Episode 81: End of Homeschool Year Spectacular 2017 [Podcast]

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On release date for this episode, Adam and Leah’s homeschool year is ending. So, they take this episode to catch you up on what is going on in their lives, as well as some of the ups and downs of homeschooling through the 2016-2017 year. We hope you enjoy their interaction.

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Legacy Recipe: Mom’s Easy Strawberry Pie [Free Printable]

Yay! It’s strawberry picking time here in Kentucky. I love this time of year for lots of reasons, but one of my favorite reasons is because I love strawberries. While I’m not making pies these days because of a different eating plan, I still use this recipe for guests and have many fond memories of making and taking this pie to potlucks and other gatherings. I hope you enjoy it!

1 cup water

½ to ¾ cup sugar

2 and ½  Tbsp cornstarch

Pinch of salt

2 and ½ Tbsp strawberry gelatin (sugar free doesn’t work)

Drop of red food coloring (optional)

3 to 4 cups of washed strawberries (sliced if you prefer)

1 baked pie crust

Mix sugar, salt, and cornstarch.  Pour in the cup of water and mix thoroughly. Put in microwave and cook for 1 minute.  Stir.  Continue to cook at 30 second intervals until it is thickened.

Add strawberry gelatin and stir until dissolved.  Add coloring if you choose.

Let cool on the kitchen counter.  When cool, fold in your strawberries and pour into a 9-inch baked pie crust.

Chill until congealed and then serve with fresh whipped cream.

YUM!!! Hope you enjoy this easy strawberry pie!

To Download or Print a Free Copy of the Recipe, Click the Image Below

The Most Overlooked Step in Church Discipline

Recently, I preached a sermon on church discipline. No, it was not because the elders asked me to, nor because the congregation was preparing to withdraw fellowship from anyone (at least, not so far as I know). Instead, it was to remind people of the context in which Jesus famously stated, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20).

That’s right. It wasn’t in the context of worshiping in a hotel room while on vacation. It was about those difficult conversations that must take place with erring brothers and sisters.

However, when we consider the process of church discipline, it is easy to look at the “step-by-step” process and forget that there is a step that should be in place before the process ever begins.

The Process

Jesus made it clear in Matthew 18:15-20 what the process should look like. Paul would reiterate it in 1 Corinthians 5 and elsewhere. We know this is a Biblical subject, even if it is one that is often overlooked.

Basically, the process is to go to one who has sinned against you one-on-one, seeking to restore him or her. If that does not work, you take witnesses (notice: not “yes-men!”) with the same intention: that of restoration.

If that difficult step does not work, then–and only then–should the church assembly be made aware of the situation, and it should seek restoration as a body of believers.

All along the way, the goal is restoration. The constant prayer should be that the “next step” never has to be taken, because the one who has sin in his or her life has repented and returned to the Lord.

But, should these steps not work, Jesus said, “And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:17). Paul added that are “not even to eat with such a one” (1 Corinthians 5:11). In other words, any contact we have with this person should be toward restoration; never mere social activities that express brotherhood or open fellowship.

That’s the process. It is difficult, but it is straightforward.

The Too-Often Missing Step

In all of this, though, there is a first step that should take place before the process ever begins.

In reality, it is not a “first step,” because it is something that must be in place for church discipline to be effective.

What is it?

The church must be such a strong and loving fellowship that the one who has sinned has something to miss!

If the church is filled with fussing, feuding, and infighting, why would anyone want to return to that?

When these conversations occur with one who has sinned, if they are filled with rancor and cruelty, instead of love and clear Bible teaching, why would someone wish to return?

If no one tried to welcome that “one new guy” who looks a little different, why would he return when efforts are made?

Church discipline works, when we follow God’s plan, that is. It is not out-dated. It is not a relic of past days. It is a Biblical command, just as much as baptism and the Lord’s supper are commands to be obeyed.

But step one of the process begins long before a willful sin is committed. It starts with every member seeking to make the congregation a loving family, so that no one would ever want to fall away or leave.

It Really Is about Love

When sin does occur, and the process of church discipline must take place, love overflows. That’s right: church discipline is a loving act when done properly.

There is a love for God and His Word that is expressed in obedience to His plan for church discipline. Is following this plan easy? Of course not! (Which is why, by the way, Jesus promised to be with those who are in these conversations in Matthew 18:20). But we love God so much that we will follow His plan, no matter what.

There is a love for the one who has sinned. Love does not excuse nor overlook sin. Instead, love reaches out and seeks to restore and correct through Biblical instruction and encouragement.

And there is love among the whole congregation. We must support one another through the process, and we must be such a loving place that the one who is in the wrong desires that fellowship and family atmosphere again.

