Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Don’t Water It Down

Thursday

My childhood as an Army Brat is one I wouldn’t trade for anything. We lived all over the world, and my brother and I were lucky enough to spend two years in school at Hawaii Baptist Academy in Honolulu. While I certainly fell away from my faith late in high school and in college, I credit many of my teachers and one of my Bible classes at HBA with my excitement in studying Scripture and learning about God.

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If you want the very best for your children, send them to a Bible-believing Christian school for K-12 – Yes, nowhere is perfect. Yes, the sports/activities may be lacking (or not!). But instilling a love for Christ and the Bible at an early age is such an amazing gift. One that, even if it is thrown aside during adolescence and/or college, can be picked back up with fervor later in life.

All this to say that this morning, on my way to work, I was thinking about my 8th grade Bible class. Hawaii’s population is, if not primarily, largely Buddhist – and this was the case even at a Baptist private school. Bible classes were mandatory, however, and Jesus was a little part of every course, so if the Gospel didn’t manage to touch you in some way, it was only because you were intentionally stuffing your ears full of cotton.

Our Bible teacher that year was phenomenal. In fact, many of the faculty from my years there are memorable. Most of them had traveled to Hawaii to teach at this school as missionaries, and while this may seem like a glamorous calling…Trust me… Hawaii without air conditioning for a Southerner is not even close to glamorous. As Craig can attest since we spent our anniversary trip via ‘true Hawaiian style’, it is HOT.

Hawaiians: Y’all need A/C.

I remember it like it was yesterday…our teacher, originally from Alabama, which made me feel right at home, assigned us to read the book of Genesis and the entire room of eighth graders, characteristically tactless, groaned audibly.

“Now, hold on,” she told us. “The Bible, and Genesis in particular, is quite the soap opera. You won’t find yourself bored at all…As a matter of fact, I dare you to compare some of the events in Genesis to something that could be on the Jerry Springer Show!”

We were shocked! Jerry Springer?!?! Now that was juicy!! And as we read how Eve deceived her husband, Cain killed his own brother, Lot’s daughters getting him drunk…WHOA! How the heck was this stuff in the BIBLE?!?!

The truth is…the Bible is probably the one completely honest piece of literature ever written. Most books gloss over their ‘hero’s’ faults and mistakes…The Bible is quite upfront about David’s indiscretions, Abraham’s initial lack of faith, Peter’s denial…even Jesus asked if there was any way crucifixion could be taken from Him. When we read Scripture, we are reading the living Word of God and that is beyond powerful!

Certainly, there is nothing ‘boring’ about the Bible. You just may need to find a translation that’s easy for you to read. While the King James Version was written in the vernacular of the day, The Message and the New Living Translation and the English Standard Version are more akin to modern language and therefore, easier to delve into and allow God to speak through.

I’m currently reading the first book in a trilogy of Christian fiction…I made the wrong assumption it would be heady and holier than thou, and I have been more than pleasantly surprised. This book is captivating and real and a fascinating portrayal of what the early Christians endured. It is filled with a picture of the ancient cultures of Rome and Ephesus…A society that lacked morality completely and tolerated anything…Anything except Christianity. In fact, Christians were burned as torches for a ‘circus’ the Roman emperor, Nero, held. It is a description of a society that sounds all too (increasingly) familiar…

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And if you don’t believe me… Read this, this, this and this. An Amazon review of the trilogy mentions it is very graphic for Christian fiction…and I wonder…Has this woman read the Bible?!?! It is an honest, if graphic, portrayal of the world early Christians lived in and what they endured for their faith.

And it is important to read in these frightening times.

As Christians, we don’t need to water down what is going on around us…and we certainly don’t need to water down and dress up the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Jesus never claimed His Way was easy. In fact, He tells us the world will hate us and that we will be outcasts when we truly live for Him. His Way is the only way, however and making Christianity into a pretty, neat little package that fits into your particular box is a dangerous path…

The video below provides a great analogy about what palatable packing does to the message of Jesus Christ. {Click the image to play the video.}

Until tomorrow…

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What's Up Wednesday

Status Quo?

Wednesday

Finally! The middle of the work week! We’ve made it!

So how has your week been thus far?

If you read our post yesterday, you know ours has been a whirlwind. We haven’t stopped and it doesn’t look like stopping is in sight any time in the near future!

Have you ever looked at your life and thought, “If only I had known then what I know now!!!!”? We all have. But do we ever do anything about rectifying our situation, or do we accept what is as the status quo?

That’s how I have been feeling as of late. My job is just a job, and while I am/we are very involved with church and very active in all we take on, I just don’t feel fulfilled in my career life. Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband so much, I pinch myself every morning to make sure I’m not living in a fairy tale. Our church (and our church family) are amazing and really do feel like family. The singles ministry we have begun with another (awesome) couple at FullTurn is going to impact our community in a way I can’t even begin to fathom!

BUT

I don’t feel like my brain ever gets to turn on.

I want to be CHALLENGED and I want to LEARN again! I enjoyed my first go-round of college a little too much, and attended classes a little less often than I should have. I have my Bachelor’s degree, but it isn’t in an area I feel fulfilled with…

And so when Craig asked me what would make me happy the other day…

I told him, “Going back to school. For real this time. To learn.”

And he, being the amazing husband that he issaid YES.

So, after WANTING and HOPING to do this for YEARS, but never being brave enough to pull the trigger; Never being confident enough to go after my dreams; Never having the follow-through to take the leap…

We registered me for my first class.

