January 31, 2006

Student's Work Ethic

I have this sheet of paper that I hand out to all of my students at least once a year called, Student's Work Ethic. I originally received this handout from Mrs. Smith, a mentor teacher from the first school that I taught at.

She was never officially my mentor, but when I first became a teacher, she took me under her wing and was always there to encourage me and assist me whenever I needed it.

Anyway, she handed me this paper when I was working with a certain student who wasn't doing their homework on a consistent basis. I knew that if this student would just start doing their homework, their grade would increase dramatically.

Once I saw this handout, I knew that it would be something that I could use for a long time. It started with this slightly adjusted paraphrase of Colossians 3:22-24,

(Put your name in the blanks:)

    Student, obey your teachers about everything, not only when the teachers are watching _________________ work, as people-pleasers do, but rather with singleness of heart, fearing the Lord.
    Whatever _________________ does at school, work at it heartily for the Lord and not for the teacher,
    Knowing that from the Lord _________________ will receive an inheritance as a reward. Christ is the Lord for whom _________________ works as a slave!
    Now if _________________ does wrong _________________ will receive what he deserves for his wrongdoing, and there must be no partiality. (J. Adams Translation)

I love this application. There is a connection between real life and spirituality. And if a student can make that connection when they are young, what a blessing that can be.

I didn't make that connection until I was older.

I was loading trailers in a warehouse. I had been doing this for over a year already , and there I was, picking up these boxes off of a cart, stacking them in a trailer, and once I was done with one cart, somebody pushed in another one for me. And once I was done with one trailer, they brought in another one to fill up. And once I was done with one day of this, I knew that I could look forward to another day of the same thing in about 12 hours.

Talk about amazingly monotonous work.

But then these verses came to mind. "Work heartily... As if for the Lord... " And my mind began to change in the way it viewed box stacking. I realized that if I stacked these boxes to the best of my ability, in reality, I was pleasing the God who created me.

This was a good thing to learn. Little did I know at the time that I would spend the next 5 years of my life stacking boxes in trailers.

But I also learned that I shouldn't only work hard when the boss was around or when I knew that I was being watched. I should work hard with a singleness of heart. It couldn't be about me, or what I was going to get out of it. It had to be about Christ.

Whatever work you do, it is ultimately for Christ. Whether it is molding minds in a classroom, or stacking boxes in a trailer. It really doesn't make a difference as far as Christ is concerned. He simply wants you to work as if you were working for Him.

Who do you work for?

January 27, 2006

Another Commercial

Here is another unique car commercial. I know that I saw this on another blog, but for the life of me, I can't remember whose it was.

I just got the link again today from a friend's e-mail.

Well, here it is. Enjoy.

January 26, 2006

Supper Club


(I know...I know...Most of you are loyal Matt readers but I ask for your patience as I don't at present have a blog of my own and I like to post for the family! -Charity)

My friend Anne has taught me a saying in the last year and a half. She smiles at me with that familiar twinkle in her eyes and announces, "Make new friends...Keep the old. Some are silver and some are gold!"

I have to admit that I love it when she says it to me. I grin because I know that while I am currently her "silver"...Someday, maybe, I might be a "gold". I'm confident that she is in this friendship for the long haul and that is reassuring in a world and in my own life where not much seems stable.

Around nine months ago, Anne invited me over to her house for dinner on a Thursday night. She was having some of her friends over in a need to fulfill her cooking obsession (I don't know how I attract these people!) and she was pushing to get me to break out and meet some new women.

I hate making new friends.

That's as frank as I can be. I stress most of the time in a worry that I am appearing foolish and being in this new place without knowing anyone, I am constantly the outsider when it comes to memories and stories. I didn't want to go but I forced myself into the van and made my way to what is today known as our "Supper Club".

It was on those Thursday nights of eating and talking and just plain silliness that I met some of the most interesting and delightful women that one can happen upon.

I find myself very blessed because this has occurred for me more than once in different places we have moved to.

