< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School

Sunday, January 24, 2016

"Worship Changes Everything" Book Review

I just finished reading Darlene Zschech's book "WORSHIP CHANGES EVERYTHING: Experiencing God's Presence in Every Moment of Life" and wanted to share some thoughts here:

Someone once remarked in a Bible study I was in, “I always have a problem with the idea that God is demanding we worship Him. It seems so – not needy – maybe egotistic?”

Darlene says something in this book that I think does a good job explaining this.

“We need to worship. Worship changes everything. For it is in the decision – the exercise of our will – to worship that our whole perspective on life changes. Our eyes are drawn to God, our Protector and Healer. We no longer obsess over what is wrong with life, but we learn to simply breathe and find joy in the opportunities to grow, to conquer, to bless, to draw nearer to our Lord and Savior.”

I’ve been reading the Psalms while reading this book and often David or the other writers start out asking God to help them or ask “How long God will you let evil reign?” and then while focusing on God turn completely around to hope and joy because they’ve been reminded Who they are praying to. Who is in charge. Worship does more for us than it does for God!

Darlene also points out in each chapter how everything we do can be an act of worship. Mainly by glorifying God with every thought, word, attitude and action.

I think this is an important message for Christians today; many of whom seem to think worship is confined to an hour on Sunday mornings. Also I think we often do Bible study to learn more about God, but then stop there. Learning more about God should cause us to worship Him. To praise Him and thank Him for wanting to have a relationship with Him and for providing a way for us to do that.

Maybe we take our salvation for granted. But if we didn’t, if we really thought about what we are saved from, we would be on our knees daily thanking Him.

This book is a helpful reminder to put God in the center of our lives. I received a copy from Bethany House for my honest review.

This book is available on Amazon.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Reflecting the Character of Christ

I just finished teaching a long lesson on Heaven in Sunday School. One of the books I used as reference was Anne Graham Lotz’ book ‘Heaven, My Father’s House.’

She was talking about how in Heaven we will finally be like Jesus. That even with our own unique personalities and characteristics we will reflect the character of Christ.

And she said, “that character starts to get developed here on earth every time we:

Obey Him in the midst of suffering
Trust Him with unanswered prayer
Love Him without seeing Him
Believe in Him even though all evidence seems contrary to His Word
Focus on Him in the darkness of depression and discouragement
And hope in Him to bring us through.

When we choose to be patient instead of frustrated
To love instead of hate
To hold our tongues instead of lash out
To gently instruct instead of harshly correct
To be gracious instead of rude
Kind instead of mean
Unselfish instead of selfish
Tell the truth instead of the easier lie.

And when we:
Submit to the pain
Accept the pressure
Bear the burden
Deny ourselves daily and take up the cross of His will for our lives
When we follow Him not the crowd
And choose to live by His Word, not others’ opinions.

All of this forms Christ’s character in us and that’s how God uses everything for the ultimate good. None of our trials or sufferings are wasted.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

She had to do it her way

I think once you become a parent you begin to understand God better. 

When my daughter was growing up I tried to instill in her what was right and what was wrong. She had rules to follow. Rules meant to keep her out of trouble, healthy and successful.

Every time she didn’t follow the rules or disobeyed me she would get herself in a pickle and I would shake my head and think, “She had to do it her way!”

And then I thought, that’s probably what God thinks every time we disobey or don’t listen and do something wrong. 

Why do we have to do things our way when His way is clearly so much better?

His rules and laws really are for our own good. We could save ourselves a lot of problems if we just listened to and obeyed our Father.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review of the book Dear Mary

I just finished reading “Dear Mary, Lessons from the Mother of Jesus for the Modern Mom”.
I thought the idea of this book (each chapter a letter to Mary, the mother of Jesus, about a parenting issue) was a great idea. And I started to read it with great anticipation.

But I was really disappointed. It seemed very disjointed and the lessons from both the author’s and Mary’s lives weren’t developed very well. I actually put it down for several weeks and had to force myself to finish it because I had received the book from Bethany House on the promise I would write an honest review.

