A message for you...
  We want you, our guest, to know how glad we are that you stopped by.  We've tried to give you just a little glimpse into our life together as a family.  As we stated before, we're not anybody special, we're just a larger than typical family with the typical faults and trials that most families of any size are familiar with.  We hope that as we shared our hearts with you that you were able to look past our shortcomings and be encouraged by our love for each other.
We live in depressing times and a world full of sorrows and cares.  Perhaps, at this time, you are struggling yourself and feel like there is nowhere to turn.  Our overwhelming desire is to encourage others and tell them of how you can have hope, and peace, and love, in a world that more often than not seems upside down.
The hope, peace and love we wish for you can only be found in one place, and that is a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  We're not talking about joining some religious group or following some special set of rules - none of those things will bring you the hope, peace and love we speak of.   No, we instead speak of a relationship that you can have too, if you desire it.
As we're sure you can tell, our oldest daughter is adopted.  The relationship she shares with our family stems from the fact that we chose to accept her as one of our children.  Nothing she could have done would have gained her a part in our family, we had to welcome her into our family willingly.  In this same way, there is nothing we could do of ourselves to become a part of God's family.  He has had to make the offer to adopt us into His family, because he loves and cares for us.  Many people are aware of John 3:16 that tells us this very thing: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  God loves you and wants to adopt you into his family too, if you will only put your faith and trust in Him.
The first step in becoming God's child is to realize that our sin separates us from Him.  In the Bible, Romans 3:10 tells us that "...there is none righteous, no, not one."  And Romans 3:23 says that "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God:"  We've all told a lie, thought a bad thought, or maybe took and kept something that was not ours.  God desires us to be his child, but our sin separates us from Him and prevents us from becoming his child.  The good news, however, is that God loved us so much that he sent Jesus Christ to bridge the gap between us and Himself.  Romans 6:23 says that "For the wages of (payment for) sin is death (separation from God forever in Hell); but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."   If you place your faith and trust in this Jesus, who died on the cross to pay for your sin, God adopts you into his family and you become his child.  Romans 10:9 says "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."  Just as a child adopted into a loving family develops a new found peace and sense of security and belonging that was so absent before, we can find peace, security and a sense of belonging when we become a member of God's family.  Galatians 4:4-7 says "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  And because ye are sons, God hath sent for the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."  It's great to know that our heavenly father wants us to be a part of his family and has made a way for this to happen.  It is our prayer that, if you don't already have a relationship with Christ, that you will admit that your sin has separated you from God, believe in Jesus Christ as the payment that pays the debt for your sin, and call upon the Lord to save you from your sins and make you a child of His.
  If you have made this decision, or have questions about a relationship with Christ, we would really like to hear from you.  You can e-mail us at srstipe@frontiernet.net, or fill out the comment form below.  If you already are a Christian, we'd love to hear from you too!
For those who have made a decision to accept Christ and are assured a home in heaven, life takes on a new meaning.  We encourage you to remember to invest your time and efforts in relationships rather than posessions.  We so often work day and night in an effort to get more things, and as a result our relationships with those closest to us never reach their full potential.  Remember, you cannot take your house, your car, your money, or any other possessions beyond the grave.  You can, however, have an impact on the eternal souls of your children and others.  Take the time to enjoy the youthful exuberance of your toddler child.  Let your child touch you with their youthful innocence.  Hold a hand, kiss the wounded knee, read a story book and watch their face light up with anticipation.  Remember that the time we have is short and very precious.  Make the most of every moment.  Will it really matter how much money you have when your die? Or how popular you are?  We'll leave you with a poem that reminds us of what a successful life will really be measured by when we come to the end of life's road.  We wish you this same success.
  I've Just Got to Be Successful
I may never be as clever as the neighbor down the street.
I may never be as wealthy as some men that I may meet.
I may never have the glory that some other men have had,
But by grace to be successful as my little fellow's Dad.
There are certain dreams I'd cherish; that I'd like to see come true.
There are things that I'd accomplish before my working time is through.
But the task my heart is set on, is to guide my little lads
And by grace to be successful as my little fellow's Dad.
I may never come to glory; I may never gather gold,
Men may count me as a failure when by business life is told;
But if they who follow after will be godly, I'll be glad,
'Cause I'll know I've been successful as my little fellows' Dad.
It's the one job that I dream of.  It's the task I think of most.
For if I fail my little fellows, I'd have nothing else to boast.
For the wealth and fame I'd gather, all my future would be sad;
If I fail to be successful as my little fellows' Dad.
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