Welcome to 3rd Culture Living

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself ” (Philippians 3:20-21). We can’t do everything exactly the same way as we were raised, neither can we simply follow the flow in the cultures where we are living. We are committed to finding a “3rd Culture” in Christ in our daily living! We are not ashamed to live as “foreigners and strangers on earth” and “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. … ” (Hebrews 11:13-16).

“3rd Culture Living” is a lifestyle as a family, a progress to be prepared and equipped as citizens above; it is a way to apply what Apostle Paul teaches “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2).

In conclusion, the Golls’ definition of “3rd Culture Living” is:

We embrace our different cultures and other cultural exposures, to challenge us to renew our minds as we strive to not just follow our assumptions, but to apply Biblical principles in all aspects of our life in dealing with decisions, conflicts, and evaluating beliefs, to be passionate ambassadors for Christ through His daily transformation.

The above is excerpted from “What is 3rd culture Living?“.

Related Links:

Rhyming Sermon Notes: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 & 1 Peter 3:18-22

This month I tried taking notes during sermons, Sunday School, etc. as rhymes. I wasn’t sure how it would go. I found it to be a wonderful way to push me to pay close attention and process the text, as well as a fun review with my family. With requiring full attention and thought for the entire message, it did get a bit tiring, but it was also very fulfilling and fun.

So far I have posted each message as a separate post. Today, I am posting both Sunday School and the main sermon as one post. In the future, my plan is to post all of the messages at the end of the month as one post, instead of sending a flood of notifications each time I post. :o)

While I pray these will be a blessing, I am happy to do them for my own study and growth and as a review for my family, even if no one is reading.

To God be the glory!!!


Grace Church of North Olmsted – Sunday, 2022-07-31
Sunday School – Kevin Williamson
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (Series: Prayers of Paul)

The Thessalonians thought the rapture they missed,
with trials and persecutions they were now living stressed.

Paul writes to encourage, to strengthen, remind
that this tribulation was promised. They’re not left behind.

For Christians to suffer, to struggle, to bleed
is normal in life, to be expected, received.

In the struggles of life, we’re to live for the Lord.
Lives to point to the Savior, whom we trust and adore.

Now may the God of peace, sanctify, preserve and not blame
He will crush Satan and keep you from shame.

This “peace” is not worldly, not based on the times.
It’s based on the knowledge of His peace in our lives.

To be at peace with God, that relationship there
helps to comfort, relieve and remind He does care.

God Himself is the actor, only He can.
His power is shared with no spirit or man.

Justification by faith, before Christ to be right.
Sanctified, Holy, then Glorified by His might.

Jesus lived, Jesus died, Jesus prayed in the night,
That we’ll be sanctified by God’s power and might.

Set apart for his purpose, for his Glory to live.
Instant and Progressive, both are his gifts to give.

To live without blame, sexually pure,
being like Christ, in the world we endure.

Our likeness, desires, and fellowship should not be
based in the world, we need to come out, holy and free.

Justification is instant in Christ,
not on our works or our good lives.

Sanctification, by which we do grow,
this is progressive, as our Savior we know.

Our spirit, soul, body, preserved, complete,
As he is the head, we the hands and the feet.

Part of our sanctification is to be preserved.
This sure salvation, all from him, not deserved.

In the world we face dangers, deceived and attacked.
Jesus prays for preservation that nothing would be lacked.

Eternal salvation, God completes what he starts.
God quickens our spirit, forms and quickens our hearts.

The saints perseverance, perseverance in Him.
God keeps us in him, even when we do sin.

This is not an excuse or a reason to fall.
It just lets us know his power over all.

The Church should be holy, presented without blame
when Jesus returns! Praise his holy name!

If his people keep sinning, then what does this mean?
“Perfected sanctification” for those he redeemed.

In Jude we’re reminded that through him we can stand
in the presence of his glory, with great joy raise our hands.

God’s faithfulness, lasting, it will not pass away.
His purposes standing, we can trust him each day.

If possible to lose our salvation we would.
Praise God he is Peace, He is faithful and good.


Grace Church of North Olmsted – Sunday, 2022-07-31
Pastor Dean Good
1 Peter 3:18-22 (focus on vs. 22)

The proud be brought low, exalted the humble,
Jesus death on the cross, over this do not stumble.

We as his children, called to suffer as he,
And then receive glory, when his face we see!

Jesus at the right hand of the Father above
exalted in power, glory, and love.

Jesus’ exaltation, how did it come to be?
Step one, the honorable burial, shown in Isaiah 53.

“Assigned a grave with wicked men he will be.”
“Yet buried in a rich man’s tomb, decay did not see.”

Step two, the resurrection, Christ’s work all fulfilled
Fulfilled the prophecy, completed all God willed.

Step three, when all authority on heaven and on earth
was given to the Savior, of inestimable worth.

We can rest in God’s power, his will is always done.
as the world turns deep to sin, the victory is won.

Step four is Christ’s ascension, to heaven he did go.
In this same, glorious way he will come, this we know.

Seated at the right hand of God, is where he is today,
and to this glorious God, we know we can boldly pray.

The significance of Christ’s Exaltation, what could this mystery be?
He now lives in God’s presence, praying for you and me.

Christ in the Holy of Holies, as a man overcame sin and death.
He overcame the devil, and by this we’ve been blessed.

Freed of the slavery of the fear of death,
Christ overcame, sat down, and gave us new life and breath.

