Personal Reflections – 2017 # 20 – What have our graduates done beyond high school?

Many of our graduates have gone to college or have gone into a trade. We will feature Jered today. While in high school we attended his Eagle Scout celebration. During high school he wrote a novel (Learn to Write the Novel Way) for class: Guns at Aparri. At one point, he stated that he had received an “atta boy” for his writing skills in a report for work.

After high school, he earned a degree in criminal justice and served in the U.S. Army Reserves.  Since then he has worked for the Department of Homeland Security.  Thank you, Jered for your service to our country.

Using Historical Fiction for Writing Prompts: A Book Review -The Bronze Bow


Young, budding writers learn much from using historical fiction as writing prompts and incorporating many subjects forming a unit study.             To demonstrate we will use The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare who lived form 1908-1994. This book won the 1962 Newbery Medal.

The Bronze Bow

Literature and Vocabulary: Students need to learn that historical fiction has a story that arose from the author’s imagination in an historical setting. For The Bronze Bow, we need to know that a small town in Palestine near Capernaum during the life of Christ forms the SETTING for the time and place of the story.

CHARACTERS in The Bronze Bow include: Daniel, his sister Leah; Joel and his twin sister Thacia, Joel and Thacia’s father, an important Rabbi; Simon the Zealot (Luke 6:15), Rosh, Samson; Marcus, the young Roman soldier and Jesus. According to the Bible, we know that Jesus lived and the story refers to that Jesus. Simon the Zealot, a disciple, followed Jesus in the Scriptures and in the story. Most of the other names occur often in Scriptures or in general historical writings, but Speare probably just used them because they fit the setting.

TITLE and THEME comes from, Psalm 18:33-35, “He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.”

According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary ZEALOT, a noun, means, “a person who has strong feelings about something (such as religion or politics) and who wants other people to have those feelings.”

Further, according to Easton’s Bible Dictionary a zealot is, “A sect of Jews which originated with Judas the Gaulonite (Acts 5:37). They refused to pay tribute to the Romans, on the ground that this was a violation of the principle that God was the only king of Israel. They rebelled against the Romans, but were soon scattered, and became a lawless band of mere brigands.”

Other subjects one can address with this book include Math (talk about distances between the village and Capernaum); Occupational Education / History (explore about the occupations of the time – blacksmith, rabbi); Science / Health (explore healing practices of the time), Art / Music (make a model of the area; explore the music of the Jews of that time) and Physical Education (walk 3 miles to see how long it would take to get from the village to Capernaum).


The Bronze Bow

by Elizabeth George Speare

Elizabeth George Speare opens The Bronze Bow with our main character on the mountain with Rosh, a zealot. When the Romans killed Daniel’s parents years earlier, he determined to join a band of Zealots under the leadership of Rosh. This young man followed Rosh believing that when the right time arrived, they would defeat the Romans. Throughout the book we see how Daniel progresses in his understanding of how the Jews would be free of the Romans. During the story, we follow Daniel, as a follower of Rosh, the Zealot in the mountain; as a resource for Rosh, in the village and Daniel, as a follower of Christ, in the village.

Daniel meets Joel and Thacia while they explore the dangerous mountain area before their family moves to Capernaum. He warns them to stay away from this area. Joel remembers that Daniel had left his blacksmith apprenticeship in disgrace. Daniel firmly believes in Rosh’s mission to restore Israel to self-government without the Romans who had killed Daniel’s parents. Also, Joel promises Rosh that when the time came he would avail himself to Rosh for the mission. After they had gone, Rosh sent Daniel on his first solo job to capture a slave who in the end would only respond to Daniel. Many did not like that Rosh stole and captured to enable them to mount the attack at the Rosh considered the right time.

We then learn that Daniel’s grandmother dies and that he must return to the village to care for his sister, Leah. She never leaves her home and cannot tolerate visitors. Daniel can now freely return because the blacksmith with whom he had apprenticed had died. Simon, the Zealot, also a blacksmith, wanted to follow Jesus so he gave his shop and home to Daniel. That allowed Daniel to work and care for Leah. Daniel and Joel both have jobs to do for Rosh while still living in their respective homes. Thacia and the young men meet together and make a pact using the verse from Psalm as their motto, “So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze” even though they did not fully understand it. Surprisingly, Thacia and Leah become friends. Much sacrifice ensues as Daniel continues to believe that under Rosh’s leadership the Israelites will expel the Romans.

Daniel, Thacia and Joel find many opportunities to listen to Jesus speak. At first they find it difficult to understand what he teaches. Finally, Daniel, Leah, Joel and Thacia, understand and recognize that the kingdom of which Jesus spoke was spiritual, not physical. Jesus heals Leah physically and all of them spiritually. Rosh did not have the answer, but Jesus did.

Elizabeth George Speare does an excellent job of putting the reader into the story and setting. We see how Daniel and others progress from hatred to revenge and finally to reconciliation. Jesus changes lives.

