Walking in Freedom

Miscellaneous musings along the way

Thrift City! January 24, 2013

Filed under: Thrifting — songofjoy88 @ 10:18 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Prior to moving to Colorado, I had never been one to shop at a thrift store (unless I was looking for a tacky Christmas sweater or a Halloween costume.)  That has all changed in the past few months!  There are SO many thrift stores out here, that it just doesn’t make sense not to go on a treasure hunt every once in a while.  Here are some of my “treasures.”

Ann Taylor dress shirt... nothing too exciting, but for about $4, not bad!

Ann Taylor dress shirt… nothing too exciting, but for about $4, not bad!

axcess "teacher" shirt for around $3

axcess “teacher” shirt for around $3

Anne Klein skirt for something like $3!

Anne Klein skirt for something like $3!

American Eagle flannel shirt $5

American Eagle flannel shirt $5

My new flannel shirt and Vanity Jeans ($2.50)!!  I had all but given up on finding jeans at a thrift store- check out how long they are!

My new flannel shirt and Vanity Jeans ($2.50)!! I had all but given up on finding jeans at a thrift store- check out how long they are!

Eddie Bauer skirt for about $3 :)

Eddie Bauer skirt for about $3 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So in summary, that’s 3 tops, 2 skirts and a pair of jeans for close to $20!  More posts about my thrifting adventures to come… 🙂

 

Passion 2013 January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!!

 

What better way to start off the new year than streaming the Passion 2013 conference online?  Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Check out the live stream at 7pm eastern by following this link: http://live.268generation.com/  Also, you can watch other messages from the conference at your convenience for a limited time by following the same link.  The conference ends Jan 4th, so be sure to check out the site in the next few days. 🙂

 

What an encouragement to see thousands of young adults (18-25) setting aside the first few days of their new year to unite with other believers “for His fame!”  To those who have written off the younger generation, take heart!!

 

Tonight (Session 4) Francis Chan delivered a passionate message, stressing the faithfulness of God.  Our actions do not (and cannot) change God’s character.  His promises of blessing and warnings of judgement remain true no matter what!

 

To top it all off, Lecrae will be there tomorrow (Jan 3) at 7pm est!

 

Enter Into Their Pain December 21, 2012

Just finished a book about leadership and followership by John Perkins and Shane Claiborne titled “Follow Me to Freedom.”  The biggest idea that stood out to me was that a good leader leads out of the pain he feels for the people who are following him (or her).  When your passion turns into a person- their character and experiences, and especially Teen Angstthey’re pain- then you are at a place to lead.

 

Who better to look to on this than Jesus?

“He was despised and rejectedby men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted withgrief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.”

-Isaiah 53:3-5 (ESV)

Our Savior knows pain.  He chose to enter into a world permeated with pain.  He not only bore the pain of rejection, but “he has borne our griefs.”  Before you were born, before youjesus-on-the-cross even knew your pain, he bore it- ultimately, on the cross where “he was pierced for our transgressions.”  In a strange twist, this climactic act of cruelty is the very event that opens the door to peace and healing for people- the people who were Christ’s passion.

 

I haven’t processed all of this yet- it’s all very fresh in my mind and heart.  But, God is starting to let me know that I can’t expect to lead or have influence in the lives of people until I know and share their pain.  yikes!  That sounds messy and quite possibly dangerous!  It’s not enough to be passionate about a cause or issue, although that’s a great start.  God has called us to love Him and love people.  His passion was for people, and ours should be as well.  Our life is to be about relationship.  And a huge part of relationships, as shown in the work of Christ, is deciding how we will deal with and respond to pain.

 

This Christmas, I’ll be reflecting on the God who chose to send his son into a world where he would experience great pain- for our sake!  May Christ who chose to expose himself to real brokenness and hurt be the guiding example in my life, especially as I interact with my students!  A leader worth following knows and shares the pain of the people!

 

Here’s a link to a Chris Tomlin song called “Mighty is the Power of the Cross” that includes some of the Scripture above 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8sw-g6P544

 

Forgive and Forget? October 9, 2012

Filed under: Faith — songofjoy88 @ 9:40 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

It all started when one of my high school students (I’ll call him Isaac) chose not to pay attention to the lesson because he was catching up on work that should have already been completed.  As I was moving around the room helping students with the assignment, he quickly became frustrated because I wouldn’t come over to him to reteach the entire lesson to him.  Isaac’s frustration boiled over as he angrily gathered his belongings and stormed out of my room.  I still had students in the room to teach, and I wasn’t about to chase after a student who clearly wasn’t in the mood to see things from another point of view.

 

The next day, I put a half sheet “Re-entry” form on a clipboard and handed it to him before he came in the room.  It included questions like “what happened?” and “what could you have done differently?” and “how can you prevent this from happening again?”  After being in the hallway for a bit, Isaac knocked on the door.  It didn’t take long for me to notice that he still had the “teacher wasn’t doing her job” mentality.  I told him I didn’t think he was ready to re-enter the room to which he replied something along the lines of “can’t we just forgive and forget?”