Sometimes in the middle of the evening when we are solving the world's problems or I am laughing until my sides hurt...I remember the others that have been apart of my life before and I feel guilty. It seems a little "disloyal". It is then, that I reassure myself that they are my "gold" and the "silver" for me is welcomed and appreciated in a time that could be very lonely.

Some nights, Supper Club is full to the brim with cackling ladies that have pre-planned to abandon their hubbies and children for a night of home-cooked food and chocolate of some sort...while other evenings there are just the starter three- Charity, Diane and Anne. "Queen Anne"-as my husband likes to call her because she is like a fine lace and we are all willing to do whatever she commands!

Diane is my single friend and frankly, despite the fact that I'm sure she'd like a husband and family, I love her just the way she is. Available! She's from the North and it is strange that I felt very connected to her right from the beginning. She is gentle and kind and I had forgotten that friendship could be so easy. She's the type of person that you wish you could tape record her stories so you could play them over and over again. I just never get tired of hearing about her memories.

The day I found out that our baby had died, it was my Supper Club that rushed a meal to the house and ate chocolates with me while I cried. That's when I knew that our Thursday night dinners weren't about "getting away" as some moms feel the need to do or shallow togetherness, but a real fellowship that comes with friendship focused on truth.

It is my hope to one day "collide" my worlds and be able to do a Thursday night with my old and new friends. I think that could be really great.

Meanwhile, I hope they are developing a "Supper Club" of their own and remembering how great friendship is and how important it is to reach out to others. In a world where women are so petty and competitive, we have forgotten that we need each other for support and encouragement to keep at it.

So, for those of you that are hiding out or stuck in your click-Remember...

"Make new friends, keep the old. Some are silver and some are gold!"

Christ and Your Problems (review)

Christ and Your Problems
by Jay E. Adams

This book is only 30 pages long, but it is packed full of valuable insight. (As are most of Jay Adams' books.)

Summary: This little book is based on I Corinthians 10:13, which says,

There is no trial that has overtaken you but such as is common to man, and God is faithful who will not allow you to be tried beyond what you are able to endure, but with the trial also make a way of escape in order that you may be able to endure it.

Talk about a verse that has many practical applications.

In the book, Jay breaks down each part of this verse and makes it applicable, by simply explaining the meaning of each word and phrase. We are all going to have problems, but they will never be too much.

My Thoughts: Usually when I have seen this book, it is handed out to those who are entering into Biblical Counseling. It is a great book for that purpose, because it is short and to the point. It breaks down those arguments about things like, "...this trial is more than I can handle..." or "...I am alone in this..." or "...God has forgotten me..."

In fact, I think that my favorite part of the book (and the verse) is the phrase, "and God is faithful." It doesn't say, "but God is faithful..." it says "and..."

"but" would imply yeah these trials are bad, but God is still faithful, even though everything is so bad... Whereas, if you use "and" it says, Yeah, God is so faithful that he has allowed this difficult time to come, so that he can help you grow to be more like Christ. Bad times don't stand in opposition to God's good, they stand along with it, arm in arm.

Check out the book. Amazon is selling them for $1.99 each. A worthwhile purchase.

A Commercial

I have seen this commercial mentioned on a couple of different blogs now. It is a really cool concept, but I mostly just like the music. In fact, I added this guy to my froogle wishlist. (Which, by the way, if you were feeling like getting me something, feel free to browse my wishlist. I try to add things to it all of the time.)

Here is the commercial: Sony BRAVIA - The Advert

January 24, 2006

It's about time.

My oldest son is about 7½ years old, and he finally lost that first tooth. It has been loose for a long time, and it finally popped off (with a little help from dad).

He was so excited. He had just told me, right before it happened, "Daddy, I really want to lose that tooth because all of my friends have already lost at least one, and I am 7½! So I should have already lost one! And I haven't, so I hope this one comes out..."

Next thing you know, in a moment of bravery, I gave it a little push and *pop* out it came.

He said, "wow." I said, "it's about time."