That…not a one-on-one conversation…is step one in church discipline. Because it is what should be in place before the process ever starts.

Is it found where you are?


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

How to Enjoy Work Without Getting Paid

Why do you go to work each week? Is it because you like your job? If so, that makes the job somewhat easier. Hopefully, we can all find a vocation that we enjoy. Is the fact that you like your job enough to satisfy you? Do you work because you want to keep busy and you don’t want to be lazy or bored? Or do you work to get paid?

Ah, there it is! The truth comes out! We might like our job and we may be glad that we have something to do but at the end of the week, we need a paycheck because that is how the world works. We work to earn a wage. We need the money so that we can provide for ourselves and our families.

Well, guess what? I have good news! There is work out there for you to do that you can enjoy without getting paid. In fact, we might not even call it work at all. No, it’s not volunteering, like we might do through some type of community service. We all know that being involved in an effort like that can be rewarding because we are serving others and helping those who are in need. But in a sense we are still working to get paid when we volunteer to do community service – we are paid with the feeling we get when others are encouraged or blessed by our activity.

But there is a work that you can enjoy knowing that you are not going to receive anything at all. I am talking about doing something in the name of Christ. Some people might refer to this as Christians doing “good works.”

In the Sermon on the Mount, for example, Jesus discussed being salt and light in the world so that people might see our good works and glorify the Father (Matt. 5:14-16). There are works to do in the kingdom of God. They are works that build up the church, spread the gospel to the world, and show obedience to the Lord. Throughout the New Testament, we can see the church was involved in these kinds of works (Eph. 2:10).

But here is what I want to point out about the work you do for Christ. It doesn’t pay anything. If it did, then we could be saved by works. But we are NOT saved by works (Eph. 2:9). We are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). We are saved when we access God’s grace by obedience to the gospel as we repent and are immersed in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). But there is absolutely no work involved in our salvation. The work we do comes on the other side of the cross. And God is not dependent on our works as if He needed anything (Acts 17:25). But we serve Him regardless because we are motivated by what he has already done for us.

You see, when you understand what Christ did for you on the cross you will never again work in the kingdom to get paid. You will work because you love God. You will enjoy the work because when work is motivated by love it ceases to feel like work – instead it is simply an act of celebration for the way the love of Christ makes you feel. And with that type of motivation – any act of service becomes a blessing – but it is still absent of being a wage. Salvation was given at no cost to humanity. Loving obedience to Christ is simply the natural response to the perfect love and will of God.

So Christian, get out there and work for the Lord (Col. 3:17)! And remember, when it comes to being a part of the church, we are not working to get paid. We are working because Jesus paid.

“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20


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AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum

A Verse that Made Me Wonder

It was my privilege to attend the Lads to Leaders convention in Nashville not long ago. It provided an all too rare opportunity (in my mind) for all of our family to be together. Between Donna and me, we were able to see all five of our grandchildren as they participated in various activities. 

While Lads to Leaders was treasured by us as a special family time, it also proved to be a time of spiritual growth and renewal. What a blessing it was to see so many young people use their considerable talents in various avenues of service to the Lord and His people! What an experience it was to worship on Sunday morning with what was estimated to be about 6,000 other Christians! What an encouragement it was to hear some young men preach to that many people and to do such a wonderful job!

The thoughts that are becoming the words I am typing now began to germinate as I heard one of those young men speak. During his presentation, he quoted 1 Corinthians 14:33. I will reproduce that verse here from two different translations:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints (KJV).

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints (ESV).

There are many others who know much more than I do about the original languages of the Bible and the various sources/manuscripts from which we have various translations. I will leave it to them to discuss whether “author” or “God” is the best translation in the opening thought conveyed in this verse. 

It is not that part of the verse that has me wondering. I think that it is very clear that peace is from God, while confusion is not. If this verse does not make that clear, there are many, many other passages which do.

What has me wondering is the last part of that verse. There is no way of knowing how many times I have read that verse. There is no way of knowing how many times I have used it myself in sermons, Bible classes, etc.

However, it was not until I heard that young man quote it on that particular Sunday morning, that I really began to wonder. I haven’t stopped wondering yet. I may never stop wondering.

Please look at the verse again. Read it slowly. Read it again. Let it sink in.

Then, ask yourself a couple of questions that I wondered about when I heard the young man quote the verse and have been wondering about ever since:

How much confusion does there have to be in order for the Lord to no longer view a group of people as “…a church of the saints?”

If an atmosphere of peace is found in “all the churches of the saints,” what is the identity of a church that is known for rancor, disharmony, etc.?

