Monday, April 28, 2008

Presumed Guilty

I just finished reading James Scott Bell's book, Presumed Guilty. It starts off slow, but picks up and finishes strong. I very much enjoyed it. This is the first book I have read of his, but I will be reading more. I will just leave one quote that is near the end of the book. I trust you will enjoy it.

"You reading that Bible again?" Ernesto's head hung down from the top bunk, looking at me.
"You know," I said, "I think I've discovered that the Bible is reading me."
"What are you talking about, man?"
"You really want to know?"
"I got nothing else goin' on."
I sat up. Ernesto dropped off his bunk and sat on mine. We had reached a point of mutual tolerance and even, on occasion, conversation. It usually happened like this, in the twilight time between chow and lights-out. Ernesto sometimes got downright chatty then.
"It's like this," I said. "I used to read the Bible just to get something out of it for me, like for my sermons or to back up something I was going to say in a book."
"But the Bible is living and active, sharper than any double-edge sword."
"What's that mean?" He looked interested. But I must say he was a true example of a captive audience.
"It means it reads me. It cuts me up. But I have to let it."
"You sound a little out there, man, you want to know the truth."
"Yeah, it sounds a little nuts. But God is doing the cutting, see, inside me. He's cutting out all the stuff I don't need, that I used to let get in the way. Now I've got plenty of time to let God do his work."
Ernesto was quiet for a long time. Then he said, "My grandmother used to try to get me to go to Mass. I couldn't take it. I got bored. Guess I had some of that attention thing."
"Deficit disorder."
"You gringos are great with the labels. But I always thought when I was in church that there was something going on, something I couldn't see, but it was there. It was floating around. Think that was God?"
"Definitely. But then I'd go one step further and say there's a way to know all about that presence. And it's in this book."
"We can talk about it if you want."
"You gonna try to convert me?"
"No, If that happens, it'll be because of the Word and the Spirit. But I'm thinking maybe there's a reason you and I were put in the same cell together."
"Yeah, so I can keep you from getting stabbed in the back. You are so white."
"Maybe I can return the favor."
"If I get bored, and I tell you to stop, you stop, got it?"
I took the Bible back and in that moment asked God what I should start with. The beginning. It didn't take a bright bulb to catch on to that.
So I started with, "In the beginning God..."
And for two straight hours Ernesto was not bored. He did not ask me to stop, and I felt for the first time in years that my preaching was anointed by God. Right there in a prison cell. 

To order a copy of this book click here!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

the wounded spirit Part 2

The title of this last section of this book is "Help for the Wounded." Some excellent information.

  • First of all, if you're wounded, you're not alone. If you discovered some "defect" in yourself, welcome to the human race. Regardless of your failures, foiles, or defeats, you're just as human (and just as precious) as anybody else. You're a member. p. 125
  • And how about this startling revelation: It wasn't (isn't) your fault. One of the most coomon mistakes made by victims of abuse is to think for some reason the abuse was justified, that they actually deserved it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. p. 126
  • . . . you don't have to put up with it. You really don't. Those in authority need to care, and you should expect them to care. Forget about that foolish, childhood code of silence: Speak up. Let someone know what's going on, and ask them - yes, expect them - to do something about it. You deserve to be regarded as God's unique, special creation - beacuse you are! pp. 129-130
  • Finally, take heart. A wounded spirit need not be permanent. p. 143

God does not waste an ounce of our pain or a drop of our tears; suffering doesn't come our way for no reason, and He seems especially efficient at using what we endure to mold our character. If we are malleable, He takes our bumps and bruises and shapes them into something beautiful.

. . . we are called to be Jesus to the world around us, to demonstrate in word and deed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Come Thirsty Part 4

Below are quotes from chapters 14-17 from Max Lucado's book, Come Thirsty.

