Just Believe: What Do I Have To Do To Be A Christian?

believe

What do I have to do to be a Christian?

Just Believe

  • Just believe that Jesus died for ALL your sins (and mine).

  • Just believe without His death and resurrection for our sins you (and I) would go to hell.

  • Just believe, that’s it.

  • He does not require you to DO anything else.

 

In speaking with a friend today she brought up the topic of God punishing people for their sins. A friend of hers felt that an individual she knew died because God was punishing that person for sins in their life. Pretty much she was saying that that person could not have been a Christian because she did not DO something. In this case it was not stopping a particular activity she was doing.

The activity did not lead to her death; her death was actually caused by complication from a surgery that was totally unrelated to the activity in question. This beautiful, young, 21 year old woman died and my friend was terribly broken up about this young life. The comment she received was, “God was probably punishing her for a sin in her life.”

 

That’s not how God operates.

 

God expects us to believe. He does not expect me to be judge and jury over anyone else’s life; that’s His job not mine. He will convict me of sins in my life that he wants me to change.

If someone else asks me for guidance in an area in their lives I will offer advice.

 

 

believe

 

 

“1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Matthew 7:1-3 KJV

 

If  I judge others then that is the bar that is set in my own life. For example, if I tell another person that they should not swear. I have now set the bar that if I swear I am going to be judged by that same bar.

We must be careful that we don’t not expect others to DO something in addition to believing in order for them to be a Christian.

There is no requirement besides belief.

 

 

believe

 

 

“16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

BELIEVE; that is all that is required.

  • You don’t need to stop smoking to be a Christian.

  • You don’t need to stop drinking to be a Christian.

  • You don’t need to stop _________ (fill in the blank) to be a Christian.

You don’t NEED to DO anything except believe.

As Christians we must remember this. 

 

God, who knows a person better than we ever could, He will lead in that person’s life and direct them to His will in His time, NOT our time and NOT by our own “RULES” we make up.

Climbing off my soapbox…

 

 

 

Volunteering: Our Tithe of Time

volunteering

 

Volunteering: Our Tithe of Time

 

We as a family do A LOT of volunteering. Time is something we have lots of, money not so much, but so much time. We have been asked many times how this volunteering stuff works.

Many years ago my Mom (who at that time was a pastor of her local church) was thinking about how people tithe and how some of her congregants did not have the cash to put in the offering plate but were spending so much time volunteering that there had to be a way for that to “count”.

We started discussing the topic over the phone. If we were paid an hourly rate for the time that our family volunteers how much would that be and if that is considered donated time would that count as our tithe?

We both agreed that it must. In the grand scheme of our lives as Christians what does our Lord see as our tithe? We as a family believe that our time is our major tithe. We also feel that tithing of income is also good, but this is another topic.

 

What does a week of volunteer tithing look like for our family? I will tell about today, our coming week, and some highlights from this past month:

 

Sunday:

9:00: the older 4 kids got to the church early with me today, 3 of them practiced songs with their praise band called “Forgiven” while one of them helped me set up the coffee hour supplies, set up the front of the church for the service and made sure the heat and lights were on for the service at 10:00, the band performed for the service

1:30: helped out a church member who was in a car accident by collecting her stuff from her damaged car and delivering said stuff to her house

3:30: got to the nursing home to help gather the residents for the monthly church service our church hosts there at 4:00, stayed for the service and then helped the patients back to their rooms

5:00: helped a fellow congregant by picking up her prescriptions and getting them to her

Wednesdays:

1:00: I teach a co-op class for homeschoolers till about, the classes are about science and history topics and usually take about 3 hours to prepare for each week

3:00: my husband makes a meal to follow the afternoon Bible study at the church, the band practices from 6-7pm

Thursdays:

10:00: our family volunteers at the local library shelving books and helping get crafts ready for the toddler group that meets the following day

1:00: our family is in charge of cleaning the church and we usually clean it on Thursday afternoons

2:00: we head back over to the nursing home to paint the fingernails of the residents

4:00: we make up the sign for the Grief Anonymous group that meets in the evening and set up the foyer for the meeting, coffee ready, sign out, chairs set up, etc.

We also make sure the paper goods at church are stocked,  the building is decorated for the holidays, the Sunday School lessons are ready and organized, the church sign is set up, and the church calendar is up to date (that reminds me, I have to do the February calendar)

Image result for christmas clip art

In December, in addition to the above things…

  • we spent 30 hours getting a set ready for the Christmas program, we designed and painted the set

  • the kids and I were practicing hours and hours for the 3 musical performances we were involved with

  • we sang Christmas carols at the nursing home every Friday till Christmas

  • we sang Christmas carols at the soup kitchen on Christmas day

This has been a sample of what one family of 8 can do for the community.

