When a Child Connects the Dots

maxresdefaultWe recently took a vacation trip to Kentucky to visit several sights. We had an enjoyable time with my wife’s side of the family and enjoyed some incredible places. We adventured to the Cincinnati Zoo, the Newport Aquarium, the Creation Museum, and the Ark Encounter. The youngest children enjoyed the zoo and aquarium the most, and Aric and Alex enjoyed the Ark the most.

We as a family have been to the Creation Museum several times, the earliest being when Aric and Alex were 1 & 2, but this time as we went, they have gained a little more grasp and understanding on what the Museum was all about. Their favorite things to see were the dinosaur fossils, planetarium, and the insectitorium (there were some pretty cool bugs in there too.) After watching the planetarium presentation about just how amazing our universe is, it was fun listening to Aric and Alex talk about the things that they learned and saw and how God had created it all.

The following day we made our way to the Ark Encounter, a full scale replica of Noah’s Ark. This is where I could see the dots begin to connect in Aric’s mind. We had spent a good amount of time on the ark. It is an incredible museum that really brought the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark to life. There were three stories of artifacts and displays.

The bottom story mainly had examples of what the “kinds” of animals may have looked like, how Noah would have been able to fit all the “kinds” animals into the ark, and scaled model of what the layout of the rooms in the ark may have looked like.

The second story had some more animal examples, a video, and some other articles. We took a break before heading back to the last floor on the ark.

On the third floor, we came to two section that just fascinated Aric. One was a section of fossils and the second was a section about the ice age. Aric had studied about fossils this year in school, so because of that, he started reading a creation science approach about how fossils were formed. After reading it he turned around and told me “this makes much more sense then fossils being ‘millions’ of years old”, he wanted to stay and continue to read about fossils, but the rest of the family had moved on to the next section. The next section we came to talked about the ice age. It compared the creation science ideal of a single short ice age to that of the evolutionary ideal of many long ice ages, the ice age was another subject they had studied about in school. The dot was connected here when he was reading the story of “The Lost Squadron of WWII” and how a 2 B-17 bombers were buried in 250 ft of ice in less than 40 years and how that presents a problem for the ideal of slow ice ages that lasted hundreds of thousands or millions of years. Finally when we got done with our whole tour of the Ark, Aric piped up and said, “boy all this stuff we looked at today was great and makes me know the Bible is true. I know the flood really happened and it is clear to see.”

I loved seeing all this working in Aric’s and Alex’s minds and them learning to connect the dots of science and the Bible. They are learning to listen with discretion and look at things through Biblical glasses and know that science absolutely fits with the Bible without having to believe in millions of years.

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Turning the World Upside Down!

the-world-upside-down-wallpaperIn today’s changing world it is easy to get discouraged as it seems the next generation of Christians are falling away faster then any other generation before them. Statistics tell us that an alarming 70% of young people are leaving or don’t attend church regularly after age 18-22. But I believe that this up and coming generation has a great opportunity to “Turn the world upside down”. Continue reading

Audio Drama Review: Jonathan Park: The Adventure Begins

I first learned of Jonathan Park through facebook friends sharing what a great Christmas gift this would make for children. I took a look and was interested, but was afraid to spend $25 on something I wasn’t sure my young children would be interested in at this time. So instead of purchasing them myself, I told my mom about them and she bought them for the boys for Christmas.

I grew up listening to the likes of Patch the Pirate and Adventures in Odyssey on the Christian side and Old Time Radio on the secular side, so I have heard and enjoyed the production of good quality Audio Dramas. I would now add Jonathan Park to that list of quality Audio Dramas.
Continue reading

Why I Have a Passion for Public Schools

I know it has been a few weeks since I have posted. I thought that I was going to be able to spend some extra time during Fall Break to write future articles, but that didn’t happen. Then I started writing this article last week, had completely typed out what I thought I wanted to say, only to realize it really wasn’t what God wanted me to say or how He wanted me to say it. So, now, here are my thought on the passion I have gained for public schools.

At a very early age I felt like God had set me apart to do some kind of work in the realm of missions. In fact you may or may not know that my wife and I had planned on being missionaries in Newfoundland, Canada. We were trying to raise funds for nearly a year, before the Lord gave us a sudden change of direction. When the Lord brought that change it was a good thing. It was a time that God needed to teach us some very important lessons. I became the youth pastor of a church in South Carolina and it was there that I first began to have some real interaction with Public School students. The youth group I started to lead was largely made up of students who went to the public schools, the breakdown was something like 30/10 public to Christian school teens. Most of these teens were in homes of families who came to church with them, with a few who came with friends. But this youth group was a lot different that any of the youth groups in which I attended as a teen. The youth groups I had been in had always been the opposite, 90% of the kids I grew up with were in some sort of Christian education. While the breakdown was a lot different from what I knew, the teens weren’t any different than what I had seen in my own youth groups. They were teens who were seeking direction, seeking identity, and seeking for God.

