend a Mommy-Son Weekend at their Christian campgrounds here in Southern California, I knew that Quinn was going to be especially delighted! He is my most outdoorsy kid! 

I asked Quinn if he would mind if his big brother Oliver came too—I really wanted Quinn to have some alone time with me if he really wanted to—but Quinn has a big heart and figured, the more the merrier! 

So, the three of us are heading to Forest Home Christian Camps the weekend of April 1-3rd!

But here’s the best part—there are still spots open for moms and their sons on this trip and we would LOVE to see YOU there too!

Want to join us?! Forest Home is all-inclusive!  

For an affordable rate, the cost includes accommodations (cozy cabins-yay), meals, camp activities (pool, lake, hiking, mini golf, Canyon Park’s zip line, giant swing, ropes course, etc.), and all kinds of fabulous Jesus-focused kids’ programs led by fun-loving counselors!

Please say you’ll come with us! You can register by clicking HERE and the link will take you to the page for more info!

Growing up, I spent every summer going to camp and those days are honestly some of the best memories of my life. I drew closer to the Lord there, made life-long friendships, and had all kids of good-natured F.U.N! I’m truly thrilled to give my boys the same experiences! I’m not so sure about fitting in a one-piece bathing suit at this stage of pregnancy, and I’ll probably watch from the ground while they do the ropes course, but you can bet that I’ll be engaging in plenty of nature hikes and adventures while we are there! Can’t wait!!

Honestly, I’m praying for the times where our hearts will be filled up by the messages from wonderful Christian speakers and worship music and this time in “God’s Country” will also be a very meaningful time spiritually for my sons. I want them to encounter Jesus and I’m praying that this will be a time to transform their hearts even more toward Christ-likeness.

The trip is still a little ways out, but I’m ready to go now!

Here’s the registration link one more time if you are interested in being as spontaneous as we are and heading to the beautiful mountains and grounds of Forest Home! And check out all their other amazing weekends and family camps too!

SHARE: Did you go to camp growing up? Does your family or your child attend camp for any of your vacations? What do you LOVE about this outdoor experience?

 

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Amber Lia

A former high school English teacher, Amber is a work-at-home mom of 4 little boys under the age of 10. She is the best-selling author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, say Something New. She and her husband Guy own Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach, or searching for Nerf darts all over her house, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at Mother of Knights (www.motherofknights.com).

My Bizarre "One Word" For 2016

My Bizarre One Word For 2016

I’m NOT excited about the word that I feel God has put on my heart for 2016. It's a bit bizarre and out of the box.

"Promise."

"Hope."

"New Beginnings."

These are the words that come to my mind when I think about the start of the New Year and I think that most of us become reflective about the past 12 months once December rolls around.

A few years ago, I saw the trend of people choosing “One Word” to describe their hopes, dreams, and prayers for the year ahead. I love this idea because it sets a thematic tone for the choices we make and shapes our perspectives when unexpected circumstances confront us.

None of us knows what 2016 will hold, but we can face the New Year with a prayerful attitude that God will fulfill His plans for our lives when we yield to Him.

Two years ago, the word I chose was “HARVEST.” Last year, I felt led to choose a prayer instead of a word. My prayer for 2015 was that I would “hunger and thirst for righteousness more than anything else.” This is what I asked others to pray for me anytime they asked for a prayer request. It will continue to be my prayer in 2016.

BUT, I also have sensed a pattern regarding one particular word that the Lord keeps bringing before me through my quiet times of Bible reading, podcast messages, sermons at church, and books I am reading. It’s also a word that I have experienced much of the past few years. It’s a rather unpleasant word. It’s a word that results from the prayer I prayed in 2015 to hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Most of us choose words like “HOPE” or “LIGHT” or “JOY.” We tend to gravitate to positive words and I wanted to as well. I want my year to be crowned with happy things and beautiful moments. I’m sure they will come.

But this year, my word is “PERSECUTION.” Ugh.

You see, I have come to realize that Jesus’ model of life on earth and His ministry was powerful. Effective. Radical. Foreign. Turbulent. Intense. Controversial. And therefore, Jesus was a man persecuted. Wearied. Spent. Tested. Tried. And, ultimately, He suffered the ultimate in persecution—death on a cross.

Here’s the thing, those who seek to be like Christ are not exempt from the things He faced. The Bible says this:

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” (2 Timothy 3:12)

‘“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18)

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (1 Peter 4:12-14)

“But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,” ( 1 Peter 3:14)

““Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” (Luke 6:22)

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)

These verses are just a sampling of the many times that Jesus warns us about suffering for His Name’s sake. I’m especially impacted by the reaction of Peter and the apostles after a horrific flogging from the religious leaders of the day who persecuted them:

“They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.” (Acts 5:40a-42) The apostles left the beating, “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”

And they continued to obey God, rather than man.

I was serious all those years ago when I told Christ I was His.

I meant it when I said that I would live with an eternal perspective, valuing crowns of righteousness over earthly things.

These past few years, I have been entrenched in heavy ministry—blogging here and for other Christian websites, writing a book (out soon, stay tuned), leading a private Facebook group for moms who struggle with angry reactions, and leading a Bible study group of moms from my church. The persecution has already been thick. I’m not exactly hoping for opportunities to share in Christ’s sufferings as the apostles Peter and Paul were apt to say, but I’m not naïve to think that if I am growing in Christ and serving Him, then those times won’t come.

They have.

They will.

So, 2016 has me suited up for more spiritual battle. I need your prayers!!

And I’d love to pray for you too! I hope that your “one word” for 2016 is something positive and profoundly personal. We all have our different and unique walks with the Lord and I would love to know what your word is for this year and how you arrived at it!

