Monthly Archives: August 2012
This week we are reading and considering chapter 5 of The Grace Awakening book. The chapter is called Squaring Off Against legalism.
After quoting Patrick Henry’s famous speech that includes the phrase “Give me liberty or give me death” we find the quote from Charles Sumner regarding the Civil War: “Where slavery is, there liberty cannot be and where liberty is, slavery cannot be.” However, what seems to be so clear as far as our liberty as Americans is concerned is not so easily embraced when it comes to our liberty in Christ as believers.
In 1963, S. Lewis Johnson wrote a paper entitled “The Paralysis of Legalism” that said, “One of the most serious problems facing the orthodox Christian church today is the problem of legalism. One of the most serious problems facing the church in Paul’s day was the problem of legalism. In every day it is the same. Legalism wrenches the joy of the Lord from the Christian believer, and with the joy of the Lord goes his power for vital worship and vibrant service. Nothing is left but cramped, somber, dull, and listless profession. The truth is betrayed, and the glorious name of Jesus becomes a synonym for a gloomy kill-joy. The Christian under law is a miserable parody of the real thing.”
What is the distinction between “liberty” and “legalism?”
“You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?” ~ Galatians 5:7
“You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” ~ Galatians 3:1
“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel” ~ Galatians 1:6
What are the things that can/might draw you back into legalism? If you are still there, what are the chains that are binding you? Explain.
“Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” ~
Elizabeth Lawrence *
Why, yes, fall is right around the corner! The cooler weather is making me want to actually be in the kitchen and whip up something delicious. Seriously, it had to come to this when I realized that the cute man at Dairy Queen actually knew our order before we got to the counter! Here are a couple recipes to get you started. Both are delicious, easy to prepare, and can be frozen for later if you want to make big batches.
Vermont Cheddar Soup
This is one of those recipes no one ever tires of; it is the perfect comfort food at the end of a busy and chilly day! I like to serve mine with a fresh green salad and a loaf of fresh artisan bread on the side.
2 sticks butter
3 large leeks, white and light green part only, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
½ cup flour
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups half and half
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. Worchester sauce
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Smidgeon of cayenne pepper
2 apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
½ to 1 pound bacon, fried crispy, drained, and broken into pieces (optional)
In sauce pan, melt 1 ½ sticks butter and sauté vegetables until tender. Sprinkle flour over and mix well. Pour in chicken broth, whisk until smooth, simmer until thickened. Puree in blender if desired. Add half and half, cheese, mustard, and Worchester sauce. Stir until cheese is melted. Add spices to taste. Saute apple in remaining butter until it begins to turn brown. Stir in bacon if desired. Ladle into bowls and top with apple bits when serving.
Hint: For absolutely perfect bacon, the only way I will ever cook bacon again, here is the secret…..line cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper. Arrange raw bacon side by side in strips on sheet and bake in 375 degree oven until crispy. Watch closely, each oven is different but it should take about 20 minutes! Say out loud, “why didn’t I do this before!”
***Also, I decided to add garlic with the veggies, of course, and it was extra good!
Pumpkin Crunch Cake
A delicious change from pumpkin pie!
1 box yellow cake mix
1 – 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1 – 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 cup melted butter
Whisk together pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt until smooth. Spray 9 X 13 pan with Pam and pour in mixture. Over the top, sprinkle the cake mix. Sprinkle again with pecans and drizzle melted butter over all. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes. Enjoy!
* This lovely wreath along with other beautiful fall decor is available at Tonya’s Etsy shop!
I thought it might be fun to announce some of the podcasts we will be sharing as we move into the fall season!
We have several more aspects of the family integrated church movement to share in the next couple weeks and then I will be presenting a series on Organic Family Life and what it means to live by grace within our homes. Following that, I am welcoming Meg Moseley to chat with me about her post-homeschooling mom career as an author and we will be chatting about her award winning book, When Sparrows Fall. And next in line I am excited to be welcoming screenwriter Andie Redwine to talk about her amazing independent film called Paradise Recovered. You really won’t want to miss my conversations with Meg and Andie as I will be giving you a chance to win copies of their projects during the weeks their podcasts air!
We still have lots more in the works, including the recordings of the upcoming Treasures of a Mother’s Heart mom’s retreat we are hosting in November in Peoria (watch for details for those who live close enough to attend) along with some other guests as well as thoughts on courtship, letting our children grow up, and a few surprises along the way! Stay tuned and invite your friends to listen, too!
