How to Be a Fool

nofoolinLet’s be honest—being foolish often looks like more fun than being wise. The stereotypical wise person is old, gray, stern, and sits around thinking deep thoughts all the time. Boring. A fool, though, is typically young and pretty. She says and does whatever she wants whenever she wants. Sounds freeing, doesn’t it? I took a look in the Proverbs for tips on how to become foolish, just in case I wanted to try it. Here’s what I found:

  1. Be a mocker. This kind of fool makes fun of God and all forms of goodness. He’s haughty and insulting. Doesn’t bother to watch his tongue at all. A good example is the thief on the cross—not the one who repented and sought salvation from Jesus, but the one who, with his dying breaths, hurled insults at the only One who could’ve saved him. Hmmm. It doesn’t appear his mocking tongue served him so well in the end.
  2. Be a rebel. This type of fool goes her own way no matter how many of those deep-thinking wise people give her good advice. She’s hardhearted and hardheaded. If she wants to do something, she does it, regardless of the consequences. An example of this fool is Solomon’s son and successor, Rehoboam. The people promised Rehoboam that if he’d lighten the workload Solomon had put on them, they’d serve him faithfully. The gray-haired wise men advised Rehoboam to do what the people asked, but Rehoboam’s buddies told him to make the people work even harder—just to show he was a bigger Big Dog than his daddy. Rehoboam liked that idea. He told the people their work under Solomon was nothing to what they’d have to do under him. The people rebelled, and there went most of Rehoboam’s kingdom. Not such a great outcome for this fool, either.
  3. Be Godless. This type of fool totally closes his mind and heart to God. In his arrogance, he decides that he’s the definer of the universe and that no God can tell him how to live. An example of this fool is a man whose name literally means fool, Nabal. When David, whose men had protected Nabal’s sheep, requested food for his men, Nabal insulted God’s anointed. Nabal refused to acknowledge God’s provision for him through David. If not for Nabal’s wise wife Abigail, who acted quickly to soothe David’s rage, Nabal’s entire household would’ve been slaughtered. Though David spared Nabal for Abigail’s sake, God struck the fool dead for his foolishness. Guess Nabal found out he wasn’t the center of the universe after all.
  4. Be simple. This fool believes whatever anyone tells her without stopping to find out if what she’s being told is right. To her, anybody’s opinion is the absolute truth. An example of this fool is the young man the Proverbs says is “lacking sense.” Momma advises. Daddy instructs. Wisdom calls. The adulteress beckons. And the simpleton, too stupid to realize he’s headed straight for his death, takes the path to the adulteress’s house. Another bad end for yet another fool.

Okay, being foolish doesn’t sound so great after all. Good thing the Proverbs teach the way of wisdom as well. Basically, study the paths of foolishness…and do the opposite.

Advice for the Rookie Pastor’s Wife: Tip #1

Helpful tips and advice on a yellow office noteOver the past 19 years as a pastor’s wife, I’ve learned some things…and made quite a few mistakes. Though I’m far from an expert, I plan to give a new tip each month for the rookie pastor’s wife, advice I hope will help her make fewer mistakes than I’ve made.

Tip #1:

BE CLEAR ON YOUR PRIORITIES.

One of the questions you’re sure to get when your husband interviews for a ministry position is, “Mrs. Potential Pastor’s Wife, if we hire your husband, what would your role be in the church?”

Gulp. If you’re a people-pleaser and/or if you really want your husband to get the job, you’ll be tempted to say, “I’ll do whatever the church needs—play piano, keep nursery, teach Sunday School, direct VBS, clean toilets, answer phones, AND do any other job nobody else wants.”

DON’T SAY IT!

Remember, the church is potentially hiring your husband, not you. You are not the freebie in a BOGO sale.

To prepare for this question, you and your husband should clarify your gifts and priorities (preferably on paper) before the interview. Then take the written list to the interview, just to make sure you don’t misspeak when answering those dozen strangers you hope will call your husband as their pastor.

Your list should look something like this:

  1. My role is to be a helpmeet to my husband.
  2. My role is to mother my children, thereby freeing my husband to do his job.
  3. My role is to do my work well (whether employed outside the home or not).
  4. God has gifted me in the area of ___________ (YOU fill in the blank).
  5. After 6 months or so to get settled, I will prayerfully consider which church tasks best fit my time and abilities.

Trust me, if the church does call your husband, being clear on your priorities will make the transition into your new role as pastor’s wife so much easier!

Homeschooling on a Shoestring

downloadGas prices sky high. The economy worsening. Your family’s budget stretched to bursting. How you can afford to home educate your children? Here are some practical ways to cut costs and still operate an effective homeschool in the Columbus, Ohio, area.