Those were the starting years of my life in ministry. Even though it has been almost 4 years since I have left that ministry, I still keep up with many of the youth who were in that group. I am proud to see many of them going on to serve the Lord, some are pursuing ministry, others are looking at the medical field or other careers, and others still may not be sure what God wants them to do, but it thrills my heart to see many of them still serving the Lord with their whole heart. My heart for public schools started with this youth group and has continued since. Now just so you don’t get the wrong picture,  this doesn’t mean that I like public school kids any more than the Christian/ Home School kids, I just have gained a heartbeat for helping those in the public schools.

Since leaving South Carolina and moving to Georgia, the Lord has really multiplied that burden more for the public schools. When coming to the church we currently serve at, I knew that I would have to become a bi-vocational youth pastor. I didn’t know what kind of job I would be able to get. I applied at a bunch of different places, but made it clear that I wouldn’t be available most weekends or on Wednesday nights, after all a youth pastors busiest times is on the weekends, and I certainly didn’t want to miss teaching the teens on Wednesdays. This didn’t make for a lot of job opportunities. Then someone mentioned I ought to consider substitute teaching for the local public schools. So I took the class, had my background check run, and got onto the substitute list. Once my name was approved and teachers knew I would be available to teach, the phone started ringing and I started substituting a few days every week. Now I have been substituting for 3 years.

My heart for missions work has never died. I didn’t know exactly why the Lord gave me such a heart for missions if He wasn’t going to let us go to a foreign mission field, but after 3 years of substitute teaching, I have finally found the mission field God has been preparing for me. The Lord can do amazing things in the public schools and to many times Christians distance themselves from this establishment. No doubt this education system is not right for every Christian child. Some would say it isn’t fit for any Christian, period, but is a school any worse than the rest of the world system children are exposed to through living life every day?

It takes special people, both teachers and children, to be called into this vast mission field, just as it takes a special calling for someone to board a plane and fly half way around the world to reach a people whose language they don’t speak, and whose culture is completely foreign to them. But God still calls them. Is there dangers within the walls of a public school? Yes, no doubt there is, just as there are dangers that lurk on every corner of life. This is the reason why we must seek God’s face for grace and guidance every day. Just because a Christian child is raised in a Christian home, doing Christian schooling, and attending a Christian church does not mean that they are exempt from falling away from the principles taught in your home. Just because a Christian child is taught in a public school, is faced with the difficulties there, and will have their faith challenged does not make them a sure candidate to fail as a child of God. This issue is not as black and white as some would like to make it seem. In a perfect world all Christian children would never stray, especially those who were brought up with all things “Christian”, but we live in a fallen world, a world where good families see their children choose by their own free will to reject God. These were homes that tried to give direction, cared about the discipline of their children, and cared about the spiritual well-being of their children.

Imagine the millions of children who face life with no direction, with no one who cares about their discipline, about their spiritual well-being. This is a large majority of children who attend the public school. No one to love them, screaming for attention, yet Christians want to stay away from them. Let them rot, let them die, let them spend a Christ-less eternity in Hell, because of how wicked the school system is. Do we tell missionaries not to go to dangerous countries? Do we stop missionaries and say, “Don’t you know how wicked that country is? Don’t go to that country because their government is evil! Don’t go to this country because your children will be exposed to things that aren’t Biblical! They might be influenced by that country and those people!”? NO! But we will tell a Christian they are in sin for sending their child to a public school. We might even tell an adult that they are in sin for teaching in one of those “God forsaken” schools. But the only reason they are “God forsaken” is because Christians have abandoned them, Christians have shunned them, Christians have put them on the “leprosy” list and cry “DON’T TOUCH THEM! DON’T GO NEAR THEM! UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN!”. But last I checked in my Bible, Christ came to heal the lepers, and He called us to be like Him.

Some would say the best way to reach those in the public schools is by driving church buses and picking them up from their homes, finding them on visitation, and inviting them to church. These are great methods! But how many millions fall through the cracks of this strategy? Who will invite them if no Christians are called to reach them in the school halls? Who will be the Light to them, if we snub every Christian child and teacher out of the system? No one! But thank the Lord not every Christian has bought into the lie that Christians do not have a place in the public schools. Thank God that there are Christian students and teachers who still have an open door to win others to Christ and who have answered the call to be missionaries to this great mission field. Thank the Lord that he still gives youth pastors, like myself, the opportunity to not only substitute teach in the school, but to also be able to teach Bible classes in the school on a regular basis. Thank the Lord that He still has people preaching His Word and the free gift of salvation through programs like the FCA and Children’s Bible Clubs. God said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14). Praise God for his love for these children, and for those who He has and who He will raise up to continue to be that shining Light into the Public schools.

