Monday, November 29, 2010
The Battle of the Teachers
"Recent data indicates that, on average, children in the United States spend approximately three hours a day watching television. This invited 'guest' into our homes has the potential to significantly shape our children's development."
That statement was issued this September by the Federal Communications Commission. It seems insightful. But its split infinitive is not the only split in officially stated FCC policy. For the federal government's concerns about shaping children are by no means a match for what should be the concerns of Christian parents.
The split occurs between the FCC's opening statement and its ensuing policy on how the significant shaping should be done. For the only answer the feds have is "to offer educational and informational children's programming."
Time to draw your Ephesians sword. It is time to split.
There are two pressing questions: 1) What "educational and informational programming" is suitable? 2) Who decides what "educational and informational programming" is suitable?
Answering those questions should lead Christian parents to other questions. To start with, "What TV shows, if any, should kids be allowed to watch?"
The FCC and the networks have been wrangling over "educational programming" for years. But that conflict has been merely about what can be considered "educational." So in a way, it doesn't really matter who wins the debate. Either way, Christians lose.
Christians need to listen to someone besides the government or the entertainment industry. What neither of those entities admits is that all TV programs are educational.
Every program that children (or adults) watch influences their thinking. That's because every one of them is created by people. All people have beliefs, which they use in the shows they produce. They can't help it.
That's why the Bible tells us things like "test the spirits" and "be careful" and "test everything."
Being educational isn't bad. The problem lies in the ideas being taught. That's why many Christians (like me) keep their TV sets turned off most of the time. So many TV programs are ungodly and shameful--because the beliefs of the people who make them are ungodly and shameful.
Without Christ, no one understands education or truth either one.
God's word tells parents to make sure their kids learn to live for the Lord. And God's word tells parents to teach them how to do it. The government and the networks aren't Christian parents. The wrong people are trying to teach your kids how to think and what to think.
The Bible doesn't say, "Don't watch TV." The Bible does say, "Don't be deceived." The Bible does say, "Don't be foolish." God wants your kids to know the truth. The world doesn't have it.
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith," says 1 Corinthians 16:13.
"Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray" (1 John 3:7).
There are only two kinds of education. Watch out for the wrong kind.
-- Norm Bomer
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Seven Things to Do With Your Family This Thanksgiving
Many of my happiest memories as a young man, and now as the head of my own household, come from Thanksgiving. Traditionally, Thanksgiving has been a day where our dearest loved ones gather around the table and feast, followed by a time of poetry reading, Scripture recitations, song, more feasting, and family story-telling. But more than anything, Thanksgiving has come to be a time when we focus as a family on gratitude. It is a time to humble ourselves in the face of God’s great mercy and to chronicle the providences and blessings of God in our life. One of the blessings for which we are most grateful is you — the many friends of Vision Forum. So this year, the Phillips family wants to begin our Thanksgiving Celebration by sharing seven simple recommendations for your own day of thanksgiving.
1. Stop and Thank God from the Bottom of Your Heart and the Depths of Your Soul
O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. —Psalm 95:1-6
If you were to spend every waking moment of every day for the rest of your life noting God’s goodness, you would never begin to chronicle all the things for which you should thank the Lord. His blessings are innumerable. But on this day, take time to chronicle much. Get very specific. Thank the Lord for all things: Thank him for your provision, and the protection He has given to you all year. Thank Him for the pains and sorrows that are driving you closer to Him. Thank Him for the problems you have, and thank Him for all the horrors from which you have been spared. Thank Him for your parents, your children, and your loved ones. Thank Him for the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun. Thank Him for those friends who love you and whom you love. Thank Him for the opportunities He has given to you. Thank Him for the mentors in your life. Thank Him for the sweet seasons and the beautiful memories He has given to you. Thank Him for His Church and His Word. But, most of all, thank Him for Jesus Christ. Because of Christ, you can be forgiven of sins, reconciled to the Father, and have the promise of eternal life.
2. Share the Greatest Stories of the Pilgrim Fathers and God's Providence
Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.—Deuteronomy 32:7
Thanksgiving Day is a time for quizzes and story-telling. A great place to begin is by dedicating time to recount the rich historical evidence of the providence of God in the life of this nation through the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims. From their humble beginnings as a cadre of faithful friends and devoted Christians meeting in Scrooby, England, to their visionary leadership and perseverance in the New World at Plymouth Plantation, these faithful Separatists left one of the greatest legacies in the history of the New Testament Church. Yet most American Christians know little to nothing of the true story of these indefatigable men and women of God. This Thanksgiving, remedy the problem by telling their story. If you don’t have any of the many books on the Pilgrims available from Vision Forum, do a little online research. Visit the website of Pilgrim Hall Museum, for example. Share the stories of the friendship of William Bradford and William Brewster; of the persecution of the Scrooby Congregation; of the hardship and perseverance of the families on board the Mayflower; of the first Sabbath at Pulpit Rock;of the importance of the Church covenant; and of the long first winter in America. Tell how God used a young Indian boy named Squanto to save the colonists, and share the story of the peace treaty between the Pilgrims and Chief Massasoit which lasted fifty years. Make sure to read the farewell letter of pastor John Robinson to his congregation. Have your children join in the story-telling. Make sure to emphasize the faithfulness and providence of the Lord.