Today we begin the 4th chapter of our study of The Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll. The title of the chapter is “Undeserving, Yet Unconditionally Loved.” What a blessed thought as we begin our 5th week of study together!
Every religious group has its own list of “rules.” As Elisabeth Elliott points out, the lists have been around for centuries but the items on the list change all the time! The items on the list for being “godly” that she shared seem silly to us now…..give up colored clothes, give up sleeping on a soft pillow, give up taking warm baths……but we have had those same lists engrained into us, especially if we grew up in what i recently heard called “religious religous homes.” The lists for homechooling moms are even more overwhelming! What are some of those silly things on the lists? Do any of them still haunt you?
List them if you feel comfortable.
This week’s podcast continues my discussion with Jon Zens on the family integrated church movement This time Jon and I begin a great discussion on the topic of hierarchy within the body of Christ and church traditions that have determined the way we “do church.” Be ready to be stretched and, as always, I look forward to a great discussion with you!!!!!
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As we continue reading through The Grace Awakening, this week’s lesson takes a long, hard look at the risk of preaching, teaching, and living grace by first looking at some thoughts from D. Marten Lloyd Jones in his commentary on Romans 6:
. . . If it is true that where sin abounded grace has much more abounded, well then, ‘shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound yet further?’
First of all, let me make a comment, to me a very important and vital comment. The true preaching of the gospel of salvation by grace alone always leads to the possibility of this charge being brought against it. There is no better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it really amounts to this, that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will redound all the more to the glory of grace. If my preaching and presentation of the gospel of salvation does not expose it to that misunderstanding, then it is not the gospel. Let me show you what I mean.
If a man preaches justification by works, no one would ever raise this question. If a man’s preaching is, ‘If you want to be Christians, and if you want to go to heaven, you must stop committing sins, you must take up good works, and if you do so regularly and constantly, and do not fail to keep on at it, you will make yourselves Christians, you will reconcile yourselves to God and you will go to heaven’. Obviously a man who preaches in that strain would never be liable to this misunderstanding. Nobody would say to such a man, ‘Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?’, because the man’s whole emphasis is just this, that if you go on sinning you are certain to be damned, and only if you stop sinning can you save yourselves. So that misunderstanding could never arise . . . . . .
Nobody has ever brought this charge against the Church of Rome, but it was brought frequently against Martin Luther; indeed that was precisely what the Church of Rome said about the preaching of Martin Luther. They said, ‘This man who was a priest has changed the doctrine in order to justify his own marriage and his own lust’, and so on. ‘This man’, they said, ‘is an antinomian; and that is heresy.’ That is the very charge they brought against him. It was also brought George Whitfield two hundred years ago. It is the charge that formal dead Christianity – if there is such a thing – has always brought against this startling, staggering message, that God ‘justifies the ungodly’ . . .
That is my comment and it is a very important comment for preachers. I would say to all preachers: If your preaching of salvation has not been misunderstood in that way, then you had better examine your sermons again, and you had better make sure that you are really preaching the salvation that is offered in the New Testament to the ungodly, the sinner, to those who are dead in trespasses and sins, to those who are enemies of God. There is this kind of dangerous element about the true presentation of the doctrine of salvation.”
What similar criticisms have you encountered as you sought to practice “salvation by grace” in your own life?
What about as you have sought to practice grace-filled parenting?
This week’s podcast continues with Jon Zens and I discussing the Christian reconstructionist/domimionist movement, especially within the homeschooling community and it’s influence and presence in family integrated churches. Please be sure your homeschooling friends listen to understand a great deal of what goes on within so much of the homeschooling culture today.
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During the 1996 presidential primaries, Senator Phil Gramm from Texas introduced us to his friend “Dickey Flatt” who owned a family printing business that had been started by his parents. Gramm said that every time he was faced with a vote to spend government funds, he would put it through his “Dickey Flatt test,” that is, he would consider how his actions would affect Mr. Flatt and millions like him in real life.
I use a similar barometer when I write and speak about things I think are important. I ask myself what the needs are of those in my audience, how I can present information and ideas and provoke thought along the way. I reflect on the truth of what I am sharing and how it will affect those who read or hear it. And most importantly, I ask myself “Will it draw others closer to Jesus or place stumbling blocks in the path?” In order to do this, I always put things through my own “Dickey Flatt test.”
Now, of course, Scripture is the standard of all truth so I am talking about the application of that truth, the working out of our salvation in fear and trembling as it were. This is where I lay down my WWMGT test. The “What Would My Grandmas Think?” test.