A Book Review: The Life of Arthur W. Pink

by Maggie Dail

In writing essays from biographies, one may expand on at least three distinguishing characteristics of the individual or one may enumerate three areas in which the reviewer admires or does not admire the individual. For The Life of Arthur W. Pink by Ian Murray published by Banner of Truth, the reviewer has chosen to use three areas of Pink’s life and work to illustrate three important areas. Our outline:

A.W. Pink, His Life and Work

  1. A.W. Pink – His Life – Three Continents
  2. A. W. Pink – His Work – Preaching – The Controversy
  3. A.W.Pink – His Work—Writing – Thirty Years of Perseverance

On April 1, 1886 Arthur Walkington Pink entered the world in Nottingham, England. During this time, concern existed for the state of the church in England. Men like J.C. Ryle and Charles H. Spurgeon noticed the “downgrade.” Into this climate, A.W. Pink entered the scene. Thomas and Agnes Pink had little idea of the situation and how their son would contribute to it. In a home like that of the Pinks, while business mail could arrive on the Lord’s Day, no one would open it until Monday. Children would read pictorial editions of Pilgrim’s Progress and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs on the Lord’s Day rather than play with the regular toys. We will examine A.W. Pink’s life and work.

Though, A.W. Pink grew up in this Christian home, he did not believe. He turned to theosophy, “a cult which, though only formed into a Society in 1875, claimed a special knowledge preserved from generation to generation by a brotherhood of initiates. It’s best known British publication, the magazine, Lucifer, indicated clearly enough its anti-Christian nature …” (p.5) Pink became well known for speaking on behalf of the cult. Thomas Pink made it a habit to wait up for Arthur upon his return from these meetings, reminding him of Scriptures such as, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12 (KJV) Pink did not like his father’s insistence, but one night this text stayed with him as he tried to work on an upcoming speech. For three days, he did not leave his room, and when he did, God had saved him. Instead of going to an English seminary, he decided to study at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

After six weeks, he decided that to continue at the Institute delayed his entry into the pastorate unnecessarily. His first pastorate took him to Silverton, Colorado, a mining town. With the Scofield Reference Bible in hand, Pink would find the sum total of Dr. Gray’s instruction. From Colorado, he went to the West Coast, probably in the Los Angeles area. While we do not know how long or much about his time in California, we do know that he then went to rural Kentucky where he met Vera Russell. On November 16, 1916 they married at which time she became his “indispensable ‘help meet.’” Apparently, he visited England a couple of times during those years, but after the Kentucky pastorate, they moved to South Carolina to pastor at Northside Baptist Church from July 1917 to February, 1920. While they had difficulties related to World War I’s effect on the economy, they had even greater difficulties related to Pink’s understanding of Scripture. By 1910, he had more books than his Scofield Reference Bible that influenced his thinking. That would play an important part in his work. At times, the Pinks lived in homes with other families and other times they rented their own accommodations. I admire those in that era who shared living space with other families. This happens in our day as well, making for additional struggles while relieving financial difficulties. A.W. Pink’s work took him from the U.S. to Australia, to the United Kingdom back to the U.S. and finally back to England and Scotland.

God had called Arthur to preach, of this he was confident. At times in all three continents, many flocked to hear Pink preach. God used him mightily, but as time passed doors closed to his preaching. What happened? For one thing, in general, the church experienced a “downgrade” as Spurgeon called it or an evolution to liberalism at one extreme to an “easy believism” among evangelicalism on the other. He explored different denominations, but none with which he could agree enough to become a member. Nonmembers did not receive invitations to speak. Guided by his call to preach Pink continued searching for some time. In the end, Pink stopped attending church. What about Hebrews 10:25? “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”(KJV) This controversy affects our thinking regarding Arthur W. Pink. Knowing God’s insistence on the importance of the church throughout the New Testament and this particular command to assemble with other believers I wonder how Pink could not find a church where he could, at least attend. His studies had led him away from the teaching of the Scofield Reference Bible. To the Pinks’ credit, though they did not attend church, they did study and worship in their home. Further, he did search the Scriptures to see what they taught.

Even while Pink preached and searched for churches where he could join and speak, he began publishing Studies in the Scriptures, a monthly magazine. Early on they lived with couples who handled much of the typing and publishing of these magazines. Eventually, Vera learned how to type and they handled everything. Somewhere along the line, he recognized that his voice would only be heard through the printed word. At times, many subscribers received the magazine while at other times they did not know whether they could continue. Pink provided a varied diet maintaining different series that ran from month to month. He spent much time in corresponding with readers with a pastor’s heart. Later, these were republished as journals for each year or as books. Among his most famous books: The Sovereignty of God and The Attributes of God. Further, many have read Gleanings from Genesis and Gleanings from Exodus. His first publication, The Divine Inspiration of the Bible, appeared in 1917. Volume One of Studies in the Scriptures appeared in 1922. In December 1953, the final issue of Studies in the Scriptures appeared months after his death. Pink persevered thirty long years in this ministry. Ian Murray, the biographer, provides the reader with a chronology of Pink’s published works. This allows readers to note when each was published understanding how Pink’s thinking matured over the years. A.W.Pink’s influence grows as more and more readers find his works.

