Grace Notes


Change Your Thinking Patterns

(By Sarah Hancock, adapted from Speak Truth in Your Heart)


A girl once shared with me that anytime she felt like a failure, she would begin to doubt God’s love for her. She knew that the Bible says God’s love is unconditional, yet she had a hard time actually believing this applied to her. Every time she messed up, her mind would take her to the same place: God doesn’t love me. It was a thinking pattern that had developed.


Do you have any ungodly or untrue thinking patterns that plague you? It could be thoughts of fear, blame, comparison, lust, jealousy, anxiety, or despair. It could be a negative way of thinking about a specific person who irritates you. It could be a lie you are believing about God or about yourself.


If we’re honest, I think we all struggle with these kinds of unbiblical thinking patterns. Some of them may have started when we were children. It is where our thoughts tend to go because of the pattern that we have developed.

It’s actually very interesting to study how our brains create connections called neural pathways. When we learn a new skill, such as tennis, playing the violin, or skiing, we call our progress “muscle memory.” Actually, it is not the muscles that learn, but the brain. Through repetition (as you practice the skill again and again), the brain is developing stronger connections between neurons and forming new neural pathways.


We could think of it as a path. If you walk on the same little foot path over and over, pretty soon it becomes a trail, then a road. The same thing happens in our brain.


Just like neural pathways are formed when learning a new skill, so also neural pathways are formed by the thoughts we think. If, for instance, we repeatedly think thoughts of blame or worry, it’s like taking the same path over and over. The more we think those thoughts, the more the brain will strengthen that pathway. Before we know it, it is a habit in our thinking.


In other words, our brains are actually changing based on what we think about most. At first this might sound discouraging, but it’s actually good news! It means we can change our thinking patterns. We don’t have to continue down these negative paths that trouble us. As we apply ourselves to changing our thoughts and replacing lies with truth, we can actually retrain our brain. We can develop new thinking patterns that build us up rather than tear us down.


There is more good news. While thinking our own positive thoughts may be helpful to a point, what is far more powerful is to think God’s thoughts, as found in His Word. The point is not simply that we are choosing to think positively instead of negatively. It’s that we’re speaking God’s Word to ourselves. That is one of the reasons that Scripture memorization is so important. When we memorize Scripture and quote it to ourselves throughout the day, we are forming new neural pathways. The more we think about Scripture, the more rooted it will be in our hearts and minds.


Can you identify a specific thinking pattern that you know the Lord wants you to change? Start by choosing one verse that combats the wrong thought and memorize it. Think about what it means and quote it to yourself throughout the day. Pray it to the Lord, quote it when you are tempted to start down a wrong path in your thinking, sing it to the Lord, and speak it out loud to others. As you abide in God’s Word, you will find that your mind will be renewed, and His truth will begin to impact your emotions, words, and actions as well (Rom. 12:1-2).


“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly!” (Col. 3:16).


“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Ps. 19:14).


This article was written in our May 2024 newsletter.  You can sign up for the monthly newsletters here


Distracted by Chicken

(By Josiah Moffitt)


A few weeks ago, Grace sent me on a furniture expedition. These adventures start on Facebook Marketplace where she finds something she likes, and coordinates a pickup time. She then tells me how much money to bring, where to go, and when to be there.

I put an “Evidence for the Resurrection” gospel tract in my pocket and had a few ideas of how to start a gospel conversation with the man who was selling the furniture. When I arrived, I verified the condition of the chair and handed him the money. The man and I then spent a good number of minutes trying to get the large chair through the small front door. As we were loading it into the van, it started to rain.

“Oh no! I wonder if it will be raining too much for me to grill the chicken?” I thought as I hopped back into my van.

It wasn’t until I got home and felt the tract still in my pocket that I realized I had missed an opportunity for the gospel.

Ironically, I was preaching on the second part of John 4 that Sunday. The disciples returned from the Samaritan town of Sychar with food for Jesus, while the woman at the well was hurrying back into the town. Jesus tells them to open their eyes to the spiritual harvest. He says, “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (John 4:35). In that moment, as the disciples lifted up their eyes, I can just imagine them seeing a stream of people leaving Sychar following the woman at the well to come see Jesus.

