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I'm a stay-at-home Dad suffering from Fibromyalgia. I homeschool my daughter and lead worship at my church. I'm also a gamer and a geek and proud of it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Worship Wednesdays: To plan or Not to plan

There is much debate about the idea of planning, or at least a lot of debate in my own head. So, I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject.

I really think planning is an essential part of preparing for a worship service. How else will the musicians be prepared for Sunday morning if they can't practice ahead of time. Most musicians and especially those leading worship want to bring their best. They can't do that if they can't practice.

Now, God doesn't require our worship to be perfect, but He does require excellence. If we are not bringing the best we have to offer then our worship is not acceptable to the Lord (remember Cain and Abel?) So what are some reasons we don't plan ahead?

  1. We don't have time to practice. Really? I mean even if you can't get together each week you should be practicing as individuals. How else are you going to learn new songs or become better musicians?
  2. I don't have time to plan. If you don't have the time to commit yourself to what a ministry needs in terms of time, then maybe you need to step down. 
  3. We don't want to miss the Spirit moving. However you want to put this, it is a valid point but it doesn't negate the need for planning and practice. When we approach our worship services, we need to remember the idea of balance.
  4. My Pastor doesn't tell me the theme or Sermon topic until the last minute. This is a though one. In my case my Pastor hardly ever tells me the theme or topic of his sermons. After all if we are both going to the same well then we should be on the same page. There are a few things you can do in this case: Ask you Pastor to give you the theme or topic sooner, or ask your Pastor if you can select the songs ahead of time. His answer in both cases may surprise you. You could also limit your song selections to a small list of songs that your worship team knows really well. They should also be practicing those songs during the week.

So how do I plan? I send out the song list for Sunday a week in advance and try to have at least a months worth of set list planned out. I also try to remain flexible as God may put a specific song on my heart at the last minute. We also have practices every Thursday night where we go over the songs for Sunday as well as any new songs we will be introducing in the next few weeks. This year I will also be challenging myself as well as our worship team to learn ten songs by heart that we can play in case the spirit begins to move or if we are called to play at the end of the service. When planning a month out I try to remember any special holidays or service and incorporate songs that fit those themes (i.e. Communion or Missions Sunday.)

In the end, if we are serious about our worship we need to plan. If we don't plan ahead we can't prepare. If we don't prepare we can't bring our best.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Teaching Tuesdays: To Snow Day or Not to Snow Day

That is the question isn't it? As homeschoolers do we keep going when everyone else has no school due to the snow or do we allow ourselves to take some time off to enjoy all that wonderful white stuff?

I don't think there is any right answer to that one. It really all depends on what works best for your family, and that may even vary from year to year. One of the joys of homeschooling is the flexibility it gives us to do school around our lives and schedules and not the other way around.

So if you feel you need to do school even though public schools are closed then go ahead, (that is what we are doing this week as we have a big family vacation coming up next month and our homeschool co-op is also staring up next month so I don't want to fall behind anymore than we already are (-: ). On the other hand if you feel it is more important to your children to go outside and make a snowman or go sledding then by all means do that. We've done both and we have even taken a snow day or two even when the public school is still in session.

Our days off don't have to line up with the days the public school are taking off. We can manage our school schedule to fit the circumstances of our own individual families. So go ahead and do what is best for your family and stop worrying about what other schools and families are doing, and remember you can even do "school" while having fun. Field trip to Sea World anyone?

Like I always said when I worked as a Training Facilitator "Let's have fun and learn something!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Worship Wednesdays: The Name of the Lord (Part 7)

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.
-Genesis 22:13-14

In Genesis chapter 22 we see Abraham being tested by God. God wanted to see if Abraham feared Him and if He would withhold his only son from God. Abraham was obedient and Isaac was spared, but a sacrifice was still needed so God provided. The name for God in this passage should be a familiar one it is Jehovah-jireh (pronounced je-HOE-vah JIE-rah) and means literally The LORD Will Provide. God provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice in place of his son Isaac. And years later God would provide His Son to be a sacrifice in our place.

It is important to note that the offering that was being made was a burnt offering. It was a voluntary offering made in love as an act of worship. It was specifically done as an atonement for sin. It is not meant to be an empty ritual or something done out of obligation. It was done voluntary out of love. Jesus became our offering willingly because He loves us. Should our worship unto Him be any less. 

God has provided everything we need up to and including a willing atonement for our sins, if that doesn't move your heart with gratitude to the LORD then I'm not sure anything truly will.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Managing Mondays: Keith's Famous Apple Pie

Okay, It's time for my famous, award winning apple pie!

     Pastry for 2-crust 9-inch pie, unbaked
8   cups pealed and sliced tart cooking apples
1   teaspoon ground cinnamon
1   teaspoon ground nutmeg
2   tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1   egg, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Add to apples and mix well. Cover and chill for 30 - 60 minutes. Line 9-inch pie pan with pastry. Heap chilled apples in lined pan. Adjust top crust and cut slits for steam to escape (I like to use a cookie cutter to make shades in the crust before positioning on the pie. I then   offset the pastry cutouts over the holes.) Seal edges a flute.  Brush the top with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 50 minutes or until crust is well browned and apples are cooked through. Serve warm or cold topped with whipped cream or ice cream.