The gift that will not fade …

10665930_10152750701973749_4060286779736131217_nGuest Post by Joe Duenich

What is the gift that will not fade?

My two daughters are grown and experiencing their very own adventure of life. While my wife and I are excited about being empty nesters and watching them blossom, it is kind of sad. We miss taking care of them and seeing them each and every day. But in the eternal scheme of things, not seeing them for days, weeks, or even months apart is really nothing. The day is coming when I who entered this world at one point will face eternity. That day is also coming for my kids…yours too. Our sons and daughters will hear from a just and holy, loving God about an eternal destiny. The thought of missing one of my kids in eternity is just unbearable for me.

So, if you’re a parent, I’m telling you, do whatever you need to do. Talk to your kids about their faith and about their futures and about God. And if it’s awkward or hard or embarrassing or you feel like you don’t have all the answers, talk to them anyway! You’re the parent. In addition to talking to them, allow them to see into your heart and your own walk with God. Teach them through your example. Be a great role model.


It took a lot for this UW husky fan had within her to post this photo of WSU fans on her page.

Role modeling is one of the best ways to reach our kids. What is the example that we are to use to have our kids model after? Here’s an idea from Ephesians 5:1-4. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks.”

This is not an exhaustive list but what a powerful place to start. Paul is encouraging us to imitate God…in other words, let your kids see you acting like Jesus by walking in love! Model purity…they need to see this from us as parents because they are hard pressed to see it from anyone else. And our mouths…the words that come out of our mouth have immense power to give life or death. We should choose words wisely around our children.

Lastly, make the commitment to pray for your kids every day. We live in a world where parents think so much about parenting and work hard to give so many gifts to their kids that are going to fade. There’s only one gift we can give to our kids that will never fade, and that will last for all eternity, so give it. Give it the best you can!

For more posts by men you can go to Dirt, Trucks, and Faith

Looking for a speaker?  view my profile at Christian Women Speakers or go to Christian Women in Media Speakers Bureau



The Importance Of Being Vertically Centered

10954215_553447656161_602363106_nGuest Post By Josh Wallace

I grew up in a strict Christian family when I was a kid, my parents were (and still are) very spiritual and strong Christians, for better or for worse it was a sheltered life. I’m not saying being sheltered was a bad thing, just giving you a little insight on how I was raised. From the eyes of a little kid being a Christian was going to church, praying before you ate your food, before your went to bed, following the rules and getting baptized.

I was baptized at a young age; I didn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t want to be baptized. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing like any good young Christian, I wish I had waited. A little while later I got caught up in the middle of some church politics and experienced my first buffeting in my faith. I couldn’t understand why anyone who professed to follow Christ would act so un-Christ like.

For many years I allowed this to affect me, I floundered along spiritually through high school and college. I would have spiritual highs during week of prayers and times spent with my high school Chaplin Fred Riffel, but they wouldn’t last long. I would refer to my Christianity during those years as lukewarm. I still went to church, I still prayed, but the zeal for Jesus wasn’t there.

After college I wasn’t able to find a job. I applied, interviewed but never got a job, it was a hard time for me. The positive of the situation was that it gave me time to spend with my grandparents. During morning worships I saw just how close to God they were, I knew of the struggles they had earlier in their life and how they overcame them with God’s help and it pointed to their being hope for me. I talked at length to my grandpa (Poppie) one day10965167_553447651171_1704685783_n while golfing about my past; he asked me why I would let anyone affect a relationship that they weren’t involved in? “What does anyone in the church have to do with your relationship with Jesus Christ?” he asked.

It started to hit me that I was allowing outside forces that were not directly involved mold my relationship with God.

It’s been over six years since that talk, but I won’t forget it. It was a turning point for me in my relationship with God. Luckily I didn’t have to travel it alone, I was blessed to spend a lot of time with my grandparents between 2009 and 2012. Having worship every morning with them was a big help for me. I started having my own worships when I wasn’t with them, whether it was reading a chapter of Proverbs or reading devotionals.

