Is it a bad sign when even lost folks know we're in trouble?

Here are 2 takes on the same issue and while their solutions may differ they both agree – Something is wrong in Mudville!

First we start with a secular filmmaker who takes a hard look at the education establishment in America. While I doubt I would agree with his solutions to the problem I find it interesting that a man who by all indications makes no profession of submission to Christ sees what Pastors and Christian Parents refuse to acknowledge – the youth ministry of the church of secular humanism (government schools) are horribly broken! It is to our shame that those without eyes to see the truth see in their groping what we who have had our eyes opened by Christ willfully shut our eyes against. Take a look:

The good news is, believers are beginning to wake up.

This next one is from Gunn Brothers Productions an award winning Christian production company who is tackling the issue from a distinctly Christian worldview. I really appreciate these guys and their work. I would most likely fall closer to their solutions to the issue and highly recommend you see this film when it is released this fall. Take a look at the issue through the lens of the scriptures:

A disciple[1] is not above his teacher[2], but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40 ESV

(footnotes added)

1 μαθητής – one who engages in learning through instruction from another, pupil, apprentice (1)

2 διδάσκαλος – teacher (2)

Who then will your children be like?

(1) – William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, “Based on Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-Deutsches Wr̲terbuch Zu Den Schriften Des Neuen Testaments Und Der Frhchristlichen [Sic] Literatur, Sixth Edition, Ed. Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, With Viktor Reichmann and on Previous English Editions by W.F. Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and F.W. Danker.”, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 609.

(2) – Ibid, 241.

The Continuing Collapse: May 2010

“He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers.”  – Charles Peguy

This is one of the leading quotes in the latest edition of “The Continuing Collapse” over at Voddie Baucham’s blog. Please go read this well researched monthly feature on the state of education in America. Every parent needs to be informed of the direction and state of our schools and these gentlemen have done the leg work for you but have also clearly documented their sources for your own research so that you might be a Berean in your daily walk.  Read the full post

A Godly Heritage

“I love you with all my heart” – simple words but they come with a lifetime of impact. I am not sure I can describe what hearing these words from my Grandfather means to me. He is the Patriarch of our family. A man who has, as best he knew how, led us as he has followed Jesus. A deep thinker with wisdom won from a less than perfect life lived in the constant awareness of the presence of Almighty God who was working even the terrible things in his life for his good and God’s glory. A man who at close to 50 uprooted his household to follow the leading of God into a 15 year ministry in one of the hardest areas of the country. Only to be abused, beat up, maligned, and slandered by those he was called to serve. All the while he loved them, served them, wept for them, prayed for them and guarded their souls. He is a man who has modeled to us Christ-like love and sacrificial servant leadership for his bride for over 50 years. He has been a father to the fatherless in our family. He has passionately loved and rejoiced in each child with which the Lord God has blessed our family. Some of my earliest memories are of Papa lifting high in the air each of the Grandchildren, smile on his face and his deep rumbling laughter rolling out of his big heart. From the “secret” good-bye rituals he taught each of us grandchildren to his attentive ear he was quick to give each of us, he has spent his life communicating to us we mattered, we were special to him and he loved us. Even when each of us have been our sinful-selves, he has loved us and prayed for us. He is a 3 John 4 kind of man.

3 John 4 ESV

4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Lord, may I be a cause for Papa’s joy and not sorrow. Please allow me to maximize the impact of the godly heritage he is leaving us daily. May you give me wisdom not to squander the opportunities to learn from and be around him. Thank you for allowing me to be loved by such a godly man. In the might name of Jesus who is the Christ, Amen. 

How is Faithfulness Measured?

Could it be measured in the exhaustion at the end of a full day when you have given all you knew how but still laid your head down on your pillow knowing you were completely inadequate? Could it be measured in the inability to pick your head up off your hands so you could attempt to rise and put your weary body into bed? Could it be measured in the sweat produced by moving from one task to another while never making it to the end of the list? Could it be measured in the fight to keep your emotions in check when your mouth really wants to snap at the person you love? Could it be measured in faithfully administering discipline out of fear of the Lord and love for your child when every bone in your body cries out for rest and peace? Could it be measured in rejoicing over the life growing within you, for which you have prayed many long years, even in the midst of being unable to keep the smallest meal down? Could it be measured in desiring the blessing of children in spite of the health issues and pain it brings? Could it be measured in helping a child wrestle with their need for a Savior and what it means to live for Him?

Lord please empower me so you could find me to be faithful!

Micah 6:8 (ESV)

8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001.

God Cares About Pink Plastic Phones

Got your attention didn’t it? No, I have not lost my mind nor did I receive a “new rev from hev”. However, I am convinced that God does indeed care about pink plastic phones. Lest you think I am daft let me tell you a story and then judge for yourself if the Almighty might not indeed care about a worthless plastic toy.

