Category Archives: Christianity

Jubilee Academy offers occupational therapy services

Tracy MurrayJubilee Academy wishes to welcome Tracy Murray OT/L to the Jubilee Team.   Reentering the field after 25 years of homeschooling, Tracy brings a wealth of knowledge especially in a unique area she created called Therapeutic Tutoring. She finds that when combining the senses, individual learning styles, sensory integration and OT principles into her academic tutoring she is more likely to see students progress and grasp concepts that have previously been difficult to comprehend. Her students have fun and gain confidence in ways that make learning meaningful.   In addition, Tracy’s bring many skills to Jubilee including Sensory Integration training expertise, years of traditional clinical and school based pediatric occupational therapy and in-depth parenting skills being the mom of 8 children herself. In addition, Tracy has a keen awareness of cultural diversity after living in many regions across the US as well as serving as a missionary in Zambia. In addition to sewing and hiking, Tracy loves kayaking and running RecycloCraftz, an ongoing ministry in Zambia.

 

Tracy seeks to make OT services convenient to all those involved. Services can be incorporated into a student’s day while at Jubilee or services can be done privately at your home. An initial evaluation will be scheduled to assess each student’s needs and the parent’s concerns at a cost of $150. The evaluation and regular OT services are reimbursed through many insurance companies, however, with the costs of sessions are to be paid at the time of service delivery. Regular sessions are billed to insurance at $125/hour with a 20% discount offered when services are paid on the treatment day. We can attempt to gain possible recoupment, but it is not guaranteed. Private pay clients are billed at a flat rate of $70/hour. It is possible to schedule 30 minute sessions if sessions are held at Jubilee. If one or more students are working on similar goals group sessions may be possible thereby incurring a shared cost.

Additionally, Tracy will teach some of Jubilee Academy’s Friday program classes, including Brain Gym, Social Skills, and Visual Perceptual Skills.

 

Questions and scheduling can be completed via email at MurraysInZambia@gmail.com or by phone at 717-344-2530.

 

Tracy is looking forward to serving the Jubilee Community and making a difference in your child’s life.

 

God is good ALL the time

Psalm 23

Have you ever heard someone say, after something goes right, “God is good!”? If you’re like me, you’ve heard that phrase countless times. But how many times have you heard someone say, “God is good!” after something goes wrong, or when they’re going through a tough time? Here’s a more challenging question: How many times have you said, “God is good!” when something has gone wrong in your own life?

Is God good all the time? Of course He is. If you’re a Christian, you probably think that’s a ridiculous question. But since we seldom celebrate our sorrows by stating that, “God is good!”, I believe it’s a fair question.

Yes, God is good all the time. He’s good when you get the promotion and when you lose the job. He’s good when you find out you’re pregnant and when you miscarry. He’s good when your kids make you proud and when they devastate you. He’s good on your wedding day and on the day you find out your spouse has had an affair. He’s good when the tests come back negative and when you find out you’ve got six weeks to live. He’s good when your name is clear and when you finally have to admit the ugly truth of what you’ve done. God is good ALL the time. Not just when things go right.

In my own life, the past couple of years have taught me more about this concept than the rest of my life put together. I have been a Christian for 20 years this month, and God’s grace has carried me through many small and medium difficulties. But I’m convinced that, the longer we live, the larger the difficulties we have to face. At least that’s been my experience.

Right now, I’m seeing God do amazing work at Jubilee Academy, and that is so encouraging! It’s exciting! It’s something to celebrate! It’s a feel-good kind of thing. God is good!

But I’m also seeing God do extraordinary work in other areas of my life, but it’s a struggle. It’s not enjoyable. It’s painful. It’s definitely not feel-good. At times it’s discouraging–even devastating. But, because God is at work, it is exciting and it is something to celebrate. God is good!

So, the next time you hear that phrase, “God is good!”, remember, God is always good, no matter what we’re going through or how our circumstances appear. I challenge you to say and to believe that “God is good!” all the time, no matter what’s going on.

Mental illness shouldn’t be a secret battle

sad girl with teddy bearToday I want to talk about a touchy subject–one that most people want to deny exists, especially if it’s going on in their own family. If this goes on in a family, it generally is a well-kept secret. It’s a secret because other people don’t understand. They fear, judge, or simply don’t know how to respond.

The subject: mental illness. Though this subject is avoided, or even covered up, this should not be. Especially among Christians. The Church should be a support system. We should be able to reach out to our brothers and sisters in Christ and they should empathize and offer support. Instead, we live our lives in silence. Sometimes we endure the judgment of the very people who should be supporting us.

I am pondering this for a couple of reasons. One is that Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church is returning to the pulpit this weekend, following the loss of his son to suicide. His son had a mental illness. He is in my prayers. The other reason is more personal.