I’m deeply grateful to begin 2016 with YOU! May the Lord bless you and keep you and may the light of His love surround you in startling beautiful ways this year, whether persecuted or called to enjoy a season of abundance and peace.

YOUR TURN: What is your “one word” for 2016? How did you choose this word?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well!

 

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Amber Lia

A former high school English teacher, Amber is a work-at-home mom of 4 little boys under the age of 10. She is the best-selling author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, say Something New. She and her husband Guy own Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach, or searching for Nerf darts all over her house, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at Mother of Knights (www.motherofknights.com).

Why This Christian Won't Protest 50 Shades of Gray (And You Shouldn't Either)

Why This Christian Won't Protest 50 Shades Of Gray And You Shouldn't Either

Hey Christian! I want you to consider a different kind of approach to the very loud protesting against the upcoming movie, 50 Shades of Gray this Valentine’s Day weekend.

I see it everywhere I turn in Christian circles lately-women and men posting scathing protests against any believer or even the secular public who might support a film that contains graphic sex and blurred lines between love and abuse.

But I won’t.

And I don’t say that with pride and a puffed up chest either. I say it with sadness, honestly.

Here’s why:

  1. If my main objective as a Christ-follower is to be a light and to be known for how I love others, then publicly protesting a film on a moral level will only pit me against my target audience for sharing the message of Jesus Christ and His love.

How open is an unbeliever going to be if I spend my time coming across as judgmental and close-minded, even if I am being neither of those things? Because that will be the perception.

And perceptions matter.

I firmly believe that living a quiet, yet stalwart life for Christ is the testimony we need to portray to the world:

 …and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders… I Thessalonians 4:11-12b

Offending others intentionally is foolish, friends. Gain their respect so that when the time comes that they hunger for something beyond the emptiness of the bedroom or the pursuit of the boardroom, or the burdens of life, you are the first person they want to approach, instead of avoid.

But if those around us only see believers standing with a fist and building brick walls with our words, then they will never consider us respectable people that they would want to have a conversation with about our differing views.

Conisder Chik-fil-A's Dan Cathy's friendship with gay activist Shane L. Windmeyer. I lOVE these guys!

How can we publicly condemn others for having a sinful belief system and then think that they will come to our homes for dinner or accept Living Water from our hands when we run off at the mouth?

  1. As a passionate Christ-follower, I want to be known by what I stand FOR not what I stand AGAINST.

You won’t find a more passionate advocate for all things good and praise-worthy when it comes to what I choose to dwell on and promote. You can bet that I will stand for life, for integrity, for Biblical love and if you knew me personally, you would know that I am no pushover when it comes to Truth.

But conversations about deep heart issues are best held between people who have mutual respect for one another-something that is void in a public protest.  I’m happy to talk through my beliefs with anyone who comes to me and asks. And in that conversation I hope I will do as much listening as talking.

There is enough negativity in social media already. As a believer, the last thing I want to do is add to it. My prayer is that I will be known as someone who believes the best about others, gives them the benefit of the doubt, seeks good in the world around me, and pursues it.

  1. Controversial topics rarely edify those who “listen” in the public forum.

Words can bring healing or cut like a dagger. They have the power to bring freedom or implement bondage.

Invite or alienate.

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Christ-follower, your “neighbors” are listening. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and ask yourself how you come across to them. Would you approach, YOU, if you were someone who largely disagreed with your views? Are you being kind and gentle while still being a man or woman of integrity?

I’ll tell you what. I know a lot of beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ who are being staunch and vocal about the debate of 50 Shades of Gray. They are signing petitions and doling out heaping measures of guilt. I love these people. But every time I see them rail on this film and those “Hollywood” people that my husband and I have given up EVERYTHING to reach and to love in practical ways, our job as faith-friendly producers and missionaries in a very secular environment gets that much harder. We get lumped into that pool of “Christians” who are judgmental and hateful. And all those people who we care about so deeply retreat a little further from our message of the Gospel.

I could just weep over it. And I have.

I don’t feel grace or benefited when I see Christ-followers waving banners of protest and shaming the world for being the world. I feel sick. Disgusted. Saddened.

Anything but edified.

Listen, I’m not saying that we shouldn't have convictions about issues, but I think we need to reconsider the forum and the decorum with which we discuss these matters.

Live your life quietly. Love God. Love others unconditionally-even those who will see 50 Shades of Gray this weekend.

Radiate joy in good times and bad.

Make choices that are counter-culture and raise your kids to do the same.

Be satisfied in Christ and the world will take notice.

And because you are known for your kindness and convictions that you live out in everyday life, you will be given opportunities to share Christ in a personal way.

The light of your life is more effective than a thousand petitions. And far more reflective of Christ who pulled up a chair to eat with “sinners” whom he preferred over the self-righteous of His day.

Be a light on a hill that welcomes the lost and the weary and when the many gray areas of this world dim and begin to reveal themselves for the darkness and void that they are. The light you radiate in word and deed will be a welcome change in the world around you.

YOUR TURN! What do you think are the best ways to stand for your beliefs while also loving others?

(NOTE: This post is not meant to be a discussion about whether or not you or anyone should or should not see this particular film. It's a discussion of the "forum and decorum" of how we engage culture regarding issues of morality as Christ-followers. If your comments don't fit the nature of the discussion, they will most likely be removed.)

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well!

44 Comments

Amber Lia

A former high school English teacher, Amber is a work-at-home mom of 4 little boys under the age of 10. She is the best-selling author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, say Something New. She and her husband Guy own Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach, or searching for Nerf darts all over her house, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at Mother of Knights (www.motherofknights.com).