October 4, 2017

Reformation Snack Mix

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, what could be better than assemble-your-own Reformation snack mix? With a little help from my friends, I came up with this recipe and lesson for an upcoming church children's program. If we are feeling really festive, we'll wash it down with some (root) beer. 

Pretzels were invented in the Middle Ages (more than 500 years ago) in Roman Catholic monasteries. Before he came to understand the teaching of the Bible, Martin Luther was a monk in a German monastery. Maybe he ate some of the first pretzels!

Relics (Lucky Charms cereal)
As Martin Luther studied the Bible, God helped him to see that some of the practices of the Roman Catholic church were not biblical. One of those was the practice of honoring “relics” or things that had belonged to famous Christians in the past. People wrongly thought that viewing or touching those relics would give them favor with God.

Indulgences (chocolate chips or chocolate coins)
Another practice that Martin Luther learned was not biblical was the practice of paying “indulgences.” The Roman Catholic church wrongly taught people that if they gave money to the church, it would help them (or their family) to get to heaven.

95 (Reese’s Pieces) Theses
Martin Luther wrote a list of the teachings of the Roman Catholic church that were unbiblical. He had 95 things on his list, and the list came to be called the 95 Theses. One day in October, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Roman Catholic church in Wittenburg, Germany. That day is what we consider the beginning of the Reformation—when people like Martin Luther worked to help the church to do what God says in the Bible and not what people just think for themselves is a good idea. *Reese’s Pieces have peanut butter in them, so if you are allergic to nuts, you should not take any of these!*

Diet of Worms (gummi worms)
Because of the 95 Theses and the other things Martin Luther was teaching about how the Roman Catholic church was wrong, many people were angry with him. The Emperor, Charles V, summoned Martin Luther to a meeting at a town called Worms (pronounced “verms”). At the meeting, the powerful emperor told Martin Luther he should change his mind about the things he had been teaching from the Bible. Martin Luther refused to change his mind, and said to the emperor, “Here I stand. I can do no other.” This meeting was known as the Diet of Worms.

Katharina Von Bora was a Roman Catholic nun, living in a convent in Germany. She and several other nuns became convinced of the Bible’s teaching that was being explained by godly Reformers like Martin Luther. Katharina wrote a letter to Martin Luther asking him to help her leave her convent. He sent Leonhard K√∂ppe—the man who delivered fish to the convent kitchen—and he helped Katharina and the other nuns to hide in his wagon among his fish barrels and escape. Katharina joined Martin Luther at Wittenburg and eventually married him.

Scottish Oats (Cheerios cereal)
Oats grow very well in the cool, wet climate of Scotland and Scottish people have eaten oatmeal for hundreds of years. These oats remind us that the Reformation did not just happen in Germany. All over Europe, people began to study the Bible for themselves and learn what it said. In Scotland, one of those Reformers was a minister named John Knox. John Knox was born in Scotland, but once he began to teach and preach the truth of the Bible, he had to flee Scotland several times. Once, he was even captured and made a slave on a boat where he was put in chains and forced to row. Perhaps while he was rowing he dreamed of eating a familiar bowl of oats!

Dried “Cranmer”berries
Another important person in the Reformation was Thomas Cranmer. When King Edward VI was the king of England, Thomas Cranmer helped to write “The Book of Common Prayer” which gave the Church of England directions for a more biblical way of worshiping God. Like Martin Luther, he wanted to eliminate unbiblical practices like saying ministers couldn’t get married, using pictures in worship, and worshiping saints.

Sola Granola
Today, when we think about the Reformation and the many men and women who worked hard to make sure other people could know true teaching from the Bible, we see five things that those Reformers taught again and again. These five things became known as the 5 Solas of the Reformation:
Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.


September 12, 2016

Extending the Vision from Local to Universal

Many churches hold national annual meetings in the late spring or early summer to conduct the business of the denomination. I think that a pastor's wife can benefit from occasional attendance at such gatherings, especially if her local church is in an area that doesn't offer much support for ministry.

I go to our General Assembly (GA) from time-to-time, and it protects me from insular thinking. This year in Mobile, Alabama, I was able to sing with Keith and Kristyn Getty, hear Timothy Keller preach and enjoy Christian fellowship with like-minded people from around the world. This meeting of a small American denomination reminded me that God is at work in a big way in the church universal.

Other pluses of being there:
Meeting up with old friends and making new friends
Praying for our denomination with members of our denomination
Choosing from a wide variety of relevant seminars 
Touring area attractions and learning the history of the place
Hearing about new missions and ministry projects
Realizing the seriousness of the issues before the assembly
Spending time, before or after GA, exploring a new area of the country with my husband

In addition, a highlight for the solo pastors in the group may be the daily worship service. These men are freed from their normal responsibilities of leading in worship and are able to sit under the preaching of some of the finest ministers.

One of the sermons we heard this year was given by Timothy Keller on boasting in the Lord. Keller said that everyone boasts in something in order to face his enemies. When the object of boasting is not ourselves, but the Lord, we see more unity in the Church and more effectiveness in our witness. To see Keller's sermon, select "PCA 2016 Wednesday Worship" from this website and forward to 38:47 minutes. The Gettys sing before that point in the video.

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