Thursday, January 27, 2011
Last year, our church had the opportunity to host Dana Dirksen of Songs for Saplings for a family concert. Dana and her husband started a music ministry years ago that give children (and adults too) a solid Biblical foundation of the truths of God's word through catechism memory. We love these songs and enjoy each and every CD. There are currently four CD's available for purchase and the fifth will be coming out this year. I encourage you to stop by their website today!
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
From time to time, my family and I enjoy a good old fashioned movie night. Years ago we made the decision to disconnect from "commercial television" and don't even get a signal in the house anymore. If we want to watch a movie, we either buy it, borrow it or go to the local library to check it out. Movie night in our house usually consists of homemade pizza, popped corn and lots of blankets and pillows.
Now, you must understand...if my husband and I are going to gather the entire family for a time in front of the TV, the movie itself must submit to our house rules. First, there should be no foul language or cursing. Second, no sexuality/sensuality ("There must not even be a hint of sexual immorality..for these things are improper for God's holy people"). Third, any movie that is laced with gore, intense violence (for the sake of entertainment only) and horror themed- NEVER makes it into our home. And lastly, and most importantly- there has to be a theme that points us to Christ or doesn't confuse us about true theology. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than watching a "Christian" movie that is filled with more heresy and false teaching- and does more damage than a Hollywood film ever could.
One of my favorite genre's as a young adult was black and white classical movies. So, we decided to pull in some Fred Astaire's and Cary Grant's and do you know what we found? With an exception of profanity and gore, they still include sexual innuendos, sensual and immodest clothing (sure, call 'em ballet dance outfits if you like- they still look like scantily clad bikini wearers to me) and sometimes the overall theme points away from what God desires in His holy people.
Now you are all wondering- what about 'just for you- or just for your husband'. Yes, there are movies, documentaries and news stories (not appropriate for a five and seven year old) that my husband and I will watch, but the overall concept of our house rules still apply. I'm old enough to watch R rated movies by the fact that I'm over 18, but choose not to. I'm married and have children...does that now give me the right to 'appreciate' movies that are filled with cursing, sexual themes and coarse joking? If you are bought by the blood of Christ, His spirit lives within you and it should be our desire to live by the spirit- and not by the flesh.
Philippians 4:8 says this- "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things."
Sister in Christ, be reminded that this scripture does apply to the movies we watch, the books we read, the magazines we delve into and the people we fall into conversation with. I am guilty of not following by my own standards many times...fooling myself to believe that a movie will be 'mostly clean' and then filling my heart with grief because little by little, I'm hardening myself to His gentle spirit.
I'm sure there are plenty of online reviewers for movies, but one of our favorites is the following: Plugged In by Focus on the Family. I don't always agree with their overall rating of the film or write up, it does give the reader the opportunity to assess each movie by category (violence, sexual content, language, etc.). I encourage you to stop by...before you check out that next movie.
"Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
Let's take a moment and hover over the phrase "press on" from this passage. In the Greek, press on is dioko and from dio = pursue, prosecute, persecute). It means to follow or press hard after, literally to pursue as one does a fleeing enemy. It means to chase, harass, vex and pressure and was used for chasing down criminals. Dioko speaks of an intensity of effort leading to pursue with earnestness and diligence in order to obtain. To go after with the desire of obtaining. It gives us the picture of going on the track of something like the hounds on the hunt and pursuing after the fox and implying a continuing effort to overtake, reach, or attain the goal. (courtesy of preceptaustin.org)
Warren Wiersbe writes that dioko...."It carries the idea of intense endeavor. The Greeks used it to describe a hunter eagerly pursuing his prey. A man does not become a winning athlete by listening to lectures, watching movies, reading books, or cheering at the games. He becomes a winning athlete by getting into the game and determining to win! The same zeal that Paul employed when he persecuted the church (Phil. 3:6), he displayed in serving Christ. Come to think of it, wouldn't it be wonderful if Christians put as much determination into their spiritual life as they do their golfing, fishing, or bowling?"