 

This is a major portion of our Tithe. This is what we CAN do and enjoy doing.

 

Do we feel that we HAVE to do these things? NO.

Do we feel the Lord REQUIRES us to do these things? NO.

We do these things because it brings JOY to others.

We do these things because we serve a Savior who gave and did for others and still does.

 

This post is NOT to say “Look What We Did!”

 

I want this post to inspire you to think outside the box about tithing.

 

This post is to give you ideas, and show what can be done. To show a way for family’s to tithe without money. To show how family’s with time and no cash to give what they do have. It’s an idea; a change on the old way of doing things. I great way to spend time together as a family and also show Christ to others.

 

Finally, just cuz I think it would be interesting. Our volunteer hours if we were paid minimum wage (which is $9.10 here) would have added up to approximately $3,094.00, not including driving time. Not bad for a monthly tithe of time.

 

Here are a few pictures of the set we made:

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These pics are from my Homeschooling Art blog post here.

Have a great New Year and enjoy volunteering 🙂

Operation Christmas Child Boxes

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Our church participated again this year in the Samaritans Purse’s Operation Christmas Child program.

Last year we sent 87 boxes and this year our church and Home school group sent 40 boxes.

Our goal last year was 90 and we came pretty close. This year we really did not have a goal and were able to send 40 boxes. Not bad.

Some families grabbed and filled their own boxes, some gave money for us to fill a box, and some family’s brought bulk items to add to boxes to fill them up.

We try to always include the basic toiletry items and grooming supplies plus some stationary supplies.

Here is a list of what we included in every box:

  • bar soap
  • candy that’s not chocolate
  • comb 
  • crayons
  • flashlight (with extra batteries)
  • notebook
  • pencil sharpener
  • pencils 
  • pens
  • scissors
  • small sewing kit
  • toothbrush 
  • toothpaste – travel size
  • t-shirts 
  • washcloth
  • socks
  • band-aids
  • cars
  • balls
  • fishing line

  • fishing hooks

  • glue sticks
  • glow sticks
  • solar calculators

There is also space for a WOW gift which included dolls, hammer, and four wheeler type cars.

Each box had to have a tag on it saying if the box was for a boy or a girl and the age range of the child the items were for.

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We secured them all with a rubber band and delivered them to the drop off location closest to us.

Next year we may do a few of these but most likely we will work on projects closer to home like a backpack ministry where we can help the local kids.

Have a great holiday.

 

Gruesome Hymns (jk)

Man, today in church we sang the most gruesome hymn. If someone had been in church for the first time and heard us sing that, pretty sure they would have thought it was some strange group of killers.This quote below is from the hymn we sang today and is titled “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood” by William Cowper.

“There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains…”

Seriously, what does a little kid think hearing his parents singing this in church? It does require some explanation. What about a stranger coming into the church for the first time? It’s disgusting and revolting to think about plunging myself into a flood of blood. This song kind of made me feel ill at the thought of these lyrics.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a Christian and I understand what the writer was getting at but really do we need to be so graphic? I personally have faith that Christ died on the cross for me and without His death I would have ended up in hell when I die due to my sins. I get it, BUT really?

This is just disgusting, here is another verse from that hymn.

“E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream thy flowing wounds supply…”

Here we go again with the blood flowing out but now its into a stream instead of a flood. Now Christ did die on a cross for my sins and for all those who accept him. BUT he was in human form, there is no way he had that much blood that when they pierced his side a stream would have blood came pouring out or a flood enough for me to bathe in came out of His body. It’s just gruesome to think of all that blood.

I am not usually a squeamish person but this is going too far.

It started me thinking of other songs we sing in church and what a newcomer to our church might think if we sang them. How about this one:

“Set Your church on fire…”2

This is from a song titled “Come, Set Your Rule” by Rend Collective Experiment

When my daughter heard this in church the first time she gave me the strangest look. I am just singing along not really thinking what she could be thinking and THEN I realize it sounds like we are thinking about committing arson! Woah, not as gruesome as the hymn today but surely people need to think before they start writing lyrics like this for a congregation to be singing. Think of the visitors. Jeez man.

How about this one:

“Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?…”3

This is from a song titled “Are You Washed in the Blood” by Alan Jackson

Here we are back to the washing in the blood. Now this is a very popular song and I totally get the meaning of the song but could we possibly think of another way to put this? Now I guess I will leave this topic alone as I know this last song is a very popular song with Christians and don’t want to  offend.