The time with my grandparents taught me a lot of what being a Christian really was, it wasn’t just following rules and going to church. It’s about building a relationship with God and then doing what Jesus did when he was here, he went about doing good. Following Jesus and focusing on a relationship produces the fruits of the spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

Would I go back and change my past? Absolutely not, all the up and downs led me to where I am now in my spiritual walk with God. I would advise others though to take your decisions about God seriously, don’t let others come between you and him. Make those decisions for yourself, don’t feel rushed, God will meet you where you are at, focus on building a relationship with him and everything else will fall into place.

As I have grown older my idea of what being a Christian has changed from what it was when I was little. I now see that Christianity is more than just praying before my meals, my bedtime and going to church. It is about having an undisturbed vertical relationship with God, and allowing him to use me to do good to others.

10962023_553447646181_327057833_nMy grandparents have taught me so much in my walk with Christ and I want to share the wisdom he has shared with me. Below I’ve added a list my grandpa gave me that has helped over the years; it is what my grandpa has attributed his relationship with God to. I hope they help you too!

The Gospel of Joy and Happiness according to Poppie

  • Have a thankful heart
  • Have a forgiving spirit
  • Have a child like trust in God
  • Have an optimistic attitude
  • Give more-expect less
  • Live simply
  • Love generously
  • Care deeply
  • Speak kindly
  • Free your heart from hatred and your mind from worries. Worry is pain suffered for something that hasn’t happened and most likely won’t
  • Get in the word-Bible- morning worship
  • 12 Leave the rest to God

I hope you have enjoyed this awesome post from Josh.  I love what he said about being in a vertical relationship with God. Take a moment to really think about your relationship with God.  Are you vertically lined up with God? This is the second post in this series that gives the awesome wisdom of “Poppie” and I hope to meet him some day. 

If you have not caught the other posts in the “Dirt, Trucks, and Faith series” you can read the other posts by going to the tab in the menu bar and clicking on the series name.  Blessings from the Midlife Domestic Goddess 

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Stop Trying To Prove It

5By Travis Niles

I have been asked to share with my fellow Christian men something that God has taught me. As a man speaking to other men, the most important thing I can offer is this:

God made you a man. Accept it and get over yourself.

That is, don’t spend time trying to prove it to yourself or to others. “Trying to prove it” means that you haven’t yet figured out a good enough answer to the question, “How do I know that I’m (really) a man?”

You’ve probably never confronted the question head-on, but much of what you say and do might be (subconsciously) directed at answering it. At some point, someone gave you the idea that “real men do X” or “real men have/own Y,” and it can’t be otherwise. And that has real consequences. In order to prove that he belongs to the club, a guy becomes obsessed with doing X, and he just needs to have Y, even if he’s not interested in those things.

But what if he didn’t need to prove it? What if the question of his manhood had already been settled? Could that bring more freedom into his life?

What I want to tell you, is this: Nothing other than the simple fact of your creation as a man will give you assurance that you are, indeed, a man.

Looking to the triune God who made us is the only appropriate starting point to form a Christian viewpoint of what it means to be a man. A creature can’t be known apart from its Creator, so we can’t start by looking at ourselves, our inclinations, and our desires. Whatever a culture defines as truly masculine (whether that culture is reactionary, conservative, progressive, or liberal) cannot be a sure foundation for knowing oneself to be a man. A social scientist might tell us that each culture has generally accepted standards of male/female activity and behavior, but for our purposes here, those judgments are irrelevant.

God created you as a man, so you’re a man. Period. The only thing that has the right to decide your manhood is something your Creator has already done. “Proving it” is not a right that you’ve been granted. God’s sovereign choice nixed that from the get-go.

This means that being a man is something categorical, not a matter of degrees. You are either a man, or you’re not. There is no “more” or “less.”

Let’s take a look at this from the first angle: Being a man is not decided by your “extracurricular activities.” As I mentioned earlier, some men think that in order to be a man, one must do X, or must have Y. But is that true?

