Participating With My Wife In Simple Church

Walking through the emptiness of the house I miss her, especially on this day – Sunday. Beth is getting to spend two awesome weeks with out daughter, Kerre, who is seven months with child. The past four days the house has been pretty empty, but it is today that I seem to miss her the most.

Why? Because in a few hours I get to gather with other members of our church and share a little life together and she will not be with us.

For the first 30 years of our our marriage we would “go to church” and not talk with one another for about three hours. When we arrived I would head off to some duty near the church office and Beth would make her way to teach a children’s Sunday school class. Later you could find me getting ready to  go into the worship center and she would be warming up her voice to sing in the choir. When the service ended I was meeting and greeting everyone while she was gathering her teaching materials. Finally we got to sit together in the car on the way home to try to talk a little about what we experienced. Something similar happened on Sunday evening on again on Wednesday night.

One of the joys of simple church is the way in which we are able to participate together with our friends. Here are some of the things that mean the most to me.

  • Together, we are in the same room
  • Together, we drink a little coffee
  • Together, we participate in mutual edification with the body of Christ
  • Together, we hear the Holy Spirit speak to us and through our friends
  • Together, we see and hear what God is doing in the lives of the children
  • Together, we share the overflow in our every day lives

I love participating in our simple church with my wife and with fellow believers.When we gather today, I will miss her, but I will enjoy being with my friends.

Grace and Peace,


Simplifying Some Life Issues

Simplifying LifeI took a break from writing for a few weeks. There have been a lot competing issues in our lives and it was difficult for me to concentrate on the blog.

Now, mind you, I did not give up coffee or conversation – just blogging. I’m more of an oral communicator and many times putting words on paper or the digital page does not come easy for me. I needed to simplify life a little, so I put the blog aside to concentrate on some important family matters.

I plan to start posting again tomorrow, so get your coffee cups ready and let’s share some ideas together.

Grace and Peace,


Sharing Life and Love – Mom Got It Right

This is a gust post from Kerre Thorne. Kerre seeks to actively live a life on mission with Jesus. In addition to being a great wife and mother, she is my daughter. I was thrilled when she agreed to write a post in honor of her mother (and my wife) Beth.

Beth and Kerre

In Elementary school my brother and I were blessed with friends who’s mothers treated us like their own. Even when I was at a sleep over I always had a mommy hug before bed, but I think our friends had it even better than us! My mom always became more than “my” mom when my friends were around. Everyone was loved and cared for (and from time to time punished) equally. At a young age I learned to share my mommy with others who needed her just as much as I did. Her hugs were wide spread!

As my brother and I got older the concept stayed the same. Reflecting on my teen years, I don’t always remember mothers of my friends that loved me as much as my own did. There were even sad times when my friends moms didn’t seem to love my friends as much I think a mother should. Luckily God gave those friends to me… not because of their families, but because of mine. Especially because of my Mom.

I never gave too much thought to sharing my mother’s love. It was always a natural occurrence and not one that bothered me, but one that I was overly proud of. Her kitchen or living room floor were always open to any friend that needed food and a place to crash, and her arms were always open to a child that needed her love and support.

Beth, Kerre and David circa 1979

I’m grown now, with a 2 year old and a baby on the way and not much has changed. Except that instead of a lot of extra “hey Mom’s” it’s now more often “Mamoo” (our families version of Grandmother). I’m always more than thrilled to walk into my parents house to gather with the church on Sunday’s and Tuesday’s and watch her arms fill up with hugs from little ones that have come to know her as their own.

Even before our simple church experiences Mom “got it.” The concept was never something that she had to learn. And I’m so blessed that she worked to instill it in me. Community and family and sharing life and love. That’s what my Mom has always done and could probably never not do!

Thank you Mommy for loving my friends as much as you love me!