He’s raised us up with him, sitting at God’s right hand
the place of power, joy and victory, this place does command.

His exaltation is our victory, he the victory won.
Gave his life, suffered and died, now exalted, God’s own Son.

The ministry of Jesus, is now to intercede.
He does call us brothers, we do call him Lord,
only in his death and life can we be truly freed.

He is the mediator, standing between God and man,
unique as Melchizedek, eternal he does stand.

Christ is now our advocate, mediator and high priest.
He stands for our cleansing, removing sin, for us, the least.

He pleads on our behalf, with the power of his blood.
it’s not that we are holy, or that we’re bad or good.

He is the only advocate, our hope in him alone.
Only by his holiness, his sacrifice did us atone.

If we walk in the light, as he is in the light
we fellowship with each other, and by his blood are then made right.

If we say we have no sin, truly we are blind
but if we humbly confess our sins, from sin he does unbind.

(Pastor Dean then read large sections of the following hymn, by Charles Wesley (1742), before continuing the sermon.)

1 Arise, my soul, arise, shake off your guilty fears;
the bleeding Sacrifice in my behalf appears.
Before the throne my Surety stands, before the throne my Surety stands;
my name is written on his hands, my name is written on his hands.

2 He ever lives above, for me to intercede,
his all-redeeming love, his precious blood to plead.
His blood atoned for ev’ry race, his blood atoned for ev’ry race,
and sprinkles now the throne of grace, and sprinkles now the throne of grace.

3 Five bleeding wounds he bears, received on Calvary;
they pour effectual prayers, they strongly plead for me.
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry, “forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“nor let that ransomed sinner die, nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

4 My God is reconciled; his pard’ning voice I hear.
He owns me for his child, I can no longer fear.
with confidence I now draw nigh, with confidence I now draw nigh,
and “Father, Abba, Father!” cry, and “Father, Abba, Father!” cry.

Daily on our knees, draw near with a pure heart,
we come by the blood of Christ, our power and our start.

Good things we should do, to him be glorified,
but these things do not save us, only in his blood we hide.

“What then shall we say? If God is for us, who against?”
Christ Jesus is the one who died, his intercession is immense.

Every trial, every blessing, in all that comes we can trust,
That God is always for us, and his blessings are the best.

What do you need to live for him? His blessings do provide.
Provision for and freely given, as we are by his side.

Purchased at the cross, and now at God’s right hand
he intercedes for our provision, he leads us through dark land.

As Christ is our shepherd, in his presence we will be
Glory, glory! Hallelujah! His glorious face we’ll see!

Prayer is the means by which the benefit received.
The evidence of Christ’s intercession is that we intercede.

Christ teaches us how to pray, that we may pray, confess.
It is in our prayers, to be like him, in this we are blessed.

The Spirit helps our weakness, we do not know how to pray.
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us, and teaches what to say.

This is how we do receive, all that he has to give.
Not just the words, but a change of heart, that shows in Him we live.

Rock of ages, I hide in thee, in the tempests of life
I flee to my refuge, when dealing with all strife.

Where do you go when dealing with the pains of life?
That is your idol, if anything but Christ.

Teach us day by day that Christ our Rock and Refuge be,
that now and at the end of life, our precious Lord we’ll see!

Rhyming Sermon Notes: Psalm 125

Grace Church of North Olmsted – Wednesday, 2022-07-27
Phillip Amos
Psalm 125 (Series: Psalms)

Relying exclusively on our powerful Lord,
stable, unchanging forever adored.

Jerusalem, an ancient fortress on high,
set firm on the mountain may your springs not run dry.

The walls all defended by lame and by blind,
but David did conquer, the people did bind.

In the Lord we are safe and secure all the way. 
In faith we can hope as we rest and we pray.

The battle is here, the battle is won. 
The people did nothing, they did not need to run.

But trust in ourselves, and the plans they will fail. 
The people are scattered and all start to wail.

Sufficient we are when we trust in the Lord, 
but weak, lost, and hopeless when we ignore His Word.

When we trust in ourselves, the Lord leads to our end. 

When we trust in our Lord, His provision will send.

After these first few “Rhyming Sermon Notes” I plan to release a batch all in one post instead of for each message.

Rhyming Sermon Notes: Philippians 1:9-11

In a previous post, I introduced that I am going to try to take sermon notes as a rhyme. Here are my Sunday School notes from my first week. Actually, these are my first rhyming notes, since Sunday School is before the main service, even though I posted my notes for main service first.

Grace Church of North Olmsted – 2022-07-24
Sunday School: Jonathan Underhill (Deacon)
Philippians 1:9-11 (Series: Prayers of Paul)

With the Philippians Paul wants to be, though the Lord’s face he longs to see. 
Encouraging them to walk in love, with impossible love come from above. 
God’s love has no end, that this poured out love we too may send. 

Truth and right we need to know to discern which way we need to go. 
This discernment comes when filled with love, God’s true love come from above.

As difficult times come and go, joy should be the hope we know. 
This joy and hope they come through prayer, of each other’s needs to be aware.

Knowing the fullness of God’s Word, not acting as if we haven’t heard.
Knowing, Loving, to the end, wherever he may go or send.
Approving what is good and right, that we may stand up in the fight.

When we fall down, and turn away, through God’s forgiveness we have a way. 
The Messiah’s come, but do we see, living in love in all we do and be. 

