Cyber Monday — Get the “New Stuff”!

We tried to think of what you might like best from the Colley House for your Christmas list. We decided maybe you’d like the 2017 additions to our store. Know someone who is a teen girl or a mom of a teen (or pre-teen) girl? Have a friend who loves to study the Word? Do you have anybody on your list at all? …because anybody on the planet (believer or non-believer) needs the new book by Ben Giselbach. So here’s the package you can get to check off three names on your list with something you know can be eternally good for them! Today through December 15th, you can get the three for 20% off!

  1. Finding Him by Rebekah Colley. It’s what Rebekah wishes had been available in print for her own teen years. “It’s what I needed to know,” she says. She’s 22 now and has a way of teaching teen girls that’s unique and personable. Your daughter will grow in Christ.
  2. Great Escapes by Cindy Colley. This is my favorite “Digging Deep” study so far. It’s for any woman in any season in any year. There are optional online archived discussions of the material by the author. They can easily be found if someone would like to dig even deeper. This study has helped me personally in practical ways.
  3. You Are A Theologian by Ben Giselbach. The subtitle for this one is “Thinking Right about God.” If there’s someone on your list who is doubting His existence, His benevolence, His authority, or His plan for our lives, this is a perfect gift.

While supplies last, when you purchase all three, save 20%. Be sure you personalize these by writing a thoughtful note in the front before you wrap them up and give them away–a note of encouragement or evangelism. Gifts are fun. Gifts that are spiritual in nature are fun and SO much more.

 

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #48: “Pure On Purpose”–Reader’s Special Today

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 48 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

 

“The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering without hypocrisy.”  (James 3:17).

This verse, that my children sang throughout their childhood, draws a clear line from purity of heart and life to a heart that shows mercy to others; mercy resulting in good works. In fact, it places purity as the first step in cultivating God’s wisdom in our lives. This purity of heart ends in the bearing of good fruits with sincerity. That development of heart was something for which  I prayed often as my children were growing.

When Hannah was in college, She and I made several trips over to Chattanooga to a television studio to produce a study DVD series about purity of heart and life for teen girls. It was a fun mother/daughter project for us. We tried to include activities and discussions about the mind of purity and also the practicality of purity in our relationships, ending with maintaining sexual purity. The workbook is jam-packed with age-appropriate projects. This study has been used in lots of classes, but I wanted to include it in this Mama’s K.I.S.S. series, as well, since I’ve been thinking about this verse that connects purity and service.

Glenn says I can offer this set (a DVD and workbook) –a set which retails for $35.00– to blog readers today for $20.00 plus $5.00 shipping. Here’s how: Just email the phrase “POP Special” within the next week to  colley@westhuntsville.org . Your package will be on it’s way . Then please just send a check for $25.00 to:

Glenn Colley

234 Powell Street

Gurley, AL. 35748

or you can deposit it in PayPal at the above email address.

Hope this is helpful to some Mama who’s praying for this heart!

Sister to Sister: William Rotty was NOT his Real Name…

But it was close….

I remember in the fourth grade when Valentine’s day held an embarrassing kind of surprise for me as we all went to the blackboard tray to retrieve our little brown decorated bags full of tiny brightly colored paper cliche’ poems…the egg ones with the word “egg-cited” in them,”…the turtle ones that were all about “SLOWLY falling for you”…the elephant ones that were about “never forgetting my favorite valentine,”…and the ever- popular “nuts about you” ones. This year there was candy and a big regular store-shelf kind of card in my bag… from William Rotty.  Now William Rotty was older than everyone else because he’d failed a grade or two and I think he failed because he was too busy being obnoxious and thinking of devious ways to be disrespectful. It was the worst day of the fourth grade to have that big candy heart sticking up out of the top of my bag and have the whole class (including me) excitedly waiting for the revelation of its origin…only to find out that it was from William Rotty.

Some love letters are like that…the tender little expressions of relationships that are never meant to be. And we all got over the awkwardness of the moments that came in decorated class Valentine bags in the sixties. I got over the good and the bad of William Rotty, Jeff McCaleb, Mark Wolfe, Steve Cicero, Jimmy Hood, and Robert Bowman–all little boys from whom I, at one time or another, in elementary school received “special” Valentines.

And then we grew up. And so did our love letters. And so did the pain and the angst. And sometimes the awkwardness got really big and the ending of relationships was so much more traumatic than if they’d only involved a big red candy box sticking out of a brown bag taped to a black board tray.

And you know…whether you court or date, whether you live in a Christian home or not, I think there will be relationships that will change you, mature you, help to make you the woman, the mother and wife, after you finally make it to the altar of marriage, that you will be.

