december 20
"i want to be a follower of Christ," sam said to us on a typical thursday night. okay, not typical! we had just had 14 of our neighbors over for cocoa and cookies. wonderful night full of purpose and peace. i commended the boys for being so inviting to everyone that came and pointed out that this is why we are here - to love and care for those around us. well, let me get back to the first story...
first, i’ll let sam tell it...
when my dad was brushing my brother’s teeth
i told him that i wanted to be a follower of Christ and
me and my dad went into my room and my dad called my mom
to come here and we talked about it and then we prayed
and i told my brothers. 
i want to follow Christ because i want to let God into my life.
after i listened to sam tell me what he had just told ben,
 i locked eyes with ben.
we were both thinking the same thing.
what sam was experiencing in his heart and mind was a natural progression - sam had been storing up knowledge of God in his mind and this night it joined with the resounding need in his heart to believe God was for Him.
sam sat perched on the bottom bunk with a calm assurance -
an authentic peace.
 i chuckled. so this is what it means to have faith like a child? to take God at His Word and wholeheartedly give your life back to Him. sam told us that he had been thinking about making the decision to follow Christ for a few days.
you see, sam, like his brothers, is given the freedom to ask questions and we have times around the table, on the couch, at bedtime, in the van, to ask them what they think about God or what they saw God do today.
since God is the center of our lives, we want to point our lives back to Him. from feathers on the beach to the sadness in the new kid's eyes at school.
in the truest, most raw form of faith, sam was ready to trust God with every fiber of his being and every beat of his heart.
as sam went to elijah's room to tell his brothers, elijah said, "i knew this day would come."
he had the most proud, confident grin on his face.
ben and i grinned at elijah, for he played a key role in sam coming to understand God's forgiveness and grace.
sam is ready to follow.
it's as if he has been sitting on the sidelines at church, in small group, hearing stories from the Bible, learning what it means to follow Christ and now he is all in.
which means a different way of leading him now for us as parents, for others as his leaders, his family, his faith community.
we are called to disciple him.
to continue to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus.
to teach him how to know and fear the Lord.
never to take for granted his salvation,
but celebrate every day of his life.