Monthly Archives: May 2012
I have some great links this week so enjoy!
”If people were less fearful of the community outside their family and congregation and more engaged with it, there would be less likelihood of fads like this patriarchy movement gaining traction. Increased exposure to Reformation principles and the social history of the church would no doubt help as well, but in the meantime, a handy strategy would be to get to know your neighbours better. The fearsome spectres conjured up from contemporary social ills to persuade well-meaning parents to beat their babies and convince husbands to tyrannise their wives really don’t deserve the attention they’re getting. Society at large would react with outrage if a care home treated its children the way that some people are advising Christian parents to treat theirs, or if one colleague treated another the way some people are advising Christian husbands to treat their wives. For these things to be baptised as biblical, Christian, even Reformed is subversive of the bible, Christianity, and the Reformation – it should cause offence within the church as well as scandal in the wider world.” Continue reading for a great perspective on the nuttiness of the patrirarchy/patriocentric movement from a lovely British woman. Seriously, this is good stuff!
Good thoughts to ponder from Jon Zens on hierarchy within the church.
Good thoughts from Wade Burleson’s dad, Paul. Love these guys!
More insights from those coming out of Bill Gothard’s ATI program:
Fun surprise at the end of this video. I am not typically the go-to gal for sports stuff, but this is worth watching!
Now this is my kind of mom! Love the way she creatively deals with all the kid mess!
And, finally, be sure to watch all three wonderful segments of this story of a mama’s unconditional love and God’s grace. It is awesome!
Today I am beginning a series of podcasts on the family integrated church movement as I talk with OPC Pastor Shawn Mathis. Please feel free to join the conversation in the comment section. If you are new to this blog, I hope you will also read the series of articles I wrote on the family integrated church movement. Please feel free to comment on those here as well. I am also including links to a few articles recommended by Pastor Mathis.
Click podcast icon below to play this podcast
Born in Spartanburg, SC, Shawn Mathis was raised in a military home. In 1979 his family moved to Colorado, became Christians and joined a local Charismatic church. After graduation, he joined the Air Force, read Banner of Truth and discovered a book labeled, Ten Points of Calvinism. After an honorable discharge in 1994 he found the author of that book and attended Providence OPC. There his life was challenged by preaching, by friends, and especially by his lovely wife-to-be who challenged his charismatic ways. Over time, others in the church recognized God’s gifts and nominated him for deacon, then ruling elder. Finally, Dr. Coppes brought Shawn under his godly and learned wings, mentoring him for the ministry. Pastor Mathis has preached at various churches in the Denver metro area and other cites in Colorado. He also writes as the Denver area Christian writer for a national news source. He tutors homeschoolers in critical thinking, apologetics and early American history and Bible and theology.
I have two especially fond memories of my childhood. The first is my dad’s huge, organic garden where his specialty was delicious, juicy Big Boy tomatoes. How my mouth waters at the thought of one of those amazing fruits, thickly sliced and slipping on to a plate next to an ear of fresh, buttery Illinois sweet corn! Pure joy!
The second one is my weekly trek to our local library where, tattered card in hand, I could bring home a dozen or so books that would transport me to places I might never experience. I could bounce along in a wagon with Laura Ingalls, sleuth with Nancy Drew, or wipe a fevered brow alongside Cherry Ames!
So, imagine my delight when those two favorite memories converged together recently in an imaginative and light-hearted look at life for one homeschooling family whose home is a tomato farm on a barge on the Illinois River! With this unlikely backdrop, Homeschoolers, Hippies, and Heirloom Tomatoes allowed me to embrace my youth again and how I loved that!
Written by homeschooling dad, Phil Newton, this enjoyable story finds the Masat family exploring the Illinois River one farmer’s market stop at a time. Amidst seafaring adventures, farming struggles, and their hands on ministry along the way, the story, as told from the first person perspective of precocious and spunky twelve-and-a-half year old Grace, offers the reader an up close view of what creative relationship homeschooling should look like and I promise you will like it!