I may never satisfy my curiosity about those questions (and others very similar to them). I have already spent a great deal of time wondering about the answers to them. I could easily go to my grave still wondering about all of the implications of 1 Corinthians 14:33. 

While I will probably still spend time wondering about that verse, there is something else on which I need to focus and on which I need to spend my time. I’m praying that all who read these words will join me in that effort.

It seems to me that my individual effort and our combined effort would go a long, long way toward something that has an impact on something other than the identification of the congregation of which we are members. It has an impact on our own individual identity.

Listen to Jesus as He says:

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (Matt. 5:9).

Here is what I’m really wondering about. I’m wondering if I am doing all I can to live up to these inspired words:

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding (Rom. 14:19).

The characteristic of every congregation is dependent to some degree on the character and effort of each individual member. Is your congregation truly a “church of the saints?” Is that true because of your efforts?

I’m just wondering.


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AUTHOR: Jim Faughn

A Quote for Your Mother’s Day

Memories of Mom

(photo of Ruth Turner, daughter Donna faughn, Granddaughter Amber tatum, and great-granddaughter lyssabeth tatum, taken about 2008)

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck” (Proverbs 1:8-9). So said the wise man Solomon. 

Many of us were raised in homes where our fathers and mothers loved and cared for us. They provided for our needs and taught us much about how to live in this world. Some were blessed to have both parents as faithful Christians, and some of us were not. This was the case in my home. My father was not a faithful Christian while I was growing up. He had been baptized as a young person but left the church early in his marriage to my mother. My mother, on the other hand, remained faithful to God and taught me much about serving Him and living for Him.

When my mother was in the last few weeks of her life, I visited with her often at the assisted living home where she lived. On one particular day when I arrived she was asleep on her bed. I knew she hadn’t been feeling well so I didn’t want to disturb her. 

I pulled a chair quietly to the side of the bed and just watched her sleep. I sat there and made what I called “mental snapshots” of the beauty of this woman who had raised me to be the woman I am.

Let me share with you a few of those thoughts:

  • She was a loving mother. I never doubted for a single minute as a child her love for me and my brother. She saw to our needs to the best of her ability. I can recall to mind so easily the clothes she made for me, often after working a long hard day at the hospital. She was that Titus 2 woman. She loved us and she loved God.
  • She was disciplined and she disciplined us. In every aspect of her life, she was self-controlled. Days were planned with what must be done and what could be done. There was no “sleeping in” for her children (unless you were sick) because she had plans for your day too! Along with that, she disciplined us to behave like she wanted us to and God wanted us to. I have picked many switches from trees in order for her to teach me a lesson.  I learned quickly!
  • She was a hard worker.  I don’t recall much time when she just sat down and rested.  She kept an immaculate house and served great meals.  The yard and flowers in the yard were beautiful and cared for. Spare time was something she didn’t know much about. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, idleness was not part of her life.
  • She was a nurse. Being a young woman during World War II, she felt it her calling to enter the army where she was trained and became a nurse in the armed forces. Caring for others made up much of who she was. She didn’t think much about herself, but most often focused on what she could do for others.
  • She was committed. While serving in a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, a young man was shipped from Europe back to the states with a horrible injury from battle and she became his nurse. She later married him and nursed him for the next sixty years. Many of those sixty years were not happy years for her because of his lifestyle after leaving the church, but she had taken vows before God to stay together for life. She lived up to that commitment we read about in Matthew 19:6. In the last years of their marriage, he returned to God and the church in part, I believe, because of her example in life. (1 Peter 3:1-2)
  • She was beautiful. Oh, she was a beautiful woman on the outside, but more importantly, she was beautiful on the inside. She had a heart that always sought to do what was right in God’s eyes, while others around her were doing wrong. She spoke with wisdom and showed compassion to others.

I was blessed with a wonderful mother. She wasn’t perfect, but she was close in my eyes. I often look at her picture on my desk and when our eyes meet, I stop and say a prayer of thanksgiving for the mother with which God blessed me.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed;”  (Prov. 31:28)

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  (Prov. 31:30)


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AUTHOR: Donna Faughn

He Typed a Blog Post. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!

Call it “clickbait.”

Call it “exaggeration.”

Call it “over the top.”

Call it “hype.”

Whatever you want to call it, if you are on Facebook, you have seen the posts, because our news streams are filled with them.

It might be a picture of a singer walking on a large stage, but the post says, “She walked on stage and everyone thought she looked strange. But when she opened her mouth, you won’t believe what she did!”

Okay, so I have clicked on a few of these. Here’s the thing: virtually none of them were all that impressive.

The girl might have been an okay singer. The artist might have had some talent. The dunk might have been better than average.

