Sit and Soak

There was a time in my life when the bathtub was my evening friend. I would turn on the hot water, pour in the liquid bubbles, and fill the tub until it was almost overflowing. Then I would climb in and soak until my fingers resembled white raisins and I was shivering from the decrease in water temperature.

As I got older, the bathtub was replaced with the much-quicker shower, since I had places to go and things to do and no longer had the time to sit and soak. It was possible to get through the shower, washed and dried, in less time than it would take me to run my bath water, and time was of the essence when chores needed to be completed before evening activities began, and a good cleansing was needed in between. Now as an adult, I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I sat in a tub.

My wash habits could be compared to the time I spend in God’s Word. In 2019, I was committed to reading through the Bible in a year and I followed a reading plan that showered me in large chunks of scripture. It was refreshing in many ways, but there was little time to sit and soak in a particular passage.

But this year I’m sitting in the tub, so to speak, with just a few verses each day and soaking it in. During Lent I have been using the book “40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Cole as my guide. In the first day’s reading she petitions her readers to “consider Lent as less of a project and more of a sojourn. A sojourn is a “temporary place to stay.” And a “stay” is about presence not productivity.” The author also suggests “invest your energy in seeking to remain present to the sacred history of Jesus’ walk to the cross. With each reading [of scripture], dust off your childhood imagination and “stay” in each story. Observe Jesus… Imagine yourself… and fast from Lent as a project and enter Lent as an experience, as a sojourn with your Savior.”

So each day I’ve been doing a little soaking in the book of John. The first day felt awkward, sitting in the home with Martha and Lazarus after he had recently been raised from the dead. It was captivating to visualize the bond of love between them and Jesus. Of course, Martha used her gifts of service and hospitality. And then Mary entered the scene, washing Jesus’ feet with an intoxicating perfume and drying his feet with her hair. I felt like I should avert my eyes, look away, but I couldn’t keep myself from staring at the beauty of it all, until Judas’ cold remarks cut through the aroma in the room like a knife.

Another day I mingled with the disciples while getting ready for the evening meal, when Jesus, our Master, prepared the bath water and began washing OUR feet and becoming as a servant to us. Peter threw a fit, but spoke aloud what all of us were thinking. Jesus continued with the task at hand, washing all of our feet… Peter, James, John, Judas, and the rest. And oh, to imagine Jesus holding the feet of Judas in his hands, knowing what was to come, burdened, sad, but still tenderly and lovingly washing his feet. My mind         jerked ahead to the death of Judas, his betrayer, and I wondered if Jesus mourned the death of Judas as his companion.

It has been good to soak in the stories of Jesus during this first week of Lent. I would encourage you to do the same. As we approach Resurrection Sunday, knowing how the events unfold, try pretending that you don’t. Sit with Jesus for awhile and let him speak to you and experience the events leading up to Easter as if you were there. Be still. (Psalm 46:10)

Erin Jacobsma


Continue In What You Have Learned

“In the beginning God”…that’s where a group of Pioneer Club kids and I started this past Wednesday night during activity time. For a few weeks this group has been experimenting with different science projects, doing their best to understand why things react and do the things they do. The final lesson of the unit was about the Creator of all things along with what was supposed to be a brief discussion of Genesis 1:1-2. It was Awards Night so we did not have much time, but these first four words in the Bible grabbed the boys’ attention and sparked many questions and deep thought. Soon the room was full of curiosity and the leader and I smiled as we heard things like, “Wait! God was there before time…like always was…but…wait! How was He there before anything? That’s mind blowing!” “It took God six days to create everything and then He rested on the seventh day. So, shouldn’t the Sabbath be on Saturday?” “How did there get to be more people. Adam and Eve only had boys.”

While we didn’t exactly accomplish what I had walked in the room to do, I left filled knowing they could not get enough of learning about their Creator. The Holy Spirit was among us and it blessed my heart to watch them soak in what we shared in those brief fifteen minutes. I have promised to return with some information next week as I did not have a good answer for a question or two and I’m already looking forward to our time together!

At one point in our discussion someone asked how I knew so much about God, so I turned the question back to the group and had each of them to tell me something they knew about God. A few were hesitant with their answer and others rattled off several facts. I then asked, “So how do you know those things?” While there were a variety of answers, they all agreed most of their knowledge had come from listening to their parents, teachers at church, and reading the Bible.