On our culture’s terms, I’ve done enough to “earn my man card.” For a long time, I had a nice 2beard. I had a big truck. I have multiple tattoos. I played football in high school and college. In both settings, I was voted in as co-captain, voted as Most Inspirational, and also earned All-Academic Team honors. I was a valedictorian at my high school and a top student at my university. During the summers of my college years, I ran a stump and tree removal company and also worked as a strength coach for a local high school football team. After college, I moved overseas, alone, to a place where I didn’t know the language, fought to learn it, and then had a great year and a half of preaching and teaching in multiple congregations in the region. Then I came home to spend a summer working on a commercial fishing boat in1 Alaska, which I’ll do again this year. (And yes, commercial fishing is America’s deadliest occupation, second only to the logging industry!) Now, I’m in graduate school, back in the academic game.

Does all of that truly prove that I belong in the club?

Is there something else I ought to do to convince someone of my manliness? Should I grow my beard back? Should I go get another big truck and give up the tiny ’89 Cadillac that I inherited from my grandma? (Really, my current car is an old-lady car!) Should I only wear Wrangler jeans and dink around on cars in my free time? Start building up my gun collection? Build my own house? Go hunting and fishing?

I could definitely do all those things, if I wanted. But the truth is that those things don’t excite me. I enjoy good literature, German poetry, artistic films, and going to art museums. Sure, I enjoyed my time living in a little village in the German countryside, but I also enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city and the cultural opportunities it has to offer. I’d much rather watch a good political satire than watch Bear Grylls. And I love hearing my friends play concerts with their indie-rock bands or read slam poetry. I feel comfortable doing those things because none of them change the fact that I’m a man. In the same way, none of the things I mentioned three paragraphs ago made me more of a man at the end than I was at the start. They have no meaning when it comes to answering the question, “How do I know that I’m a man?”

Let’s see it from a second angle: What you have and your proficiency at what you do (e.g., how legit your beard is, or how athletic you are) doesn’t decide whether you are more or less of a man. Let’s be honest, guys. If someone gives us activities that “define us” as men, it doesn’t take long for us to start sizing each other up. Whoever is better at an activity, or whoever possesses a “manly trait” in stronger fashion becomes “more” of a man, and the others become “less” than truly masculine. What you end up with is a never-ending competition and men who constantly despair of their manhood if they’re not “winning.” This mentality is a house of cards.

What’s ironic is that the thing which unsettles men in their masculinity and seems to “rob them” of it is not something like the radical feminist movement (as some might suppose), but the very mindset I’ve described. It’s when men try to establish themselves as men in the sight of other men that things go south. Those who lose at this game either get depressed and give up or they become neurotic in their drive to win. And those who win enjoy their success and devote their passions and energies to staying on top. Or, some men just change the terms of the argument. Perhaps a man doesn’t have an athletic bone in his body, so he takes refuge in the fact that he’s a “Field & Stream” kind of guy, and “everyone knows” that those guys are the “real men.” So, instead of death by outside forces, this system eats itself alive, from the inside.

Here’s a concrete example: I knew some football players in college who had been studs in high school. At the college level, though, they were second and third-stringers. Somehow, some of them began to doubt their manhood. I watched confident men deteriorate as their self-image crumbled. To these few players, only the first-stringers were real men. The reason why this way of thinking is neither realistic nor practical is that your vantage point continually changes your conclusion as to who the “real men” are. Among the first-stringers, the “true studs” were the all-conference players. We were a D-3 school, by the way. How would D-1 players look at our “studs”? They would probably dismiss them, and in this way of thinking, rightfully so. But now tell me, how many D-1 players make it into the NFL? Who are the “true men” at the end of the day? This whole way of analyzing manhood is simply nonsense. It broke my heart to see these otherwise fine gentlemen subject themselves to low self-esteem and to be denigrated by the higher-ups on our squad.

To take it a step further: A significant number of the best men I knew in college were not athletes, yet were looked down upon by some of the athletes as being something other than “real men.” It didn’t take me long to figure out that something didn’t add up.

Manhood can’t be defined by our activities, hobbies, and material traits or possessions.

