Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Gospel

I'll introduce the good news of Christ's redeeming work with one theme that should stand alone: grace.  Grace is oftentimes classified as "God's unmerited favor."  I find that this particular phrase needs defining.  I'm not a huge fan of using that term to define grace because it leaves too many people confused, in my opinion.  What is merit?  What is unmerited?  What is favor?  Can the people in the room explain that?

Grace is unmerited favor, yes.  Grace is goodness that has been granted to us when we were incapable of working for it.  Grace is our account being wiped clean when the debt was impossible to pay--even over a lifetime.  Grace is the kindness of God to us in the sending of His Son.  Grace is the kindness to us in that Christ Jesus died for our sins.  Christ Jesus died in our place.  We deserved the punishment and He bore that punishment in His body on the cross for us (1 Peter 2:24).

Grace is your ability to read this.  Grace is your ability to breathe.  Grace is the roof over your head at night when you sleep.  Grace is the food you have eaten today--or will eat today.  Grace is your mode of transportation each day (wheelchair, legs, bicycle, car, motorcycle, whatever).  Grace is the clothing you wear each day.  Grace is the relationships you have.  Grace is the bank account that bears your name.  Grace is the eyesight God has granted you (if you can see), or maybe blindness is the grace that God has granted you.  Grace is seeing in color.  Grace is tasting food that is appealing and delightful.  Grace is your ability to feel positive touch (hug, kiss, massage, warm, water, etc.).  Grace is your ability to communicate.

Heaven is grace.  Repentance is grace.  Hope is grace.  Joy is grace.  Peace is grace.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Discernment and Music

Once I was at a behind-the-stage, before-the-concert meet and greet and the band was informally interviewed by the people in attendance.  At one point, I was quite disappointed with what the band members had to say.  (I won't mention the band.)  They were asked this question: "What books are you reading right now?"  They were given a golden ticket opportunity to say The Bible followed by a few theologians who are strong in teaching sound doctrine.  And, they did neither.  Nothing of what they were reading had anything to do with magnifying or exalting Christ Jesus as Lord, Savior, Master, King, Redeemer, or the like.  I couldn't find the gospel in their lyrics.  Sadly, I couldn't find our Savior on display.

Here is one artist to consider:  Need To Breathe.  This particular band does not have an "About" tab on their website.  So, I cannot easily ascertain their theological position, their motivation for what they do, or their desire to advance the gospel for the glory of God.

Monday, May 12, 2014


I don't typically draw your attention to contemporary bands.  I am a lover of hymns, personally.  What I love most about hymns is that they are saturated with doctrine.  Secondly, they make much of the trinity. Thirdly, they preach the gospel.  I cannot say that about many contemporary "Christian bands."

Even in light of all of that,  I wanted to highlight two bands that came across my radar recently.  I'll share one with you today.  I'll share the other one with you later this week.

I hope you are blessed by the words of these two songs.  The band is Unspoken.  The two songs below are Set A Fire and Call It Grace.

Because of His grace,
Google Search Terms: Melissa Culver, blog, School Daze, music, band, worship, Unspoken, Set A Fire, Call It Grace, contemporary Christian

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day Jpg

If you are the digital file junkie (graphic design type) here might be a cute and free way to encourage your mom this Mother's Day.

Take any images from the year (grandkids or family) and squeeze them all into one long jpg file.  Then share it with them on Facebook.  If they know and love the Lord, add scripture to bless them and others.  If you already know their password, feel free to hijack their account and add the image to their cover.  It's that easy.

Here's one I made for our grandmas:

Abundantly Blessed,
Google Search Terms: Melissa Culver, blog, School Daze, gift ideas, free, Mother's Day, simple, easy, Facebook, digital file, images, bless, encourage

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Entertainment And Discipleship

So, here's a small list of programs (television or big screen) where one or more parent is absent:

Bambi (Bambi) has no father during the movie and then his mother is shot dead.

Belle (Beauty and the Beast) was raised by her single father.  She then falls in love with a beast after he traps her in his castle.

Nick Russo (Blossom) raises his three children without his wife.

Chicken Little (Chicken Little) seeks his father's approval when he truly feels like things are falling from the sky.  No mother is present in the film.

Cinderella (Cinderella) is without parents.  She lives with her step-mother.

Phillip Drummond's wife died (Diff'rent Strokes) and he chooses to care for three children (two adopted).