Now, the disciples had just visited the same Samaritan city in search of food, but due to tensions between the Samaritans and Jews, they had most likely avoided interactions as much as possible. The disciples were there to get food and get out. In their focus on the physical, they had missed the hungry souls in need of a Savior right in front of them. The woman at the well saw the spiritual needs of her city and, as a result, “From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified” (John 4:39).

Like the disciples, I am often distracted by the physical and miss the spiritual harvest. I pray that the Lord will keep my eyes open to the harvest right in front of me.


This article was written in our April 2024 newsletter.  You can sign up for the monthly newsletters here


The Resurrection and the Sign of Jonah – A Family Bible Study

Did you know that there is one Old Testament prophet whose story serves as a picture of the resurrection of Jesus? In preparation for Sunday, here’s a Bible study idea to do with your family.

When the Scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign, He said something very interesting: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:39-40).


Family Discussion Questions:

  1. Why did Jesus point to Jonah as a sign? Make a list together about how the events in the book of Jonah foreshadowed the life and ministry of Jesus. You can read Jonah 2 together for ideas.
  2. Read Matthew 12:41. How is Jesus greater than Jonah?

Here is a list of ways that the prophet Jonah points to the One who is greater, Jesus:  

  • In numerous places in the Bible we see that water represents God’s judgment (such as during the flood of Noah). Jonah was cast into the deep, to the lowest depths of sea (Jonah 2:3). Jesus endured the full judgment of God when He died on the cross for our sin (Isaiah 53:5-6).
  • Jonah volunteered to be thrown into the sea to save the others in the boat (Jonah 1:12), Jesus volunteered to give up His life to save others (Heb. 10:7).
  • Jonah called out in his distress (Jonah 2:2), Jesus called out to God in His agony on the cross, “Why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46).
  • Jonah was “driven away from [God’s] sight” (Jonah 2:4), Jesus was driven away from God’s sight as pictured by the scapegoat in Leviticus 16:20-22.
  • While in the fish, Jonah said, “Yet, I will again look upon your temple” (Jonah 2:4), Jesus foretold on many occasions that He would rise again (John 2:19).
  • Jonah was in the fish for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). Jesus was in the grave for three days and three nights (Matt. 12:40).
  • The fish could not hold Jonah, it vomited him out (Jonah 2:10). The grave could not hold Jesus! He was resurrected the third day.
  • Jonah’s deliverance resulted in many Gentiles (all of Nineveh) turning to God. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, the gospel has gone out into all the world with myriads coming to Christ.

Most people know the story of Jonah being swallowed by a great fish, but many don’t think about the deeper sign that is pictured—pointing to Jesus rising from the dead.

This week as we celebrate the Resurrection, may we marvel in the depth of God’s plan, and the hope that we have because Jesus Christ lives!


This article was written in our March 2024 newsletter.  You can sign up for the monthly newsletters here


Grandpa is with the Lord 

Grandpa is with the Lord  (By Sarah Hancock)

On January 12, my grandfather, David Rodgers, was called to his eternal home. He was 97 years old. Grandpa has been volunteering for Bright Lights for about 20 years. If you have ever placed an order on our online store, it was probably packed by Grandpa. He was determined to continue to serve the Lord as long as he possibly could! He was always so happy to serve in any way possible, even if it was doing a job that seemed small or insignificant. We miss him a lot, but we rejoice knowing that he is with the Lord, and we are so thankful the Lord gave us so many years with him!

On December 17, 2023 something special happened at our church. My grandpa stood up to speak during the sharing time at the first service. He didn’t usually share at this time, and it quickly became clear to everyone that he had a powerful message on his heart.

Grandpa read Psalm 24:7-9, “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.”

Grandpa said, “The King of glory is our Lord Jesus Christ. It was during the three hours of complete darkness on the cross during which the greatest battle of all eternity took place. The battle against Satan. The battle in which Jesus took the punishment for our sins. Jesus won the battle—and on the third day He rose again.”

Grandpa spoke with passion and ended with his fist in the air, saying, “We will be with Him for all eternity because He won the battle—He is the Lord of Hosts.”

His talk was so powerful that on the way home from church, one lady said to her husband, “I think this was David’s last Sunday.” She didn’t say this because he was sick, but because his talk was so impactful to everyone present. It felt like his final message.

Her words proved to be true. Two days later Grandpa came down with the flu, and he never made it to church again. This indeed was his last message—and what an important final message from Grandpa to remain in our hearts: Jesus Christ has won the battle. He is the Lord of Hosts.

