Wedding Thoughts From My Dad


Hi everyone, I haven’t posted for quite a while because I’ve been busy planning my wedding. In three days I will be marrying Josiah Moffitt. Words can not express my thankfulness to the Lord for this dream coming true. Here’s what my dad wrote about it in our last family newsletter.

Dear Friends,

Hello from the Mally family and Bright Lights staff!

It Finally Happened – By Harold Mally
A Mally daughter is getting married! I wondered if it would ever happen. Sarah and Grace have been content, focused on what God has given them to do and excited about it. They certainly wanted to marry, but, of course, they wanted God’s will and God’s timing. It was my conclusion that God was keeping the boys away for a while because the Bright Lights ministry with girls required fulltime investment. I had wondered if that was going to be permanent or if God would eventually bring marriage into the picture. Yep. He has. Grace and Josiah Moffitt are getting married on November 2nd. Our whole family is so encouraged to see God’s mighty hand in bringing them together. Grace will share more details at some point in the future. But this is my article, not hers.

It’s not an easy task being a father, as all you fathers know, but it’s the most wonderful thing. I didn’t know that years ago. As a result, it was only by God’s grace that we have Grace at all. Hence her name, “undeserved gift.” This is a lengthy and miraculous story that I can’t tell in this short email about this undeserving father. But every father has a grace story. We need only to list the miracles we all have from God’s hand in the lives of the kids He entrusts to us.

As fathers we want the best for our daughters. We protect them. We teach them. We answer their questions – well, we try. We pray for them. We take them out for coffee to answer more questions. 🙂 (Grace has always been a big question-asker.) We have the joy of working together on ministry projects. When they are little we tell them stories at bed time. When they grow up we have long discussions about life, people, family, direction, the Bible, Christ and ministry. They ask us which outfit we think looks the best. They ask what we think they should say in response to certain people and situations. They look to us for counsel. They keep life interesting and challenging and rewarding.

Years ago I started a project for my daughters called the “Othniel Project.” You might recall the account in Joshua 15 and Judges 1 of what Caleb did to find a husband for his daughter. It seemed to me to be a pretty good plan. He made an offer. To whomever attacks the city of the giants and takes it I will give my daughter Achsah as wife. 🙂 We don’t have the same kind of giants today, but we have other kinds of giants and huge spiritual battles. So I began praying for and looking for a giant killer. More on this later, maybe next month.

I had expected both of my daughters to be married already. They knew lots of people and had lots of friends. But no boyfriends came into the picture. I did some exploring for them, but I was unsuccessful on my own. Truly it’s something only God can do. In the meantime, what God did do was gather other girls who had a heart for discipleship and organize them into a ministry team, mentoring younger girls through conferences and Bright Lights groups. It’s been exciting and we look forward to what’s next. We anticipate many changes—good ones! But God does not change. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). But He brings growth and we change as He works in our lives. God’s changelessness is our security and stability. We confidently and expectantly anticipate the wonders of His unfolding plans.

So, what is going to change on November 2nd? Hmmm. Here are some rambling thoughts from a father:
· We will have another empty room in the house (Stephen has had his own apartment for a few years now).
· We will gain a new wonderful family member.
· There will be an adjusted authority structure as Grace is transferred to the protection and leadership of her husband.
· Many normal family routines will be adjusted. (Like I won’t get as many of Grace’s homemade pies and she won’t make me coffee in the morning.)
· A new ministry team will be formed as two people come together and are strengthened by each other.
· Many more good things because God is an endless source of good and all His purposes are good.

The words in Isaiah 25:1 are among many Bible verses that express my thankfulness to God for His help and grace to an undeserving father. “O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You. I will praise Your name, For you have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.”

One Year Later…

A year ago yesterday our family slid on ice, hit a semi, rolled our large white van over the median fence and slid through a narrow break in oncoming traffic to the far side of the interstate. Our crunched van and shattered concert grand harp mattered very little to us. We all knew we had just come very close to death. And our minds were on our mom who was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. (Full story here.) But a year later, we celebrate not only that we are alive, not only that our mom is happily healed, but that the Lord has even restored our van and harp to better than they were before.

