Is Catechism Only for Catholics?

is_catechism_only_for_catholicsIt happened while I was scrolling through my Instagram feed. I had found five minutes to call my own, and used it to peek in on a few homeschool friends who never fail to inspire and edify. As I was passing out hearts to all the lovely images greeting my eye, one post in particular had me pausing and taking a second look. A fellow mama was extolling the beauty discovered in a new catechism curriculum, and this got me thinking. Is catechism only for Catholics, or should I be teaching this too?

cat·e·chism
noun

a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians.

Now, you’ll kindly forgive my ignorance. Catechism has never been a subject ever discussed in any of the churches I’ve attended. Not once. I was familiar with the traditional Catholic practice, but not within my own non-denominational establishment. We firmly believe in teaching the Bible and worldview apologetics, but the word catechism was something specifically associated with being Catholic.

Didn’t I feel sheepish and slightly bothered I had never come across this concept in all my years attending church, nor in the homeschooling community itself. How was this possible? Never one to let that stop me, I spent the next week doing as much research as possible on the topic; praying about what the Lord wanted for our family. Two weeks later, after confirmation from the Lord, we began our studies.

God is good, and works in mysterious ways. It seems while we might not have been going through a specific set of questions and answers – formal catechism – our family had been learning these concepts for years! As we began our study and proceeded to memorize exact responses to questions, it reaffirmed we have been on the right track all along teaching our children basic Bible doctrine and tenets of our faith. The Lord is truly amazing.

We might be new to the concept of formal catechism, but we’re quickly learning its rich history and the benefit of including this in our homeschool studies. Side-by-side, we quiz each other and encourage one another in our memorization. By the Lord’s leading we are strengthening our Biblical skills and drawing closer to Him.

Isn’t it amazing what five minutes of encouragement can do?

Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
~ Proverbs 22:6

Your Turn!: Share your favorite resources for teaching catechism! We’d love to learn more.

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Review: Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason

“To demonstrate the veracity of Scripture, this book will address every alleged Bible contradiction that I have seen posted on the Internet. Whereas there may be a few obscure claims of contradictions that I have not seen, this list covers the most often used examples…”
~ Jason Lisle

review_keeping_faith_in_an_age_of_reasonWe’re coming to the end of another school year in a few short weeks. While half of me is wondering where in the world the time has gone, the other half is already gearing up for another fun learning adventure. As we prepare our routine and curriculum, the first area of study which occupies my attention is Bible and logic. We’ve spent this year laying a solid foundation in fallacy detecting. With the help of Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason from Jason Lisle and Master Books, it looks like our studies will just keep on getting better.

Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason is a thorough study of over four hundred alleged Bible contradictions circling the world-wide web, and solid answers to each claim. Backed by Scripture reference, Mr. Lisle does an outstanding job of helping the reader define terms, understand common fallacies, and delve deeper into the Word of God. Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason is broken down into helpful categories including: Quantitative Differences; Names, Places, and Genealogies; Timing of Events; Cause and Effect; Differences in Details; and Yes or No?. While readers are welcome to read through each section in order, the beauty of this resource is that there is no wrong way to study these claims. There is no priority of one claim over another, nor a specific order in which they must be read; readers are encouraged to prioritize each selection according to their needs and still gain a great deal of wisdom.

As I launch into planning the upcoming school year, this resource will definitely be playing a key role in our daily Bible lessons. While no age is specified for this particular resource, having giving the book a thorough read, I believe Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason will be best appreciated and beneficial to those above elementary levels of education. Our plan is to have our three girls – in high school and junior high – join me in reading through a short set of claims with open Bibles at the ready. The goal will be to methodically work through two to three ‘contradictions’ daily; spending approximately twenty to thirty minutes during our time together.

Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason is exactly what I was looking for in the next step of our learning adventure. I appreciate Mr. Lisle’s introduction to common fallacies. It’s as if this book picks right up from where we are leaving off this learning year. I like that each claim stands on its own – allowing us the freedom to move within the text at our own discretion. I love that each claim lists only Bible references; encouraging our children to not take anyone’s claims as truth, but to seek out Scripture for themselves. Keeping Faith in the Age of Reason is incredible! While, in truth, we have other resources of this nature which lay out alleged Bible contradictions, my husband and I both agree this book exceeds them all.

Building on our foundation of fallacy detecting, this fantastic resource will help my children better understand Scripture, strengthen their faith, and arm them with the answers they need. I am excited to be adding Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason to our learning routine next year, and know we will be blessed by this thorough study of God’s Word. With our most important lessons ready to go, I am now able to better focus attention on the remainder of our learning adventure. As always, this coming year is going to be amazing!

If you’d like to learn more about Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason and Master Books please visit them at their website – where you can download a preview or place your order for this incredible resource – and on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube!

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Your Turn!: How do logic, apologetics, and catechism play a role in your family’s learning routine?

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Review: Captain Absolutely from Focus On The Family

Review_Captain_AbsolutelyComics are all the rage in our home. From my husband’s work to classic Superman, we enjoy a good graphic novel. So it was with much anticipation we reviewed Captain Absolutely from Focus On The Family. Today, we’re excited to share this fun, educational, Biblical resource with you!

Captain Absolutely is a graphic novel which focuses on using a Biblical worldview to battle everyday challenges such as fear and guilt. In Captain Absolutely we meet our hero, Captain Absolutely, and learn how he gained his incredible power. We are taken through a series of subsequent events in which Captain Absolutely meets several villains – Dr. Relative, Cap’n Crastin, Fear Chemist, and more – who wish to ruin the town of Metropolitanville and take over the world. Captain Absolutely uses his knowledge of Scripture to fight each enemy, while kindly showing them the error of their ways.

Captain Absolutely is a full-color paperback graphic novel. The pages within are printed on glossy paper, in tune with traditional modern comics. The illustrations themselves are fun. The story is fast-paced and silly while faithfully teaching Biblical truths, complete with Scripture reference for each argument the Captain uses to defeat his foe.

As Captain Absolutely touches on important Biblical topics and discusses the gravity of truth, we handed our story to an expert both in the field of comics and apologetics… my husband. In addition, both our oldest daughter, our son, and myself read through the story.  This was not a required read for the kids, merely something we strategically placed in anReading_Captain_Absolutely advantageous position of the learning environment to encourage interest. The reading took approximately forty-five minutes for my son and husband to read through together; about twenty for me and my daughter individually.

We found Captain Absolutely functions under the assumption the Bible is true. We are presented with basic worldviews and how a Biblical worldview responds to each argument. This is not a philosophical defense of truth, but a sharing of Biblical wisdom. With that said, all of us enjoyed this graphic novel. My husband found it to be a good foundation for younger children learning Biblical truths. He recommended the story for children aged 8-12, but noted finishing the entire novel in one read might be a bit taxing. To fully absorb the concepts being presented and prevent fatigue, perhaps reading Captain Absolutely over a few days time might be of benefit. My daughter and I thought the stories to be quite silly, with many good points made for the reader to think on. Our son laughed continually through the reading; the storyline made for many good talking points and further truths to be shared. He thought the silliest “villains” were Edward Snooze – who fought Captain Absolutely with pillows – and Cap’n Crastin – who’s heartfelt desire was to be on television.

When passing comics to our children, we parents are continually on the lookout for appropriate content. Captain Absolutely met all of our requirements: It was clean, engaging to the mind, easy to follow, and as an added bonus, pointed our children to Christ. Our son learned a great deal through his reading, and this initial story has laid beautiful groundwork for future discussion of truth and Biblical wisdom.

If you’d like to learn more about Focus On The Family, as well as Captain Absolutely, please visit them at their website. You can also find Focus on The Family on social media sites such as FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube.

