Archive for the ‘The Dance (on following God)’ Category

Part Two: Is Your Family An Outpost for Christ?

September 3rd, 2010

This is a guest post by Joy…see part one here.

 

In my first post, I wrote about the Christian tendency to retreat from the world and how this disobeys God’s command. Today we will discuss how to build your family into an outpost for Christ in your community.

We are commanded to show hospitality to all.

Romans 12:13 and 1 Peter 2:9 both command us to show hospitality. This is not optional, and it is for all of us. God sent us to make disciples, and that only happens by entering people’s lives, allowing them into ours, and living God’s unconditional love for them.

Is it always safe? No. Does God allow us that excuse? No.

We are not foolish, however. My husband and I want our children and their friends to gravitate here. We allow the children in the neighborhood in, we feed them, and we listen to their conversations. By opening our home, we know our kids’ friends, we know their challenges, and we know their location.

As we make our homes welcoming, we still maintain our standards. This is the difference between assimilation and immersion. We do not become like our neighbors, but we enter into their lives. Doing so allows us to model for our children how to interact with the world and to give them a somewhat controlled context in which to try it themselves. Hands-on experience is essential for them to develop discernment (see through the world’s lies), spiritual muscle (humbly yet firmly share their reasons for doing/not doing something), and hospitality.

I’ve struggled to gently maintain our standards of speech and behavior without creating an oppressive atmosphere that drives the kids elsewhere. With practice I’ve grown more comfortable gently sharing our rules with statements like, “We don’t speak that way in our family. If you choose to continue to use those words, you will need to play somewhere else.” We designate certain evenings and Sunday afternoons as family time, but this is the exception, not the rule.

Unpleasant encounters become redemptive conversations. Choosing to interact with people who don’t share our values and our faith does expose our children to worldly attitudes and actions. We see these as ripe opportunities to apply the biblical perspective to very specific situations. These conversations also provide better understanding of how our children are processing what they see and hear.

This summer, I overheard a conversation between my son and a friend. The friend was describing a hurtful and inappropriate way “make girls squirm.” My son and I spent that evening talking about what the Bible says about our bodies, respecting one another, and coming to someone’s defense. I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if the boys hadn’t been in our home to begin with.

It isn’t easy. Engaging with our community can be messy, noisy, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. But God didn’t promise us comfortable, calm, tidy, or easy. We pray that as we obey His command to go and share, God will guard our children’s hearts and be glorified as we show His love to the world outside our front door.

Joy blogs at Joy In This Journey (www.joyinthisjourney.com). She credits her oldest daughter Elli (now in heaven) with forcing her out into her community. Elli’s special needs required public education, in-home help, and the expertise of hundreds of people they would never have met otherwise. You can also find her on Twitter.

I’m a Tommy Mommy and can’t wait to tell you all about it real soon!

Are You a Bubbling Brook Or a Stagnant Stream?

July 27th, 2010

Guest post by Jaime @ Like a Bubbling Brook

Dr. Howard Hendricks once shared the story of a professor who stayed up late at night pouring over his books. A passerby asked him, “What keeps you studying? You never seem to stop.” His answer was, “I would rather my students drink from a bubbling brook than a stagnant pool.”

How about those you have relationships with? Are they drinking from a bubbling brook or a stagnant stream? The wellspring of wisdom is as a flowing brook (Proverbs 18:4).

This illustration always stayed with me and, as I was completing my master’s degree a few years ago, my heart grew heavy. I’d spent many years obtaining a formal education, reading books assigned by professors, studying subjects dictated by degree requirements, but I had neglected my study of His Word, His divinely-inspired love letter to me, the most important book of all.

And then, as my master’s program neared an end, it was if God whispered into my heart, “Let me be your professor.

That single sentence shattered my thinking and broke my heart. I was hit with the realization that formal schooling had quietly become my idol; I had made my schooling more important than my spiritual growth. Then I remembered the Great Commandment (Luke 10:27), which instructs us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. How could we love Him with our mind?

With God’s help, my husband and I made significant changes in our lives that year. We read through our Bible in entirety and spent special times in prayer and fasting. We desired to let God speak to us, teach us, lead us.

We studied the Word and sought to understand it for ourselves, both privately and in the context of our family and church. We prayed that we would be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), and cultivate a greater intimate relationship with this God who created us.

We began to realize that, like every other aspect of our being, God created our minds to be used for His glory. Our failure to allow God to actively develop our minds will cause us to be stagnant streams, unable to sustain a vibrant spiritual life or offer refreshment to our husbands, children, and communities.

Letting God renew your mind is not about reciting facts, having the right answers, or obtaining a formal education. It’s about letting Him shape how you view the world.

When we pursue truth, when we pursue God’s way of relating with our families and the world around us, it bears fruit in our life. When we offer our minds to God, that’s when our behaviors finally start to change into what He desires of us. When we pursue Him, we are increasingly led to worship Him because we begin to understand He is infinitely greater than we could ever imagine.

Read your Bible; pray; learn; grow; always pursue truth. Speak His truth into the lives of your children and others around you. Grow in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and others (Luke 2:52).

Your kind of intelligence, your background, your pattern of thinking is unique and valued by God. What are you doing with it?

Jaime G is blessed with an amazing husband and two sweet boys. She is a homeschooling mama who writes about faith, family, and food on her blog, likeabubblingbrook.com.

If you didn’t win the Raising Generations necklace from Raising Homemakers, you can purchase it here for for 15% off with code: GENERATIONS15 (you have until July 30th).

If you want to see the Good Morning America clip about Like a Warm Cup of Coffee, click here.

Why Do You Believe the Bible?

July 14th, 2010

Worth your time, I promise.


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    I'm Sarah Mae. I'm figuring out how to fit perfect into fallen skin. Stick around for the stretching...your soul is welcome here.

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