CLEP Co-op

This fall, I started a little CLEP Co-op.
In the past few years, I have seen my children work so hard. In fact, they worked harder than I ever did in college. They worked about as hard as I did when I was studying for the CPA exam. I started to question why we work so hard through high school. What is the purpose? What are we trying to accomplish? 

The last year my children went through the program, I really lost them to studying hours. They wanted to study through the weekend. They did everything they could to get caught up. My husband had been questioning me, “What are we doing this for?” We found that almost everyone was working towards college prep. They were prepping for college entrance exams and prepping so they would be strong in their foundation when they went to college.
A few years ago, I heard a preacher, Voddie Baucham, really challenge the idea of waiting to start college until college age. He proposed a radical idea to have children potentially graduate from high school and college at the same time. There is a mother in our hometown, Linda Newsam, who inspired me because she taught her kids college level classes and let them CLEP out of them. She was able to get them 18-20 hours before they graduated high school.
From the moment I started homeschooling, my eyes had been set on this. When Voddie Baucham spoke, it really shook me up, and I decided I was going to reach for this goal, as hard and as stretching as it may be because it’s unfamiliar territory.
Pioneers are people who do unfamiliar things and knock down doors trying to figure it out. Lots of people try to come in on the toes of pioneers, giving them ideas and telling them how to change things and make it different. But they aren’t the ones who plowed out the ground. They just got to go on the road that was paved ahead of them. It looks easy to them. It seems simple, so it’s easy to criticize. It’s easy to look in and say how you would change things. But you are not the pioneer. Sometimes you just need to be thankful for the ground ahead of you. I’m thankful to Linda. I’m thankful to Voddie.
My goodness! We are five to six weeks into our program, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with where we are, even if we were only doing it with my two children. We have a very small little co-op. I kept it small on purpose, with grace-filled mothers leading these children. I wanted to have a place to fail and an easy place to land. I didn’t want everyone’s slams, criticisms, and opinions floating through, in and out, and not giving us the grace to breathe, to move and change and make our way.
I can’t even tell you. No one’s passed an exam yet. We don’t have any successes. But I can tell you what we do have. We have children who are learning and loving. We have children who are being stretched beyond their imagination. They are learning to work hard but with a different purpose. They are doing things that would seem virtually impossible.
Right now, kids are analyzing and interpreting literature. What I have seen it do is create our children’s ability to think critically. Every leader on the planet needs to be able to think critically. They need to be able to look at something and get inside someone’s head and make proper assumptions. “What do you think they meant by this when they said it?”

I think we generally make assumptions about what people say or what we read based on email, text, or on Facebook. We make assumptions based on feelings and not based on, “Let’s get in their head. Let’s know the author of this well. Let’s really concentrate on where you think they were coming from on this.” That is what our children are learning. That is going to make them tremendous leaders in the future. I am pumped and excited.
We want you to know we are opening the doors to allow a few more students in. We are going to be cautious about who we invite and allow in because you’re going to have to have the grace to allow everyone to fail.
One thing I want to note is that whether our children pass or fail the CLEP exams, I don’t care because quitting would be the real failure. Failing isn’t missing the mark on the exam. Failing is never trying. Failing is not pushing your limits and finding your boundaries and finding where you can grow up. I just want to let you know we are pushing our kids to learn to fail and not to be afraid of failure. Our number one problem in America is that people are afraid of failing so they never try. They don’t realize that not trying is the failure.
May our kids press on and press through and fail often in Jesus’ name.

Jesus Is My Rock

Let me tell you a story from my high school years. I went to a public school, and I loved to go there for one reason. Want to guess? It wasnt the food! There was this one guy who was seriously handsome. I was like, “Ooh, there’s Joe! He’s so cute!” He never knew. I never talked to him. But I could not wait to see him at school. He dated all the pretty girls, and I thought of myself as ugly, homely, big haired. It was a long time ago. Big hair was popular back then. I was a cheerleader with big hair.
Have you ever looked at someone else and thought, “She is so much prettier than I am” or “She is better at sports than I am” or “She has more friends than I do”? Have you ever felt like that? Do you compare yourself? When you compare yourself, do you talk yourself up like, “Yeah, I’m better than them,” or are you always feeling down?
Don’t you sometimes feel like crap when you compare yourself to someone else? It’s easy to do, right? You can feel pretty stinky most of the time if you want to.
Let’s have a look at what the Bible can tell us about this in 1 Samuel 16. David had a whole slew of brothers. Samuel went to David’s dad’s house because God told him that someone in his house would be king.
Samuel started surveying Jesse and his sons. Who is it, Lord? Who is going to be king? Guess what? God did not pick the dad. It wasn’t the dad, Jesse. He did not pick the oldest in the room or the wisest in the room, either.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:6–7 NIV) 