I have a confession to make. I'm a calendar junkie. Every day I pull out our calendar and my big black sharpie just to put a gigantic "X" over the date. Sometimes I wait until the end of the day. Sometimes it's the first thing I do in the wee hours of the morning. Maybe it's a sense of accomplishment. Maybe it's obsessive. Either way, I enjoy doing it. I get a sense of euphoria when a new calendar year rolls around. Do you know what 2011means? It means a NEW calendar! With 365 markable spaces for my sharpie!
Not only do I enjoy marking off daily spaces, I also enjoy filling the spaces with "things to do". As a homeschooling mommy, elder’s wife, SAH mommy, adoptive parent hopeful, runner in training, wedding photographer and all around socialite...this task is pretty easy. I could fill to my heart’s content, but have resolved to keep my calendar quiet this year and focus on quality rather than quantity.
What you are passionate about will consume your time because you will make the time. We were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Are we glorifying God with what fills our calendar spots? Are we filling too many spots just to keep ourselves busy and active for no real reason? Is the devil getting a foothold in our calendar and keeping us from our families, our children and our personal time to pray on our faces before a holy God? I pray that God would change my heart to continually have an intense passion for the Person of Jesus Christ and pursue His vision within my home.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Saturday, January 8, 2011
As a homeschooling mother, I am constantly looking for well written resources that will teach our young children solid Biblical information while holding their interest.
I was pleased to come upon the five part series by Brandon & Mindy Withrow that takes children and adults alike through a chronicle starting with the early or ancient church and finishing in the final book with the modern body. Although I have not read each and every book, I can say that we are about half-way through Peril and Peace and I am very pleased.
The chapters are lengthy, but written like a dramatic fiction quick read. My boys, ages 5 and 7 are usually on the edge of their seats with wide eyes, leaning in and ready to hear what will happen next. I'm usually in tears by the end of each chapter because of the boldness of these men and women and unswerving faith to die for their Savior. The story on Polycarp has so far been my absolute favorite and in my opinion, worth the purchase of the book if you read that story alone.
This first book in the series starts with a shipwrecked Paul and gives a visual time line of Polycarp, Justin, Origen, Caprian, etc. Each true story in this book focuses on the early Christian church and their ability to stand firm in the face of torture, persecution and death for Jesus Christ. The authors cleverly weave in a good amount of information about the culture, government officials, emperors, dates and facts about the chapter hero.
The constant thread through these chapters is entwined with the same message: The eternal flames of Hell are much hotter than the futile fire that might burn the body on this earth. The flesh may die, but the spirit lives on...how then can we deny our Jesus to save our flesh? We must be willing to confess Him and not be ashamed. What a message for our children!
The headlines are rampant these days with stories of the persecuted church. Our children have never known persecution and have such freedom within the United States. We know our brothers and sisters in Jesus around the world are not so fortunate, but as history shows us- the message of the gospel and the growth of the church explodes when those that oppose it try to suppress it.
You can purchase this series at www.cbd.com or www.amazon.com for $4-$7 plus shipping.
Friday, January 7, 2011
I used to be fairly good at blogging- at least- I did it often. I suppose one can't promise quality, but I did offer quantity.
In mid 2008 we started a home-based photography business that has taken off much more than I ever would have imagined. We did 13 weddings in 2010 as well as a gazillion family shoots, seniors, kids, etc. Love our clients!
In addition to the biz, I homeschooled my niece for six months along with our two boys and we have continued to be busy with our family-integrated church plant.
So, you understand my delay in blogging, yes? Oh, and I became a member of Facebook. I've never played any of the games and I only have a handful of "friends", but it has become quite the place to stand on my soapbox and declare in just 420 characters or less, my thought of the day. Honestly, it's a lot less work than a blog. Blogs make you sit. And think. And write. And try to be funny and give people quantity AND quality. Trust me, there's not much of either on FB these days. (Although I must admit that I find great Godly encouragement from some dear friends on that site).
My resolution for 2011 is to blog more from an informational standpoint. I'd love to do some book reviews, giveaways and menu/budget planning and updates on the persecuted church.
Happy Friday everyone,