Archive for February, 2014

An Open Letter To Parents

Posted: February 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

I remember in middle and high school (and really elementary too) the demands my extracurricular activities placed on my time. For me they consisted primarily of school and sports. I was forced into the former and lived for the latter. I also was raised attending church. Anytime that my extracurricular activities conflicted with being at a church related activity, Bible study, or summer camp, the extracurricular activity won the day. Too much homework? Church was negotiable. Have a game or a practice? Church was negotiable. Hunting or lake season? Church was negotiable. This was the culture in our home, although the overwhelming majority of the time these conflicts didn’t occur and my parents had us faithfully attend.

With that being my personal experience and now watching scores of students (and adults for that matter) who are stretched thin and over-committed and who say with their parents that they want to be at church, but….(fill in the blank with whatever takes precedence), I appreciate this article I came across this week. Do I agree with everything he says? No. Do we need to show grace? Absolutely. Is this too judgmental and condemning? Debatable. But the question we need to ask as parents and students and church members is why we think this is too harsh? Is it because it’s mean spirited and condemning or is it because it’s true and the truth hurts when we’re trying to justify our actions? If God is real and eternity is forever and this life is a vapor, what could possibly be more important than making Him and our faith and our church community priorities in our lives that take precedence over temporary things that are here today and gone tomorrow?

Check out this article at: http://www.organicstudentministry.com/?p=1792#comments

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Looking for God’s Will?

Posted: February 25, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Scores of people in our churches today are searching for God’s will for their life and are often looking for extraordinary signs from God to confirm what decisions they should make. I read a book a few years back called Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will (Or How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc). That’s quite a title I know, but it was an incredible book that gave a biblical explanation for how we should and shouldn’t seek God’s direction in our lives. Reading this article today reminded me of the liberation I felt years ago when I read this book.

As I read this article by Paul Tripp about finding God’s will, this quote stuck out. “I think many Christians make the mistake of acting on what they can never be sure of rather than relying on what they can know for sure.” Without calling on readers to stop seeking God’s direction in prayer, Tripp (in this article) and DeYoung (in the book read years ago) argue for the sufficiency of God’s word and for us to walk in wisdom instead of constantly waiting for confirmation or a sign about what decision we ought to make.

Check it out here: http://www.paultripp.com/articles/posts/the-secret-will-of-god

When I was in seminary I had a class called Family Ministry where my professor, Randy Stinson, shared a ton of stories about him raising his kids and seeking to shepherd their hearts and prepare them for adulthood. One of the keys he emphasized was the importance of the biblical command from Deuteronomy 6 that parents be the primary disciple makers of their families. In church culture today, we often drop our kids off for the professionals to take care of their spiritual lives and don’t take seriously our call as parents to be cultivating their spiritual lives in our homes. A lot of times, we do this because that is what was normal for us growing up and we don’t even have categories for discipling our children and even if we did, we wouldn’t know where to start. One of the things that my professor told us about was having a family mission statement. Yes, I know, I never had one either and had no idea what that meant. But after hearing him talk through the importance of this, I decided my family and I should consider making one. Our girls are not yet old enough to really appreciate or understand what it is all about, but those are conversations I look forward to having in time.

Here is an article I came across today from J.D. Greear, a pastor in North Carolina, on what a family mission statement is and how to write one. It might be something worth checking out.

http://www.jdgreear.com/my_weblog/2014/02/5-steps-to-writing-a-family-mission-statement.html

The Story That Writes Itself

Posted: February 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

I trust that over the course of the last few weeks, unless you have been on a remote island or choose to not allow the sports world to permeate any area of your life, you’ve heard of Michael Sam. The Missouri Tiger standout defensive lineman announced to the world that he was a gay man and every sports reporter around the world began to drool at the opportunity to cover this story. His coming out about his sexuality has been almost totally celebrated by all major news outlets and in the midst of the Hoorah’s we have been reminded that all those who aren’t celebrating are ignorant because of their judgmental belief system.

Enter Kevin DeYoung who is a wise and funny pastor from Michigan. DeYoung has humorously decided to save the media tons of energy in the coming years by making up a mad lib for any future cover stories about gay athletes making known their sexual preference. Enjoy.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/02/11/the-story-that-writes-itself/

Addicted to Social Media?

Posted: February 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Last night I finished up our “Worldviews in Conflict” series by discussing what a biblical worldview of social media is. After pointing out the many advantages to social media, I hit hard on 5 of its dangers. In the midst of thinking critically about these issues, I found this article to be helpful. The author argues that the reason our teenagers are addicted to social media and rarely have face to face contact might be because of how controlled they are in their schedules and in their ability to be with their friends. It’s worth a read.

http://donteatthefruit.com/2014/02/kids-are-addicted-to-social-media-because-parents-are-addicted-to-control/

One of the things that I regularly try to do is actually look at the lyrics of the worship songs we sing. Oftentimes a song can have such a catchy tune or a moving rhythm that we ignore what we are actually singing. Many times there are songs that are extremely popular for the younger generation that I struggle to put in a song set because I feel like it could double as a love song for your girlfriend. Many times I struggle with songs that are all cotton candy and fluff without any theological meat on its bones. And many times when I voice my thoughts on these things, I get an eye roll or two from those who think I’m just overthinking things and stifling their ability to worship to their favorite song.

Here is a link to an evaluation of last years most popular worship song, 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. This is a song I have sung and I have led many times this year and I appreciate the insight to be gained from this article. Check it out.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2014/02/12/a-deeper-look-at-the-most-popular-worship-song-of-2013/