Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 3rd Grade :)

Christmas Gifts for Little Kids

What is Wrong with This Picture?

Someday I need to get on my soapbox and write a full post on the ludicrously segregated marketing of girl toys for girls and boy toys for boys. For now, I will start with a paragraph. Do you ever wonder why aren’t there more shared toys for girls and boys anymore like when we were kids?? Why do girls need a pink airplane when a white one would suffice? Well, toy companies found that they can make a better profit if brothers and sisters don’t share their toys. Marketing sends powerful messages, and according to the Toys r Us ads and toy aisles, girls only like variegating shades of pink and play solely with dolls, clothes, make-up, and princesses. In contrast, boys, surrounded by blue, are future scientists, architects, and construction workers. This never bothered me so much until I had my own little girl, went shopping for her at Toys r Us, and left empty handed racking my brain as why girls toys are so lame. Princess toys are not the problem, but the lack of alternatives is. It feels now days that “princess” is synonymous with “girl”. We now have a “princess culture” — the entire bubblegum wash of glitter, sparkles, rapid materialism, and cult-like following that Disney and Barbie have no intentions of slowing down. Don’t get me wrong, I will be buying Faith the prettiest doll pram, baby doll, and other “girl” toys, but I am also happy that she plays with trucks and trains……..And that Noah plays with our play kitchen, cares for a baby doll, and enjoys our dollhouse. Domestic imaginative play is equally important for future mommies as well daddies! Consider crossing over the gender stereotypes this Christmas, buy what your little girl is interested in even if its not in the pink aisle, and buy from private toy stores like Five Little Monkeys in Walnut Creek where gender neutral is more the norm still.

Less is More

Here is my other soapbox of the day–being a minimalist at times, I feel that less is more when it comes to toys. Having less toys can actually be better because it protects children from spoiled ways. I know most of us would agree that we don’t want our child crying in the toy store aisle for more toys, or having no comprehension of how much stuff he has compared to the rest of the kids in the world, or thinking that Christmas is only about getting new toys. We know too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Excessive amounts of toys can actually be a hindrance to a child’s development. Fewer toys allows children to love books, music, writing, coloring, and painting. Kids getting everything they want leads to the unhealthy belief that they can have everything they want. Kids who have less toys play outside in nature more. Kids with less toys often value what toys they have more, and thus learn to take better care of what they have. Too many toys prevents imaginative play; less toys forces kids to be more creative. Kids with less toys can develop longer attention spans by playing with the same toy for longer periods of time. Kids that have too many toys sometimes live in a constant fantasy world and they do not participate and learn from doing real things, real work, in real life. For all these reasons and more, I try my best to keep my kids from toy land mania, and have them focus on giving to others–especially during times of the year like right now when all thoughts are on me, me, me, and what I want for Christmas.

I haven’t really been able to think of anything that Noah, my 3 year old, needs for Christmas anyway because he is still so happy and engaged with all the toys he has. Then the other day, Noah declared the sweetest thing ………”Mommy, some boys are selfish and keep all the gifts to themselves. I already have a lot of toys, so I don’t need any Christmas presents this year. Maybe just two next year.” I hugged him tight for saying that, marveling since he has been daydreaming and talking about his Christmas presents for months now. Now what do I do? How do I encourage that good heart in him, perhaps even allowing his beneficent wish to come true, while still wanting to lavish on my boy who waits all year for the special traditions of Christmas morn? This is something I will have to ponder and get back to you on…….In the meantime, I want to help some of you who are still celebrating Christmas :), to wisely choose the gifts your buy for your kids this year this year!

Toys that Teach Make Great Gifts

I love open ended educational toys that are recommended for a wide age range. Toys that have multiple levels of use become more and more interesting to children as their thinking becomes more complex. I love how I get my money’s worth out of these long lived toys and how I don’t need to replace them as often. If the toy can challenge me, while still being accessible to my preschoolers, I know its a good non-expiring toy and my kids will be able to use it for a long time.  I find that usually these type of toys are educational (like blocks) rather than entertaining (like a light up Buz Light Year on rolling wheels).