Why do you think it’s so hard for families to reach out for support? How do you think Christians should respond to families who are dealing with mental illness? How do you think Christian families should deal with mental illness? If you have this issue in your family, what has been helpful to you? What has not been helpful?

Teaching Children to Think

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris
The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In today’s world, where ideas fly around at speeds too fast to catch, much less verify, it’s imperative that we raise our children to think. You may think I’m stating the obvious. I wish I were.

 

 

There is a difference between knowing a good deal of information and knowing how to think. It’s important for our kids to learn a variety of concepts and to memorize facts and formulas. But that’s not enough, especially not in today’s culture.

 

 

Children raised in Christian homes are abandoning the church, their faith, and Biblical values at alarming rates. These aren’t just public school kids. These also are kids who attended Christian school or who were homeschooled. I’m sure there are myriad reasons for this trend. I want to focus on one that I’m passionate about–a lack of thinking.

 

 

Many well meaning homeschool parents (and Christian schools) employ traditional methods of teaching and learning. They require their children to memorize facts and to diagram sentences. They require daily Bible reading and Scripture memorization. They teach them all of the required subjects and their children get high scores on college entrance exams.  This is all excellent, but is it enough?

 

 

What about thinking? Do these children grow up to be able to think for themselves? When a college professor or a work colleague challenges them about their faith, will they be prepared to stand strong? If they are taught to think from an early age, they probably will be.

 

 

Public schools are far from perfect, but at least in the schools where I’ve taught, this is one thing they’re doing right. They’re teaching kids to understand the why behind the how. They’re teaching them to examine their own thinking and be able to give an explanation that supports it. This reminds me of 1 Peter 3:15, which says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” We’re prepared only if we can articulate our thinking and support it with evidence.

 

 

It’s been my passion to empower Christian children and youth with an understanding of what they believe and why. This is of utmost importance if they are going to keep the faith as they go out into the world. I believe our children must first understand the truth of the Bible and what evidence there is to support a Biblical worldview. They need to apply Scripture to situations in their own lives and to consider how they will respond to situations they may encounter in the world. While they do need to be sheltered to an extent, especially early on, they also need a gradual release into responsibility for their own decisions and learning about contrasting points of view. If they’re able to do this under our authority, we can talk and work through those things with them. In contrast, if we over-shelter, we run the risk of releasing them into the world all at once, with substandard preparation. If we under-educate, by not teaching them to think, someone else will end up telling them what to think. If their argument seems logical enough, our children, whom we raised to know better, just might abandon the faith–maybe all at once, or perhaps little by little. Either way is devastating and tragic.

 

 

How do we practically educate our children to be thinkers? One of the most effective ways is to ask them lots of questions, like Socrates did with his students. Ask them questions that will require them to justify their thinking. For example, if you are studying the origin of humans, ask them questions like, “How do you know we didn’t evolve from lower life forms?” You want them to be able to give both Biblical and scientific support. If you are discussing the government’s role in healthcare, they should be able to articulate and defend what they believe. Ask them questions that will get them to think deeply about their position, to clarify it, and to defend it. Be flexible. They may be able to support a different point of view than yours on some positions, and they may have Biblical justification.

 

 

One thing is apparent: Children who don’t learn to understand and articulate their faith are not likely to stand strong in that faith as adults. We owe it to our children to teach them to think.

 

 

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:14

 

 

 

 

How well do you know the Story of a lifetime?

crown of thornsShe listened with rapt attention as I shared the story–a story so familiar to me that I could recite it in my sleep, a story I generally take for granted, a story I’ve told countless times to far less enthralled audiences. She actively listened–inserting heartfelt “ooh,”s “really”s, and “no way”s throughout.

This was the story of my Savior’s sacrifice. A story I know so well that I have lost the wonder of it. Don’t get me wrong: I haven’t lost the joy or the appreciation of knowing that Jesus died for me to pay my debt and to purchase my eternity. But the wonder–I certainly don’t have the sense of wonder that little girl had.

At church events in America, it’s not often that you get to tell someone the Story for the very first time. Most people have heard it before, perhaps so many times that they could tell it flawlessly themselves without much wonder at all. But if this child , who was about nine years old, had heard the Good News before, she hadn’t gotten the message that it was commonplace, boring, or “old news.” To her it was fresh, and it was important. Even though all the other kids were sitting quietly and nodding their heads or being still, it didn’t occur to her to do anything but voice her questions and concerns. She couldn’t believe that people would treat Jesus like that or that He was willing to pay such a price.

It was refreshing to witness the response of someone who was hearing the Savior’s Story for the very first time. Shouldn’t we all have that kind of a response even if it’s the thousandth time? Because it’s a story full of wonder.