May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Eph. 3:17-19) p. 126

For any desiring a descent into such love, Scriptures offers an anchor. Grab hold of this verse and let it lower you down: "God is love" (1John 4:16). p. 127

One word into the passage reveals the sumpreme surprise of God's love-it has nothing to do with you. p. 127

Joe Allbright is a fair and fearless West Texas rancher, a square-jawed, rawboned man with a neck by Rawlings. In Andrews County, where I was raised, everyone knew him.
One of Joe's sons, James, and I were best friends in high school. We played football together. (More honest, he played while I guarded the team bench.) One Friday night after an out-of-town game, James invited me to stay at his house. By the time we reached his property, the hour was way past midnight, and he hadn't told his father he was bringing anyone home.

Mr. Allbright didn't know me or my vehicle, so when I stepped out of the car in front of his house, he popped on a floodlight and aimed it right at my face. Through the glare I saw this block of a man (I think he was in his underwear), and I heard his deep voice. "Who are you?" I gulped. My mind moved at the speed of cold honey. I started to say my name but didn't. Mr Allbright doesn't know me. My only hope was that James would speak up. A glacier could have melted before he did so. Finally he interceded. "It's okay, Dad. That's my friend Max. He's with me." The light went off, and Mr. Allbright threw open the door. "Come on in, boys. Food is in the kitchen."

What changed? What made Mr. Allbright flip off the light? One fact. I had aligned myself with his son. My sudden safety had nothing to do with my accomplishments or offerings. I knew his son. Period.

For the same reason, you need never fear God's judgment. Not today. Not on Judgment Day. Jesus, in the light of God's glory, is speaking on your behalf. "That's my friend," He says. And when He does, the door of heaven opens.

Trust God's love. His perfect love. Don't fear He will discover your past. He already has. Don't fear disappointing Him in the future. He can show you the chapter in which you will. With perfect knowledge of the past and perfect vision of the future, He loves you perfectly in spite of both.

Perfect love can handle your fear of judgment. pp. 147-148

Monday, April 21, 2008

the wounded spirit Part 1

I picked up Frank Peretti's small book, the wounded spirit, at Good Will several months ago. I had no idea what it was about until I started reading it. Mr. Peretti was made fun of and bullied as he grew up. He had what was called cystic hygroma. It is a lesion caused by a mass of dilated lymphatics, due to the failure of the embryonic lymphatics to connect with the venous system. This not only affected his facial features but also his tongue (both visually and the way he talked). The focus of the book is how bullying effects others and how to stop it. He also talks a little about world view. Here are a few quotes from the book:

[I suggest that every human being is born with a sense of transcent justice because every human being, whether they acknowledge it or not, is made in the image of God. God is a moral God, a moral law Giver, and He has written His moral law upon the heart of every human being. When people try to get around this, it makes for a wacky world. They'll often smack into themselves coming the other way in the same sentence:

  • It's wrong to impose your morals on others!

Uh . . . pardon me, but when you tell me it's wrong to do something, aren't you imposing your morals on me?

  • No one's moral opinion is valid because we all speak from how we've been indoctrinated.

Well, I guess that would apply to you as well, which means you've just said isn't valid.

  • There are no absolutes.

That in itself is an absolute statement.

  • Everyone should be able to believe whatever they want.

Then why are you arguing with me?

  • Life is meaningless!

Would you consider that a meaningful statement?

  • You can't know anything for sure.

You seen rather sure about that.

  • Students, no view of reality is superior to any other.

Then why are you grading our papers?

  • You have no right to say truth is external! We all create our own reality!

Then I'm your fault.

  • Oh, here we go again, another right-wing fundamentalist making bold assertions of fact!

Pardon me, but didn't you just make a bold assertion of fact?

  • There is no right; there is no wrong.

Is that statement right or wrong?

  • You can't tell anybody they're wrong.

