Favorite Soups for Cold Winter Days

As a missionary kid in Brazil, we never had winter: it was hot all year around. But that didn’t keep us from having soup! So when I moved to the United States and would hear comments about having to wait for winter to have soup for supper, it never made much sense to me. However, after living through ten winters in the Black Hills of South Dakota, I am beginning to understand that there is definitely something cozy and yummy about having a hot bowl of soup on cold winter days!

Even as I write this, today feels like a “soup day”, for snow is falling outside and the fire in the wood stove is going. And so, because we are still in the clutches of winter and have a few months to go before the birds start singing again and the trees begin to look alive, we have gathered up some of our favorite soups to share with you!


Chicken Tortilla Soup

I grew up having this chicken tortilla soup and it is still one of my favorite soups to make, even now as an adult. The key is all the toppings that you add at the table–make sure you pile them on! ~Angie

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced (or powdered garlic)

1 – 4oz can green chilies

6 cups chicken broth

1 – 10oz can cream of chicken soup

2 ½ cups water

1 ½ tablespoons A-1 steak sauce

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cajun or taco seasoning

¼ teaspoon pepper

3-6 cups chicken, cooked and cubed/shredded

Directions

In a large stockpot, saute onions and garlic in a little oil until tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer.

When serving, load each bowl with tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, and fresh diced tomatoes. Cilantro, green onions, and avocados are also yummy toppings!


Hearty Potato Soup

This is my husband’s all time favorite soup! It is creamy, savory and hearty! Jeremiah is very happy when I make this soup and serve it with a side of warm dinner rolls! ~ Rachel

Ingredients

6 slices of bacon, cooked

1 onion, diced and sauteed

32oz chicken broth

10 potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 teaspoons flour

1 pack Ranch Dressing mix

2 cups half and half

1 cup sour cream

Directions

Boil potatoes in chicken broth until tender. Scoop out ⅓ of potatoes and mash them (by hand or with a mixer). Return to pot.

Add sauteed onion.

In a bowl combine flour, ranch mix, half and half and sour cream. Whisk into soup slowly. Do not boil.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with bacon and cheddar cheese.


Chicken Rice Soup

I just discovered this easy, gluten/dairy free soup and was so happy with the amount of flavor it had. My husband and all three kids loved it! – Chrystal

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil

1 onion, minced

3 large carrots, peeled and diced

1 rib celery, diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried parsley

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

5 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 chicken breasts, raw

1 cup long grain white or brown rice

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook and stir for 3-4 minutes, until onion begins to turn golden.

Add garlic, parsley and thyme and cook 1 minute.

Add broth, chicken, rice, salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to medium-low (a simmer), cover, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until vegetables and rice are tender.

Remove chicken from pot and shred. Add back to the pot and stir. Serve.


Chunky Chili

This is so easy to mix up and have ready for a quick meal! I usually make a big batch and then serve leftovers for a loaded potato bar or even for a quick variation of taco salad! ~Angie

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tablespoons chili powder (depending on how spicy you want it)

1 pound hamburger

3 – 15.5 oz cans of beans, undrained (any variation of kidney, pinto, black, or chili)

2 – 15.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained

Salt to taste

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Directions

In a large kettle, saute onions, peppers, and garlic in a little oil. Add hamburger and cook until browned.

Add remaining ingredients, except for cilantro. (Taste before adding any salt–I have found that I rarely need to add salt due to the canned ingredients already being seasoned.)

Just before serving, add chopped cilantro.

Serve with cheese, sour cream, Frito chips. We also like to add cooked rice at the bottom of our bowl for an even heartier bowl of soup!

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Ways to serve in church

The local church is so much more than a building and its purpose is much deeper than just a “community get-together.” It is a body; the bride of Christ. Hebrews 10:23-25 tells us to “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

The gathering of believers within a church building is just one opportunity where we can “consider one another” and  “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.” It is a place where we encourage one another to “hold fast to the profession of our faith without wavering” until the day Christ comes back for us, His bride. How we go about encouraging one another might look different from person to person but the goal should always be the same; stirring each other up to love and good works so that we might pursue Christ and His Kingdom. 

“But I’m not good at teaching, playing piano or singing a solo,” you might say. True. And God has not called everyone to minister in these ways. Yet, God’s command to encourage/stir up our fellow believers remains. 

There are many, many ways we can go about obeying this call but we’ve collected a list below of ways that may, or may not, even be on your radar.

 

Be welcoming

  • Be friendly. Introduce yourself to new faces. 
  • Greet people at the door. Serving in this way makes people feel welcome and opens the door to get to know them and better serve them.
  • Pass out the bulletins.
  • Make an effort to sit with the single or widowed people in your church. Invite them to share the pew with your family. 

Lend a helping hand

  • Help in the nursery.
  • Help in the children’s classes. Whether that is teaching or just being an extra set of hands.
  • Help with music.
  • Help in the kitchen during church functions.

Care for the building

  • Arrive early/stay behind to set/clean up.
  • If you’re handy with maintenance, be available to take care of small maintenance projects around the church building. 
  • Like to decorate? Volunteer to help with decor. 
  • Sign up to clean the church between services.
  • Help with seasonal cleaning. 

