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Category: Stewardship

Operation Christmas Child Is Upon Us

This has got to be one of the best promotional videos ever. Whether you are a Duck Dynasty fan or not, you can still help. Operation Christmas Child is in full swing. National collection week is right around the corner Nov 18-25. Samaritan’s Purse has been running this event since 1993, providing gifts for needy children around the globe, and not just practical gifts, but the message of Jesus Christ. Check out the website for more details on how to become a part of this booming ministry simply by filling a shoebox with gifts. This is a great way to get the kids in your life involved as well!

Justin Masterson and Bright Hope Team Up

I’m am definitely not a big sports fan. I watch games occasionally, but when I saw this sports related story I had to share it. My husband is watching the All Star game as I write this. And it’s great to know that one of the players is doing something for a really great cause. Cleveland Indians pitcher and All Star, Justin Masterson, is teaming up with Bright Hope to feed and educate 1,400 children in the Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi, Kenya through “Feed Their Future.”

Bright Hope is a local organization that helps those living on less than $1 a day. We have volunteered for them before and give regularly. We really love their mission and are so excited to see them get support from someone who has a platform.

You can help too by watching the video and clicking the link to find out more. brighthope.org/feedtheirfuture.

Justin Masterson at All Star Game Teams Up with Bright Hope from Bright Hope on Vimeo.

My First Guest Post – Stewardship in Marriage

I am so excited to share that I have written my first guest post for UberSteward. Here’s a sample but please be sure to check out the full article here.

moneyExercising Good Stewardship In Marriage With Time And Money

As much as I love being married, it’s certainly not without it’s challenges.

There are dishes to wash, laundry to be done, meals to cook, bathrooms to clean, and the list goes on and on. There are tons of everyday decisions that need to be made. But two of the most important questions we find ourselves asking often are, “What do we do with our time and money?” These are questions we all should ask but once you are married, it’s a little more complicated to answer them. Now instead of one way to look at things, you automatically have two opinions and two thought patterns and oddly enough, they don’t always match up. And the answers will change and shift as your life situations change. These matters require A LOT of communication, compromise and perseverance if you want a happy marriage.

To finish the article head over here….

Helping Change

coin jarI was inspired by a blog post I read around Christmas. One family told how they save change throughout the year and then sit down as a family, count their change and go through a gift catalog for an organization such as World Vision, or Samaritans purse, and pick out items to “buy.” For example, they might be able to buy some chickens or a goat for a family in need. I thought that was a neat idea.

This year we decided to go ahead and cash in our change. We’ve been saving it for about a year and a half. And the grand total was $71. That’s pretty cool. We chose to give it to Bright Hope this time around. They are a great organization, located in nearby Hoffman Estates, that works to help those living on less than $1 per day.

We want to do it again this year and be more deliberate about it. We are doing it minus some quarters because we use those for laundry, so it might not be much, but it will be something. I thought that maybe it might be fun if others wanted to get on board and we can have a big Christmas get together, pool our change and pick out our gifts to buy. So if anyone wants in, let me know. Regardless, I think it would be great for every person/family to do on their own.

Let’s make our change “helping change.”

IJM Campaign Update

Thank you to all of you who have donated to my campaign page for International Justice Mission. I still have a few weeks to go before my deadline, but we have reached the goal! 
I am so excited! Now, I know that we can surpass my goal, because only 15 have donated. That’s alot of money raised from 15 people. If I could get 20 more people to give just $5 then we’d raise an extra $100 just like that. So I am asking again. Check out the campaign page for more info on International Justice Mission and the great work they are doing around the world.

Black Friday Sale: Humans 2 for 1

Ok so yes, that is a little bit drastic of a headline and it’s certainly not a headline we would see in any paper in the United States. But all across the world the human slave trade is at an all time high. Whether it is forced labor or sex trafficking, it is a horrible practice and something needs to be done. Awareness is part of the problem. This is not an issue talked about very often. It’s not in the papers. It’s not on the news. But it is happening. Humans are the latest hot commodity.

Many of these people who find themselves in these situations have next to nothing and no one to fight for them. There is little chance of escape on their own. That’s where International Justice Mission comes in. They fight for these forgotten fathers, mothers, children, brothers, sisters. They fight for freedom and justice. This is worth fighting for!