I just want to have us think for a few minutes about what we are singing and how others will view these songs when they hear them. Just food for thought if you will. Maybe when we sing a song like these the song leader could do a quick explanation of the meaning especially if there are visitors 🙂

I will leave you with this… ENJOY!!

 

1http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh622.sht
2http://rendcollective.com/wp-content/uploads/06/Build-Your-kingdom-here.pdf
3http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/alanjackson/areyouwashedintheblood.html

Darwin – Origin of Species – Notes #1: Introduction

darwin bust

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

Notes #1: Introduction

*For purpose of these posts please see my note at the end of this article. There you will also find the edition of the book I am reading. All quotes are from this work.

At the beginning of this work is a very interesting section titled, “Biographical Note, Charles Darwin, 1809-1852” followed by a brief “Contents: The Origin of Species” section which is an entire chapter by chapter book overview.

Now I know many people skip reading these introductional type sections, but I am not one of those people. There can be a wealth of information in these sections. I would suggest reading these sections in this work by Darwin as a background to the work itself.

I found reading this first section and learning a little about the life of Darwin very interesting. The fact that as a youth he “…to his schoolmates he boasted that he could produce variously colored flowers of the same plant by watering them with certain colored fluids.” was cool to think about.

Here is a young boy who preforming science experiments that we now think of as common place. Who of us hasn’t taken a stalk of celery and placed it in a glass of red colored water to watch the red food coloring travel up the veins of the celery? Or looked at the many different colored daisy’s at the grocery store or florist and been unsurprised by the perfect color match to a graduation dress.

We find this idea of coloring flowers normal, everyday type stuff. We think “Everyone should know that.” But during the time when Darwin was a young boy these ideas were new and he was one of the young people willing to test them out and try them.

Darwin’s dad was a doctor so it is no surprise that young Darwin was interested in the study of medicine and science in general. BUT he switched gears and studied to be a country clergyman at Cambridge for a while. Darwin’s love of science won out though and a professor of Botany named J. S. Henslow got Darwin a job as a naturalist on a government ship named the H. M. S. Beagle.

Darwin spent 1831 to 1836 on this ship. He traveled the “Southern waters” which included the Cape Verde Islands. I had to look this area up. It is the area west of northern Africa. Here is a map with notes I made from: Google Maps

darwins ship travels

During Darwin’s travels he “…made extensive examinations of coral reefs and noted the relations of animals on the mainland to those of the adjacent islands, as well as the relation of living animals to the fossil remains of the same species.”

My thoughts on this so far? Here is a very bright student. He starts out studying to be a doctor, then a clergyman, and then a person who studies nature on a ship. It seems at this point that he doesn’t know what he wants to do but Darwin describes that voyage on the ship as “by far the most important event in my life.”

This young man has studied science since a very young boy. He conducted lots of experiments. He has gone to school at Dr. Butler’s day school which used a classical curriculum, he has been to Edinburgh to study medicine, and to Cambridge to study for the clergy, and then on a 5 year ship ride. This young man has had a very exciting life even if you don’t look at all the studying he accomplished also. From the reading it seems as though Darwin had not that great an experience at his “elementary school”. The text states that he had an “undistinguished career” at that day school. Maybe he was too bright, who knows, but the text also states that Darwin had “singular interests”.

Relating this to our family I would say it would be like someone 🙂 who constantly thinks about flying. A young boy who thought that he could actually physically fly. This young man has wanted to fly since he could talk. The day he found out that pilots got paid to fly he was the happiest boy alive, “They get paid to just fly?” This same young boy a year later played the goose in an on stage production. He puts his costume on and states quietly, “Now I have wings I really can fly.” This young boy regularly designs airplanes and builds them out of wood, k’nex, legos, paper, whatever. This boy will fly someday. He has a “singular interest” in flying.

Darwin’s dad saw this interest and switched his son from that day school to the Edinburgh school. This young boy was looked after and his love of science was nurtured. But to him that voyage on the ship where he could take the time to study nature for 5 years, that was what he felt was the most important event in his life. Can you see the excitement in his eyes as he says that? Can you sense the pure joy of a person who has found and been able to do what he enjoys?