Since math manipulatives were pretty non-existant in schools before the ’90s, I think parents often overlook these type of beneficial toys because we were raised only knowing pencil and paper math. When I tell Noah to pull out some “math” before school starts, he views it as time to play because he sees his math materials as toys. Preschoolers are not ready for pencil and paper math (even elementary student readiness is arguable), and so math work is simply playing or manipulating objects that once explored deeply enough, reveal the foundations of fractions, geometry, number sense, symmetry, etc. This type of hands on learning provides a more sure mathematical foundation for paper and pencil math later. And since kids see these “manipulatives” as toys, why not gift them as such at Christmas, thus making play time at your house this coming year more educational? I am including a list of our own favorite math toys here to help you get started.

I have also included our one can’t-do-without language toy. Having several math toys is beneficial, but I feel only one language toy is really necessary because most language learning for young children comes from listening, speaking, and being read to. Well written books are always a wise gift choice for our children, and so I will also provide you a hand selected book list of some of our family favorites that we own (some soon to be owned), with an emphasis on Christmas literature.

Our Favorite Toys:

 Rainbow Resource is a Christian Homeschool Supply Company that offers very competitive prices on educational toys. It is possible to shop somewhere besides Amazon! 🙂 And you can support a Christian business with your purchases!

Old Fashioned Blocks

Standard Unit blocks teach math because the dimensions of each block shape in a set of unit blocks is a multiple or a fraction of the size of the piece defined as the “unit”. The “unit” is a rectangular piece of maple measuring 5 1/2” in Length by 2 3/4” in width by 1 3/8” in height or thickness. The name of each basic rectangular block shape in a set is based on its size as compared to the length of the “unit”, e.g., the Unit Block is 5 1/2“ long while the Half Unit Block is 2 3/4” long, the Double Unit Block is 11” long and the Quad Unit Block is 22” long. The dimensions of all other block shapes, including the columns, the pillars, the triangles, the curves, etc., are proportional to the length, width and height dimensions of the “unit”. This is the source of the term, “Standard Unit Blocks”.

Unit Blocks are an essential for basic math concepts, imaginative play, organizational skills, physical development, sequential skills, social interaction, spatial relations, structural design and creativity!

Melissa and Doug’s Standard Unit Block set is a good quality starter set (FYI, I believe the price on amazon is much better at other times of year like last summer when I bought mine because I don’t remember paying $50!)

If you have the basic set already, you could order some additional blocks item by item since the Melissa and Doug set doesn’t include items like the 22″ Quad block or the Double Unit Pillar block for example.

This page in our math book, Developing Math Concepts in Pre-Kindergarten, showed me how time spent playing with blocks will develop the complexity of how kids play with them and thus making it a much more interesting toy. Noah mostly likes to do rows so I know he has a ways to go before he outgrows this toy. 🙂

Pattern Blocks

The art loving side of me is drawn to pattern blocks because they make math beautiful. Pattern blocks are geometic shapes that make wonderful mosaic deisgns. In the primary grades we can use them to sort, pattern, to explore transformations, symmetry and congruency as well as compose and decompose shapes.  Kids need to learn that patterns are not always in a straight line like ABABAB, but can expand out in every direction. In the upper grades we can use them to explore, add & subtract fractions as well as do angle work. You can use pattern blocks to teach number sense (counting, fractions, estimation), statistics (graphing) and probability, as well as geometry and algebra.

This Melissa and Doug pattern block set is a good starter set if you feel like you want some initial structure for using the pattern blocks, but eventually its great for kids to make their own patterns. Plus, you don’t need pattern boards because you can always find plenty of templates to print off online. So in that case, you could get way more blocks for the same price if you forego the pattern boards and just buy a big set of pattern blocks (you will probably need more pattern blocks than the set Melissa and Doug offers anyway in order to make complex patterns later).

And look what your preschooler can make (even without a template)!

Marble Run

A Marble run is fun and challenging to little and big minds alike as you design, build, and test your runs. This was definitely a favorite toy at the preschool where I used to teach!

Gears

The beginning principles of mechanics and physics of motion make gears an educational toy. We have had gears for a year now, and it is not collecting dust at our house!

Other examples of good math “toys” to buy would be unifix cubes, geoboards, and a large die.

Lauri Alphabet Puzzle

We use this puzzle almost everyday!! We don’t just use it as a puzzle, but as a word building tool too (I wrote a whole post on this puzzle. Kids who can work with larger words should buy a moveable alphabet instead–read about it here). You may feel that you don’t need another alphabet puzzle if you already have one, but I just think this Lauri version is the perfect one for many reasons! Its lowercase, its crepe rubber and the pieces stay put, the phonics mat behind serves as a reminder of each letter sound, and its very inexpensive. There is something about the feel of pushing the crepe rubber letters in and pulling them out that is so gratifying to the senses, even for me. LOVE it!!

