Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reformation Day - Reposted

This is a post written previously.


October 31st is Reformation Day for Christians. On this day in 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church. These were his protest against the indulgences of the Catholic church. He didn't believe that you could bargain or buy your way into heaven and this is what the Catholic church was teaching. They were taking advantage of the people and Martin Luther had had enough.

Martin Luther was a German monk in Erfurt, Germany. He was totally dedicated to his God and in his service. He would starve himself and spent hours on his cell floor, arms stretched out in a cross confessing his sins and seeking Gods forgiveness, but still he never found peace in his heart. He tried to be perfect and earn his salvation, but it wasn't until the rector of the Augustinian order explained salvation to him did he begin to understand that his salvation was a free gift from God through his faith in Jesus Christ. He told him that God was not angry with him for his sin, but that he loved him. He then sent him to the university in Erfurt to become a priest and to teach.

Luther enjoyed his life as a priest and was thrilled when he was sent to Rome on business. But Rome was not as holy as Luther expected it to be. The monks openly ridiculed the saints, jokes were made of the sacraments by the priests. But even in Rome Martin did not lose his faith in God. But now, he had some doubt about the church authority. He went home and began to study God's Word with a passion that he had never experienced before. Over time in his studies he began to realize that the scriptures did not teach that one earned their salvation by good works. He realized that salvation only came by believing in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. All that the church was teaching was not what the scriptures he was reading. He began to teach what he was learning at the University and this really caused sparks to fly.

To make a really long story short (which you can go here to read more), the church kicked Martin Luther out and he had to hide for several years. It was during this time that other priest began to question the Catholic church's teaching and began to uprise. Many lost their life, others escaped. While Martin was in hiding he began to translate the Latin Bible into German. He believed that anybody should be able to read and study the scriptures themselves.

Martin Luthers' boldness to stand and fight for truth marked the beginning of the Reformation Church also known as the Protestant church. Martin Luther paved the way for other reformers to come in and carry on the work of teaching other about the grace of God. Works are not what get you into Heaven, it is only God's grace.

Martin Luther was also known for his hymns. The most popular hymn that he is still remembered for is also called the Battle Hymn of the Reformation or better known as A Mighty Fortress is our God (you can also listen at this link) Here is Steve Green singing on You Tube. This hymn is my favorite of all the hymns!

So why is any of this important? Who really cares about a man who rebelled against the Catholic church over 400 years ago? I think that as parents it is really important for us to pass on to our kids our Christian heritage and knowing about people like Martin Luther is an important in our christian history. You better appreciate the sacrifices made by these men. Learning how God used people even 400 years ago to spread his love and teach his grace helps us to understand that he can use us also.

Teach your kids the message of Luther, God does not change! His Grace is forever and his love is abundant.

Here are a few websites to use with your kids to teach them about Martin Luther and the Reformation.

~ Love to Learn

~ Reformation Activities

~ Reformation Day resources (scroll all the way down the page)

~ More History on Luther

~ Read Luthers writings, hymns and learn about other reformers

Some of our favorite books on this are:

"Martin Luther, The German Monk who changed the World" (Heroes of Faith & Courage series) by; Ben Alex.

Also, "Martin Luther, A Man Who Changed the World"

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ireland Pictures

I'm not posting all of what Sarah posted on Facebook, there were too many.  I'm just sharing a few of my favorites.

Ashley & Sarah at the Cliffs of Moher

They visited Trim Castle, home of the movie Bravehart

Irish McDonalds!

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Update from Ireland

Today is day 6 of the girls Ireland mission trip.  We got to skype (video messaging) with them today!  That was awesome.  I have never done that before.  Their internet connection was a little slow, but it worked well enough for us to see that they are tired, but energized by the awesome stuff going on. 

Here is a blog link of one of the ladies on the trip.  She has posted pictures and told a little of what they did on the weekend retreat.

Here is an update from the missions pastor (husband of the blog author above), Tom Hayes. He emailed us today.

Hello all-

Well, to say that our first few days have been a whirlwind would be an understatement. It seems like we were just lining up for a team photo at DFW and now we’re already past the retreat and through the first day of kids club.
We’re truly grateful for how well the retreat went.

- Jenny, Ashley, and Sarah were somehow able to not only keep all 40 children calm, but they taught them as well. It was evident from all the hugs, smiles, and tears that our three girls really connected with the children of Galway City Baptist Church.

- Katie and Kathy spent two full days cooking in a kitchen with a stove/oven combo that was not just near its’ last leg, but I think it passed its’ last leg years ago. They kept having to have the manager relight the pilot light – which added to the difficulty. After we arrived in Ireland, we heard that there would be about 100 people to be fed each day. That’s a lot of cooking and cleaning and we are thankful for their work.

- Charlton Hiott led our teaching times and delivered a personal and passionate look at the book of Jonah. His insight really helped us all to understand what a great God we serve and how much He loves us.

- A good friend from college, Nate Jones, who serves at a church in Kansas City, MO was able to join us for the trip and lead retreat in worship. His talent is only surpassed by his heart to see God alone worshipped in all of our worship services.
It really was a GREAT retreat
Today, we were able to lead our first day of kids camp. We knew that there were 24 kids registered, but on our first day, we had 41 children! They were bursting with energy and excited to be part of the camp. Once again, our team did a fantastic job in the songs, recreation, crafts, snacks, and story time. We are teaching the kids about the armor of God – hoping that they can learn to utilize the gifts that God has given to us to live out our lives for Christ in this world.