Pure and holy with him we walk , time with him to live and talk. 
Not feeling the need from him to hide, but with him and others to freely abide. 
Living in love, and by God’s grace, longing now to see his face. 

Reflecting love to all around, that life in Christ may now be found.

Rhyming Sermon Notes: Philippians 4:10-20

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Psalm 96:1

A few days ago we were at a missions conference at Grace Church in Middleburg Heights. At the end of the evening, the leader gave a summary in the form of a rhyme he had written that included many elements of the event and key points from each speaker. Elyse and I weren’t sure if he had seen their notes and wrote the poem in advance or if he wrote it on the spot. Either way, it gave me inspiration as a new way to take notes in church that would help me to focus and process the message, while also making it interesting as a tool for review.

I decided that for my notes this week, I would take them as a rhyme. I found this to be an all around positive experience. It kept my full attention. Actually, it got a bit tiring since I had to be constantly processing while listening and couldn’t just sit back, listen, and take “normal” notes, but it certainly helped me to focus! It was also nice that our children were more interested than ever to hear my thoughts during our family’s sermon review after church. (Dr. Suess goes to church :o)

I’m looking forward to continuing to practice and hopefully improving in future weeks!

Here are my notes for the Sunday Sermon (along with a link to the actual sermon on YouTube). 

My notes from Sunday School on Philippians 1:9-11 will follow in a few days.

– – – – – – –

Grace Church of North Olmsted – 2022-07-24
Joel Huffstutler (Guest Pastor from Falls Berean Bible Church)
Philippians 4:10-20 – “Learning Contentment”

The law teaches the knowledge of sin, that the work of salvation can begin. 
From covetousness we must turn, in light of the Lord’s impending return. 
Longing for more we must forsake, in generous giving we must partake.

Contentment, delight in God does bring, this truth against our flesh does ring. 
Our flesh desires pleasure… more, not to open up our store.

God commanded in Exodus 20, “You shall not covet” in me you have plenty. 
Desire’s not wrong, but to desire what’s right, in me and my gifts to have your delight.

Hamen, Ahab, and Satan, too, in discontent their sin it grew. 
Desiring more than God gave, led to a life of sin, depraved.

Desire a house, an ox, a wife? These are not wrong to have in life. 
Not yours to have, your neighbors’ things. That desire of idolatry rings.

Obeying God the given call, otherwise into sin we’ll fall. 
Clinging to all our worldly stuff, helps us to see our faith’s not enough.

Following Christ it brings a cross, in the world it brings a loss.
But the glory of heaven, our great reward, clinging with joy to our risen Lord.
Seeking the world with our time, efforts, ways, a covetous heart clearly displays.

Observe ourselves and ask to know, do our desires from covetousness flow?

Lying and covering our sin, the path to death it does begin.
The kingdom of God shall not be had, cry out for forgiveness and be made glad.

Turn from sin, salvation found, repentance brings this sacred ground.
Do I have ways I need to turn? Of God and sin and repentance learn?

“Do not refuse me before I die, help me Lord not to lie. 
Make me content in what you give, that a holy life I may live.”

In want, In much, to covet not, but to trust God’s goodness as my lot.

God doesn’t need what we can do, to provide our needs for me, for you.

Never desert. Never forsake. In this promise to drive our stake. 
Does God provide? Do I have trust? To walk with God, this is a must.

Thankfulness should naturally flow, when the Lord’s goodness we experience and know.
The Lord’s presence is all we need, from covetousness to be freed.

Use his blessings, to others bless and in his provision to have our rest.

God gave his son, that all who believe, eternal life should freely receive.
God is a giver, and calls us to give, to give our lives that we truly may live.

Freedom, Communication & Walkie Talkies

Main topics in this post:

  • Walkie-talkies as a way to enhance family walks, give freedom to explore, keep connection and have fun!
  • Balancing Freedom & Safety
  • the Value of Communication

Getting out into nature is a natural way for children (and adults) to exercise, learn and have fun. It is also a great chance for relationship building, times to walk and talk with each other and times to be quiet and away from distractions to have time with God.

While we love hikes in the woods, we had a small issue, one of our children loves to run. Our solution was that he could run until he couldn’t see us anymore (and thus we couldn’t see him) and then he needed to wait. This sort of took the fun out of scouting and exploring.

This past week we took several hikes into new areas, but with a very important change. We brought walkie talkies! This allowed our “runner” to scout way ahead, and yet be in constant communication. He could ask what to do if he came to a fork in the path. He could give us updates on rough ground ahead or when he saw a snake, etc. When we did take different routes, we were able to quickly identify and fix the situation. Everyone had a blast.

Yes, there is still a danger and if something bad happened it would take us a while to get there, but when balancing safety and freedom, we saw this as a good balance on giving more freedom and personal responsibility. We were in an area where I really doubt anyone would be waiting to hurt a child and our son has shown himself to be quite responsible, especially when he is keeping us updated on what he is doing and seeing.

We also had plenty of time to walk together as a whole family, or to be in smaller groups or two or three, etc., but having this freedom to let them run and explore really added to the family time.

This got me thinking about the balance of freedom and safety and the value of communication 

Freedom and Safety

For the past 2+ years the message of “safety” has been blasted into our lives. We don’t even have a TV and we have heard it repeatedly. (I really feel for those who have been driven into a state of isolated fear by this constant messaging of fear and control.) Benjamin Franklin is credited as saying, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Like my wife and I needed to evaluate freedom vs safety when letting our children run through the woods, our society could benefit from evaluating how much of our freedoms we are giving away for “Safety” and how we may end up with neither freedom or safety.

