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Hobby Lobby, Life, Teaching, Uncategorized

Making a Difference in Women’s Lives

March 8, 2017
In honor of International Women’s Day, I wanted to share this article that was posted on the Hobby Lobby Newsroom! I love that Freedom Yarn is loving and serving women so well.
This article was originally posted on newsroom.hobbylobby.com

Hope, love, and dignity. These are a few of the values that Hobby Lobby customers support when they purchase Freedom Yarn. The eight unique Freedom Yarn colors found in stores are beautiful products with a life-changing purpose. The packaging label explains their mission: “Bring freedom, hope and sustainable income to the marginalized, including those rescued from or at great risk of human trafficking.”

John and Brenda Flower became aware of the desperate needs of local villages through their visits to India. Because of the caste system, women are forced into trafficking with no way to escape.

With their business backgrounds, John and Brenda looked for a way to serve these local communities. The idea for Freedom Yarn came when they realized they could recycle fabric and teach the women to make yarn from the material.

Freedom Yarn is unique, made from strips of fabric instead of a more traditional wool, cotton or acrylic fiber. Manufacturing Freedom Yarn provides a long-term solution for women who are coming out of trafficking and enslavement. This new means of income means younger women can avoid being trafficked.

Mariya Doss is the buyer that orders Freedom Yarn for Hobby Lobby. “We are grateful we can offer this unique product to our customers,” said Mariya. “This handmade product used by knitters and crafters is making a lasting difference in the lives of vulnerable women and girls.”

“Seeing the women’s hope and joy makes all the hard work totally worth it,” said Brenda Flower. “Purchasing Freedom Yarn helps ensure these women’s freedom is not short lived but will be sustained for years to come!”

It is an honor for Hobby Lobby to partner with Freedom Yarn in making a lasting difference in the lives of women.

Read more about Freedom Yarn at www.ThatTheyRemainFree.com

Bible, Museum of the Bible, Teaching, The Green Collection, Uncategorized, Work

More Than a Museum: Research

October 6, 2015

Logos Group with Greens square

“What is the best use of our growing collection?” – This was a question for the Green Collection leadership five years ago when we were just a few months into collecting artifacts. More specifically, we were asking, “If we were to begin programs around it, what would be among those with the most significance?”

In my previous post “More than a Museum,” I gave a high-level view of the Museum of the Bible and our four main initiatives. Here, I want to share a more in-depth look at one of those: our research initiatives.

Perhaps these seem like simple questions we were asking with a significant collection already in place when it was just a few thousand items, long before the current count of 40,000 plus items related to the biblical text and its transmission. During this early stage in forming the Green Collection, we realized that our answers could possibly impact lives in the future. When there were only four of us—another curator, two scholars, and me—a dream began to form:

“We could have an important role in helping to train the next generation of biblical text scholars.”

Although we didn’t know this collection’s future, and certainly didn’t fully anticipate the explosive years ahead developing into plans for the Washington, DC, site for the museum, we had glimpses of major things ahead. Throughout those early months, we had the conviction that scholarly research would be an important part of our programs, and the fulcrum of all that was ahead.

This is when conversations about a program called the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI) began. Dr. Jerry Pattengale developed and eventually executed this new research program. Its central idea remains in place: assigning various collection pieces to scholars (all with terminal degrees) and their students for high-level research. A team of over twenty senior and distinguished scholars came to this initiative, and provided assistance in their areas of expertise. These scholars also were the core lecturers among more than 100 videotaped presentations in various cities, with some at the Vatican, Israeli museums, Oxford and Cambridge universities, and in Cuba.

Establishing GSI has been an amazing and fast-paced journey, with the program starting only five years ago with just an idea and a few scholars. Today GSI is a robust network of over 60 scholars and dozens of projects. We have also successfully completed four summer institute conferences, and are looking to expand the program next summer. Publications are in process, students are being mentored, and GSI scholarship opportunities are being highlighted on many participating university campuses. We’ve also made some major discoveries, including the earliest Jewish proto-prayer book and some of the earliest astronomical sketches and texts, and a few of the earliest attestations to biblical passages and classical texts. The GSI program provides a substantial foundation for many of the things we do at Museum of the Bible. For this reason, we will have a research hub in the new DC facility called the Green Scholars Institute.

Of the many projects we have going on in GSI, my favorite is the work on the Codex Climaci Rescriptus (CCR). This is not only a fascinating piece, but I got to be involved (in a small way!) with part of the project early on. CCR is a palimpsest, and I got to take part in imaging the manuscript with multispectral imaging (MSI) a few years ago before the research got underway. In studying this manuscript, one of the incredible discoveries so far has been the identification of some early astronomical drawings. With greater access to the underlying layers of text through MSI, scholars found 1,500-year-old drawings of constellations on this manuscript. Ongoing research is being done on the CCR text at Tyndale House, Cambridge.

