Abundant Life

You Must Stop What You’re Doing and Watch This

Right now. No excuses. Do it.

I know, right?!?

I got teary-eyed, too. (Because I’m assuming you have a SOUL and felt something shift deep within the essence of you).

What a beautiful lesson – for all of us. Tragedy is awful. It’s terrible. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. (No. Seriously. I wouldn’t). But it happens. And it’s not God’s fault. It’s because Satan has somehow managed to punch a hole in our spiritual defenses and wreaked havoc on our lives.

Place the blame on the correct party, please.

We don’t have to allow tragedy to define the rest of our lives. We are capable of picking up the pieces and moving forward – we just need help. And that help is available, if we will only reach out and accept it.

And even if you reject the message behind the video, then at least appreciate the beautiful song and the hopeful message.

You can purchase this song, along with others from Ms. Weeks’ CD, here.

God bless you. Have a wonderful week.

Band

Champion of Champions – Our Last Band Competition for 2011

It started with a wrong turn.

Literally.

We took a wrong turn on our way up to Columbia (Mizzou, to be more exact) Saturday to watch Jazz’s last band competition for the 2011 season.

(And I KNOW you’re all sighing with relief – enough with the band updates, already!)

It was just me and Kevin. The day was sunny, but cold. I prepared Jazz for this trip by going through a checklist of everything on Jazz’s out-of-town-for-a-band-competition checklist:

Band uniform
Band shoes
Black socks (You’d be surprised how many kids forget the dark socks).
Hat
Gloves
Band t-shirt (he wears this. He also wears gym shorts under his uniform because he doesn’t want to have to change clothes and show his underwear to his bandmates – which … understandable).
Blanket (it gets cold on the bus – and by the way, the band director rents some of those nice tour buses for the kids – which AWESOME SAUCE! The kids love it and it’s SO much more comfortable than riding in school buses. Some schools opt to drag their gear around in fancy semi-trucks. We rent Penske trucks for our gear and spend the extra money on fancy buses for our kids).
Travel pillow (because Jazz is worn out after these things and generally falls asleep on the way home).
DS
iPod
Earbuds
Phone
Money
Snacks
Water bottles (he drinks a lot of water)

I go through all of this with Jazz.

Twice.

“Yes mom,” he snorts in exasperation. “I have everything. Sheesh.”

The kids were scheduled to leave the school at 10:00 a.m. We dropped Jazz off at the school at 9:10.

Guess who gets two text messages shortly before he leaves?

9:40 a.m. “I forgot my earbuds. Can you bring them to me?”

9:45 a.m. “Too late. We’re leaving.”

I guess the kid will start appreciating my checklists from now on, won’t he!

Kevin and I go to Starbucks and grab some Pumpkin Spice Lattes before we head out of town. (I’ll let that scrumptious goodness sink in a bit before I continue … )

.

.

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We finally get on the road about 10:30. Even though we have a general idea how to get to Columbia, we don’t know exactly where we’re going so we rely on Kevin’s GPS program on his phone.

Which is a piece of CRAP, I’d just like to state for the record. Oh sure, it’s cool that it’s free and works MOST OF THE TIME, but when it doesn’t work? We end up on some curvy backroad in the middle of nowhere. Thank you very much.

Stupid me did not print out the directions. I looked them up, but I had no idea what roads had been listed so I’m pretty much useless. (As per usual). Our GPS was trying hard to get us to go a different direction, but we ignored it and went a route we KNEW would get us there … eventually.

For the record, because I’d like to document this for next year (IF the band goes back to Columbia next year – our band director likes to keep us on our toes):

How to get to Columbia Missouri, unless you’re like us and fight your GPS device tooth and nail.

Take 44 to Lebanon
Go through Lebanon, turn on 5.
Take 5 all the way to Camdenton.
DO NOT TURN YOUR HEAD TO LOOK AT THE CAMDENTON HIGH SCHOOL AND TALK ABOUT HOW IT’S SUCH A BIG SCHOOL FOR A SMALL TOWN OR YOU WILL MISS YOUR TURN OFF.

Then we heard the dreaded “Rerouting” on Kevin’s phone. We missed our turn?!? How did this happen?!?!

We ended up on the wrong side of Lake of the Ozarks and spent a good twenty minutes (though Kevin will tell you it was a mere eight minutes, I don’t know WHERE he got eight – it was CLEARLY twenty minutes) out of our way before we finally start listening to the GPS device and find our way back to US 54. (And that was AFTER we ignored the annoyed female voice telling us to turn right when we had to CLEARLY turn left. I don’t where the GPS lady was trying to lead us, but it wasn’t Columbia!!)

Take US 54 all the way to US 63 North.

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, will take you directly into Columbia and to Mizzou’s stadium.

Sounds simple, right? Well. We made it difficult.

Oh well. We made it to town about 2:00. Our kids weren’t scheduled to play until 4:00 – so it was all good.

The Mizzou stadium is HUGE. That is to say, the seating is huge. The actual field is pretty small. At least, according to Jazz. (It was so small that there wasn’t enough room for all of the bands to get onto the field after the competition was over).

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We opted to sit up high so I could take some pictures of their formations.

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(See the arrow? That’s how they started their program).

The kids were great. I love the the last performance of the year because by this time, the kids know the show backwards and have pretty much nailed it.

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They all played great and our Color Guard girls danced their hearts out.

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Our formations were solid and it was a good show.

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I thought the kids looked more relaxed and seemed to be enjoying themselves.