It also helped me to greater appreciate that our only true safety is in Christ.

Our child may be right by our side and get injured or have other dangers. In the same way, this world may fall apart. Tyrants may rule. We may face isolation, persecution and death. But God is still completely and entirely in control. He is sovereign over all things. It is only in him that we have either true freedom or true safety.

While we may like the feeling of control, only God can truly protect us and our children.

The Bible speaks often about resting in God as our fortress, rock, protector, provider and savior, however I will take an extreme example. (See also our post about Psalm 37.)

In Matthew 10:28, Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Even in the worst case scenario of death (of us or our children), we are told not to be afraid. Death is still only limited to this life (which is so short). Our fear (speaking of a holy respect) is to be of God who has the power of eternal life and death.

This same God, who can “destroy both soul and body in hell” is also the one who gives, “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:22-26).

Our true safety will never be in our wisdom or strength, it is only in God giving us his own righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ!

Therefore, we are called to live in freedom, not in seeking our own safety. When considering that freedom, we are also reminded in Galatians 5:13-14, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Communication

As we gave this freedom, we greater appreciated the power of communication. We knew that our children were “safe”. While we couldn’t know what would happen with their next step, we could know that for the moment they were doing fine. They weren’t laying at the bottom of a drop off. No one had grabbed them. They were fine and having a great time. And we could relax and enjoy the hike.

On the flip side, this communication gave much more freedom and excitement for our children as well. When they encountered a fork in the road, they could ask us which way to go, and could know that we would be following them and eventually catch up. If they did get a little lost or go the wrong direction, they knew that we could call them back and be reunited. If they were to have a problem, get hurt, etc., they knew that they could call us. This communication brought constant connection, which in turn gave them more freedom, peace and joy!

God does not need a walkie-talkie. He always sees us. He not only sees us, he knows and is in complete control over what is around the next corner of our lives.

However, we need a “walkie-talkie”. We need communication with God. With all of the changes that are happening in our world and in our lives, my prayer has been following Solomon’s lead, “Lord, give me wisdom to know and wisdom to follow your ways for my life.” I am increasingly seeing my inadequacy. What should I do? When do I need to make sudden changes, when I don’t and can’t know all of the information and how it will turn out? Lord! Give me your wisdom and help me to follow!  I am like a little child. I need connection with my Father!

As I have communication and connection with God, through His Word and His Spirit, things make much more sense and I am comforted and encouraged by his character, presence and promise in my life.

(I have found a systematic reading of the Psalms to be a powerful way for God to speak his character, presence and promise into my life.)

My children have greater freedom, peace and joy when they are connected with me. My greatest freedom, peace and joy is when I am connected with my Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

A walk in the woods gives great opportunities to build relationships, with others and with God. It also gives time to face unknowns and to see that our only safety and true freedom is in Christ and to reflect on our need for him.

A few closing notes:

  • Again, the trails seemed to be fairly safe trails. We weren’t sending a young child to a crowded area of strangers by himself.
  • Technically, we weren’t only using walkie talkies. We had one GMRS radio (licensed) which fostered clearer communication over longer distances (though we were never that far away).

Highlights of Psalm 37 in light of today’s world

Have you noticed that the world seems to be changing at an increasing speed, where wrong is proudly celebrated as right, right is violently opposed, systems and powers are roaring for control while at the same time shaking and breaking? 

Does all of this cause you to worry?

Today is July 7th. In keeping with our Psalms reading plan (that I don’t always keep, but come back to when not studying other things), today’s Psalms were Psalm 7, 37, 67, 97 and 127. My wife asked me to read Psalm 37 in light of our recent conversations about homesteading as a way to raise food and animals to the glory of God, as a means to connect with others, and share education.

This Psalm is perfect for the world we live in. Rather than my talking about it, I’m going to post the whole Psalm below with my highlights.

Key for Highlights

  • Commands not to worry, etc.
  • Commands to trust the Lord, etc.
  • God’s judgment of the wicked
  • Blessing of the Land
  • Blessings (other than land)

Psalm 37 (NKJV)

Of David.
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.

16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

20 But the wicked will perish: Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.

21 The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously;
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed.

23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.

27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.
Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.

30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip.

32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death;
33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked or let them be condemned when brought to trial.

34 Hope in the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.

35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found.

37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace.
38 But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Our hope is truly, and only, in the Lord. Any hope that we place in our own efforts is a passing vanity.

His promises continually return to “the land”. As we return to the land we have wonderful opportunities to see God’s provision, how he is the one who sends the rains and makes things grow. The land gives a unique opportunity to experience our dependence on God and his provision.

It is now July 9th and several verses jumped out that relate to the above:

Psalm 9:15-16 (and all of Psalm 9)

15 The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made;
In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught.
16 The Lord is known by the judgment He executes;
The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.

Psalm 39:4-7

4 “Lord, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days,
That I may know how frail I am.
5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. (Selah)
6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow;
Surely they busy themselves in vain;
He heaps up riches,
And does not know who will gather them.
7 “And now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You.
Our hope is in the Lord. 

As Solomon summarized in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

And in 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul states, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

How do you celebrate the 4th of July?

What do you think of when you think of July 4? What do you tend to do on this day? What conversations tend to take place?