I am going to start off slowly. I still have a full-time job. I still have a ton of other responsibilities.

But I’m doing this.

August 6th, 2014. Get ready.

Prayers Please!

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Enamored of Him and His Children: Finding Christ in the Montessori Method

Thursday

Good Morning Folks!

Today, Craig & I have such a treat for you! This is our 100th blog post!!! In celebration, we have a wonderful guest blogger who graciously is sharing with us today!

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We are thrilled to introduce you to Sarah Thérèse, who writes a beautiful Catholic blog over at Footprints On My Heart. We know you will be blessed by her story below, and urge you to visit her blog – in addition to ours, of course! 😉 Thank you, Sarah Thérèse , for your wonderful story! Don’t be a stranger around this blog! 😉

It was a cool, late March 2012 morning, several weeks after my college’s Spring break and therefore a bit late to still be considering summer employment.  Yet there I was, driving toward a preschool 15 minutes away from my house that, until just two days before, I did not know even existed.  I was uncharacteristically very excited about this job interview; considering my more reserved personality, I surprised myself realizing that I couldn’t get there fast enough.  I was interviewing for a job at a Montessori preschool and, if I landed it, it would be a real dream come true.

I had first learned of Dr. Maria Montessori and her method of education nearly two years before during my first semester studying Early Childhood Education in college.  As a graduate of a lifetime of homeschool, the Montessori Method resonated with me deeply and I was seriously interested in learning everything within my reach.  Now, two years later, I was writing a research paper on Montessori and pursuing a job opportunity in the field.  With that very first step inside a Montessori classroom on that late March morning, I fell completely in-love.

The job was, indeed, offered to me and I spent that first Summer working with the children.  It was a learning experience and I loved every moment of it, even the less pleasant ones (and with children, there are many).  I continued learning biographical and (for lack of a better word) “academic” information about Montessori and her method; I enjoyed getting to know the children and their different personalities, observing the ways my coworkers interacted with the children and how the children, in turn, responded to them.  Before long, though, I began to notice that something still seemed to be missing.  Montessori was also a devout Catholic and that was one aspect that I sorely missed while working in a privately owned, yet still secular environment.

I’ve questioned whether or not I should continue working there.  I consider it my dream job and it is a good place to be employed, but is it where God is calling me, or simply another stepping stone along the path there?

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit a Catholic Montessori school and atrium and, oh my goodness, if I thought I fell in-love with the method when I stepped into the first classroom two years ago, I am completely enamored of it now.  Christ’s love so evidently shone through every single one of the teachers and there was an atmosphere of genuine peace and joy that was only enhanced by the presence of everyone, students and teachers alike.  But my favorite aspect of this visit, aside from seeing the atrium and receiving a very general overview of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, was learning more about Maria Montessori as a devout, religious individual.  The teacher who gave me the tour followed my promptings and offered so much more information regarding the religious aspect of the method and the individual than anything I’d found in researching, and I soaked it all in as if I’d been awaiting this moment my entire life.

Two things in particular jumped out at me: namely, her devotion to Our Lady under a particular title and her favorite verse from Sacred Scripture. 

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I found her personal devotion to Our Lady of the Chair very intriguing.  I wasn’t familiar with this title, but it’s supposedly as well known as it is ancient (fifth century).  Our Lady sitting – Our Lady of the Chair – belongs to the category of Marian representations called Theotokos.  The decisive feature of this representation is not Mary, but Jesus Christ whom she holds on her lap, mostly in a frontal position. In fact, she is the throne upon which Christ is seated; not she is wisdom incarnate, but the throne on which wisdom (Christ) takes place.  Theotokos means “Mother of God”: like a mother, she holds the baby on her lap; however, the whole posture indicates reverence and respect due to the Son of God and, at the same time, Mary’s gesture is one of demonstration. She holds the child so that he can be seen by the onlooker.

I was drawn to the example of Our Lady as she embraces the Christ Child, and the example that Montessori leaves us in that message by sharing her personal devotion.  As was aforementioned, Theotokos means “Mother of God,” and I believe Montessori’s devotion to this image is a call to Spiritual Motherhood of all the children her method has and continues to form.

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–John 3:30–

The words spoken by St. John the Baptist referring to Jesus basically sum up the entirety of the Montessori Method.  Montessori teachers are not there to strictly “teach,” their purpose is to guide and simply be present for the child.  The Montessori teacher’s goal is to allow the child to shine and be his or her self, without any pressure and with complete trust and confidence in the individual.  Children are the most amazing miracles in the world and each is a precious gift from above.  They should be treated as so.

Visiting the Catholic Montessori school was a very real dream come true and I cannot even begin to express how much I look forward to returning for another visit.  If you think the Lord is calling you somewhere or to do something, don’t be afraid to respond and test His call.  You never know what adventures might lie ahead…  And thank you, oh my Jesus, for calling me to love You through serving Your precious children and for teaching me through them about Your great love for me.

Sarah Thérèse is a homeschooler-turned-Montessori teacher assistant currently in her final semester of College and very, very ready to graduate in May with an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.  She blogs about journeying toward a deeper relationship with Christ, and hosts an ongoing series about the Saints at Footprints on My Heart.

Craig & I have a special guest post coming up at Footprints On My Heart February 22nd about a saint very near and dear to our hearts! Stay tuned!!

Sarah Thérèse, thank you, again, for your beautiful testimony! We are blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful brothers & sisters in Christ as we journey through life!

Join us again tomorrow for Food For Thought Friday!!

All Our Love,
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