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Our kids made finals. In fact, they did SO well, that they won 1st in their class. And not only that, our Color Guard girls won third place and our drumline won third place as well.

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Our kids were pretty psyched.

The band directors all drew numbers for finals placement and our kids were scheduled to play at 9:00 p.m. So, Kevin and I, using our “trusty” GPS device (*cough*), found a nearby Outback Steakhouse and had a really good dinner.

We made it back to the stadium at 7:30.

Our kids performed and did an even greater job during the finals performance. We felt pretty confident but were unsure of our exact placement given a few more bands that we felt were our biggest competitors.

We ended up placing third. Our kids scored 92.8 and they were ECSTATIC with that score – their best score of the season. Though there are a few of us that felt like they deserved second place (*ahem*), it’s all good. The kids had a good time, they put on a good show, we enjoyed ourselves and the season is over – life goes on.

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(Do you see how they spelled “life?” [The name of their show was “Life’s Direction”]. Also, check out how the girls ended the show at the front holding their arrows. I love that).

So. The season is over. We have just one more marching band season to go and then… what? Jazz has already expressed an interest in trying out for the MSU marching band when he starts college. Though he would like to major music in college, let’s be real, shall we? What sort of job can he land majoring music? Other than being a band director? Which, I’m not saying is a BAD thing, per se, but it’s not a job he’s likely to get rich on.

And being rich may not be his goal. All I’m saying is: we’ll have to realistically weigh all of his career choices at that time and make sure that whatever he decides to do, he’s going into it with his eyes wide open – no rose-colored glasses in our house, yo.

What’s next? Well, hopefully, the Christmas parade. The kids are scheduled to march in the Christmas parade every year, but the weather has been so crappy these past two years that Jazz hasn’t marched in a parade yet. I’m hoping he gets to experience that, at least once, but he’s hoping it DOESN’T happen. He’s been talking to the seniors, who HAVE marched in a parade, and they all think it sucks. It’s grueling. They end up marching three miles and they’re all pretty much dead when it’s over.

But still … I hope he gets to experience it, at least once, because momma wants to stand on the sidelines and take pictures/videos of him as mementos.

Momma’s selfish like that. 😀

Thanks for reading about our band experiences! MAN, I’m gonna miss these busy Octobers when it’s all over.

Abundant Life

Teaching: Do You Have to Believe in the Trinity to be Saved? Part One

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

According to orthodox Trinitarian doctrine, if a person claims to be a Christian but does not believe in the Trinity, he is not saved. [1] Is that the truth? Not from the evidence in the Bible. In fact, the evidence in Scripture is that a person can be saved without even knowing about the Trinity. Before we discuss the issue further, however, we need to know the definition of the Trinity according to orthodox theologians. This is important because some Christians think they are Trinitarians simply because they believe in the Father, the Son, and a being called “the Holy Spirit.” But that is not the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is that the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, and together these “three Persons” make one God; and these three are co-equal and co-eternal, the Son having been “eternally begotten” of the Father, and Jesus being simultaneously 100% God and 100% man.

We of Spirit & Truth Fellowship International have encountered Trinitarians who say that a person will be saved if he believes that Jesus is both 100% God and 100% man, even if he does not believe the full doctrine of the Trinity. First, that is not the doctrinal position of the Orthodox Church, and second, the Bible never says that believing Jesus is both 100% God and 100% man is necessary for salvation. Non-Trinitarians assert that a person can be saved without believing in the Trinity, and demand, as did Martin Luther during the Reformation, that we be convinced from Scripture that what Trinitarians teach is true. Perhaps a good question to begin this study is, “When did God start requiring that a person believe in the Trinity to be saved?”

The Old Testament

The Old Testament does not teach the Trinity, or even set forth clearly that the Messiah would be God. Therefore it is unreasonable to think that someone back then had to believe it to be saved. [2] There is no evidence of anyone knowing about, or believing in, the Trinity in all the Jewish literature before Christ, including the Old Testament, the Jewish targums and commentaries, the Apocrypha or other apocryphal literature, or the Dead Sea Scrolls.

It is well known that the foundational tenet of the Old Testament faith was, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deut. 6:4 – KJV), and the Jews fiercely defended that faith against polytheism of all kinds. There are some singular verses that many Trinitarians today say point to the doctrine of the Trinity underlying the revelation of the Old Testament, but none expound it clearly enough that anyone would have formulated the doctrine of a Triune God from them, and there is no historical record that anyone did (which is good evidence for the validity of our point that all those verses have a non-Trinitarian explanation).

Some Trinitarian scholars are aware of the fact that the Old Testament does not teach the Trinity. The distinguished Trinitarian scholar Bertrand de Margerie writes:

“…contemporary exegetes [Bible teachers] affirm unanimously that the Old Testament did not bring to the Jewish people a clear and distinct Revelation of the existence of a plurality of persons in God. In this they agree with the clear and frequent affirmation of Fathers such as Irenaeus, Hilary, and Gregory of Nazianzus: that the doctrine of the Trinity is revealed only in the New Testament.” [3]

Since many Trinitarians admit that the Trinity is not revealed in the Old Testament, there are both Trinitarians and non-Trinitarians who agree that before Jesus’ ministry a person did not have to believe in the Trinity to be saved.