CCREdited

The Bible touches millions of people in different ways, and the vast majority of people are not Bible scholars. Against this backdrop, someone might ask, “Why does research matter?” or “Why should Museum of the Bible make scholarship one of its top priorities?” If you don’t consider yourself a scholar, or haven’t spent much or any of your life and money working toward a master’s degree or PhD, you may question why research is such an important part of Museum of the Bible. In an effort to connect the thoughts of the scholars to the public, I conducted an office survey.

I daily rub shoulders with a host of scholars from a wide variety of fields among the staff at our home base in OKC, which has grown to nearly seventy. In addition, we regularly host research teams and visiting scholars. With such access to these brilliant minds, I figured I would informally inquire about their views on biblical research and scholarship. With the help of  our Director of the Green Collection, Dr. David Trobisch, and his efficient summary of the points I found in my survey, here are the common responses.

Three things: Scholars are blind, scholars learn through comparison, and scholars create consensus by communicating with each other.

 

  1. Scholars are blind. We cannot experience past events directly, we have to do so indirectly. Even when we examine evidence, we cannot always see the significance. For example, we don’t understand ancient calendars and ancient currency the way we understand our own. We are like blind men and women stumbling through a forest.
  2. Scholars learn by comparing the unknown with the known. Because we cannot find answers to our questions by looking directly at our object of interest, we compare the new evidence with evidence that we have already placed in a context. We understand by relating the unknown to the known. The better we paint the overall picture, the easier it is for us to understand a new piece of evidence.
  3. Scholars create consensus by communicating with each other. We strive for objectivity by verifying and accepting the experiences of our colleagues as if they are our own. If an experience is not shared, it is irrelevant to the scholarly discourse. This is why publishing is such an essential part of scholarship and science. The German language does not differentiate between scholarship and science: both are called Wissenschaft. The word references a methodological approach to observations and theory: ein Vorgang, der Wissen schafft.

Perhaps there’s nothing earth-shattering here, but this little exercise proved affirming. For these reasons, and more, I am excited about the Green Scholars Initiative. It is important, the program has grown quickly, and it is continuing to develop and grow with Dr. Michael Holmes‘ current leadership.

To keep up with the Green Scholars Initiative, check into our Museum of the Bible newsroom for updated press releases like this exciting announcement: Green Scholars Initiative Honors Young Biblical Scholars. You can also find free lectures on our Museum of the Bible You Tube Channel.

-LM

Bible, Museum of the Bible, School, Teaching, Travel, Uncategorized, Work

A tour of Ramat Gan, Israel

June 8, 2015

Me and Students

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit a few schools in the Ramat Gan area of Israel. They have incorporated new Bible Curriculum into the schools, and we got to interact with the students and classes that have been using this material. It was a joy to hear from young people as they shared how this new curriculum was impacting their learning.

This Bible Curriculum incorporates new technology called Augmented Reality. Using Augmented Reality allows the students to digitally bring about another dimension of reality with a tablet as they go through their lesson. For students, adding a technological layer to their text-book is a game changer. It allows them to interact with the text, which in turn can help them learn and remember more.

Student

I got to hear from a high school boy who had been using this material for a few months. He said that using this curriculum with the technology component “provides the opportunity to bond with the Bible.”

Another student said “using the technology helps me better understand the Bible. Today we learned about Joshua, and I learned how it can relate to me today.”

I love seeing students connect and engage with the Bible in a new way through this curriculum and the augmented reality!

If you want to see the curriculum and Augmented Reality in action you can watch a video here. In this video, my husband Michael is showing a group of California students the same material that is being used in Israel.

Bible, Church, Family, Teaching

Life at the Youth Group

April 27, 2014

Today I had the opportunity to speak to the CRBC High School Sunday morning class. Now, if you know me- you might know that I don’t really feel comfortable speaking in front of people. For some reason though, God has recently given me a few opportunities to speak about things that I really care about, so I was reluctantly happy to say yes to this chance to speak about the sanctity of human life.

We looked at the biblical view of life and the pro-life stance. I went over five different passages of scripture, but of course one of the main passages that people think of is from Psalm 139.

Psalm 139:13-15. “13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,  I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

I love how clear and beautiful this passage it. God is the author of life, and He knits us together while we are in the womb. He loves and values us, and we should view life in the womb in the same way- valuing it.