Our Favorite Books:

Christianbook.com has free shipping through December 6th! Its a great alternative to Amazon because you are supporting a Christian company!

Charlotte Mason-esque Literature

Ambleside Online has a booklist of Charlotte Mason type literature for all ages, and the age 0-6 booklist is my priority for what my kids “need” this Christmas. Stories that have the noble, beautiful, inspiring kind of living ideas that CM espoused, including “the great human relationships, relationships of love and service, of authority and obedience, of reverence and pity and neighborly kindness; relationships to kin and friend and neighbor, to ’cause’ and country and kind, to the past and the present”. The text of the books we expose ages 0-6 to should be literary in order to prepare children for the challenging books they’ll be using throughout their education. And they should be well illustrated too! (Amblesideonline.org)

Christian Mother Goose

Its a strange feeling that the cast of characters in Christian Mother Goose has become part of our family because they are so loveable. The poems can be a bit eccentric, but we love it, and the concepts are so beautifully deep that it is definitely a book to grow with. Look up the “Big Book” to get all three volumes in one.

Click on this map that shows where all the characters live! You will see how the author put her heart and soul into this book.

God Gave Us Christmas

In the midst of all the Christmas preparations, curious Little Cub asks one day, “Who invented Christmas?” Mama’s answer only leads to more questions, like: “Is God more important than Santa?” So Mama decides to take Little Cub on an expedition to discover how God gave them Christmas. As their journey unfolds, the pair finds signs that God is at work all around them. Mama’s gentle guidance helps Little Cub discover that Jesus is the best present of all! I like this book for offering kids proper perspective on Santa’s role in Christmas.

The Christmas Angels

A sweet story from 1933 with dear vintage illustrations about 10 angels who quietly go about doing good on Christmas Eve. It inspires my little helpers at home.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the valley, but he is always alone and never smiles. No one knows about the mementos of his lost wife and child that he keeps in an unopened drawer. But one early winter’s day, a widow and her young son approach him with a gentle request that leads to a joyful miracle. The moving, lyrical tale, gloriously illustrated by P.J. Lynch, has been widely hailed as a true Christmas classic.

One Wintry Night

One Wintry Night is much more than the nativity story, its the Christmas story told from creation to the ressurection. (Written for an elementary age audience)

Also, any of the books listed in my December Lesson Plans would be a great choice for Christmas books!

I Hope this Makes your Holiday Shopping a Little Easier! Happy Shopping Friends!

…….So what are your children’s favorite toys, and your personal Christmas wishlist for this year?

(I am asking for a guitar, and I hear music lessons are in the works too! Yeah!!! This is something I have always wanted.)

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December Lesson Plans

2012-2013

I know some of you use Pinterest….do you have anything Christmas pinned that you want to share here? How about your favorite Christmas books, recipes, art…? Thanks for sharing your family’s special Christmas traditions and activities! Pictures in these plans below are linked to more info if you click on them.

Bible Theme: I Will Worship Jesus

Preschool Fun Theme: Christmas (baby Jesus, ornaments, gifts, gingerbread, reindeer)

Special Dates:

December 18th–SHARING Bring a small gift for a Christmas gift exchange. ($5 or less)

December 18th–COMMUNITY OUTREACH Practice our Christmas songs and poem for today so that we can carol in the neighborhood. Bring something yummy to pass out if you would like to.

December 24th-January 6th–NO SCHOOL

Bible Stories:

Week 1Week 4 The Christmas Story as told in Matthew and Luke

Memory Verse:

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

Classical Art Study:

Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard Van Honthorst

(Click picture for full size image)

Christmas Hymns:

Print out the sheet music each month, put in a binder and voila! A hymnal!

Silent Night

MP3

Sheet Music Here

O Come All Ye Faithful

MP3

Sheet Music Here

Poetry:

I can’t decide which poem I like more, or really if I love either one enough, so I give you both choices. Which one do you like? Do you know of another? I guess I was hoping for a well written poem about baby Jesus or the meaning of Christmas.

Somehow, not only for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you;
And the more you spend in blessing
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart’s possessing
Returns to make you glad.

