Rebecca Egger took this picture for us back in November. But today we share it as an official family picture because today Luka James Layman was adopted as an official member of our family. There are a lot of glorious details to the story but I’ll keep it short — God is good and He knew that this was our son before we did. He saw fit for this to be a reality and we are beyond thankful.

We named him Luka James Layman.

•Luka — I first affectionately called him “Luka the boy wonder” within the first few days he was born. His little infant body had miraculously overcome A LOT and I very naturally equated that to the young Dallas Mavs superstar, Luka Doncic 🐴 🏀 😂 I later learned that Luka is derived from the Latin word “lux” which means LIGHT. And this little man has brought SO MUCH LIGHT to our lives. ‘Luka’ — it’s even more appropriate than I’d originally thought.

•James — The middle name of his older brother Q, and comes from Casey’s dad’s first name, James Vineyard, who was a willing and joyful dad to Casey, when he didn’t have to be. Again, so appropriate.

•Layman — our family name. Which, ironically means “a person who is not a member of the clergy (professional ministry)” It’s a name for a common, informal, untrained person. Man that is us! 🙂 Our prayer is that in joining our family, Luka James is joining the ranks of a group of nobodies who live to tell everyone about the one true Somebody, Jesus Christ. All glory to HIM!

We love y’all and thank you so much for all your support! We’re not done fostering either 😳😜

Foster parent guidelines ask that we not share pictures of kids. You’ve seen some pics of the back of Lukas head, some of him in sunglasses, and a few side profiles, but we have an entire year + of pictures of him with us. We put together a 7 min video. I know it’s long, but we’re making up for whole year! 😆 We had to put the video to music because we love music and each of the songs are significant to us and his life. I’m not sure how long the video will

be up because **we don’t own the rights to any of the music** So while you can, if you’d like, click the link below.

Praying for Fort Worth

Such a horrible heartbreaking incident on I35W in Fort Worth this morning. 100 cars involved and 5 fatalities. Hardworking people took out early this morning to get to their jobs, to do their part, and provide for their families and tragically lost their life. Others are barely hanging on to life right now and many are dealing with life changing injuries. Family members of those involved are grieving and sorting through how to deal with the magnitude of it all. It must seem like a bad dream for them.
No doubt the police, firefighters and medics are shook to their core over this. Their job is hard every day, but most haven’t ever dealt with anything like this.

Friends, let’s pray for these people!

Father in Heaven, these folks need your hand of healing and your peace that goes beyond understanding right now. Please bring healing to those who are physically hurt and guard the hearts of all affected. Be with every person dealing with the loss of a loved one or with serious injury.
Lord please comfort the emergency workers. Please speak to their spirit that they did all they could. We thank you for their faithfulness. Help all of us to love each other well, both prayerful and practically. Show us ways to help where we can and remind us to take time to feel the weight of this tragedy and go to our knees on behalf of those impacted.
Lord Jesus, I pray that all would turn to you during something like this. We don’t know why something like this happens. But the cross reminds us that you love us, and the empty tomb reminds us that you’re powerful. Let all involved feel your love and power.
We love you, Lord.
In Jesus name, Amen.

Nasty Weather, Eternal Truth

When the weather gets nasty we naturally think about how we might fill our evenings or other times while being cooped up inside. I’d sincerely like suggesting “binging” on Jesus’ words in Matthew 5-7 commonly referred to as The Sermon On the Mount. Our church has recently been going through it, and getting the opportunity to work through it slowly has shown me that it’s even more rich and profound than I knew or anticipated.

Here’s a small sampling of what you’ll find:

•Where TRUE happiness comes from, the BLESSED life.
•Making a difference for God’s glory
•The importance of God’s Word above all other authority
•Getting to the HEART of God’s commandments
•Loving others well
•Generosity God’s way
•How to pray
•Where our treasure should be found
•Dealing with anxiety and worry

If you just read through the chapters it would take about 30 mins. Maybe do that first, but then go through it slowly, no more than a paragraph at a time. Take time and ask the passages some questions. What does this say about God, about man, and about the relationship between God and man? Is there a command to follow? A promise to remember? A truth to cherish? Take some notes in a journal. Pray to God and about what He’s revealing. Thank Him for His Word, for the Cross, and for desiring relationship with us and making the Way through Jesus Christ.