The first thing Samuel did was look and think, “Yes, he’s the one! He looks like a king!” Have you ever looked at somebody like that? That person looks rich. That person looks like a hunter. We judge people from the first time we see them. 

The first thing Samuel did was start judging people by their appearances. God said, “People look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.” Think about that for a minute. When you look at other people and think they are better than you, maybe that’s just the stuff they can do or what they look like on the outside. It’s not their heart.
Then Jesse called another one of his sons. He passed in front of Samuel, and the Lord was like, “Nope. I haven’t chosen that one, either.” They were old boys. It was all the oldest sons. Then another one passed by, and the Lord was like, “Nope. I didn’t choose that one, either.”

Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” (1 Samuel 16:10–11 NIV)

Samuel was like, “Man, Jesse, are these all the sons you have? I don’t see anybody here who is fit to be king.” I love this because Jesse said, “There is still the youngest” (1 Samuel 16:11 NIV).

Do you have a younger sibling? Or are you the youngest? How do we typically think about the youngest kid? Spoiled. Annoying. Bossy, sassy, loud. The youngest may be underestimated. You look down on the youngest one, don’t you? I bet David’s brothers looked down on him, too.
Guess what Jesse’s youngest was doing. He was a shepherd, so he was in the fields. He was tending sheep. Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives” (1 Samuel 16:11 NIV). Think about this. All the older sons were already present, so they must have been working near the house. They probably had honorable jobs. David, on the other hand, was far away. They had to send for him and bring him in. David was glowing with health. He was handsome.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” (1 Samuel 16:12 NIV)

Just imagine if your younger sibling were anointed by God. “Hey, you’re not going to be king, Jake, but little Tommy is. Sorry.” You know, sometimes we don’t see the heart because we don’t take the time to get to know the heart, right?

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17 NIV)

Each and every one of us is called to reign as a king in this life, including your little brother. It’s as if God looks around the world, scanning it. Every single one who knows Him, He is choosing. He has picked you, and He has called you to be a king in this life. You may be the youngest in your family or the oldest, but He has chosen you. He needs you to step up into the role He has called you to fill.

The world will let you just be a kid and have fun, but God wants you to be a king. Being a king comes with responsibilities and accountability. It comes with a calling and a cry of your heart. The reason David was appointed king was because he knew God so well.
David spent time away from the crowd, learning who God was and talking to Him. The Bible says he glowed (1 Samuel 16:12). Do you know that when people spend time with God, you can actually see them radiate? If you look with spiritual eyes, if you say, “God, give me eyes to see people how You see them and tell me what’s really going on with them,” you can see them glow. How seriously are you taking that charge to seek God when you are all alone? If you can’t hear His voice, you can read the Bible and hear from Him every day. You can read the Bible; you can pray; you can simply sit and listen.
I want to give you a challenge this week. In Kathleen’s challenge, you may be the first fifteen, maybe the first thirty. You read Revelations. You have led worship. But the challenge I want to give you today is to have a heart like David’s. The Bible says that David had a heart like God’s (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). Don’t you want a heart like that?

Do you believe that God has chosen you to reign as a king in this life? When you start to compare yourself, remember, “Hey, wait a second. I’m to reign as a king in this life.” When you know you’re supposed to reign as a king, you don’t give up. You don’t quit. You don’t stop. You keep going back to God and saying, “I’m sorry. Will you help me?” 
Pray with me:

Father, thank You for making me a king like David. I take it seriously. I want to know Your heart better. Will You help me mine deeply into Your word? Will You open my eyes? Will You open my heart? Will You make me real? Help me to stop judging myself and others.

