Changing churches

I have definitely decided to switch churches. I will now be attending Northern Lights Church of Christ. This is a non-denominational church (not affiliated with the United Church of Christ) in downtown Fairbanks.

I went to the old one again Sunday morning and it was as I feared. The message, while Biblical, was shallow and general without much depth. It covered a fairly large portion which should have been covered verse by verse in detail. Instead it was broad and generalized as a group. It was an important group of scripture too, Colossians 3:1-17.

Also, something else happened which felt like God was gently shutting the door behind me on my decision to switch to another church.
It didn’t feel like a slam. It wasn’t anything terrible. My favorite assistant pastor resigned for personal reasons. I really liked him and respected his decisions. I don’t know who or when someone will be appointed to fill his position, but with 2 out of 3 pastors different from when I started attending this church, I don’t know what direction it will be taking. I don’t want to drift along anymore.

I spoke to my family the past few weeks about possibly changing churches. Surprisingly, they didn’t have any objections. I was expecting my kids to say they would miss their friends, teachers, or special activities, but they didn’t. In fact, they were very supportive. Here are the kids reasons for liking the new church:

They stay with my the entire service.

They sing hymns and more songs (the old church sang more after the kids went to another room)

They have evening services so we aren’t rushed in the morning.

The kids have been asking when they can go to church again which is something they rarely do.

Woe to us

I’m in the book of Isaih for my Bible reading. This afternoon, I was reading Isaiah 5 and was struck with all the things mentioned. It sounded like he was describing the current state of our nation, specifically in verses 20-23.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

We need to say whoa, stop to this type of behavior. Isaiah warns in verses 24-25 what happens to those who continue in their unrighteous ways:

Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Yikes! That’s pretty bad. I don’t want that to happen to us, but it may if we continue in the direction we are heading. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way. We need to acknowledge God again in this country. We need to live and lead as Christians. We can’t leave our Christianity at the church door or mission outreach program. We need to stand up against the rampant immorality and fleshly sins prevalent in our modern culture and society. We need to live for the Lord every day in every way as commanded in 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Math is here

Richard’s math arrived today. Good timing because we do math on Tuesday’s and Thursdays so we can start tomorrow. He actually watched the first lesson video tonight and seemed to understand it.

He’s doing Math-U-See Gama which covers multiplication. He’s had a vague idea of what multiplication was, but this first lesson explained it well. The first lesson introduces the concepts of factors, product, and area. He also explained the relationship between a square and rectangle.

Karen has been working on Primer, which introduces the concepts of numeration and counting for the past couple of weeks. She’s doing well and enjoying it.

Priorities

What’s important and in what order are your priorities. They can be general for your life or specific to a task or goal. Having priorities is important because it gives you direction. They shows others what’s important to you.

Where does God fit in your priorities? Are you a casual Christian where Jesus is important if it’s convenient? Are you willing to obey only when everyone else is?

Or are you serious about your commitment? Are you still obedient when you’re the only one? What about when others may mock you? What about when you have a conflict in commitments?

When asked what is the greatest commandment Jesus answered in Matthew 22:37

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind [emphasis mine]

He didn’t put any qualifiers. He knew following Him wouldn’t always be easy or convenient. In Luke 9:23 Jesus told the people

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. [emphasis mine]

He knew Christians would face persecution for His sake. In Mark 8:35 Jesus says

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

I believe this isn’t just talking about martyrs, but those who give up worldly pleasures, the easy life, for His sake. We need to be making Him the most important priority in our life. He goes on to challenge in the next 2 verses:

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

In Matthew 18:29, Jesus talks about those who have major sacrifice to make Him their first priority

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

There was a youth ball team last year who did really well and made it to the state championships. It was a team from a Christian school. One of the games was to be held on Sunday. However, the team refused to play on the Lord’s day. They gave up a chance at the state title for their faith.