The Four Gospels

We have seen that both Trinitarians and non-Trinitarians agree that a person living during the Old Testament did not have to believe in the Trinity to be saved because there was no presentation of the Trinity in the Old Testament for them to believe. However, orthodox Trinitarian doctrine is that during the ministry of Jesus, and afterward, a person had to believe in the Trinity to be saved. This means that if Jesus or the Apostles wanted anyone to be saved, they had to teach the person more information than was revealed in the Old Testament. If the orthodox Trinitarian doctrine is correct, then we should see a clear presentation of the Trinity in Scripture, but we do not, nor is there any record that Jesus, or anyone else, ever taught the doctrine of the Trinity to anyone in order to get him or her saved.

To know what people during the time of Jesus had to do to be saved, all we have to do is read the Gospels. Before we go any further, however, it is helpful to understand what the Jews at the time of Jesus were expecting about their Messiah. Some of their expectations were correct, and some were incorrect. Some of their correct expectations were that, the Messiah was going to be a human empowered by God. He would be from the line of Abraham (Gen. 22:18), from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10), a descendant of David (2 Sam. 7:12 and 13), a Lord under Yahweh, the God of Israel (Ps. 110:1), [4] and he was to be one of their own people: “Their leader will be one of their own; their ruler will arise from among them…” (Jer. 30:21). They were also correct in that they were not expecting their Messiah to be a “God-man,” a “Person” of the Godhead, or a part of a Triune God. The first-century Jews were incorrect in not expecting their Messiah to be born of a virgin, which is why the angel had to instruct Mary about it (Luke 1:34 and 35). They were also incorrect in thinking the Messiah would not die (Matt. 16:21 and 22; John 12:32-34).

When it came to the first century Jews not expecting the Messiah to die, Jesus worked very hard to correct that misunderstanding, teaching over and over that he must die (Matt. 16:21, 17:9, 20:19 and 28, 26:2, 12 and 27-32). But there is not one single account of Jesus correcting anyone’s belief that he was a fully human Messiah. Never did he say he was part of the Trinity, or that a person had to believe in the Trinity to be saved. Furthermore, the first century Jews believed that “the Spirit of God” or “the Holy Spirit” was not a separate Person in the Trinity, but was another name for God, just as Yahweh, Elohim, or El Shaddai, were other names for the one true God. When Genesis 1:2 mentions “the Spirit of God,” Jews correctly believed it was another name for God or a reference to His invisible power at work. Yet there is no record of Jesus ever trying to “correct” them and show that the Holy Spirit was a third Person in the Trinity. That is very solid evidence that they did not have to believe in the Trinity to be saved.

If Jesus had taught that a person had to believe in the Trinity to be saved, the perfect time for him to have done so would have been when a young man came to him and asked, “…Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (Matt. 19:16). If this young man had to believe in the Trinity to be saved, this was the time to say so. Instead, Jesus said, “…If you want to enter life, obey the commandments” (Matt. 19:17). Jesus further instructed the man that if he wanted to be “perfect” (which Mark 10:21 equates as having treasure in heaven) he should sell his worldly possessions and follow him (Matt. 19:21). Jesus never said to the man that belief in any aspect of the Trinity was necessary for salvation.

Another time Jesus could have easily taught the Trinity, or even that he was God, was when he traveled through Samaria, the district north of Jerusalem and south of Galilee. The Samaritans were not Jews, but foreigners who had been brought into the area and had adopted some parts of the Jewish religion. The Jews regarded them as horrible pagans and pretenders, and had nothing to do with them. When Jesus met the woman at the well in Samaria, she said she knew the Messiah was coming (John 4:25). However, her understanding of the Messiah would have come from the Old Testament and what her tradition taught, so when Jesus said, “…I who speak to you am he” (John 4:26), she never would have concluded that he was somehow God, or part of a Triune God. If she needed to believe that to be saved, Jesus would have taught it to her, as well as to the people from Samaria who came to meet him after the woman told them about him (John 4:41). However, there is no hint in Scripture he ever mentioned the Trinity. Did he ignore their need for salvation? Of course not. What is evident from this record is that a person did not have to believe in the Trinity to be saved.

Another example of a person being saved without believing in the Trinity is the immoral woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with her tears while he was eating. All Jesus said to her was, “…Your sins are forgiven” and “…Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:48 and 50). Are we to believe that somehow this Galilean Jewess knew that Jesus was part of a Triune God, and by knowing that she gained salvation? Such an assumption would be to stretch the record beyond credible limits. The woman was a sinner, not a theologian, and if she went to synagogue at all, which is questionable, she would have known about the Messiah only from what the Old Testament taught. There is no reason to believe that she somehow pasted together statements Jesus had made to build a case for the Trinity, and then believed it. She, like millions of Old Testament believers before her, was saved without believing in the Trinity.

Theologians build the doctrine of the Trinity with verses pulled from all over the Bible, but only a few actually spoken by Jesus can even be used to support it, and none of those mention “the Holy Spirit” in any decisive sense as being a distinct “Person.” [5] Furthermore, each statement Jesus made that modern Trinitarians use to paste together their case for a Trinity has an alternative, non-Trinitarian explanation. This is important, because although a person who already believes in the Trinity might think that what Jesus said supported the doctrine of the Trinity, someone who never heard of the Trinity would understand what Jesus said in a totally different way.