My Mother taught me a lot of the things I learned about living on mission with Jesus. Here are a few of the things she modeled for me while I was in High School:

  1. Serve others – If you drove by our house after our weekly high school football game you would see my uniform hanging on our cloths line to dry. But it would not be by itself. There would be two or three more next to it. You see, she would wash the uniforms of a couple of my friends to help their moms. Not only did she wash them, she scrubbed out the grass stains on white pants with a bar of soap.
  2. Eat with your friends – The guys (and sometimes the gals) ate at my house often. We ate a lot of chicken fried steak! She would feed us before our ball games, after our ball games, on Saturdays, on Sundays . . .
  3. Do life with others at your house – Our house was always open to others. If we were not hosting my friends, they were my brother’s or some group from the church. It seems like someone lived with us almost every summer.
  4. Notice the unnoticed – My mom was always doing things for the kids on the fringes, the ones who often went unnoticed. (see #1 above).

I could keep the list going but you get the picture. Mildred has reached the age of 80 and still teaches young children in Sunday School. She and Dad traveled 200 miles a few weekends ago to lead a lay renewal weekend. They will be involved in another next weekend – its more than 300 miles from their home.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

The Sanders - Jerry, Alton, Millie, Terry - January 2010

Grace and Peace,


The Family that Retreats Together

Our prayer retreat was a family retreat. Sometimes the children romped and played children’s games with one another but we also did a lot of things intergenerationally. We ate together, sang together, told stories together, played board games together, studied the Bible together and prayed together.

Doing things together.

I got to spend some time in conversion with Joelle and P.J. during dinner on Saturday evening. Joelle and I talked about her favorite subjects and her 2nd grade friends.  She told me about a close friend who was going to move because her dad was looking for a new job. Her mom and dad also joined in the conversation.

Around the campfire we shared some great stories. We did not limit our singing to fun songs with motions and actions. The children sang along with us in praise and worship.

David was bold and slept in his tent with four boys, preschool to age 12.

Several adults and the children played board games together. Their laughter was contagious and heart warming.

Studying God’s Word Together

One of the most rewarding things for me was the intergenerational nature of our Bible study on Saturday afternoon. We examined the prayer life of Jesus form the gospels. We were divided into two groups and the children were grouped with their parents. They read scripture and asked and answered questions. We did not “dumb” down the study time but simply included them in the conversation about the times and manner of the Jesus’ prayer life.

We need to remember that Jesus’ parents found him, at age 12, in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. (Luke 2:46-52)

Don’t take your children for granted and don’t send them off to a back room to watch a video. Sit down and talk with them. Play a game with them. Study God’s Word with them. Pray with them.

Father, help us understand that corporate prayer means intergenerational prayer.

Grace and Peace,

Join the conversation: What are some ways we can be more intergenerational in our church gatherings?

6 Reflections From Our Prayer Retreat

Camping in the rainI had a great experience at the prayer retreat last weekend. Let me share 6 things that touched my life.

1. Conversation with friends

There’s just something about a good cup of coffee and good conversation. The relaxed schedule offered many opportunities to sit and talk with friends. We shared stories from our past and expressed hopes for our tomorrows.

2. Flying a kite

Friday was a beautiful day with enough wind to get my kite aloft. Lying on the ground looking up at the blue sky and feeling the kite tug at the string in my hand helped me spend some time with an old friend of mine.

3. Singing and telling stories around a campfire

We took advantage of the pretty weather on Friday night and had a campfire. It was great singing those old camp songs like Little Cabin in the Woods and Kumbaya. We’ve also got some good story tellers in our group.

4. Sleeping in a tent with my wife

I don’t know how many times I have spent the night in a tent. It has always been something that I took for granted. I had never taken time to realize that Beth never got to camp out. I neglected to observe that it was something she had always wanted to do. I am  so glad that after 37 years of marriage we got to share that experience.

5. 30 hours with out . . .

The retreat afforded 30 hours without a phone, texting, messaging, email, computer . . . You get the picture.

6. Refreshing times of prayer

We had several stations of prayer based of the phrases of the Disciple’s Prayer. The schedule was relaxed giving us time to visit each station during the day on Saturday. Those times refreshed and renewed me – something I greatly needed.

Grace and Peace,

Join the conversation: Do you practice the life habit of retreating?