Big Sandy Family Conference – 2016


One of the biggest highlights every year for our family is attending the family conference down in Big Sandy, TX. It is a time of refreshment, conviction, encouragement and lots of good fellowship with like-minded believers. photo 1DSC_0014

Here are some of the highlights we were challenged by this year:

 photo 3
Abbie – My favorite session this year was done by Gil Bates based out of the Bible story where Lot pitches his tent towards Sodom. Where we set our eyes will ultimately determine our destination. “You will end up where you are headed.” This is a huge warning to us to evaluate our hearts and lives to see what we’re fixing our eyes on and where we will end up if we keep on the path we’re on – it could be good, if our eyes are on Jesus, but if we’re focused on someone or something else we could be headed for destruction. This is not something to lightly brush off and hope everything will be okay, ignoring the warning signs flashing before us, take heed and turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Charity – I enjoyed a lot of the speakers this year but there wasn’t a particular message that really stood out, it was more of a topic that several of the speakers briefly touched on… but something I knew was meant for me! And that was the very important and crucial practice of meditating. Everyone meditates on something. It’s what you think about, daydream about. All that says a lot about a person! Everything starts as just a thought. The passage I choose for myself this year is John 15, and a critical part of being connected to the Vine and abiding in Christ is meditating on scripture and prayer! To know Christ more, I’ve GOT to spend time with Him, and if that is truly my heart’s desire, I will choose Jesus above ALL else!

Ps 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Ps 104:34 – My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

Phil 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Isa 26:3 – Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

2 Cor 10:5 – Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…

maggie and perky 

Maggie – Like always, it’s hard to weed through all of the sessions and pick just one that meant the most! All of the sessions have such rich nuggets of truth that challenged or encouraged me, like:
Jobe Martin’s session on Creation Evangelism was super neat!
One of Mr. Bates sessions really encouraged me to take a step back and look at where my life will be 10 years from now if I continue on the same road I am now. If I am pursuing God to the depth I am now, will I wish I had strove for a deeper level?
One of Jamie Lash’s sessions really convicted me to re-discipline myself to daily meditation in God’s Word!
But I think I enjoyed Darren Myers sessions the most!!
His one on God, Morals, and Socialism has to be my favorite! I’d encourage you to check out their website here!
This past year I believe the Lord has opened my eyes (politics probably played a big part) to the situation our country is really in, where it is headed, and the evil that is creeping in to every part of our society! Darren Myers sessions were really informative and interesting! I felt like I could spend hours talking to him and listening to what he has to say! Maybe I just haven’t looked very far, but I was encouraged to hear someone speak on Socialism, Communism, what they are, and what God’s Word has to say about them, as well as how it would impact us, and how to stand up for truth! I also appreciated the statistics, surveys, and personal book recommendations that he shared! May God have mercy on us and may I/we not water down and ignore the way that Satan has snuck in and influenced so much of our culture! I pray that we will let God work through us to “…overcome evil with good.”  Rom. 12:17-21
~Psalms 2:1-12~

photo 2
Carinna – One of the topics that I was challenged by throughout the week was in the area of my words. The tongue is a small member that can cause big problems.
It has the power to dramatically alter my life, and those around me.
James 3:1-12 Prov. 26:28 Prov. 17:20 Prov.15:2 Ps 4:13 and there are many more.
The power of death is in the tongue. Prov. 18:21 “Death and life are in the
power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” 
Such a small thing can be a huge problem! It can be used by the devil to tear,
drag down, and hurt others. The tongue also has the power of life!
Maybe I’m not hurting others with with my words but am I pulling others down? 
If I am finding myself complaining and grumbling, I really need to look at my heart because…Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

Am I building others up with my words? Am I being an energy giver?
If not, where has my view of God gotten twisted? Where is my focus?
Where is my joy coming from? Is it rooted in Christ?
In humble gratitude for everything He is? Ps 35:28  Ps 37:30 John 15:5b…
When my perspective is where it should be, my attitude, words, and actions
will line up. Feelings follow actions. I have the tendency to say what I think when I think it. So I’ve been challenged to be wise in my conversations, to be grateful in everything, and to carefully choose my words…not just saying something, for the pleasure of saying really nothing, but being sensitive to the Holy Spirit on what needs to be said and when.


Benjamin – The main thing that stood out to me was meditating on God’s word. I had heard people talk about it but didn’t really understand it. After one of the student sessions they had us practice it,  it finally made sense. I also enjoyed talking to some friends and playing lots of volleyball.


We really enjoyed the opportunity to sing “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” as a special music.DSC_0016IMG_1150 …of course along with all that that all good fellowship I mentioned earlier, comes a lot of laughter…


…homemade cookies and milk… =)

… and a few rousing games =)


“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only deceiving your own selves.” James 1:22

Comments ( 5 )

Doing the Impossible


In Alert Cadet program at the Big Sandy conference, we get a prize if we memorize four Bible verses, the Alert Cadet motto, and the Alert Cadet Covenant. On the first day, I got the Alert Cadet Covenant, Alert Cadet motto, and the theme verse done. The second day, I started the second verse, but didn’t get it done. That night, before the last day, David Gibbs spoke about doing the impossible. I was thinking about the remaining three verses that I would like to memorize. I am not very good at memorizing. So I was discouraged, because I really wanted the prize. So I prayed to God that He would do the impossible by helping me memorize the rest of the verses in time. The next day before lunch, I got all three verses done and received the prize – a first aid kit. I was pumped, and I kept telling people, “ Did you hear how I got my verses done?” I would encourage you, if you think that you have something that seems impossible, ask God to do the impossible.

Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; But with God all things are possible.”



Comments ( 2 )

Big Sandy 2012!


We had the wonderful opportunity to go to the annual ATI conference in Big Sandy again this year! Our 8th time. This is one of the biggest highlights of our year. It’s kind of a booster for us, and it’s a very encouraging, refreshing week…getting to hear amazing speakers, singing in choir, playing in orchestra, catching up with friends, the Chinese restaurant (tradition), ALERT cadets, and we were all so excited that Caleb got to come down for the last two days! =)


Abbie and Hannah played O, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus. It was beautiful! 

Maggie taught Children’s Institute this year for the first time and really enjoyed it!

Hannah was on the COMMIT staff team again. All the COMMIT girls did a presentation at the end for the first time ever (I think) – they sang Be Thou My Vision

Benjamin was in ALERT cadets and thoroughly enjoyed it…as usual. How could you not enjoy huge water balloon slingshots and rappelling? ;)

I sang in the student choir. :)

Abbie played in the orchestra.

Somehow, we ended up without any pictures of Carinna, but she was there too! Due to being sick on Monday, she wasn’t able to teach CI with Maggie, but attended student sessions and choir instead. Caleb came down on Thursday evening to join us. John-Clay was in CO at the World Changers’ Summit. Mom and Dad worked the Character First! booth and attended sessions.

Probably the message that stood out to us the most was given by David Gibbs who preached on doing the impossible. God doesn’t just call us to do “great things” – He has given us the power by His Spirit to do impossible things! It’s so easy to put God in our human box and forget that He is so ABLE to do beyond what we ask or think. It starts with us asking Him to do the impossible.

Praise the Lord for such a blessed time together as a family!

Comments ( 5 )

Big Sandy Highlights


A couple weeks ago, we attended the annual ATI home school conference in Big Sandy, Texas! It’s always a highlight of the year for our family to see old friends, meet new ones, serve in various ways, and be refreshed and encouraged in the Lord. Attendance was up a lot this year, breaking the 2,000 mark!

Opening night was especially memorable as we all took shelter from a tornado in the bathrooms and other safe rooms of the convention center. :) Praise the Lord, there wasn’t any damage, just lots and lots of rain!

Photo courtesy of Brittney Chatham
Charity, Brooke C., Abbie, Hannah, and Brenna C. – fun times!!

Unfortunately, John-Clay and Caleb had work commitments and were unable to make the trip. The rest of us were involved in different ways throughout the week, so I thought I’d ask everybody what a special highlight was for them.

Dad had several highlights :), including getting to see his children on stage at one time or the other, sneaking away for lunch with Tom and Joyce Harmon, and Roger Magnuson’s presentation in the morning men’s meeting on "More Fun than Video Games" and the "Let’s go lion hunting" story.

One of Mom’s favorite sessions was a talk given by Michelle Duggar to all the mothers, followed by an insightful Q & A time, full of good reminders.

Hannah – I had the privilege of serving with the COMMIT program for girls ages 12-15. Being able to talk to them about the beautiful meaning of living for the glory of God was exciting for me!

Big Sandy
COMMIT staff giving a presentation

Abbie was encouraged by Mr. Gothard’s session on what it really means to “lay aside every weight” (Heb. 12:1). After an exciting time of letting us attempt to guess the right answer, he explained that a weight is not necessarily sin, because the phrase “and the sin which so easily besets you” comes next in the verse. A weight can simply be defined as “anything that slows us down and takes time away from the goal”. How is your race going?

Big Sandy
Abbie played a solo arrangement of “I’ll Be a Sunbeam”. Beautiful!

Charity doesn’t have a favorite highlight – she likes it all. :) Catching up with friends and hearing truth from God’s Word makes it a delightful experience!

Photo courtesy of Brittney Chatham

Maggie especially enjoyed a session for the young people taught by Paul and Jenny Speed. She was challenged by their message to not let other people validate you and give you self-worth , but instead let Christ define who you are.

Big Sandy
Alto section of the student choir. It sure was fun to have our former church music director, Paul Boone, leading this year!

Carinna’s favorite part of the week was when we had an impromptu student session on the hillside instead of in the meeting room. It was quite the experience to sit on the ground with a couple hundred young people, on an absolutely gorgeous day, listening to Tom Harmon preach in the open air!

Benjamin thoroughly enjoyed participating in the ALERT Cadet program again. Maneuvering the low ropes course and rappelling from a 20 ft. wall were his favorite activities. He learned that obedience and team work is a must!

Big Sandy
The Cadets’ program presentation

So, that’s a recap of the Burnetts’ conference experiences. :)

Another special treat for all of us was meeting several of our blog readers in person!! =) =) =) If any of the rest of you are going to be at another regional conference this summer, come see me. I’ll be there with COMMIT!

More posts to come in the near future, I hope. Until then, be blessed of the Lord with complete joy in His presence!

Comments ( 8 )