Dumbo (Dumbo) is without a father in the early bit of the movie and then is separated from his mother.

Bill Davis (Family Affair) raises his brother's two children.  A helpful butler was there to keep things in order.

Danny Tanner (Full House) raised his three girls with the help of two friends in San Francisco.

Miley Cyrus / Hannah Montana (Hannah Montana) was raised by her father has her mother was absent.

James (James And The Giant Peach) is raised by his aunts because his parents were eaten by a large rhinoceros.

Jasmine (Aladdin) only has a father in the film.  The street urchin Aladdin, her new love, comes from a parent-less home.

Jeremy and Jemima (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) have only one parent (present) in this adventurous film  The book made mention of mom, but the movie omitted her completely.

Captain Merrill Stubing (The Love Boat) raises his daughter on the set of a cruise liner.

Maxwell Sheffield (The Nanny) hires a woman to serve as his nanny so that he can manage the care of his home and his children.

During the program Murphy Brown the main character (aforementioned) has a child and then raises said child without the father.

Mowgli (The Jungle Book) has no parents throughout the entire movie.

My Three Sons showcased a single dad raising his three sons--set back in the 1960's.

Nemo's (Finding Nemo) mother is killed early in the movie.  He is then separated from his father and spends most of the movie trying to escape the fish tank as he wants to look for him.

Opie Taylor (The Andy Grifith Show) is raised by his father who serves as sheriff in his community.

A family with five children (The Pacifier) loses their father early in this movie as he serves in undercover military operations.  Shane Wolf is deployed to supervise the family and serves as their nanny.

The twins in The Parent Trap are each a part of what once was a nuclear family.  These girls work hard to get their divorced parents back together.

Parenthood showcases a single mom with a "deadbeat rocker ex-husband."

Pinocchio (Pinocchio) was raised by a man: Geppetto.

Pocahontas (Pocahontas) was raised by her father.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Biblical Counseling and Discipleship

I stumbled upon a YouTube channel the other day packed full of biblical counseling videos.  I will only post two here, but you can find several videos on the YouTube channel itself.  These videos are sponsored by BCDASoCal (Biblical Counseling and Discipleship Association of Southern California).

Here I have posted a video of Dr. Ernie Baker as he teaches on forgiveness.

Here I have posted a video of Dr. Bob Somerville.  He is sharing on the topic of
Trials and Suffering

I hope you find the truths contained here to be a rich a beautiful blessing.  I sure did.

Google Search Terms: Melissa Culver, School Daze, forgiveness, Dr. Ernie Baker, BCDA, biblical counseling and discipleship association, video, practicing forgiveness, biblical forgiveness, the biblical response to being forgiven, how do I forgive, what does forgiveness look like, Dr. Bob Somerville, trials and suffering, how do I biblically reconcile suffering and faith

Friday, April 18, 2014

God's Power on Display

My last post (Broken for Us) highlighted the brutality of the cross, but it stopped short of putting the resurrection on display.  Today's post will highlight more of God's amazing work.

Lately, I have been reading Rid of My Disgrace by Justin Holcomb and Lindsey Holcomb.  There, the authors highlight the great exchange: your sin in exchange for Christ's righteousness.  They also speak of the Upside Down Kingdom.  I first heard about The Upside Down Kingdom when I read Kraybill's book with that very title.  With those themes in mind, here are a few concepts to ponder:

     1. God is just.  And functioning within His character it is necessary that wrongs be dealt with.  Therefore, punishment for our sins is vital for God to remain true to His character.  So, what must be done?  Someone needs to face that punishment.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, bore the punishment for our sins that we would be set free from the wrath of God and the punishment we deserve (Jeremiah 25:15, Luke 22:42).  Jesus drank the cup of God's wrath for us.
     2. Elyse Fitzpatrick in her book Give Them Grace talks about Jesus being our older brother who got punished for the crimes we did.  When you stole the cookies from the cookie jar...He got punished.  It wasn't a spank on the hand and a two-week grounding; it was death.  It wasn't just cookies and it wasn't a jar; it was cosmic treason: sin.
     3. Jesus Christ "bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by His wounds you were healed" (1 Peter 2:24).  So, here we have the great exchange.  He took our sin.  He gave us His righteousness.  Without His righteousness one cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 22:1-14).
    4. We were enemies of God and He makes us His children (Romans 5:101 John 3:1).  We were orphans and He adopts us (Ephesians 1:4-8).