Give supplies

  • Provide snacks for the children’s ministries. You don’t even have to make them yourself – a case of animal crackers from Costco will do perfectly!
  • Provide cleaning supplies or diapers and wipes for the nursery.
  • Provide supplies for children’s ministries.
  • Line up meals for moms with newborns, someone grieving, or for the sick/elderly.
  • Offer to arrive early to make coffee or bring refreshments. Quality fellowship often happens around food 😊

Serve the people

  • Pray for your church leaders. 
  • Pray for ministries your church puts on.
  • Be quick to offer your home for traveling missionaries, evangelists, etc. 
  • Arrive on time. Being late to practice, teach or perform nursery duties can really inconvenience others. 
  • If nursery isn’t provided, offer to help keep an eye on the young children of church leaders who have responsibilities during the service.
  • Express your gratitude to your pastor and church leaders for their ministry  
  • Offer to visit the sick/elderly/home-bound. 
  • Send birthday cards. 

 

See something that needs done? Volunteer to do it! No task is too small. If it is something that needs done, it can be a way to serve!

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Resources for Kids

Pointing children to Christ should be part of our normal routines. However, we can easily lose sight of the fact that parenting is so much more than just keeping these kids alive and eventually launching them into adulthood. God wants us to be teaching our children of Him and encouraging them to know Him more deeply on a regular basis. In order to help us in the pursuit of intentional discipleship we’re sharing a list of some kid-friendly resources that we’ve enjoyed and found helpful for starting conversations that ultimately point us all to Christ.

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  • Tiny Theologians 

Young children are able to learn a lot more than we realize and Tiny Theologians capitalizes on this reality. With beautiful flashcards that have brief definitions and a verse or passage on the back, Tiny Theologians provides some excellent tools for teaching theology to children. Their flashcard sets include A-Z Attributes of God, the ABCs of Theology, and the ABCs of the Names of God. 

http://tinytheologians.com/

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  • Getty Kids Hymnal (CDs or Youtube)

Kids engage in song on a whole new level when they hear other children singing! The Gettys have put out a great collection of hymns (new and old) featuring children, for children! You can buy these CDs on Amazon or just listen through YouTube.

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  • Leading Little Ones to God

Leading Little Ones to God is an old one but still a good one as it works through basic Bible Doctrines on a child’s level. Both my husband and I grew up with this book in our homes and are now using it with our girls! 

Find it new or used on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Leading-Little-Ones-God-Teachings/dp/0802851207/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2QPWQ2TUXB6HA&keywords=leading+little+ones+to+god&qid=1579122551&sprefix=leading+little+ones%2Caps%2C479&sr=8-1

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  • Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible 

This story Bible has become a favorite around our house. With bright and bold illustrations and simple narratives, it is geared towards toddlers. We especially appreciate how closely it sticks to the Bible narrative and doesn’t add lots of extra details to make the story more exciting. There is also a brief application section at the end of each chapter that touches on a broad range of topics to help drive home gospel truths in the hearts of our little ones.. 

https://www.amazon.com/Beginners-Gospel-Story-Bible/dp/1945270047/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=MSLPJK3UFFG9&keywords=beginners+gospel+story+bible&qid=1579120965&sprefix=beginners+gospel+st%2Caps%2C509&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExSDU4WVlLRkRLMzUyJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzI5NDU2MzVaTThGNU4wTTU5SyZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMDEzOTMwMzhIMlAyUTk5TFRGJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

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  • The New City Catechism Mobile App 

While this app is aimed at adults, this free app also has a children’s mode that provides songs to go with each question and answer. These songs are short and fun and help young children learn important doctrines without even trying! Every night before going to bed, our 2-year-old insists on singing the song for question 3 that asks “How many persons are there in God?” Even though she doesn’t fully understand now the concept of the trinity, the song will undoubtedly stick with her for years to come and remind her heart of the reality of the Triune God!  

http://newcitycatechism.com/mobile-apps/

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  • The Big Picture Story Bible

I’ve really enjoyed sharing this story Bible with young children. The vivid illustrations help to hold their attention as they listen to foundational truths about man and God. And I love that this book shares both the bad and good stories, showing both the depravity of man and in turn, the loving-kindness of our God.

https://www.amazon.com/Big-Picture-Story-Bible-Book/dp/1433523914

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  • The Big Picture Bible Crafts 

This is a new resource for us, but it looks promising! For parents with children always wanting to make crafts, this book has 101 crafts to correspond a wide range of Bible stories (and also correspond with The Big Picture Story Bible.) With reproducible pages and multiple levels of difficulty for each craft, this craft book is ideal for multiple age groups! 

https://www.amazon.com/Picture-Bible-Crafts-Reproducible-pages/dp/1433558696/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3993CV43A5RP0&keywords=big+picture+bible+crafts&qid=1579122675&sprefix=big+picture+craf%2Caps%2C220&sr=8-1

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  • Bible Visuals International Family Format Series

Bible Visuals International has recently taken some of their short missionary visual stories and turned them into a book format for the whole family to enjoy together. They have ones on John Newton, George Mueller, etc. Our family has really enjoyed the one on the life of Martin Luther and have found it to lead to great engagement and conversation. 

https://www.amazon.com/Refuge-Martin-Luther-Family-5760-CS/dp/1933206934/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=bible+visual+martin+luther&qid=1579054470&s=books&sr=1-2

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Bible Study Resources

While there is no replacement for simply getting into the Word and reading it, sometimes it is nice to have some resources to help us along the way. Here are some resources that we love and want to share with you!

