authentic christianity

“Mom, Who’s Gonna Write Our Story?”

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I remember when my youngest son, Jordan Christopher, was three years old he asked a very mature question one afternoon following an impromptu Bible Study. We were discussing the early followers of Christ and how so many of them were martyred. Then we began to talk about Luke, the physician, and how he was with the Apostle Paul on many of his missionary journeys, and that this is how he had the first hand information needed to write Paul’s story. Jordan had been relatively silent throughout our conversation but all of a sudden he had questions. His last question was the one that stuck with me all of these years. My little three-year old was asking more than just who would write our story. We had just finished talking about the amazing lives lived by those who had committed their lives to Christ. We were up to our eyeballs in the historic accounts found in John Foxe’s Book of the 15800Martyrs!! These were real life stories  filled with action and adventure, agonizing pain and torture, peace, joy unspeakable….and love never-ending! He was learning, they were all learning about the lives that we are called to as followers of Christ. Not of comfort and materialistic pleasure, but of discomfort and eternal sacrifice. They were learning about the call to follow Jesus…and the cost paid by those who chose to follow him. The men and women who had laid down their lives rather than deny their Lord were ancient heroes to them, alive only on the pages of Scripture and history books…and that day, when he was three years old, Jordan chose to follow them as they had followed Christ! That day, my son chose to take up his cross and walk the way of a Christian. It amazed me that at such a young age he understood what that meant. I am speechless as I look back on that day. I do not remember if the Sun was shining or if it was cold outside. The only thing I remember is the question he asked, and the answer  that was given. The Word of God is just that, the Word of God. All of it inspired…breathed by the Holy Spirit. These men and women had lived a life worthy of recording. Not because of their wealth, but because of what they did with it. Not because of their poverty, but because of what they did in spite of it. Not because of their health but in spite of their illnesses.  The people they learned about that day, and many days since, were believers whose faith transcended the pages of Holy Scripture and history books and whose love and genuine faith in our Lord had traveled through generations to communicate to four children, one of whom was only three….and he got it that day. By asking the question, “Who’s gonna write our story?”, Jordan was making the statement that his heart was set on living as they did, and even dying as many of them had done. He was affirming that his life was not worth living if it was not worth giving it to the One who had given all for him. I remember one of the verses talked about that day;

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Jordan is now 15 years old, and he still pursues the One who has proven to be the answer to the question he asked when he was three. He, as well as his three siblings, have a very different view of what it means to be a follower of Christ than many of their peers seem to. Somewhere during the years of our family reading God’s Word together, and diligently, with the help of the Holy Spirit, their father and I seeking to live out that Word, they grabbed a hold to something real….something True….aomething Authentic! They are not without mistake or fault just as none of us are, but they have a perspective that causes them to draw on the Lord’s strength when they are weak, and to hold tighter to His Word should they fall. The story of their face to face meeting with The Lord is different for each one of them. For Kayla it was in a Sunday School classroom when she was four years old. We were not thoroughly convinced of childhood conversions until we saw the fruit of repentance and the fruit of righteousness in her young life, and we see it still. For Isaiah it was when his big sister sat across the kitchen table with him one day over lunch when she was six and he was five and shared the gospel with him and helped him find his way to the Lord, while mom listened on the other side of the wall. For Leah, it was at a Secret Keeper Girls event that she made her faith known to me and a room full of Princesses….and for Jordan, it was the day he looked at me while sitting on the big blue couch in the family room and asked so sincerely, “Who’s gonna write our story?.” The house is long gone, but that old couch is the same one I am sitting on as I type this. I couldn’t bear to part with it. Not just because of its comfort, but because of its comfort…The pages of Scripture are filled with more than just words…they are filled with life…the Bread of Life…and water…the Living Water…And when served up tp our children for the delicacies that they are they will give them life!!!  Since that day I have watched my sons and daughters grow in God’s grace and learn to ‘walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which they have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” This is the hearts desire of every parent who loves the Lord with everything in them; for their children to love him too. If I could offer you some encouragement, READ God’s word with them daily. Discuss the Scriptures as easily as you discuss whats going on in their lives. When they bring situations that they are dealing with to you, take them to the Word of God and see what God says about it. Give them His perspective as they face the sin sick world that awaited them at their birth. Your opinion will change, but His will not. Your views and advice will mature and vary with age and circumstance. His will not. Show them through the Living Word how to live a life worth being written about. Not for their material things, but for their faith without or in spite of those things. Not for their intelligence and book smarts, but for their unalterable faith despite what the genius of men says.  Teach them to love God with all their heart, soul and strength….and to live their lives in such a way that the Spirit of the Lord will write their story in His Book.