But was it worth all the hype that was generated in the Facebook post? The reality was far exceeded by the build-up; by the hype.

I am not writing this article to rail against any of those posts in particular (although, the more I see them on my feed, the more they drive me nuts–and I don’t click them at all anymore). Instead, I want us to think about what all this “over the top” posting means for Christians.

Specifically, what does it mean as we seek to share the simple message of the cross?

Literally, nothing more important has ever happened than when Jesus died and then overcame death three days later. Everything hinges on it–both our eternal fate as well as our daily morals.

But you don’t see Christians trying to put an article online about the cross and then “clickbaiting” it with, “He went to a Roman trial. You won’t believe what happened next!”

Why?

Because we know that the message we are to share with the world is not about getting page views. It’s not about clicks. It’s not about hype, or about over-the-top headlines.

It is about sharing the simple message of salvation through humble lives and clear teaching.

The cross is not to be dressed up. It doesn’t need some type of hype video. We don’t have to add countless overused adjectives.

“Old” and “rugged” seem to have worked just fine for a couple of millennia, don’t you think?

When we understand sin and its connection to both the cross and our eternal fate, the resurrection becomes its own best expression. We are thrilled by it, but we want people to come to that same excitement and joy through a deep study of God’s Word, not through any modern clickbait antics.

“O grave, where is your victory?” is quite powerful enough, isn’t it?

We need to talk about Jesus. We need to overflow with the joy of Christian living. We need to never shy away from being both humbled and honored to be part of God’s family.

Our humble and peaceful lives, and our clear and concise teaching of the Word, are all the “hype” we need to share the Gospel.

But, I must say, if we are faithful until the end, I really don’t think any of us can grasp what happens next!


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

How Drinking Skim Milk Can Help Your Marriage

I grew up drinking 2% milk. Sometimes it was just good old vitamin D milk. We might on occasion drink 1% milk. But skim milk? No thanks. Isn’t that just water with some kind of milk powder in it? Is there such a thing as white food coloring in water? – because that’s what skim milk tasted like to me. I didn’t like it at all and I decided that if I was ever going to drink milk it wasn’t going to be skim.

But then I got married and guess what? I found out right away that my wife grew up drinking skim milk. To her, 2% milk was too thick and whole milk was disgusting. So she was not interested in drinking any milk that wasn’t skim. So we had a choice to make. One of us could either try to like a different kind of milk or we could buy both skim and 2% and leave them in the fridge all of the time.

Welcome to marriage! They don’t teach you this stuff before you get here. You learn as you go. I have often laughed in premarital counseling sessions when young couples think that everything is going to be pie in the sky. You find out once you are married that there are a lot of things you didn’t know about the other person. Things are going to come up and you are going to have to figure out how to resolve them. Early in marriage couples fight over the silliest things! It usually isn’t really about the issue at hand, but rather, it is that two people are trying to jockey for position in the relationship.

You see, when people live together everything about them is exposed to the other person: the fact that they are messy, or that they don’t hang up their towel in the bathroom the same way that you do. Maybe they snore. Maybe they want the thermostat at a different temperature all the time. Maybe their ideas about individual responsibilities over certain household chores are different. Maybe they are a morning person and you are a night owl.

So guess what? I started drinking skim milk. Why? Why give in? I didn’t see it as giving in. I saw it as a way to show my wife right off the bat that milk was not that important. I felt that I needed to lead the marriage. I have heard people say over the years that marriage is about compromise. I understand what they are trying to say but I don’t think that I entirely agree. If marriage is about compromise then what you are saying subconsciously is that you think the other person has moments in which they need to bend your way. That’s stinking thinking. It leads to an attitude of discontentment and resentment on those occasions when you had preset in your mind that it was their turn to do it your way.

I would rather say marriage is about sacrifice. Somewhere I remember reading that God said a relationship between husband and wife was to be like the relationship between Christ and the church. Christ exemplified his love for the church through full sacrifice. It humbles me as a husband to realize that my job in my marriage is to spiritually lead my family by loving and sacrificing in the same way that Jesus did for the church.

The rest of the story? Well, for about 20 years now I have been drinking skim milk. I still prefer 1 or 2%. But I have gotten used to skim and it’s not bad. And if the milk spills I don’t cry about it. It’s just milk.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” – Ephesians 5:25


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AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum

The Shiny New Van

It pulled up next to the vehicle I was driving. At first, I did not notice how shiny it was. I did not notice for a minute how new it looked. 

What caught my attention originally were the letters on the side of the van. Those letters spelled out the name of a congregation of the Lord’s people in our area. As I looked inside the van, I saw that one of the preachers for that congregation was driving and that the other preacher was in the passenger seat.

