Category: christian living

Our Health Insurance Alternative (Saving Money on Health Insurance)

Dropping our Blue Cross Insurance was the best thing we ever did–financially and ethically. Not only were our premiums becoming increasingly expensive, but we were still paying large sums out-of-pocket, all while much of our money went to greasing the great big Insurance Machine.

We knew about Christian medical sharing programs, but were a little concerned they might not work as well in real life. Not to mention, I had been pregnant several times when we considered joining and thought our maternity care would not be covered. (It is.)

We joined Samaritan’s Ministries about 4 years ago and have been beyond excited about the way it works and how it has benefited our family.

What is a “medical sharing program”?

Samaritan’s is comprised of over 30,000 families who have agreed to pay a monthly “share” which is distributed among needs for that month.

If you have a medical bill over $300, you submit your “need” to Samaritans along with copies of your bill(s). They distribute the expense among as many families as it takes to cover it. You will then receive checks from individual families (usually along with an encouraging note) for part of your submitted need until full amount is received. (On rare occasions, the needs for the month exceed the shares and you receive a percentage. This has not happened to us as long as we’ve been members.)

Thus far in our experience with Samaritans, we have had our submitted medical bills covered 100% every time. We never had that experience with regular insurance companies.

What do you tell the doctor/hospital?

Samaritan’s provides you with a membership card which you can present at the time of treatment. You are considered a “self-pay” patient which hospitals and doctors actually prefer, since it alleviates the red tape of bureaucratic companies.

Does it work when there is a large medical expense?

Yes. We really got to see Samaritans in action when my father had a heart attack in 2011. Also a member, my Dad had a near-death experience when he had a massive heart attack and we rushed him to the ER. His bills exceeded $100,000, and every penny was paid by Samaritan’s members.

Consider that if they had still been on their former insurance which only paid 80%, they would have had to pay $38,000 just on the price their self-pay was. With insurance, the actual amount would have far exceeded that number and their out-of-pocket would as well. You aren’t just saving on premiums.

You can opt to pay extra and increase your share coverage.

How much does it cost?

A family pays a monthly share of about $400.

Another amazing thing…

In our newsletter each month there is a section for “special needs” which includes certain medical needs of members not covered by Samaritans because they are pre-existing. Members are offered the opportunity to give, in addition to their regular share, to these families to help cushion the expenses.

One month we gave $25 to such a need–an expensive operation. Several weeks later we received our check back. The note accompanying the check read that they had received more than they needed to cover the bill and he was actually having to return money to different members!

I was speechless.

Samaritan’s isn’t only an efficient, well-oiled machine that members can feel secure about, it’s a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ coming together to meet one another’s needs, just as Christ mentions in Scripture.

They have my highest recommendation.

Oh, and one more bonus: if you refer me, I get a credit on my next share amount. Which is also good news for you if you join. When you start sharing your positive experiences (and you will!), you’ll save more too.

*You must be a Christian and member of a church to join.

Are We Raising Teens Who are Barely Christian?

According to the National Study of Youth and Religion, only 8% of American youth are considered “highly devoted” Christians, possessing a faith that makes a significant difference in their lives.

Kenda Dean, author of Almost Christian observes:

“Even if teenagers immerse themselves in youth ministry programs, are involved in churches, and manage to dodge overwhelming counter influences, they are unlikely to take hold of a ‘god’ who is too limp to take hold of them. Perhaps young people lack robust Christian identities because churches offer such a stripped-down version of Christianity that it no longer poses a viable alternative to imposter spiritualities like Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

The elephant in the room in the discussion about the National Study of Youth and Religion is the muddled ecclesiology of American churches, a confusion present, not only in young people but in congregations themselves.  We have forgotten that we are not here for ourselves, which has allowed self-focused spiritualities to put down roots in our soil. (Emphasis mine.)