 

God Bless You….Selena

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“When Christ Calls A Man…”

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I first heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer after my marriage to Ukali in 1994.  His father had given him “The Cost of Discipleship” by Bonhoeffer, and that book radically impacted his understanding of what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  The book did not replace God’s Word, but it worked in conjunction with, or alongside of it to ‘sure up’ the foundation he had, and to further define what authentic Christianity looked like, and Dietrich’s legacy has helped to do the same for me. It has given me great pleasure during the last couple of years to introduce Dietrich and his legacy to our children through homeschooling.  My husband was searching for “The Cost of Discipleship”  this morning (not the one his father gave him…he loaned that copy years ago and never got it back, then another, then another…this is the most recent copy that we gave him last Christmas :D), and he couldn’t find it because it was in our 13-year-old sons reading pile!  I couldn’t help but smile…my son was reading “The Cost of Discipleship”…and I thought to myself that if I was in introduced to and learned about him in my 20’s, and they in their teens and preteens, how old (or young) will my grandchildren be when they meet him for the first time.  The strength of conviction about gaining and maintaining a Biblical Worldview found within the pages of this book are life-changing.  This also caused me to think about the fact that there are so many great things that are not taught in schools…so many great people who, if we leave it up to the schools, our kids will never learn about.  With so many changes taking place in the educational system of our country and on their focus, let’s commit to teaching our children, through our actions and words, as well as God’s word and the lives of others, what morality and integrity and humility and character look like.  If all they have is erroneous history books and this fallen world’s idols to look at, they may never see it. In writing this, I also understand that there are some who have never had the blessing of being introduced to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and if that is you, read on :D. There’s just a little history…a summary of his life if you will…that I hope will spark a desire to know more about him, and even to purchase some of his books or get them from your local library. For those of you who are already acquainted, enjoy the ‘brief’ summation and renew your relationship with this humble servant of Christ.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in 1906, and was murdered on Hitlers orders in 1945.  He was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian. He was a devoted pacifist, who believed that the way of Christ and violence were in direct opposition to each other.  It was this heartfelt belief that caused him much inner turmoil as he learned of and witnessed the obscenely horrendous violations against humanity, specifically Jews and blacks, that were being administered by Hitler and his Nazi Regime.  Dietrich ultimately concluded that to sit back and do nothing was even more egregious than to join the fight against it, knowing that violence against Hitler would be involved.  So Bonhoeffer joined the German Resistance Movement against Nazism.  His involvement in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler were discovered, and led to his arrest in April 1943, and his subsequent execution by hanging in April 1945, shortly before the war’s end. During the two years that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was imprisoned at Tegel, he kept a daily routine of Bible Reading, Prayer, and singing many hymns that he had memorized.  He spent 18 months in a room that was 6×9, “with a bed, a stool, a shelf,  a blanket and a bucket.” The room was sealed with “a board door with an observation hole that looked from the outside in, and a skylight window above head height on the opposite side.”  During the two years that he was interrogated he was permitted to have visitors and receive letters.  He frequently wrote to his parents to reassure them that he was doing well and did not want them to worry.

While imprisoned, and fully aware of the torture and persecution that awaited him, Bonhoeffer feared that the intensity of the torture may cause him to ‘give up’ his friends and co-laborers in the Gospel as well as The Resistance. He considered suicide as a way out, and on a piece of paper which had survived his first weeks in prison, he wrote, “Suicide, not because of consciousness of guilt, but basically, because I am already dead.”  Had Dietrich given in to this temptation, he would have missed the joy he found in ministering the Gospel to those who were sick and dying in chains as he was, as well as those charged with guarding the prisoners.  He was respectfully referred to as “The Prisoners Pastor.”  Dietrich worked diligently to provide comfort and discipleship to those held captive by the Nazis, although he had a chance to escape, aided by a guard, he refused for fear that more of his family and co-laborers would suffer for him.  In October 1944, Bonhoeffer was moved to the Gestapo prison in Berlin. In February 1945, he was taken to the Buchenwald concentration camp, and then to the Flossenbürg concentration camp, where he was hanged on April 9, 1945.  He was 39 years old, had never married, and served the Lord in faithfulness until his death.  His final recorded words;  “This is the end…for me, the beginning of life.” Three weeks after Hitler orderd the death of Dietrich, and all of those viewed as enemies of the state, it is believed that Hitler himself committed suicide.

Well, that’s it.  That’s his story in a nutshell, but trust me, there is soooo much more to the story!! This history is great to share with your family or your children.  I pray that this has been informative and encouraging!  If you are new to Bonhoeffer, please let me know and share what you learn.  If you have been previously introduced, please let me know what has impacted you most about his life and legacy.  For more information please check out the following resources;

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Letters-Cell-Correspondence-Bonhoeffer/dp/0687010985/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336583788&sr=8-1

http://www.visionforum.com/browse/product/dietrich-bonhoeffer/?search=bonhoeffer

http://www.visionforum.com/browse/product/dietrich-bonhoeffer/?search=bonhoeffer