100_2237

Time Wasting

Just got a link for the top 10 time wasting internet activities, and thought that I would share it with you.

Here you go.

I haven't tried them all, but the first one is slightly entertaining.

January 23, 2006

Caused to Hope

I think that it is amazing how God brings certain scriptures into our paths just at the right time.

Recently I have been reading through a book by Jay Adams called, Counsel from Psalm 119. This book breaks down each verse of Psalm 119, and explains its application from a counseling perspective. I haven't been reading this book very consistently, so it is taking me a little longer to get through it than I had originally thought.

But as I continue reading, it seems that I am getting through it at exactly the right pace. The pace that God is wanting to use these verses in my life.

For example, I read this verse the other day:

Remember Your Word to Your servant
Upon which You have caused me to hope.

(Psalm 119:49 -- Translation by Jay E. Adams)

This is one of the few passages that I memorized in highschool that I actually still remember. I had to memorize one section of Psalm 119 for a Bible class, and this is the section that I had picked out. I can remember that in order to memorize it, I came up with a little melody to go with it, and I can still remember that.

Anyway, the same day that I read this verse in the morning, my car broke down. Now, I had just replaced the battery the previous day, so it seems like that wasn't the only problem. The alternator had also gone bad.

If you know me at all, you would know that me and alternators go way back. Every car that I have owned, since I have been married has needed at least one alternator replacement. It is almost humorous how many times I have had to do this. almost...

So I am standing in the rain on a Saturday, trying to take out the old alternator from my beat-up old car, that doesn't have air, that doesn't have a muffler, that doesn't have a radio that works, that burns oil... and the thermostat on the van doesn't work... and the doctor bills are coming up... and I have been on the cell phone for more hours than I would like to think about, with my internet service provider, trying to convince them that the internet is going out... and we can't use our home phone because it is based on the previously mentioned faulty internet... and I need to go out on a date with my wife, but I can't afford it... and the kids aren't behaving like I would want them to... and... and... and...

Then God begins to bring His words to my mind:

"I will meet all of your needs according to My riches in Glory."

"I will not allow you to be tempted or tried above what you are able to handle."

"I will never leave you or forsake you."

"I will do you good. I will do you good and not harm all of your days."

"I will..."

"I will..."

"I will..."

Then he causes me to hope, by bringing to remembrance His words and His promises. And my hope is set on Him. He won't tell me how, He won't tell me why, but he promises His loving kindnesses all of my days.

There are so many things that we can set our hope on. And so many of those things are empty and worthless. Jesus is the only one worthy of our hope.

If you lack hope, maybe it is because you have not spent that time in the word for Him to call it to remembrance.


Check out the book,

Counsel from Psalm 119
by Jay E. Adams

January 17, 2006

Teaching Math

This was sent to me in an e-mail, and I thought that I would pass it along to you.

Teaching Math In 1950
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?



Teaching Math In 1960
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?



Teaching Math In 1970
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?



Teaching Math In 1980
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20 Your assignment: Underline the number 20.


Teaching Math In 1990
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)



Teaching Math In 2005
Un hachero vende una carretada de madera para $100. El costo de la produccisn es $80

January 16, 2006

Psalm 84:6

As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

(NIV)


This verse is full of meaning.

First of all, the Valley of Baca, is probably figurative, referring to a desert like place. The word Baca could mean weeping, giving the idea that the Valley of Baca was a place of hardship and trial.

But remember in verse 5, how these are pilgrims that are on their way to the dwelling of God? How do the pilgrims respond to this valley of hardship? They respond by making it a place of springs.

Now a pilgrim cannot make a spring, only God can do that. But it makes you wonder... were the springs already there? Do they make it a place of springs because they are seeing this valley clearly?

The word Baca can also mean palms. The Valley of Palms sounds much better than the Valley of Weeping. Maybe when some traverse this arid plain all they see is the heat and despair... the weeping. But a pilgrim sees it more clearly. No, there may not be a bubbling brook flowing through this plain, and there may not be a lake or a pond nearby, but it is full of springs.

