Thursday, November 12, 2015

How to be a Christian on the Internet

Equate your life choices with God's Word. Do you work, or do you stay home with your kids? Do you drink beer or abstain? Do you read the NLT or the ESV Bible translation? How many kids do you have? How big is your house? Did you breastfeed? Do you vaccinate? Be sure that everyone knows that Jesus agrees with you.

Forward out of context or loosely translated verses around all of the social media sites. It doesn't matter what God's Word really means, as long as it benefits you. I'm so glad God wants us all to be healthy and wealthy, if we only are faithful enough. Aren't you?

Don't get mad, ever. Don't judge, ever. Sorry if you need to choose where to go to lunch. No discernment allowed. But if you do get mad, make sure it's over Starbucks cups. Don't get mad over Starbucks cups. And definitely don't say that you shouldn't get mad about Starbucks cups. Can you not just be more courageous, for heaven's sake?

Don't ever vote for anyone, unless you write in Jesus.

Got a problem with society? Repeatedly say that our country was founded by Christians, regardless of what any documentation says, and that we need to go back to that. Also make sure you let everyone know it's a result of taking an all-powerful God and forcefully removing him from schools, because we can totally do that.

Enjoy every moment. Every. Moment.

Try. Try so hard. Try harder. Make sure the burdens of righteousness are on your own shoulders, where they belong. Read parenting blogs for tips. If they pull you in too many different directions, you probably just need to have more faith.

Focus on grace. Focus so hard. Focus harder. Focus so hard on grace that you don't have to see your sin or ever repent. This is definitely why Jesus died.

If you're a woman, make sure you check the list of female-approved careers. Your pastor should have a copy. Also, be sure you are always *available* for your husband, or you might cause him to commit adultery, and you wouldn't want to have that on your conscience. Never raise your voice, and always be sure you fix your hair. Jesus said so.

Never acknowledge a depraved and deceitful heart. I'm quite sure that's not even in the Bible. Enough thought about a topic can always put the fault of sin (such a yucky word!) on another person or situation.

Don't be a police officer, but if you are one, be sure you check with the social media church leaders before you handle any situation. They have never done your job, but they are so insightful.

If you feel sad or anxious, remember that this is never the result of faulty brain chemistry and should always be treated with worship songs and devotionals. There is nothing in the Bible about Zoloft!

Be sure you share this blog, or Jesus will blot out your name from the Book of Life with his own tears.


This is entirely sarcastic, save one sentence: "Don't get mad over Starbucks cups." I have seen each of these things on the internet with my own eyes, and have usually been appalled, and occasionally have felt guilt or sadness I shouldn't have about the false truths being spread so readily, even by people who should know better. So I wrote this. Maybe I should know better.

Yes, I am too sensitive, but yes, people should stop saying this crap.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Making Lego Houses New

I built the boys a little Lego house because they can't build more complicated things at their age, but they love playing with them and the "Lego guys," as they call them.

I finished the house just before lunch and I sat it on top of their Lego table, and then I went to the kitchen to get lunch together for everyone.

I don't remember exactly what happened, just that one of the boys was having some kind of meltdown. Justin was trying to talk to him, but his anger still escalated. I heard Legos smash. I could tell from Justin's disappointed reaction that it was the house I had just built.

I thought, "I am not rebuilding that." I think I even said it to Justin. "Well, I'm not fixing it."

By the time we finished lunch, the meltdown was resolved, and things were going fine. The boys laid down for a nap.

I have been thinking a lot lately about redemption stories. Sometimes things go wrong, but then God works in our lives to make it right again, and there is earthly restoration in that. I think we all long for those stories: cancer healed, friendship restored, a marriage saved, a lost person coming to Christ.

Revelation 21:4-5 says, "'He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'"

In the final restoration, the former brokenness will be gone. All things will be made new. No crying. No pain. No meltdowns. No smashed Lego houses. And it won't be because we deserve it - we will be able to see this restoration because of the grace that covers our sins, because of Christ taking the punishment that we deserve.

And so I sat down in the floor and searched for and gathered up all of the pieces of the smashed Lego house. I pieced the house back together, tiny brick by tiny brick - an earthly restoration, a little bit made new in our living room.

He exclaimed when he saw it later, "Mommy! You fixed the Lego house!"

"Yes I did, buddy." And they played.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Felt Ornament and Jesus Storybook Bible Advent

I know it is November and we have yet to cut our Thanksgiving turkeys or flip through Black Friday advertisements, but if you want to make an advent activity for Christmas, now is the time!