Please join me as I raise awareness and funds to help support their mission at IJM. Giving up 1 cup of coffee from starbucks, 3 i-tunes downloads, 1 month of netflix, you name it… a small sacrifice (and I do mean small) could help rescue a person from the bonds of slavery and change their life forever!

Click the link below to donate.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to wish every one a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is my advice to fully enjoy the holiday:

1. Don’t eat too much, food comas are no fun.

2. Don’t even think about Black Friday until Friday if at all.

3. Enjoy the time spent with family and friends.

4. Thank God, out loud for at least 10 things you are thankful for (though I’m sure you come up with so many more).

Exciting News from Family Christian Stores

I thought I would share this email I received from the CEO of Family Christian Stores last week. It is so encouraging to me and maybe it will be to you as well. 

Dear Friends of Family Christian,

Today is an exciting day for Family Christian and we wanted you to be among the first to hear the news! 

The management team of Family Christian has partnered with a group of Christian businessmen to acquire the company from our private equity owners.  And here’s the really exciting part: under our new ownership, our pledge is to contribute 100% of our profits to Christian causes and, specifically, ministries serving widows and orphans both here in the U.S. and abroad.  We are thrilled about this opportunity!

As a loyal Family Christian customer, you know we have always been committed to providing resources for our Christian community.   We recently shared the motivation and inspiration of Our Calling at Family Christian:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27

This new ownership structure allows us to respond to Our Calling in faster, broader and deeper ways. 

We believe we’ve been called to multiply our impact and so we are buying Family Christian because we think our company is uniquely positioned to be your first choice for Christian resources AND acatalyst for financial support for faith-based causes.  We’ve been on a journey for several years to find potential like-minded Christian owners who share our passion and calling.  I believe it’s the providence and sovereignty of God that I met our investors while working to serve orphans in Georgia more than five years ago.  His hand was on this process and in the divine selection of the partners who, like us, are deeply involved in supporting and growing Christian ministries and have spent considerable time focused on orphan, foster care and adoption causes. 

So what does this mean for you as our customer?  Well, while our ownership structure and financial purpose have changed, we expect no impact on our day-to-day operations, product assortment, stores or staff.  But it does mean that each and every time you make a purchase through Family Christian, you are serving the orphan, the widow, those in distress, the community of Christ believers and more. 

Because now, rather than contributing 10% of our profits to The James Fund and similar ministries,we will give 100% of our profits to faith-based ministries.  It means you get to be the active hands and feet in the rescue work, the building up of families, and the responders to the James Challenge.

In many ways, we are returning to our roots as a Christian family-owned business focused on making a significant Kingdom impact.  Since our founding in 1932, we have built a reputation for providing great service and quality Christian products.  We intend to continue to uphold the high level of retail excellence, while applying the full operational and financial resources of the Company for the benefit of widows, orphans and foster children and Christian charities.

I am excited for the future of Family Christian and the significant Kingdom impact we will make together.  We appreciate your business and your loyal support.

In His Service,
Cliff Bartow signature
Cliff Bartow
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
– James 1:27

IJM Freedom Campaign Launch

In conjunction with my Black Friday article I decided that words alone are not enough. I need to act. So in my boycott of consumerism this year I have started a campaign to raise funds for International Justice Mission. I am seeking to raise $500 by the beginning of January. You can donate by going to my campaign page at the link that follows. Feel free to forward it to your friends as well.


I am not opposed to Christmas gifts. I enjoy giving and receiving as well. But at some point enough is enough. When we can’t tell the difference between needs and wants, when we can’t be satisfied and content with all we have been given, when we can’t even dedicate one entire day to being grateful without looking to buy more…we need a change.

I have struggled with the question of how much is enough. Is it ok to spend so much on myself when others are starving? There is no clear cut answer but I believe that God does bless those who look to Him. I believe He blesses those who have little materially, in different ways than He blesses those who have much materially. In some ways, they may understand God’s faithfulness more than I ever will. I don’t think it’s a matter of how much a person has because God gives to each of His children differently. We were born in a country that has abundance, but it wasn’t our choosing. Some are born into poverty, but that isn’t their choosing either. I think what is important is that we all come to the understanding that nothing we have is truly ours and our hands should loosely hold anything given to us.

I think Tozer sums it up nicely in an excerpt from The Pursuit of God. “The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and has it purely, legitimately and forever.”