A good example of this was when Jesus said, “…if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:24). Some Trinitarians see this statement as supporting the Trinity, but someone who did not know that doctrine would understand the statement in light of what he knew and believed, especially if what Jesus said made sense in terms of the beliefs he already held. In the case of John 8:24, the Jews he was speaking to were expecting a human Messiah and that people who rejected him would die in their sins. What Jesus said fit their understanding perfectly. Jesus had to have known that, so if he was trying to say that anyone who did not believe in the Trinity was unsaved, he did a poor job of making his point. He certainly never stated that if someone does not believe in the Trinity, he would die in his sins.

If a person did need to believe in the Trinity to be saved, we would expect that Jesus would have been at least as aggressive in teaching that as he was about correcting other erroneous beliefs of his day. For example, we mentioned earlier that Jesus plainly taught his disciples that he had to die, even though they were not expecting it. He also corrected the Sadducees concerning the resurrection very plainly, telling them, “You are in error” (Matt. 22:29). Time after time he openly corrected the errors believed by the people around him. In the Sermon on the Mount he corrected many erroneous teachings, including the people’s misunderstanding about love, revenge, adultery, divorce, and anger, often saying, “You have heard that it was said…But I tell you…” (Matt. 5:21-44). But never in that important teaching that spans three entire chapters in Matthew does he correct their ideas about him being a real human being, or teach them about the Trinity, which he would have if it was necessary for people to believe that to be saved. After all, which is the more important theological mistake, being wrong about anger, taking an oath, and praying in public, or being wrong about the true nature of God?

If the Trinity were a true doctrine, and especially if a person has to believe it to be saved, we would have expected Jesus to say something in the Sermon on the Mount such as this:

“You have heard that it was said” that God is One, “but I tell you” that God is a Trinity, one God made of three distinct Persons. [6] “You have heard that it was said” that the Messiah will be one from among you, “but I tell you” he will be more than that, he will be God incarnated in human flesh. “You have heard that it was said” that the holy spirit is the invisible spirit power of God, “but I tell you” that Holy Spirit is much more than that, he is the third Person in a Triune Godhead.”

Are we to believe that Jesus openly and plainly corrected errors in people’s understanding about many different issues while never correcting people’s erroneous thinking that he was the human Messiah they expected, and not a “Person” in a Triune God, especially if their error meant they were not saved? That makes no sense. He did not even correct his closest disciples about the Trinity. When Jesus asked Peter, “…Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16:15), …Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matt. 16:16). Peter believed Jesus was the Christ he had been taught about in synagogue and was expecting, not that he was God in the flesh who was part of the Trinity. Yet Jesus did not correct Peter, but instead complimented him on his insight, saying he was “Blessed” (Matt. 16:17).

Jesus never taught the doctrine of the Trinity or told anyone he had to believe it to be saved. Furthermore, he never corrected anyone’s belief that he was the human Messiah they expected and not part of a Triune God. When he taught about himself from the Old Testament, as he did in Nazareth when he quoted from Isaiah (Luke 4:18 and 19), he never even hinted that there was more to believe about him than the Old Testament scriptures taught. Nor did he ever correct anyone’s understanding about the Holy Spirit. All this is conclusive evidence that Jesus did not teach that a person had to believe in the Trinity to be saved.

The Book of Acts

The book of Acts records the teachings of the Apostles and disciples as they spread the good news of Jesus. It is reasonable that if the doctrine of the Trinity were a truth not revealed in the Old Testament but necessary for Christian salvation, it should be clearly taught in Acts. After all, many Trinitarians believe that for an unbelieving Jew or pagan Gentile to be saved, he must believe in the Trinity. The book of Acts, then, is a proving ground for what unbelievers need to know in order to be saved. So what do we see in Acts? In all the sermons in the book of Acts there is not one presentation of the Trinity.

What Acts does record very clearly is that Jesus was a man, the servant of God, who was God’s anointed (“Messiah” in Hebrew, “Christ” in Greek), who died, whom God raised from the dead and exalted, and who will be the future King and Judge of all mankind. Furthermore, those who hear and believe that message get saved without hearing anything about the Trinity. Time after time Paul and others went into Jewish Synagogues and taught from the Old Testament about the Messiah, explaining that Jesus was the Messiah the Old Testament spoke of, and that teaching was enough to get people saved. There is not one record of Paul or others saying that what the Old Testament taught about the Messiah was not enough for salvation.

If you’re too excited to wait until next week for more (AWESOME), then feel free to continue reading the article here.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

(Comments have been turned off. The information is here to inform and bless you. God granted you the gift of free will – take it or leave it).

More from Write From Karen

Abundant Life

What does the Bible actually say about the Doctrine of the Trinity?

Are you ready to tackle another BIG issue in Christianity? I mean, as if talking about what happens after you die wasn’t big enough (the bible tells us that we “fall asleep” – we do not float aimlessly around in the heavens until Christ comes back), let’s rock that boat just a little more and talk about another biggie for folks:

The Doctrine of Trinity.

As always, my intention for publishing these articles on my blog are not to incite you, or to try and prove that I’m somehow more “right” than you are. Perhaps I’m not. Perhaps I’M the one who is wrong in not believing in the Trinity. All I know is that I’ve studied the Bible enough to have serious doubts and any time anyone tries to prove to me that the Trinity does indeed exist by pointing out a verse that seemingly proves their theory, I can point out so many more verses that proves them wrong.

I’m the sort of person who likes to examine the kernel of a theory and not just the fluffy outer goodness. If something doesn’t seem right, then I’m the sort of person who digs a little deeper and dares to ask the questions that so many people are either too afraid to ask, or who simply don’t wish to know the answers to. I’ve been reading and studying the Truth or Tradition ministry for quite a number of years now and though there are a few issues they preach on that I question, they have proven to me, countless times and through scripture, that what they preach is accurate, true and God’s intention.