The doors of opportunity are closing quickly on being able to get the Gospel in the public school systems. Christians should flood those doors as much as possible before the doors completely shut.

The Blessing of Public Schools

Okay I know that people probably think that I talk to much about the negative views that many Christians have of the public schools, but I like to take those negative outlooks and try to let people see that not everything about Public Schooling is negative. Just the other day I saw someone put this negative ideal on Facebook using the words “failing public school system”. Is it true that some children come out of public schools unprepared? Sure it’s true. But the same can be said of Christian schools and Homeschooling as well. People will make statements like “Well 75% of people who are homeschooled go on to further their education, while only 49% from public schools go to college”. Well it’s a nice stat to state, but considering that there are about 49 million more people in the Public school than there are homeschooled those statistics really aren’t that impressive. Now if there were just as many people homeschooling as there were in public schools and the percentage came out like that, then I would say, “maybe homeschooling is a better option for us”. (NOTICE: I said a better option for us. I am in no way saying that the option of public school is for every Christian family.) The other statistic that many people like to point out is that when compared to other countries, the US doesn’t score as high on standardized testing, but I will answer this stat in one of my points of the blessings of public schools.

Blessing #1: EVERY Child is given a chance to be educated

Some children, if it were not for Public Schools, would never be educated at all. When the US is tested each year, many people criticize that our test scores compared to other countries are very poor, but the difference is, in most other countries children who are poor or have disabilities are not given a chance to even go to school. In the US, however, children with disabilities are given a chance to get an education, children who are poor are given a chance to receive an education, so of course scores will be lower in standardized testing. Perhaps if all we did was test the elite of our education system the statistics would measure closely to the rest of the smartest countries in the world, but in the United States every child is given a chance to receive an education.

Blessing #2: Low income children are given a chance to be healthy

I know some people would say that part of the problem with our country is the amount of people who receive food stamps and free housing. Do I believe that is part of the problem with our economy? Yes, I believe it is so. I think many of those people could do better for themselves but have gotten lazy and leach off the government and our taxes. While all this is true, should we punish the children for the sins of their families and say no to giving them the nutritional food they need? No we should not. Many children who eat their breakfast and lunch served by their schools will receive no other food from their homes. This does not negate the responsiblity of the parents, but for that child who is going hungery because of the neglect of his family the provision of food at his local school is a huge blessing.

Blessing #3: Public Schools provide jobs for many Christians

When my wife and I moved to Northeastern, GA in 2011 I had no ideal how I would provide for our family. We were stepping into a new ministry and while they were able to provide us with housing, we still had to make enough income to pay for the rest of our bills. I had put an application in at several businesses, but to no avail. Then I found out how to become a substitute teacher in our local public schools. I took the course, had my background test done, and was able to get on the Substitute list. The first year I was here I was able to sub an average of 3 days a week. This job provided me with enough income to make it through each month. If I had decided that the Public Schools were a “Godless place not fit for any Christian” than I would have failed to provide for my family like the Bible commands me to as a father and would have been “worse than an infidel” (I Timothy 5:8). So I count the public schools as a huge blessing to me and my family.

Blessing #4: Public Schools provide education in areas of knowledge that parents are lacking

Let’s face it, not all parents are experts at Math, English, Science, History…. and the list could go on and on. I can tell you that personally I like History, if I were to homeschool my children they probably would learn more about history than any other subject. I was pretty good at math up to a certain point. While I could help them with basic math, when they get to more advanced math, I am helpless. You probably can also tell that English is not a strong suite for me. I probably put punctuation in wrong places and repeat words a whole lot in my writing. Science, I can get that pretty good to a certain point but when it comes to chemistry and biology “forget it”.

While I know there is some “junk” that is taught in many of the subjects, I understand enough as a parent that I need to carefully explain and teach my child at home the truths from God’s Word relating to Creation, historic events, life styles, and godly living. I need to teach my children how to tell the difference between the facts from God’s Word and the fiction of the world. But in the end I also realize that the school my children attend is able to offer them some very good skills and knowledge. Do I have issues with some of the things my child may learn about in a public school setting? Yes, just as I take issue with some of the things that don’t line up with God’s Word in Christian Curriculum.

I am sure there are other blessings that could be added to this list. What blessings have you found from the public schools?

9 Things I Pray for Each School Day

Man prayingIt doesn’t matter whether you are a person who sends your children to the public school, a private school, or is home schooled, prayer should be an important part of your day. Each night before I go to sleep and each morning before we leave to go to school I spend time praying for certain things. So here are a list of 9 things I pray for each school day:

1.Wisdom as a Parent of  school age children

In general no matter what age your child is, seeking God’s wisdom is a must.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

2.For my children to make wise choices

No matter the age of my child I should be taking time to teach them to seek God’s face in all the choices that they make.