It could be that you need to know where to look to find these springs. Maybe it is only full of springs to those who know the way.

As we are pilgrims in this world, I am wondering how much it is like this valley. So many see it as a place of weeping, because it is full of hardship and trial, and so many times it truly is full of weeping. Even Jesus, while he walked this earth was known as the man of many sorrows.

But there are also springs here, if you know where to look for them. We will never be without the waters of life. We could see this place as a place of palms.

Notice also the end of the verse. The autumn rains are also coming. Suddenly it is no longer arid at all. Just when the heat of summer seems to have conquered... the autumn rains come in, making it a place of pools.

Now, if you look at most Bibles, you might find a note next to the word pools. This word has an unclear definition. It could mean pools, as in pools of water, but it could also mean blessing. Both definitions seem to fit, and maybe that is what the author was shooting for.

How do you see your valley? Is it a place of weeping, or a place of springs?

I would like to urge you to see it clearly. The autumn rains are coming, and before you know it, we will be out of this valley anyway.


(Originally posted to Let Me Not Wander)

January 14, 2006

yup. he's mine.


This is his best Jack Nicholson.


The eyebrows must be a genetic thing or something.

January 13, 2006

Dan Meyers

I can't believe it. I just found out that a good friend of mine (Dan Meyers) is listed as one of the artists on the album, Life Is Precious: A Wes King Tribute.

I have known Dan for quite awhile now, but I never get to see him, because he is always on the road. He travels all over the world, ministering to our troops wherever they are stationed.

On Monday, January 17th, he is going to be recording his live album. They are also going to be recording a DVD at the same time. I am really excited for Dan, but I am also excited, because it is just another excuse for a date night!

If you haven't heard of Dan Meyers, you have been missing out. He is an excellent musician, and song-writer, and he really has a heart for God.

Check out his site here. You could also check out his blogs here and here. He doesn't post on them often enough, but I feel a little connection to them, because I helped him set them up.

January 12, 2006

Dreary

"And I will delight in your commandments,
which I have loved."

Psalm 119:47 (translation by Jay E. Adams)


God's commandments should be a delight. They should not be a drudgery. We should love them and seek after them. Especially because of what they mean for us. We have the keys to life and joy: Eternal life and Eternal joy! Why would we not seek after these truths with whole-hearted effort?

Jay Adams says of this verse:

"How dreary for a Christian to know that in this Book (The Bible) is contained all that he needs for a life of joy and happiness, a life of freedom and opportunity, but neither to know what the book says nor to be living according to it."

I most definitely agree. It is truly a tragedy when you have a person who has access to these words, yet does not seek after them with delight.

Check out the book,

Counsel from Psalm 119
by Jay E. Adams

January 11, 2006

Google Pack

Well, Google is at it again.

They have now put out the Google Pack. it is a compilation of different software packages, that with their powers combined will take on the evil overlord, Count Microsoft!

Anyway. Here is what comes with the pack:


Quite a combination of components, if you ask me. I am mostly interested in the Norton AntiVirus. I have been using a free one for quite some time now, and to be able to get Norton, is quite a nice addition. Any of the components can be deleted off of the list if you don't want them, or if you already have them. It also comes with a Google Updater, that will automatically check to see if each of the components are up to date.

Anyway, I thought that I would pass this along to you. Enjoy.

January 9, 2006

Let Me Not Wander

I have been running another blog on the side for quite some time now. It is called, Let Me Not Wander. It is a daily Bible reading blog.

I decided to take a few weeks off from that blog, because it is a daily endeavor. But it is officially up and running again, so check it out!

January 6, 2006

Military chaplains told to shy from Jesus

(Special thanks to Jungle Pop for this link.)

According to The Washington Times, military chaplains are being told that they cannont pray, "in Jesus name." One of the Chaplains began a multiday hunger strike outside the White House.

