Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why do you go to church?

I don’t usually post on controversial topics, but I just felt the need to post this. This is just one of those things I’m passionate about, and I want to share my thoughts. Please take from this what you want.

I follow a blog called Motherhood and Miscellany. She’s a homeschooling mom who has some fun ideas. From what I can tell, she’s a really nice lady and an overall good person. I do not know her personally, I only read her blog.

Last week, she posted on 9 things she likes about the Catholic Church. I’ve decided to post about this as well. Please note: this has nothing to do with the Catholic church, because I’ve heard people of ALL religions use these same reasons for attending church! I truly feel bad for this woman, because I’m afraid somewhere along the way, she got the wrong impression about the life Christ actually called Christians to live. I don’t necessarily fully blame her. Our society/country/religions allow for this type of thinking and there are lots of churches who encourage this haphazard relationship with Christ.

Anyway, in the post she lists 9 reasons she enjoys going to her local Catholic church. I have an issue with just about every one of her reasons, and I wanted to voice my opinion. I figure, where better to do this than on my own blog, right?

In her post, she mentions that her priest isn’t “overly preachy” and there is no “hellfire and damnation talk.” She even goes as far as to say “I refuse to sit and listen to someone tell me how sinful I am and how the world is going to Hell.” Later on in the post, she mentions that she has “never once heard mention of certain groups of people or of those who believe or act differently or not according to the Catholic teachings being bad or sinful or damned or anything else.” Or my favorite “the Catholic priest talks about sin and repentance sometimes, but not in a scary, crazy, accusing way.”

Um. What? Has she read the Bible? Has she ever heard one of Jesus’ own sermons? Jesus NEVER skirted around an issue, and He told people all the time that they were sinners and were going to Hell. Christ’s words were harsh. Cruel at times. At times he even got a little “crazy” or “scary” depending on how you look at it. He never held back, so why are the pastors and priest not preaching the real truth on Hell or sin? Why aren’t they saying that unbelievers are going to Hell? The Bible is pretty clear about that one. Why are we as believers spending so much time trying not to offend or accuse people?
During the Lords Supper, the disciples actually approached Jesus and asked him about some of the tough things he was telling them.
  On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that His disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? When what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” John 6:60-64

What about when He tells us to sell everything we own, hate our mother and father, even hate ourselves? What then? Is this insulting? Are you offended yet?

If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:26

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Luke 12:33-34

Well if that didn’t offend you, do you think that these folks were offended with Jesus when He talked to them?

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” - Luke 9:57-62


If you aren’t leaving your church service on Sunday morning (or Saturday night, or Wednesday afternoon, or whenever you go) feeling like a sinner saved by the Grace of a loving and merciful Father, then why are you going to church? Why? If you want to feel good on Sundays, that’s what a spa is for, NOT A CHURCH!

I’d like to say that I don’t believe EVERY SINGLE SERMON preached from the pulpit must be on Hell or Death or whatever, but what I am saying is that if your pastor/priest NEVER preaches on it, then there is a problem! It’s clearly in the Bible.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 6:23

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
- Isaiah 53:6

So I pose the question, “Why do you go to church?”

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. – Exodus 20:8   For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. - Matthew 18:20

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:23-25

Read all of 1 Corinthians 12. This speaks of the different parts of the body. How can you be a part, if you don’t go do your part?

Are you going to church to “hang out” with your friends (church is known to be a great place to make friends…I mean my closest friends in Laplace are the ones I met at church)? Do you go because they have a fantastic children’s program (that way the kids don’t complain about having to get up on Sunday mornings and go to church)? Is the church building really pretty and inviting (don’t want to be uncomfortable sitting on an old wooden pew)?  Do you go because the parking is great or it’s close to your home (no sense spending more time in your car if you don’t have to)? Do you go because the pastor makes you feel good about yourself (I mean, God is a loving God, and he will love you no matter what)? Is it simply a box you check off each week (attended church, check, now I can do whatever I want).

I could go on for days. Seriously, in the post mentioned above, the blog author actually says some of the 9 reasons she goes to that particular church is because she enjoys the music, the service is beautiful, and the people are nice. WHAT? WHAT? Let that sink in a minute. WHAT?

She never mentions whether or not the preaching is actually Biblical, which really should be #1, right? What about service? She never mentions how she’s involved in a program that helps lead others to Christ, or how she’s using her time and efforts to help the widows, orphans or poor.

People, lets get our priorities straight! Church is not a country club. It is not a karaoke bar. It is not a day spa! The pastor, music minister, children’s pastor, and youth pastor not there for your entertainment or to make you feel good. They should be there to lead worship and to teach you and your children Biblical truths. The pastor should not be censoring his message so that he doesn’t offend someone. And while works play absolutely no part in your salvation, if you love Christ, and you truly believe in his promise of eternal life, why oh why would you not use your time, money, talents, resources, etc. to help further His kingdom? What about a desire for true worship with the one true God? Shouldn’t that be a reason to attend church?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. I know this is a long rant, but folks we need to WAKE UP! There are people all around us who will die and go to Hell, but we are too worried about offending them to tell them the truth. WAKE UP! We can tell others about Christ in a loving manner, but in the end, we will probably offend people. Have you ever been offended by the Gospel? Are you better because of it?