While I was flattered they thought I knew so much, I told them they could know as much or more if they did one simple thing each day – spend time with God while reading the Bible. I shared how God speaks to me through His Word and I feel fresh and renewed after our time together. As I’ve grown to know God, life’s challenges seem a bit clearer, there’s been more peace in the storm, and I have experienced great joy in serving my Heavenly Father each day.

After our conversation Wednesday night it caused me to pause and consider how I am doing at home with my own children. Have I put as much effort into sharing Jesus with them this week as I have stressed the importance of completing their homework for school? Each morning they see me sit and spend time with God, but how am I doing at encouraging them to do the same on a regular basis? What do I need to change in their schedule to allow time for them to find rest at the feet of their Savior? Parents, we are our children’s greatest example and with a burning desire they are looking to us to lead them to their Creator. We may not have all the answers, but we can find those answers together when we dig into God’s Word and actively allow Him to walk alongside us in this journey of life.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Becky Ossefoort


Measurable Growth

If you were to pause and reflect on the ministry of American Reformed Church over the past three years, would you say we have made progress towards the intended outcome of our ministry efforts?  Some of you might think, well I’m not sure what the intended outcomes of our ministry efforts are.

And for those who would agree that we have made progress over the past three years towards our ministry efforts, let me ask you, how would you measure that?

Since last October the Ridder: Churches Learning Change Team has been working on defining some measurable outcomes for our ministry. Basically we were challenged to consider what is the intended goal of our ministry—why are we doing it—and are we succeeding?

In order to help us process our work, we have been reading Gil Rendle’s book, Doing the Math of Mission: Fruits, Faithfulness and Metrics. In chapter one Rendle makes this sobering statement, “At the heart of the church’s struggle to be fruitful is a common non-profit dilemma: nonprofits routinely do not know what difference they are trying to make. In other words, nonprofits (including churches) do not know what outcome they are trying to produce.”

After telling a story to illustrate one church’s lack of clarity on why they were doing what they were doing, a situation came up where a church board needed to make a decision on whether or not to baptize the baby of a mom who was an inactive member of that church. They decided to proceed with the baptism, “Because you never know what good can come of it years later.”

Is that the goal of why we baptize babies, or of why we put so much time and energy into Sunday School, Pioneer Club, Youth Groups, Vacation Bible School (which by the way, that team is already busy preparing), Bible studies, etc.—“because you never know what good can come of it later”?

Rendle then goes on to tell how, because churches don’t know what they are measuring, they end up focusing on counting. Counting things like how much money is given in the offering each week and how many attended worship. He would argue that there is nothing wrong with counting; it’s just that what we count identifies our “resources,” while what we measure identifies our intended outcome.

For example, in 2019 our giving was down $ 8,184 and our average worship attendance was down 3 people than the previous year. Those numbers represent counted resources. However those numbers may also represent a measurable difference in the spiritual condition of our congregation as well.

So if counting and measuring are both important, then obviously it’s important to be clear about the outcome of what we are doing and why we are doing it. As Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Rendle defines an outcome as “The measurable difference you believe God has called you to make in this next chapter of your life.”

After much discussion at many meetings, I believe the difference that God has called this ministry to make is to “Apprentice next generations to passionately communicate and demonstrate the gospel message of the Kingdom.” I believe that is an accurate description of our mission to make disciples who obey everything Jesus commanded. So then, if “Apprenticing next generations to passionately communicate and demonstrate the gospel message of the Kingdom” was our intended outcome over the past three years, now could you say we have been making measureable progress towards that goal?

Identifying measurable progress has also become a challenging part of the conversation; can you measure—how do you measure—if a person is becoming more passionate about communicating and demonstrating the message of the kingdom?

Well Jesus had much to say about counting and measuring. For example, from Matthew 7:16-20, 16 “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

May it be said of you and me that our lives reflect measurable growth in communicating and demonstrating the message of the King and his kingdom!

Growing in grace,

Mike Altena


Rags to Riches

Super Bowl LIV has come and gone and unless you are a fanatic football fan, or you were stimulated or repulsed by the half time display of soft porn, it likely has become a meaningless memory. That being said, often times in big games like this there is a rags to riches story. Such was the case for the center for the Kansas City Chiefs football team, Austin Reiter.