Father, we love You, and we praise You for this day. God, we thank You for Your word. We thank You that we get to reign as kings in this life. I pray that when we see those who are down or discouraged or frustrated, we will bring them joy and lift them up because we bring Your truth and we glow in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The One Thing Keeping You Down!

I’ve got LeCrae in my CD player. He is a rap artist. He knows who he is. Everyone wants to be like him. But he is an original—an original creation. He’s not tame. He’s got his name. He knows it from the beginning of time. His fingerprints are like a birthmark that no one can imitate. He’s the real thing.
It made me think about how fun it is to sit here and try to rap. I mean, I’m forty-something years old, and I’m sitting here, trying to make up a rap song like LeCrae. I had this thought pop into my head: maybe I was supposed to be a famous rap artist, too. I’ve been rapping since the 80s for fun. And I’m really horrible at it—but horrible by whose standards?
Some of us have such a lack of confidence for so many years that we never really reach our true potential. We allow the fear of man and the fear of failure to hold us back. 

The one thing that can hold you back from all God has designed for you is FEAR. Fear of what? Fear of losing? It’s interesting. When you have nothing, you’re afraid of losing nothing. Instead, you’re willing to risk it all because you realize you have nothing.


I wonder how my lack of confidence over the years has held me down and kept me from being catapulted to where I was originally designed to be. Maybe there’s something else you’re supposed to be doing, but the fear of not being able to pay your bills and provide for your family has kept you from moving forward. Maybe fear has you on lockdown.
I believe that God wants to release us from that fear. He is calling you and me to step out in bigger ways than we ever have before. In what ways and areas do you need to trust God more? It’s time to throw down every chain that’s been keeping you down!
Father, I ask You to release me from everything that is holding me back from fully engaging with the confidence that I can come before Your throne with anything. Help me to remember and truly believe that You are for me and when You are for me, no one can stand against me. Set us free, God. Set me free, Lord, in Jesus’ name.

