Striped-Candy Christianity

Have you ever ‘liked’ a TV evangelist on facebook? Ever been inspired by a ‘motivational’ speaker in church. Ever gone to church to see what will happen next? Ever applauded the band at the front pretending to “applaud” Christ? Ever been more focused on the church tea than on hearing the word of God?

I have done most of those.

A W Tozer died in 1963, after a life of intimate communion with the Lord. This excerpt from his article on Religious Boredom is a great challenge to our churches today. Although, this article is not new, I believe it is worth reading. If Tozer was appalled at the state of the church in his day, what would he think of the church today?

“It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed and heterodoxy in practice. The striped-candy technique has been so fully integrated into our present religious thinking that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of the teachings of Christ and His apostles. Any objection to the carryings on of our present golden-calf Christianity is met with the triumphant reply: “But we are winning them!” And winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To a despising of the world’s treasures? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total committal to Christ? Of course, the answer to all this questions in NO! We are paying a frightful price for our religious boredom. And that at the expense of the world’s mortal peril!”

Tozer’s full article

How can we lead people to the Christ of the Bible through entertainment, fun and excitement. The only way to God is through His Word.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”John 1v 14

I am so grateful to God for leading us to a church that preaches from the Bible and does not ‘entertain’ its congregation. I am so challenged. Each day I find myself face to face with the God of the Bible through His Word.

“Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16 v 49

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Grace in the Moment

Once again…

My 3 year old wants to go outside to play. I am happy for him to go outside but I am in the middle of homeschool and I don’t want him to get his clothes soaking wet as is his usual custom. I tell him – “sure you can – but no water!”. He can play with sand, soil, grass, cups berries, sticks, spades – but no turning the tap on – no water! “Do you understand Mommy?” “Yes Mommy.” “What did Mommy say you shouldn’t do?” “Play with water”. “Thats right – no turning on the tap. If you turn on the tap, you are disobeying Mommy.” “Okay Mom.” The two boys run outside to play.

20 minutes later I call the boys in. One is dry and my 3 year old is completely drenched from head to toe and covered with mud. It is smeared all over his clothes and caked on his face. Normally, I would be tempted to laugh – but because of our conversation where he understood me and promised to comply, the frustration rises up inside me like a volcano. How could he so defiantly disobey me and stand there with a happy smile on his face. I quickly turn away and go inside so that I don’t shout angrily at him.

“Help me Lord. I feel so angry, I don’t know what to do – how do I respond? How do I help Him to learn to obey. I need grace Lord.” The Lord calms my heart. I go and start the bath running. The anger feels like paint inside me – slowly running down the walls and getting less and less.

I step out in faith – He give me His grace in the moment – now its not just me, its me and the Lord.

I have grace.

I can give grace.

I call my child to the door, still not saying anything for fear I say something in an angry tone.

We take off the muddy clothes, wipe his feet and head for the bath. I gently sponge him off. He is subdued. He knows – but he was overwhelmed in the moment by the fun of it all – he’s only 3 years old after all.

Finally I take a deep breath. “Mommy is not angry with you, sweetheart.” As I say it all the last anger flows away and is replaced with love for my little sinner – a little sinner who needs grace just like I do.

He looks up hopefully. “but Mommy wants you to learn to obey. Did you disobey Mommy?” “Yes” “What did Mommy tell you not to play with?” “Water.”

We talk – his heart is open – and so is mine.

We deal with the disobedience and God is able to work in his soft heart and in mine. We are closer together as a result.

We talk about the consequences – wasted time – missing out on what we had planned…

He is such a precious blessing – worthy of the time it takes to teach him this.

At times I have despaired over this child – over whether he will ever learn to obey.

While God has never despaired over me – as I sin in my angry responses.

He is there waiting for me…  to ask for grace.

We are sinners – but we are also children of grace.

It is only as we surrendour to God each day in our imperfection that he gives us His grace.

Do you have any encouragement to share about God’s amazing grace?

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Letter to An Old Friend

To My Dear Friend

I miss you! You haven’t died – and yet it feels the same. I miss being able to spend time with you and share our excitement, hope and vision for the future.

Why did you fall away and why did you fall so far? What you are doing is an abomination to God.

Your love for Christ and for people always seemed so real. Its been 10 years since I last saw you – and I weep for you in my heart when I see the things you are involved in. How could you believe that you will find fulfillment and hope in those things? Maybe you have lost all hope.