Speaking on the Sanctity of Human Life

Speaking on the Sanctity of Human Life

I also went over some scientific facts that help us understand what is going on in the womb. At the time of conception, when we consider that in that moment a unique DNA is created that has never existed and never will exist again, we have to see that this is a unique human life. At two and a half weeks into pregnancy, there is a heartbeat, and at five and a half weeks brain activity can be detected in the baby. By the time the baby is only eight weeks old in the womb, it can suck its thumb, has unique finder prints, and can feel pain. A tiny human life.

I am thankful for the chance to share these truths with this group of high school students at my church this morning. It was not easy, but I believe it is so important. I pray that it showed biblical truth, and emboldens others to take a stand for protecting the unborn. I also pray that as we realize we need to take a stand for life, that we would also step in and provide the love and support that women need when they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

(graphics and media from www.onlineforlife.org)

 

Church, Family, Teaching, Theology

Community

December 2, 2012

It has been an interesting month or two in my life, with ups and downs relating to particular circumstances. But something that I can say I am very grateful through it all is the steady biblical community that I have been blessed to have. I have such encouraging and godly people around me, whether my family or my friends, or church family, and I am just grateful. Today my church family offered so much support and prayer, that it brought tears to my eyes. God created us to live in relationship and community with others. We talked in the Young Adult Sunday School class thismorning at Council Road Baptist Church about the importance of allowing people to be in your life in a way that they can speak truth into your life, or call you out and keep you accountable. This type of deeper relationship can be difficult, but it is the most rewarding usually. I just want to say thank you to all the people that have been in my life and will continue to be in my life. Thank you for the prayers, and support. What a blessing they are.

Church, Teaching, The Green Collection, Uncategorized

Rome!

April 16, 2012

Well it was a good day in Rome! I went back to the church I visited here last time: Rome Baptist Church. I have ally enjoyed my two visits at this church! It is a congregation of about 260 people on average, and it is a very diverse group, which is so fun! I think it is beautiful to see people from all over the world coming together and worshiping the same Savior. Just in the short time I had to meet people at the church, there were people from every continent except Antarctica. It was wonderful! And my favorite person I met was a woman from America who lived in Italy and had just adopted two babies from Ethiopia! Ah so fun!
The sermon that Pastor Dan gave was from John 20:24. The point that Dan was trying to get across is that we should trust in God and not doubt, and we should go forward in His work and not waste time. This challenged me because God was showing me how selfish I am with my time. I have been talking about wanting to serve Him with my time for a few months now but haven’t actually taken the initiative to give of my time and serve in some compactly. I felt challenged to find somewhere to serve when I get back home, so that is what I intend to do!
Something else that hit me was from a tangent that Pastor Dan went on during his sermon. 🙂 He mentioned the importance of considering how you personally can grow from a teaching, instead of thinking of all the other people that you think need to hear the message. I thought that was so good. It is easy to try to point to others who need to grow of change, and point the finger at them as you compare yourself and think you are doing better. In a book called Humility by C. J. Maheney, the point is made that we should not compare ourselves to others, because that can bring up pride and self righteousness. Rather if we are going to compare ourselves, compare ourselves to God, and we will realize there is no reason that we should be prideful.

I have so much to learn. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to learn from Rome Baptist Church.

After church, I ran down to the monummento a Vittorio Emanuele II. Here are some photos from the views of the top of the monument.

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Teaching, Uncategorized

Finding Joy through Service

September 27, 2011

Sometimes I have found myself wondering what I am doing with my time. I can get so busy with work and school, and I will forget that the things I do in my day to day life should be focused on God, and serving Him. I heard it said one time that there was a reporter who traveled widely and had the chance to interview many people. The reporter had interviewed quite a range of people, all the way from celebrities to missionaries. This reporter stated that in most cases, the most miserable people were the celebrities, and that the most happy and fulfilled people were the missionaries.

In hearing this, I thought about my own experiences. I have had the opportunity to go on many mission trips to different countries. I have been seen many people that are out on the mission field, giving their lives away in service to God, and the people around them. They are so full of joy, and have an un-explainable, contagious passion for life and service.

I often struggle with the battle that happens inside of me when I start thinking that the right pair of shoes, the perfect outfit, pretty decorations for my apartment, or anything else will make me happy. It is a daily battle that I will think the things in this world can make me feel satisfied. It is funny, because I have learned time and time again, that they do not make me feel satisfied in life. I have experienced times when I feel like I am doing what I was meant to do, and I am so content, and it is in the times that I am serving the Lord, and giving him my time and talents. I have learned this so many times, but I still have to learn it over and over.