ESV Scripture Journals
These journals have the passage on the left page and a blank page on the right. You can use these journals in a variety of ways: Use them for taking notes when your pastor is preaching through a book of the Bible or when you’re doing a group study of the Bible. You could also use these during your own personal study through a book of the Bible. There is also plenty of room within the passage for marking it up.

You can buy the entire Old Testament or New Testament. Or you can buy the books individually!  

Video Series on How to Study the Bible 
If you are unsure of where to start with studying the Bible for yourself, watch this 5-day video series by Jen Wilkin on how to study the Bible for some helpful instruction! Essentially, she just steps you through the process of studying a book of the Bible.  This series goes along with Wilkin’s excellent book Women of the Word. 

Pilot Erasable Pens
Believe it or not, these Pilot Frixion Erasable Pens actually do erase! If you enjoy Bible journalling or using Journibles, you will enjoy these pens!

Daily Grace Podcast on “Highlighting” 
Highlighting is an easy, but intentional way to think inductively as you read the Bible. Listen to this podcast from the Daily Grace Co. on ways to intentionally incorporate highlighting as part of your study of the Word!

Bible Highlighters
Here are some highlighters that are special for using in your Bible, as they won’t bleed through the thin pages. (Note: The Daily Grace Co. is constantly having sales on these highlighters, so don’t buy them full-price!)

Make-Your-Own Bible Plan Generator
If you are wanting to keep on schedule with your Bible reading, but also wish you could have more flexibility with the schedule, here is a tool you may find useful!  With this Bible Reading Plan Generator, you can adjust what books you read, as well as the length of time alloted for reading.  Here’s an article by the author on how it works. 

We hope you find some of these resources to be helpful as you read and study God’s Word this year!

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Bible Reading Plans for 2020

With a brand new year upon us, we have the opportunity to start fresh with our Bible reading goals.

Because reading the Bible on a regular basis is crucial for a growing walk with the Lord, it is often helpful to have a particular goal in mind. For example, one could have the goal to read through the Bible in a year. Or to read a chapter a day. Or to read the New Testament over the next six months. There really is no right or wrong Bible reading goal–the important thing is to be in the Word!

One practical way to help us stay on track in working towards our goal is to have a Bible reading plan. There are many, many different kinds of Bible reading plans–all one has to do is google “Bible Reading Plans” and there will be a multitude of options!

However, to help narrow down the options, we’d like to share some of the plans or approaches to reading the Bible that we’ve used in the past or would like to use this year.  

Infographic on How Long It Takes to Read the Bible
If you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of trying to read through the Bible (or a portion of the Bible), you will be encouraged by this infographic from Crossway on how long it actually takes to read through the Bible!  

Audio Bible 
While not a specific Bible reading plan, this is one way to immerse  yourself in the Word while you work on dishes or fold laundry!

Many Bible apps include a Bible audio feature.  However, if you don’t already have a favorite Bible app, check out Bible Gateway to download their free Bible Audio App.

The Chronological Reading Plan
Because the Bible isn’t organized in a chronological manner, this chronological reading plan helps makes better sense of the overall flow of the historical events of Scripture!

The Five-Day Psuedo-Chronological Plan
This is a plan that we haven’t actually used, but it has been highly recommended! This five-day plan is a slight variation to a chronological reading plan. One significant aspect of this plan is that it is based on a five-day week, which then gives you two days every week to catch (or get ahead)! Having two “free” days allows for some flexibility to do other reading or studying (such as homework for a weekly ladies’ Bible study).

Systematic Theology Reading Plan
This is a 30-day reading plan from Crossway that focuses on short passages that address specific doctrines, including the doctrine of Scripture, God the Father, Christ, the Holy Spirit, sin, mankind, salvation, the church, and end times. Or, as Crossway describes it, it is a crash-course in systematic theology.

Knowable Word’s 90-Day Bible Reading Challenge
Reading through the entire Bible at a fast pace highlights the advantages of reading the entire Bible. Knowable Word has presented this challenge to read through the entire Bible in 90 days. If you finish reading the Bible within 90 days and by March 31, 2020, you can enter their giveaway of a ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set and a one-volume Reader’s Bible (translation of choice).

5x5x5 New Testament Reading Plan 
The 5x5x5 New Testament Reading Plan focuses on reading through the New Testament, five minutes a day, five days a week. It also presents five ways to dig deeper as you read.

We hope this has given you some ideas of how to be more immersed in the Word during 2020! If you already have a favorite Bible reading plan that you use, we would love to hear about it!

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