Fun (cheap/free) Things to do with your kids this Summer ☀️☀️☀️

1. Summer Movie Clubs   

Cinemark's 2017 $1.00 Movie Schedule is Out! Click here to find your local schedule. https://www.cinemark.com/summer-movie-clubhouse-participating-theatres

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Other theatres offering movie specials: Moviehouse and Eatery, Alamo Drafthouse

2. Splash Pads - check your local area for the best splash pads in town. Take a picnic lunch and just stay all day long.

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3. Children's Museums - most museums have a free entry day. Check out your local museum to see if they have a special offer day.

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4. Michael's Craft Club - http://www.michaels.com/camp-creativity

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We love craft camp. It's a lot of fun. Check out your areas camp calendar! 

5. Your local park probably has a summer schedule too! Promoting local events, concerts, movie nights, and more. 

 6. Library or Barnes and Noble Visit - for those super hot days and you need to get out of the house. Books are the answer! Barnes has their train table, and toys to play with for a good while too.

7. Movie Day at Home! Can't get any better than this. Make memories building tents, eating snacks, and watching your favorite movies. 

Happy Summer planning! Don't forget to stop being so busy and enjoy your kids. You only get a few summers together really. So enjoy every last sweaty, watery, messy fun! ☀️☀️☀️

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Living Hope.

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The ocean is one of my favorite pieces of God's creation. I love going to the beach during the summer and sitting in awe and wonder at the vast space full of water. I love standing at the edge feeling the waves and sand swirl at my feet. To sometimes spot little fish swim or catch a glimpse of a really unique seashell as the water whirls around. It's truly a time of peace and comfort for me. 

However lately I've felt like the bits of sand swirling. I have felt like that little grain of sand, being picked up, and crashed down upon...again...and again and again. Isn't it always true when trials come they rarely come one at a time? Because if the dishwasher breaks, its no surprise that all the kids got the stomach bug? 

For the past 4 weeks I've been going through a valley. I've had relationships around me go through terrible suffering, I've watched people I love hurt, I've found myself anxious and physically sick to where some days I can only sit on my couch. My allergies this year have caused me to go to the doctor numerous times in hopes of helping my world to stop from spinning. The fluid buildup in my ears is horrible. The pain in my head sometimes feels like I may pop. If you looked up my recent searches in Google, you'd find every different type of wording for "relief from severe sinus pressure, how to drain your ears,  help with vertigo..." My birthday and favorite holiday this year were spent with tears in my eyes just crying out for relief of some sort. 

Life is hard. It is easy to get caught in the waves. Seeing trials come and keep coming. To feel like there is no hope. To be picked up by the wave and crashed down upon again and again. To bury yourself in the pain and focus on your hurt. It is easy. 

Hope. Where is the hope in trials? Is there an end? 

As believers in Jesus we have hope, but not just any hope. We hope every day for different things "I hope I get a great review at work" "I hope I find a great deal at J.Crew" "I hope my kids listen to me today" "I hope I get a raise" etc... However that kind of hope can be easily crushed. In Jesus we have something different. We have a living hope. 

“In 1 Peter we see Peter write, ‘…he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…’ The tomb could not hold the living, breathing, scarred, but victorious body of our Jesus. The man who claimed to be God, who committed no sin, and who died before hostile crowds, appeared again, just days later, before crowds bearing the wounds of the cross, but demonstrating a power and victory over it. He is alive." (Desiring God)

Because of His death and resurrection we have Jesus as our living hope! God established and secured our hope when He raised his Son. Therefore, our hope is as alive as Jesus!

Jesus is our anchor. We don't have to take life's blows alone. We don't have to keep our eyes on the waves, on the trials, we have Christ who promises peace and comfort. During those trials He does not leave us. He offers love, comfort, peace and understanding. He is not a God who wants us to suffer. He longs for us to draw near to Him so we can know Him better. He wants us to share His truth with the world. He is for us. He is the arms around us when we can't stop crying. He is the peace, speaking words of encouragement and strength to get through each day. All we have to do is call out to Him. In faith we know that He hears us. Don't doubt His goodness. It can be so hard during trials. You think, “God, why?” We may never know, but rest in what we do know. He is our living God. Trust in His promises! 

Take heart, my friends, in the fact that “the God who raises the dead is your God and he’s with you. God has given you a new, true, full life through his Son, Jesus. And the life he gives is filled with an unconquerable, unquenchable hope.” (Desiring God)

 

Love, Sarah

 

Suffering Was Always the Plan

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It's Good Friday, if you're a Christian, this day is the meaning of your very existenance. It is the day Jesus died and suffered in our place. What was the cost to make me a new creation? Here's what I learned this past Sunday at my church.

1. Christ's death was a planned event. "It was fore known before creation." 1 Peter 1:18-20

Revelation 13:8 talks about God's plan to save humanity through Jesus' blood was always the plan, even before there was a sinner to save. 

Why would God even create us if He knew we were going to sin and separate ourselves from Him? Why is there Genesis 4? Why didn't he just stop at Adam and Eve? 

God decided to grieve and suffer for us. God bound His heart with mine, before I even took my first breath! Suffering was always the plan.  

If suffering was always the plan, we know that suffering on this earth will never destroy us. It can only refine us.  

 

2. God made Himself manifest. 

God made Himself manifest in Jesus' birth. He became the Lamb of God. He also made Himself manifest through Jesus' death. 

"It is finished" - Jesus wanted to speak it out loud to let us know Him and God's plan is complete through His death.  

Jesus is still human. He will remain this way for forever. He will never leave us.  

3. Jesus died for YOU!  

He didn't just die for the church, for only a select few. The truth is, He died for YOU. God's eternal purpose and plan of Jesus' death is for you! 

 "if each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less..." - C.S. Lewis

Jesus is King forever. He died for you. He loves you with a love that you can't even comprehend. You're a sinner, in need of saving. Jesus is the only one who can make you whole. Who can give you peace, hope, and meaning in life. 

When Jesus died, your name was on His mind when doing so. Think about that all day today. We shouldn't get over something like this. 

 

link of full sermon: 

 https://austinstone.org/resources/sermons/842--the-plan-of-the-cross