Please continue to pray for our last two days of kids club. We are all very thankful to serve, but also getting pretty worn out.
We miss you all and look forward to seeing God move and seeing your faces.

Sarah posted some pictures on Facebook today, so I took a few  of them to share with you here, but I'm having some trouble.  I will try again later.  If you are friends with me on Facebook, go to my wall.  You can see pictures there.

Once again, thanks for your prayers.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ireland Bound!

We delivered our girls safely into the hands of the missions team this morning.  I only cried once and that was while I was getting ready this morning.  I was good as long as I didn't watch them walk to the security check in or think about how they will be gone 10 days or how they will be on a 7 hour flight to a different country or how....  I'm still not thinking about any of that.  I know they are in good hands.  And I know that they will have a fantastic time!

And of course in the name of blogging, I took pics at the airport.  All I had was the IPhone, but they aren't too bad.

If you are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, I will be posting updates as I get them.  Sarah set up a blog just for this trip so she could post pictures, hopefully she will get a chance to update it.  If she does I will post the blog link.

Thanks so much to those of you who emailed for a prayer calendar or just to tell me that you are praying for them.  That means so much to me!  Thanks so much!!

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Pray for my girls

Our home is all a buzz right now.  My 2 oldest children, Ashley & Sarah are flying out with a team from our church for Ireland on Wednesday afternoon.  They will be leading in a retreat for families & a VBS in Galway. They have been planning & saving for this trip for over a year.  They are so excited to get this opportunity to go & we are so excited for them.

I would appreciate your prayers for my girls.  I'm not nervous about them going so far, they are going with a great group of adults.  This also is not their first trip like this.  Sarah & Ashley have been on mission trips far away before.  I am excited for them.  It is something I have always wanted to do, go to Ireland, land of my ancestors.

I'm so proud of my girls.  Ashley is 19 & loves the Lord and desires to share his love with others.  She is a natural with children and looks forward to leading in the VBS.  Sarah is 18 and has had a deep desire to go as far from home as possible to share the gospel with others for a long time.  She has organized the VBS program, that will be done in Galway, while babysitting, doing her school work & still volunteering at church.  It has been a stressful few weeks in preparing, but my girls have done a great job!

If you would like a prayer calendar so you know how to pray for them everyday, email me & I will send it to you.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Teaching our Children Honorable Obediance

As a parent, I have no doubt that one of your biggest struggles is how to instill in your children the importance of obediance.  We are born sinners.  We are born selfish.  That is why we need a Savior.  I can remember moments with my children before they were even one year old, acting in defiance to me.  At first, I think I was shocked.  "How did you learn how to do that?"  Then I found the scripture that tells us that "foolishness is wrapped up in the heart of a child".  I have to teach my child to obey because he is born a sinner.

I have found out that there are 2 ways my children obey.
  1.  They obey because I told them to.
  2. They obey because they know it is the right thing to do.

This morning on my way to church I saw a policeman sitting in a parking lot pointing at the street.  You could tell the cars who saw him also, because they all began slowing down.  Once we passed him, they sped back up.  How many times have you done this?  Me too!  We see a policeman and now we use our blinker to change lanes, come to a complete stop at stop signs or go just under the speed limit.  Just by the policeman being there, he is reminding us to obey the traffic laws, we already we don't want to get a ticket!

Why don't we always obey the traffic laws?  Does it matter that there are some speed limits that seem way too slow?  it doesn't matter what you think.  The law is there for you to respect & obey for your safety & the safety of those driving around you.  We know we should obey the laws because it is the right thing to do.

My kids will do what I tell them to, but give me attitude while they do it.  Yes, I'm glad they did what I told them to, but their heart has a problem that needs to be addressed.  So actually, my childs' obediance was still sin.  Just like obeying the traffic laws only when the police are looking.  It's not truly obediance, we just don't want a ticket.

When my child obeys with a good attitude, that is complete obediance; honorable obediance. Honor means to value someone more than you value yourself.  Honorable obediance says, "I will do what you ask, because I love & respect you, and I know it is the right thing to do."  This is how we should always obey what the Lord tells us to do.

This reminds me of Abraham when God gave him the crazy orders to pack up he & Isaac & head to the mountain for sacrifice because Isaac was the sacrifice. (Genesis 22)  Abraham didn't argue with God, he just obeyed.  He honored God in his actions when he obeyed without question. If you know the story, you know that God didn't make Abraham sacrifice Isaac, he provided a ram.  Abraham was blessed for his honorable obediance.

So, how do we instill this in our children? 

First we must be living it out first.  They learn from our example, whether we like it or not! If they don't see us living in a honorable way, they probably won't understand why you think they should.

Teach your kids there are blessings with obediance.  Use the Bible to show them times when God's people were blessed because they obeyed and show them times when people didn't obey and what happened.
Some examples of stories of obediance are: Daniel 3 (Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego), Genesis 6 (Noah), Daniel 1 (Daniel & his friends)

When you tell your child to do something and they respond in a negative way, stop them, don't let them continue to do what you told them to do.

"Fred, I asked you to unload the dishwasher and you rolled your eyes at me.  Is that an appropriate response?"  Then repeat the instruction.  My kids are to say, "Yes mam" when I tell them to do something, we call that an appropriate response as long as they aren't rolling their eyes when they say it. :)  When your child does respond in an honorable way, shower them with praise!  But when they dobn't, take time to correct & remind them of the correct way to obey.

"Thank you so much for responding to me like that!"

It is really important that our children learn to obey with honor.  It is a matter of the heart.

 Our actions mean nothing to God, it is our heart that he wants.

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