Healing Power

Running commentary on how Jesus' Healing Power is affecting my life - and helping me to help others.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Instilling a Desire to be Godly

Podcast available here

Before I start, I'm not condemning parents for not homeschooling. I understand that there are reasons it cannot be done. So, I ask that you read this objectively. I am detailing what I am doing to raise Godly children. Suggestions and feedback are welcome!

I have two young daughters. Lately, on the radio and on the podcasts to which I subscribe (thanks, AT, now I'm hooked! :P), many people are discussing the problem of purity among today's teens. It's downright scary.

We're homeschooling, and a big reason is so I can instill a desire to be Godly in my kids before I turn them loose in the real world. This is a battle we're fighting - not against other people, but against evil itself.

So, I hear about 7 year olds at "rainbow parties". They are sexual parties with such disgusting party games I won't go into them here. The name, however, is rather benign.
One of my wife's co-workers said that at his daughter's high school, they make fun of her because she's not bi-sexual. They tease her with the name "homophobe" because she won't try it.
My daughter's friends and cousins wear clothes that are shockingly revealing - even in pre-teen years.

Now, I wasn't the purest child on the block. But I don't want my kids to make the same mistakes I did. How can I raise my kids to be pure in an increasingly impure world? It appears that it's much tougher now than it was (dare I say) 20 years ago.

We get back to the homeschooling area. My oldest is seven (she'd want me to add "and a half"). People she knows who attend regular school are already familiar with terms such as "crack", "pot", "take a hit" and many sexual terms. And they're only seven or eight! I mean, I was a depraved person through my teenage years, but I knew very little about sex (except for 'the talk') until I was 12, and even less about drugs until I was about 15. And what my parents taught me about sex wasn't half as exciting as what my friends taught me! Hey - my friends had pictures! Woohoo!

So, in order to lay a foundation of faith upon which my kids can build their lives, my wife and I have chosen to control more of their lives through their formative years. We are told in Proverbs to "Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are older, they will not depart from it". That is what we desire to do.

We know we can't protect our kids from the world, but we want to introduce them to the perils on God's terms, not the government's. Are they getting "socialization"? That depends on your definition of "socialize". They have many friends from both the homeschool and public school environments. They spend time at their friends' houses, and their friends spend time here. We are not isolating them from the world. But we are keeping them from the heat of battle until they are ready.

I pray that I can teach my kids to avoid the pitfalls I've encountered in my life. I pray that my girls will grow up for a love of Christ I didn't know until after my oldest was born. I believe that the only way to return this country to Christ is to teach the children.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What's the Threat Level?

Podcast available here

Over the last five years, we've heard a lot about threat levels. With the creation of a new cabinet post called the Department of Homeland Security, came a new idea about threat levels. Using bright colors, we can see how the government perceives the level of terror threat against our nation.

Many have also developed parodies of the threat level. Since I have kids, here's one of my favorites:
Terror Alert Level
I'm thinking about posting it over there on the sidebar...

So we recognize the threat level indicator and what it all means, here is the official listing from the Department of Homeland Security:
  • Red = Severe - basically, a terrorist attack is imminent or occurring
  • Orange = High - There is a high risk
  • Yellow = Elevated - This is where we've been since 9/11
  • Blue = Guarded - If we ever win the war on terror, this is likely where we'll be. Kinda like DEFCON in the military, they never go below DEFCON II.
  • Green = Low - When we all get to Heaven...

But, I began to think about another threat level. The Evangelism Threat Level. In Sunday School, we read the story about Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40). We asked why Philip found evangelism so easy, while the rest of us find it so difficult, and people began to share stories.
One told about a playground incident where a first-grader told another first-grader she was going to hell because she didn't go to church. The girl was so traumatized that she had to be sent home, and the parents filed a grievance against the school.
Another told about the day a group of church women who had been sprinkled were told about immersion. 26 were immersed that day.
Another told about an evangelist who had a table at a university and brought in many people from different backgrounds.
Another told about the street preacher with tracts.
I brought up old friends who were 'bible-thumpers' and thought that beating others over the head with the bible was the way to lead them to Christ.

Why are some of these successful, while the others are not? That's when the idea hit me about Evangelism Threat Level. I don't know how many levels there are, but I'll discuss high and low threat levels.