–John Greenleaf Whittier

Christmas Everywhere by Phillips Brooks 1835-1893

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
Christmas in lands of the fir-tree and pine,
Christmas in lands of the palm-tree and vine,
Christmas where snow peaks stand solemn and white,
Christmas where cornfields stand sunny and bright.
Christmas where children are hopeful and gay,
Christmas where old men are patient and gray,
Christmas where peace, like a dove in his flight,
Broods o’re brave men in the thick of the fight;
Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
For the Christ-child who comes is the Master of all;
No palace too great, no cottage too small.

Handwriting:

The children will practice printing:

Jesus

Literature:

Math:

Week 1 Pattern Blocks

Use pattern block mats to build Christmas patterns (from Prekinders.com)

Week 2 Sorting Toothpick Number Sets

(p. 144 in Developing Math Concepts in Pre-Kindergarten)

Have children place the number sets on the correct sections of a butcher paper number line. Here are the toothpick sets I have made so far to show you what “toothpick sets” are.

.                                                              .                                            .

Week 3 Muffin Cup Math

Write/place a number in the bottom of each muffin space. Next, provide a large variety of different counters (like Christmas ornaments) for the children to count, place in the correct muffin spaces, and practice one to one correspondence. For example, four buttons would go in the space with number four written in the bottom. An extension would be to use higher numbers or a larger muffin pan.

Group Projects:

Not sure how crafty you are, but this is SO cute and definitely more of a family project than a kids project. Last year we made salt dough ornaments just like the snowflake pictured. Ok, I did anyway. (see “December” under Activity Brainstorm)

An ornament filled with a single serving of hot cocoa. A sweet novel idea for making your own gift ornament.

I want to try these gluten free pizzas that Overtimecook.com says are “lifechanging”! (Thanks Danielle for the idea!!!)

I had a craving for banana today and this Paleo fried banana recipe was YUM! The kids loved it, and I finally found a use for my coconut oil. This is totally the kind of dessert I allow my tiny tots to eat.

Tuesday, December 4th–Art: Crafty Christmas Gifts Project by Miss Lynn

Tuesday, December 11thCooking Project by Miss Sheila

Tuesday, December 18th–Community Outreach: Christmas Caroling in the Neighborhood

Nature Study:

Nature park days are most likely typically on hold this winter.

Christmas is a festive time and nothing can compare, to the special cheer that fills the home for everyone to share! Have a very Merry Christmas Friends!

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You Are Invited to Join My Book Club!

My Little Request

Can you believe Thanksgiving is upon us already?? Which means Christmas and all the ensuing festivities are just around the corner!? I know you are feeling like you have a lot to do simply because of what time of the year it is. So not to add something to your “to-do” list, but to put ammunition in your vision for the coming new year, I want to ask you to consider doing something courageous, radical, and worthwhile with me come January. I want some of us to step off the edge of our comfort zone and seize this moment in time to make a life determining decision for our children. This request fits anyone who desires to be influenced by the greatest minds of parenting wisdom; anyone really concerned about their children getting an excellent education; and it goes without saying that this request if for anyone who is homeschooling, possibly planning on homeschooling, or wondering if she should homeschool! I hope I got everybody falling into at least one of the aforementioned categories! 😉 Your child may very well be in a nice comfortable school right now where everyone is nice and things are good, but I hope you will still consider. Check your heart of hearts and make sure that good and nice were your original highest goals for your child before declining.

Ok, so all I am going to ask is for you to read some books with me. No big deal right, only like 15 to 20 pages a week along with a short thoughtful personal response. Probably only one hour a week. But it is a big deal because your diligence to stick with it week to week will take courage, your well fed mind will be radically different by the end, and your participation I hope will prove to be one of the most worthwhile things you have ever done. I am blogging today to ask if you will be part of my Charlotte Mason Book Club? We will read a six-volume series written by Charlotte Mason that includes over 2,400 pages on education, child training and parenting. We will share our thoughts about the assigned weekly reading right here on the blog to encouraged and sharpen each other. We can pretend that we are having tea and cookies in the living room while discussing grand ideas. Wouldn’t that be lovely? If only we all lived closer to each other!