A Christian family we didn’t even know heard about our situation and gave us their van as a gift. Here is an excerpt from their email: “Our family has been studying the book of Acts … and something that has really impacted us is how freely our brothers & sisters in the early church gave to those in need amongst the body of Christ … As I read of your van accident in your daughter’s recent email, not knowing when this had happened, I really felt the Lord laying it on my heart to give you our van … I figured we were too late to help … Well, when I received your email this morning, my heart soared with the possibility that we might be able to help brothers and sisters who are in need of something …”

We’ve enjoyed the van on several long trips in the last 9 months and it’s much nicer than our old van.

Additionally, our insurance paid for our harp to be sent to France to be repaired. We packed it up in a huge box and a shipping company picked it up. A few months later the repaired harp arrived. I think it’s even better than it was in it’s original condition.

Why did the Lord provide for us so abundantly? I guess the much larger mystery is, “Why did the Lord spare us from the much bigger danger (hell) even though it cost Him the life of His Son to provide this rescue for us?” We may not know the answers to our questions, but we do know one thing: He is deserving of all our praise, and all our hearts.

Coffee and Scrolls

“Should I stand up and read the Christmas scroll to everyone here in the coffee shop?” my dad asked me this morning as we sat down together in a cute small coffee shop.
“Not if you want me here,” I replied with a smile, feeling that wasn’t the best approach. 🙂
He laughed.
Thankfully God did provide gospel opportunities at the coffee shop, and ones that were a bit more natural.
Dad gave Christmas Scrolls (which contains the Christmas account from the Bible) to people at a couple tables next to us. Then we thanked the girl who worked there as we were walking out.
“Have fun setting up your tree!” she told us (we had told her we just came from cutting down our tree). She said, “I’ve never had a real tree, we’ve always just had an artificial one.”
“Well, you know what I tell people?” my dad replied. “It’s okay to have an artificial Christmas tree. But it’s NOT okay to have an artificial Christmas!”
She heartily agreed.
Then my dad continued, “Today Americans are biblically illiterate. They know more about the Grinch than about Christ.”
“Preach it!” another lady drinking her coffee said.
My dad laughed.
“We’re trying!” we said.
As we walked out I told dad, “You should have said, ‘Really?! Preach Here? Now?'”
Dad laughed.
Christmastime provides so many new ways to turn people’s thoughts to spiritual things. May the Lord open opportunities for all of us.

Serious Van Wreck

Our whole family almost died last Friday night on a trip home from Chicago. We are amazed to be alive.

The five of us were together, traveling home from a great-aunt’s funeral. We were having a nice family time in the van, laughing at old stories.

The weather had just changed, and had become a mix of rain and snow, but it didn’t seem especially dangerous. But it was more slick than we thought, and while passing a semi we hit ice and began fishtailing.

“Oh no,” I heard. We were losing control.

I peered up from the second bench where I had been lying down, and saw the front of our van hit the side of the semi we had been passing. The impact of hitting that semi sent our van violently into the grassy median, and I saw that we were now headed towards the gleaming lights of oncoming traffic. All of a sudden things felt really out of control (we were rolling, but I didn’t realize it at the time) and I heard the loud noise of the van roof crunching in on top of us. I yelled, “Jesus, protect us!” and tried to prepare myself, thinking I was about to feel a ton of pain, and we all might die.

However, after a few seconds, we were stopped by the side of the road, and I didn’t feel the pain I had been anticipating.

“I’m okay!” I said, surprised.
“I’m okay,” my dad responded.
“I’m okay,” Sarah echoed.
“I’m in pain,” my mom said. Just hearing her voice was a relief, but she was holding her stomach and her shirt was getting bloody. She was not able to answer questions very well or identify the location of the pain.

Stephen was already on the phone with 911.

I looked around to get my bearings. We had been going west, but now we were on the far side of the east-bound lanes of the interstate.

Here’s what had happened: We had rolled over the cable separation barrier and landed right side up in oncoming traffic. When Stephen (the driver) refocused his eyes on the road after that roll, he saw the oncoming traffic about to hit us and he thought we were all going to die. However, the momentum kept us moving and we skidded across both lanes of traffic. Once Stephen saw we were on the shoulder, he stepped on the brake. He was shocked that we survived.