Curriculum

  • Buy used. HOTR (Home on the Rock) and CHEO (Christian Home Educators of Ohio) publish information about used book fairs on their websites. Try Amazon, ebay, and ChristianHomeschoolers.com for good deals. Some sites like vegsource.com and welltrainedmind.com post swap boards to facilitate trading or buying/selling materials.
  • Use the library. The Columbus Metropolitan Library system has many resources available. If the nearest branch doesn’t have what you need, request it from another branch. They’ll bring it to your location—free!
  • If you buy new, shop carefully. Rainbow Resource often has the best prices, but shipping can ruin your budget, so make a complete, one-time order. If your total is $50 or more, shipping is free. Some curriculum companies have free shipping months (often April).

Field Trips and Extracurricular Activities

  • Join a homeschool group. Homeschool organizations provide lots of information about money-saving opportunities. Groups like HOTR and CHEO usually cost less than $50 per year but include a 10% discount to the Home School Legal Defense Association. Some, like HOTR, have small-group cooperatives meeting around the city. You usually pay a small fee for expenses but get a great return on your investment. You and your children get to socialize with other homeschooling families. Kids can take classes with other kids and different teachers. Group field trips provide discounted access to local attractions. You’ll likely learn about unexpected opportunities—like the mom who teaches piano cheap or the one who will tutor your child in math if you’ll tutor hers in Latin. You might even find someone willing to swap or lend curriculum.
  • Take advantage of the free stuff. Many Columbus attractions are free or very inexpensive. And, of course, educational.

Columbus Free Stuff:

Slate Run Farm
Columbus Museum of Art (Sundays only)
Ohio Craft Museum
Riffe Gallery
Ohio Statehouse
Thurber House (weekdays only)
Orton Geological Museum
Shrum Mound
Longaberger Homestead
Park of Roses
Topiary Garden
Chadwick Arboretum
Columbus Parks and Recreation (costs $1 per badge per person)
Anthony Thomas Factory Tours ($2 per adult, $1 per child (ages 3-18), under 2 is free; admission fee may be used toward purchase)

  • Ask for the educational or field trip rate.  Just by filing a field trip form in advance and bringing your notification letter, your family can visit the Columbus Zoo for only $5 per person if you live in Franklin County ($7 if you live outside Franklin County). COSI offers an educator’s family membership for $95 per year. The Ohio Historical Society offers a family membership to educators for $50 annually that allows four adults and all family members under 18 to visit OHS’s 60 historic sites at no charge. Kelton House offers an Underground Railroad Learning Station Tour for $4 per student and a Kelton House Historic Tour for $2 per student. Columbus Children’s Theatre has discounted tickets in their Thrifty Thursdays plan. Catco is Kids (Phoenix Children’s Theatre) offers School Performance Matinees with tickets for $5.
  • Use coupons. You can often find great deals on-line, in the phone book, or at travel plazas.
  • Give useful gifts. Give your son karate lessons for Christmas. Ask Grandma to buy BalletMet tickets for your daughter’s birthday.

Don’t let today’s economy discourage you from home education. Columbus has so much to offer that you’ll find homeschooling on a shoestring is really no hardship at all.

Approaching the King

the-chronicles-of-narnia-the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe-profileThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has been a favorite among children and adults for generations. C.S. Lewis’ fantasy tells the story of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy—four children who live with a professor in the country during World War II. Through a wardrobe in his house, they discover the magical world of Narnia. They soon find that the White Witch has trapped the land in eternal winter and enslaved the Narnians. Edmund goes to her side, and his siblings must try to rescue him. But Mr. Beaver makes it clear that only Aslan can save him.

Not being Narnians, the children don’t know of Aslan, so the Beavers attempt to describe him. Mr. Beaver says, “I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the Sea…. Aslan is a lion—the Lion, the great Lion.”

Naturally, the children feel skittish about encountering a real lion.

Susan asks, “Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” says Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

Lucy asks, “Then he isn’t safe?”

“Safe?” says Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

When they meet Aslan, the children do approach with fear and trembling because he’s not at all safe. But, as Mr. Beaver says, he’s good—so good that he dies in Edmund’s place, taking the penalty due a traitor to Narnia. But then Aslan rises from the dead and conquers the White Witch, freeing Narnia from bondage.

This story mirrors King Jesus’ interaction with us. We’re enslaved to sin, unable to do anything to save ourselves, but Jesus took the punishment we deserve by dying on a cross in our place. Then He rose again, breaking the power of death over us, so that we can live.

Jesus is the Son of God, the Lion of Judah. We must approach Him with reverence and awe because He’s not to be trifled with. Like Aslan, He’s not safe. But He’s good. He’s the King.

Will we dare approach Him today?