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The titles of the 6 books in Charlotte Mason’s Original Home Schooling Series:

Home Education

Parents and Children

School and Education

Ourselves

Formation of Character

A Philosophy of Education

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The Amazon description of  The Original Home Schooling Series states, “Recognized as a pioneer in home education and major school reforms, Charlotte Mason’s practical methods are as revolutionary today as when they were first written. These books were out of print for over 80 years until Dean & Karen Andreola brought them to America in while returning from a missions trip in the spring of 1987. A Charlotte Mason educational revival soon followed.” Speaking of revival, that makes me think–are you looking for the Lord to bring revival in this land? Our current education methods are mind numbingly effective in shutting down wonder, hope, curiosity, charity, a longing for truth, introspection……… which consequently numbs this generation to its longing for spiritual regeneration– its longing for God. I think long term spiritual revival is tied to educational revival. I think well trained minds taught at home have great potential to revolutionize the world.

I hope reading and discussing Charlotte Mason ideas will shatter any false preconceived notions about home education, infuse your being with the confidence to make dreams possible, and enlighten you on how profoundly wonderful a child raised in the atmosphere of a living education could be. If anything on this blog has helped you or inspired you, please consider joining the club because I think being in this book club will just be all that much more helpful, and will take you to another level.

Jog My Memory, What’s SO Wonderful Charlotte Mason Again?

In Charlotte’s philosophy, living ideas were for human children (and adults). It was never acceptable to teach a child something without meaning (such as lists of facts). Memorization is for the heart and mind and soul, not just the intellect. To divorce a subject from its meaning was the error of modernity, a mad quest to produce more in less time. The classical authors and educators from antiquity until now were not searching for efficiency and it is puzzling that modern classical educators have missed this point.

“The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” CM

“In this way: give your a child a single valuable idea, and you have done more for his education than if you had laid upon his mind the burden of bushels of information.” CM

Books are chosen not for cultural literacy so much as the literary quality with which they were written, and even more, their ability to develop the whole person and inspire his character. For all those years that children are getting a CM education, what’s really being trained more than anything else is their character. Students receiving a CM education don’t need any character building program because the entire curriculum is geared towards building character with the use of personal habits, quality books, teacher guidance, the work of the Holy Spirit and personal reflection.

“Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education.” CM

If anyone has read and re-read what this blog has to say about Charlotte Mason, it is me. (I just love re-reading my blog! I get inspired all over again! ;)) To help you make your decision about joining my Charlotte Mason Book Club, I encourage you to go back and remind yourself what is so exciting about Charlotte Mason’s philosophies from some of my archived posts:

Meet Miss Mason

This Could Be You

Nature is For Kids

Teaching Children the Bible

Welcome Back to School!

Book Club Starts in January!

Finally, you don’t have to decide today, but please pray about joining? We will wait until the freshness of the new year has arrived and the busyness of the holidays is behind us before adding a book club to our lives. Pray about joining the Charlotte Mason Book Club from now until the kick off date in January. Yes, 2,400 pages at 15-20 pages a week will mean a couple year commitment, but don’t let that deter you as I don’t think this needs to be an all or nothing venture. I think we should go into this Book Club determined to participate for the long haul, but for whatever portion you can actually participate, be assured that some is definitely better than none. Do some more research on Charlotte Mason yourself in the meantime and decide if you feel that she is worth placing as a mouthpiece of wisdom over your life. Especially if your children are still little, this is the the perfect time to read, read, read, and form a vision for all their years ahead. I hope you will be able to make the time to join in! This is for the ultimate excellence of our children– what could be more important? Thanks for keeping it in your prayers friends, and if I don’t hear from those of you that I know personally, you may hear from me. 🙂

A Photo Session Prompted by Autumn Splendor

Collecting Leaves

Imaginations Running Wild

Fall Themed Shortbread Cookies for Firefighters

With Lots of Sprinkles

Lovin’ Our Zoo Packs

Packing a Shoebox for an Operation Christmas Child

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Confessions of the Heart

I was convicted last Sunday at church that I have a religious spirit. If you also are a devout believer passionate about the truth, you may want to prayerfully consider this post, as we who are concerned about holiness are often the very ones most susceptible to this religious spirit. The Jewish temple leaders of Biblical times, called Pharisees and Saducees, are an example of what I mean by a “religious spirit” (in the eyes of Christians). Most of us believe that we are night and day different from those staunch religious men of old, many of whom never became born again to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus said they preach but do not practice, they do all their good deeds to be seen by others, and their hearts are hard. Some of us read the Bible and just can’t wait for Jesus to put them in their place–get em’ Jesus! However, we may have more in common with the Pharisees than we realize. Pharisaism was at heart, though tragically miscarried, a movement for righteousness. It was the longing for a righteous Israel and the hope of the coming Messianic kingdom that motivated these men. It was this concern for righteousness that drove the Pharisees to their legalism with such a passion. They often lived moral lives, full of good deeds, but it was all outward actions with no thought given to the heart or motives of the actions. Today, if you walk out on the streets of any city in this nation and ask non-believers what they think about Christians, you’ll usually get a response like, “They’re self-righteous and legalistic. They stab each other in the back.” Yet that is not usually how we think of ourselves, is it?