I remember how no person was too dirty or unappealing for you to approach and share your love and the love of Christ. I remember how your heart was always ready to help and to give. Maybe that is still your heart but you just have lost your way.

I know that your sin makes God angry – just like mine does – but I know that my hope, my faith, my life is in Him. His righteousness covers my sin. His grace is sufficient for me – it is sufficient for you, too.

Why have you forsaken Him?

I am praying for your soul, my friend. My hope is that if you weren’t saved, you would come to know God as He is.

He is not like those who have hurt you and let you down – like the father who left you or the pastor that betrayed you. He is faithful and His Word is true. I know that you struggled so when your Mom died years ago. I know how hard that was for you. You can find peace in Him, you can trust in the sovereignty of God – he will take care of you.

I pray that God would heal your heart. He can save any sinner. He can save you, heal you and restore you to who He created you to be.

“And now abideth faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13 v 13

2nd Generation

I was thinking – of all the wonderful encouraging blogs that I read, do you know which I love the most…

…the second generation Christian homeschooling moms!!

I love seeing these families – the closeness and togetherness, the family vision and love for God’s word that is demonstrated through these amazing woman and by their parents before them.

Many of the first generation homeschooling Moms are doing wonderful jobs too – but there is just something so inspiring about seeing it work for a generation and be passed on to the next.

These are three that strike me right away.

Raising Olives

Life in a Shoe

A Mothers Heritage

What does that say for homeschooling? – a lot!!

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” Ephesians 6 v 4

The Very Last Time

The years with little ones are probably the busiest, the craziest, the fullest and the most demanding for a mother. The days can rush by, some feeling like we are merely coping rather than living life to the full.

But I’ve come to believe that the ‘little’ years are also the richest and the most rewarding! The ‘little’ years are the time when new little soldiers for Christ are being shaped in our homes. We have a unique but brief opportunity to impact their lives, to sew into their hearts, to add to their characters, to love as Christ loves, to build precious memories and to put aside our own agenda’s to be available to our little ones.

I want to savour and enjoy every moment of dirty floors, messy rooms, boisterous noise and general chaos!

Who knows when it will be the very last time my child picks me a flower from the garden or delightedly slips a little note under my pillow. They grow up so fast and I will never know till its over that it was the last time – the last time they would excitedly bring me a picture they had drawn or a story they had written, excitedly ask me to come and see what they have built or invite me into their tent with them. The very last time!

We celebrate the firsts – the first smile, the first tooth, the first step, the first word – but we often miss the lasts. The lasts don’t come with a warning – they are here and then gone forever, only to be looked back on with fond memories.

I want to remember this every day when I am busy or feeling overwhelmed or tired. I want to enjoy my children! I want the Lord to draw my heart towards my family and my children so that I might cherish the gifts He has blessed me with.

“And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” Hebrews 2 v 13

Unbiblical Goals

Many parents who would never allow their children to attend public school will send them to dance classes. They will refuse to have them influenced by secular humanism in school, but will expose them to unbiblical ideas of beauty in dance class. When I ask parents why they put their children in these classes, they explain that it has helped their child’s sense of self-worth. Are there any passages that make the development of self-worth a biblically mandated goal? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with an accurate sense of self? Is it biblical to build self-worth on a child’s capacity to develop a physical skill? Are we not encouraging pride that comes from the capacity to perform? Most coaches do not teach the Little Leaguer who hits a home run to give thanks to God for the timing and coordination necessary to perform such a complex feat.

Many of these activities teach your children to trust in themselves, when the Scripture says that those who trust in themselves are fools whose hearts turn from God. The self-love and self-trust our culture proffers always turns the heart away from God.

What values do you teach by the sacrifices needed to practice each day? Many families who always have time for team practice are unable to organize family life around regular times of family Bible reading and prayer. What values are taught? What values are taught when the Lord’s Day worship plays second fiddle to baseball practice or a swim meet? All this because children need to build their self-esteem!

A biblical worldview dictates that you should teach your children to exercise and care for their bodies as an expression of stewardship for God’s gifts. Abilities should be developed because God has given the stewardship of talents and special capacities. Skills that would make your children more able to serve and open channels of ministry to other should be encouraged.

Excerpt from Chapter 6 “Redefining Unbiblical Goals” in Shepherding a Child’s heart by Tedd Tripp

What are your thoughts?

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet” Psalm 8 v 4-6