Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Call of Jesus

“When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer Christianity is no self-improvement plan. It is also not a plan to achieve moral superiority by self-sacrifice. It is the death of our old self, also known as our sinful nature. Romans 6:3 says, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Christianity is dying and rising, which is granted to us as we receive God's Law (that puts us to death) and God's Gospel (which raises us to new life). So all glory goes to God the Father through Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit, who works through the Word of God.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Final Year Already?

Classes at the seminary are in full sway, and after a successful year of vicarage, I'm back into the books.  I can hardly believe it's my final year.  I was recently looking at pictures taken for our family's "Farewell and Godspeed" at our home church.  "Wow", I thought to myself... that was three years ago ?!?   Now, we are entering our fourth year and the Call Service is only about 7 months away, at which point life at the Palmer home will prepare for another major, but exciting turn.   Vicarage was indeed a great experience, and I learned a great deal and receive a lot of encouragement from so many people.  Words cannot express how much the ongoing financial and prayer support we have received means to me and my family.

Palmer Home School is doing well.  Elise is a senior this year, and is taking a couple courses at home but is also transitioning to college by taking a couple of college courses for dual credit.  This summer will not only be big change for me, but for her as well, as we will be sending her off to college. 2012 has been an exciting year for John too, as he was confirmed in the Christian faith in July by my vicarage supervisor.  What a privilege it was to have a part in his catechetical instruction. Lindsay, a sixth grader, has started confirmation classes.  Bethany is also doing quite well with her schooling and piano lessons.

Blessings to you all!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Repetition--Bane or Blessing

When I went through the teacher education program in college back in the early 90's, I was struck by how little attention was given to memorizing, also known as rote learning. Higher, or critical thinking skills were praised as the goal of learning As someone who had grown to appreciate being able to recall Bible passages by memory, I was appalled when I heard my professor speaking in a mocking way about those backwards early American settlers and their inferior education and understanding. Stepping back, I had to ask myself, is our modern education system really superior? I think the answer is obvious. We often deride those of past generations who *only had an eighth grade education*, but if you look at their textbooks and realize what they were required to know, it is not too difficult to conclude that today's students lack much of the knowledge to critically think about! This mentality that rote is inferior has spilled over into the church. Perhaps the church started it, due to faulty theology; I don't know enough about it to say what the source is. But it is unfortunately alive and well in the American church. Spontaneity is valued as proof of a valid, vibrant faith. Let's look at it from another viewpoint. When Christmas caroling at a local nursing home, I was struck by the fact that many elderly individuals, who normally do little more than slump over in their wheelchairs, sang the songs with us as best they could. Why? Because they know the songs by heart. My husband says that it is the same during chapel services, when they recite the Apostle's Creed and the Lord's Prayer. These precious truths are hidden in the hearts of these dear saints. May I suggest that we are robbing today's young people, who will be tomorrow's elderly, by not giving them the riches of the church, such as the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the hymns and liturgy rich with theology? The praise choruses may be fun today but they will hardly get you through the night of affliction that comes to us all in in the various sufferings we experience in this life. God wants His Word of promise forever imprinted on the hearts of His dear saints:"Your sins are forgiven," Luke 7:48. Repetition in the life of the church is a good thing, because only then can one say, "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you" Psalm 119:11.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Simple Truth

Please listen to A Simple Truth about Rape and Abortion, a soundbite by Rebecca Kiessling, who was conceived in rape. She said very well in a short amount of time what it would take me a while to explain, so I thought I would let her sum it up.