For those in the U.S.A. and Americans living around the world, July 4 (1776) is when we celebrate the founding of our nation. However the war which confirmed that we were free of British rule actually started in 1775 and lasted 8 years until it officially ended with the Treaty of Paris on September 4, 1783 and this treaty was ratified by the U.S. Congress on January 14, 1784.

During these eight years of war, approximately 25,000 men, women and children lost their lives, with many more losing their homes, belongings and loved ones, many standing firm for what they saw as right, even when they knew that it would cost them everything.

What traditions do you have to celebrate July 4? (Or, for those who are from other nations, how do you remember the sacrifices that were likely made to form your country?)

As our family is looking to develop our traditions, here are some activities we are trying with those with whom we celebrate. We would love to hear your traditions as well.

Our goals are to:

  • Remember the sacrifices that were made
    • Matthew 20:28, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
  • Reflect on the importance of standing for what is right, even when it takes great sacrifice and perseverance
    • Daniel 3:16-18, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.””
    • Acts 5:41-42, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”
  • Foster pride in our citizenship and identity (to point to our heavenly citizenship)
    • Whatever country one is from, if you don’t have a concept of being proud of your country, heritage and citizenship, which you can see and know, how are we to have an excitement for our citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven (which as of yet, is unseen)?
      • Philippians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ”
  • Point to the power of God working to establish countries and install governments and peoples. 
    • These countries, governments and peoples may have fallen far from living for Christ and his intent, but they are still within God’s sovereign domain. 
      • Romans 13:1, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Discussion questions

Rather than focusing on food, games and fun family events, it can be good to focus on the meaning and costs of living in a free country.

Questions can be put out on slips to draw, or any other way to direct the conversation to meaningful things. One or two good questions may be all that are needed to get the conversation going.

Here are some example questions:

  • What is something that you are proud of about America?
  • What is a reason that America is worth fighting for?
  • Sing national songs. After each song, ask: What do we see in this song about our country, the sacrifice of standing up in difficulty and the character and works of God?

Sing National Songs

Many of America’s National songs point to the willingness to fight for what is right, not for our own good, but to be willing to lose everything for the good of others. Many as well point to the goodness, power and sovereignty of God in the ways of men.

When singing the national songs, depending on the ages of the children, it is very powerful to either sing or read and reflect on the later verses, not only the first, and often more well known, verse.

“The Star-Spangled Banner (The National Anthem)”

1 O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

2 O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that has made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, “In God is our trust.”
And the star spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Battle Hymn of the Republic

1 Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.

Refrain:
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

2 I have seen him in the watchfires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps.
I can read the righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on. [Refrain]

3 He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of all before his judgment seat.
O be swift, my soul, to answer him; be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on. [Refrain]

4 In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me.
As he died to make us holy, let us live to make all free!
While God is marching on. [Refrain]

5 He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave;
He is wisdom to the mighty, he is honor to the brave.
So the world shall be his footstool, and the soul of wrong his slave.
Our God is marching on. [Refrain]

My Country ‘Tis of thee

1 My country, ’tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims’ pride, From ev’ry mountainside Let freedom ring.

2 My native country, thee, Land of the noble free, Thy name I love; 
I love thy rocks and rills, Thy woods and templed hills; My heart with rapture thrills Like that above.

3 Let music swell the breeze, And ring from all the trees Sweet freedom’s song:
Let mortal tongues awake; Let all that breathe partake; Let rocks their silence break, The sound prolong.

4 Our fathers’ God, to Thee, Author of liberty, To thee we sing:
Long may our land be bright With freedom’s holy light; Protect us by thy might, Great God, our King.

America the Beautiful

1 O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea.

2 O beautiful for pilgrim feet, Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self control, Thy liberty in law.

3 O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved, And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness, And ev’ry gain divine.

4 O beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea.

Fireworks, Sparklers, etc.

For the things that sparkle, make loud noises, etc., we don’t focus as much on adding meaning. They are more of a fun way to end the day as a family. We may point out how different it would feel if those were bombs going off, but even that is quick, with the focus being on just enjoying. For fireworks, we’ve found a spot between the cities where we can see several sets of fireworks going off surrounding us, while avoiding the crowds.

Conclusion

Our hope is to enjoy the time with family in this free country that many have lived and died for, while at the same time remembering the sacrifices that were made, while worshiping God who is sovereign over all things, and acknowledging the responsibility we have to boldly follow him, by his direction and strength, at all costs.

What ideas do you have for how to have the 4th be a meaningful day of remembrance and worship?

Sprouting: Why, How and What

“So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

~ 1 Corinthians 3:7-9 ~

Sprouting: Fun, Easy and a great nutritional boost. Keep reading to learn Why, How, and What to sprout.

Pictured: Sprouted Lentils

Why to Sprout

Without spending years (or hours or even very many minutes), confirming that all of these benefits are accurate as stated, here are some of the benefits that I found online that seemed reasonable and inline with other things we have been learning. (See the cited sources below for more details.)