Grandpa’s memorial service on February 3rd was a wonderful time of remembering his life and reflecting on God’s faithfulness. After the memorial service, many people shared with us about how impacted they were by Grandpa’s life of faithfulness to the Lord. You can watch the memorial service here. (Stephen reads the obituary at the beginning, and the sharing from the family begins at 21:00.) 


This article was written in our February 2024 newsletter.  You can sign up for the monthly newsletters here

Family News/Thoughts

Long Mommy Days

Cootie. Legos. Play store. Storybooks. These are some of the activities that have been filling my (Grace) days recently. With a curious and mess-making 18-month-old, and a social 3-year-old, it is such a challenge for me to get things done around my house. I told my husband Josiah recently, “I’d rather just PLAY with them, than try to get things done and be frustrated that I’m not able to get things done!”
We have been housebound for 2.5 weeks due to sickness.  Beyond cooking and doing enough laundry to get by, we are doing a lot of playing right now. I’ve been seeing character improvements with all the close parental attention. (Plus we are learning preschool lessons in disguise as we play 😊). And as I have been thinking about it, I’m realizing that even though sometimes I don’t really feel like playing another game with them, I need to remember what a gift it is from the Lord to do so. There are all kinds of challenging ministries He could call me to (I’m reading “Through Gates of Splendor” right now and am reminded of the trials and tribulations of missionary work!) but right now, He has given me the gift of playing Cootie with my little daughters and making those silly plastic bugs have conversations. I get to enjoy two cute and funny little girls inside our warm home, and model for them how to play creatively and harmoniously.
I have countless unfinished projects such as that messy closet that I haven’t organized since we moved 2-years ago (well, I have more than one messy closet, ha!), but at the end of the day, I want to evaluate success the way the Lord does. I want to ask myself, “Did I have meaningful and profitable interactions with the Lord, my husband and my daughters?” instead of just “did i get a lot done?” Order in my home is important, but order in our hearts is even more important!
I wrote this a few weeks ago and we are all better now. Sick or not, being a mom is challenging! I have so much yet to learn but I hope to be an encouragement to my peers to keep loving your little ones sacrificially, whatever that looks like for you, remembering that it’s all for Jesus. ❤️
Ark Encounter/Bright Lights Conferences/Speak Truth in Your Heart Conference

Speak Truth in Your Heart at the Ark Encounter


The Lord’s ways truly are always bigger and better than ours.  While I (Grace) thought Bright Lights conferences were declining now that Sarah and I were married, the Lord had our biggest conference yet just around the corner!

Most importantly, the responses that have been coming in from attendees about how the Lord used it in their lives have been amazing. SO ENCOURAGING!

I am still taking it all in … thinking about all the volunteer members He added to the team to do social media, video promotional, decorating, graphic design, music. We don’t know what is ahead but we know the Lord always does His work that is BIGGER AND BETTER than what we can ask, think or dream. For those who took time to pray with us, please take time to thank Him now with us!

On a more personal note, I wondered, “How am I, with two little girls (who are both still nursing!), going to lead singing, speak, and do skit parts all throughout the day? And what about the 9-hour drive with my 9-month-old who hates her car seat?”

I want to take a minute to praise God for His kindness. There wasn’t even one time I had to go up on stage (which was about twenty times) when one of my girls was crying for Mommy. Praise the Lord. Many Bright Lights staff took time playing with the girls. Maranatha took naps in arms. Hosanna had a blast. (Pictured here is Ellen, one of our BL leaders with an energy level like Hosanna😆.) The Vrbo we stayed at had tons of toys.  Additionally, just ONE DAY before we left, the used van we’d been looking for came into the lot and we bought it. That made the trip so much easier. My mom traveled with us. SUCH a help.
What are God’s plans for the future? How will He meet the continued needs of the Bright Lights ministry for staff, expansion, updates? He is a big God and He answers prayer!



Announcements/Witnessing Conferences

Announcing: Second Witnessing Weekend!

My husband, Josiah, and I (Grace) have found our current season of life (caring for our toddler and baby) to make travel more difficult. Last year my husband had an idea that worked out really well: we ran a “Witnessing Weekend” from our home. We kept the attendance small, and loved being able to really get to know those who came. We are scheduling another one this year in March! To give you a feel for what it’s like, I’ll post photos and reports from last year below.