Denial is Dangerous, Confession is Cleansing

Jesus’ stern warnings to the hypocritical Pharisees make it clear that sin we ignore and deny is no less serious in its effects than the sin of the public sinner. And we are in denial if we have convinced ourselves that we share no resemblance to the Pharisees. This mindset is dangerous as a religious spirit can take greater and greater hold the longer we continue to think that we have no characteristics of a religious spirit. Those of us who have the biggest religious spirits, are the same ones who believe that we are not susceptible. If we feel like none of the characteristics of a religious spirit apply to ourselves, we are declaring a strong religious spirit over our life. I don’t want that, so I am here to tell the truth and admit that I am very susceptible!

Sometimes we are unable to admit even that which is obvious to everyone else. Sometimes we scurry about in the dark, obsessed with hiding things from one another’s view. Walk in the light as He is in the light, and the blood of Jesus will cleanse us from all sin. Satan the accuser is allowed into your life through unconfessed sin. Unconfessed sin allows the accuser leverage to roar his accusations, and his voice can get so loud that we have a hard time hearing God’s. Confession silences him and removes his authority to attack you. Can you hear the peace of silence?

Confession.

Yes, I am vulnerable.

I am a Pharisee.

I love to be ‘seen of men’.

I enjoy, indeed, revel in recognition.

I like to receive all of the honor I can get … from men.

I critique people and worship services.

I look to correct people, especially those I love the most.

I think about how glad I am that so and so is hearing this message.

I often rebel against God given authority in my life.

I am a Pharisee.

Forgive me Lord.

Do You Have a Religious Spirit?

Characteristics of a Religious Spirit Preached by Pastor Scott Perky last Sunday at Bay Summit Church

A religious spirit: A mindset, behavior pattern that wants to look spiritual. Relying on religious activity more than the Holy Spirit. High on truth, low on grace. A religious spirit will say I am nothing like the Pharisees in the Bible and the following message has nothing to do with me.

Characteristics of a Religious Spirit:

1.  More committed to religious tradition (rules) rather than obeying the scripture (Mat 15:2-9)

Ex: Rather follow a list of do’s and don’ts, stay in the box, or have boundaries, than obey the scripture

2. Routinely confuse their individual preferences (things of men) for biblical precepts (things of God) (Mat 16:21-23)

Confuse individual preferences (things of men, things taught in life that seem like good principles, things grown up with) for Biblical precepts. Elevating your personal convictions and application of the Word as the correct interpretation of scripture, which makes others taking a different path disobedient in your eyes.

3. Legalism: Focuses on external formulas as a way to gain God’s approval (Gal 5:1-6)

Ex: Fasting to get God’s approval, or to get closer to God by our work of fasting

4. Perfectionism: Has a ridged idealistic view of the way things or people should/ought to be. (Mat 23:1-4)

Needing things a certain way in order to be acceptable.

5. Judgmentalism: Will choose to reject and not join anything that he or she does not deem as being perfect and is constantly looking for something/someone to correct (John 9:1-3)

Cover someone else’s weaknesses with the blood of Jesus rather than thinking “you better get it right or I can’t even be around you when you act like that”. This one is huge!

6. Idealism: Will often see as his/her primary mission as correcting what is wrong with ministries and individuals rather than seeing what is right (Luke 7:37-39)

If your tendancy is to have a negative slant when you enter an environment, you are operating in a religious spirit. We use excuses too like “It’s just because I am Irish, or because I am German.”

7. Agnosticism: Dismisses spiritual manifestations and realities as untrue, emotional, or fanatical (Eph 1:17-18)

There is still an authentic move of the Holy Spirit that is not sensational, but religious people dismiss it.

8. Fanaticism: Views the will of God through external manifestations rather than on Kingdom principles

You only get spiritually stoked when you get goose bumps and the Holy Spirit is moving. These manifestations are never above kingdom principles.