It would be unlikely for teenagers to develop any religions framework besides superficial Christianity if churches have supplanted the gospel with a religious outlook that functions primarily as a social lubricant, with a ‘god’ who supports teenagers’ decisions, makes them feel good about themselves, meets their needs when called upon but otherwise stays out of the way.  If this is the god we offer young people, there may be little in Christianity to which they object, but there is even less to which they will be devoted.

By contrast, the God portrayed in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures asks, not just for commitment, but for our very lives. The God of the Bible traffics in life and death, not niceness, and calls for sacrificial love, not benign whatever-ism. If the God of Jesus Christ is a missionary God who crosses every boundary–life and death and space and time–to win us, then following Jesus is bound to be anything but convenient.

We reap what we sow. We have received from teenagers exactly what we have asked them for: assent, not conviction; compliance, not faith. Young people invest in religion precisely what they think it is worth–and if they think the church is worthy of benign whatever-ism and no more, then the indictment falls not on them, but on us.”

In short, are we teaching real Christianity to our children? Are we living a life that has been transformed, in every part, by a faith in Christ? And are we espousing the same doctrine as the first century Christians, one that cost many their own lives? While most of us will never be required to give a fraction of that for Christ’s sake, are we willing to give up other things if discipleship deems it? Things that might cost us popularity, comforts, friendships?

Are we teaching a Christ worthy of losing all?

I would love your thoughts.

Raising Children to Love Him: Don’t Miss This One Thing! (Live Interview-I’m Talkin’, Y’all)

 

Recently, Christian Heritage Online invited me to speak in a live webinar on the topic of Raising Visionary Kids. If you missed that, you can listen to the podcast HERE.

The interview addressed an important topic for all parents, but particularly the homeschool community, especially now as some of the foundations are being shaken with recent scandals among popular leadership. So I hope you find some time to listen in and I would love to talk more about this subject of  raising children who love the Lord, in the comment section.

We have to be wise and discerning as parents, carefully dividing the word of truth as we disciple our children. We talked about some good stuff in the broadcast that I hope will encourage you as you seek to do that.

By the way, the interview includes a rare “Green Room” discussion at the end and the producer, Daniel Craig, brought up a most important point addressing the responsibility of this generation in light of some of the conversation in the interview. I strongly encourage you to catch that.

Live webinar: Teaching the Reason Behind the Rules

We Can Do Something to Help Stop Human Trafficking


We’re sheltered. All of us. And maybe you’re like me–we know bad things happen and occasionally we reach out in some small way to try to help. But mostly, we just try to shut the worst of it out, try to imagine that there aren’t really so many humans as evil and depraved as we hear about from time to time.

But then we read something, or hear about it, and this one time, God will not let go. That’s what has happened to me.

“…an estimated 27 million people worldwide are forced to work in slave labor camps with little or no pay or are trapped in brothels in sexual slavery.”

To be honest, I wasn’t very familiar with human sex trafficking. I mean I knew it existed but I really thought it was only something that happened sporadically, and not very often, in some remote, foreign country somewhere. I didn’t have any idea of the magnitude and I didn’t know how prevalent it was in the US until recently.

I read Eden: a sex slave story and it gripped me. It made me sick and furious all at once. And it won’t let go. And I can’t not do something. (Warning: the article contains graphic and violent descriptions and is not suited for a young audience.)

All I can hear is Isaiah 58:6:

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”

My family is discussing different ways to get involved in helping. We have found a local shelter with all sorts of opportunities and we’re talking to them about those.

There is also an incredible ministry that performs actual rescue operations around the world. The Exodus Road specifically focuses on connecting funds from the West with undercover surveillance and rescue operations in the East (where the largest percentage of sex trafficking occurs).

