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Good day to ya!  How are ya?  Me?  Well, thanks for asking.  Can I be honest?  Yeah?  Okay, here goes…

 I’m overwhelmed.

 I’m exhausted.

 I’m worn.

 I’m feeling like the glass is half empty, and like “what’s the point, really”.

 As you sit down to read this, the November election is done, the votes cast, a candidate will have been named victor (prayerfully), and we can put to bed this chapter in our history and turn the page on another.  For me right now, though, I’m sitting down to write this at the end of October, with less than two weeks before the election.  Ugh…like really, can we just move on to the next thing and be done with this?

 I’m immersed in social media for my career.  A quick look at my phone’s history for the last week shows I’ve spent an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes on social media every day.  Just seeing that is exhausting.  I share that to say this…if there’s one theme I’ve picked up for all of 2020 in all my time on social media in the first ten months of the year, it’s this…

 People are mean and ugly to each other.

 People are vindictive and unforgiving of each other.

 People are rude and harsh.

 People are intolerant.

 People are…

 People.

 And yes, before you ask the next logical question that comes to mind…I’m talking about everyone. The left, the right, the middle of the road. The unbelievers and the believers. The non-Christians and the Christians. You. Me. People.

 That’s a harsh reality, and many of you may disagree with me. That’s okay. You’re entitled to either agree or disagree with me…I’m content either way really. (That itself is hard for many people to say, and our conversations on social media need to be bathed in that reality, because most of our conversations don’t show it.)

Here’s the thing though. People ARE all those things, whether we see that reality or not. What’s that quote we’ve all seen at some point? ...”The truth is still the truth regardless of whether we believe it or not.”  It’s quite literally in our nature to be those things—our sin nature.

 What is our sin nature? The sin nature is the part of human beings that impels us to commit sin. God’s holy scriptures teach us that we not only commit sin, but that it’s in our nature to do so. That sin nature can be traced all the way back to the fall of man in the garden, something not in God’s original design. For God’s words on the sin nature, see Romans 7:25, 2 Peter 2:18, Colossians 3:5, Psalm 51:5, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 5:12, Romans 3:23, and 1 John 5:8.

 Thank God (literally) that we’re saved by grace through our faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) despite our sin nature, even while we are still sinners (Romans 6:20, Romans 5:28).

But here’s the rub. Being saved by God’s grace despite our sin doesn’t give us a “free pass” to keep on sinning. Hebrews 10:26-31 speaks to this pretty clearly.

 Yes, I’m going to make you do the research and work to look all those verses up for yourselves…because if you REALLY want to understand what God’s word has for you today, you’ll put in the time to read HIS words, not mine.

 I leave you with this thought…

 Are you the same person online that you are in person? Is what you say and share worthy of you bearing the title “Christ-follower”? Are you judgmental or maybe harboring a little hate for others in your heart for what they say and share?

 My personal litmus test in what I post, comment, or share online is this question: “Would you say this in front of your grandma?” Full disclosure, I’ve failed here more times than I care to admit, but I’m gradually learning the lesson a dear friend taught me years ago…the golden art of not missing an opportunity to shut up (Proverbs 17:27-28, Proverbs 18:2 and 21)

 But hey, that’s my grandma…I’ve met some of y’alls grandmas, and maybe the better litmus test is, “would you say this at the foot of the cross in the holy presence of God?

 Hey, we’re all people, and people are inherently sinful. Our ONLY saving grace is the love of Jesus Christ who died for us WHILE we were still sinners and continues to forgive us every time we seek His forgiveness in true repentance.

 Are we as sparing with our forgiveness of, and grace toward, others as God is with us? No? Go read what God says about that in Matthew 6:14-15…it’s pretty sobering.

Posted by Jason Meinershagen with
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Spiritual Homeschooling  

The past seven plus months has taught us that we can continue even in difficult conditions.  Mid-March was the beginning of several unknowns.  A microscopic virus had most offices and schools shut down in America. It was during this time that we had to adjust to our new routines. My son had to stay home from college. My daughter was told they would be canceling her classes in high school, prom, or ACT testing. Then I was added to the mix.  My wife, Belinda, was caught making schedules on who was needing the computer and which room had to be avoided.  Church went from being live and in person to learning on Friday that my week to preach would be the first week of online only services. We have come a long way in getting settled into our new norm. Then we started phase one of coming back. New questions, new answers, get settled in.  Now as I write this, we are looking at phase two. New questions, new answers and getting settled. 

 Questions are the key to learning and adapting.  No one starts knowing all the answers. Better yet, no one has all the answers. We are all in this together, and we need to ask questions and keep asking. You might be asking, who is it we should ask? We begin with those we respect and believe have the answers. We often ask our parents, experts in the field, and then consult books or articles.  

 Questions always come with anything new. Sometimes you end up with so many questions just because it looks new. My daughter got caught in what I called the cycle of math. We helped her in getting ready for kindergarten. Then she learned to count and do simple math her first year.  Then about half-way through elementary school, she started Singapore math, the next year they changed to common core math, and then “new” math. In this math class, the teacher said, “Parents don’t even try learning it.” By this time, we had her transferred to a private school where they taught old math, but at least I could help again.  Math did not change—2+2=4 was true in every class.  

 We know that the Bible is the same yesterday and today. The difference is we are living out today’s story now and not with King David. We still need to learn all the same verses our parents knew. We still need to have the same Bible skills as our parents. The question for you is how do you teach yesterday's lessons today? In several of Leonard Sweet’s publications, he states that never before in history has a child had the information of top generals. The computer has changed all of our lives, no question.  However, the interconnection of the computers through the internet has been the greatest advancement of information to all. This comes with a big price. The biggest I see is the second observation Mr. Sweet gives: never before has a person had so much information and never before has the child not been able to process the information he possesses.  

In my Master’s program, we were to get articles from the library and present them to the class. (Internet was a relatively new item). I remember going and reading article after article from people who had Ph.D’s writing for others with Ph.D’s in a field I was not a part. I was often lost in some of the jargon. I had a choice, own it or fake it.  Most of the time I just went to another publication. In today’s world we must help our kids know what to do with the vast knowledge that is before them. This means we have to be aware of the information they are receiving and how they are using it. A biblical world view will not happen on its own. It must have open dialogue. It must be full of questions, and you will need to help your child find the correct answers. They will learn from you. 

 How do you know when a child is close to becoming a Christian? They start asking questions. What must I do to be saved, baptized or take the Lord’s Supper? Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are special passage moments that Jesus told the Christian to follow. I would explain what we are seeing and doing. Making sure that at lunch we cover why you have not done it yet and what the requirements are for doing these ordinances with the church. When talking with the kids about salvation, I use open-ended questions that force them to tell me the information. If I have to use a yes/no question, I follow up with why? This can be said of all questions. Open the conversation by asking who, what, when, where, and why questions. One of the best non-questions is tell me about your day at school. Our kids still start at the beginning and go through their day at supper. 

 Open your mind to teachable moments. Deuteronomy 6 says that at every part of your life you are to teach your child about God. A note of warning—if your child knows there is something that comes before God, that item, project, or event has become your god. Do not let this happen. There are no step-by-step rules for spiritually homeschooling your kids. There are great directions and great guidelines. It is rarely easy to stay on the path, but if you get off, Jesus is there to get you back on. Just keep asking yourself questions. Never just settle for what you have. Strive for what could be.   

 In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6 

 

Posted by Jason Hoke with

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