This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

Especially when I have nothing pressing to do, I love to hop in my vehicle and ride.  Doesn’t matter where, doesn’t matter why.  Just ride and enjoy the scenery.  I usually take my camera along, so I might stop here and there to snap a photo, or I might not.  I just enjoy the ride.

This particular road pictured here is part of the historic Columbia River Highway in northern Oregon.  That is a particularly beautiful ride, going along the mountainside past waterfalls, overlooks, and high above the river.  Just God’s beauty everywhere.

I could sit in my chair at my desk staring at the computer screen while I work.  That is productive.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  But if that’s all I do, then I’ve missed some great opportunities to see and be elsewhere.

Your “road” in the week ahead may have twists and turns, potholes and speed bumps.  It may lead directly to where you expect, or it may not.  Regardless of where the road of life takes you this week, I pray you take the time to focus on the God-given blessings that are passing you by.

Focus on what needs to be done, certainly.  But look up, look out, get out, and appreciate His blessings.  Take a ride.

Just a thought.

Weekly Inspiration

Grace That is Greater Than All Our Sin

By Ryan Kelly

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

One thing that I have asked God to give me recently is the vision to see people’s pain. This isn’t in any way to pry into their past or to know things about them that are private, but rather so that I can better understand that we all have “skeletons” in our closet that hold us back.

Why would this be helpful? Because in order to address grace, you must first address the need for grace. There is not one single perfect person in this world today. Some may seem “better” than others, but every single one of us deserves a first class ticket to hell because of our acceptance of sin and rejection of God.

Fortunately for us, God does not force us to have what we deserve. And this is where grace comes in. We do not deserve salvation, but God gives it to us anyway simply by accepting the ultimate sacrifice for sin in the form of Jesus.

God’s grace is greater than all our sin. No one is beyond salvation in Jesus.

So, when you are held back by the hauntings of the past or feel inadequate for the good things that God produces for you and in you, remember that we all fall short of the glory of God. But His grace is sufficient for us all, and it is given to ALL that believe and worship in the one and only Son of God.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

A farmers market is always an interesting place to visit.  You might see any number of home grown vegetables and produce like these pictured here.  This particular market in the Pacific northwest was full of home grown veggies, fresh breads, homemade soaps, handcrafted woodwork, and live music, among other things.  Everything on display or for sale had to do with the work of someone’s dedicated hands.

The kiddos are headed back to school.  Many little ones will be in new classes with new teachers and meeting new friends.  But there are always those who seem to have a tougher time making friends, fitting in, or adjusting to new surroundings.  I’m also aware of a couple of friends who are beginning new jobs, perhaps facing the same things our little friends will in the school setting.

Perhaps they each just need a touch from someone’s dedicated hands.  The children depend on us to help show them the way, teach them right from wrong, and be there for them when troubles arise.

Aren’t you thankful that we serve a God Who so lovingly does all of that for his precious children?  We are products of the greatest farmers market ever, handcrafted by the Master, on display for the world to observe.  Put your best foot forward this week, helping others along the way, always thankful for Father Farmer’s loving care.

Just a thought.

Weekly Inspiration

By Ryan Kelly –

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3

How often do you view a stressful or challenging situation as a joyful occasion? Normally we will not, but will rather pray that God will end the situation so that the “joy” may return. I certainly have been one to pray that the pain of a bad situaion will end quickly, and certainly don’t think that there is anything wrong in doing so.

However, what is more important is that we attempt to see God’s work in all areas of our life…good and bad. Bad situations are never fun, but they do not have to be exclusive of seeing joy in life. Rather, finding joy through the pain or difficulty is often the best way to glorify God.

How illogical is it to glorify God when everything seems to be going wrong? How much will the world see your faith by doing so? When you can find joy in Christ’s sacrifice for you even through the trials, it eases the pain and allows you to focus on the bigger picture of what is happening in the moment. Doing this takes practice, but the result is a wonderful thing. Focus on the bigger picture of what God is doing and what He has done for you. It will ease the pain and give God glory through the good times and the bad times.

Tips for a Christ-Centered Family Life

By Ryan Kelly –

One of the most important things that we can do in our lives is to support our marriage and our families. God has ordained this for each of us, and we must protect it and grow it continuously.