Back to my mom. She seemed a little faint and couldn’t answer questions very well, but she indicated the pain was subsiding. She was taken to the ER and later I learned that the blood was actually just from a cut on her hand. There was an initial fear of internal bleeding, but the CT scan showed her internal organs were okay. She does have a fractured shoulder, though, and bruised internal organs. The hospital kept her overnight but she is now at home recovering.

In the above picture you can see our red cooler in the median. Apparently it flew out while we rolled, along with other things. Almost all the van windows shattered and even our big harp was part way out the window. We do not have an explanation for how my mom, Sarah, and I (who were not wearing seat belts) did not also fly out the window, except for the Lord’s protecting hand. My mom was right next to the cooler, and she was even leaning against the window when we rolled.

Mom and Dad were very happy to be reunited, and we were all relieved Mom wasn’t worse. It is an unbearable thought to consider all the things that could have (and realistically speaking, should have) happened.

The hospital chaplain told us, “I’ve been working here for five years, and you are the first trauma accident where all the people have lived to tell about it.”

I questioned her, confused. I mean, we all know many survive car accidents. She explained that she only gets called for the serious accidents. And in situations like ours, we were the first family in five years that all survived.

As you can imagine, we were all pretty emotionally shaken. I remember sitting with Stephen in the waiting room, waiting to hear how Mom was.
“Did you think we were going to die?” I asked him.
“Yeah. I thought we were going to die,” he said, his eyes welling up with tears.
The next few days were filled with emotion for all of us. Two days later, my dad was preaching the sermon at church and took the first 15 minutes of his sermon to tell of our accident. It was hard for him to get through it.

Through all the grateful tears, we also have an increased compassion for those that do experience great loss in these kinds of accidents.

Here’s where the accident took place. We were coming from the other way. You can see the cable barrier and broken posts. That’s where we rolled.

Praise God the van structure held up well enough during the roll that the roof didn’t crunch in further.

Sarah’s neck was very sore, and the next day at the junk yard and Detective Stephen discovered a clue as to why her neck hurt so much.

She must have hit her head on the ceiling of the van as we rolled. This is a chunk of Sarah’s hair caught in the van ceiling! Thankfully, the soreness in her neck is already subsiding.

Now our harp…. it didn’t do so well!

As we took off the harp cover, this is what we found. We’re grateful it was insured, but even if it wasn’t, it hardly feels like it matters. We’re alive.

On Sunday afternoon I sat down at our kitchen table with my Bible. It fell open to Psalm 116. I looked down at the verses and read these words: “For You have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 116:8-9). The whole chapter was amazingly appropriate. (Amazing how no matter the disaster, there’s a Psalm that will fit. 🙂 )

Stephen showing my mom pictures of the van the next day in the hospital

Right after the accident when I realized my family was alive, I felt such thankfulness to God that it was hard to express. It was this feeling of, “What could I ever do for You, Lord, to thank you for this?!”

Yet, that Friday night rescue wasn’t the biggest deliverance that the Lord had accomplished for me. The much bigger gift was when He died on the cross to rescue me and my family not just from earthly death, but from eternal death in Hell.

“Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all” – Isaac Watts

The Lord has provided for us in countless ways: A young couple who saw the accident happening (from the oncoming traffic side) stopped immediately and were a comfort to us – they also had their families praying for us. A friend, Craig Rollinger, who lived nearby came immediately to give Stephen a ride from the hospital to retrieve the harp from the towing yard. Our church family showered us with love and met all our needs.

We have yet one more reason to owe our lives to Jesus. And we are reminded that He is able to easily rescue from any danger until He says it’s time to come Home.

Sarah’s Birthday + John 1 + Isaiah 40

We had a nice family time at Kava House in Swisher this morning for Sarah’s birthday!

After some nice family discussion, my dad shared some insights from John 1 that he has been enjoying. I’ll try to restate his thoughts:

After John denied that he was the Messiah or Elijah, he explained who he was: the very one Isaiah 40:3 was talking about. That must have been amazing for his audience to hear. The man standing before them was the one about whom Isaiah prophesied! Wow. They were seeing prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes. However, what John the Baptist said NEXT made his previous statement pale in comparison. He said, “AMONG YOU STANDS ONE you do not know, even He who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie” (John 1:26).

