Friday, 25 November 2016

What I'm Reading

It seems like a good time for a roundup of what I'm currently reading so....

Out of the Blues by Wayne Mack
This book deals with depression and loneliness from a biblical perspective, and I think it's an excellent counseling book. I actually just finished it, so I guess I'm not currently reading it.

The Power of Prayer in a Believer's Life by Charles Spurgeon (compiled and edited by Robert Hall)
I've been reading this for a few months. I read a bit, and then get distracted by other books. I only have 1 1/2 chapters left to read; I will finish it by the end of the year!

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Because: Brandon Sanderson. Need I say more?

Because He Loves Me by Elise Fitzpatrick
I've read this before, but it's been a few years We're using it for my women's counseling class this year. Since I'm the teacher, I thought I should at least re-read the book.

The Blessing of Humility by Jerry Bridges
It's Jerry Bridges. Of course I'm reading it. This is my "while I'm eating" book right now.

Confections of a Closet Master Baker by Gesine Bullock-Prado
I picked this one up because of the title. I didn't pay much attention to the author's name, so when she talks about her sister Sandy, and then mentions that Sandy is a movie start, it took me a while to figure out that she means Sandra Bullock. And I actually finished it last night.

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan
Let's be honest: I'm not really reading this. I started it, but it goes on and on and it's very, very small print. I was reading it for "a book by a puritan", but I think I'll trade it in for Pilgrim's Progress. One day I'll finish this one, but it may take a very, very long time.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Christmas Concert

It's almost Christmas! At the very least, it's Christmas concert time again, and I'm spending my evenings listening to Christmas carols and trying to decide what to put into the concert, and where, and how. I want O Come, O Come Emmanuel, but I don't have anyone to play it this year, so I may have to live without it. I'm still looking for another song for the grades 2-4 contingent, so I can move Hark the Herald Angels Sing over to the little guys.

Also: my "multitude of the heavenly host" is currently sitting at 1 angel. Of course, I only have 2 shepherds, so it sort of evens itself out. I may have to recruit from the grade 4 kids to fill in the gaps, but that leaves me with fewer children singing, unless I can have them sing before the angels and shepherds need to be on stage, in which case it all works. At the same time, I need to schedule the child playing Joseph to do his musical number (with his siblings) at the beginning of everything, even though it fits best when the shepherds come on, because I cannot have Joseph get up, leave the manger, and grab a violin!

And....I already have parents asking if they can miss rehearsals, and they haven't even started yet!

Anyway, since I don't think I can have it in the concert, here are 2 of my favourite versions:

Monday, 7 November 2016

A Mix of Thoughts

I have too many passwords. It's amazing that I can log into anything on the first try. I often can't, and then I get frustrated with myself, the computer, and the world in general.

In Sunday School, I told the students that Tyndale and Wycliffe were "freakishly awesome", and then told them that I need a new adjective to replace "freakishly". They suggested awesome, amazing, and totally. I think that I won't try "awesomely awesome", but I might go with "totally awesome" and then try to slip in "totally radical" to see if they react.

Last week I was trying to explain about idioms and figures of speech to a student. The sentence was, "They were like three blind mice trying to find their way through a maze". She could not get what it meant, and thought that maybe they were blind or something. I finally got her to understand the concept, and then started telling her that she's just a blind mouse trying to find her way through a maze. She was not amused.

I have a pen in my office that was given to me by my MLA one day. He and the MLA from the next riding were at the bus terminal one day (I think the bus terminal is in the other MLA's riding, but it's close to the boarder between ridings and many of us come from the south and the next riding over). They had coffee, Timbits, and free pens. I almost feel bad about not voting for him.

We had our first Christmas Concert meeting yesterday. I guess it's Christmas time now. We start practices in 2 weeks. That gives me enough time to put the concert together (it's pretty much the same thing every year, with some changes to songs), and still gives us 4 Sundays to practice, plus the Saturday big rehearsal. This year the choir is joining us; they'll do a call to worship, and opening song, and then Silent Night at the end. They plan to sing the first verse in German, and then the congregation will join in with the rest (in English). I plan to tell my students, when they complain about how hard it is to learn the songs, that at least they get to do it all in English.

It's oddly warm for November. It's more like the beginning of October. It's nice.

Monday, 31 October 2016

About the Gospel

The new guy at church (usually known as Pastor Mike) has been teaching a membership class during Sunday School. Because I teach a Sunday School class, I haven't been in his class, but I've finally started listening to them on-line. While the class is officially for people planing to join the church, it's attended by any adult who wants to come to Sunday School (and some children as well), and it's an excellent review of what the church believes and why, and some key doctrines from Scripture.

Membership class 2 covered the gospel, what it means to be a Christian, and how to become a Christian (because while all members need to be believers, not all people who attend church are believers; also, it's a key doctrine).

So, if you're wondering what the gospel is all about, or even if you know (or think you know), I'd suggest that you head over to the church website and listen to him.

In fact, when you have time, you should listen to all of the Membership Class lessons. While I can only vouch for the first 3 (I'm still behind in my listening), I'm pretty sure they're all excellent!

Friday, 28 October 2016

A Word of Clarification

It has been pointed out to me that not all the Biblical Counseling students were happy, perky, and nice all the time. To be abundantly clear: most of them were like that, but a few were not. They were more down-to-earth and significantly less bubbly.

My apologies to anyone (Liz) who may have been offended by my characterization of the counseling students!

On Becoming a Biblical Counselor

Let me be upfront with you: I did not want to become a counselor of any type. I'm a teacher, and I'm a good teacher; teaching makes sense to me. If you want to learn about the Bible, I can help you. If you want to learn how to be a better Christian, I can give you books to read and even talk about them with you. I can pray for you and advise you. If you have issues that are big and need counselling...I can recommend some very good, wise, and sympathetic people! I have just never really known what to say to people in a counseling situation (except: stop sinning and read your Bible, and I think I need to be more detailed there).

Also, I looked at the Biblical Counseling students when I was at Masters (doing Biblical Studies, or "the course for people who want to teach, not counsel"). They all seemed so happy, and perky, and nice all the time. They just loved everyone and life was so wonderful and they were so earnest. I am not like that. I am sarcastic and blunt and I have issues of my own.

So what happened? Well, I have a very persistent elder who kept giving me books to read (which is cheating; everyone knows I'll read just about anything) and who insisted (and still insists) that I'm a good counselor. So I read the books and learned, slowly, that I don't have to be all the things those students seemed to be in order to counsel someone; I can just love God and love people and point them to His word. And I learned that counseling is sort of like teaching, only you have to spend more time uncovering what the person needs to learn. Finally, I learned that having my own issues makes people more willing to talk to me and listen to me.

After a while, I realized that when people asked me questions about the Bible and how it applies to their situation, or what I would do in a particular area, or just wanted to run something by me, I was counseling them. It wasn't too big and scary, and sometimes I could still be blunt (but I'm learning about gentleness and grace, and to save the sarcasm for more appropriate situations).

Then someone walked into my apartment one day for a discipleship session. It was supposed to be simple: we were going to read a book together and I was going to help her grow to be more like Christ. Only there were deeper issues, and they all spilled out that first day, and suddenly it was something bigger than we had planned. And suddenly I was officially counseling someone. It was a bit scary (it still is).

I'm still not sure I know what I'm doing. I just pray a lot, and search the Bible a lot for wisdom, and sometimes go to the aforementioned elder for advice and resources. And then I teach the women what the Bible says and how to apply it to their lives, whatever is going on. And I remind myself that counseling is just teaching people what they need to learn, and loving them, and letting God do His work.