Arthur and Vera Pink lived in Stornoroway, Scotland for his last seven years. Arthur breathed his last breath on July 15, 1952. He had prepared articles for The Studies in the Scriptures for future issues. Vera wrote to friends, “I can only say, ‘He hath done all things well’… My dear one is now in glory where he so longed to be with Christ.” P. 184 She completed the publishing part concluding at the end of the following year. Though she recovered somewhat from a stroke her ability to type diminished. Pink’s beloved wife ‘went’ home on July 17, 1962 at the age of sixty-nine.  Though their lives had ended, their labors live on in A.W. Pink’s writings.

Ronnie Dail’s Afterword:

My wife and I have both benefited from reading some of the many thought provoking books written by Arthur W. Pink. It is without controversy that we would not be the Christians we are today had we not been so mightily blessed by this beloved brother in Christ. We would greatly encourage others to pursue as many of A.W. Pink’s books as possible. It will be time well-spent.

Esther Burr’s Journal – Writing Essays


Earlier, we explored the advantages and some general guidelines for how to use biographies as writing prompts. One of the suggested outlines:

Compare / Contrast life of the main character and your life.

Introduction: Introduce three areas using parallel structure to introduce these areas.

Area #1: Main Character’s Life vs. My Life

Area #2: Main Character’s Life vs. My Life

Area #3: Main Character’s Life vs. My Life

Conclusion: Review three areas using parallel structure to summarize these areas.

Reading Esther’s Burr’s Journal made me think of how different her life seems from mine so I chose the above outline for my essay. Born on February 13, 1732, Esther Edwards grew up in the home of the great theologian and famous preacher of the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards. Later, she married Aaron Burr. Their son, Aaron Burr Jr. became Vice President and most notably challenged Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury to a dual. Hamilton died as a result.

Esther Burr’s Journal – Her Life and Mine

I knew nothing of Esther Burr before reading her journal. This journal opens on her ninth birthday when she declares that her mother had her stitch pages together to make a journal. Certainly, a girl writing a journal in 1741 lived a life much different than mine. Yet, we share in important ways. Exploring these similarities and differences, we will look at her relationship to her parents, her husband and her Lord.

Immediately, Esther’s references to her parents struck me as very different. She referred to them as Mr. or Mrs. Edwards. Except as a very young child when it was Daddy or Mommy, I have referred to my parents as Dad and Mom. While some of my peers have used other names for their parents, I know of none who referred to them as Mr. and Mrs. when talking about or to them. Further, Esther would include additional terms of respect such as “my honored father, Mr. Edwards.” From the journal, I suppose that, when talking to them, Esther called them Father and Mother. My mother also called her parents, Father and Mother. As I grew up, I believe that my parents expected and received more respect from my siblings and me than others. I grew up in a military family and that possibly contributed to a greater expectation than the general population. Even so, overall I believe that respect for elders has greatly diminished throughout my life time and certainly quite a bit since the 1700s.

Later in the journal, I found that the path from meeting an individual to marrying has changed much since the life of Esther Burr. Aaron Burr, a preacher, had visited the Edward’s home over an extended period of time and it surprised Esther on the day that she took her turn to prepare a breakfast for Mr. Burr and no one else came to breakfast. Mr. Burr asked her to marry him. Her response, “If it please the Lord.” Later, Mr. Burr sent horses for Esther and her mother. Upon arrival, Aaron and Esther married. Again, she referred to her husband as Mr. Burr. At the age of 20 she became a busy pastor’s wife. Later, they had two children. When he had to preach or teach elsewhere, she missed him and even gave birth to Aaron Burr, Jr. in Mr. Burr’s absence. I, too, desire to show respect for my husband. In our day, women commonly refer to their husbands by their first name unless talking to a child who should address him as “Mr. ….” While, I do not believe we must return to that formality, as Christian wives, we must show respect for our husbands to them as well as about them. In addition, when talking to others, we must not speak ill of our husbands. Certainly, though not perfect, they are perfect for us. God uses spouses to sanctify each other. Reading Esther’s journal provides a great reminder to all of us.

Finally, we will explore Esther’s relationship with her Lord. She grew up in a pastor’s home and experienced the “Great Awakening” from a very unique situation. She spoke of how God used her parents in dealing with those convicted of sin. One example of Esther’s relationship with the Lord, “The air was full of music of the sleigh-bells of the church-goers, as they drove past. And I thought of what is said in the Scriptures, of the bells as he went into the holy place; and so the greater music of the church bells seemed to say to my soul, holiness to the Lord!” (p. 22) Further, Esther quoted something her father preached that blessed her,

Ruth’s Resolution, ‘Entreat me not to leave thee, nor to turn from following thee. (Ruth1,16) I shall never forget his words about the people of God. He said, “They are the most excellent and happy society in the world. God whom they have chosen as their God, is their Father. He has pardoned all their sins, and they are at peace with Him. And He has admitted them to all the privileges of children. As they have devoted themselves to God, so God has given Himself to them. …’Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my, God.’ P. 23

Yes, knowing that the holy and sovereign God of the universe is the God of His children grants us blessings untold. I do not have to be the daughter of famous parents nor married to a famous man, to know that I am the child of this great God.