In 2016 Austin was a center for the Cleveland Browns. The team went 1-15. In 2017, Austin returned for another season with the Browns, only this time was limited to special teams offensive line play. The team went 0-16. That’s the worst two year stretch of any franchise in the NFL.

Before the start of the 2018 season, Cleveland released him. Arguably the worst team the NFL has ever seen determined that Austin Reiter wasn’t good enough to play for it anymore. From the outside looking in, this made sense, your team goes 1-31 and you might as well clean house. After all, exactly how good could a special team’s player be who couldn’t crack an offensive line rotation that allowed a whopping 50 sacks in 2015 and also allowed their quarterback to be hit an additional 130 times?

Reider didn’t have much pedigree to argue. He was a two-star recruit out of high school before signing with South Florida. Then the Washington Redskins drafted him in 2014, but not until the seventh round. He spent his entire time in Washington on the practice squad and obviously no one in Cleveland thought much of him either. Maybe, it was fair to wonder if having the Browns fire him was a sign his NFL career was over.

“One man’s trash,” Reiter said, smiling, on Sunday night (of the Super Bowl), “is another man’s treasure.” Reiter, 28, was standing in the middle of the celebratory swirl of the Kansas City Chiefs locker room. He was wearing a Super Bowl champion hat on his head and a Super Bowl champion t-shirt over his shoulder pads. He was about to get his hands on the Vince Lombardi Trophy, give it a kiss, and pose for     a picture.

The guy who couldn’t make it on one of the worst teams in the league had just been a starting center on the best team in the league. After playing in four games in 2018, the Kansas City chiefs rewarded Austin with a two-year guaranteed contract with up to $5.5 million “The NFL is crazy,” Reiter said. “The Lord works in mysterious way and here I am.”

After reflecting on Austin’s story, I began to think about all the “unlikely heroes” in the Bible—men and women whose “teams” would have released for their lack of integrity or productivity. The fact that Jesus called Peter to leave his career as a fisherman and follow him likely meant that Peter was not a very good student in school. We know about all the times Peter spoke before thinking and especially the time when Peter denied even knowing who Jesus was (what a lying dogfaced pony soldier).

And yet Jesus never gave up on Peter. After Peter reaffirmed his love for Jesus and receiving Jesus’ forgiveness, Jesus re-signed Peter by saying, “Follow me.”

Peter would go on to become one of the great Apostles and would come to understand his reward saying, “What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. (I Peter 1:4). What a rags to   riches story!!

And may it be so for you and me. Don’t ever give up; God’s not done with you. The Lord works in mysterious ways. You’ll play a part on his winning team!

Pressing on to win the prize,

Mike Altena

Change the Channel

Last week Sunday, I was among the 99.9 million people who tuned in to watch Super Bowl LIV (54). To be honest, it was the first NFL football game that I had watched all season. I’m not what you would call a die-hard football fan. Super Bowl Sunday at our house is really just a reason to have some friends over, enjoy a smorgasbord of delicious food, and partake in a tradition of watching the big game. As far as I could tell, with my limited knowledge and feeble opinion, it was a good game. The Kansas City Chiefs pulled off a 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers and I enjoyed our evening of festivities. We had lots of laughs, some lively discussions, and full bellies. But as our guests headed for home and I cleaned up around the house, I had one regret. (Well, two, if you count the number of cheeseballs I ate!) In years past, we have enjoyed watching the eccentrics of the halftime shows; the smoke, the lights, the glitz and glamour, and marveled at the time and energy it takes to produce such a display. But this year, I wished we had changed the channel.

Change the channel. This is a phrase that has been looping through my mind like an instant replay. When I was a youngster, we had the pleasure of watching television on a large wooden console with alien-like antenna poking out the top, and a variety of channels to choose from; two, to be exact. Our family would gather around the television to watch shows like the Dukes of Hazard or Full House or Lawrence Welk, and we actually watched the advertisements during the commercial breaks or used that time to run to the bathroom or get a snack. But at the conclusion of a show, if Mom or Dad didn’t care for the program that was airing next, they would say, “Change the channel.” We didn’t have a remote control that could change the broadcast at the push of a button, it took effort to get up off the couch, walk across the room, and turn the knob. We often joked that the only reason parents had children was so they would have someone to change the channel on the TV.