Here is a short excerpt from the article that I found to be quite interesting:

Muslim, Jewish and Roman Catholic chaplains are likewise told not to pray in the name of Allah, in Hebrew or in the name of the Trinity, he added.
But the Rev. Billy Baugham, executive director of the Greenville, S.C.-based International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers, says restrictions on other religious expressions have "yet to be tested."
"No Islamic chaplain has been refused to pray in the name of Allah, as far as we know. Neither has a rabbi been rebuked for making references to Hanukkah, and no Catholic priest has been rebuked for referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary."
I don't know why we always act surprised when things like this happen. I believe that persecution is inevitable for true Christians. And if we are living right and teaching right, the world will hate us. But as Jesus so patiently reminds us, we should remember that the world hated him first.

As we walk in the steps of Christ, and live in Jesus' name, we will be treated the way he was treated. We should expect to be banned and scorned. We should not act in shock and indignant when we are expelled because of our beliefs.

Anyway, I just thought that I would pass it along. Here is the original article: Military chaplains told to shy from Jesus. The date on the article is December 21, 2005, so I am not sure if there have been any updates since then.

January 5, 2006

Fun for Boys!

The other day I asked my son what his favorite part of Christmas was.

His first response was the computer game set that we bought for him. It is called Fun for Boys, and it includes 4 games: Hotwheels Velocity X, Tonka Monster Trucks, Extremely Goofy Skateboarding, and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.

Then he sat there for a moment and looked contemplatively at the ceiling. Then he said, "Actually, my favorite gift was getting to spend time with my family."

I am not sure if he was just saying that because he was so happy about the game and didn't want to spoil it by too happy and having the wrong focus. I think that he has been around here long enough to know that if anything gets in the way of what is right, that thing usually ends up in the trash.

But I would like to think that he really did love the spending time with family element.

A couple of days later I overheard my wife asking him a similar question. She asked him to draw a picture of something from Christmas that made him smile, and then to draw a picture of something that made God smile. (By the way, God does smile. If you don't believe me, look it up for yourself.) Sure enough, his answer was very similar. The picture of the thing that made him smile was the game, but he knew that the thing that would make God smile was the spending of time with your family.

He is a bright boy, and I hope that he can continue with these thoughts. There isn't anything wrong with having a little fun, but it is so great to always be thinking in the back of our minds, "...What would God smile at? That is fun for boys too."

A Broad Place

"And I will walk in a broad place,
Since I seek Your commands."

Psalm 119:45 (translation by Jay E. Adams)


Some people believe that God's commands are restrictive; that walking the Christian walk will inhibit us from having a free life.

Some people believe that if you follow after God, then you will miss out on what "could have" been. That your potential will be lost in the midst of this godly pattern of life.

Some people believe that they are "better people" when they are apart from God. They believe that their horizons are broadened and their minds are opened when they discard the Bible.

Some people believe these things.

I, on the other hand, do not believe these things. I believe that in keeping God's commands, we are free! In the words of Jay Adams, "What God's commandments do for a Christian is to enlarge his thinking and his lifestyle - not shrink and restrict it, as the world seems to think." Or maybe I could echo the words of Paul, "If the Son has set you free, then you are free indeed!"

The Bible tells us over and over again that God's way leads to life and freedom, and that the world's way leads to bondage and death. This truth is so plain in the scriptures, but it is so easily forgotten.

We are bombarded daily by those who feel it necessary to belittle anyone who still believes in a true Bible. We are mocked and scorned. We are considered to be stupid and backward because we are holding to the truths of God.

But one of the most powerful weapons is the pity. It usually comes from those coffee-house intellectuals, who look down their noses at us. They feel sorry for us, because they have been so much more enlightened; because they have been able to leave that closed-minded religion behind...

But we are the free ones. We, the ones who are truly adhering to God and his word and his commands, we are the ones who are free.

We walk in a broad place, because we seek his commands.


All these thoughts from this book:

Counsel from Psalm 119
by Jay E. Adams

.