Getting to know Esther Burr through reading her journal has enriched me. Accompanying huge contrasts in our lives, I rejoice in the similarities. Her relationships with her parents, her husband and her Lord reflect mine in so many ways.


Within six months of each other grandparents and parents of Sally Burr Reeves, age 4 and Aaron Burr Jr., age 2 died leaving them orphans. Aaron Burr died at age 41. Months later, Jonathan Edwards died as a result of a small pox vaccination. Within 16 days Esther Burr died. Six months after Jonathan die, Sarah died of dysentery. These individuals gave their all for Christ.

A Book Review: The Fifty Years’ Ministry of an Ordinary But Remarkable Man: Called, Chosen, Faithful

Outlining and a Book Review

(Still searching for a way to show the outline format from Word in Word Press.  Meanwhile, if you want to see it in outline format, e-mail me:

Outlining a biography provides practice of this important pre-writing, comprehension and study skill. Marilyn Alexander wrote of her husband, Jeffrey Alexander’s Fifty Years of Ministry with the purpose of informing his family, friends and others of how God has used this man for fifty years.

When teaching students to outline include an introduction to MS Word or other word processor’s outlining feature. For beginners using the chapter titles and other headings provide a great introduction. Later, you should require more detailed information. Also, at some point a student should experience using parallel structure in the outline. Marilyn Alexander provided examples of parallel structure in her headings as the same parts of speech appear in a pattern. Repeating words and phrases work in outlines.

The Fifty Years’ Ministry of an Ordinary but Remarkable Man:

Called, Chosen, Faithful

By Marilyn Alexander

I.Part One – Called

A.Chapter One – Called to Salvation Through “Call-ege” # 1 1943-1962

1. Born on October 25, 1943 in Denver, Colorado to Alex and       Verdonna Alexander.

2.Called to Salvation – at age 6 in an American Sunday School Union Sunday School held       at an elementary school in what is now Lakewood, Colorado.

3.Called to Conviction – His father showed conviction when comparing the teaching of        God’s word with what he heard at a denominational church. His father led the family to      South Sheridan Baptist Church (SSBC). Under the ministry of Ed Nelson, God called Jeff         to preach.

4. Called to “Call-ege” #1 – Ed Nelson encouraged Jeff to attend Bob Jones University in       Greenville, South Carolina. God provided the finances for the first semester through his       work at a supermarket and a warehouse man for the summer. Further, God supplied for       the second semester with a gift from a family that had saved a sum of money and had           given it to the Lord.

5.Called to Serve Servicemen – Jeff took every opportunity for ministry during his                  college days and beyond. On one occasion he went to the Christian Servicemen’s Center        in Augusta, Georgia. Here he preached his second sermon and God protected them from       a probable fatal collision with a train on their way back to campus.

6. Called to Preach – Jeff received his first license to preach on June 1, 1962 for a three          month summer ministry with Gospel Fellowship Mission.

B. Chapter Two – Called to “Call-ege” # 2 – 1962-1963

  1. Encouraged to study at Baptist Bible College -Summer Ministry did not provide finances for another year at BJU. New leadership added to Jeff’s interest in BBC – New president – Jack Hyles and new vice president – Ed Nelson. This leadership lasted only one year.
  2. Called to the Candy Kitchen – Jeff worked at night at Russel Stover Candies and attended classes at Baptist Bible College during the day. He lived at home.
  3. Called to Artistry – Jeff began to use his artistic abilities at area churches doing chalk art and preaching.
  4. Called to Sugar City – SSBC licensed Jeff for a summer ministry.

Chapter Three – Called to Sugar City – 1963 1.Called to a small town in southeastern Colorado – Jeff attended services in Crowley and preached in Sugar City on Sunday afternoons. People came from Crowley and Ordway.

