Links to Think

Links to Think: 14.03.17

March 17, 2014

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Grace Is Free – I resonated with and profited from reading this article touching on what the  author’s upcoming book, Grace Is Free, explores in depth.

“When I became a wife and mother, helpful tips from the women’s ministry came in handy sometimes. We did study the Bible together, but we also spent a lot of time encouraging each other to please God by becoming better people. Much of what I did was motivated by what other Christians saw and approved of.

Shortly after I finished my antique dresser, we had a women’s event at church. The speaker cancelled at the last minute and I was asked to teach in her place. With only three days to prepare, I decided to speak from John 15. It was messy, but the more I pressed in, the more I realized I had stumbled upon something huge. While men were learning theology, women, in otherwise Biblically solid churches, were learning a false gospel. We were teaching each other a form of godliness that had no power (2 Timothy 3:5). We had put each other in bondage to man-made rules (Galatians 3:1-5). What had happened to the gospel that saved sinners like the prostitute who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears? Did Jesus have to give her a to-do list so she would know how to please him with the rest of her life?

Adding requirements for godliness to the gospel is not a new problem. The apostle Paul spent his life planting churches and revisiting them, reminding them to get the gospel right. In Acts 15 an argument arose between Paul and Jewish believers over adding requirements to the Gentiles’ salvation. The Galatians’ faith was derailed when teachers came to them with works for attaining their goal with human effort (Galatians 3:3). The Ephesians got so busy with Christian activity that they lost their first love (Revelation 2:1-7). In Corinth, false apostles, masquerading as apostles of Christ, led some of the congregation in a revolt against Paul and his gospel (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). “If someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough” (2 Corinthians 11:4).”

“The answer is: we don’t make ourselves acceptable to God. He made us acceptable by covering our sin with His own blood and imputing His righteousness to us through faith alone (Romans 3:21-22). He has removed my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh. He has put His Spirit in me and moves me to follow Him (Ezekiel 36:25-27). Do I doubt His ability to finish the good work He began in me (Philippians 1:6)? Abiding in Christ means believing every word that comes from the mouth of God. Our actions will prove what we truly believe rather than what we say we believe.

It has taken ten years to articulate these things in book form. It has not been easy. I have been bullied and slandered and patronized in a lonely fight to, at least, ask Christian women to examine what gospel we have believed. Ironically, this message of freedom and grace has angered many Christians. Others agree with me privately, but will not stand with me publicly. However, I regularly hear from captives who have been set free. This is my greatest joy. The power of the gospel of Jesus Christ saves sinners. “For in the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’” (Romans 1:17).”

Gold medalist Jamie Anderson’s mom: I didn’t push my kids ‘to read and write– This is not a parenting formula for those who wish to raise Olympic athletes. Rather, it’s an encouraging word from a mom who understood each of her children’s unique gifts and need to develop at the rates childhood requires. (And we probably wouldn’t have this article if she didn’t have an Olympic athlete as a daughter; there are countless other parents engaging with and nurturing their children this way. Hope it’s an encouragement!)

“What does it take to raise an Olympian? In the case of Jamie Anderson, 23, the first woman to win gold in slopestyle snowboarding, her mom took an unconventional approach: there was no TV, no traditional schooling, and a focus on outdoor activities and following one’s spirit.

“I wanted them to be like children, playing outside, running and jumping and not sitting inside at a desk,” said Lauren Anderson, who raised the kids in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. “They got to be free, building their bodies, protecting their spirits and minds, and not being pushed or pressured.”

Lauren home-schooled her eight kids while running a lawn-mowing business on the side. But the emphasis wasn’t on academics.

“They went on the mountain and skied and snowboarded and they took the bus, and then they came home and did schoolwork — just to make it official,” she told TODAY.com during an interview at the P&G Family Home in the Olympic Park. “There wasn’t a big push for them to read and write and do arithmetic. I wanted them to learn how to get along and let life be the teacher. Character-building was more important than academics.”

While Lauren’s approach was criticized by family members who worried that her six daughters and two sons weren’t intellectually stimulated (the grandparents would ask the kids to read out loud to confirm they were literate), she now counts among her kids an Olympic gold medalist and X-Games champions — even though she didn’t exactly want her kids to become athletes.

“I wanted them to be the singing Anderson sisters,” she laughed.

But at 9 years old, Jamie begged her mom to let her learn to snowboard, and within the year she was winning championships and beating boys who were older than her.”

““It brings tears to my eyes, how much I feel that same vibration that kids should be kids. I think it’s sad how much time kids have to spend inside nowadays and I have so much gratitude for how my mom and dad chose to raise my family,” Jamie said while giving her mom a shoulder rub after she won gold. “I look now at how successful we all are — and I believe what my mom says that kids are naturally driven to learn and progress.””

Watch as 1000 years of European borders change – A fascinating video (not YouTube) on how Europe has evolved to the current state. (Although it seems like there may be a few discrepancies.) Very interesting, particularly in light of the current conflicts.

And in honor of this day…

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