Jesus is my rock…

I’m here tonight to give you a short little message.
Who knows who David is in the bible? Everyone? Okay. I really want you guys to read this if you can this week. It starts at 1 Samuel 16.
Before I start, let me tell you a story in high school. I went to a public school and I loved to go there for one reason. Want to guess? It’s not the food! Okay, there’s this one guy, he’s seriously so handsome. I was like, “Ooh, there’s Joe! He’s so cute!” He never knew. I never talked to him. Never ever, ever, ever, ever. But I could not wait to see him at school. He dated all the pretty girls. He liked all the pretty girls and I just thought of myself as ugly, homely, big haired. It was a long time ago. Big hair was popular back then. Like this, kind of. I was a cheerleader with big hair.
Have you ever looked at someone else and thought, “They are so much prettier than me,” or, “They are better at sports than me.” Have you ever felt like that? Do you compare yourself? Every day of the day. When you compare yourself, do you put yourself up like, “Yeah, I’m better than them,” or are you always feeling down?
Don’t you sometimes feel like crap when you compare yourself to someone else? Don’t you? Really? It’s easy to do, right? “They talk better.” “They have more friends. These two spent the night together and I wasn’t invited—right? You can feel pretty stinky most of the time if you want to.
Well, David had a whole slew of brothers. Samuel went to David’s dad’s house and God told him someone in his house is gonna be a king. So he’s like, “Go to Jesse’s house. Someone in the house of Jesse is going to be king.” God was choosing them and picking them out. So Samuel shows up and he scans.
Samuel just started scanning the room with Jesse and his sons. “Who is it, Lord? Who is gonna be king?” Guess what? God did not pick the dad. It wasn’t the dad, Jesse. He did not pick the oldest in the room or the wisest in the room either.
When Samuel saw Eliab, he said, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed one standing here.” The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his height for I have rejected him.” The first thing Samuel did was look and think, “Yes, he’s the one! He looks like a king!” Have you ever looked at somebody like that before? They look rich, right? They look like a hunter, right? We judge people from the first time we see them. 
The first thing Samuel did was he started judging all the people by their appearance. God said, “People look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.” So think about that for a minute. When you look at somebody and you think they’re better than you, maybe that’s just the stuff that they can do or what they look like on the outside. But it’s not what their heart is.
Then Jesse called another one of his sons and he passed in front of Samuel. He sees him and he passes by and Lord’s like, “Nope. I haven’t chosen that one either”. They’re old boys. It’s all the oldest sons. And then another one passes by and the Lord’s like, “Nope. I didn’t choose that one either.”
Jesse had seven sons that had already passed by Samuel and the Lord was like, “I have chosen none of these. None of them.” He’s like, “Man, Jesse are these all the sons that you have? I don’t see anybody here that is fit to be king.” I love this, because Jesse says, “There’s still the youngest.”
Do you have a younger sibling? Or are you the youngest? So how do we typically think about the youngest kid? Spoiled. Annoying. They are bossy, sassy, and loud. They may be underestimated. You look down on the youngest one, don’t you? I bet David’s brothers looked down on him too.
But Jesse’s like, “Well there’s still the youngest.” Guess what he’s doing. What did he do? He was a shepherd so he was in the fields. He was tending sheep. So they sent for him and Samuel said, “Send for him and we will not sit down until he arrives.” Think about this—all the oldest sons are already present so they work near the house. They probably have an honorable job. But David is out far away and they have to go send for him and bring him in. “He was glowing with health. He had a fine appearance and handsome features.” God said, “Rise and anoint this one.”
Can you imagine if your little sibling was anointed by God and said like, “Hey, you know what, you’re not gonna be king, Jake, but Abby is. Sorry.” But you know what, sometimes, we don’t see the heart because we don’t take the time to get to know the heart, right?
Here’s what I do know: I do know that every single one in this room is called to reign as a king in this life. Including your little brother. That’s what Romans says. Romans 10:17, if you look it up in the Amplified Bible, if anyone’s taking notes, it says that we’re to reign as kings in this life.
So it’s as if God walks in this room and he scans it. Every single one that knows him, he is choosing. He has picked you and he has called you to be a king in this life. You may be the youngest in your family or you might be the oldest, but he has chosen you. He needs you to step up into the role that he has called you.
The world will let you just be a kid and have fun but God wants you to be a king. When you’re a king, it comes with a responsibility and accountability. It comes with a calling and a cry of your heart. You guys are here worshiping God but David, the reason he was appointed king was because he knew God so well.
David spent time away from the crowd learning who God was and talking to him and speaking to him and learning. It said he glowed. Did you know people, when they spend time with God, you can actually see them radiate? If you look with spiritual eyes, if you say, “God, give me eyes to see people how you see them and tell me what’s really going on with them,” you can see them glow. How seriously are you taking that charge to seek God when you’re all alone? If you can’t hear his voice, you can read the bible and hear from him every day. You can read your bible, you can pray, you can just sit and listen.
But I wanna give you guys a challenge this week. In Kathleen’s challenge you may be the first fifteen, maybe you are the first thirty. You read Revelations. You have lead worship. But the challenge is can you have a heart like David? The bible says that David had a heart like God’s. Don’t you want a heart like that? I just wanted you guys to know that. 

Do you receive that God has chosen you to reign as a king in this life? When you start to compare yourself, just think like, “Hey, wait a second. I’m to reign as a king in this life.” When you know you’re supposed to reign as a king, you don’t give up. You don’t give up. You don’t quit. You don’t stop. You keep going back to God and say, “I’m sorry, will you help me?” 
Would you guys like to make a pledge to just take that up and pray? Leaders, raise your hands if you’re interested. You don’t have to raise your hand.  So we’re just gonna say a little prayer-ish pledge.
Father, thank you for making me a king like David. I take it seriously. I wanna know your heart more. Will you help me mine deep the word of God? Will you open my eyes? Will you open my heart? Will you make me real? Help me to stop judging myself and others.
Father we love you and we praise you for this day. God, we thank you for your word and we just thank you God that we get to reign as kings in this life. I pray that each one of these kids will make an impact in their family, that when their family is down or discouraged or frustrated that they would bring joy and lift up because they bring your truth and your word and they glow in you. In Jesus’s name, amen.