If you’re the sort of person who is content to listen to a preacher and accept his qualifications and sermons as the gospel truth, that is certainly your prerogative. I’m not here to judge you or to try and or make you feel stupid for believing a certain way. All I’m saying is, if you’ve ever sat in a sermon and had a niggling doubt that something wasn’t ringing true or wanted scriptural truth to back up what the preacher was preaching, then now is your chance to research your questions and put your doubts to rest.

If you’re not interested in learning more about the Doctrine of the Trinity, then by all means, skip these articles. I’m only publishing these articles to bless YOU. I feel like it’s my duty, as a fellow Christian, to help my brothers and sisters in Christ in our quest for a better life here on earth.

Take it or leave it – it’s called free will and it’s a beautiful thing.

Hello there, Fellow Truth-seeker,

We are glad you are looking for information, clarification, or enlightenment in regard to “the Trinity (a Triune, three-in-one, Godhead)” and related issues, and we welcome you to our research website. We’re very glad you found us, because we know what has happened for thousands of other dear folks who have taken the time to dig into our work.

First of all, please feel free not to believe everything you find here. We have no axe to grind, nor are we interested in trying to control your life or make you live up to any standard we impose upon you. We love God, our heavenly Father, we love the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, we love the truth, and we love God’s people. Our responsibility is to set forth the Word of God as we see it, and God’s responsibility is to give the increase in the hearts of those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.

We certainly recognize how important, how volatile, and how potentially polarizing is the subject of the Trinity. In fact, though it is sad to say, throughout Church history from about 400 AD to about 1800 AD, countless people were put to death for refusing to believe in the idea of “one God in three persons.” We believe that the reason that thousands of Christian people throughout the ages have stood against the Trinity, even with the threat of death, is that it is not in fact a biblical doctrine, but a man-made one.

We believe that the Word of God presents God as the “only true God” and Jesus Christ as the Son of God, our Savior.

We want to believe whatever the Word of God says, and we hope that what you find herein is representative of that.

The orthodox definition of the Trinity is said to be:

“A three-fold personality existing in one divine being or substance; the union in one God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three infinite, co-equal, co-eternal persons; one God in three persons.”

The questions to ask are “What does the Bible say?” And is that definition found in the Bible?

The following articles [over the coming weeks] are taken from our BiblicalUnitarian.com research website. It is dedicated to the truth of One God & One Lord (1 Cor. 8:6 and Eph. 4: 5 & 6).

There is a FREE online (16 hours) seminar On the Errors of the Trinity if you wish to research this even more. Even if you believe in the Trinity and are quite convinced that I’m the crazy one – it’s worth looking into and proving me wrong, right?

It’s all about truth, NOT TRADITION, my friends.

Are you ready? I’ll be publishing more in the coming weeks. Thanks for reading.

Friday Fun

Friday Craft: The Best Halloween Costumes

Okay. Maybe not the best, but I certainly like them. I know these ideas are last minute, but maybe you’ll get some ideas for next year. Unless you’re really crafty and can whip them up in no time flat and if that’s the case? I’M JEALOUS OF YOU.

Here are some of my favorite costumes from Family Fun:

Girl Costumes

Paper Doll (*squee!*)

Our cute paper doll costume can hold its own against Halloween ghouls, ghosts, and goblins.

Materials

diagrams and templates
poster board
paint
black marker
headband
duct tape
foam core
hot glue (an adult’s job)
elastic and Velcro straps
white t-shirt and shorts (concealed by the costume)
frilly socks and Mary Janes

Instructions

Clothing and accessories: Measure your child, then on poster board, draw a shirt, skirt with bloomers, and accessories to fit. (Download our free purse and bow templates, and shirt and skirt diagrams.)

Cut out the pieces and cut several 2- by 4-inch tabs from the scraps. Paint the pieces and let them dry.

Use black marker to outline the tabs with dotted lines and to add details to the clothing and accessories. Attach the tabs to the pieces and the bow to a headband with duct tape.
Reinforcements: Strengthen the shirt by attaching a roughly 7- by 8-inch piece of foam core to its back with hot glue (an adult’s job). Cut a strip of foam core to fit the skirt waist and hot-glue it on as well.

If the bottom of the skirt seems unstable when worn, add a strip of foam core along each leg.
Straps: Have your child hold the bottom of the shirt in front of her, then cut two lengths of wide elastic that can each reach from the top of the shirt, across your child’s back, and to the bottom of the opposite side of the shirt.

For strength, staple a rectangular scrap of poster board to both ends of each strap, then tape one end of each to the top of the shirt (the foam core, not the poster board).

Horizontally attach two strips of adhesive-backed Velcro at the bottom of the shirt and the matching strips to the foam core on the free end of each strap.

Use the same method to attach a single horizontal strap at the skirt waist.


Face Book (hahahahaha!!!)

This friendly costume will have people wanting to add candy to your bag Halloween night.

Materials

12- to 15-ounce cereal box
glue stick
wrapping and white paper
marker
thin elastic
duct tape
baseball cap

Instructions

Book cover: Cut off the top and bottom flaps and one narrow side of a 12- to 15-ounce cereal box so that you’re left with three panels. Apply a glue stick all over the printed side of the cardboard, then cover it with wrapping paper that’s an inch wider than the box on all sides. Fold down the edges of the wrapping paper and glue them in place. Glue an 11- by 17-inch sheet of white paper on top.