Netflix series are hit or miss. The news will suck the joy right out of you. Sports become blah after awhile. BUT THE WORD OF GOD IS ALWAYS LIFE-GIVING!

If you get stuck inside, consider redeeming the time in Matthew 5-7!

📖 ✝️ 🙏🏼 💡

No danger…

He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. – Psalm 147:4

“He who counts the stars and calls them by their names is in no danger of forgetting His own children.” – Charles Spurgeon

A Divine Story

“If God is sovereign, then he is in control of all the details of my life. If he is loving, then he is going to be shaping the details of my life for my good. If he is all-wise, then he’s not going to do everything I want because I don’t know what I need. If he is patient, then he is going to take time to do all this. When we put all these things together—God’s sovereignty, love, wisdom, and patience—we have a divine story.” -Paul Miller, A Praying Life

“Follow Me”

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. -Jesus, Luke 9:23

“To an unusual degree today, Christians mistakenly think that the freedom of Christian experience means that we no longer need to make any effort to be spiritual. We simply ‘do what we feel,’ and ‘be ourselves’. To live any other way—for example, to set aside definite and sacrificial amounts of money to do the Lord’s work, or to set aside specific time during the day for prayer, engage in deliberate acts of self-denial as we seek the Lord’s face— is seen as ‘legalism’ and ‘bondage.’ Jesus, on the other hand, assumes that these disciplines are basic to any spiritual vitality. And he was no legalist!” -Sinclair Ferguson

Jacob, Encountering God Through Trials

Encountering God through trials—“Bethel” — The House of God.

In our study of the life of Jacob this morning we read a story that’s familiar to most of us by personal experience.

Jacob found himself in a sad, low and lonely place. Partly because of the consequences of his own actions, partly the actions of others, and then partly just because of unfortunate circumstances. But when he was made aware of God’s presence and promises, Jacob’s place of great pain was transformed to what he named Bethel which means “The House of God.” Jacob then said:

“Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Gen 28:16)

This happens so often! The place of trial is the place of encounter with God. We can know about God through knowledge, but so often we come to know him personally by encountering him through hardship.

George Macdonald once said “Afflictions are but the shadows of his wings”

When we encounter God through trials it can change us. We see evidence of this in the life of Jacob in Genesis 28:16-22

Encountering God through trials can
Vs 16 build our faith
Vs 17 build our theology
Vs 18 build our worship!!!
V 22 make us thankful and generous

Whatever you are going through right now, like Jacob, you can be encouraged that we can encounter God through trials. We draw near to Him in the hard places and those places can become Bethel – The House of God. Like Jacob, we too can say “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Gen 28:16) Like Jacob, we too can face trials knowing and believing the promises of God—that by grace through faith in Jesus we are saved, called, loved, and kept!

Remember, “Afflictions are but the shadows of his wings.”

God bless you, and keep looking up!

I Have Decided…

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow,
Tho’ none go with me I still will follow,
Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
My cross I’ll carry till I see Jesus,
My cross I’ll carry till I see Jesus;
No turning back, No turning back.
The world behind me, the cross before me,
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

‘I Have Decided To Follow Jesus’ (Author Unknown)

Consider this invitation…

Had all your hopes and dreams dashed by a recent change in politics? Consider this invitation:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30

Thinking you’ve found hope and all your dreams are coming true because of a recent change in politics? Save this invitation, you’re gonna need it soon enough:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30

How majestic!

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. – Psalm 8:1

Sometimes the world’s problems seem so big because our view of God is so small.

Father in heaven, let your name be lifted HIGH in our life today. Help us to live like you are big, powerful, and full of goodness because you are! Thank you for the cross, Lord. In Jesus name, amen.