Homeschoolers, Hippies, and Heirloom Tomatoes is anything but predictable and I found myself repeatedly surprised as Grace shares tales of flying carp, entertaining siblings, a mom who knows how to deal with crusty customers, and, most importantly, a dad who makes the Gospel come alive for his children. Best of all, the relationships are every bit as organic as the tomatoes!
Besides bringing us a wonderful story, Newton supplies the reader with thought questions, spelling and vocabulary words, and even recipes at the end of the book! This would make a terrific family read aloud and even a super beginning for a unit study; I am sending copies to all the grandchildren this week! My only criticism is that book two is not yet available!
My wonderful Mother’s Day gift this year was an iPhone and let me tell you, I had no idea what I was missing! The very best feature so far has been Face Time where I can actually chat with our long distance grandchildren, up close and personal, face to face!
I am a communicator, have been since I was a 6 month old with a growing vocabulary, or so my mama tells everyone. Sharing with others what is on my heart is important; listening to others talk thrills me! Right now I am reading, just for fun, Chuck Swindoll’s book Saying It Well: Touching Others with Your Words and I frequently listen to World Champion of Public Speaking Craig Valentine. I am hooked on speech! To me, nothing is quite as inspiring as someone masterfully using words to convey a message! But, something has happened in this post-modern world of communication. It is no longer what we say or what we hear that transports a message or, in our Christian circles, an important truth. Rather, eliciting a feeling or an impression is now the goal. Let me explain.
For a while now I have tried to wrap my head around the popularity of certain bloggers, some of them celebrities, as well as leading conference speakers, also celebrities, who serve up regular entrees of “insight” but who don’t actually say anything. Instead, the experience is meant to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy or moved or inspired. “Do you read so and so? He is sooo inspirational.” “Do you listen to her? Why she always makes me feel blah, blah, blah.”
A couple months ago Clay and I watched an ad for a parenting seminar coming to our area. In fact, we saw it more than once and were truly amazed. You would think that after nearly 37 years of being parents, something we were hearing would connect. But we seriously had no idea whatsoever what we were supposed to take home with us from that presentation. Nothing.
Fast forward a month or so to the promo we saw for a woman’s conference. There were lots of praying and crying women and the keynote speaker kept talking about the Christian life in abstract terms. Once again, we were left with only an impression, the promise that we, too, could “feel” something if we attended said gathering. And both of these on top of having watched, in the past couple years, one clip after another of leading evangelicals with agendas that can’t be actually spelled out with real words! It is as though the whole Christian world has become one giant emoticon.
Recently I read Jen Hatmaker’s notes on a presentation she gave at a MOP’s conference. I found myself nodding at much of what she was saying. I agree strongly that people are fleeing from the traditional church for the very reasons she has listed as she laments the departure of a younger generation. In fact I know many Christians my age and even older who have left church or who are leaving for many of those same things. They hate the lack of genuine community, the bizarre power trips, the emphasis on temporal things like buildings and programs and expensive conferences while examples of those living out a genuine faith within our culture are sorely lacking. Evangelism is nonexistent.
However, ministering in the abstract and nebulous is not the solution. Just because an entire generation uses “feeling” as the standard for measuring truth does not mean we should play this game. By refusing to be specific and purposeful in our speech, we send a message that we do not believe in absolutes. Perhaps that is the intent.
I am so concerned about what I am seeing and hearing that is passed off as solid communication in evangelicalism that I intend to pull this topic apart and examine it in several posts. In the meantime, in case you missed it the first time, Lady Thatcher:
Not too long after my dad had his first stroke, which left him weakened and tired much of the time, my grandmother, his mom, could no longer live on her own so she came to live with my parents. I would often stop by the house, brightening an otherwise dreary situation with the boundless joy and enthusiasm of six children!
One day as my mom was in the kitchen serving peanut butter fudge to eager little ones, I happened to walk past the room where my 70 year old dad was stretched out and taking his nap on the daybed. My grandmother, in her 90’s at the time, was gently and quietly placing a blanket over him, patting his shoulder as she carefully tucked it in. I can still recall her blue, blue eyes spilling over with a single tear and tenderly looking at him with that special love and concern that comes only from a mom.