One day you will be telling your little girls about Valentines, about dress-up dates, about awkward moments and situations that made you laugh and cry through the dating years. That’s why I’m about dating purity. That’s why I wanted to help my daughter, in tangible ways, make it down the aisle as a woman who could give her husband the wonderful gift of exclusivity. I know what marriage can be like if there are no sexual comparisons (comparing my partner to someone else with whom I’ve been intimate or vice-versa) on the part of either partner–ever. I wanted that for her and I want it for you. It solves a lot of potential problems, not the least of which is guilt over sexual sin…a ghost that, because of His forgiveness, is sometimes not even real; but it still haunts in ways that are painful and sometimes destructive.

I may not know all the reasons for God’s very strong fences around the sexual relationship of marriage, but I do know that He is very serious about abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage. And I know that it’s because He wants what’s ultimately going to fill our lives with contentment and give us eternity with Him. He gives us His very best when we purposefully do life His way.

I recognize that abstinence and purity through the teen years is a purposeful choice. It doesn’t just happen. It takes the development of a relationship with God that makes a young heart pliable and submissive. It takes the rare ability, in a world of instant gratification, to wait for the time and circumstance when I can have the best He has to offer (and His best is THE best!). It takes an amazing amount of “turning down” the influences around you and “turning up” the influence of the Word. It even takes a lot of wisdom to decipher through a lot of psycho-theo-babble today from some youth ministers and religious leaders who would try and convince you to “not worry so much about keeping lists of dos and don’ts and worry just about loving God.” (Of course, loving God is about keeping his list of commandments[John 14:15; John 15:10]. The works of the flesh are listed…LISTED…in Galatians 5.) It takes, in short, your steel will to do His real will in a world that’s forsaken Him and His system of morality. Today, for the most part, you cannot look to your peers, your teachers at school, those who are touted as “good” in the media or the leader of the free world on Pennsylvania Avenue as any sort of moral compass. Some of you cannot look to parents and some cannot even look to religious leaders.

But you can look to God. Your relationship with Him is not contingent on your family situation, your educational circumstance, or the spiritual veracity of your elders or youth group. Your relationship with Him is settled in your willingness to get into His Word and apply it, to the best of your ability, in every relationship and decision. There is great power, beyond what you have asked or imagined, when you let the power of His Word live in you(Eph. 3:20)!

May I encourage you to help yourself to happiness? There are some teen materials at www.thecolleyhouse.org that might help you as you try to be light in a dark world through the teen years. Let me know if you need them, will use them, and can’t afford them.

That’s all for now. Except here’s my short list of practical tools for your walk in purity through the teen years. Some of these sound terribly old-fashioned for those influenced by 2017 culture. But I believe this list in strongly influenced by examples and statutes from the Word.

  1. Decide now that you will not be truly alone for long periods of time with any other young person of the opposite sex. This will, unfortunately, automatically mark lots of guys off your radar.
  2. Decide now that you will choose movies and television and music and internet sites that you’d be comfortable enjoying if Jesus were physically in your presence. This will significantly narrow your scope of entertainment, so keep in mind that entertainment is not all the world makes it out to be.
  3. Decide now that you will abstain from alcohol and drugs and from being present when others are drinking or doing drugs. This will be prohibitive of many parties.
  4. Decide now that you will never dress in a way that might be provocative or cause others to think sexual thoughts. Remember, especially for guys, the struggle is real. If this involves a wardrobe re-do, get on that. This decision will also automatically mark some extra-curricular activities off your list.
  5. Decide now which areas of your body are off-limits to the hands of others and never, ever compromise that promise to yourself and God. This will prohibit some activities that are a part of the 2017 teen world.
  6. Decide now that you will get in the word and spend some time in prayer every day. Every day. Ask for His help to be pure in your heart, dress, words and actions. This will open up some unbelievable doors of opportunity for you.
  7. Memorize Philippians 4:8 and decide now to let it saturate every decision and purpose. This will bring contentment and peace as the context of the verse clearly states.
  8. Decide now what you are looking for in a marriage partner. Make a list off “must-haves”, a list of “would-likes” and a list of “can’t-handles” based a lot in the Word and a little in your own tastes and then just stick with the list. Be patient.
  9. Decide now that, once you marry, you’re all in…forever. This should prompt some very careful thought and meticulous elimination of people who can’t be spiritual leaders. Believe me, you WANT a spiritual leader.
  10. Pay particular attention to the word “now” in all of the above. It’s the most important word. (If  past decisions have already messed up your “now”  you can still fix your eternal future. You will, almost always, face negative consequences to sinful past actions. But “now” is still the operative word.) Start now to be what He wants you to be and you will be surprised how He can work through His will in your life to give you victory and heaven!

 

Congratulations Mintie!…and…There Arose such a Clatter!