In the world we live in, we are flooded with channel choices. Currently, my cable tv package includes over 95 channels and more than a dozen stations are programmed on my car radio. Choosing what channel we play on the radio or watch on television is an important decision. But choosing what channel we play in our mind is of even greater importance.

Like the two-option television of my childhood, there are two basic channels that broadcast in our minds. Not Channel “11” or “13”, but the channels known as “Positive” and “Negative”. Moses presented the channel choice to the Israelites this way: “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)  Paul presents a different view of the same choice: “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2)  And Jesus’ entire ministry was about changing the channel: love your enemies, instead of hating them; don’t count offenses, but forgive those who hurt you; serve other people instead of worrying about who is serving you; don’t get revenge, turn the other cheek; consider yourself blessed when people insult you… All of these and more, require a change in our thinking and changing our thinking requires effort.

So what channel is your mind playing? Is it a channel of negativity, self-hatred, destruction, and death? Or is it a channel filled with things that are positive, pure, excellent, and praiseworthy? The choice is yours. Change the channel.

Erin Jacobsma


Perfect Plans

God has had a plan from the very beginning of time. His plan included a beautiful creation and, what I imagine to be, an unexplainable union of love with His people. When sin entered the world, it separated us from Him. While sin may have affected God’s plan, He continued with the plan of Salvation to reunite the perfect companionship with His people once again. We are all pieces of His plan and within it, He has a plan for each of us as well.

Plans. Life is full of them. Academic plans, health care plans, house plans, emergency plans, exercise plans, strategic plans, short-term and long-term plans, diet plans, contingency plans…the list is endless. We each have a plan for our day, our week, and our life. As hard as we try to carry out our plans, inevitably we run into snags, interruptions, and often detours.

I’ve been pouring my heart into a project for a while now; a plan I’ve been working towards for nearly a decade. I invited God to be a part of the planning process from the beginning and asked Him to not allow me to go ahead of Him as I worked steadily towards it. As the project has continued to come together, friends have been invited to help in the process. My friends have invested a lot of time, talents and advice into it, all for me. I’ve prayed over my project and with each step found clarity and peace in moving to the next step, instead of over analyzing every detail as I tend to do. The project was coming together beautifully when suddenly I felt God close the door – *click* – just like that. I wasn’t prepared for the door to shut and as it did there wasn’t a loud slam or a painful blow to the face, rather a soft, gentle close. One may think I would be very discouraged and disappointed, but in reality, I have actually found greater peace, joy and even excitement in my project since the door closed. I know and trust God’s plan is far greater than anything I could ever imagine and as beautiful as my project was coming together – I’m very excited to see how lovely it will become in His timing.

I was listening to a podcast the other day and the speaker said “Life gets out of balance when we quit before God moves,” meaning when we veer off the tracks of His plan we won’t experience the immense blessing of following His perfect plan. In other words, when we invite God to lead and direct us and then take over with what we think is best; we may still end up with something good, but not great. So knowing my future may hold some turmoil and trouble or simply a lesson in patience, I am thankful for God’s provision and protection, because in the end it will be worth every second of the wait.

Lamentations chapter 3 offered me this word, it goes like this:

22Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. 27It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.

True contentment and peace won’t come by chasing our dreams; rather it comes from the willingness to chase the one who gave us the ability to dream.

Be blessed, my friends, as you wait on the Lord God and Creator of all good and perfect plans,

Becky Ossefoort


Reach One More For Jesus

While doing some meditating a few days ago, this verse came to mind.  Matthew 9:37 “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.’”

It made me think about the harvest of crops we take in every fall. We plant in the spring. We work the soil and fertilize it to give the seed the best chance to sprout and grow and mature and produce even more grain. We care for it as it grows and watch for things that can hurt it or slow its growth such as weeds or insects.

Then just when everything has gone well and the harvest is ready, tragedy hits. We might be deathly ill, or had a serious accident that keeps us from being capable of doing our work, or maybe there’s a death in the family that we can’t deal with. I’ve seen this many times when someone isn’t able to do their work and the harvest is ready, family, neighbors, friends, and church family step up, join together, and bring in the harvest.

