Let me plead with you to go and read C.J. Mahaney’s blog posts on Biblical Productivity. They are convicting and essential to those who long to be faithful with the time God has alotted them. The actual link above takes you to a list of the whole series. Please go and read these posts…it is well worth your time!
Here are three bullet points from one of the posts:
- Busyness does not mean I am diligent
- Busyness does not mean I am faithful
- Busyness does not mean I am fruitful
These posts have revealed the error of my ways. Also, to the one who is diligent, faithful, and fruitful please read these posts so that you can encourage your brother because after reading these posts you will know all his excuses. Repenting and Persevering is a community (i.e. church) project.
As I ponder the last four and half years, I have learned a ton at seminary, yet I have found myself in some extremely difficult places while studying. I am grateful for the men God has placed in my life to teach me how to rightly divide the Word! His Word is the bread of life by which I live. It has not been easy, but it has been a joy.
Here are a few desires for upcoming students:
- Be a churchman not merely a seminarian!
- Be in a growing relationship with your pastors…at the church that sent you to seminary and at the church you are currently serving in.
- Do not study for a grade…the bar is much higher than that.
- Encourage your pastors to ask you hard questions about your life…how are you paying for school, how are your relationships (wife, children, family, friends, etc.), and how are you growing in Christ-likeness through the Word and prayer?
- Ask your pastors to look over the Syllabus for your classes…they can suggest a schedule and warn or encourage (whatever the case may be) concerning the books you are required to read.
- Encourage your pastors to read your papers…this will help as you wrestle with difficult issues.
- Do not waste your time but do not be in a hurry to finish…finishing is not the priority but remaining faithful to the Lord everyday…not four years from now!
These suggestions are an attempt to bring the church and the academy to a proper relationship. The academy should be a servant of the church and the student/churchman must work hard to stand firm in this.
I did not realize until I was asked that I didn’t mention any of our activities for Family night in the previous post. I guess my mind was on that pizza! (Which did turn out very tasty).
Obviously when your children are younger, you have to keep it simple and be a little creative sometimes. Here is a list of some of the things we have done:
*Watch a movie (or episode of Andy Griffith or “Laura” AKA Little House on the Prairie) while we eat pizza.
*Go out to eat, taking our time and sitting at the restaurant visiting with each other.
*Camping trip when weather permits.
*Indoor Campout! Yes, including setting up the tent in the living room and not using any electricity (well, there were a few exceptions).
*During the indoor campout we sat around in our lawn chairs and took turns telling something we were thankful for.
*Build a tent in the living room the way we did as kids: throw a sheet over your dining room chairs; we extended this one time and made a tunnel into the hallway. The kids had a ball crawling back and forth in it!
*Snack Night- everyone chooses their favorite to add to the menu.
*Set up an obstacle course outside and have races.
*Game Night (when the kids get a little older)-everyone chooses a game to play. When they are little you are kind of limited to “Hide and Seek” but you eventually graduate to “Candyland.”
*Go for a drive around down town Fort Worth.
*Read a book together. We have read through part of the Chronicles of Narnia series this way. Jason and I take turns reading chapters aloud while the kids play around listening.
*If we eat in, sometimes we just go out for dessert.
*Go for a walk; when it is comfortable weather, outside, if not, go to a mall and walk.
*Just sit in the kids’ room and play whatever they want!
None of these things may sound like fun to you, but these are things our family enjoys. Each family has to decide what would be fun for each member of their family. It does get a little difficult at times when the ages of your children become more spread out. So I think it is important to plan things that everyone can take part in at some point in the evening. The main thing is to just be together and enjoy your family!
Family Fun Friday began in our home about four years ago. It began with letting Lydia, then 2 years old, sit on our bed and have a special snack while we all watched an episode of Andy Griffith together. Now, four years and two more children later, this is a night we intentionally guard and plan for our family to do something special together.
This has been extremely helpful for us during our busy time in seminary. Even when Jason has many assignments, he does not look at them on Friday from 5p.m. until Saturday morning. We think this will also be a good thing to have in place when we are (Lord willing) in full time ministry. There have been a few times that we did not have FFF such as a one time event at church, a major assignment due at midnight on Friday, or an invitation from friends. We have found that there are not too many conflicts at this time. So when something does come up, we feel the freedom to take advantage of that activity also.
Now to the pizza. This has almost become the Friday night staple. We like it so much that we hardly ever eat pizza out anymore! I got the crust recipe from Crystal Paine at Biblical Womanhood. (This site, by the way, has been a huge encouragement to me.) I changed it a little for my recipe book because I am very blessed to have a stand mixer with a dough hook. If you are kneading by hand, I believe the recipe calls for kneading five minutes.
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour
Dissolve the yeast in the water.
Add the rest of the ingredients in and mix with dough hook until it forms into a ball around the hook.
Flour the pan you will cook the pizza on and dump the dough onto this.
Roll out in the desired shape.
You are ready to add sauce, toppings and cheese!
Bake at 450 degrees F° for anywhere from 9-15 (depending on your oven) minutes until the crust is lightly browned and cheese melted.
My plan tonight is beef and bacon pizza with an Oreo dessert mix we were given in a Christmas package.
Over the last several months we have been making changes in the way we eat. We have taken it one step at a time. Once something becomes a part of our lives, we move to another area. When at one time we drank sweet tea at every meal, now it is an occasional treat. At one time we ate all convenience type foods, now we eat almost everything made from scratch. (This includes trying to stay away from processed meat and foods high in preservatives.)
Our most recent change has been trying to add many more fruits and vegetables in our diet. We mostly eat sandwiches for lunch each day and these were always accompanied by chips. We began by adding fruit on the side and then one day when we ran out of chips I decided not to buy anymore. This may be obvious, but when you don’t have something in the house, that really helps out in not eating it! We then replaced it with raw vegetables. Now we have a sandwich, fruit, and broccoli and carrots with dip almost every day for lunch. We all use to think raw broccoli was terrible, but God has changed our taste buds because now we love it!
I thought at first it would be expensive to buy all fresh produce, but actually I spend less at the store now than I did before. I price match at Wal-mart and usually only buy what is on sale. This is still plenty for us in a week. I think it helps that I shop for these items first and I am not buying a bunch of prepackaged ingredients for other dishes.
The kids enjoy helping prepare these foods also. Here they are a few months ago snapping beans!
Now, this is not to say we never eat all that other stuff anymore. There is nothing better to us in the summer than a grilled hot dog with chips, baked beans and potato salad! We are just trying to get to the point where those meals are the exception and not the norm!