PrintMintie Reagan Welchance, You are the winner! If you put “The Colley House” in your status at any point in the last week and left it up for twenty-four hours, and tagged me in the status, you were in the drawing for a free Colley House Christmas bundle. I hope you enjoy it, Mintie. Valued at $58.50, it’s coming your way on a pretty fast sleigh!

I think we’re about to embark on year eight of the “Bless Your Heart” blog. This year, during the holidays, I’ve received more cards of encouragement from blog readers and Digging Deep ladies than ever before. I don’t know how you would have coordinated, but I’m starting to think you all are in cahoots and have a plan to fill my box with holiday cheer. If so, it’s working!…and I thank you.  And speaking of holiday cheer, I’m up for a lot of it this week. Glenn and I have had our grandson Ezra, for the past five days. Now that’s a lot of cheer…and cuddles… and drives looking for “Pippas yights” (Christmas lights), and choruses of “Dee-dee Bells” (Jingle Bells).”

A couple of nights ago, during our Bible “story time”, I gave Ezra the fill-in-the -blank statement: “When I grow up, I’m going to marry a _______________.” Because he didn’t respond quickly, I added the initial sound of the answer…”Chr…”

Then he shouted with glee “a Pippas tree!!”

We’re enjoying him immensely and are looking forward to enjoying his parents and baby Colleyanna later this week. Next week, we hope to have Caleb and Bekah here, too, at some point. We know we are blessed beyond our imagination’s scope and we praise Him for rich blessings of friends and family.

It will be after Santa’s delivery run that you next get a notification from the “Bless Your Heart” blog page. I hope you are in a place in life in which you can be enjoying family this week, as well. Most of all, I hope you feel the security of the Father’s arms and bask in His salvation. In that vein, here’s a post from the archives about the “clatter” that arose on my roof early one Christmas morning:

It was a shocker, alright. It was in the very early hours of Christmas morning, 2010, when the huge, noise that shook the house abruptly woke up the neighborhood. Glenn looked at me with terror in his eyes and then ran into the room where Hannah was sleeping. He “sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.” I heard him mutter something about a bomb as he ran out of the room. The last time I had heard a noise like that had been many years ago when a big trash truck had bolted over a curb and into our house (but that’s another story for another post). The kids were both okay and, on investigation, we found that, this time, a huge part of a tree had fallen on the house. There was damage, but safety for all. 

Later in the day, the kids and I were talking about how their dad reacts to unknown perceived threats.  He inhales hugely! (BIG gasp that’s a little funny on reflection). Then he runs (dressed or not) to wherever his kids are. The amazing thing was that his reaction was just the same when they are twenty-something as it was when they were 2 and 6. He instinctively runs to his children. Their safety and protection are his only immediate concern. While we were talking about this, Hannah said she could remember one occasion, as a child, when a bumblebee woke her up buzzing around her head. She said, “I was scared of that noise in the dark, I cried out and immediately heard Dad’s footsteps–loud running footsteps– as he ran into my room and took me in His arms. Then he killed that bee. Anytime I yelled in the night, he was right there, right then.”

I think every child who has a good father remembers what it felt like to be in his arms. I remember pretending I was asleep in the back of our station wagon when I was a child just so my daddy would carry me in the house. Ultimate protection, strength and safety were wrapped all around me.

That’s what God does. The Bible describes our God as “a very present help in time of trouble” (Psa.46:1). He’s right there, right then.  He is the Father who pities His children (Psa.103:13), and hears their cries (Psa 34:17). He is the one who offers His help to His people “right early” (Psa.46:5). Deuteronomy thirty-three, verse twenty-seven says he puts his everlasting arms beneath us.

Let me assure you, even if you’ve never felt the need to cry out to your Father or to feel his arms beneath you, there will come a time when a huge clatter will arise in your life. You will look in horror at the prospects before you and you will desperately want to cry out to Him.  Are you secure in the house of the Father? Will he hasten to your side when you cry? If not, will you contact me and let me help you find that security? I wish this safety for every reader.

Put This in Someone’s Stocking. Better Yet…in Someone’s Heart!

slider-1000x400I’m excited about the release of this new book. In fact, if you just get to read one book besides THE Book in the coming year, make it this one. Maybe you’ve been lumping all the twenty and early thirty-somethings you know in the big and nebulous category of relativistic millennials—kids who don’t think there’s any universal truth, but rather march to the beat of their own emergent drums while declaring their personal manifestos of tolerance and “transformation”. Ben Giselbach is a millennial, but he breaks the stereotypical mold in You Are a Theologian: Thinking Right about the Bible. 

