A brief introduction to a sermon on 2 Samuel 13-14 This is a sermon preached on an ordinary Sunday to an ordinary congregation from the extraordinary book of 2Samuel in the Old Testament. In the sweep of bible history, where kingdoms rise and fall, we are drawn face to face with the evil of sexual [...]Read More…
Within the community of Prairie alumni are both those who have prospered spiritually and ministered successfully, as well as those who have struggled spiritually and endured years of emotional pain and suffering, whether from physical and/or sexual abuse, legalistic treatment, and emotional abandonment, or whether from poor choices, discouragement, and defeat.
Our desire is for this site to be a place where we can extend a hand of love and acceptance to one another, regardless of where each one is on the journey of life; where those who need emotional and spiritual support can find it, and where those who are willing to open their hearts and lives to soothe the hurts and minister to the needs of hurting fellow alumni can do so.
Our goal is that all will find this to be a place of acceptance, support, recovery, and healing, as we offer to listen, respect, love, and share resources to help one another to grow in grace.
They were the hot, lazy, endless days of mid-summer when time seemed to stand still. School was out in our small prairie town, and there were boundless activities to occupy a young boy and his band of friends. We all had daily chores to be taken care of, mowing the lawn, pulling weeds in the garden or shelling fresh peas from the previous day’s pickings. Then we’d be off to the swimming pool, or down to the barbershop on Main Street where the proprietor would let us play snooker on the tables in the back. When all else failed, we could be found in the “trees” laboring to build rickety forts connected by secret underground tunnels that would be the terror of today’s protective parents.
A local grade school teacher and his family lived on our street, and had just embarked on an extended vacation. We had grown accustomed to seeing strange activities in their home, for they were not the typical family of our conservative neighbourhood. This was the early 70’s and our teacher’s sons had recently returned from travels abroad to unknown destinations, bringing back the culture and trappings of those turbulent times. Their unusual clothing, long hair, and mannerisms spoke to our young and fertile imaginations of strange and mysterious activities. Vigilant neighbourhood parents discussed these things in whispered conversations, falling silent whenever any of us youngsters approached. We all had our suspicions, and in such circumstances the safest bet was to assume the worst possible scenario.
It was into this setting that Jim and his family entered, as they had volunteered to be house sitters for our vacationing teacher. We soon discovered that Jim was a talented wood carver. Years later, his hand-carved duck and turkey calls would bring national recognition and fame, but this was long before that. Jim did not seem to mind the presence of our small band and we would often gather on his porch to watch him whittle away at a piece of dark wood with his pocket knife. Slowly, the piece of wood began to take the shape of a custom gunstock. We all admired this work with great interest and even began to feel that somehow, due only to our frequent presence, we had become part of this magnificent task.
One day, we had a most unexpected surprise. As was his custom, Jim left the gunstock on the porch when he went inside for lunch. Shortly after, we gathered there and it was quickly noticed that the gunstock was missing. Continue Reading…
Weeding out some myths
by Andrew Schmutzer
Pastors are shepherds, and shepherds are “first responders.” This is a core truth, a biblical charge that defines both the shepherds and the sheep of God’s church (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2). This means that church leaders are on the front lines of ministry to those in their church who have been sexually abused, often the first to hear from a victim.
However, many abuse victims view the church with distrust. And the shepherds often don’t know how to guide the sexually broken. To help build greater understanding between these groups, I want to help dismantle some significant myths, based on my background as a licensed minister, professor of the Bible and abuse survivor myself.
The Gospel of Peace by James B. Richards
Book review by Paul Phibbs
We worship the God of Peace, Jesus is the Prince of Peace and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the gospel of Peace. Hundreds of times in scripture the Lord tells us not to fear and yet today in our society and churches we are riddled with fear. Fear helps fill our mental hospitals. It moves devout people to a performance oriented Christian walk impossible to live up to. Ultimately, they may withdraw from any meaningful faith. Legalism can be tormenting; Dr. Richards explains how you can be set free.