How many grown men worry incessantly and waste their time in their pursuit to prove that they are truly manly men? Pursuing the purchase of a bigger truck? A faster motorcycle? Showing off your beer, wine, and cocktail acumen at parties? Chasing better proficiency in hunting or gaining more athletic prowess? Bagging a trophy wife? Getting a bigger house?

When does it stop?

My hope for Christian men is that they set aside their silly games which reveal them to be boys rather than sensible adults. What if you could just accept the fact that you’re a man and stop trying to prove it to yourself and others?


Building site in Romania. Travis is in the blue shirt

The more time you invest in your personal advancement, the less time you have for what’s truly important. My hope is that Christian men set their sights on their task as Christians to seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and to do what they can to bring the Gospel to a world who is desperately in need of it, instead of focusing on themselves. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” Don’t be a Martha!


Romania…Be the kind of man who is more concerned with serving God than what the world thinks of you.

The practical payoff is that this truth sets you free. Because you know God created you as a man, you can freely, confidently, and joyfully pursue the things you want to pursue without having to worry about what other men might think. Perhaps it’s just that kind of free, joyous person that God can use for his purposes.

Come on, man. Accept the fact that you were created as a man, and be yourself


I hope you liked the latest post in my “Dirt, Trucks and Faith” series.  I am looking forward to more posts from some awesome men of God. If you missed the first two posts, here are the links. Issac and Steve


We all need a hero

I don’t know a lady that didn’t play dress up at least once as a little girl. As little girls we all dream of our wedding day, we plan that day out in our mind right down to the last detail. We see ourselves marrying the perfect man. A Hero, a Knight in shining armor. As women, we all have our favorite movies and most likely in our top movies choices there is a woman who needs to be saved, romanced and made to feel beautiful.

Robin Hood and The Last of the Mohicans are at the top of my list in that department. The fact is that they are movies and not real life. I am happily married but my husband has never swung through a window on a rope to rescue me, there has never been a need for him to carry a bow and arrow or a sword. We have never ridden off into the sunset on a white horse with my beautiful long hair blowing in the wind, and my perfect body tucked tightly in his arms. (I know this because I don’t have long hair and I am not a super model)

The song by Bonnie Tyler goes:

I need a hero

I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night

He’s gotta be strong

And he’s gotta be fast

And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight

Come on, ladies, admit it–you all know what I am talking about, we are romantic at heart. Why do you think we have chick flicks and romance novels?  One of the best romance novels I have ever read was Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. My daughter and her friends have passed the book around also.  Face it, ladies; it is how we are built. Our feminine side cries out to be protected, loved and treated as if we are the only girl in the world.

Unfortunately, we live in a broken world and many of us never had fathers who protected us, many of us have had unhealthy marriages, and we feel we don’t deserve any better. It is sad, but many of us feel that. Women and girls have been fed a mixed up version of what womanhood is. We have been told to be strong, we don’t need a man, and we can take care of ourselves. We have had the world’s view of a beautiful woman ingrained into us and have been taught by the media, that sex is where it is. We often strive so hard to be perfect in the world’s eyes, independent and strong, that we have forgotten how to be feminine and how to let the men in our lives be masculine and be our heroes.

We dive into the romance novels and movies to fill that sense of loss. As I was reading the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge for my book group at church (it is about finding the beauty that Jesus sees in all of us as women and letting our men be our heroes) it became very clear to me that I was trying so hard to be strong that I was in a sense taking away my husband’s manhood. I wasn’t letting him romance me, protect me and lead me. I was doing everything that went against what I wanted as a little girl and was acting in the way the world saw acceptable for a woman. I had a meeting with God and I asked Him to change my heart, to show me how to be the woman that he had planned for me to be, not what I thought was best. My husband was out of town and I sent him a text. (He wasn’t able to take calls at that time.)  I told him, he was my strength, that I believed in him and that I needed to tell him that more. I ended with I Love you and I got a response back so fast. It blessed me to send that text and to have him respond so fast.  It was a reality check that if I didn’t change my heart and let my husband be my hero I was going to miss out on a even deeper love for him, and in return a love that would also be poured back on me.