The following are Biblical tips on how we can best serve our spouses and children.


Date your spouse

“Above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins’ ” (1 Peter 4:8).

“Be kindly affectionate to one another … in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10).

Continue to date your spouse like you did before you married.  Successful marriages don’t just happen; they must be developed. Don’t take one another for granted or the resulting monotony could harm your marriage. Keep your love for one another growing by expressing it to each other; otherwise, love might fade and you could drift apart.

Remember that God joined you together in marriage.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. … So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:5, 6).

Don’t forget that God joined you together in marriage, and He desires that you stay together and be happy. He will bring happiness and love into your lives if you will obey His divine commandments.

Pray together

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

“Pray for one another” (James 5:16).

Praying together is a wonderful activity that will help your marriage succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Kneel before God and ask Him for true love for one another, for forgiveness, for strength, for wisdom—for the solution to problems. God will answer. You won’t be automatically cured of every fault, but God will have greater access to change your heart and actions.

Guard your thoughts

“As he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

The wrong kind of thinking can profoundly harm your marriage. The devil will tempt you with thoughts like, “Our marriage was a mistake,” “She doesn’t understand me,” “I can’t take much more of this,” “We can always divorce if necessary,” “I’ll go home to mother,” or, “He smiled at that woman.” This kind of thinking is dangerous because your thoughts ultimately govern your actions. Avoid seeing, saying, reading, or hearing anything that—or associating with anyone who—suggests being unfaithful. Thoughts uncontrolled are like an automobile left in neutral on a steep hill; the result could be disaster.

 Never go to bed angry with one another.

“Do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26).

“Confess your trespasses to one another” (James 5:16).

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

To remain angry over hurts and grievances—big or little—can be dangerous. Unless addressed in a timely manner, even little problems can become set in your mind as convictions and can adversely affect your outlook on life. This is why God said to let your anger cool before going to bed. Be big enough to forgive and to say, “I’m sorry.”

Keep Christ in the center of your home.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1).

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).

This really is the greatest principle, because it’s the one that enables all the others. The vital ingredient of happiness in the home is not in diplomacy, strategy, or our effort to overcome problems, but rather in a union with Christ. Hearts filled with Christ’s love will not be far apart for long. With Christ in the home, a marriage has a greater chance at being successful. Jesus can wash away bitterness and disappointment and restore love and happiness. 

Agree that divorce is not the answer.

“What God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).

The Bible says that the ties of marriage are meant to be unbreakable. Divorce is allowed only in cases of adultery. But even then, it is not demanded. Forgiveness is always better than divorce, even in the case of unfaithfulness.

Keep the family circle closed

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her. … She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:11, 12).

“The Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your … (Malachi 2:14).

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4–7).

Private family matters should never be shared with others outside your home—not even parents. A person outside the marriage to sympathize with or listen to complaints can be used by the devil to estrange the hearts of a husband and wife. Solve your private home problems privately. No one else, except a minister, a very close prayer partner, or a marriage counselor should be involved.

Always be truthful with each other, and never keep secrets. Avoid telling jokes at the expense of your spouse’s feelings, and vigorously defend each other.

Be temperate

“Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things” (1 Corinthians 9:25).

“Love … does not seek its own [selfish advantage]” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5).

“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

“I discipline my body and bring it into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

“Do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts, and do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin” (Romans 6:12, 13).

Overdoing will ruin your marriage. So will underdoing. Time with God, work, love, rest, exercise, play, meals, and social contact must be balanced in a marriage or something will snap. Too much work and a lack of rest, proper food, and exercise can lead a person to be critical, intolerant, and negative.

The Bible also recommends a temperate sex life (1 Corinthians 7:3–6) because degrading and intemperate sex acts can destroy love and respect for one another. Social contact with others is essential; true happiness won’t be found in isolation. We must learn to laugh and enjoy wholesome, good times. To be serious all the time is dangerous. Overdoing or underdoing in anything weakens the mind, body, conscience, and the ability to love and respect one another. Don’t let intemperance damage your marriage.




This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

The owners of this old bicycle placed it in front of their business, added some flowers and extra touches, and gave it a new purpose.

I had a neighbor tell me once that his wife bought junk and sold antiques.  As funny as that sounds, I think we can all relate to that type of re-purposing.