  1. Increases Nutrient Absorption
    • Actually help the body absorb more nutrition from other foods, not just the sprouts.
  2. Makes Foods Easier to Digest
  3. Decreases Antinutrients and Phytic Acid
    • These include the natural chemicals/enzymes in seeds that keep them from sprouting until they have water.
  4. Increases Protein Availability
    • Sprouts contain up to 35% protein
      • Usually this is higher than the mature plant. One exception being for beans vs bean sprouts which are usually similar in protein content.
    • This protein is easily digestible.
  5. Increases Fiber Content
  6. Breaks Down Gluten for Easier Digestibility
  7. Helps Reduce Other Allergens Found in Grains
  8. May Increase Enzymes and Antioxidants
    • up to 100 times higher than raw fruits & vegetables
    • 1 cup broccoli sprouts = 28 mg vitamin E
      • 1 cup Unsprouted broccoli = 1.5 mg vitamin E
    • beans vitamin B2 increases 51% when sprouted
  9. Alkalizing to the body
    • Which helps offset the effects of stress and a poor diet
  10. Excellent for weight loss
    • low calorie density
      • very low calories compared with nutrition and fiber

In addition, sprouts are:

  1. Cheap
    • ¼ cup of mung beans will fill a one quart mason jar after just a few days of sprouting
    • This produces more filling and nutritious food than before sprouting, and only takes a few days.
  2. Quick to grow
    • compared with growing a full plant
  3. Educational
    • With homeschooling our children, it is amazing to experience things quickly growing from seed to plant… and then to get to enjoy eating… all within about a week.
  4. a Window to a glimpse of God
    • Seeing different aspects of God’s creation, from the grandeur of the universe to the details of a microbe, gives a growing appreciation of the creativity of our Creator God.
  5. Fun
    • You can see the fruit of all your “hard work” in just a few days and be ready to eat this marvelous garden that you have “toiled over.”

How to Sprout

As well as truly being nutritious, sprouting is the ultimate garden for those who like quick results with little work. :o)

All that you really need is a bowl to put the sprouts in, a towel (or something to keep the sprouts moist and covered), water and whatever you are going to sprout.

Here is some examples of my wife’s early sprouting trays (done as a fun and edible experiment with our boys).

Pictured: Sprouted Mung Beans

Notes about the sprouts above:

  • This was in a strawberry container, which allowed it to drain itself. They put water on it ever day to rinse them.
  • The towel you see is a heavier towel. You can also use a lighter towel (such as a paper towel). We were experimenting and found that the heavier towel produced shorter, thicker sprouts, while a lighter towel produces longer, thinner sprouts.
  • The final picture shows the leaves. We sprouted these on our window (normal sprouting is done out of direct sunlight). We ended up planting many of these in our garden and they grew. :o)

However, having a few tools can make sprouting even easier! And since I like “easy”, I’ll explain the way we mostly sprout now.

Materials:

  • Wide-mouth mason jar (usually 32 oz/4 cup)
    • the “wide-mouth” is helpful to get the sprouts out when they are ready
  • Sprouting lid (for the wide-mouth mason jar)
    • Note: Sometimes people don’t notice that you can remove and wash the rubber washer in the lid. It can be easily removed, washed and replaced.
  • Water
  • Whatever you are going to sprout (beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, etc.)

Directions to Sprout

The following directions assume a standard size 32oz (4 cup), wide-mouth mason jar. I will use Mung Beans as my example, but the directions are the same for beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, etc.. The sprouting times may be different and you may learn to start with more or less seeds, beans, etc., but the basic directions are the same and you can give it a try, learn and make changes from there.

  1. Put ¼ cup of dry beans in the mason jar
    • The amount is flexible. This just gives an idea of how little you need.
    • Note: These are the dried beans such as mung beans, red beans, garbanzo beans, etc. NOT long string beans.
  2. Put on the sprouting lid
    • The lid will stay on until the beans are sprouted and ready to eat
  3. Rinse the beans
    1. Put enough water in the jar to cover and rinse the beans.
    2. Dump out the water
  4. Soak the beans for 24 hours
    • Fill the jar with water.
      • It doesn’t have to be to the brim.
      • The beans will expand when they soak up the water and “wake up”. There just needs to be enough water to keep them covered while they are soaking. 
    • Note: The soaking “wakes up” the beans, prepares them to grow and brings them back to life.
  5. NOTE: Keep your sprouts out of direct sunlight during the entire sprouting process.
    • Sunlight will cause the sprouts to grow leaves and start growing into the full plant.
      • This isn’t bad for you, actually it can be good, but may cause the sprouts to have a more bitter taste.
      • They can be in a darker corner of the counter, or in a cabinet.
    • If your sprouts are growing dark green they were probably in the light.
  6. After soaking for 8-12 hours: Dump out the soaking water
  7. Rinse the beans
    1. Put enough water in the jar to rinse the beans. 
    2. Dump out the water
  8. Drain the rinse water
    1. Dump out the water
    2. Set the jar upside down to let it drain for about 15 minutes.
      • The sprouting lid has feet to raise it above the sink, so that it can drain.
    3. The seeds will still be damp, but not soaked.
    4. Put your seeds out of direct sunlight.
  9. Lay the jar on it’s side
    • This allows airflow, which keeps the sprouts from getting mold.
  10. REPEAT steps 7 through 9 twice a day (Rinsing and Draining the beans)
    • You should rinse and drain the beans twice a day.
    • This keeps the beans moist so that they will stay alive and grow.
    • It also keeps the water fresh, so that mold doesn’t form.
    • If you forget occasionally and only do it once a day, it should be fine, but it’s best to do it twice a day. (Perhaps once with breakfast and one at dinner.)
  11. Eat or refrigerate your sprouts
    • When they are ready, you can eat or refrigerate your sprouts.
    • They are ready whenever you say they are ready. Some people like very short sprouts, so may only sprout for 1-3 days. Some like longer sprouts, so may sprout for about a week.
    • Getting used to the taste of sprouts may take some time (especially if they had sunlight and started to turn green/bitter). Here are some tricks.
      • Include sprouts in other foods such as salads, smoothies, etc.
      • While some sprouts will die and lose much of their value if cooked, some hardy sprouts, such as mung beans, can be added to a stir fry, etc. when you are almost done cooking.