9. Elitism: Believes that he/she is closer to God than other people and on the cutting edge of what God is doing. Believes that their church is superior to others.

Literally anything and everything that sets you ‘apart’ from your fellow man can be the catalyst for feeling above.

10.​Existentialism: Rejects God-given authority, (protection) structure and institution (1 Pet 2:13-16)

I don’t need the body of Christ, I don’t need that person, all I need is God. Opposition to authority is a huge stronghold in this area. God given authority is your umbrella and when you step out, all of hell breaks loose.

11. ​Will have the tendency to resist and oppose anything new in the church

People who have to have things a certain way, usually their way.

12.​Will adopt a philosophy that will not listen to men, but “only to God”

We are saying of ourselves that we are not teachable. To get into the things of God you will have to submit to authority and you will have to be teachable. Run to those people who put you back in line.

13.​Will resist a Godly rebuke from individuals that they judge less “spiritually” mature

Even a child can rebuke you and thereby help you.

14.​Thrives on recognition and the approval of men (Mat 6:5)

How many of us put the smiley face on when we show up to church so that no one knows what we are going through? Paul said if I am a person who seeks to please men, I can not please God.

15.​Believes that he/she can never measure up to the Lord’s standards. Creates a performance mindset that keeps a religious scorecard

We can’t receive a message because we feel condemned.

16.​Will Glory more in what God has done rather than what God is doing

Lets go back to the things we were doing when God moved last time and stay there.

17.​Will make excuses that none of this list applies to them

18.​Will think of other individuals while reading this list

Lord Renew a Right Spirit Within Us!

If you would like to hear more from the heart of my pastor and be led in a prayer to renounce a religious spirit, visit my church’s website where you will find a video recording of this message. Perhaps Bay Summit is the type of church you are looking for, so if you live anywhere near our two locations in Concord and Brentwood, consider visiting sometime!

Community Outreach: Blessing Our Neighbors with Pumpkins

To be a light on halloween, we reached out to our neighbors with the cuteness of our kids, a pumpkin for their doorstep, and a tag that sent a blessing their way with an invitation to come visit this blog. We turned down everyone’s offer of candy as we wanted to give without getting anything back (plus we prefer that our kids don’t eat candy). However, we did get much back from the experience, intangible things, as I will share in a bit. We were so well received by our neighbors, and the kids enjoyed it so much that they wanted to do it again the next day! Plus, collecting a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins to share at the pumpkin patch was way more fun than picking just one to take home for ourselves. I think I am seeing an annual tradition forming here!

Cinderella and Her Pumpkin

Mr. Firefighter and His Load of Blessings

The Moment that Made the Day

We visited a wonderfully bright and friendly 93 year old neighbor named Lois. I asked Noah to stand by her for a picture, and instead of posing, he turned around and put his arms around her. We were all touched how he showed the love of Jesus on this day. “Show the love of Jesus” were actually his own words on this day. I am blessed that God has put compassion in his heart through our little community outreach efforts and past Little Lambs lessons. I cherish how our Little Lambs theme of “love” last February left an eternal mark on him. I love seeing these lessons of love bubble out every now and then,  evidence that the Word has reached into the inner recesses of his heart. What astonishes me is that it seems like the Lord has worked in Noah’s heart after only a few nursing home visits and a few other types of outreaches. Apparently the Lord doesn’t need much to work with!

This season of thanksgiving is a great time to get your children thinking of others. Plan some small acts of kindness together today, and down the road you will see how the Lord uses these small experiences to work something special and eternal in your children’s hearts.

Visiting Mr. Don

Showing Jesus’ Love to an elderly lady who lives alone. So sweet!! Valene said she would take all the hugs she could get.

Safety Lessons with Miss Sheila:

Crossing the Street Safely

Stove Safety

Color Mixing Science with Miss Cherie:

Mixing Primary Pigments Makes Black

Mixing Primary Light Colors Makes White Light

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up Handwriting

A diver– with a mohawk. Noah is into mohawks lately.

My Very First SENTENCE!

Raggedy Ann (My Favorite Childhood Doll)

Geoboard Copywork……Uhhh Almost.

Much Improved! (Mr. Busy Hands Was Asked to Fold His Fiddlers so I Could Get a Decent Pic)

Cutie Pies in Costume

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