Advent is a time to anticipate and ponder the birth of Jesus, and not only the birth of Jesus, but the reason he came to earth - to save us!

I had wanted to do an advent activity for a couple of years before last year and I just never found "the one." Last year, our oldest was three and it was really time to start those traditions on top of what we were already teaching them, so back in September of 2014 I decided I was going to *make* an advent activity.

I decided to use ornaments made of felt (I find felt easy to work with) and I searched for Bible verses and pages/stories in the Jesus Storybook Bible (by Sally Lloyd-Jones - I recommend that every home, with children or not, have at least one copy because it is SO good) that would help the boys understand each part of the story as well as possible.

Because the story of Christmas really begins, well, at the beginning, and hasn't ended yet, I didn't want to do just a manger scene, but something broader.

After a lot of brainstorming, writing ideas, scratching those ideas out, writing new ideas, sketching, and so on, I finally decided on 24 parts to our advent activity.

We have a large Christmas tree that we have already decorated, but I got a small tree for our advent ornaments and decorated it with some clear lights, beaded garland, and a simple tree topper. I made a wall hanging with 24 pockets for the ornaments.

Each day, we get the day's ornament from its pocket, read the story/verses, and hang the ornament on the tree. We also sing a Christmas song and pray.

I don't have patterns for the ornaments; I just cut them out from felt and sewed them either by hand or with my sewing machine. Be sure to add some kind of hanger to each one as you make them so that you can put the hook on and hang it on your tree. I made mine very simple, but you can make yours as simple or as complicated as you like.

Feel free to adapt these as you need or want to. This was my first run, and I edited it a bit putting this together, and I'm sure I will change it some after I see how the boys understand it and react to it this year too. The main thing is to tell your kids about Jesus! I hope in sharing this with you, you are able to share more about Jesus with your children, and that it makes your holiday season even better.

Day 1: Creation
Ornament: Earth
Reading: The Beginning: A Perfect Home, p. 18-27, Jesus Storybook Bible (JSB)

Day 2: The Fall
Ornament: Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
Reading: The Terrible Lie, p. 28-33, JSB

Day 3: Promise of a Savior, part 1
Ornament: Bethlehem (I gave it a white background to symbolize it being a prophecy)
Reading: The Terrible Lie, p. 34-36, JSB

Day 4: Promise of a Savior, part 2
Ornament: Cross (with a white background for the same reason as the previous one)
Reading: p. 174-175, JSB

Day 5: Mary
Ornament: Mary
Reading: p. 178, JSB

Day 6: The Angel Gabriel
Ornament: Angel Gabriel
Reading: p. 179, JSB

Day 7: Mary's Song
Ornament: Music Notes
Reading: Luke 1:46-55

Day 8: Joseph
Ornament: Joseph
Reading: Matthew 1:18-19

Day 9: Joseph's Dream
Ornament: Angel
Reading: Matthew 1:20-21

Day 10: The Decree
Ornament: Scroll with Writing
Reading: Luke 2:1-3

Day 11: Bethlehem
Ornament: Bethlehem
Reading: Luke 2:4-5

Day 12: No Room
Ornament: Crowded house
Reading: p. 180-181, JSB

Day 13: Manger
Ornament: Manger with hay
Reading: Luke 2:7

Day 14: Baby Jesus
Ornament: Swaddled baby Jesus
Reading: He's here!, p. 176, and p. 182, JSB

Day 15: Flocks of Sheep
Ornament: Sheep in grass
Reading: p. 186, JSB

Day 16: Shepherds
Ornament: Shepherds with staffs
Reading: p. 188-190, JSB

Day 17: Heavenly Host
Ornament: Several angels
Reading: Luke 2:8-14

Day 18: Star
Ornament: Star
Reading: The Light of the whole world, p. 184, JSB

Day 19: Three Wise Men
Ornament: Three Wise Men
Reading: The King of all kings, p. 192-198, JSB

Day 20: Jesus Teaching
Ornament: Jesus with arms outstretched
Reading: The Singer, p. 228-235, JSB (or any passage about Jesus teaching)

Day 21: Jesus Performing Miracles
Ornament: Jesus walking on water
Reading: The Captain of the storm, p. 236-242, JSB (or any passage about Jesus performing miracles)

Day 22: The Crucifixion
Ornament: Cross
Reading: The sun stops shining, p. 302-308, JSB

Day 23: The Resurrection
Ornament: Tomb with stone rolled away
Reading: God's wonderful surprise, p. 310-317, JSB

Day 24: Redemption and Restoration
Ornament: Broken heart mended
Reading: p. 348 (2nd paragraph on) - 351, JSB