I have only God to thank for bringing to my mind the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11).  What does this have to do with a stubborn teenager?  For those of you who don’t know the story, a woman is caught in adultery and is brought before Jesus by a group of religious men.  According to the law, the penalty for this sin was to stone her.  Jesus responds by saying, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”(v.7)  Realizing their guilt, all of the men gradually leave.  Jesus, now alone with the woman, asks her if anyone condemns her.  When she says there is no one, Jesus declares “Then neither do I condemn you.  Go now and leave your life of sin.” (v.11)

 

Jesus extended grace.  He chose forgiveness.  BUT, he did not ignore her actions that led to the accusation in the first place.  He declared forgiveness and also made a call to action.  He sent her off calling her to leave her life of sin.  God does not forgive us so that we can keep messing up (Paul says a lot about that in Romans!).  We see through the story of this woman that forgiveness propels repentance (or turning away from sin).

 

I shared this story with Isaac, stressing the importance of changed behavior.  I emphasized that I didn’t think less of him as a person, but I expected him to change his behavior.

 

Yes, God does remove our sins from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).  Even still, from the story of the woman, we see that he desires that we walk away from our sin.

 

Radical, crazy love September 8, 2012

So, I know I’m already 4 weeks into the school year and the weather is finally getting a bit cooler… but one thing I love about summer is that I have a lot more time to read!   One book I read over the summer was Radical, by David Platt.  If you’re looking for a book that will shake up your idea of what it means to be a Christian in America, I would highly recommend this book.  Through stories and Scripture, Platt asserts that the American Dream isn’t really what God has in mind when it comes to living out our faith.

 

Another book I just finished is Crazy Love, by Francis Chan.  Similar to Radical, Chan challenges believers to live out the gospel in tangible ways as a result of their passionate love relationship with God.  Through stories of “average” people who have boldly lived out their faith, Chan reassures the reader that a life of radical commitment is possible for anyone who is truly in love with God.

 

To continue on a similar theme, I picked up a Timothy Keller book at the library today titled Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes us Just.  I’ve only read the intro and part of the first chapter, but I’m excited to dive into my first book by Keller!  I think it’ll be neat to make connections with this book and the others I’ve been reading… and also see how it relates to my job teaching kids with rough lives outside of school- some who have spent time in jail.

 

Enough August 29, 2012

Filed under: Faith — songofjoy88 @ 9:29 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Discontentment can sneak up on you… it needs no invitation.  It needs no particular reason.  If I’m honest with myself, I think it’s my default setting- maybe it’s yours too?  I’ve got no profound words, so I’ll let The Word speak.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. -1 Timothy 6:6-8

In the context, Paul is specifically talking about material things.  But we can be discontent about things other than not having cool cars, a nice house and designer clothes.  We can be discontent about circumstances too- failure at school or work, unfulfilling job or relationship, undesirable living situation, etc.  No matter what is keeping us stuck in discontentment, we have a choice to let God be enough- or not.

7 Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9 lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.

-Proverbs 30:7-9

I really like how this proverb highlights the delicate balance between having so much that we become prideful and self sufficient, versus not quite having enough to survive which could lead us to steal.  Maybe you don’t agree that the balance is delicate.  The gap between poverty and riches is huge.  I’m closer to poverty, you think, because I don’t have a huge fancy house and my car is at least 5 years old.  I don’t buy designer clothes and I don’t have money stockpiled away.  Yes, I’m definitely closer to poverty than riches, you reassure yourself.

And perhaps you’re right… after all, I don’t know you (nor you me).  But what if you’re closer to “riches” than you think?  Or maybe you’re already there?  Right now, are you depending on God to provide for you (and your family)?  Or do you trust your own efforts to sustain your life?  Are you content?  Is God enough?

Lecrae sure thinks so!

God is Enough by Lecrae

 

Notable Differences August 21, 2012

It’s amazing how different my new job is.  Sure I’m still teaching high school math and many of my new students are rough around the edges, as were my former students.  Many of them have chaotic home lives that affect their performance at school.  That’s about where the similarities end.  Here are some initial notable differences:

  • With class size ranging from 4-9 students “group work” becomes a whole class activity!  It makes it a lot easier to make sure the students are staying on track!
  • Teaching 4 different courses (Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2) with about 35 total students is easier than teaching just 2 courses with 135 total students… at least so far!
  • Staff meetings: At my old school, we had one per month with ~150 staff in attendance.  And, I’ll just say that most teachers did not look forward to them.  Now, we have daily meetings in the morning with 6-10 people in attendance.  Instead of staring blankly off into space and trying to pick out the bits and pieces that apply to you, every word spoken affects you in some way because you know every student and know something about each of the staff members.  We also pray for our students and each other every morning.
  • Not only am I allowed to share the most important aspect of my life with my students, I’m encouraged (and expected) to share my faith with them.  My job is not just to teach math, but to be an advocate and mentor for them.
  • I don’t have to worry about taking home papers to grade because I know I’ll be all caught up after working a little before school and during my prep period.
  • I’m finding that you can get about the same amount of work done in one 80 minute block than you can in two 50 minute class period- it makes prep work easier too! 🙂  And what makes the schedule even better is we get to see all our students on Friday!

Well, that’s a good start… you can be sure that there will be more to come! 🙂