It’s made me wonder, are we Jesus disciples? There are so many people searching. So many hurting, and wondering where they can find peace; wondering where you find peace. They are in your work place, at your school, people you meet on the street, at the stores you shop in, and in your church. Do you see them? Do you recognize them? They are the harvest Jesus is talking about. Are we one of the workers that are missing? They may be young or old, so it doesn’t matter how young or old we are. You or I may be the one they are looking for, to talk to. Someone brought Jesus to you and me. Now it is our turn to bring Jesus to them. There is no limit.

A song by Lyndsay Lloyd Wallace – “Reach One More For Jesus”, says it best. The words are printed below.

Darrel Van Aartsen

As I looked in my father’s eyes
Sat by his bed and held his hand
And I said my last good byes
He just held on for as long as he can
And I heard him say:

Reach one more for Jesus
Before I close my eyes
I must reach one more for Jesus
I won’t let another day go by
That’s what I’m living for
To reach one more, one more for Jesus

As I sat by father’s side
I lay down my head upon his bed
And he felt the tears I cried
And he placed his hand upon my head
And I heard him say:

Reach one more for Jesus
Before you close your eyes
You must reach one more for Jesus
Don’t let another day go by
That’s what you’re living for
To reach one more, one more for Jesus

Before he closed his eyes
For the final time
And left this earth for home
He said:

Reach one more for Jesus
Before we close our eyes
Gotta reach one more for Jesus
Don’t let another day go by
That’s what we’re living for
To reach one more, reach one more for Jesus
That’s what we’re living for
To reach one more, one more for Jesus

Fully Dressed

I have never been much of a fashionista. Rarely will I swap comfort for style. Labels and name brands mean little to me unless my experience has confirmed that a particular brand is superior in fit and quality. I grew up on hand-me-downs, clearance aisles, rummage sales, Goodwill bargains, and made-by-mom originals. I was clothed, but not in designer threads or the latest and greatest.

When I was about 10 years old, my brother and I were invited to a movie on the big screen for the first time. It was a film about Annie, a spirited, ragamuffin orphan from New York City who was invited to live for a week with America’s richest billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Annie travels to Warbucks mansion and his staff lavishes her with love and adoration and a wardrobe full of new clothes. But while Annie is basking in the delight of a new way of life, the film cuts to a scene of her friends back at the orphanage, dressed in their drab duds, joyfully singing, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”

I liked the sounds of that. The perfect accessory to any outfit. No matter what style or brand of clothing I was wearing, whether I was dressed like the rich kid or the pauper, I could always add a smile!

But the Bible tells us about another go-with-everything garment. In Colossians 3, Paul compares our new life in Christ to a new wardrobe. The Message paraphrase reads like this: 9-11 “Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ. So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it!”

LOVE! It’s your perfect all-purpose garment. It goes with everything! And no person, especially no follower of Christ, is every fully clothed without it.

Paul also tells us about some things that we need to get rid of. We don’t have room for a new wardrobe if the closet and dressers are still filled with the old.  1-2 “So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.  3-4 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.  5-9 And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk. Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire.”

Are you ready to make some changes to your wardrobe? Don’t delay. Christ’s designer attire is the perfect fit for you.

Erin Jacobsma


The Lord Himself Goes Before You

Many of the Bible stories we first learned about as children are tucked within the pages of the Old Testament. From the first verses of Genesis we learn about God’s Creation and beginning of the plan for His people. Most will recall the story of Joseph. How his dad, Jacob, favored him just a bit more than all the other sons. His brothers loathed his special treatment and their anger was fueled when Joseph was gifted a beautiful robe. Adding to the jealousy, Joseph shares about the dream he has one night, and how the brothers sheaves of grain bowed to his sheave. This, of course, infuriates the brothers and they eventually develop a plan to leave him for dead and toss him in a cistern. While all this is happening, a caravan of Ishmaelites pass nearby and a new plan is made. After quickly changing their minds, his brothers not only get rid of their brother, they profit by selling him into slavery. As the years pass, Joseph’s life looks much different than fist imagined. From slavery, to accusation, to prison, eventually Joseph found himself in one of the most powerful chairs in all of Egypt. Through it all Joseph did not give up and instead of wallowing in self-pity, he sought God with each move he made. Like us, from the moment Joseph was born God wanted to use him and with every circumstance in His life, God used it to develop and grow him.