If you would like to read more about the life timeline of Darwin here is a great site: Darwin Timeline

darwin site

From that site I learned that Darwin’s life was not as “great” as the book I am ready says or leaves out… I guess he went to one school before that day school but during that time his mother dies. Terrible just terrible. Take the time to read some of his life story at that link above. Very interesting. As I have told my children many times make sure you know who is writing what you are reading. The views of the writer come through in the writing even if they don’t mean them to. The edition I am reading finds it important to tell me that Darwin married his cousin (no note on how close a cousin) but does not tell me that he had 10 children or that his mama had died when he was young. Anyway, if you get a chance, take the time to read through the information at that site.

Did you know that Darwin wrote many others works? Most people figured he must have but don’t realize how many. That link above also lists these works with links to where you can read them.

Now back to the book…

Darwin lived in London after that voyage and wrote about his studies on that voyage. He got married and had lots of kids. During those years he became quite ill and moved to Down where “he lived in seclusion for the rest of his days”. He also had many friend who where scientists. While he lived in Down he spent 8 years working on his four volumes of the “classification of barnacles”. Wow, he sure was dedicated.

After that work studying a specific species he started the work of figuring out the “modification of species which he had been pondering for many years.” He continued to read other works from notable scientists. During his reading he decided he had figured something out and his scientific friends told him he should write it down. So he started to. But while he was doing this he got halfway through and found out that someone else had written an essay that stated the exact same thing Darwin was writing about.

What to do, what to do. He again talked with his scientist friends and they said to write a work that was a combination of both. But it seems like Darwin decided to write his own work anyway and there was a huge uproar because Darwin was saying it was his own idea and this other guy was saying that he came up with it first. On that first day the book Origins by Darwin was published “the entire first edition of 1,250 copies sold”. Pretty amazing.

During the next 40 years of his life he lived on a strict schedule. He was sick a lot and used this schedule to make sure that he had time for different things. He was only able to work on his scientific studies for about 4 hours a day. An interesting comment he made about how he used his time “‘a law ought to be passed’ against unhappy endings to novels.” He made time for reading other things besides scientific stuff.

He died in 1882 and is interred next to Sir Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey.

Here is a picture of where he is interred: Darwin in Westminster Abbey

darwin grave

Next comes the table of contents which is rather interesting in that is gives a short synopsis of each chapter. Following the table of contents are a few more section before the meat of the book starts. Both of these sections are written by Darwin. This post is long enough so I will begin my next post with the next section titled: “An Historical Sketch: of the progress of opinion on the origin of species, previously to the publication of the first edition of this work”.

Thoughtful Questions:

1) What are your feelings on reading this work by Darwin?

2) Christians: Do you feel as a Christian it is wrong or evil to read this work? If so, think about why you would feel this way.

3) Do you have a better understanding who Darwin is as a person when he was writing this work? If so, what impresses you most?

4) What do you find most interesting in his life leading up to the writing of this work?

5) Based on what you know now, if you had lived the life that Darwin lived, do you feel you would have done the same things he has done? Why or why not? Try and use specific parts of his life as examples.

6) Take the time right now and write down what you believe the theory of evolution to be. Writing it now before we study this work will be useful when doing the readings. Lets see if what you think you “know” now lives up to what is really in this book.

I have answered all these questions myself.

Ending thoughts:

Now, as a creationist I do not believe that the theory of evolution, as many state it, is factual. I also do not believe that all the information I have heard about Darwin’s theory of evolution is factual either. So I will enjoy reading about the life and studies of Darwin’s work as a textbook, as a work of a man who is excited to show what he has found out, as a work to be read not hidden or thought of as evil by some Christians. I have always wanted to know what this book says and that is why I am reading it. I want to know what it is I am against. I do not believe in evolution as others have told me. But I want to read for myself and say, “Yes, I know what evolution and I do not believe in it,” and really know what I am talking about. Not just regurgitate what others have told me that Darwin says. This is not a search to check on my beliefs, this is just me reading a book. I am and will always be a Christian who is a Creationist who believes that God created all things by just saying the words. Amen

* As a Bible believing creationist I am in the process of reading through Charles Darwin’s work “The Origin of Species”. I will be making notes here as I read through. These notes are just thoughts I have when I am reading. They are to help me remember and understand as I am reading. But they are also written as a review and summary of my thoughts in case my children ever  decide to read it they will know what their mama thought while reading each chapter.  I believe I am reading this work as a textbook and so will also include thoughtful questions for myself and others at the end of each section. When speaking with my children about my ideas they agreed that others may find this information useful so I am writing them here on my blog.

EDITION: Darwin, Charles.  “The Origin of Species.” The Great Books, Volume 40, 1952: pages v-252. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. and The University of Chicago

Feel free to post any useful thoughts. Please be careful to be kind in your words. This is not a debate. These are just my words to my children that I am sharing with you.