To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into Captain Absolutely please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: Is there a Christian comic you’d recommend?

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Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zones

stepping_out_of_our_comfort_zonesI like my well-ordered life. I like to think I know my limits and just how far I can push them. There are certain activities I know I am capable of and willingly engage in. Then, there are others which I find myself thrust into; activities which are completely out of my comfort zone.

For some of us, being outside of our comfort zone is being in large crowds. For others it is public speaking. Once, the Lord asked me to abandon my comfort zone and speak at a local women’s conference. Talk about making a girl nervous!

How many of us went out of our comfort zone to homeschool? We dealt with personal fears and doubts, deviated from the normal path, and stepped out into unfamiliar territory. The first few steps were nerve-racking ones, but eventually we discovered we found our footing.

No matter where you comfort zone lies, let me encourage you to be willing to occasionally escape your comforts and allow the Lord to move.

Sometimes we are fearful of venturing into the unknown because we believe we lack the ability, talent, or knowledge to achieve in a new arena. What I’ve discovered over the years is that, for me, this is true! I do lack what it takes to achieve. What’s amazing is that while I am lacking, the Lord is always faithful. It is He who helps me to move past my discomfort and branch into new territory. When I do this, He is magnified and given glory; not because I am wonderful, but because He does wonderful things through the simplicity which is me.

As always, when we learn, our children learn right along with us! When we stepped out of our comfort zone to start homeschooling, our children experienced our faithfulness and were blessed. As we continue to follow the leading of the Lord, our children see the fruitfulness of our choices. As our babies grow into adults they will experience first hand a life well lived for the Lord and His ability to see us through anything, even those things which are outside our natural boundaries.

Funny thing… As the Lord begins to stretch us, we are learning, growing, and increasing in wisdom. What we thought we could not do, we now find ourselves succeeding in and achieving for His honor. He is helping us become more.

The Lord doesn’t need the most intelligent, the strongest, or the greatest; He only needs the willing. Are you willing to step outside your comfort zone and be used?

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
~ Philippians 4:13

Your Turn!: Have you ever stepped outside your comfort zone and been incredibly blessed? Share your story with us!

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Foolish Confidence

ConfidenceIt took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.  ~Sally Field.

Have you ever noticed that most quotes regarding confidence, focus on me (well, not me personally, but the universal me)? am going to rise above this. am better than this. No one is going to put me down.

Confidence seems to be a huge issue these days. People don’t have enough confidence in what they do. Kids don’t have enough confidence in who they are. The country doesn’t have confidence in the state of the economy.

I wonder if the reason that we have such a lack of confidence, is because we are putting our confidence in the wrong things.

From experience, I have found that the last person I want to have confidence in is me! I fail, I fall, and I make bad choices all the time. My brain fails me, my body is slowly getting older, and I have never been witty.

I am not responsible for the face that God gave me, why glory in it? I am not accountable for being born healthy and whole; why take credit for it? The knowledge that I do have, is not of my own making, but the gift that other people have instilled in me.

chickenconfidenceHere in America, especially, it seems that we favor the notion of self-confidence. Yet, if you look at the state of our nation, we have the highest failure rate in our schools. If we are so confident in what we are, why aren’t we performing better?

Again, I would argue that we are putting our confidence in the wrong place. Our confidence needs to lie in something other than us; it needs to lie in God.

When we have confidence in the Lord, we don’t have to rely on our own strength; his strength is enough (Phil. 4:13). When we have confidence in the Lord, we have no reason to fear; He is our helper (Heb. 13:6).

Confidence in the Lord promises reward (Heb. 10:35-36), it guides us (Prov. 3:6), and grants peace (Romans 15:13). There is nothing we cannot do through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Whether it is through our work, our homeschooling, our marriage, or just everyday life; we need to remember to have confidence. Not confidence that lies in ourselves but confidence in the one who will never fail. True confidence is in Christ and Christ alone.

Do you struggle with confidence issues? What reminds you of where your confidence lies?