The playground evangelist and the bible-thumpers are a high threat level. I suppose it would be orange or even red.

Meanwhile, the street preacher, though he's likely considered to be a bit whacked-out, is a lower threat level. Perhaps, if he's shouting "The Day of Judgment is coming! You must repent or spend eternity in HELLLLLLLLLLLL!" the threat level would be a bit higher. But if he's just handing out tracts without actually saying anything to you, it would be a bit lower. So, we'll say this guy is somewhere between blue and orange.

Then, there's the guy with the table at the university. He just sits there, with books and tracts, and only speaks to people who first speak to him. That's a pretty low threat level. We'll call him a definite blue. Not quite green because he's still reaching out to people who are not yet believers.

Finally, you've got the group of women at a bible study. They are there by choice, already believers and studying the Word of God. They hear about immersion versus sprinkling and make the choice to be immersed. That's a very low threat level, we'll call it a definite green.

OK - so we've got
  • Kid tells another kid she's going to hell
  • Bible-Thumpers
  • Street preachers
  • Guy at the table
  • Ladies at a bible study

Now, how do we handle the different threat levels? I think that depends on your relationship with Christ and your personality style. Me, I'm not very comfortable getting in people's personal space, but I've been told that this writing is actually impacting lives. So, I keep writing. I also do things like sit in restaurants reading my bible with copies of the Gospel of John available to distribute. I let them come to me. It won't plant a seed, but if someone's seeking and sees my bible open, they'll ask.
There are others who are more outgoing. They are gifted with being able to just come right out and say it even in less comfortable settings. They won't sit and wait, they'll interrupt your day and say, "My friend, do you know Jesus?" Sometimes it works. Every time it will plant a seed. If they don't know when to let go, though, they'll just drive people away from Christ. They'll become 'bible-thumpers'.
Then there are those who don't do anything. They are so uncomfortable with the Word of God that they just sit there and hope nobody ever asks them about Christ. If someone does, they blow it off. I used to be this kind of person, but the Spirit convicted me of my lackadaisical attitude toward the Word of Christ.

What's your threat level? Are you willing to push it a bit and share the Word? Are you willing to reach out to others? Be a hero.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fear - all wrapped up

I've closed out my series on fear, posted at The Rat and the Rambler blog. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Healing Power of Christ

This is an update to my testimony.

For three years, I was on medication for bipolar disorder. Nearly three years ago, I stopped taking that medication for a multitude of reasons. By and large, I've also been free of symptoms, because I trust God to take them away. Only when I avoid God, whether by choice or by chance, do the symptoms return.

Last week, though, some of the 'less-undesirable' symptoms started raising their head. I call them 'less-undesirable' because, while they are not necessarily desirable, they're not as bad as the symptoms that got me to a doctor in the first place. These 'less-undesirable' symptoms are sleeplessness, talkative, and bouncing from project to project. I must have started five major projects, including cleaning the garage, work on a neighbor's fence, deep-cleaning the kitchen, a blog series on fear, and a musical project. Only the series on fear is still in process, though the kitchen is complete.

These are symptoms of the manic portion of manic-depression, also known as bipolar disorder. These are symptoms of the demons that have tormented me for most of my adult life. After recognizing their return, and with a tremendous desire to 'nip this in the bud', I sat down on Friday night and asked God what was going on. I was no longer focused on Him, but on myself.

After deep consideration of my priorities, and re-configuring them, I was able to get to sleep. The projects were either completed or aborted the next day, and I faced my family well-rested.

The Healing Power of Christ is an amazing thing.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Welcome to Healing Power!

Healing Power is the new home for Clay's Ramblings. Thank you for following me here. All of the old entries are still available at Clay's Ramblings. Many posts from here will link back to those entries. Feel free to bounce back and forth between the two.

I'm looking for a cool banner for this page. Anyone with ideas,let me know. I would edit the one I have, but I no longer have access to the GIF animator! Doh!

Through this transition, I'm still posting on my series Fear at The Rat and the Rambler. Read the latest entries. Check back here for updates to the podcast which should be available for download from iTunes on Monday August 21, 2006!

Exciting things are happening here! Check back often!