Whoa! If the crowd listening was familiar with Isaiah 40 (and I’m guessing many were) they should have connected the dots, and realized that John the Baptist was talking about Jehovah, the I AM described in Isaiah 40. If they were understanding John the Baptist correctly, it should have registered in their minds that he was saying, “The Messiah is alive today in Israel! The One that ‘the voice calling in the wilderness’ from Isaiah 40:3 was called to introduce is here! He stands among you now!”

“It’s kind of like ‘Aslan is on the move,’” Stephen commented.

And if they remembered any of the amazing descriptions of this Coming One that Isaiah 40 gives they would have been even more in awe. Although John’s listeners didn’t catch on at that time to the implications of what he was saying, praise God WE can read John 1 and Isaiah 40 with understanding.

John the Baptist was a phenomenon that Israel hadn’t seen in 400 years. An angel announced his birth. His life’s work was prophesied. He was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb (Luke 1:15). Even Jesus spoke high compliments for him (Luke 7:28). Yet all of John the Baptist’s credentials merely elevate Jesus because John said he was not worthy to even untie the strap of Jesus’ sandal.

Anyway, there are few things better than a good Bible discussion with family at a coffee shop on a cold January morning.

Our Behind the Scenes Hero

Most people who order from our online store don’t know that almost everything is packed by our 91-year-old grandpa! Not only does he pack orders, he keeps the basement organized, duplicates CDs, meticulously proof-reads for us, picks up mail from our PO box, takes inventory, packs and unpacks for our conferences, and meets many other needs (including remembering to water our plants, since we always forget).

Even more than the practical help Grandpa provides, we appreciate his prayers. Actually, he prays diligently not only for all his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, but he prays for each individual at our church by name (while keeping up-to-date with the details of their lives). Right now he is also teaching four Bible studies. 🙂 He keeps a pretty busy schedule. I hope that when I am 91 I will be living the same kind of life. Also hoping that one day I will have read through the Bible 40+ times like he has!

I won’t go into detail about the quirky skills he maintains such as quoting the books of the Bible backwards, naming major US cities in order of population, his detailed knowledge of all the presidents and vice presidents, or his tips for remembering the ten plagues in Egypt, but if you know him you can ask him yourself.

Thanks Grandpa for your godly example in our lives!

“Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man? The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him” (Proverbs 20:6-7).

Dad Witnessing At Christmas Tree Farm

After my dad and I picked out and cut down our Christmas tree this afternoon, we began talking about how we should witness to the guy who was working there. We thought that a good strategy for getting into a conversation would be to ask what he thought the second coming of Jesus would be like.

After my dad tied the tree to the top of our vehicle, he remembered he never paid for the tree. 🙂

When he went to pay, he asked his question about the second coming and they ended up talking for 10 – 15 minutes. I joined part way through.

“How’d that conversation go?” I asked dad as we were pulling away.
“Great,” Dad said.
As he began to explain the story to me, I pulled out my camera and started recording, hoping it might spark some new idea for others who might get into discussion this Christmas.

Dad Shares About Witnessing to Christmas Tree Farm Workers from Tomorrow's Forefathers, Inc. on Vimeo.

Stephen’s Finish Line

A few weeks ago, my brother Stephen ran in a marathon. Our family drove to Des Moines to watch and cheer. By using a tracking app, we could see how many miles Stephen had run so far and where he currently was on the route. This techy tool enabled us to drive to different spots along the 26-mile route and cheer for Stephen as he ran by.

There were many others watching and cheering. Some of the cheerers were more fun to watch than the runners.

Throughout the morning, when I had free minutes here and there, I was reading 1 Corinthians. Just before arriving at our last stop to cheer (the finish line!) I was reading these words … “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15 NKJV).

I was impressed with how fancy the finish line was.

Runners were finishing their race one by one and receiving their medal. The announcers shared details about the athletes as they crossed the line: “Runner 2553 is from Minnesota, and this is her 3rd race this year…”

It made me think about our heavenly finish line, where new people are arriving each day and being greeted. There must be such an awesome excitement in the air. New arrivals are doubtless eager to tell stories of God’s faithfulness to them on the journey. Cheering, warm-hearted saints in heaven (“the great cloud of witnesses” – Hebrews 12:1) are likely just as eager to hear their stories and praise God!