  1. Called to trust God for provisions – a place to stay, a refrigerator, food, help with the vehicle.
  2. Chapter Four – Called to “Call-ege” # 3
  3. Called to Pillsbury Baptist Bible College (PBBC) in Minnesota – encouraged to go by Ed Nelson and Dr. Monroe Parker (from PBBC) – small school, plenty of opportunities to serve the Lord.
  4. Called and Using His Car – Jeff sold old car to pay for college expenses. His dad gave him the family car. Soon God was using that car to get Jeff and others to ministry assignments.
  5. Called to More Preaching – Chicago and other cities in Illinois, other area churches.
  6. Called to Do More Art Work – In his preaching opportunities as well as for school drama productions.
  7. Called to Use Other Talents – parts in plays and humorous monologues.
  8. Called to Date His Wife-to-Be –Marilyn and Jeff, merely aware of each other during their junior year, began to date during their senior year. Jeff’s credit count fell short so he had to take summer school and wait a year to graduate. After summer school, Jeff returned to Colorado, their future uncertain.
  9. Chapter Five – Called to Pastor At Galeton, Colorado – 1965-1968
  10. Galeton, Colorado, located 14 miles northeast of Greeley with barely a population of 100. This calling marks the beginning of Jeff’s 50 years of ministry.
  11. Pastor Ed Nelson invited Jeff to his office where two deacons from Galeton Baptist Church waited. They wanted him to preach until they had a pastor. After a couple of months, they wanted him to be the pastor even though he intended to go to seminary eventually.
  12. Called to Ordination – March 17, 1966
  13. Called to Reunite – Graduation at PBBC
  14. Marilyn, teaching music at PBBC, received advice – write to tell him that she looked forward to seeing him at graduation.
  15. Jeff arrived in a brand new red mustang – that did it for Marilyn.
  16. Marilyn visited Colorado and Jeff’s family in July, 1966.
  17. While driving back to Denver having done some sightseeing Jeff said, “I want to marry you.”

She asked, “Are you asking me?

After a moment, evaluating whether this was the time and place, he said, “Yes, will you marry me?”

Marilyn said, “Yes!”

On the way back they planned the wedding.

  1. His salary of $50.00 per week would not provide for a wife. He continued preaching on Sundays and Wednesdays, moved back to Denver to live with his grandmother and worked at a shoe store.
  2. Called to Small Town – well treated by all, especially by servers at a café until he went with Marilyn. No more special treatment.
  3. Called to Marry – June 10, 1967 – Plymouth Baptist Church, Plymouth, Minnesota.
  4. Called to a Busy First Month of Marriage – after a short trip home / honeymoon, they had to get back so that Jeff could officiate at a wedding- 8 days after their own. Jeff’s parents celebrated 25 years of marriage 13 days after they Jeff and Marilyn were married.
  5. Called to Enjoy Ministry –Music and Fellowship and Punctuality lessons.
  6. Called to More Education –Marilyn taught piano and organ lessons at PBBC in Denver. Jeff took a class at BBC during that time.
  7. Called to Even More Education – Symptoms of pregnancy in 1968 prompted the Alexanders to move to Minnesota for seminary before children started coming. Jeff sold his mustang and purchased a car that could haul a U Haul.
  8. Called to Central Seminary and White Bear Lake, Minnesota – 1968-1976
  9. Called to Secular Work – to provide for family – shoe salesman and fabric warehouse driver.
  10. Called to White Bear Lake, Minnesota – Pastor of Bellaire Baptist Church
  11. Called to Lead Others – Many people associated with Central Seminary and PBBC ministered in the church.
  12. Called to Support Missions – Jeff and Marilyn participated in monthly meetings of Twin City Association of the Minnesota Baptist Convention and Jeff held positions. During this time he learned of “Faith Promise” and it ignited a desire to support missions that never died.
  13. Called to Good Training – At Central Seminary, Jeff learned of expository preaching and going first to the Word and then later to commentaries.
  14. Called to Be Tested Sometimes –God provided the Alexander’s needs, often “in the nick of time.”
  15. Called to Grow – Church grew so they had to vacate the attached “parsonage.”
  16. Called into Association with Others – Minnesota Baptist Association
  17. Called Elsewhere- Bible Baptist Church, Terre Haute, IN
  18. Called to Terre Haute, Indiana – 1976-1978
  19. Called to Assist – Jeff wanted more experience learning from a more experienced Pastor. His job included Sunday School promotions and fundraising.
  20. Called to Some Productive Fun – Fossil collecting –family fun and future rewards for Sunday School children.
  21. Called to Loyalty – Pastoral staff resigned; Jeff was asked to consider to stay, but did not out of loyalty to the godly pastor.
  22. Called to Evangelism and Lay Ministry – 1979-1990
  23. Called to evangelism – January, 1990
  24. Called to Trust God –When salary from Bible Baptist Church ceased, the Alexanders trusted God to provide through offerings. Marilyn wrote in a journal regarding those occasions when God supplied.
  25. Called to Live in a “Hallway -”the 32 foot trailer that God provided for the growing family.
  26. Called to Laugh with God at “What we don’t need is another kid.”
  27. Called to Help –Helped Jeff’s mom after the death of her second husband and worked in the family construction company for several weeks.
  28. Called to Remember the Good and Hard Times – Parking in a Pastor’s driveway between meetings caused some neighbor problems.
  29. Called to Close Living – Children were growing up and needed some roots.
  30. Called to Spacious Living – Jeff’s brothers were building a house for them in Lakewood, Colorado.
  31. Called to Transition – Problems with the truck that hauled the trailer.
  32. Called to Lay Ministry – Jeff and Marilyn led the senior citizens’ ministry at SSBC. Jeff became involved in the Colorado Association of Christian Schools.
  33. Part Two / Chapter Nine– Chosen – 1979-1986
  34. Turning Point – Jeff came to a turning point in his understanding of God’s Word.
  35. Turning Point Topic covered in Jeff’s book: Predestined for Heaven? Yes!
  36. Chosen as in Calvinism –
  37. Total Depravity
  38. Unconditional Election
  39. Limited Atonement
  40. Irresistible Grace
  41. Perseverance of the Saints
  42. Chosen in Spite of Self – “We love Him, because He first loved us.” I John 4:19
  43. Chosen to Understand Through John 3:16 “God loved the world in this way (so)…”
  44. Chosen, Like Puritans – Arthur Pink, John Owen, Joseph Carroll
  45. Chosen to Bless Others with Understanding – First, Marilyn, then daughter Karen and many more.
  46. Chosen to Restraint –Teaching Sunday School at his church – though anxious to tell others (as are most new Calvinists), he didn’t want to cause trouble.
  47. Chosen Amid General Misunderstanding – Most modern Baptists are unaware of their theological heritage.
  48. Chosen to Give Out the Gospel – Since we do not know who God has chosen, we must declare the Gospel to all, trusting God with the rest.
  49. Chosen to Give Forth the Gospel –Jeff wrote a gospel track following this outline:
  50. God created us for His glory. Isaiah 43: 6,7
  51. We are required to live for His glory. I Corinthians 10:31
  52. We have failed to live for His glory. Romans 3:23
  53. We are subjects of God’s just condemnation. II Thessalonians 1:9
  54. God gave His only Son to provide salvation from this condemnation. I Timothy 1:15, 1 Peter 3:18
  55. The benefits purchased by the death of Jesus Christ belong to only to those who repent of their sin and trust Christ for their salvation. Acts 3:19