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

3.For my children to remember instructions given to them

Each morning on our way to school I talk to my children about things they need to remember and work on for the day. During the first few weeks of school we talk about remembering to listen to the teachers and to pay attention. These times of instruction and instruction given in the home are a special time for our children to learn how to behave and what is expected of them.

Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

4.For my children to avoid troublemakers

No doubt troublemakers can be found most places that your children go, so it is important to teach them to guard themselves from them. One conversation that Aric and I have had lately on the way to school has been,

Me: Aric what should you do if someone asks you to do bad?

Aric: Tell them I can’t do it because it is bad.

Me: And then what should you do?

Aric: Tell my teacher.

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

5.For my children to remember Who Created them and Who they should serve

Another conversation that Aric and I have been having on the way to school is: Who created everything, did dinosaurs live millions of years ago, how old is the earth, and did men come from monkeys.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

6.For my child tobe testimonies of Jesus Christ

I want my children to learn early in their lives that they have an opportunity influence others for Christ.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

7.For the teacher to be encouraged

One of the most underrated jobs in my book is that of a teacher. Parents treat them like jerks when their child gets in trouble. Parents act like their child is an angel and the teacher is the devil himself/herself. Being a teacher can be a very discouraging position.

Ecclesiastes 9:10Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

8.For the teacher to have patience

If you have a child or even a few children you know how hard it can be to be patient at times. Imagine the teacher there in the classroom with 20+ students all coming from different home lives with different standards. Some children may be well-behaved, while others may have no discipline whatsoever. It can be quite overwhelming for a teacher to face a classroom each day, so pray for your children’s teachers to have patience.

Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

9. For the teacher to teach with wisdom

Now some people might say, “how can you expect a Public School teacher to teach with wisdom when many of them probably aren’t Christians?”. Well those people probably don’t use that same logic when they ask prayer for Doctors to have wisdom when they are facing a health situation. Not all Doctors are Christians but we still ask for God to give them wisdom and we should pray that God give our children’s teachers wisdom as well.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Lord, there are many things that can be prayed for when it comes to having children in school. But above all we want you to be pleased and glorified in everything that we do. We need wisdom as parents. We need your guidance and direction when it comes to teaching our children. We also need you to work in our children’s lives to be a bright and shining testimony for you, no matter what type of school they go to. A-men

What are some things that you pray for when your children start their school day?

Silence Speaks Volumes

One of the areas some people like to argue for the reason a Christian should not be part of the Public Schools, is the limitations that teachers have in being able to share their faith openly in the classroom and the challenges that Christian students will face. While it is true that Christian teachers can not spend a large percentage of time speaking about the Lord, it does not mean that a Christian teacher will have no influence in the lives of their students. Just because a Christian student will be surrounded by students who do not have the same belief system, does not mean that they will never influence others for Christ. In fact I believe that there is Biblical evidence that sometimes silence is far better than speaking.The other morning I was reading my morning devotions and I came to a passage of scripture that to many would seem like a strange instruction given to us by the Lord. In context this passage of scripture is talking about a Christian wife’s responsibility to an unsaved husband and the importance of her testimony. But I believe we can take principles from this passage of scripture that apply to life in general. Here is the passage:

I Peter 3:1-2 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

In this passage of scripture, we have a Christian wife, and an unsaved husband. God has told that wife to be submissive to her husband even though he does not know Christ, and has chosen to reject the Word of God. Christian Public School teachers are required to be submissive to the rules of the governing body of the public school system, even though the rules in particular do not favor that of a Christian belief system, and by and large the Bible has been rejected by the schools as a whole.

The verses though do not give the instruction to simply to be submissive, but also that the wife is to live by example what the Word of God speaks. The word conversation is not so much the wife constantly telling her husband of his need of salvation, but the lifestyle the wife lives in front of her husband. The winning to Christ of her rejecting husband, is going to come by her godly example, her pure lifestyle, and the fear of the Lord. Christian Public School teachers must be conscious of their limitations when it comes to speaking of the Word of God. Christian students must be conscious of the constant attack they will face against their own belief systems. But if  both the students and the teachers will live their lives that is godly and pure before their peers and pupils, many will come to inquire and know about the God of whom they serve. This is not just a tip to be applied to Public School though, but to life. If the conversation of your mouth is not reflected by the conversation of your life than you will not be able to have a true influence for Christ in the lives of those you are trying to reach.

Christian teachers in the realm of public schools is one of the most important things that our government education system needs. Christian students have a big impact on other students who may never hear of Christ outside the lives of those who surround them. So while I don’t believe the public school is the place for every Christian teacher or every Christian child, I do believe that the Lord has given some the call to be missionaries to the realm of government schooling. And while the Government tries to keep the name of Christ silent in their education system, sometimes “Silence Speaks Volumes”.