I have written about both of my grandmas in the past but let me share a brief bio.
My “country” grandma went to school through the 8th grade and came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ while she was a young girl who came from Missouri to Illinois to work as a household helper on a large farm. She married at 18 and raised three sons during the Great Depression, feeding everyone from her large garden and amazing pantry. She taught me how to embroider and quilt and make to-die-for bread stuffing for the Thanksgiving turkey. Her pie crusts were terrible but it didn’t stop her from baking into a pie anything and everything that grew on their tiny farm. She was a straight talker and didn’t hesitate to ask if she didn’t know something. She always said “I’m from Missouri, you have to show me.” Once in the mid-70’s she saw Phil Donahue interview a gay couple and asked me, “How DO they have sex, anyway?” Bless her heart. She was so resourceful and frugal that when she died we found a tattered old journal where she wrote down how much she had spent for nearly every single thing she had ever purchased. We also found a secret bank account where she had been stashing pension money, nearly $40,000.00 worth of it.
My other grandma, my “city” grandma actually lived in a small town in a pre-civil war Italianate house with 14 foot ceilings and marble fireplaces; my grandpa had bought it with cash shortly before the Crash of ’29. She raised nine children in that old home, its unusual contents telling the family stories: a large bearskin rug from their drive to Alaska before it was even a state, the basket made from an armadillo, the real Indian skeletons in a glass case on the wall, dug up by my grandpa and his older children during a “free dig” at Dixon Mounds in the 1930’s. Before she was the mother in this house, though, my grandma was raised in a strict Catholic household where her two younger sisters grew up to be nuns. My grandma became a born again Christian and a Baptist when she married my grandpa and thus began her lifelong love for the Scriptures. As long as I knew her she taught the adult Sunday School class in the church; even the seminary-trained pastors were often found sitting around her dining room table talking with her about theology. Her life was rough and so was my grandpa, who rarely attended church, smoked a stinky cigar, and left her a young widow in her mid fifties. To this day I still meet couples who have been married for more than 50 years who tell me my grandma’s counsel saved their marriages. The picture of with her open Bible on a metal table near her favorite chair in the living room is how I best remember her.
These two women came of age during an era of great change. They both remembered when women first won the right to vote, my “country” grandma only marking her ballot for the candidate of my grandpa’s choosing while my “city” grandma openly explained to those she discipled what it means to apply a Biblical worldview in all areas of life, including the voting booth. They married and raised children and cared for the needy during the Depression and saw sons and sons-in-laws and brothers and husbands go off to fight wars in both the European and Pacific theaters during WW2. And in the midst of it, they clung to their faith in a living God who gave them the Gospel and drew them to Himself every day.
During the years my “city grandma” taught Sunday school and my “country grandma” worked in the little Baptist church that sat no more than 50 feet from her vegetable garden, it didn’t really matter who did what in their homes or in the church, somebody just did it. Because my grandpas traveled far and worked long hours in the coal mines, often leaving before the children were up and arriving home long past their bedtime, it was up to these women to introduce Jesus to their little ones. They taught them from their Bibles and memorized the Word right along beside them.
My “city” grandma was a voracious reader and drank deeply from concordances and Bible commentaries simply because she believed the Bible to be God’s word to her! When Moody Bible Institute began their first radio broadcasts, she tuned in, taking notes and sending for study helps for various programs. Not once did it occur to her that this was only for the men folk! She was a Martha and a Mary, often preparing delicious meals to welcome church visitors, including the two older sister evangelists, Fran and Winnie, who both sang and preached during special meetings; my grandma delighted in those times of deep spiritual discussion as they shared dinner. No one reprimanded her for teaching and speaking and taking leadership at home or in the church simply because of her gender. They welcomed it because she was using gifts the Lord had given to her. In my grandmas’ day, there were no “waves” of feminism, white-washed or otherwise, and there was no name calling or labeling. There was no “role playing” or even a discussion of a proper place for these women. There was simply these women and many more like them purposing to live as believing wives, moms and grandmothers, by grace, every single day.
So, I ask myself, WWMGT? What would my grandmas think? About the word “complementarian.” About the labels and the theologians who insist on using them. About silly teachings like the Piper “cone of silence.” About the idea that adversarial rather than redeemed relationships are the standard, that inorganic role-playing should be taught to daughters and granddaughters and great-granddaughters? I am pretty sure I know.
In part two, I will be looking at WWMGT about “Gospel Sex.”