We continue to read, after several years a famine hits the land and Joseph’s brothers show up in Egypt. He recognizes his brothers immediately. Without revealing himself to them, Joseph asks questions about his family back home and even has some silver placed in their sacks in an attempt to have them return. When the brothers discover the silver, they return immediately begging for mercy. Eventually Joseph cannot control himself and he reveals his identity to the brothers and they fear what he may do to them. Instead of getting angry or punishing them for what they did to him, Joseph shows nothing but love and forgiveness. He tells the brothers to not fear him or be angry with them “because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you….But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth to save your lives by a great deliverance.” (Gen. 45:5 & 7) You see in it all God had already gone ahead of Joseph and all the difficulties he and his family had. No matter the situation, God was providing a way to care for both Joseph and his family. Even in the most difficult situations throughout all their lives, God was at work.

Our challenges today may look a little different than Joseph’s, but we have the same choices he did. We can give up when the weather forecast is wet and soggy or we can trust God to provide. When a child is scheduled to undergo a lifesaving surgery, one can live in fear or trust God has already gone ahead and is walking alongside us every step of the way no matter what happens. When life seems as though all is going wrong and sadness surrounds us, we can be upset and angry or we can hope in the one who created us. We can trust in Him because He has been faithful not only throughout our lives, but in those we read about in His Word.

As we enter this new decade, I pray we will continue to recall and reflect on the many times God has been at work in our lives. May we share our testimony with all we encounter so God’s love and faithfulness might be revealed to them. May this be the decade we each grow deeper in our faith, fully trusting our Heavenly Father as He goes ahead of us on this journey of life.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)

Becky Ossefoort


Dad Tired Conference

Hey dads, as you begin to think about New Year’s resolutions, I wonder if this might be a worthwhile investment of your time. I’ll find out how we can register. Mike Altena


Hello brothers and sisters!  My name is Caleb Haverdink.  I am nothing special, just a regular dad and husband who has lived in NW Iowa his entire life.  But I’m very excited for an opportunity that is coming to Maurice Reformed Church on February 29, 2020.  Jerrad Lopes, if you haven’t heard of him, is a pastor in a ministry that he has been serving in for a few years now called Dad Tired.  Yep!  That’s right!  Dad Tired.

He hosts a podcast weekly, which is how I got introduced to the ministry where he gives insight, teaching, and direction on many topics related to men living out the gospel through the various areas of our lives.  The podcast has been downloaded over 1.3 million times now and hundreds of thousands of men listen to the podcast each week.  He has worked with other men in the ministry such as Matt Chandler, Bob Goff, Jon Acuff, Paul David Tripp, Shane Claiborne, and Jefferson Bethke to help equip men to be the husbands and dads that God is calling them to be. He has hosted well-known people such as Tony Dungy, Alfred Morris, Anthony Oneal, Remi Adeleke, Ryan Stevenson, Jon Foreman, Rhett Walker, and Andy Crouch just to name a few.

Jerrad is the author of the best-selling devotional Stop Behaving and his recent release Dad Tired and Loving It.  Dad Tired is a ministry that helps men live out the gospel through their marriage, leading their family, and their personal lives.  In his words, he uses the platforms of marriage and parenting to be able to preach about the gospel.

The Dad Tired ministry has had an incredible impact on my life by providing teaching moments, insights, gut checks, challenges, and encouragement.  A few months ago, I felt the nudge from the Holy Spirit to not only STEP outside my comfort zone, but to completely LEAP out and to contact Jerrad and invite him to Maurice Reformed Church.

The one day event on February 29, 2020 is titled Stop Behaving.  As Jerrad says in talking about this conference, “Your family doesn’t need a man who behaves well.  They need a man whose heart has been radically changed by Jesus.”

I want to invite you and the fathers and husbands in and around your congregation to attend.  Learn about healthy marriage practices, how to speak the gospel into your children, spiritual leadership principles, and develop Christ-centered family traditions.  Each participant also will receive a copy of the devotional Stop Behaving.  I included a link below that directs you to a site that gives information about the agenda for the day, some testimonials, and a couple of videos from Jerrad that show a little more of his heart and how God is using the Dad Tired ministry.  I would love for you and as many men that you know to come and learn, laugh, grow, experience, be challenged, and be radically changed. 

More specific details of the conference will be available soon as to the cost(estimated to be approximately $25/participant depending on sponsors), space available, etc.  If you have any questions or would like to help in the planning of the event, please feel free to contact me at or my cell phone, 712-463-3241.