Tag: summer reading

All Aboard!

When I was 17 years old I bought a month long Amtrak pass and figure-eighted the country stopping at cities and sites of interest and even visiting some friends along the way. It was a grand adventure that had I a daughter of my own I would never allow her to repeat. What were my parents thinking? I didn’t even have a cell phone for crying out loud! I slept on the train and in train stations and chatted away with strangers all over the country. And I fell in love with trains. So much so that I repeated the same kind of adventure in Europe a couple years later and then again with my husband all across the U.S. and Canada. I’ve trained the coast of California with 4 little ones under 7 in tow and up the Central Valley to see our Capitol with all 5.

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So when the Bible Reading Challenge posted a train as their new logo for Same Page Summer 2020 I was all aboard. Here’s why I think a train is the perfect symbol for this endeavor.img_7120

If you’re one of those who has been too intimidated to start a Bible reading plan, it might be because you’re viewing yourself as the engine. You think you’ve got to gear yourself up and flex your muscles and start chugging away with all your might.  But the fact is, you’re not the engine at all. The Holy Spirit is the power behind this whole operation!

So imagine all the rail cars like books of the Bible. This summer you’re hopping on to car #John and you’re going to ride in there for a while and then move on to another car, #1,2 and 3rd John I believe, and then car #Ephesians and so on. You might fall off the train at some point and the train’s going to keep going without you. But here’s the thing, you’ve got one of those passes like I had so you can just hop right back on any time you want! You might not be in the same car as you were, it might July and everyone’s riding along in car #Mark now, but no plan has been derailed because you’re still heading for the same destination! Do you see what I’m saying?

The Holy Spirit is the engine that’s powering the Bible along and when you get yourself into the book it starts moving you toward sanctification. Sometimes you’re moving toward sanctification in an Old Testament car and sometimes it’s a New Testament car but as long as you’re in a book of the Bible, powered by the Holy Spirit, you are heading in exactly the right place.  Not only is the Gospel proclaimed from it’s pages “the power of  God unto salvation” but the Bible is also the means God uses to conform His Church to the image of His Son. To be in a car filled with other saints as we journey on to sanctification through the washing of the Word is one of the greatest privileges in this life. So please jump on board!

Click same page summer plan for the printable version.

 

Tolle Lege: Mama Bear Apologetics by Hillary Morgan Ferrer

A couple weeks ago I was cleaning out a closet while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, “Mama Bear Apologetics,” as they discussed their new book by the same title.  Listening to them talk, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that book.  Their motto, “You mess with our kids, we’ll demolish your arguments” resonated deeply with this former-philosophy-major-now-mother-of-5.  When they called on us to “rise up, Mama Bears” I could just feel that inner roar welling up.  But then I spotted a mouse in the back of the closet and ran screaming out of the house.

My middle-son, Nathan, came out to see what was wrong and from across the yard (I really had run that far) I warned him about the dreadful creature inhabiting the closet.  Nate disappeared back into the house and a minute later returned holding a pellet gun in one hand with the lifeless form of the perpetrator dangling by its tail in the other.  Not my proudest Mama Bear moment. 

After re-establishing the “no shooting guns in the house” rule, I finished the closet (actually I had Nate pull everything else from the back of it, just in case), and immediately ordered the book.  Here’s why I think every mom needs to do the same.

Mice are in the house.  They creep in unbeknownst to us, take up residence, and reproduce at an alarming rate.  They chew away at the fabric of our minds and leave their filth in every corner.  They are the ideas which Paul calls us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to trap, take captive and conform to Christ.  Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies” edited by head Mama Bear herself, Hillary Morgan Ferrer, will help moms shine the light of truth into the cluttered closets of young minds and identify intruders. 

Each chapter is authored by a different Mama Bear and focuses on a particular ideology, such as Naturalism, Skepticism, Moral Relativism, Marxism, Feminism etc…  Rebekah Valerius in her chapter called “The Truth Is, There Is No Truth” discusses how sneaky an intruder mindsets like post-modernism can be.  Parents think they’re “helping their children build on a foundation of truth” but all the while the children are reinterpreting it, not as THE truth, but rather YOUR truth.  Which is fine until you “claim that your truth should be theirs—then you’ll have pushback.”  She continues,

“Postmodern principles are insidious in that way.  They are like viruses that lay dormant for years.  We may not even know our kids are infected until it is too late.  That is why we need to expose the lies early and show how a postmodern mindset leads to chaos, not freedom” (139).