Inside pages: Beginning at a short end, accordion-fold two sheets of 11- by 17-inch white paper. The folds should be 1 inch wide.

Glue an end flap of each of the folded sheets along a short edge of another 11- by 17-inch sheet, creating a table shape. Glue the bottom flaps of the accordioned sheets to the book cover leaving the center piece loose.

Face opening: Lay the book wrapping paper–side up and draw an oval face-opening in the center. Use a craft knife to cut through the cardboard and paper (an adult’s job).

Neck strap: Attach a length of thin elastic with duct tape under the white paper.

Hat attachment: Cut off the bill of a baseball cap. Attach the front of the cap to the book by running a strip of duct tape down the front center of the cap onto the top edge of the book above the face opening.

Continue running the tape over the edge of the book cover, straight down under the paper, through the face opening, and into the inside center of the hat.

Finishing touches: Glue the center of the white book page to the cover, then use a marker to write “face book.”


Jellyfish Costume

To get this sweet and sassy jelly ready to roll, cover a broad-brimmed hat with bubble packaging and sparkly fabric, then add some ribbon-and-rickrack tentacles.

Download a complete materials list and illustrated step-by-step directions.

Materials

Glue gun and glue sticks
Broad-brimmed straw hat (we used a child’s sombrero)
1 yard of sparkly blue fabric
1 yard of blue fleece or felt
Large-bubble bubble packaging (we started with a 15- by 1-foot length and cut it into pieces as needed)
Clear packing tape
Fabric measuring tape
20 (1-yard) lengths of curling ribbon (we used 10 yards each of blue and silver)
5 (1-yard lengths) of 1-inch-wide sheer blue ribbon
3 (1-yard lengths) ofK-inch-wide red rick rack

Instructions

The Hat Base: Apply glue all over the underside of the hat brim. Lay the brim glue-side down on the fleece or felt and press it firmly. Trim the excess fabric. Cut away the fabric from the head hole.

Fill in the area around the crown with balls of bubble packaging, then top with sheets of the packaging, securing it with packing tape as you work.
The Covering and Tentacles: Measure the hat from one edge of the brim, up over the crown, and down to the far edge. Cut a circle from the sparkly fabric with a diameter equal to the over-the-crown measurement plus 6 inches. Cut the remaining fabric into 6 strips measuring 1 1/2 inches wide by 1 yard long.

Glue one end of each fabric strip, ribbon, and piece of rickrack to the brim’s underside, evenly spaced and about 1 inch in from the edge. If desired, leave a gap of 8 inches at the hat’s front center for your child’s face.

Temporarily bundle the ribbons’ free ends into the headhole. Center the hat’s crown on the fabric circle. Pull the fabric up over the edge of the brim, gluing it to make even gathers. Have your child wear blue clothes and try on the cap. If it’s too wobbly, glue felt or fleece strips to the inner hatband until it fits securely. Trim the tentacles as needed.

You can find many more girl costume ideas here.


Boy Costumes

Alien Encounter

An alien costume ranked so high, you might say it was out of this world. According to Ryan, age nine, “It should have curvy black eyes and wear a robe.” Fitting the bill is this trick costume, inspired by finalist Kim Harvey and her son, Andrew, in FamilyFun.com’s annual on-line contest.

Materials

Balloon inflated to about 12 to 15 inches
Large bowl
Papier-mâché glue (See Tips section for recipe)
Newspaper, in 1 1/2- by 6-inch strips
Ruler; Scissors; Utility knife; Safety pins
Masking tape; Craft glue
Cardboard tube with a 2-inch diameter, at least 14 inches long
Tights
Green acrylic paint and paintbrush
Double-sided carpet tape
Black paper
3-4 yards of black polyester fabric
15- by 24-inch piece of cardboard (corrugation should run the long way)
3 1/4 yards of ribbon, 1 inch wide, in a color that matches pajamas
Velcro Sticky-Back strips
Black long-sleeved turtleneck
2 green rubber gloves
Fiberfill
Black skirt with elastic waist
Pajamas and slippers

There are a lot of instructions, which you can find here, along with helpful diagrams.


Monkey Business

Combine two traditional costumes to make one outfit that’s totally bananas.

Materials

templates
wire hanger
brown faux fur
brown duct tape
hot glue (an adult’s job)
headband
tan felt
rectangular box
scrap cardboard
poster board
ribbon
craft foam
office clothes and tie
face paint for details

Instructions

Tail: Untwist and straighten a wire hanger. Snip off a 3-foot length and fold in the tips so that they don’t stick out (all adult jobs).

Place a 3-foot by 6-inch piece of short-pile brown faux fur face down and lay the hanger along one long edge. Secure it with duct tape. Roll the fur around the wire and secure it with hot glue (an adult’s job).

Bend and tuck 4 inches of the tail into the waist of the costume pants, and secure it with duct tape. Bend the tail to give it shape. (We cut our tail from a 2/3-yard piece of fur and used the rest for the ears and hair tuft.)

Ears and hair tuft: From faux fur, cut two ears and a rectangular tuft with one jagged edge. (Download free templates.)

Hot-glue the tuft, pile-side up, to the center of a headband (an adult’s job). With the pile sides facing backward, pinch the ears as shown to give them dimension, and hot-glue them to the side of the headband.

Glue a piece of tan felt to the center of each ear.