Dr. Richards reminds us of the meaning of the cross and what was accomplished there. We see how we can experience an intimate relationship with a loving God, free of fear, filled with a peace we may have considered impossible to achieve. If you are struggling with a sense of rejection or condemnation because of your inability to measure up to a “religious” standard, then this book will provide the encouragement you need.
It is a book that will help any sincere person experience the righteousness of Christ in their lives and allow their heart to be transformed by the GOSPEL OF PEACE.
Every workday for the past ten-plus years as I have sat at my desk, the towering old pecan tree outside my second-story window in the Thompson Building has been my constant companion. It is a landmark on our campus and I feel fortunate to have been able – between tasks in the Registrar’s office – to look out the window and feel refreshed just by gazing at its bright green leaves and strong, textured branches.
I am not sure just how old the tree is, but it has been there for decades and is loved by students and staff alike. Each autumn when it drops its precious produce to the ground, young and old scramble to grab the pecans and carry them off to crack and enjoy. A few years ago when ambitious plans for a new building called for the removal of the tree, older members of the staff family protested, “Not that tree!” Much to our relief, due to economic restraints, those plans were dropped and the tree was spared.
The tree had been just something I enjoyed looking at, a pleasant diversion from the computer screen, until one particularly dark period in the life of our organization when God used it as an object lesson. We were going through a discouraging time and some of our personnel had lost hope and thrown in the towel. One of my co-workers wondered aloud in my presence if things would ever get better. It was then that the first lesson of the pecan tree crystallized in my mind and I shared it with the downhearted colleague.
Spiritual Depression – Its Causes and Cures by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Have you ever found yourself in a spiritual funk, paralyzed with foreboding, unable to move on from your past? Have you ever felt that you had crossed a line of no return, and that there was no forgiveness left in the heart of God for you? Have you ever felt that you were not really worthy of God’s love, that somehow, your best efforts were just not enough to warrant His favor? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are not alone in this very common condition, and you might just find this book to be written with you specifically in mind.
“Spiritual Depression” is a timeless collection of twenty-one sermons given by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in the Westminster Chapel in London, and was first published in 1964. Jones was also a medical doctor and one who suffered from depression often throughout his ministry; his sermons on this type of depression were prepared for “the common people” and present an objective and practical perspective free from the influences of pop psychology.
I have a hard time believing that I am 50 years old. I have a harder time believing that she is 30.
I met her in the summer of 1981. I realized her existence from a white stick with a little red “plus” sign, in my tiny little bathroom, in my tiny little basement suite. “Joy” was not the outcome of that meeting. I would say it was more like panic.
What am I going to do?
Much of that time is a blur in my memory, however a few things stick out pretty clearly. I remember feeling very alone. I told “him,” but rather than getting the emotional support that I so craved, Read More…
What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey
This book is more than just a book about “grace,” as we learned the word when we were in Sunday School, as small children. Many of us have memorized multiple scripture verses containing the word, “grace.” We know the word. We live the word… Or, do we?
I considered myself a person who was not judgmental and who understood and practiced forgiveness. I read this book, and I realized that it is not enough to have the “head knowledge” (and successful application of that head knowledge), but that one needs to truly understand what “grace” really means, from the heart. Only then, can we live, breathe, and extend grace, not only to others, but to ourselves, as well. Only then, can we truly understand what a gift we have been given and learn, not only how to give of ourselves, but to find joy in the giving, to find joy in that which is simply called, “Grace.”
Come, learn through the words of this gifted author, Mr. Philip Yancey, and his insights on “grace” and what grace is and means in our lives.
Submitted by Mim Phibbs.
“I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 30:17
Have you prayed many times for God’s restoring hand in your life, and yet you can’t seem to get over those memories and emotions that cause you so much pain? God’s healing sometimes happens overnight, but most often it takes time. Take comfort in knowing that each day in some small way, He is bringing you through, giving you strength, creating for you a future based on His love.
From Spiritual Refreshment for Women: Everyday Comfort, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.