  • Part Three – Faithful –It is God who is faithful.
  1. Faithful in Lamar, Colorado: The First Few Years- 1990-1994
  2. Faithful in Candidating – did not hide position, but that information did not get to all individuals on committee.
  3. Faithful through the “Honeymoon.”
  4. Faithful When Criticized
  5. Faithful Though Maligned
  6. Why did all the people leave?
  7. Faithful by God’s Grace
  8. Faithful with Humor
  9. Faithful in Preaching and Writing – 1994-1999
  10. Faithful: Preaching Style and Character
  11. Faithful When Criticized and When Encouraged
  12. Faithful in Studying Our Issues
  13. Faithful in a New Position – Principal and Teacher at Lamar Christian School
  14. Faithful Although Disfellowshipped –Eschatology
  15. Faithful With the Faithful
  16. Faithful as Attendance Declined – 2000-2003
  17. Faithful in Debate with a National Figure – Robert L. Sumner – The Biblical Evangelist
  18. Faithful in the Face of Criticism
  19. Faithful in Subsidiary Ministries – cooking, men’s community Bible study
  20. Faithful to His Philosophy of Ministry.
  21. Faithful in New Pursuits – 2004-2009
  22. Faithful with Additions to the Family – through foster care.
  23. Faithful Despite Decline –moving to smaller building to save expenses.
  24. Faithful in Working at a Church Plant – Garden City, Kansas.
  25. Faithful in Missions – missionaries connected with Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals
  26. Faithful to the Fifty Year Mark – 2010-2015
  27. Faithful to the Garden City Church – had to discontinue, hopeful for future work.
  28. Faithful in More Personal Wrestling – “I think sometimes God brings to the brink in order to show us ourselves and our need for Him. Being discouraged motivated my study of the Word.” P. 175
  29. Faithful When God Encouraged
  30. Faithful With the Faithful in Lamar
  31. God Is Faithful!


While an outline can provide a great summary of a book, I encourage you to read if for yourselves. This book provides great encouragement for every called and chosen one (i.e. Christian) to be faithful during times of encouragement and discouragement. God is faithful


Beginning Sentences with Variety – Post Reformation

When our students write extended paragraphs we want them to use a variety of ways to begin each sentence. Each sentence in the paragraph should start with a different word or phrase. We should see a number of different types of structures at the beginning of each sentence. By using these beginnings writers avoid using too often used words like: and, but, so etc.

  • Prepositional Phrase Examples:
  • Since 1986 the Apache remained the best combat helicopter.
  • During the last decade we have grown old.
  • In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
  • To the train station, I must go.
  • At the store, I looked for green beans.
  • Verb + ing Examples:
  • Cruising at * miles per hour, the Apache helicopter performs ideally for a *** mission.
  • Beginning at the beginning makes sense.
  • Jumping up and down warms the body.
  • Reading opens the world to readers.
  • Screaming produces noise.
  • To + Verb Examples:
  • To improve on the Apache would be hard to do.
  • To write a book seems overwhelming to me.
  • To jump in where I do not belong produces trouble.
  • To wear old clothes does not put you in the lower class.
  • To ride in a jet invigorates me.
  • Two or more adjectives:
  • Sleek, speedy and agility, describe well the Stinger missile.
  • Tall and lanky individuals make good basketball players.
  • Short, stubby and broad legs belong to the land turtle.
  • Sweet, sticky and golden brown buns rounded off our breakfast.
  • Stingy and arrogant, the man walked away without a friend.