Sword Drills – Bible

bible

What is a sword drill?

  • Collect a group of kids or adults
  • They all need Bibles
  • Have them all start with their Bibles closed between their hands
  • Call out a verse and repeat it
  • Say “Go”
  • The first one to look it up and read it wins
  • It is that simple

Why use sword drills?

Sword drills are great to help children and adults learn where a book of the Bible is in that big book of God’s word. Practicing sword drills is fun and a treat when used to help and not criticize those who are slower.

How to use sword drills.

  • Have a bigger kid pair up with a younger child to help them get to the verse first
  • You know your kids… challenge your two best students to a sword drill and have the winner get a prize
  • For younger children I sometimes just call out a book of the Bible not  a verse
  • When a child is just learning the books of the New Testament for example I will only call out New Testament book for him

Do sword drills work to help in memorizing addresses of scripture?

Yes, we have found that it is a useful tool to reinforce their knowledge of where in the Bible a verse is. Every once in a while a child will say to me, “I remember looking that one up in the race.”

Want some already made up sword drills to try?

BibleHelps.net  has lots of great sword drill pdf’s to try. Here is one.

 

Now… Leave a comment about how you teach your kids to find Bible verses fast. I’d love  to hear from you.

GO!

Good & Evil Graphic Novel: Bible Comic Book

g & e

What is the Good and Evil graphic novel?

My kids love this book. This is a work by the artist Danny Bulanadi who is the famous Marvel Comic artist and words are by Michael Pearl. This is a chronological walk through the Bible  from Genesis through Revelation using a full-color graphic novel design. This award winning book uses key events from the Bible throughout the pages. The stories come alive as your read them. It is truly amazing. I am not even a graphic novel type of person and I enjoy this book very much.

Specifics:

  • 330 pages
  • full color illustrations
  • each page is footnoted with the Bible references (You can use the Bible references to locate where in the Bible the event is recorded.)
  • standard comic book size, but thicker
  • it weighs about 3lbs
  • chronologically goes through the Bible

When I first heard they had made the Bible into a comic book I thought it was a sacrilege. How could the Bible be a graphic novel? But the results are amazing.

g & e 10

What are they doing with these books?

This book has been translated into 44 languages and is in the process of being translated into 37 more languages. Their goal is to translate it into 100 languages. This book is a ministry tool for spreading the word of God.

We have a case of these in Spanish, well we had a case of these in Spanish, we only have about 8 of them left now. They are a wonderful gift to give. It’s like giving a Bible but cooler looking. If that makes sense.

How to use these in prison ministry.

Sometimes it is difficult to get Bibles into a prison library. At least we have found that to be the case. But I know from personal experience that they will willingly take these graphic novels into their libraries.

Isn’t that an amazing idea for a ministry opportunity? Getting the word of God into the prisons.

g 7 e page

How did we do it?

I contacted the chaplain of a local prison and got the details of where and how to send these books to their library. We ordered a case of the Good and Evil to be delivered directly to the prison. It had to be delivered directly from the publisher or the prison library would not accept it. There could not be a ‘middle man’ that potentially added something to the box.

We have done this once and now there is a case of these in a local prison. Our hope is many men have been able to read and enjoy the teachings from these 26 books.

There are different rules for each prison so if you are interested in doing this sort of ministry contact your local prison chaplain then contact us for a case discount 🙂

Another way we have used these in prison ministry…

As distributors for No Greater Joy we were given the opportunity to mail these books individually to prisons who specifically asked for them. The company sent us a list of addresses of prisoner who had asked for their own copy of Good and Evil. We followed the directions for mailing to a prisoner in that specific prison. We did this with our second case of 26 Good and Evil books.

We were not allowed to add any of our own contact information to the mailings so we never heard from the prisoners again. It is our hope that those books have blessed the prisoners that received them.

good-and-evil-case

Where can you get your own copy of Good and Evil?

It is available through Amazon as a book, on the kindle (affiliate links) and also through the publisher No Greater Joy. Our family is a Master Distributor for the No Greater Joy company and we can sell these to you at a discount if you are interested in buying at least 2 cases to distribute yourself or to have shipped directly to a prison.

Looks like you can also read the entire book for free online here.

What should you do now?

Buy at least one copy for your family. Read it for yourself and decide if this would be a good ministry tool for your family to use.

If you decide it is, then buy them in bulk and share them with your relatives, friends, strangers, neighbors, and prisoners. See if you can open the eyes of the lost with this book.

Happy ministry!