3. Read the Fourth Chapter from Of Plymouth Plantation Aloud to Your Family
Last and not least, they cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good foundations, or at least making some ways toward it, for the propagation and advance of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world, even though they should be but stepping stones to others in the performance of so great a work.—William Bradford
If you only read from one book outside the Bible this Thanksgiving, make it Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford. And if you only have time for one chapter, make sure it is the fourth. It is in this chapter that we learn about the true reasons why these home-schooling pilgrims debated over whether or not they should risk their lives to go to America, the ultimate reasons for their departure (including concern over bad peer influences with their children), and their tremendous confidence in God. Most importantly, it is here that you read of Bradford’s multi-generational vision of victory. Note: From the approximately fifty survivors of the first winter, more than 30 million descendants have come.
4. Take a Pilgrimage to the Homes of the Pilgrims — From Your Living Room
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.—Proverbs 22:28
We are losing our landmarks to liberty in our nation. As I documented in my article,“Plymouth Crock”, we are even desecrating the landmarks to our Pilgrim fathers. This is one reason why I believe it is so important that we physically bring our children to the great Ebenezers of our freedom while they yet remain. Finally, after more than a decade leading families to Plymouth, home of the Pilgrim fathers, I was able to take 100 Americans this year on a journey to Scrooby, England, and the little manor house where the Pilgrim congregation was birthed. What a journey! Please let me share it with you by watching the video which I have posted on my blog. Then learn about the little eight-hundred-year-old manor house that changed the world in my article, “A Pilgrimage to Scrooby”.
5. Read George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation at the Dinner Table
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.—George Washington
The practice of setting aside days of prayer, days of fasting and humiliation before the Lord, and days of thanksgiving for the mercies of Jesus Christ was practiced by our Pilgrim and Puritan fathers, promoted by our legislatures and Congress, and honored by our presidents. On this national day of Thanksgiving, let’s remember that we do not honor a “turkey day,” but the God of Heaven who George Washington described in his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789, as “the great Lord and Ruler of Nations.” I recommend that you print off the proclamation and read it before your dinner meal.
6. Tell the Story of the Providence of God in the Life of Your Family
I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. —Psalm 78:2-4
The Lord has not only blessed this nation with a rich providential history, but you too have a story that needs to be told. Your children need to hear it and understand the mercies of God in the life of your family. So, this Thanksgiving, chronicle all that God has done in the history of your family. How many generations has your family been in America? How did they get here? When, if ever, did your fathers embrace the Gospel?
7. Purpose to Fight Hard and Hold Fast
History is not made by majorities, but by dedicated minorities of like-minded friends who have joined together in common cause. This was the Pilgrim legacy, and it must be ours as well. To change the world, courageous men and women must “fight hard and hold fast” to the things they know to be true. Most people will not fight hard and hold fast (which is why most people are spectators instead of world-changers). If you are grateful, purpose to be engaged. Purpose to be part of an important work for the Lord. Purpose to stand with those who are fighting hard and holding fast. Purpose to be a twenty-first-century pilgrim for Jesus Christ.
Conclusion: Happy Thanksgiving!
On behalf of Beall, Joshua, Justice, Liberty, Jubilee, Faith Evangeline, Honor, Providence, and Virginia, and all the families of Vision Forum, we wish you a truly happy, truly grateful, truly blessed Thanksgiving Day!
May the Lord bless you and keep you, and may He cause His face to shine upon you.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The Five Scariest Things
You Can Do This Halloween
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. (Proverbs 8:13)
By Doug Phillips
Our country is in the grip of a fear crisis. The tension because of this fear is almost palpable. There is fear over elections, fear over the economy, and fear over hundreds of other issues ranging from the environment to terrorism.
The one fear that America is missing is a fear of the Lord. As a people, we no longer fear God. Because we do not fear God, we no longer hate evil (Proverbs 8:13).
Instead of hating evil, Americans toy with it. We toy with holidays like Halloween that were conceived in evil and that promote the “cute-ification” of evil, whether that evil takes the form of witchcraft, sorcery, ghoulishness, or some other form of malevolent imagery paraded before our children. We laugh at the very things that the Lord describes as “abominations,” and we find ourselves obsessively fascinated by, and attracted to, all things dark.
Yet we do not fear the Lord.
Those who “hate evil” are very scary to a secular society that fears man more than God. They are scary because they dare to declare that there are absolute standards by which society must be governed. They are scary because, if they are successful, industries like Hollywood that make billions of dollars by promoting ungodly fear will lose their influence. They are scary because such people will not be swayed by political candidates who use fear as a tool for manipulation.