Final random thoughts from Emily:

I’m not a theologian. I did not attend seminary. I am simply a Christian who is appalled by the fact that there are far too many churches allowing the body to get comfortable. Also, I’m writing this to myself as well. I’m as guilty as the next person of getting too comfortable in my relationship with Christ and forgetting that he DIED on a CROSS to save me from my sins! He requires nothing from me, because nothing I do will ever be good enough for me to save myself. I’ve been known to complain about church being too boring, or getting in the way of my social life. I’ve been guilty of desiring a more entertaining worship service and more programs at church for my child so he wakes up excited about church on Sunday mornings. I need to reprioritize my reasons for going to church. My desire for true worship with God, fellowship with other believers, and service to further His kingdom should be my main focus.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Is everyday really that perfect?


Ha! Um, no.


I’m dedicating today’s post to some of those days. The days when I fail as a parent, or Cohen just misbehaves so badly, it drives me to the crazy house.


I recently posted this on Cohen’s twitter feed and on my Facebook and Instagram.




After posting it, I got to thinking that I don’t post the bad stuff nearly often enough. I love posting fun, smiley pictures of my boy, but really, not all days are that great. Just being honest here folks. Anyone who spends HOURS each day with a 4 year old must agree with me. Don’t get me wrong, there are LOTS and LOTS of really fun times and wonderful memories being made, but there are also lots of days when I want to just pull my hair out.


That particular day, we went to get a new inspection sticker for my van. He REFUSED to get out of the car. He actually told me “Mom, I’m not getting out of this car unless you agree to get a carwash.” WHAT? Yes.


Fear not, I took a picture of him, sitting in the car, trying to negotiate a car wash.




For those wondering, we didn’t get an inspection sticker or car wash that day! Sometimes its best to just go home and start over later.


Yesterday, I went to a good friends house to help her pack. She’s moving to Mississippi, and I’m so very sad! Cohen went with me and she kept her little boy at home so they could play together. After packing for about 5 hours, we decided it was lunch time. We told the boys to get their shoes on and we were leaving.


Well, Cohen found one shoe. One. And he found it in a room that we had already boxed up. Yep. So you are probably thinking what we were thinking…that shoe is on its way to Mississippi. Instead of stressing about it, I put that one shoe on Cohen and we headed to Raising Canes. Mommy Fail? I got some looks for sure, but what was I supposed to do. All my friend’s kids have freakishly small feet and my boy has huge boats for feet. And I wasn’t going home just to get him a shoe.




Best part…he went to the restroom at this restaurant. I decided not to think about it. I just let him go. Into the men's restroom, at a fast food restaurant, with one shoe. No problem though, my friends son went too, and she had to go help open the door for him (because the doors to the restroom at Canes is ridiculously heavy!). She saw my son on his hands and knees on the floor of the restroom. What in the world was he doing?? The shoeless foot is the least of our worries!


I’m hoping after this post, you understand that not everyday is perfect. We do not spend all day smiling and doing fun crafts for school. We do not ALWAYS get along, and there are lots of days I feel like I want to just run away.


Even on those tough days, I’m reminded of God’s amazing Grace and the wonderful blessing that He gave us by allowing us to be Cohen’s mom and dad. I can’t imagine doing life without him and I’d take a million of these terrible days just to know that I get to be his mom! It’s the best job I’ve ever had!


For those parents who wish to teach their own children about the war inside, might I suggest you download Switchfoot’s song THE WAR INSIDE. Really, just get the whole album. It’s good, trust me!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How old is your Nan and Meme?


This year for Mother’s Day, we did something a little different. Instead of a handprint or footprint, I did an answer/question session with Cohen.


I asked him several questions about his Nan and Meme. Here are his answers.






I actually asked Cohen how old I was, and his response… “Mom, your 30!” Thanks buddy. I’m older than Nan and Meme. Great!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Would you like a gift suggestion for a 5 year old?

We had Cohen's 5th birthday party last weekend (party pics coming later). It was a ninja turtle themed party because Cohen is pretty much obsessed with them right now.


He got some really neat stuff, like ninja turtle masks and weapons, guns, building sets, books, and lots of other stuff! We've had lots of fun with those things, but they aren't real exciting in a video...but this is....



This is a spooner board. I saw it on a toy website and added it to Cohen's wish list. Nan and Pops were sweet enough to get this for him.


This is amazons description of the board...


From the Manufacturer

The 24" freestyle board allows for easy maneuvering for shorter riders. Also provides a great core workout for Mom.

Product Description

Replicate all your favorite board sports, in any location and on any surface- safely! The Spooner Board is a virtually indestructible balance board that spins, flips, slides, wobbles and more. Improves core stability, balance, coordination and gross-motor skills.