Some might say this is taking things to extreme. After all, it was just one Sunday and the team had worked hard for a long time to have this chance. Yet, He was a higher priority and they were faithful. Jesus says in Luke 16:10

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

I admit that I have been a casual Christian in my priorities. I’ve let other commitments come first rather than finding a way to put Jesus first. Now I realize what a sin that was. I’m striving to be faithful in the least, but am far from perfect.

So are you striving to be faithful in the little things as well? Are you encouraging your children and family to also? Is Jesus always at the top of your priority list? If not, what are you doing about it?

Probably changing churches

Without going into too many details for those who know me and read this, I am considering changing churches. I have been ever since the current one got their new pastor last summer. I just didn’t like any other churches I had visited better. Some were too far away. Some were too large and impersonal. Some seemed concerned more with works, looking good (either personally, as a group, or both), missions, etc than the spiritual health of their members. Several I disagreed with their doctrine, especially now that I’ve actually read the entire New Testament myself and can better see some false, misleading teaching. Some were Bible thumpers which I think is rude. I want to be a light, not a sledgehammer.

Anyway, last week I visited the church my brother and another family we know attends. They had a guest speaker so I was unable to get a feel for what a regular service was like. I decide to go again this week. The regular pastor was back. I liked what he said. It was very informative from the Bible with application for living a Christian life. It wasn’t dull nor feeling like I was sitting in a lecture. It was about the importance of having strong faith with references to Hebrews 11.

The people were nice, down to earth types. Plus, I wasn’t the only woman wearing a head covering. Not all the women did, but enough so I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Everyone wore modest, good clothes. Not expensive suits and fancy dresses, nor did they look like they just got back from a Saturday picnic. The men and boys mostly had button front shirts with slacks (but very few had ties and no one had a jacket). The women and girls had basic dresses, skirts or jumpers and wore very little makeup or jewelry. It felt like they were really striving to follow 1 Timothy 2:9. A few of the other girls also had handmade dresses. However there were a few people in t-shirts and women in slacks. It was nice and felt comfortable.

There were other kids my kids’ ages to play with after the service. The kids stay with the family for the entire service. They have age group classes for kids and adults before the morning service rather than during the service. There were other homeschool families.

They sang hymns without instruments rather than the latest songs on the Christian radio station with a band. We liked and knew many of the hymns.

The church building itself is older. While rather large, it is modest without adornment either outside or inside the auditorium. The congregation sits in rows of padded pews on either side of the central aisle. Classes are held in classrooms in the basement.

So, I want to find out more about this church. I like what I’ve seen in the past 2 weeks. I really like the people at my current church, but that’s not enough to stay when it doesn’t feel right anymore.

I just checked out this church’s website. Wow! It’s not fancy but right on. It told me the basic beliefs of the church. Very Bible based and explicit. I really liked that. Check out their about page. It’s not just empty words. What I read is what I’ve seen, unlike some churches when after viewing their website you go then wonder if it is the same place because they aren’t practicing what they say. The more I investigate this church, the more I am inclined to think this is where God wants me now.

New dress fabric

When I was in WalMart this evening I browsed their cheap fabric and found a cute, middle weight, cotton print. It’s small checkers of dusty rose color on a pink background with dime sized blue flowers on dark green stems. I thought it would be good fall/winter print. I got 4 yards for less than $10.

I’ve never bought fabric at WalMart before. They were very busy with back to school shoppers tonight. There were only the 4 yards left on the bolt so I just brought the whole thing to the register. The clerk couldn’t get it rung up automatically since there was no bar code and was trying to figure out the price by hand (4 yds@$2.44/yd). Once I figured out her problem, it was easy to figure the price of $9.86. She seemed relieved when I told her the total price, and no one questioned me about it.

I was going to use it to make a dress for myself, but they only had 4 yards and I need about 5 (especially if I mess up). Still, it will be cute for Karen. I need to take her to the fabric store to choose a zipper and bias tape color. It will be sewn with white thread because I don’t want to buy an off color I’d only use this once.