I have not even run a 5k race, so I can’t speak from experience about finish lines—but I can only imagine the agony that some of the athletes in Stephen’s race must have felt at about the 25-mile mark. Everything in them was focused on ONE thing: the finish line.

I thought, Imagine a finish line with JESUS there.

There is so much emotion contained in this thought! Talk about motivation! Not only is the pain over, not only is the goal reached, but you’re in the presence of Jesus—the One you’ve longed to see for so long.

Now, when Hebrews 12:1-2 discusses the race of life, the instruction it gives us is not to “run faster,” but rather to endure. We are supposed to run with endurance, looking unto Jesus. (He set the example for us by enduring the cross. No trial we encounter compares to His!)

So how do we endure? Glancing back through the previous chapter (Hebrews 11), we read stories of men and women throughout the ages who endured great trials, and the secret to their endurance is given: faith.

As you know, enduring trials is a normal part of the Christian life; in fact, it seems that the Lord often gives Christians extra trials because they are so good for us. I guess each trial is kind of like the Lord bringing us to the gym to build more faith muscles. Although trials are unpleasant, we need to view them as valuable; because if endured properly, they will ultimately enhance the joy of the finish line.

So to summarize, faith helps us to endure trials, and trials build our faith. The result is that our strengthened faith enables us to run better, be purified, and ultimately bring Jesus more glory and honor on that Day. There’s a reason James tells us to count it all joy when we face trials (James 1:2)! Peter also reminds us, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7 NKJV).

If trials are beneficial for the race, what are the things that are damaging? We’re told in Hebrews 12: the extra weights we accumulate, and the sin which clings so closely. It was about 40° F the day Stephen ran his marathon. The organizers of the race informed the runners in advance that if they wanted to wear a sweatshirt and throw it to the side sometime during the race, they’d collect them and donate them to a homeless shelter. A serious runner doesn’t want anything unnecessary—even a sweatshirt. It’s not worth it.

Stephen told us that at mile 25, with just one mile left to go and a hurting knee, he began to walk. But soon another runner approached him and said, “Hey, only three-quarters of a mile left. Let’s run to the end.” So the two of them ran the last section together. The kindness of this stranger provided the extra boost Stephen needed. In our heavenly race, we’re not running against each other, but with each other! Far from competition, part of “winning” is helping others win! What better way to do this than to remind them of the soon-coming finish line and to run beside them? “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another” (1 Peter 4:8).

Here’s a practical step of action. Pick one person in your life and pray some specific requests for them in the heavenly race:

• Pray that he or she will lay off weights that are a hindrance
• Pray that he or she will lay off the sin that clings so closely
• Pray that he or she will stop building with wood, hay, and stubble but be eternally minded.
• Share an encouraging word and point him or her to the finish line
“But exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13 NKJV).

“The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned” (Isaiah 50:4 NKJV).

Note: This article was sent out in our family newsletter this month. Along with our newsletter we also had a special for free shipping from our online store from now until Christmas. You can view the newsletter here. To sign up for our newsletter, you can send us an email and request to be added to our list.

Lunch Discussion with Grandpa

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Today my Grandpa (90 years old) took me out to lunch. I was asking him about who impacted his life the most. He said it was his uncle Arthur. Arthur really loved the Lord, thoroughly knew his Bible, and genuinely lived out the Christian life.
Among other friends, he also mentioned Jim Elliot, who he was friends with in college. My grandpa was explaining to me about the impact “brother Jim” made on all the students at Wheaton.

“Why do you think he made such an impact?” I asked.
“Because Jim had a real relationship with the Lord … and loved to talk about him,” my grandpa replied.

In every generation the Lord is raising up Jim Elliots and Uncle Arthurs. Some are more known, some less known. What really matters, when all is said and done, is that our relationship with Christ is real, vibrant, alive, and the best part of our lives. That kind of life will make an impact on others. However, our focus is not on “trying to make an impact,” but on loving Jesus with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind!

Ark Encounter Opening!

IMG_0626 Nickie and I, standing outside of the Ark Encounter after the official opening day (July 7th).

IMG_0629 On our way back home from helping with the Answers in Genesis outreach in Washington DC, my dad, Sarah, and I, together with Nickie and Haley, have been volunteering at the Ark Encounter for the past several days to help with the needs of opening. It has been a very exciting time and God is doing many things.