“Live for God”, play-by-play

The Live for God Bible Study started today.  It's actually going on right now, and they're in my classroom.  Their key verse today is Philippians 2.14, with the title-"God wants us to be minty fresh!"  And my boy, Malcolm, is reading Proverbs 4 right now. 

I'm so proud of our girls, Crystal, Danielle and Victoria, who are leading.  They're so stinkin' awesome!  I love this!  And I'm listening to one of them trying to convict the kids of gossiping…"Don't lie, I know you've gossiped!"  Wow, this is great…I mean, they've got a long way to go in leading a Bible study, but this is their first one:)  (It is kind of hard not to step in though.)

Now they're instructing the kids about the 30 Second Kneeldown, where they kneel at their lockers for 30 seconds in the morning to pray.  "If they ask you what you're doing, tell them you're praying for them!  And do it!"

Memory verse time-pick a verse to write on your card and memorize the Scripture this week, but first you have to figure out what it means.

"Who's going to work on this?  Be honest!  Be honest with your parents!  Be honest with us!" 

Oh….I could go on, but I won't.  I'm pumped for this group of kids.  I truly hope that the fire that I see in the leaders catches flame in the rest of the group, and I pray that it grows.  They're so cool.  =)

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SYATP

It was a slightly chilly day in September, back in 1993, when I stood at the flag pole of Neshaminy Junior High school with my friend, Andrew, to pray for our school.  It was my first See You at the Pole day, and there were so many emotions flying high in me.  My dad and I picked Andrew up early enough for us to go pray for some time, and still have be able to get to class on time.  I recall a teacher coming out to join us, but I never had her and never really got to know her.  A few people stopped to ask us what we were doing.  "We're praying for you," we responded.  Throughout the day several people questioned us about our stance by the pole that morning…it was a day to stand up for your faith or die of embarrassment.  I remember that year for so many reasons…Biology class when I had to stand up for what I believed, Jason Coleman committing suicide, and Social Studies class-in which we learned about all the major religions, and because I wanted to know more about how to reach other people, I got something like a 115% on the final test because I'd memorized all that info.  It was definitely an interesting year, to say the least.

My next three years at Neshaminy High School held many more moments of sharing my faith with teachers and peers…it always started with See You at the Pole.  See You at the Pole is always on a Wednesday-the third one in September-on which students all over the country (world?) stand around their school flagpoles and pray.  The standard time is about 7am, but if your school starts earlier, you can do it any time.  It's a day when teenagers all over are endeavoring to make a statement and to simply pray together.  At NHS it always started our Wednesday morning prayer group and our Bible study (every Tuesday after school).  We had a prayer group, that was about 30 people when I graduated, that prayed in our cafeteria during breakfast every Wednesday morning.  We would pray for each other, our classmates, our teachers, our administrators, our country.  No one really led it…we just knew we had to do it.  People would randomly join us every now and then, just because we'd become somewhat of a team:) 

Fast forward to today.  It was See You at the Pole day, and I joined one of our 7th graders and my friend, Andrea, on the grass in front of our school to pray for my co-workers, my students, my administration, and my community (of Hamtramck).  At one point, I heard one of my students get out of her car and yell "Ms. Burton!!!!"  I chose not to answer, out of reverence for what was happening in that moment.  I didn't notice that she came over, and that Andrea asked her if she wanted to join us.  I'd started to pray a prayer that was from deep within my heart…and I had no idea that she was standing there.  Huh.  God is so funny…He didn't let on that she was standing there.

I felt a bit different this morning…like I was bolder when I was 14.  How did I become tainted?

This past summer when God clearly showed me a vision of a Bible study happening in my classroom this school year.  Hmmm.  I knew that I couldn't start one.  That would literally be illegal.  I knew who in my class would be interested, but I wasn't really sure how this would happen exactly.  God even gave me a verse!  These past couple of months I've been handing this to the Lord and asking Him to guide this into existence. 

This past week, a couple of girls at our school, that go to Real Church, asked to start a Bible study.  They asked if they could have it in my classroom on Mondays, after school.  Then today they went around to all the classes to tell the school about it.  "Live for God" was the title of the flyer they handed out to our kids.  About 10 kids in my class signed up, saying that they were interested (including 2 Muslim kids that I'm pretty sure didn't know what they were signing up for :).  Most of the other kids I expected to sign up, and 2 of the boys with extreme anger issues also signed up.

Honestly, do you know what happens when you see a vision happening right before your eyes?  Do you have any idea what it was like to hold back tears today? 

If you happen to think of me on a Monday, ask God to speak in our Bible study, please.  There just might be a revival in my school, yet, this year;)

 

Day 2. Made about 10 kids cry.

Okay, it's not as bad as it sounds, but today I decided that I either made a great choice, or a horrible choice…Here's what happened.  (and this is our 2nd day in)

For Social Studies in 5th grade, I'm teaching about early America.  Wanting to read some great historical fiction, I chose this book called Fever 1793.  It's about a time when yellow fever hit Philadelphia and wiped out about 5,000 people in 3 months!  The story opens with a girl suddenly losing her good friend to the fever.  So the literacy teacher that I am, I decide to allow my students to build a connection with this main character, who has lost someone close to her!  (Sounds innocent enough, right?)

In their journals they were to respond in one of two ways:  a)tell about a time that someone you know passed away, and how you felt, or b) tell what you think it would be like to experience something like that…what if you found out that your best friend passed away in the night…how would that effect you?

Okay, I admit it's a little deep for 5th graders…but in my class, we go deep.  What I didn't foresee is the number of kids that I would have sobbing and wailing over the thoughts of losing people that were dear to them…an uncle, a brother, a dad committing suicide, a grandfather…I'm so not kidding, the list went on.  Thankfully (and I say that loosely), some kids were just writing about a pet, or they didn't actually have any experiences to write about, but wow…the ones that did!  Good night, I'm sure that it was good for them in one sense, but I simply didn't have the man-power to counsel all of the kids that were needing it right then!  I've never, ever seen so many kids passionately crying in one room before. 

I stepped out of my room for a moment to tell my friend that I felt like a horrible teacher!  …I mean, 10 kids…I made 10 kids cry today!  Aye!

Stuff Christians Like

I have to give this guy, Jon, mad props (am I allowed to say, "mad props?") for his ultimately hilarious blog. (thanks for sharing, kt:)  For someone who has grown up with church culture, the site has caused my jaw to hurt more than twice this weekend, due to the uncontrollable laughter erupting from my belly, all the way up to the top of my head.  If you did not grow up in church culture, you might enjoy reading how christians actually can make fun of themselves.  If you did…set aside at least an hour sometime to peruse the site.  www.stuffchristianslike.blogspot.com