I also need to make the flannel dress for her, but want to make this one first. Now you know what my projects will be the next few weeks. I was hoping to start tonight but didn’t get home in time to do wash. Since it’s 100% cotton it must be pre-washed before cut. It also wrinkles some, but for $10 that’s ok. After these, I’ll try to make myself a winter dress, but need to adjust the pattern smaller since I’ve lost weight.

I figure fabric, zipper, thread, and bias tape (for the neck and perhaps the cuffs) together will be about $15. Definitely much cheaper than store bought girls dresses, plus it will be modest cut and length which is rare to find these days.

2009 homeschool week 1

Today ends our first week of 2009-2010 homeschool year. It had its ups and downs as expected.

Karen did the first 6 lessons of Learning to Read. She learned letters d, s, m, f, and short a. It was hard for her to learn to listen for sounds in words but by the end of the week she was doing good. She still had trouble figuring out if a sound was at the beginning or end of the word. Practice helps. D is the hardest for her. I don’t understand why they start with it rather than a long sound but each day I see an improvement in her listening skills. Her handwriting is very good. She gets her d and a backwards some when she gets tired.

I am having her make an alphabet book. She picks out a piece of colored construction paper and crayon. I write the letter of the day. We then go through the ads to find things that begin with the letter of the day. That is a fun way to reinforce her learning with life and gives a good break from the workbook.

Today was an exciting day. She figured out on her own how to spell fan! That’s pretty exciting for me to see she discovered words are made up of sounds and letters. She was supposed to be listening for a in fan. She got a thinking then excited look and said fffaaannn f-a-n fan. Then she wanted to write it all on the line instead of just the a. After learning short a in the workbook, we read Mat, the first book of Bob Books. I had to tell her the sound of t and the word ‘on’, but she was otherwise able to read the book by herself. We read it together 3 times then she read it a few times to her favorite toys before putting it away.

Her math was pretty basic. She wanted to do all the pages in the first lesson of Math-U-See Primer which was counting 0-9. She then did 2 pages in Counting with Numbers about the number 6. Today we’re doing lesson 2 which is more counting and writing numbers. Again, she wanted to do all the pages. I tried to get her to skip a page and she got upset.

Richard had a difficult week. He had one good day, but the others were pretty bad. He just can’t stay focused therefore everything is a struggle. I think it may be for attention because I’m having to spend so much time with his sister. Still, we tried rewards with him but that didn’t help much. Today starts consequences. I’m getting pretty frustrated. I even gave him a hair cut in case having hair in his eyes was part of the problem.

He was goofing around so much on Wednesday that his dad gave him a choice. Either he finished the day’s work that day or he could have a day off. The catch was if he choose the day off, he wouldn’t get the weekend off but would have to work the next 9 days until next Saturday. He choose the day off. At least his dad said he’d help him on the weekend so I’m not overwhelmed.

Yesterday went well. Today started off another real struggle. It took 2 hours to do handwriting. Health took half an hour to get started. However, once he got started, he didn’t stop. He worked ahead. Then he apologized about it đŸ˜†

I put his work in a stack with an assignment list on top. I don’t care what order he does the work. Often he asks me what to do next. Today he went by what order the stack was in after health. Once he gets started working, he does great. It’s just getting him started that’s the trouble.

None of the things I’ve ordered for him recently have arrived yet. We’re still finishing up the history from last year but have no math. We’re doing the health book while waiting for the science to arrive. The first chapter is about good posture including labeling the skeleton.

His cursive handwriting workbook is about animals. He’s enjoying the little facts on the pages. Right now it’s a review of the strokes and letters. Later will be copy work. I try to have him do this first to settle him down to concentrate.

Overall, the work is getting done. The kids are learning. It’s just taking awhile longer for everyone settling into school mode. We have even managed to have a little fun.