It’s like that mouse quietly making its home in the back of my closet, getting all nice and fat with my pantry supplies, wreaking havoc in my forgotten linens until one day I’m surprised into flight by its presence.  Thankfully my cub at least had the presence of mind to put his tools into use to demolish it himself.

Oh, and lest you think that by sheltering your kids in the church and Christian schools they will somehow avoid dangerous ideologies like these, Alisa Childers has an excellent chapter on how unbiblical thinking has invaded even the church.  New Age Spirituality, Social Justice Marxism, Self-Helpism, Feminism, Emotionalism have all made themselves quite at home in Christian closets, propagated by Christian speakers, writers, music, social-media etc… 

Identifying and rooting out these ideologies can be a daunting task.  It’s like standing in front of that long-neglected, cluttered up closet and not even wanting to open the door.  Who knows what’s lurking there in the dark.  

But that’s why this book is so great.  Using the acrostic “R.O.A.R.” it will help moms Recognize the massage, Offer discernment (“affirm the good and reject the bad”), Argue for a healthier approach, and Reinforce through discussion, discipleship, and prayer (54).

The Mama Bears have finally built a better mousetrap.

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You can visit their website here

Rebekah Valerius also blogs here

I also listen to Alisa Childers’ podcast here 

 

Tolle Lege: “A Company of Heroes” by Tim Keesee

I often say these five boys are going to be the death of me.  Every time I turn around one of them is doing something daring or dangerous or dumb.  It’s a fine line, right?  Especially with my second born, Joel, who has taken on “watch this!” as his middle name.  That’s when he wants witnesses to his feats.  Mostly I just hear about them after the fact.  Every now and then I catch him in the act.  Like when we lived in Hawaii and I was gazing across the room toward our third floor lanai and saw Joel’s 9-year-old head pop over the balcony railing.  He had scaled the 30 feet of drain pipe to get up and over.  Rarely, am I quick enough to snatch a picture of these exploits but here are a few recents.

Joel is the one on the far left of the rattlesnake which he and his brother, Titus, killed, skinned, cooked and ate.

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Can you spot Joel on a pole?  “Watch me turn hanging out with cousins in Oma and Opa’s suburban front yard into a dangerous activity!”

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Can you spot Joel in a hole?  Because who WOULDN’T want to spend the night burrowed into a snow bank with nothing but a sleeping bag on one of the coldest nights of the year?  

How does a mom channel that kind of thirst for thrills into more noble pursuits?  Lately, when I hear talk of going faster, or higher, or deeper (yes, they’ve discovered spelunking) I insert the suggestion that if they want to die doing something daring they should do it taking the gospel into a dangerous place.  Then I like to drive the point home by pulling out a missionary biography for them to read.  Joel seems to have developed a genuine interest in these more gospel-driven adventures.

Most recently, he read through Tim Keesee’s, “A Company of Heroes” (Crossway, 2019) and wrote up the following review:

I asked to read this book because I wanted to get a perspective on mission work around the world.  Tim Keesee does this by following missionaries and documenting the work they do sharing the gospel.  The book is actually a diary of these encounters so sometimes its not even in complete sentences.  But I really liked the format and the stories.  I learned about how the gospel is advancing globally and how men and women are risking their lives for the sake of Christ.  My favorite part took place in North Africa where this one couple is handing out hundreds of Bibles and so the police are always after them but they won’t stop because they know the gospel is worth more than their lives.  Overall, the book was really good.  I even liked how the Tim Keesee included quotes from other authors at the beginning of each chapter to go along with each story.  One of them by John Piper kind of sums up the whole book,

“So I say this very sobering word: God’s plan is that his saving purpose for the nations will triumph through the suffering of his people, especially his frontline forces who break through the darkness of Satan’s blinding hold on an unreached people” (23).  

I recommend this book for other people interested in mission work because it will encourage and inspire them to put the gospel first (by Joel, age 13).  

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(Even though I was given a copy of this book by the publisher I am not required to write a favorable review)