If you really get into sprouting and need more spouts, you can also buy a sprouting tray, though we haven’t reached that level. We just use several mason jars, so we can sprout different things, and start them at different times.

What to Sprout

You can sprout just about any RAW bean, lentil, nut or seed. If it is safe to eat, it is safe to sprout. If it has been cooked, all life is gone and it will not sprout.

Two of our favorites are:

  • Mung Beans
    • We buy organic mung beans at a local asian market
  • Lentils
    • We buy lentils at a local mediterranean market

You can play around. If you aren’t sure if something will sprout, try it with a small amount. If you aren’t sure if it is raw or not, you can try sprouting it and see if it works.

Lessons from sprouting

God made an amazing creation! A seed, dried bean, etc. can sit dormant for months, years, decades and sometimes even centuries and millennia, and yet given the right circumstances (water and air), can sprout and bring forth new life and duplicate to new plants.

1 Corinthians 3:7 reminds us that, “… neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” This can be seen so clearly with sprouts. We literally take the seed God created, keep it wet and watch it grow. I know of nothing that man has made that has this ability to grow, change, and reproduce all on its own (other than things that have God made materials as a part of them). Yet, it happens around us all the time. Sprouting gives a just a glimpse into this amazing ability that God has built into creation. This process was started in Genesis 1:11 and continues to this day. (Genesis 1:11-12, “Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”

God’s creation is indeed very, very good!

Likewise, when God plants the seed of faith in us, when that seed is given what it needs, the Word of God, time with Him in prayer, and the fellowship of believers, it will sprout and grow. God does this work, to give us true life, cause us to grow and then to reproduce seeds of faith in the world. (cf: Matthew 13)

Enjoy your sprouting journey. Let us know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

References

Polyface Farm (Part 3)

This is continued from “Polyface Farm (Part 2)“.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

~ John 10:10 -11 ~

If this way of farming produces abundant, healthy food, with lower expenses, risks and dependence on outside systems why don’t all farms work this way?

There are three main reasons why more farms aren’t run this way (concepts pointed out by Joel during the tour, but we flushed them out in our own words below).

1. Change is hard – Change is always hard, it may be exciting, but the unknown is uncertain. It is extra hard if all you know is one way to do things. It is extra, extra hard if you have invested in the facilities and equipment for industrial agriculture, with contracts with these industries. Change is hard!

2. Lies are powerful – Industrial agriculture is built to benefit Big Pharma and Big Ag. The costs for fertilizer, shots, vets, feed, pesticides, etc. mean huge profits for the Pharmaceutical and Agricultural industries. Then add on that most pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, pesticides and all the transportation is based on petroleum, there are huge profits for Big Oil. These are three powerful players with huge bankrolls to influence government policy (and subsidies), education (of what farmers should do) and outlets (to control advertising and sales). These entities thrive on lies about how the food system should work and strive to keep it working that way, even if it is unsustainable, as we see happening with food shortages around the world. (We talk about how sad it is that people are starving “in the world, over there” because power hungry groups block food distribution. We have the same problems here. They are just so close that we don’t see them.)

3. More manual labor – Most farms today are run by a few technicians and a lot of machines. Moving chicken tractors around the field, calling cows to the next paddock, planting seeds in mulch, etc. all take manual labor. Sustainable farming takes the expenses that were going to the Pharmaceutical, Agricultural and Petroleum industries and invests it into people. These farms aren’t full of machines and a few technicians, they are full of a community of people with a few machines interacting with plants and animals on a healthy farm. This change of mindset and farm setup can be a hard jump to make (though more and more are making it).

As we thought about it, we realized that these same influences impact the decisions families make. Why don’t more people raise their own food, train their own children and have the peace of birth at home (the ways that things were done since the creation of the world until modern history). 

Change is hard, when all you know is what your parents and the society around us has done. That doesn’t make it right or best, it just makes it what we know and change is hard. We are trapped in the worldly system in numerous ways we don’t even realize, or even if we do we are often too tired or too busy to make a change.  

Lies are powerful. We have been told that the professionals can train our children best and that women need experts and machines for a healthy delivery. While there is a (rare) need for intervention at times, the peace of a homebirth, possibly with a skilled midwife, not only doesn’t have these problems, but often knows how to peacefully take care of problems that are considered medical emergencies in the hospital. However, there is big money and big advertising, promoting our need to follow the world’s systems. And for education… no one knows, loves and can care and mentor your child better than you as you seek to love the Lord above everything else.

Finally, more manual labor. Sending children off to industrial schools seems easy. Eating and living any way we like seems convenient as we buy our foods and don’t have to plant, water, weed, cook and prepare them. Then we can let the hospitals fix our health issues. Letting the system take care of our health, responsibilities and problems is tempting. 

As we break free from the world’s systems, we have more freedom, but as we teach our children, great freedom comes with great cost and responsibility. We need God’s mercy and grace daily to live out our faith.  In the meantime, our life has more substance with richer personal relationships. His blessings are manyfolds just like the crop a farmer plants. Hard work? Yes! Rewards? Yes, we always reap more than we sow. All for His glory! 