Briefcase and tie: Cut a long narrow side panel from a small, rectangular box. Snip two handles from scrap cardboard and cover them with brown duct tape. Tape the handles to the box as shown, then cover the box with tape. Write “This monkey means business” on poster board and attach it with ribbon to one of the briefcase handles.

For the tie, cut out a banana shape from craft foam using our template and tape it to a real tie.


Bedbug

Create a cute bedbug costume so your child can creep and crawl around the neighborhood looking for treats.

Materials

template
pipe cleaner
craft foam
duct tape
poster board and ribbon
robe and pillowcase
headband

Instructions

Antennae: Wrap a pipe cleaner around a headband so that the two ends stick up at an angle.
Bedtime attire: A robe works best as a base for the legs and a pillowcase can be used as a candy collector.
Legs and sign: Use our free template to draw insect legs on craft foam. Cut out the forms and place duct tape on the ends closest to the body. Tape the legs behind the robe’s collar.

For the sign, write a message on poster board and hang it around your child’s neck with ribbon.

You can find many more boy costumes here.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, YA’LL!!!!

Abundant Life

Audio Teaching: The Example of Elisha

by John Schoenheit
Having an example to follow is a big help to all of us. That point is especially well made in the poem, “Sermons We See,” by Edgar Guest, which opens: “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” In that regard, the prophet Elisha was a great example to Jesus Christ, for whom the Old Testament was written. Both Jesus and Elisha came after an “Elijah” (John the Baptist was figuratively called “Elijah”). Elisha means, “My God is Savior,” while Yeshua (the Hebrew of Jesus) means, “My Yahweh is salvation.”

Like Jesus, Elisha was a powerful man of God, but not in a worldly way. He never was king, never built a city or Temple, never conquered an enemy army, nor wrote any books. Like Jesus, he defined his greatness by his relationship with his God. Setting a powerful example of faith, Elisha parted the Jordan River, multiplied food, healed a leper, made the “blind” to see, raised the dead, did various miracles, and finally, even in his death, gave life to the dead. As well as being an example to Jesus, Elisha’s example challenges us to be an example to others.

Click the arrow to listen.

Transcription | Related Article

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NaNoWriMo

Are All NaNoWriMo People Crazy?

I don’t know. Would you call someone crazy if she ate a whole package of sugar cookies over the course of two days?

Oh hush you. It was a rhetorical question anyway.

Yes. To answer the title question – we’re all just a little crazy … about writing, that is. Myself included. But it’s a good crazy, I think. We want to write and when we have the chance to write, we don’t know what to write – it’s a never ending battle, trust me. I want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, but I’m not sure I can take another year of FAILING at it.

You know what bugs me? Setting up my NaNoWriMo profile for this year and not being able to say that I participated, let alone won, the 2010 challenge.

I couldn’t tick 2010. Because even though I had PLANNED on participating, I didn’t. So of course, I didn’t WIN it.

That bugs me.

That space. That void. That FAILURE.

AAARGH.

You know what else bugs me?? I didn’t even ACCESS my NaNoWriMo profile until Saturday. In years past, I would haunt the site on September 30th, refreshing every few seconds so that when registration went live, I would be one of the first to sign up. What has happened to me?!?

I don’t know what was wrong with me last year – I just COULDN’T get motivated enough to write anything.

But this year. THIS YEAR, I will do better.

Maybe.

http://twitter.com/#!/writefromkaren/status/128183738470367234

I don’t know, man. I have a lot LESS time to do NaNoWriMo this year than I did last year. Last year, I wasn’t even freaking working. Now? I am. Full time. And it’s one of those jobs that SUCKS the life force right out of your body so that you get home, pale, shaking and desperately trying to control the tick in your left eye.

Fine. You caught me. I can make the time. I mean, how many posts have I written scolding whiny people complaining that they didn’t have the time for NaNoWriMo? Too many to mention here, that’s for sure. So yes. I can make time. I will get up earlier, or stay up later, or forego a blog post or two, or ignore my family … but yes, I can make the time.

My BIGGEST problem is finding the mental energy. Right now? I have just enough left over to formulate a sentence or two – but only a few. If anyone asks me anything deeper than “hey mom, what’s for dinner,” I may spontaneously combust from the sheer effort it takes my brain to fire what little synapses I have left.

In short? I will implode.

All of this to say, I still don’t know if I will attempt NaNoWriMo this year.

I guess I better decide something, the challenge starts in just seven short days!!

Listen to the audio version.

Day-By-Day

There’s Really Nothing to Report

Falling leaves
(NOT my picture. Puh-lease. I wish).

What a beautiful day! ………. To stay in and get some chores done.

*sigh*

I didn’t want to. I had to. Since we’ve been gone these past three weekends, my house was looking like something out of a horror movie – only with more color and fewer ghosts. But I prevailed, ladies and gentlemen, I got everything on my to-do list done this weekend.

Laundry
Bathrooms
Dry mopped the hardwood floor
Mopped the kitchen floor
Straightened up the bedroom (which really means I put MY laundry away. Kevin always puts his away).
Blogged

Wait. As I’m sitting here writing this I’ve noticed one thing I didn’t get done today – my desk. Is gross. And I WILL get MY corner cleaned up before the end of the day.

As God is my witness, I SHALL clean this corner up today! (Just channeling a little ‘Gone with the Wind’ there).

Anyway. I feel like I actually accomplished something today, which is more than I can say for MOST of my weekends, thank you very much.