Perhaps today you are one of those friends who finds yourself wondering what God is up to, trying to see some light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, or just realizing some unanticipated changes in your life.  I cannot pretend to know what is going on in your world today, but I can guarantee that sometimes the Lord seeks to repurpose us into different places or positions and certainly into different people.

Thank God He chose to take my life several years ago and repurpose me for something greater — being a child of His!

Allow me to challenge you for the week ahead to commit to grow where He places you.  That may mean a different place with a slightly different purpose, but shine for Him wherever that is.  And remember to be thankful that He finds us useful at all!

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

Where are you planning to go in the week ahead?  What has your focus?  Where would you like to be?  The choices are as great as you can imagine, because there are any number of things that can tempt or encourage us.

This particular directional sign was found on a fruit farm we visited recently in northwest Oregon.  As you can see, several arrows point to different locations in each direction.  The choice was ours.  And what’s interesting is that none of the choices would necessarily have been bad ones.  They each just offered a different vantage point for the view.

As you head full-force, no doubt, into a brand new week ahead, I pray that you will take the time to stop and read the directional signs.  What are the choices you must make?  Would one particular place be a better fit for you and your personal ministry to others this week?  Maybe your week will afford you the privilege of being in several different places.

The point is, if we don’t stop to see where He is leading, we may just miss something spectacular.  Don’t let that happen.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

On a very recent trip to the Columbia Gorge of Oregon and Washington states, I snapped many pictures of the scenery.  As I readied my camera to snap another photo of the river, I captured an interfering fly instead.  The bug blurred my view.

I wonder what might be blurring your focus of the week ahead.  What is it that seems to be interfering in your time with the Lord?

You see, more often than not, we go about our days with good intentions of making the world a better place, of improving our relationship with God, of being more thankful.  But, something bugs us and blurs our focus.  It only takes a brief moment to divert your eyes from Him, and when it happens, the picture is distorted.

As you being a new week, I pray the flies of temptation, worldly thoughts and problems would not hinder you as you seek to focus on the beauty of the Lord.  Of course one thing to note, is that even though the pesky fly wound up in my photo, it couldn’t take away the beautiful river and mountains beyond it.  Thank God that even when our vision blurs, He remains just beyond, waiting for us to refocus!

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

You see here a simple underpass.  This is a place along the course of a highway where the traffic must pass underneath another road, or in this case, a railroad.  There’s nothing really noteworthy about an underpass.

But if you think about that for a minute, you quickly realize that just as some must pass under, others will be passing over — on an overpass.

Life hits us hard some days.  And perhaps on your life’s highway this week, it seems as if you are in a never-ending underpass where the sunlight is dim and you feel awfully low.

May I encourage you to take heart, hang on, and trust the Lord, because soon (and very soon) you will be the one headed across the overpass while others are dealing with life’s difficulties.  You will be the one who has made it through the dark tunnel and are now rising above once again.

As you head into the week, I pray that life will carry you on the high road.  But as you travel along, don’t neglect to pray for those who are riding a little lower this week due to circumstances in their life.  You’ll be blessed for caring.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

These are reconstructed Indian huts at the Moundville, Alabama, Archaeological Park.  These reconstructed homes give us a glimpse into the simple lives of the natives who lived and worked that area of the state many years ago.  Maybe you have photos of your former homes from many years ago.  It is interesting to look back and see the way we used to live.

And, ah, isn’t that the real point?  That is, it is the way we “used” to live, not the way we currently do.  Times change, as do locations and the people who abide there.

For the Christian, we look forward to the place we will live one day – the proverbial “mansion on a hilltop” that the Lord has gone to prepare for each of us.  I like to think about that home – what it will be like and how it will look.  Will it be simple and only what I need, because I have everything else in His presence?  Will it be mansion-like, ornate and splendidly beautiful in its Heavenly surroundings?

Like most of the other things I ponder in my eternal future, those details really don’t matter.  I could have a huge mansion, or a lovely log cabin on a lake, or a simple dirt hut like these long-ago Indians.  It won’t matter, because I will be in His presence, His home, part of His family.

Yes, He has gone to prepare a place for us, and one day He will return to take us Home!  Are you as excited as I am?

Just a thought.