Facts about human trafficking:

  • There are more modern day slaves right now than at any other point in human history.
  • Currently, an estimated 27 million people worldwide are forced to work in slave labor camps with little or no pay or are trapped in brothels in sexual slavery (This figure is highly debated and estimates range from 10 million to 30 million).
  • Human trafficking is the 3rd most lucrative illegal crime globally, behind the sale of guns and drugs.
  • It is estimated that every sixty seconds, two children are sold for sex worldwide.
  • The average cost of a slave is $90.
  • Human trafficking involves exploitation which can take many forms including: Misleading victims into debt bondage, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude, fear and intimidation, physical and sexual abuse, forcing victims to participate in sex acts for the sake of pornography, withholding victim’s passports/papers as a means of control.
  • A victim of modern day slavery can be in any of the following categories, according to the US State Department:  Forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage for migrant workers, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, and child sex trafficking.
  • Modern day slavery occurs in 161 countries (of the 195 total countries), including the United States.
  • Human trafficking, according to the U.N. Trafficking Protocol is “the recruitment, transport, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a person by such means as threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of adbuction, or fraud or deception for the purpse of exploitation.”
  • Around 70% are female and and an estimated half are under the age of 18.

And I keep thinking how big it is and how impossible it feels. But I also keep thinking of this: never in history have we had the power of social media like we do now. I read that gripping story through social media. The Exodus Road can reach the whole world through the same platform.

And this blog, which I consider a gift for which I am responsible to steward, can reach people and bring awareness that might turn anger to action.

So I’m asking you to consider helping however the Lord leads you. As our family prayerfully considers how to help, I will keep you up to date with specific opportunities that arise. Or, you can go straight to an organization like The Exodus Road and help there.

Or perhaps there is a local shelter near you where you could help. We can all do something.

At the very least, sharing this post will help reach one more person with the stories.

 

How to Build a Strong Christian Home (New Book Review!)

June Fuentes, from A Wise Woman Builds Her Home has written an extraordinarily practical, wise book about all things building a Christian home culture. For the mom who already understands building her home and the power of her influence, the book is an excellent shot in the arm, jarring us from our daily doldrums.

For the new mom, or a mother just beginning and desiring to understand how important her role is in building a Christian home, June’s book is packed with encouragement but also practical ideas about how to do it.

In a culture that treats home as merely a stopping place for people to eat and sleep, How to Build a Strong Christian Home is a much-needed clarion call for the church, the family and the Christian community, to reestablish the foundation of Christian culture. If we are to ever see the transforming power of Christ’s work in our churches and communities, we must first ignite it in our homes.

Get your copy of  How to Build a Strong Christian Home (#2 on Amazon’s hot new releases in Christian Family!) for $4.99!

BUY NOW

 

Included in the book:

  • The State Of The Home
  • A Multi-Generational Vision: Leaving A Legacy
  • The Exquisite Home Culture
  • The Imperfect Home
  • The Important Role Of Parents And Their Example
  • Discipleship, Shepherding Hearts, And Teaching The Word Of God In The Christian Home
  • Education In The Home: Purposeful And Powerful Kingdom Conversation
  • Preparing Your Home: The Influence Of A Godly Atmosphere
  • The Influence Of Entertainment
  • Making Memories In The Kitchen & Gracious Hospitality
  • Serving On A Mission Together As A Family
  • The Foolish Woman Tears Down Her Home
  • Guarding The Home
  • The Secret To A Happy Home Life

A Sale For You to Send Bri to Peru

My daughter, Bria, is going on a mission trip to Peru this May and in order to help her raise money for her trip, I am running a sale for the next 3 days (Sale ended)

You can read a bit more about her trip and her financial goal HERE.

We’re really excited for the opportunity for her to use her gifts and pray that the team will pour themselves out for Him. She is one task-oriented, goal-setting girl. She’s been spending extra time studying carpentry and plumbing, so I think she’ll do great on the project.

It’s also been a fun time to involve everyone in the study of the Peruvian culture and try to learn a little Spanish.

So if you feel led to assist with this effort, we will be most grateful. All profits from the sale will go directly to her.0

Our By Heart Scripture Songs CD is 25% off. It has a whole new look that I’m excited about!

Use coupon code: “peru” to get the discount.

BUY NOW


Get all the -CDs set from our 2012 Living a Legacy Conference for 50% off!!!

($40 $20)

Use coupon code: legacy

BUY NOW

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