The background to the story is that Mrs. Pauper is a true Proverbs 31 kinda gal and is constantly looking for ways to enlarge our gates by bringing in profit from home enterprise. One of her favorite ways to do this is through participating in a large consignment sale of children’s items that happens twice a year. This year it was decided that a kitchen set we had which no longer had a home in the Little Pauper’s room would be included in this sale. The only problem? This kitchen set had a pink plastic “cordless” phone that belonged to it which had suddenly gone AWOL.  Mother Pauper and the Little Pauper searched high and low, every nook, cranny, toy-box and crevice was searched thoroughly but the little plastic phone was nowhere to be seen. After a late-night cleaning session on the Little Pauper’s room by my girls and a search of the rest of the house by The Pauper the search was abandoned. Silently in the Living room I asked the Father to show us where this phone was so that Mrs. Pauper could include this item in the consignment sale. Meanwhile unbeknownst to me, Mother Pauper and The Little Pauper were assailing the throne of Grace in the bedroom as the search wound down with Mother Pauper reminding The Little Pauper that God knew exactly where the phone was and he was more than able to reveal its location. Then the search was called off on account of darkness and fatigue at which point “night time routine” (Bible time, prayer, singing, kisses, secret telling and cover tucking) commenced which eventually gave way to the sleep we all needed.  This brings us to the reason I think God cares about pink plastic phones because the next morning while in the shower I “remembered” (or maybe the Holy Spirit reminded me is more like it) where I had seen that phone last and in the quiet early morning stillness I walked right to the box in which this very naughty toy was hiding.

Now does God really “care” about a plastic toy like he cares for you and I? The obvious answer is no! However, it is precisely because he cares for you and I that at times it does matter to him where a plastic toy may be lurking. Is this because he wants all of us to be happy, play with toys and eat cake? No! It is because that pink plastic phone provided an opportunity for Mother Pauper and I to practice Deut. 6 and Psalm 78:

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Psalm 78:1-4 ESV
1     Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!

2     I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,

3     things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.

4     We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.

(emphasis added)

in which we could remind The Little Pauper of her prayer the night before and then point to a tangible answer to HER petition. What better way to illustrate to her that God hears our prayers and is powerful to do what we cannot. I cannot tell you how humbled and yet excited God-moments like this make me. I am baffled that the King of the Universe would entrust the spiritual upbringing of anyone to such an imperfect creature like myself but for his own glory he does and I love the opportunity to talk about our God’s great deeds. What a privilege!!!!

This week has been a GREAT week to speak of those marvelous works because not only did God reveal the location of the phone but he has brought to the fore 2 other great answers to prayers lifted up by all of our family. One of these involved Mr. H, one of my “big” bosses, bringing by a card I had written to him when I was interviewing for my current position at work in which I had written that I was praying that God would give them wisdom as they hired for the position (something all of us had prayed at the time including The Little Pauper). Mr. H told me that he was sure that God had answered that prayer and I should take the card home to show The Little Pauper the God does answer when we pray.

The second (or is that third?) answer is one that has been long in coming. You see for the last 3 years we as a family have been suffering from secondary infertility. Even The Little Pauper has been praying for almost a year for the Lord to give us more children and her brothers and sisters. Well, we found out Friday that we are PREGNANT!!!!! (more to come on that later) So see what I mean, it has been an exciting week of answered prayer and speaking of the great deeds of YHWH.

So yeah, God does care about pink plastic phones, jobs, and little white sticks with 2 pink lines because a 4 year old needs to know that God hears and acts for his own glory when we pray.

Thank you Father for hearing and answering so that I can speak your praises to my family.

The Joys of a Tent-Fort

Well, It has been an interesting weekend around here. Mrs. Pauper is sick with the stomach bug that seems to be traveling around down here. This means that the Little Pauper and I were left to our own devices over the last two days. For the most part that means that we read books and worked on our home remodel. Today however, I went into the Little Pauper’s bedroom and to find her laying under a blanket which has been draped (as best she could) over a child’s armchair she has laid on its’ side. When I asked her what she was doing she said she was making a fort but she needed help with the roof. So I took her blanket and tucked one side into a high drawer in her chest of drawers (maybe not the safest plan upon reflection but it is what happened). This created a cascade of giggling to come out of her little body as she spent the next hour or so playing in this small fort.

As I went about the very adult things I “had” to do over that hour somewhere in the back of the mind belonging to the man close friends during my high school years referred to as “Grandpa” was the voice of the little boy from long ago who had become a master tent-fort builder in his own right. You see your body may look very different over the years but deep within every adult still dwells the child who knows just where to put the clothespins so they won’t slip and exactly how tight you can stretch a sheet and it still stay under the books you put on it to weigh it down. This child knows that it is the sacred obligation of every master tent-fort builder to pass on the earthshaking and important secret arts learned in the hours spent building during those magic years when the greatest concerns were, “will we run out of sheets?” and “how long will Mom put up with this?”. That child knows the  lessons (and fun) earned through the bumps on the noggin when designs don’t quite work must be shared with those still little enough today to be enraptured with the worlds to be created from a few worn bed-sheets and clothespins. It was this little boy that began to clamor and like most little ones would not be stilled until he could share. So with a whisper from days long ago when the Pauper was much smaller and the world was much less complicated, the little boy began to call “Don’t you remember?” and it was then I knew adulthood would have to wait a bit.

This is how it came to be that the Little Pauper is sound asleep tonight in the cave like darkness of a massive tent-fort built around her bunk bed. Thus the unbroken chain passed down from one generation to the next through the ages is alive and well here in the heart of an old tent-fort maker and around the bed of the next tent-fort Frank Lloyd Wright.