It is time I close my mouth more, and when I do speak I need to find kinder and gentler words. Titus 3:2 Teaches us “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” I am guessing all of you ladies that are in a relationship must have also done this to your other half at some time. I am not saying I am a bad wife, I just think I could be better and if I am willing to change, I think my husband will become an even better husband than he is already by doing this. I tell others how lucky I am to have him but I don’t always tell him that.

Ladies, God made us different from men; he had a perfect plan for a man and woman–why do we make it so hard, and try to change his plan?  I have to be honest, I want my doors opened, I want a strong man, and I want my heart to be protected. I don’t need to be rushed away on a horse and live some fun and exciting life. I just need to know my husband loves me with all his heart. I have to stop being afraid to say I need you and I have to learn that my way is not always the right way!  I have had a reality check–I don’t want the idea of a hero from the movies, I want a hero that comes from a deeper way of loving and respecting the man that God has chosen for me. My husband has protected me in many situations where I could have been hurt; he has stood up for me and made me feel safe. I know he would love to be the protector of my heart as well if I would let him.   While proof reading this, my husband told me that if you allow a man to be the man that God intended him to be, he would swim through shark infested water to bring his wife a glass of lemonade. (I don’t mean to be picky but I wonder if he would bring me a bottle of wine also). He told me that, that is how men are wired.

One day while at our book group for Captivating, a beautiful young mom and wife came to our meeting after a night that had to have been one of the most painful nights. Her mom became sick, was rushed to the hospital and before the night was over she was faced with the responsibility of taking her mom off life support. She sat there, tired and grieving. We laid hands on her and prayed for her. She shared with us that her husband had very tenderly told her that she was not going to have to go through this alone. He loves her so much and he told her that they were one. He was willing to protect her and help her carry her burdens. He was being her hero. I used to think the line “you complete me” from Jerry McGuire was one of the most romantic things ever but “we are one” is hands down the most romantic things I have ever heard. The icing on the cake was that it was real life, not some line in a movie, and the man who said it wasn’t wielding a sword or returning from the battle all rough and full of testosterone. He was a man who was pushing into his faith and ready to take whatever was thrown his way to protect the heart of the woman he loved.

A couple of us told him that he was a hero the next day at church and you could see the love he felt for his wife well up in his eyes as we told him what we thought of his words. Ladies! this man is a hero because his wife lets him be one. She is tender and allows him to rescue her. Add that with his love for the Lord and she has got the whole package. She told us that as a girl that she began praying for her husband. Okay this just keeps getting better than any romantic movie could ever be! I hope it moves your heart to want more in your marriage.

Ladies, if we would start sharing our vulnerability with our husbands I think they would be more than willing to pour out their love and passion on us. We don’t need to have the body of movie star or the hair of Julia Roberts for our husbands to love us with passion and to be our heroes. Our husbands don’t need to be some muscle bound, tough guys to be our heroes either. We just have step back and let them be men. God had a perfect plan when he made us women so different than he made men. We need to stop trying to change his plan.

My husband is that hero that I need; I am going to work on changing my heart to not be so bossy and, to stop thinking my way is the only way. Most important I am going to faithfully pray for my husband. I am so fast to pray for everyone else, I even pray for my friend’s husbands when they ask but I don’t pray for my own husband on a regular basis. That is going to change today and I pray that you will do the same for your husband. If you are in a rocky marriage and feel there is not hope left, I pray that you will push into God and start to pray for your husband and for a new and stronger love. If you are a single woman or a young lady and you are reading this, I pray that you will start praying now for the man that God has chosen for you. I have a few women in my life who don’t have a significant other but it has blessed my heart to hear one of them say that for now it is Jesus who is her boyfriend and her hero. He is all she needs and I have to say I find that downright beautiful.

Ladies heroes are not just in books and movies. Heroes are in our lives. They are our husbands our, sons, our brothers, and our friends.  They are waiting to be heroes if we would just get out of the way and allow them to be the men God intended them to be. What a blessing it would be to each of us if the men in our lives could be as God had planned and we women would be a happy to let them.