Sunday school and struggle
wife learned to read in Sunday school. She learned to read so that she would
not be embarrassed when they called on her in Sunday school. On a recent
Sunday, a young lady in my wife's class told her that the school she was
going to was terrible and that she had learned to read while coming to Sunday
school. How neat is that?
A teacher in our Sunday school a
few years ago was teaching on God's love. The day's lesson was about
God's love and concern for us. The class was about to end when a boy asked,
"If God love us and protects us, why does God let my stepdad beat on me so
bad." With that, he raised his shirt up and showed the teacher the most
horrendous bruises you can imagine on his lower back and stomach.
Social Services was called in. The Sunday school teacher struggles
to this day with that very simple question asked by a very small fragile
I don't think or want for Sunday school to have
that kind of a dramatic punch every Sunday to emphasize how the lessons we
learn are not about platitudes. But Sunday school should be about how we
struggle with God, ourselves and with society in sorting out our relationships
here and above.
I think many of our corps struggle
with Sunday school, because they are not really sure why they are having Sunday
school to begin with. Sunday school should be a place in which we prepare
ourselves, our children and each other to manage the struggle that is life
itself. Being prepared for the struggle means arming ourselves with God's
word and the encouragement of fellow soldiers in this war.
Maybe Sunday school struggles to flourish because we are meeting
for the wrong reasons. Do we have Sunday school to win a divisional contest and
see our corps listed in the top 10? Are we having Sunday school because we have
always had it? Do we have Sunday school because all the other corps have Sunday
school? Are we having Sunday school because we think we should, or are we truly
motivated to disciple others and ourselves in the Christian life?
A few years ago in a community we were stationed in, the church
adjacent to our corps building decided to participate in their district Sunday
school competition. They put out flyers, posters, signs and newsletters
announcing the Sunday school campaign. A key strategy in heir effort was the
attempt to get people who attended only church to come to Sunday school. Those
who attended worship services only were invited by individuals in each of the
Sunday school classes to ensure that personal touch.
campaign was a great success - they doubled the number of people in their
Sunday school in just six weeks. But two weeks after the campaign was over, the
attendance had dropped back to pre-contest levels. I asked the pastor why the
startling success and startling drop off occurred in their Sunday school
attendance. His response has stayed with me over the years. "We got them
excited about coming to a contest, but we never got them excited about why we
have Sunday school."
Invite people to the struggle that
is Sunday school. In the process of the struggle, they just may be changed.
Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob,
but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have
overcome." Genesis 32:28.
Does this apply to you?
Perhaps you are among a growing trend these days that has at least
some measure of difficulty in believing the most basic Christian concept: that
there is a God who loves you and would stop at nothing to win your love in
Well, suppose I told you that if you could hold onto
one simple truth, would you be willing (later on) to accept the more difficult
doctrines by faith, if nothing else? If so, then this may help. I found it to
be something that even non-believers can believe in - and it helped me through
some of my darkest hours.
There is definitely good and evil
in the world. Really, there's no debate about that. Who, then, is
controlling these battling forces? The Bible has a name for the evil father of
lies; he is known as the devil.
Reason only follows, then,
that for God the opposite is true. God is not the author of confusion, but of
peace (I Corinthians 14:33).
If you can just accept by faith
that much; you are halfway there. From that point it is not at all a stretch to
believe that the Father of all that is good wants very much to provide a way
out for us from this evil mess in which we find ourselves mired. That way is a
Savior, and His name is Jesus.
Oh, there is another bit of
good news: if you feel what you're read here doesn't apply to you...it
Start with the first step, and move on from there. The worst that
can happen is that you won't be a non-believer anymore! And that's a
Mrs. Brigadier Grace Amberger
Mrs. Brigadier Grace Amberger was promoted to Glory Jan. 2, 2007,
from a nursing home in Enid, Okla. The funeral service was held at the Dallas
Temple Corps with Majors Andrew and Amelia Kelly, divisional staff officers in
Oklahoma, and Captains Cameron and Paula Henderson, corps officers in Enid,
leading and officiating. Committal was in Restland Cemetary.
Grace Elma Thorn was born Sept. 18, 1909, in Fleetwood, Okla., to
Martin and Callie Thorn. She experienced the call to officership at a youth
councils in Oklahoma and entered training in Atlanta, from which she was
commissioned an officer on June 26, 1928. She served in various corps
appointments in Oklahoma and as home officer at Evangeline Booth College. She
was later transferred to the Women's Social Services Department, where she
served the rest of her single officer career as superintendent in Home and
Hospital work in Louisville, Roanoke, Tulsa and San Antonio.
On May 22, 1958, she married Brigadier Louis Amberger, then
stationed in the Miami Adult Rehabilitation Center. On May 19, 1959 they
retired from active service. Louis was promoted to glory on Jan. 18,
Grace was a hard worker and ministered faithfully as
an active officer for 31. She loved the Army and looked forward to visits to
the nursing home from comrade Salvationists.
survived by nieces, nephews and other family members. During the past eleven
years her niece, Joy Robinson, has been her faithful and devoted
Irene (John) Mikles was promoted to Glory Jan. 5, 2007, from Clearwater, Fla .,
after a long illness. The funeral service was held at the Clearwater Corps with
Commissioner Willard Evans presiding and Commissioner James Osborne speaking. A
service was also held at the Atlanta Temple Corps at which Lt. Colonel David
Mikles presided and Commissioner Andrew Miller was the speaker.
Irene Baugh was born Jan. 2, 1928, in Jonesboro, Ark., to Henry
and Bertha Baugh and was brought to The Salvation Army by her sister, Moleva,
who had become involved through the Girl Guard program. She later lived with
her sister at which time the Army programs became a part of her life. After
graduating from high school in Greenville, S.C., where she was class
valedictorian, she followed the Lord's leading and entered officer training
in Atlanta. She was commissioned May 23, 1949.
As a single
officer she served at the Home and Hospital in Richmond, Va., and in Tulsa,
Okla. She met John Mikles while she was in Oklahoma, and they were married June
After John was commissioned as an officer, they
served as corps officers at the Lakewood Corps in Atlanta. They also served in
appointments at Evangeline Booth College and on divisional staffs in National
Capital-Virginia, North-South Carolina and Florida. The were divisional leaders
in Kentucky-Tennessee, Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi and Texas. Their final
appointment prior to retirement on Aug. 31, 1995, was at territorial
headquarters, where John served as the assistant chief secretary and Irene as
special assistant to the territorial president, women's
Irene was a beloved leader in The Salvation
Army with a passion for Christ. She was known for her sweet demeanor and caring
spirit and was devoted to her husband and family.
She is survived by her
husband of 54 years, Lt. Colonel John Mikles; son Major Gordon (Rick) and
Connie Mikles; daughter Gail and R.C. Fleeman; daughter Major Leisa and James
(Chip) Hall; brothers Henry and Leon Baugh; nine grandchildren; and one