Trial and Triumph

Drawing on the Richard Hannula’s excellent book, Trial and Triumph – Stores From Church History students can learn history and writing skills while reading these mini-biographies and then summarizing them.

John Bunyan – Happy Pilgrim – 1628-1688

John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress and other books, began his best-selling allegory as if the story to follow was a dream. In real life, Bunyan earned his living as a traveling tinker. His sinful reputation of cursing preceded him as he traveled for his trade. To arrest him in his evil speech, God used a woman who told him that his behavior would spoil the children of the town. Realizing his sin, he determined to read the Bible and ask God to help him live a life pleasing God rather than himself. However, God had not saved him yet, but was using the Bible to work in his heart, specifically John 6:37, “My grace is sufficient for you.” Once God had saved him, he began to learn and then to preach His word. For that he was imprisoned for twelve years, released and later imprisoned another six months. During this second imprisonment he wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress. He also wrote, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. In the end he continued giving his visitor simple messages from God. At the age of 59 he died.


Jonathan Edwards – Great Awakening Theologian- 1703-1758

As a young pastor, Jonathan Edwards confronted the youth, under the influence of alcohol, who were carrying on loudly in the streets at night. Eventually, as Edwards continued to preach the Word faithfully, God was pleased to send a revival. While all did not see this as a revival, he continued steadfastly. After a time of cooling, God began using George Whitefield in New England. Edwards invited him to Northhampton, Massachusetts to preach. To God’s glory, the revival rekindled under Whitefield’s and Edward’s preaching. Diligent and changed people met for prayer Bible studies every evening. God used Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God,” in the lives of many people. Later, in 1749, Edwards realized that the practice of the church allowing non-believers to partake of the Lord’s Supper violated Scriptures. Climbing the steps to the pulpit, Pastor Edwards, preached on the new policy. Great and divisive conflict occurred leading to Edwards’ dismissal from the church. Subsequently, God used Edwards as a missionary to the Housatonic Indians at Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Next, the College of New Jersey (Princeton) called him to be the president. Within two months of his arrival at the college, he died of small pox. Calm and peaceful, he died ready to see his Savior, Jesus.

John Newton –Slave Trader Saved by Grace- 1725-1807

Loving and nurturing, John Newton’s mother taught him from Scriptures. Sadly, when John was 7 years old, his mother died. His father a sea captain was away much of the time. His step-mother spent little time with him and he no longer heard Christian truths from Scripture. Begging constantly, his father finally allowed John to go on the ship as a cabin boy when he was eleven years old. After a number of years he left his father’s ship and began working on other ships. His Christian teaching long forgotten, he turned to cursing and bad behavior. To make a living he ended up on a slave trading ship and gave no thought to those African families affected. After years of this kind of life, he heard from his father and he began to think about what the Bible taught regarding sin. God did a work in his life and he repented of his sins. Forgiven and rejoicing he returned to England and attended church faithfully and answered God’s calling on his life. He pastored the church in Olney. Besides preaching he wrote hymns for his church to sing, including: Amazing Grace, Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken and How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds in a Believer’s Ear.” On his tombstone one can read the words of John Newton: “My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.”

Sentence Variety in Writing – The Reformation

Our students can write extended paragraphs; now they are ready to learn variety in writing sentences: Simple, Compound and Complex sentences all have a place in mature writing. Students begin by writing the simple sentence – Subject + Verb and sometimes + Object – one complete thought. These provide a good beginning for students, but as students mature they need to expand to using Compound Sentences (Independent Clause + conjunction + Independent Clause). Later, Complex sentences (Independent Clause + one or more Dependent Clauses with coordinating conjunctions (in either order) enter the student’s writing. Extended paragraphs should have a variety of these types of sentences. Too many simple sentences make for an elementary, stilted paragraph. While, a good beginning, our end goal is for variety. Likewise, too many of the compound or complex sentences can lose the reader. *

We continue to draw on the excellent book by Richard Hannula, Trial and Triumph – Stores From Church History as writing prompts. These mini-biographies work well with learning to write. Paragraph samples for this lesson come from the section on the reformation.