Student Quote -- #4

Story told to me by another teacher:

"Since Great Britain is an island... If you drill down far enough, will you reach water?"

Yes, Great Britain is an island. And yes, if you drill down far enough, you will probably reach water (it is called a well). But how are these two subjects related?!? Upon further questioning, it seems that this student thought that all islands floated.

hmm...


Student Quote -- #3
Student Quote -- #2
Student Quote -- #1

January 4, 2006

Willoughby

One of my favorite TV days of the year is the now traditional SciFi Channel's Twilight Zone New Year's Eve Marathon.

I never actually get to watch the whole marathon, for obvious reasons: children, responsibilities, life, etc. But I always want to watch it. One of these years I will actually sit down and watch the whole thing. This year I filled three 8-hour tapes, hoping for a chance to sit down and watch some of them at a later date.

I just finished watching one of my favorites. It is called A Stop at Willoughby. It starts off with this guy in a business meeting and everyone is just pounding him. Pushing him to work harder, to dedicate more. Everything is going wrong with the tasks that he is responsible for. And then while the commands are whirling around him, he snaps.

Enter Rod Serling:

"This is Gart Williams, age thirty-eight, a man protected by a suit of armor all held together by one bolt. Just a moment ago, someone removed the bolt and Mr. Williams' protection fell away from him and left him a naked target. He's been cannoned this afternoon by all the enemies of his life. His insecurity has shelled him; his sensitivity has straddled him with humiliation; his deep-rooted disquiet about his own worth has zeroed in on him, landed on target, and blown him apart. Mr. Gart Williams, ad agency exec, who in just a moment will move into the Twilight Zone in a desperate search for survival!"


Next thing you know he is on a train headed home. It is the middle of winter and his is looking out the window at the snow. As he is gazing out the window, he dozes off, only to be awakened a few moments later by a conductor announcing the last call for a little town called Willoughby. Having taken the same train for year upon year, he is a little alarmed at this announcement.

He gets up and looks out the window at a small Mayberry-like town in what appears to be mid-July. The town is complete with children on their way to go fishing, families enjoying an afternoon stroll and the beautiful town square with a white gazebo... everything that a little town could want. When asked about this town, the conductor describes it as, "a place where a man can slow down and live his life full measure."

The first two times that he encounters this place, he doesn't get out. He simply sits back and contemplates this place. Is it real? Is he just dreaming? What is this place?

Meanwhile, the world keeps pushing him. His boss, his co-workers, his family: everything keeps pushing, until finally he says to himself, "... next time, next time I am getting off."

And so he does.

He steps off of the train into this warm July day, in the town of Willoughby. People there begin to greet him as if they have always known him. And he walks off into the town, forgetting the world that he left behind.

I think that I like this episode so much because I know that is how I feel sometimes. This world is too fast and pushy. Work is ever-present here. There is always something that needs to be done. And there is an endless flow of heart-ache and trial.

We all long for rest.

But there is a greater rest than a Willoughby has to offer. There is a true rest that can be found only in Jesus, who is known as The Prince of Peace. He is the creator of peace. He is the creator of rest. He even invites us to it! In his own words while on this earth, he states, "Come. All who are weary and burdened. Enter into my rest."

At the end of the Twilight Zone episode, you see the body of Mr. Gart Williams laying in the snow. You see, in reality he had jumped from the moving train. There are a couple of guys there from a funeral home... A funeral home owned by Willoughby & Son, and they are wondering why this man would do this.

Once again, enter Rod Serling:
"Mr. Gart Williams, who sought respite from torment under a gravestone; who climbed on a world that went by too fast and then...jumped off. Mr. Gart Williams, who might now tell us what awaits us in the beyond...because this, too, is a part of...The Twilight Zone!"


But unlike Mr. Gart Williams, we do not have to find this rest by hopping off of a train. We may have climbed on a world that is moving by too fast, but our rest does not have to wait until death. It can begin now, and continue on forever, beyond the gates of death.

Are you weary and heavy laden? Seek Christ.