You may have a similar struggle as I do. Maybe you know that God’s Word calls you as a Christian to serve Him and others, but you get so distracted by other things in life. Or maybe you do not know where to get involved, or how to serve. All of us at times have a hard time following God’s will, and His plan. We all have selfish, and fleshly desires that draw us toward what the world has to say. The world teaches us to be selfish, and to find happiness we must seek after all the things the world has to offer. These things will always leave us unfulfilled.


It is in scripture that we are told all the answers to life, and these instructions show us how we are to live our lives in order to find joy in Christ. If we live our lives as Scripture calls us to, in service, then we will be moving toward God and deepening our relationship with Him by obeying his commands. Lets open up to Mark 10:44-45. This passage says “and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” [1]

To give some context to this passage, this is Jesus speaking to his disciples James and John. James and John had come to Jesus and requested that they be given a spot of honor by sitting on the right and left hand of Christ in heaven. James and John had not quite caught on to how Jesus does things. They were still caught up in the Roman cultural push toward titles and honorable positions. They were seeking to be glorified for their good work of following Jesus, but their desire was selfish. When Jesus said, “whoever wants to be first must be slave to all”, he was responding to James and John’s request to be His right hand man.

The word “slave” by one definition says it means “total subjection of one person to another” In the New Testament, the Greek word for “slave” can also mean “servant”. [2] The idea that I am to be a servant for God by being a slave or servant to others does not exactly make me excited. God’s teachings are often counter-cultural in any context. Being a servant to all would not have been the normal desire for people back in the first century, just as it is not the desire of people in our culture today.

I can get excited about being a servant when I read Matthew 25:35-40, which says “35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”[3]

When I read this passage in Matthew, and realize that whatever I do for those here on earth, I am really doing it for God, that gives me some excitement. I want to honor God, and grow in my relationship with Him, so why wouldn’t I want to serve my Savior and Creator? I have come to find that it is such a blessing when I serve others, and show them the love of Christ through my actions. Even though this would not usually be my natural tendency to serve others, I find that as I grow more in love with God, my desire to serve others grows stronger. When we have Christ in our lives, God’s Holy Spirit changes the desires of our heart.


God has called us as believers to be servants. Thankfully, being a servant means we can find joy, and know God. There are so many hurting people out there that need our help. There are so many different ways we can serve. I encourage you to find an area that you can get involved in serving others. There are opportunities at our church in the kids department that would be really fun. You could help on Sundays to love on the younger kids and teach them about God. Or you can help in the church’s food pantry. There are also opportunities outside of the church here locally in our town, like volunteering at the City Rescue Mission, or even helping out a kid in your school who can afford their school supplies. Get your parents involved, and go out shopping for some essential schools supplies that you can donate to a student, or to the school’s guidance counselor to give to the appropriate person. Next time you find yourself bored, or even sad and struggling, try going out and serving someone. I bet that it brightens your day to see someone else blessed.


[1] New International Version, The Bible, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008

[2] Harpers Bible Dictionary, Slavery, Harpercollins, 1985

[3] New International Version, The Bible, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan 2008

Teaching, Uncategorized

Loving your Enemy…. I really have to do that?…

September 27, 2011

The concept of loving your enemy is a lot to take in. Personally, I have had to learn this, and re-learn it over and over again. It is a hard thing to practice. In my life, I had someone who use to be considered one of my closest friends, and then this person decided to take a different path in life, and this person began to treat me bad, and ignore me. I very much so wanted to be a part of this person’s life, but this person did not want to give me the time of day. This really hurt, and because this person was mean to me, I felt that he was an enemy. I was rude back, and would say harsh things any chance I could, just to get back at this person.

After being angry and becoming bitter at this person, I realized that I needed to give it over to God. I spent months in prayer about this person, and then finally God gave me forgiveness for the person, and love for this enemy. What a freeing feeling to have love for my enemy. I no longer let this person run my life through the bitterness that I had allowed them to bring up in my life. God worked in my heart, and through His Holy Spirit I was able to love my enemy. This person still does not always treat me right, but I really do love this person and want what is best for him.

Who is the person in your life that you need to stop being bitter and angry toward? We all have people in our lives that have hurt us. God wants to bring about forgiveness in your life, and give you the freedom that comes along with loving your neighbor. Something that helped me move toward forgiving my enemy and loving him was considering what Jesus did for me. Because of the sin in my own life, I was an enemy of God. Because God is perfect, we are enemies of Him.

We all have sin in our lives, but the only way we can have forgiveness from God is through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus came to the earth, lived a perfect life, and then died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, if we believe in God and ask for forgiveness of our sins, we can be forgiven and saved and then have a relationship with God who is our heavenly Father. This is the most powerful example of forgiveness, and love. If Christ offered me forgiveness, and loves me, then I can do the same for my enemies.