Perhaps you have had a prompting that something isn’t right with the world’s systems, but you haven’t had the evidence, energy or desire to give it much thought. You follow the flow against your will and hope for the best since everyone else is doing it anyway. Our prayer is that we would have ears to hear and eyes to see and then to obey as God leads. We pray the same for you.

The trip to Polyface Farm was a wealth of knowledge about how the world works and our place in it. They will answer any questions about farming or anything else, as they want to help others duplicate this sustainable way of life.

The more we understand God’s amazing no-waste system, the less we feel we know. We have so much to discover, to learn, to apply and to embrace. We don’t have our own farm yet (though anywhere can be a “homestead”), but we still had so many insights and are excited to see where God takes us next in his plan for our lives! Writing this post is our first step of response as we reflect and apply what we do understand. 

And therein lies the most important point. It’s not that everyone should have a farm, raise their own food, home educate their children, no longer need a doctor, etc. The point is that everyone should earnestly pray, seek God and follow the ways he lays out in his Word and leads by his Spirit. The “default” should be to invest into our relationship with Christ, seeking him and his ways, rather than defaulting to the ways this world presents as solutions and distractions.

We fail over and over and over again. We struggle and fall and need to get up again, repent and move on. Life is hard and gives plenty of opportunities for growth as Christ makes us more into his image.

While Joel has many books about how to do sustainable farming, his book “The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for All God’s Creation” gives a bigger view of the “Why” and “How” God created the world to work. We recommend it as a book that every Christ-follower at this time of history would benefit from reading (or listening to Joel read on the audio book). It is not the nuts and bolts of farming, it is more of an eye opening look at the world we live in and the way God created it to be (even after the fall). Just be prepared in your heart and mind to be transformed as the Truth leads you to more freedom! 

It is important to note that Polyface wasn’t an instant success, Joel wasn’t a “celebrity farmer” and there are other farms doing what they are doing (though not nearly enough). His family moved to the farm when it was in shambles. They left all they knew. They didn’t know what was right as they figured out what was next, they just knew that the industrial ways were not right and that God’s ways are best. They took risks. They struggled. They questioned. They failed. They remained faithful. And God is always faithful. It wasn’t until Michael Pollen’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” that the world really heard about Polyface Farm and Joel Salatin. They had been faithful with God’s leading, and God chose to raise them up as an example.

We don’t need to know how our faithfulness will turn out. We just need to seek God, know that he is good, know what is right and trust and obey, no matter the cost.
In addition to his book ““The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs”, some additional recommendations are the films “Fresh: Sustainable Food Production in America” and “Polyfaces: Food Without Chemicals: From Family Farm to Table”.

Polyface Farm (Part 2)

This is continued from “Polyface Farm (Part 1)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

~ John 10:10 -11 ~

Our Personal Applications (not specifically mentioned at the farm, but from what we learned)

  • Apply everything we learned to our family and children – While they love children (which was obvious while we were there), they didn’t specifically give parenting advice. However, so much of what we learned about caring for the land and animals is true for children as well.
  • The world wants us to plug into the systems of the world.
    • It wants us to plug into the food systems of processed foods and industrial farming, producing sicker children (and adults) with higher costs.
    • It then wants us to plug into the medical systems, with all the costs that come with that!
    • It wants us to plug our children into the state-run education system, to be taught that the other systems are normal and good and the first place to turn for hope (while leaving God out of everything).
    • It wants us to plug into the financial systems of needing to buy everything, while forgetting the skills for how to survive without the (failing) systems. When we can grow our own food, and thus eat healthier and become healthier, we begin to break these systems and the financial binds they place on us. We can then barter for needs that we can’t provide ourselves and grow a healthy community!
  • By God’s mercy, we are slowly and progressively weaning out of these systems. Our family has been blessed to have no need for sick visits as we have focused on treating our bodies (the temple of the Holy Spirit) the way he created with God-made food. As we have seen his work and the growing need, we have grown more confident and passionate to share His work in us through His food as we understand more and hear others’ similar stories. We think of it as “becoming more human” as we grow our bodies the way God intended and was the way things were done until the recent development of modern medicine, modern agriculture and the industrial systems.
  • By being set free from the medical system we had very peaceful home births (our first birth was in a hospital, which was a very different experience, though still a drug free, natural birth).
  • By being set free from the education system we have been able to educate our children at home. This has allowed us all (not just the children) to have a better understanding of how God created all of his creation (and all we learn about it) to work together to point to Him! It has also allowed our children to discover and develop interests that they may not have otherwise discovered.
    • “Home-discipling” (as we prefer over “homeschooling”) has also allowed the blessing of real social interaction. Instead of just having a few hours in highly controlled situations with everyone the same age, or only being home for a short time in the evening, our family is learning  to work through difficulties and conflicts and to grow together. Home-discipling isn’t about our always being a perfect match and getting along… It’s about learning to honor God as we live, love, forgive and grow together (even when it hurts)! Not every family is called to homeschool, but all Christian parents are called to make disciples at home and carefully and prayerfully consider what God would have them include in their child’s education.

If this way of farming (discussed more in Polyface Farm Part 1) produces abundant, healthy food, with lower expenses, risks and dependence on outside systems why don’t all farms work this way? This will be discussed in “Polyface Farm Part 3”.