We have one more band weekend coming up. We’ll be making a one-day trip to Columbia Missouri next weekend -that’s Jazz’s last band competition. It’s at Mizzou and hopefully our kids can take 1st place. We’ve done really well this season, but it would be the icing on the cake if we brought home a 1st place trophy.

I’m sort of glad the season is winding down (I bet you are too). Though I have SO MUCH FUN traveling around and cheering them on, it’s exhausting. Especially when you start a new job in an industry you know nothing about and are trying to focus and learn as much as you can in a short amount of time that your brain is mush by the time you come home and it’s all you can do to keep your eyes open to finish dinner with your family.

So. Yeah. The job is going well.

😀

No really. An email was sent out to the clinic on Thursday letting everyone know that I was “ready” to take charge of two doctors. This means I’m in charge of these doctors’ patients and anything schedule related comes to me. I’m getting all sorts of voicemails from patients wanting to either cancel appointments, reschedule appointments or, they want to make an appointment, which requires research on my part before I can make those appointments. For you see, I work for a group of neurosurgeons and they are not like primary care physicians – you can’t just make an appointment to see them for every little ache and pain, there are certain things that I have to look for in order to make that appointment. And if those things are not present, then I have to “flag” the nurse (which is like an instant message system) and ask them if it’s okay to schedule them.

Because I’m a peon and am only paid to do what I’m told. Which is FINE. I’m OKAY with that. I just have to be careful how much initiative I take on.

So I’m learning a lot about this medical field and picking up new terms and learning about new procedures and tests every day. I have to say, it’s damn interesting and no two patients are alike as far as what they need done. It’s challenging and completely absorbs my focus and attention and I really love it.

And I’m not just saying that – I really do LOVE my job.

I’m starting (and only JUST starting) to get a handle on my new routine. My energy level is starting to slowly catch up with my duties and I’ll be used to this new lifestyle in no time. The one thing that I have the hardest time with is the fact that I’m isolated from my family. It’s like I’ve been sequestered and I’m quite literally stepping into a whole new world, separate from them and definitely out of my comfort zone.

But it’s exactly what I needed. I felt like my brain was going soft and it feels SO GOOD to be using my brain again.

Or what little brain matter I have, that is.

Even though my shift starts at 8:30, I’m going in at 8:00 for the next three mornings to make up for the time I’ll have to take off Thursday morning to get my tooth fixed. (I broke it last weekend). I’m thinking I’m going to regret making my appointment for so early in the morning because this means I’ll have to go to work with a numb mouth and will likely be talking weird.

Oh well. I’m getting used to coping with obstacles, what’s one more, right?

Update on my guys:

Kevin has been on a mission to get Dude out in public more. Dude is still going to the office every day and they go out to lunch twice a week. They go shopping at various places whenever they go out – they even went out to the driving range and hit some golf balls. (I have a video of that coming soon). Dude is a very introverted individual and Kevin is hoping that by getting him out and around people more, he’ll loosen up a bit and not be so freaked out whenever he gets a job. He hasn’t had any more interviews but it hasn’t been for lack of trying – he’s been applying someplace nearly every day and Kevin keeps track of his spread sheet and makes him re-apply at places. It’s just a matter of time before the kid gets a job. But it might not be until this crappy economy turns around and I’m predicting that won’t happen until Obama is voted out of office.

*ahem*

In the meantime, Dude has been getting his documents ready to submit to a vocational college. He’s planning on taking two computer classes next semester, so that will be enough to keep him busy until he gets a job. It’ll be interesting to see how he juggles his schedule whenever he gets a job AND is going to college.

Kevin is pursuing some client leads and has been doing well. The word is getting out and he’s becoming more and more busy. It’s just a matter of time before his business really takes off the ground. If you know of anyone who needs a good accountant, give him a buzz! He specializes in elder care, so if you have an elderly person in your family that needs some accounting help (not just taxes, but paying bills, etc), he can help! (http://kkacct.com)

Jazz is finishing up the first quarter. He’ll be getting rid of the following classes: History of Baseball (which he actually enjoyed, believe it or not) and Math Functions, which is a pre-Calculus class. I’m not sure what classes are coming up, but the kids really seem to enjoy switching out classes every quarter and semester. Our school district is considering getting rid of the 4-block schedule set up and I think that would be a HUGE mistake! Having only four classes per quarter is a lot more manageable than having the same SEVEN classes all year long. We’re only one of two high schools in our district that is set up this way and everyone has really loved it. It would make a lot of parents and students upset if they eliminated it.

So. All of this to say, we’re doing well.

Prompt Fiction, Saturday Stuff

An Overgrown Garden

Carmen tried not to look guilty. “I planted a little story seed …” she held up two fingers, very close together, to illustrate her point.

“You mean you lied,” I shot back.

“I didn’t lie, per se,” she swallowed, “I just didn’t tell him the whole truth.”

“You’re an idiot. What do you think lying is??”

“Oh, shut up.”

“That’s like saying, ‘you’re a little pregnant.’ Either you are, or you aren’t. Either you’re honest or you’re not.”

“I like story seed – it sounds better.”

“Seed my foot. You have a full-blown garden.”

“Pass the hoe,” she giggled.

“You need a backhoe,” I snorted.

.

.

.

Listen to the audio version.

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Write up to 100 words, fact or fiction….

This is a themed writing meme hosted by Jenny Matlock. The goal is to write something that does not exceed 100 words (not including said prompt). The prompt is in bold.