In my opinion, every 5 year old needs this! Really you could get this for any kid 3-33. For now, Cohen just basically sits, kneels, or lays on the board, but the adults at the party tried to do tricks while standing in the board. I even sat on the board and put kids in my lap and spun around REALLY FAST! They loved it!


It's made of tough plastic that will scratch baseboards or cabinets when it skips out from under you and goes flying across the room. It's shaped like a spoon, so you can stand or sit on it. The packaging said it will hold 50,000 pounds. Jace and I actually stood on it at the same time and spun around a few times. It's tough!


Ok. Now for the fun part...I did video Cohen earlier today while he was playing on it. Please excuse the music....we are pretty much obsessed with High School Musical, and it's on Pandora in the background.





Monday, May 6, 2013

Does this match?

One of my many goals for this summer is to try my best to teach Cohen to be more independent. He starts Kindergarten in the fall, and I’m not going to be able to spend all day everyday helping him, so he needs to learn to do for himself.


I decided to start by teaching him how to match his clothes. Big mistake! He’s a boy. He doesn’t understand that a lime green shirt and hunter green shorts don’t match. He says “but mom, they are both green.” Most days it doesn’t matter, but sometimes we do actually have to leave the house and be looking presentable.


In the past, I actually stuck outfits in ziplock bags, thinking I’d be able to reuse the bags, but they kept disappearing. I still do this for trips and such, but for everyday, I just can’t afford a new ziplock bag each and every day.


So I found these really neat little buckets at the dollar store.




I unloaded all of the clothes from his bottom drawer of his dresser, and organized these blue buckets so that he has everything he needs to get ready for the day (socks, underwear, shirt and shorts).





For the shirt/shorts outfits, I folded the shirt over the shorts, so they are “matched.”






Just something that’s working for us. Hope our little tip helps you!

Friday, May 3, 2013

How was the Classical Conversations Closing Program?


I have enjoyed Classical Conversations so much this year! I am so sad that it is over. Cohen and I have learned so much from this program! We both made some really great friends and I know that if I ever have a question about homeschooling or parenting or life, I can just run to one of the Moms I met and became great friends with over the past year.


At the end of April, we had our closing program. All the Foundation kids got up and sand the Timeline song. This is a 14 minute song that lists 160 timeline facts from Creation to “the rising tide of freedom” which is the era we are currently living in.


Here are a few pictures from this fun night!


A couple family shots…this kid is crazy!





This is about half the kids in his Classical Conversations Foundations group. He did really good singing the song for about the first 7 minutes. The last 7 minutes were spent jumping, leaning on the table, spinning in circles, sitting on the steps, and just basically acting like a 4 year old little boy.




Here he is getting his certificate from his tutor, Mrs. Haley.




So proud!




After the service, we went back to his classroom. Mrs. Haley had selected some of the kids work to display on the wall.




Our favorite tutor! She did an amazing job working with Cohen. He was the youngest in the class, and she was always patient and understanding when it came to his craziness. She also taught me a lot about homeschooling! What a blessing she has been this year!




Cohen had quite the crowd there to see him perform. ALL of his grandparents made it! (The sun was bright that day…and a REAL photographer may have selected a shady spot or something, but not me! Nope, I had everyone stare directly into the sun!)







Not only did he have all his grandparents, but he also invited his best friend, Molly. We were all happy to have her join us, but Cohen was pretty much beside himself! When I told him we were going to get her, he did a little happy dance in the car.






Look at our cute little family! These boys make me so happy! (and that sun makes me so squinty).




One last picture…our little family of 3 plus Molly. Love that girl!



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Does your bike lane end?


I’ve had so much fun the past few weeks with my Silhouette Cameo. Jace bought this for me for Christmas as a HUGE surprise, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!


Recently I have discovered the love of Heat Transfer Vinyl. I’m not great at it yet, but I’m getting there. I’m still testing out different brands and colors and shapes and sizes. Below is the very first shirt I made, for Cohen.





After making a fun race day shirt for Cohen, I went on to make a race day shirt for all the Team Raney spectators. We wore these at Jace’s first ever Half Ironman Race.





Here are a few others shirts I’ve made for Cohen.





And here's one I made for my nieces birthday party.



And here it is on my sweet niece, Brue. Isn't she so very cute!!




Now, I’m still perfecting the proper way to wash and dry these shirts. I’ve already ruined a few in the dryer. Ugh! I’ve found that they do just fine in the washing machine, so no hand washing required! Yay! The dryer is giving me fits though. If you lay them flat to dry, they will be just fine, but who wants to do that! I don’t have room in my house to lay shirts all over in order for them to dry. If I put them in the dryer and pull them out just before they are fully dry, they work just fine. Also, if you set your dryer to a lower heat setting (if that’s possible) they come out dry and still in tact.


Friends…would you like a shirt? I’m still practicing my skills, so if you are willing to pay for the shirt, I’ll make one for you. E-mail at me if you are interested!