 Trial and Triumph

Martin Luther – Father of the Reformation – 1483-1546

In early, 1517 Tetzal, a representative of Pope Leo, arrived in Wittenberg, Germany to tell the people of a way to receive forgiveness of their sin and the sin of their loved ones who were in “purgatory.” By the authority of the Pope, he sold “indulgences” with the simple refrain: “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” Many believed and bought these “indulgences.” Martin Luther, a young priest, who preached at the great Castle Church, knew better. He preached from God’s Word, “The just shall live by faith,” not by works or “indulgences.” On October 31, 1517, Luther posted 95 arguments (theses) on the Castle Church door to open dialog among the church leaders and people of Wittenberg. Instead, all of Europe entered the discussion. Pope Leo responded with declarations of warnings for Luther. While many followed Luther, others continued to follow the Pope’s teaching. Finally, Charles the Emperor, set up a meeting in Worms (Diet of Worms) where Luther faced church leaders. They gave him the opportunity to renounce his writings. His response: “I cannot renounce these works unless I am shown from the Scripture where I am in error. If I am shown my error from Scripture, I will be the first one to throw my books into the fire.” Further, “Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and councils alone, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” He was condemned as a heretic and sentenced to death. His friends, however, kidnapped him and gave him refuge while he continued to write and translate the Bible into German. He died at the age of 62.

John Calvin – Theologian of the Reformation – 1509-1563

Having escaped from the King of France, young John Calvin entered Geneva, Switzerland. He intended to stay one night en route to a place where he could study and write. However, William Farel visited him and boldly told him that he must stay and help in the reformation work in Geneva. After much argument, Calvin agreed to stay believing that God had used Farel to change his course. While in Geneva, he preached daily, visited the sick, started a college and wrote. Today, Calvin’s The Institutes of the Christian Religion still holds an important place in the body of Christian literature. Calvin and Farel participated in a religious debate in Lausanne. They faced religious leaders who claimed that they were not following the teachings of the church. During the first three days, Farel did all of the speaking. Finally, on the last day when one of the religious leaders specifically stated that they were not following church fathers such as Augustine, Turtullian and others. Calvin rose, and without looking quoted verbatim long passages from these leaders who taught the same teachings as Calvin and Farel. One of the religious leaders, confessed that he had been wrong and left the church along with many others in the days that followed. Even when bedridden, Calvin worked. Finally, his frail body failed and he died. Dying, he said to Farel, “Christ is our reward in life and death.”

John Knox – Scottish Reformer – c 1514-1572

John Knox grew up in a church that followed the teachings of the Pope. Along with many others in Scotland, he read the works of Martin Luther and other reformers. More importantly, he read the Bible. Knox trusted Christ having read John 17, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you are the only true God, and Jesus Christ, who you have sent.” Scotland was divided and Knox was sentenced to the galleys of ships chained along with hardened criminals for only trying to reform the church. He suffered the harsh conditions in the galleys for nearly two years. English Protestants intervened on his behalf. Knox preached in England regularly to King Edward VI and his court. Upon the sudden death of King Edward VI, Mary Tudor or “Blood Mary” took over with the intent of returning England to Catholicism. After a twelve year exile, Knox returned to Scotland. During his exile, he had been condemned as a heretic. Even at the threat of death many swarmed to hear this great reformer. In a confrontation with the queen, he spoke boldly: “I must obey God. His Word commands me to speak plainly and flatter no one on the face of the earth.” Weakened by his harsh treatment in the galleys, he suffered many ailments. Even so, he preached to the day of his death having been carried to the

*What is the difference between simple, compound and complex sentences?

A Book Review: Grammar Despair by Carolyn Henderson

A Book Review: Grammar Despair by Carolyn Henderson

Grammar Despair: Quick, simple solutions to problems like, “Do I say him and me or he and I?” provides a great resource for all writers. Henderson uses a conversational style to address common challenges in writing, using common sense ways to remember correctly written structures. For practice, she gives a number of examples of incorrect and correct grammar. In some cases she provides a “dumb ditty” to help reader to remember how to use the words.

While I may be one of those “uptight English teachers” that the author refers to on occasion, I still recommend this book to my writing students. Henderson does tell her readers that there are occasions when a writer must follow a criteria or writing style. We high school English teachers must prepare our students to follow the guidelines that college English professors and publishers require. However, Henderson does give the writer choices in some situations. On occasion, she explains why she chose one way or another to illustrate that formal writing differs from informal writing.

Henderson divides her chapters into three main categories: 1) Words that sound the same but are spelled (and used) differently; 2) Writing mechanics and 3) Things we didn’t worry about 150 years ago.

In the first category, she gives the reader simple ways to remember when to use it’s or its; you’re and your; they’re, their or there; well or will; then or than; two, to or too; finally are or our. These are the kinds of things that some people cannot seem to remember so having a quick reference is great!

Then, in the second category, Henderson gives the reader simple guidelines regarding capitalization, sentences, paragraphs, word choices as well as a discussion of the passive vs. active voice.

Finally, in the third category, she covers issues such as gender and online writing including writing e-mails and blogs. She cautions the writer that texting is not appropriate in every situation. Appropriately, she suggests that undue repetition of words may interfere with an otherwise clear message.

If you want a guidebook for punctuation problems, watch for Volume II in the Everyday Grammar Series, Punctuation Problems –Let’s Solve Them due out in 2013. I look forward to seeing this book when it is available.

You may get to know Carolyn Henderson on her blog: She also works with her artist husband,