He’s dedicated the book to all of his peers “who’ve left the faith because they’ve failed to believe or were not taught the first principles in this book.”  That dedication, because I know what’s in the book, makes me want to make sure every young person in my realm of influence gets a handle on this material. It’s every Christian mother’s nightmare that her children will, in spite of her best efforts, believe the lies of pop sociology and so-called science that ultimately rule out the existence of any absolute standards of doctrine and morality. It’s a reality that we are losing the majority of our children to the world. The saddest truth is that another way of saying this is that we are losing them to eternal hell. I want to make sure my children and grandchildren are not ever among those who “were not taught”. This is the book that can give you the confidence to fight for their souls by teaching them foundational concepts.

Theology is simply the study of God. This book gives a scholarly, yet easy-to-understand  and systematic approach to the exploration of the attributes of God—His character—and that of His Word, both its veracity and the application of its truth. Ben peels back the facade of the “you- can’t-be-intelligent-and-still-believe-the-Bible” mentality that your kids will face in the media, the world of academia and even in their peer groups. Best of all, he conveys concepts that can seem lofty in a very readable format. You will “get this” and you will be able to explain your theology to others in a way that will bring them logically to the pivotal point of accepting or denying God and His Truth. 

I’m sure there are other studies that succinctly pack this much foundational truth into one short volume. I’m just not sure where. You could put it in someone’s stocking and you just might put it in her heart, too. That would be a pretty good gift. 

It’s here: http://thecolleyhouse.org/new-book-you-are-a-theologian-thinking-right-about-the-bible

Don’t forget the contest! It’s here: : http://thecolleyhouse.org/a-crockpot-christmas-contest

This! Destined to be Dog-eared…

unnamed-7Allen Webster says More than 20 years in the making, (this book) seems destined for a rare shelf-life of a generation or more in church libraries across the brotherhood. More importantly, I foresee worn and marked copies on elders’ nightstands and in preachers’ studies. 

Each year at Polishing the Pulpit Glenn Colley’s real-life scenarios are the most popular elders’ classes. These give shepherds the opportunity to discuss difficult situations using “rubber bullets” instead of the “live rounds” they must use in making decisions back home.

This book gives God’s men the opportunity to prepare ahead of time for challenges and to find solutions when the heat is on. Churches across the land will find their elders making better decisions. I highly recommend Awake at Night.” 

Alan Highers says “This is a practical book. It has grown out of actual sessions with elders who share their problems and difficulties. There are suggested solutions and recommended procedures for dealing with a wide variety of real situations that elders encounter. This is a virtual ‘handbook’ for an eldership. I know of no other book like it. There are many worthwhile books discussing the qualifications and duties of elders, but there is little in print to help elders in handling sensitive issues that arise within a congregation. This book fulfills that need.”

But I say—“Just get it!” For many years I’ve been languishing about leadership; the famine we’re in for lack of elders who are willing to do the hard things that are required for leading the church through an era of cultural relativism and ignorance of the scriptures in the body, itself. I’ve been encouraging mothers to do all we can to bring up our boys to be elders; to put backbones in them for the battles that are inevitably facing our congregations in the twenty-first century church. We need to be raising our girls to be the helpers, encouragers and comforters of these up-and-coming men of God. We simply have to make it our aim…our project, if you will…to put the qualities in our children that will make them ready for some difficult engagements with the devil’s forces in the next generation, should our God choose to let our world continue.

This book is the most “real” thing I’ve seen for preparing church leaders. Over the years, my husband has collected real, but anonymous problems elders have faced in recent times, for the purpose of an elders’ workshop session he conducts annually at Polishing the Pulpit (http://polishingthepulpit.com). The scenarios chosen for the book are designed to prepare and challenge today’s Christian men to lead God’s people with wisdom and courage. They include situations involving divorce and remarriage, other moral issues, doctrinal questions and sin in the lives of elders, themselves. While this is not necessarily a “happy” book, it’s a book filled with hope. It’s a bold attempt to transform the problems elders face today into teaching tools for tomorrow’s leaders. The “solutions” given in the book are both scriptural and practical.

I know the editor of this volume is my husband, but I’m really not promoting him. I want this book to fall into the hands of current elders who need resolve to stand against sin and division. I hope it falls into the hands of others who are already determined. They’re praying and working and loving and leading their flocks and are worthy of double honor and our encouragement. I hope it falls into the hands of young fathers who are already planning and preparing to take the reins of leadership when their turns come, because great leaders don’t just “happen” when old leaders die. I hope it falls into the hands of your sons and mine as we work to develop leadership skills in them—skills that will bless the kingdom. 

One lady left Huntsville last weekend with enough copies on hand so that each of her elders could have one. Do you know elders who are struggling, young men who can be tomorrow’s leaders, men who could present this material to the men of your congregation? The governance of the church has been perfectly designed by God. It’s up to us, though—mere humans— to develop qualified men who are up to the challenge of this greatest office to which mortals attain. I believe when we give this book to our elders, fathers, preachers and sons, we give strength to our congregations.

You can order here: http://thecolleyhouse.org