With this in mind, I offer you the five “scariest” things you can do this Halloween:
- The scariest thing you can do this Halloween is to not make light of evil. Halloween was conceived in evil and has remained a celebration that uses children to promote a fascination with darkness and superstitious fear. Simultaneously, it makes light of things that the Bible describes as evil. Stand against such things, and the world will find you very scary indeed. The fear of the Lord makes men turn from evil (Proverbs 16:6).
- The scariest thing you can do this Halloween is to not be fearful. The media wants you to be afraid of everything from overpopulation to global warming. The politicians want you to be afraid of the economy and political instability. God wants you to do what is morally right, trust Him completely, and never be gripped by an ungodly spirit of fear. You can place your trust and hope for this nation in the King of Kings. Jesus said: “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Luke 12:4-5). Believe this, and you will be light to the world.
- The scariest thing you can do this Halloween is to completely skip Halloween and remember Reformation Day. It was 493 years ago that Martin Luther nailed his world-changing 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg church. These theses included rebukes to ungodly fear and superstition. 501 years ago, sometime near October 31, a baby named John Calvin was conceived who would dedicate his life to eradicating an ungodly fear of superstitious beliefs and proclaiming the gospel of grace. His emphasis on reformation, revival, and the sufficiency of Scripture had such far-reaching implications for nations like the United States that he has been described by Christian and secular scholars alike as the true founding father of America. The Reformers did something that was very scary to the world of their day. They stood against all forms of dark superstitions which grip the minds and souls of men. It was their emphasis on the fear of the Lord and the wisdom of Holy Scripture that was used by God to liberate untold numbers of men and women. But to remember the Reformers instead of Halloween is very scary to the world. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).
- The scariest thing you can do this Halloween is to refuse to watch or allow your children to watch any of the toxic Halloween and horror films emerging from Hollywood. America’s fascination with ungodly fear has made horror the most popular and fastest-growing film genre amoung youth. When parents allow their children to toy with this genre, they promote ungodly fear, and they contribute to the fear-factories in Hollywood that prey upon the youth of our culture. Say “no” to Hollywood horror and you will be dangerously scary to the media elite. “Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence....?” (Jeremiah 5:22).
- The scariest thing you can do this Halloween is to get on your knees as a mother and father and pray that the Lord will send you many, children who will fear God, not man — children who will especially shun the glorification of witchcraft, the bondage of ungodly fear, and the “cute-ification” of evil that is promoted through holidays like Halloween. Cultures that toy with evil end up being cultures of death. The Christian response is to be a people of life. That means babies. It means fearing God by honoring His command to “be fruitful and multiply.” It means remembering that the Scripture describes children as a “blessing” and a “reward.” Raise children that fear God more than man, and that will be answer enough to our Halloween- and darkness-obsessed culture; for if you trust God over your womb and commit your children to a holy education, you will be very scary to the modern world. “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Psalm 34:11).
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
This last post is inspired by Nichole. Nichole, you probably don't hear it enough how much you inspire us out here with your awesome Papertrey products and your product reveals each month. You have a wonderful artful eye for color, simplicity and impact. The images you design for stamps and the designs you make for cards are truly timeless and awesome. Thank you for the way you lead in this craft and set the standard so to speak for everyone else. You inspire us and challenge us to be better paper crafters and to look out for those little details that really make a card or project say WOW!
I must say that Dawn McVey is one of my all time favorite bloggers. I love her bold color choices, which I would usually never think of putting together. I like her way of making patterned papers with background pieces that I would never think of creating. I also love all her great uses of mediums for flowers and focal points like cork, felt, vintage bookprints and such.
My next favorite designer is Michelle Wooderson. I love her funky mixy matchy style. I also like her production line style of laying things out. Here are some projects I have just recently made reflecting her style. Thanks, Mish.
I love this blog hop as there are so many people I go to for inspiration and to CASE. First and foremost would be Nichole Heady herself, and all the wonderfully talented ladies on her design team. I am most addicted to all of their blogs because I love their design perspectives. Very clean and deceptively easy. That is what this particular post is focusing on. Clean and easy with pops of color for impact. The designer I think most inspires clean, easy, pops of color and overall simplicity with lots of wow factor is Maile Belles. I love her blog and I love her style. As a busy homeschooling mom, I like to keep things clean and simple. Here are some cards I have made inspired by some of Maile's designs. Thank you, Maile.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I love the blog hop challenge this month. I will admit that these two projects were made this summer, but I thought I would share them as they fit this challenge and I don't have time to stamp something new tonight. I love to give homemade gifts. I like to share my love of baking. So when we were invited to a couple of wedding showers, I made these brown/white bags for homemade cake mixes (I made the mixes myself, they were not store bought). They were decorated on the front and back with pretty papers and fun stamped labels. They were part of a whole ensemble, which I have included pictures of. Super easy and a fun gift. Hope you like the inspiration.