Gratitude at the Milestone

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those people who helped me to reach an important milestone in my homeschooling career – graduating my first student! Continue reading

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How We’ve Hosted a Home Bible Study for 16 Years

The first person we met 23 years ago in the huge worship center of our new church invited us to his adult fellowship group on Sunday mornings, then invited us to his regional Bible study on Friday nights.  We have attended that Bible study all these years, and over 16 years ago, we offered to host the group in our home.  We feel blessed to serve the body of Christ in this way. Continue reading

Two Perspectives on Santa

With only a few days before Christmas, I’m not going to convince you to change your traditions for this year.  But now is a great time to think about this important issue while you’re in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle.  Do you have babies that are mesmerized by the sparkling lights?  What will you tell them about Santa in a few years?  Do you have children who see the fat guy in the red suit on every street corner?  Can you help them discern between real and fantasy?  Do you have teenagers looking for hypocrisy in your speech?  How you talk about Santa matters.

santa-fireplace

To help you think about how to deal with Santa, I wrote an article called Let’s Talk about Santa Claus about telling the truth about the fictional character.

When I write my first Christian fiction novel, “Elephant in the Room,” I was surprised when a professional Santa Claus showed up as one of my characters.  I remember thinking about weight issues and into my mind popped the man acclaimed for his tummy that shook like a bowl full of jelly when he laughed.  You can read more about him in the article, Meet Nick Saint.

One More Bonus Perspective: I enjoyed Michelle Lesley’s recent blog post about Christmas Tradition Do-Overs and Do-Overs-and-Overs.  Here’s what she wrote about talking about Santa Claus with her children.

8. I’m glad we handled Santa Claus the way we did.

We decided before we had children that we would not lie to them about the existence or omniscience (he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, etc.) of Santa Claus. The Bible says that lying is a sin, period. There’s no exception for jolly old elves who pass out toys (or for tooth fairies or Easter bunnies, for that matter). But there’s nothing wrong with the fun of Santa as long as he arrives on the scene without lies or claims to attributes only God possesses. So we sang Santa songs and told Santa stories, but on Christmas Eve, our children knew it was Mom and Dad filling the stockings. When they were very small, my husband or I would don a Santa hat and say something like: “You know how you like to play pretend? Well, mommies and daddies like to play pretend, too, especially at Christmas! Now it’s time for you to go to bed so we can pretend to be Santa Claus.” So far, no one is in therapy from us handling the Santa Claus story this way, plus there were no conspiracies with the older children to keep the secret from the younger ones, and no moments of devastation as each child grew up and found out the truth.

How do you talk to your children about Santa?  Do you need to confess to your children that you have been lying to them?  How can you help them worship Christ at Christmas?

 

Natural Disasters: What Can You Do?

Hurricanes.  Earthquakes.  Fires.  These natural disasters have dominated our attention lately.  Because they have hit close to home, those of us who dwell in safety right now are looking for ways to help others.

KH with Liana 1 far with book

That’s me – Kristen Harper – with the former Volunteer Coordinator for CHF, Liana Hofer.

I would like to highlight my favorite charity: Children’s Hunger Fund.  It was the model I used to write about food distribution to the needy in my Christian fiction novel, “Elephant in the Room.”  Since 1991, 97% of all donations have directly supported programs that serve suffering children and families.  CHF has received a score of 100% from Charity Navigator for accountability and transparency. (Source: childrenshungerfund.org/disasterrelief/)

Children’s Hunger Fund has an ongoing ministry to deliver hope to suffering children by equipping local churches for gospel-centered mercy ministry.  They accomplish this by distributing food and care items in Food Pak boxes to churches whose members personally deliver them to families to meet their physical needs, along with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to meet their spiritual needs.  In the wake of the recent natural disasters, CHF has activated its already-established ministry networks to deliver food and care items in the affected regions of Mexico, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Florida and Texas.

So, what can you do?

1. Volunteer: give time.  If you’re near Chicago, San Antonio, Dallas or Los Angeles, please consider spending a couple of hours at Children’s Hunger Fund.

2. Donate: give money.  Here’s a link to CHF’s Disaster Relief fund.

3. Collect: develop a habit of redistributing your resources

  • collect coins in a CHF Project Coin Pak;
  • clean out your closets to donate clothing and household items;
  • buy extra non-perishable groceries to share with others;
  • always have Bible tracts available to give away.  (My favorites are available from Living Waters.)

You might be feeling fearful in these uncertain times.  Just like all of the victims of these disasters, someday you will die.  (See the video 10 Out of 10 People Die.)  Now is the time to consider what you will say when you die and meet God at His judgment throne.  If you take the Good Person test, you will know that you are guilty and deserve to go to hell.  But God is offering to you the free gift of salvation. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). Read your Bible to find out more.  Then live like you know that you’re going to heaven!

With all this attention on the global disasters, we don’t want to overlook people in our communities that need help, too.  Next week, I will share a video about how to make gift bags for the homeless.