It is not unusual for people in the community in which these two men live to spend some time in one of the two hospitals in the community in which I live. That fact led me to assume that these two young men were in our community to visit one or more of their members who might have been in the hospital.

I was glad to see them. I was also pleased to see them in what I at least perceived was their role of ministering to some of the needs of the people with whom they worship and serve. Any man who spends any time in ministry will spend a significant amount of time “on the road” in an attempt to know and serve people.

As the shiny new van made its way to the next destination that these young men had in mind and I made my way to my next destination, my mind went back a few years. It went back to a phone call I received from a friend of mine asking me to go with him to look at a vehicle he was thinking about buying. 

There were some factors that influenced my positive response to his request. Most importantly, this experience gave me an opportunity to be with my friend. Because of the busy schedules that both of us had at the time, that didn’t happen very often.

It is sad to me that we do not get to see each other now as often as we did then. That is due to the fact that he and his wife moved out of our area a couple of years or so ago.

You see, my friend used to be the preacher for the congregation that now has its name on the side of a shiny new van. For reasons unknown to me and are none of my business, it was apparently felt that a change was needed. The need for change meant that my friend and his wife needed to relocate. 

Along with the change in the “ministry staff” of the congregation where my friend used to preach, there must have also been a change in attitude. At least that is what I thought when I saw that shiny new van.

The vehicle I went with my friend to look at was a used vehicle. Used vehicles were the only kind of vehicles I have ever known about him and his wife having. Used, personal vehicles were all he used during his approximately twenty years with that congregation. There was no shiny new van provided for him to drive.

I have no problem with the congregation allowing their new ministers to have a nice vehicle to use. I just wish that this had been the case for my friend. 

Please read the next couple of paragraphs before you read anything else.

The fact that I noticed the “new wheels” provided for the new preachers may be indicative of a lot of things. If I know my heart at all, though, that fact does not indicate that I am an old, bitter preacher who feels that he has been mistreated during his ministry. While it is definitely true that I am no longer young, it is not true that I am bitter and/or that I feel that I spent my life being mistreated by my brethren. I have been blessed in so many ways by my Lord and by my brethren.

The fact that I am commenting on what I saw also does not indicate that I think that the church is going to the dogs because younger men are now preaching where older men used to preach. I am thankful for those who are younger who will faithfully “carry the torch” long after some of us older ones are gone. 

This is not about me in any sense. Since I no longer preach full-time, as the saying goes, I no longer have a dog in that hunt. 

What I am thinking about are preacher-congregation relationships in general. Specifically, I am thinking about men who have spent a number of years with one particular congregation. It seems that it is almost inevitable that his replacement will receive more financial support, encouragement for new programs, “perks,” etc. than he has had. 

How many times has the following scenario played itself out? 

  • A preacher is told something like, “We are sorry, but we just can’t afford to provide any more financial support for you.”
  • The preacher leaves for either financial or personal reasons (or both).
  • The leadership experiences “sticker shock” when they find out what the current “going rate” is for preachers.
  • “Mysteriously,” additional funds are found in the budget for increased financial support, equipment, etc. for “the new guy.”

May I ask my friends who are in leadership positions in congregations to consider something? May I ask all of the members of those congregations to consider the same thing?

If you have a man who is sound in the faith and dedicated to the Lord and your congregation, please do your best to show your appreciation for him and to him – and his family. If you are going to stretch the budget, why not do so for a man you know who has given you years of service instead of a man you are just getting to know and are just hoping will be helpful for the congregation?

In the corporate/business/educational world, it is a fairly common practice for older, experienced personnel to be dismissed in order to hire younger, less experienced people. Usually, the rationale is that the younger people can be employed for less money than is being paid to those who are older. As I understand it, there is sometimes an expensive “buyout” that is still better for the bottom line than would be the case if the older employees continued their employment. 

Why is it the case that, in the church, just the opposite is often true? It seems that, in many cases among God’s people, the “logic” goes something like this:

“We don’t need to worry about increasing brother ________’s financial support. He seems to have been pleased when he came here and it seems like he still is. I expect at least a cost of living increase where I work, but I guess he does not expect that. He’s never said anything.”

Once the relationship no longer exists, the “logic” often changes to:

“Now, that brother ____________ is gone, we need to spend whatever it takes and do whatever we need to do to get this new man. We don’t really know him, but we’ve heard a lot of good things about him.” 

It is my prayer that God will help all of us to include preachers and their support in the admonition to give “…honor to whom honor is owed” (Rom. 13:7, ESV) – regardless of age or length of service.


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AUTHOR: Jim Faughn