I have many days like that, moments where an overwhelming sense of compassion and tenderness toward one of my children moves me first to tears and then to prayer. I can’t explain what triggers it…..a brief phone conversation, passing by a photo on the wall, a song or a story that connects me to another day from long ago. Decades and even centuries may change along with the latest in women’s fashions but a mom’s love does not. It is a small picture of the love of God that shines down into our own hearts, enabling us to bear one another’s burdens, beginning with the burdens of our own children!
Happy Mother’s Day, moms! Have a cup of tea, a nap, or a walk in the park. Revel in the joy of being a mom. Today is your day; tomorrow with its laundry will come soon enough!
As usual, this is a virtual potpourri of thought. And also as usual, I welcome any thought or comments you might have!
I was so happy to see this recording of the original radio program I heard that prompted me to desire homeschooling for my kids. The Moores continue to be inspirational and encouraging for a new generation of homeschoolers! Please pass this one along.
For any visual learners among us, here is a handy resource for teaching theology!
Considering building a home library for this and future generations? Wondering where to start? Here are some great tips!
Did you ever watch a good movie and think “Wouldn’t this be a great study for my kids?” These folks are a step ahead of us.; this looks like a great resource.
Here are a bunch of fun ideas to keep your toddlers busy. Anyone need this?
If you haven’t been following this website on the Institute in Basic Life Principles and Bill Gothard, now might be a good time to check it out. Besides this article, I would encourage you to go back through the April archives.
Now I have a few articles on the topic of worship that I think will be enlightening. Michael Horton’s last paragraph is a doozie and, imho, belongs in church bulletins across this land!
And finally Michael Horton hits it out of the park with this piece on muscular Christianity.
Finally and in case you missed it, I am sharing this fun video that has been making its way around homeschooling circles recently. Doesn’t the child in you long for this kind of day?
During the 1870’s, preacher Dwight L. Moody traveled several times to England to conduct special evangelistic meetings. Mr. Moody had been promoted by Charles Spurgeon and was welcomed by rich and poor, young and old alike. Having gained an audience on both continents by this time, Moody’s services were well attended, often with standing room only.
On one particular evening, a young mother slipped into a pew along with her baby who became inconsolable as the preaching progressed. Unable to get out of the room quickly, many people became annoyed with the baby’s crying and the poor woman felt thousands of eyes upon her as she eventually made her way out of the auditorium. A father himself who adored little ones, Moody observed her situation and his heart was moved.
The next morning, Moody sent word through all his associates that that evening he would be holding special meetings…just for mothers and their babies! He greeted them and welcomed them in that night and as they filled the room, many were in tears, incredulous that someone would care enough about them and about their souls to provide for their spiritual needs as moms! How many a mother was open to receiving the message of forgiveness of sins because she had been loved and cared for simply because she was a mother?
And what about these little ones? We know that spiritual truth is spiritually discerned, not calculated by the educated or trained mind. Remembering that John the Baptist stirred in the womb as Mary told his mother, Elizabeth, the Good News of the Gospel message, how possible is it that many a baby in that gathering were also spiritually drawn to the Lord Jesus?
I remember one particular Sunday from my early days of parenting when we had a fussy baby and two wiggly preschoolers. We had recently moved back to my home church after living overseas and I soon discovered that the same frowning faces that had been part of my own childhood were now looking down at my children and offering disapproval from the choir loft. Though they were not naughty, just being normal little ones, I slipped them out of the pew and out of the room so as not to disturb these ladies. I also remember crying in the car on the way home. Rather than disapproval, I needed a kind older woman to assure me my children were welcome and that I was, too.
This is Friday; Sunday is coming. Let me encourage you today to look for an overwhelmed mom this Sunday morning. Start praying for her today, that you can be a drink of cool water in her dry and parched week. Tuck a few simple treasures in your purse to share with little ones so they will feel welcomed, too. And if you are that exhausted mom, pray that the Lord will bring someone into your path to encourage you. Hang in there. Do not despise the day of small things (or small children.) Who knows what the Lord intends to do in their little lives this week?