It was a simple, low-key event in our home where we taught some basics about witnessing and then put it into practice together at the mall.

Several of the attendees were new to witnessing, and it took a lot of courage for them to share the gospel in a busy shopping mall! We had many good conversations at the mall that day, and it was a highlight of the weekend. A couple of the attendees told us it was their favorite part, despite their terror beforehand. 🙂

We are so encouraged to see the Lord raising up laborers for the harvest and had so much good fellowship through the course of the weekend.

We scheduled some down time for singing and get-to-know-you activities.

All food and housing is included in this event. (Since Josiah and I live on the same block as my parents and Sarah and Andrew, we are able to divide the housing among our three houses.)

New special friendships!

This year we plan to witness both at the mall and at the St Patrick’s parade in our city. See more information and register here.

Family News

2022: Mom and Dad’s 50th Anniversary Year

Looking back on 2022, one of the highlights was celebrating my parents’ 50th anniversary! We rented a cabin for a few days back in April to celebrate.  My dad decided that they would celebrate their 50th for a year starting with 49 and he made custom polo shirts that say “49ers going for the gold.” They wore them all year.

We appreciate my parents’ example of keeping their romance alive after 50 years!
They frequently go on romantic dates and get-aways, and my dad has a whole collection of love songs he has recently written to my mom. He sings them to her at night before bed, I hear. We think he does pretty well for only knowing a handful of chords on his guitar. 🙂 They tell us that being empty nesters isn’t so bad!
My mom often exclaims that it’s a miracle what God has done in their marriage. They are quick to share about the rough spots and friction they’ve had in the past and how, with lots of prayer and growth, their marriage has become increasingly close as the years have gone by. Happy 50th, Mom and Dad!
Witnessing Conferences

Josiah and Grace, Witnessing Training Travels

Last weekend Josiah and I had the excitement of teaching a weekend of witnessing training sessions to a couple dozen youth at a church in Indiana. It was a great encouragement to us to be with them and see the spiritual fervor and love in their local church body.

Josiah sharing about the simplicity of the gospel

Sharing stories after we went out witnessing at a Christmas event downtown

Josiah and I especially enjoyed participating in the 1 1/2 hour prayer meeting that this church family has every Sunday afternoon. It was special to see the joyful participation of so many young families who stay together all day for spiritual fellowship.

We were invited to speak at this church because we got acquainted with a man and his wife who attend the church at the Alliance Homeschool Leaders Conference in September where Josiah and I did the same training course with the group of teens. Below are a few photos from that event.


There are challenges to traveling and teaching with a one-year-old, but thankfully Hosanna loves making new friends.

Josiah and I organized our teaching in such a way that when one is sharing, the other can watch Hosanna. Our teaching sessions are short, sprinkled with video clips, and ending with discussion and interaction. Topics include overcoming fear, articulating the gospel with accuracy and power, eliminating excuses, using gospel tracts, listening yet leading, having pure lives, and living with our eyes set on the Bema (judgment seat of Christ for believers).

Announcements/Bright Lights Conferences/Radiant Purity Conferences

Online Radiant Purity Conference, Feb 12-13

We are praising God for over 700 who have registered for the upcoming Online Radiant Purity Conference scheduled for February 12-13! Moms and daughters will be joining us from 10 countries: Canada, Chile, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, Singapore, the UK, and the United States.

This will be our first-ever Radiant Purity conference online. It is for girls ages 12 and up with the purpose of encouraging them to seek the Lord with all their heart in their teen years, trusting His ways in the area of dating/courtship. We are so thankful to be able to reach many moms and girls through video conferences during this time of COVID. 1,200 girls and moms attended the Strong in the Lord conference online recently and we look forward to seeing how the Lord uses this upcoming Radiant Purity conference.

Sarah has recorded some new content before and after each session of this conference. (The sessions were recorded live in the past.) She and her husband Andrew also added a new session together.

My husband Josiah and I recorded a testimony about what the Lord taught us in our relationship. See our three minute promo:

Each girl and mom who register receive a Radiant Purity Journal (a conference handbook which will be mailed in advance). Each mom will receive a guide for how to make this a special and meaningful time with their daughter. I hope many of you can make it! See more information here.