I’m only giving it two stars and that’s for the idea only.

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Monday, November 09, 2015

William P Young, author of The Shack

I went to hear William P.Young, author of The Shack, at our library tonight. And I am SO glad I did! When I read the book, I have to admit I thought it was a little new-age and wondered about the author.

Meeting him tonight and listening to him I know now he is a godly man who loves God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If you've read the book you know what a great story teller he is, so you can imagine how entertaining and interesting his talk was.

It was like a beautiful 2 hour sermon filled with; stories that were funny, encouraging and enlightening, his background and writing the book and the making of the movie coming out in 2016.

One quick story he told was how right before he wrote the book he lost everything - his house, cars, etc. He, his wife and six children were living in a small rental house and he was working 3 jobs. He had always written things; songs, stories, etc. but just for family and his wife said, "I wish you would write something for your children for Christmas."

So he wrote The Shack and had it bound at Office Depot for their Christmas gifts that year. He had to print 15 so he also gave one to his wife and the rest to a few friends. (The friends read it and passed it to more friends and on and on.The Shack has sold 22 million copies now!)

Anyway, fast forward to 2010 when it was printed in Germany and a German company wanted to do a documentary on the author of the best seller. They followed him around Europe while he was on a book tour and then asked if they could come to Oregon a few months later to film his home and where the story was set. He said yes and they asked if he knew a videographer in the area so they wouldn't have to fly one over. He happened to know one and put them in contact with each other. He didn't know it at the time, but that one had to cancel and gave them another name who committed, but then who also had to cancel, but found a replacement too who worked out.

While filming in Oregon they asked William about that first Christmas and he told the story and they wanted to go to the rental house and film it. William called the people living in it to get permission and the team all went over. Kevin, the videographer, pulled William aside when they got there and said, "Do you remember getting an envelope of money under your door one Christmas?" William said, "Yes, but I've never told anyone that!" Kevin said in 2004 he felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit to give money to someone who had nothing and he couldn't think of anyone. He was standing in Best Buy and got into conversation with a man about it and the man wrote down an address and gave it to him. That's where he took the money. And William used it to print and bind the first 15 copies of The Shack.

It turns out the other man was a friend of William's and William had never let him help him.

His talk was full of stories like this. I would highly recommend going to hear him speak if he is anywhere close to where you live. I'll end with a quote from him below:

"For me, everything is about Jesus and Father and the Holy Spirit, and relationships, and life is an adventure of faith lived one day at a time.  Any aspirations, visions and dreams died a long time ago and I have absolutely no interest in resurrecting them (they would stink by now anyway).  I have finally figured out that I have nothing to lose by living a life of faith.  I know more joy every minute of every day than seems appropriate, but I love the wastefulness of my Papa’s grace and presence.  For me, everything in my life that matters, is perfect!"

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Sunday, November 08, 2015

7 Night Cruise out of Venice September 3, 2016

John and I will be escorting our fourth annual cruise next September 3rd. We'll be sailing on Royal Caribbean's beautiful Vision of the Seas from Venice, Italy.

I'm holding a block of Oceanview Staterooms at a great group rate. A $250.00 pp deposit will hold your cabin with final payment due June 20, 2016

So check it out! Call or email me with any questions! And then join us on our excellent adventure! I promise - we ALWAYS have fun!!!


Thursday, October 01, 2015

Book Review of Powerful Moments in the Presence of God

1 John 3:16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.

"You are loved with an everlasting love. I speak this word because I want it to sink in and penetrate to the depths of your soul. I want you to understand with your heart and not just your head.

My love is a gift freely given with joy. My love does not depend on your goodness or your worthiness. My love is.

I gave up My earthly life so that you would know My eternal love."

The above is taken from a devotional book I just finished reading. Written by Lorraine Marie Varela it's unique in that each verse is "explained" by God Himself!

This, along with the beautiful photographs taken by the author herself, makes for a peaceful and refreshing read.

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