Am I wrong in doing so? pp. 117-118

The prophet Micah reminds us, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and waht does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Mic. 6:8). God has created us in His image and put each of us here on earth for specific purposes. That means every human being has intrinsic value, preciousness, meaning, and dignity. Why? Because we matter to Almighty God! Moreover, not only is it wrong for me to devalue another person, to belittle, to bully, or to abuse another person created in God's image, I must do what I can to defend those who cannot defend themselves from such abuse. We really are "family," whether or not we choose to admit it. The Scripture says, "And He has made from one blood every nation of man to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:26-28).

God says that it is right to respect my fellowman, to love him, to care for him, and to protect him. It is wrong to abuse, tease, taunt, intimidate, hurt, harass, or violate anyone. Taking it a step further, to demean another person is sin. When we indulge in such practices, we are doing so in direct disobedience to our Lord Jesus Christ. Quoting Old Testament passages found in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, Jesus said, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27). Don't miss that last part. Another time, Jesus stated it plainly: "Whastever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 7:12). pp. 119-120

To order this book click here!

Abigail Adams

I just finished a 1937 edition of Janet Whitney's book, Abigail Adams. From what I understand Janet was a early woman's libber. You cannot detect that by reading the book. She does present Abigail Adams in a positive light, but I believe everything she says is true.

It is interesting to read an older book about the history of America. Most of the modern secular books over the last 50 years has re-written most of our history.

Take for instance this quote from page 127: "Last Sunday, after service, the Declaration of Independence was read from the pulpit by order of Council. Dr. Chauncy's address please me [Abigail]. The good man, after having read it, lifted his eyes and hands to heaven, 'God bless the United States of America, and let all the people say Amen.'"

Many times church, prayer, God, Jesus, etc are mentioned in a positive light. Also, the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams was shown to not be a good one. If you enjoy history this would be a good book for you to read.

To order this book click here!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Curriculum in the Classroom of a Christian School

The following quotes are taken from the ACSI Christian School Education Vol. 11 Nu 3 maginize article "Curriculum in the Classroom of a Christian School. pp. 28-30. Even though it is written for Christian School Educators, I believe everyone will find principles they can apply.

In effective classrooms, teachers consistently attend to at least four elements: whom they teach (students), where they teach (learning environment), what they teach (content), and how they teach (instruction). quoted from Tomlinson and McTighe 2006.

Curriculum is the taught curriculum. What teachers choose to engage in, in their classrooms with their students, is the curriculum. Curriculum is what the children learn and what becomes part of their lives. It cannot be reduced to a list of subjects or a philosophy statement, a scope and sequence or a textbook. These are essential parts of the curriculum documents, but as Edlin describes, these are tracks, the points, and switches that determine the path: "The curriculum is the engine that empowers the whole process."

Christian curriculum can be taught in any subject and classroom of Christian schools. It is certainly easier to make the links to Christian principles in my World Religions class than in my Advanced Placement Chemistry class, but that fact is part of the challengeof being a Christian teacher.

Curriculum used in the classrooms of Christians need not be limited to what has been written by Christian authors and published by Christian publishing companies.

Stop for a moment and ask yourself what your students would write if they had to write "the gospel of my teacher." More than likely they will remember the hidden curriculum-not what you said but what you modeled-the things you considered really important. As John Maxwell puts it, "People do what people see. They forget your words but follow your footsteps."

As Christian teachers, we need to ask the following questions: What is the taught curriculum in my classroom? What will my students carry into their futures? Is my hidden content based on a Biblical view that Christians are children of God, saved by grace, or is it based on humanistic models of child development and human personality?

Education is not so much about learning as it is about learning how to know what we can afford to ignore and forget.

In our teaching, as in Jesus' ministry, there should be a strong link between the standards and benchmarks (objectives) and the outcomes. Students need to know what is important not to forget.

Assessment, reinforcement, and review that link back to both the declarative knowledge and the procedural knowledge will then enable students to retrieve and apply the knowledge in real-life situations.

The Family

The Family
Braves Game 2012