Archive for May, 2014

Because we have a sweet 3 year old chatterbox, my wife and I have daily opportunities to c.orrect sinful behavior, words, and heart issues. Our key goal as parents at this stage in her life is to teach her that God has given her parents authority over her that she is called to submit to. She needs to understand that in not submitting to her parents, she is not submitting to God because we have a delegated authority from Him. The way this plays itself out in our home is that when she disobeys (defined by us as not doing as we say “the first time with no whine”) we have daily conversations about “who is the boss?”

We in no way want our parenting to be primarily about behavior modification so that we raise children who do the right things only when we are watching or when it benefits them. We want to aim for their hearts, put before them God’s law which will expose their inability to keep it, and prayerfully give them a desperation for the grace of God. We try to teach through disciplining her both justice and grace and relate it to God. We try to teach her God’s word and have her learn stories in the Bible as well as memorize verses. Our prayer is that as we faithfully put kindling around her little heart, that God will move and ignite it and she will be born again.

But for now, our biggest and most important battle is her learning that she has a God given authority in her parents that she must submit to. That is something I convictionally believe is necessary for her to learn, but extremely difficult to implement. We want our daughter to see our authority and be grateful for it instead of chaffing against it. And that, at least in part, is up to how we exercise that authority.

I found this article on this topic very helpful and challenging, especially the 2nd point he brings out. Check it out at: http://www.shepherdpress.com/are-your-children-grateful-for-your-authority/

Which is more important to you: the Word of God or the Spirit of God moving? Do you rigidly run after good bible centered, theologically deep truth? Or are you looking for a manifestation of the Holy Spirit when you worship that you will remember forever and that will verify what you believe to be true? Must it be an “or” instead of an “and?” Can we have both of these and should we have both of these?

Often times in youth ministry and in church we see members or attendees on the extremes of running after truth or running after experience. This article gives some helpful definitions and guidance for what to do if we find ourselves in these extremes. Check it out at: http://rootedministry.com/articles/word-and-spirit-youth-ministry-extremes.

imagesCAOYTSD2When I meet with students and young adult males, one of the things that I notice is an extremely short attention span. Among guys, many have a difficult time maintaining sustained thought which is why they so often look bored (or asleep) when forced to listen to a lecture or read a book. But something amazing happens whenever you mention the topic of video games to the bored and apathetic teenage guy. They often perk up and start talking about their favorite game and their high score or the epic battles they fight on their game of choice. When you ask a group of middle school boys who wants to go camping or hiking or do something adventurous and you get little to no response because they would rather sit at home in an alternate universe to play pretend, something has gone drastically wrong.

Simultaneously, if the statistics are correct, the overwhelming majority of teenage boys are regularly looking at pornographic images. With no moral compass from our culture or the home, a lack of accountability and discernment from parents, technology that enables us to have the world (even the profane part of it) at our fingertips, and natural sexual desires, the perfect storm has been created to produce addiction to internet pornography. When young men think of sex as a conquest disconnected from a covenant relationship and treat women as soulless bodies made for their sexual gratification, something has gone drastically wrong.

Pornography and video games are sadly the air young men breathe. And what we must see as we speak into these young men’s lives in our homes, our churches, and our communities is that the desires they have are totally natural and good, but they are fulfilling them in ways that will not satisfy. In this article by Russell Moore, he explains what is going on in the hearts and minds of those addicted to these things and how there is a true love and a true war worth fighting for. Check it out at:http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/fake-love-fake-war-why-so-many-men-are-addicted-to-internet-porn-and-video-games.

untitled (3)“Let’s go witnessing door to door,” is one of those invitations that has always made me feel uncomfortable and guilty. It makes me feel uncomfortable because when people come to my door to sell things I try to close the blinds and hide and I don’t want to be that person. It makes me feel guilty because in answering “no” to this invitation it seems as if you’re saying, “Yeah, that Great Commission thing, I’m not really that into that.” Now I know that in going door to door, we aren’t selling a product in the same way that the person selling home security systems or girl scout cookies is. And I know that even if we do this wearing a short sleeve button up and tie while riding a bike with our helmet, and appear to be a Mormon, we still aren’t “selling” the same thing. We are, in fact, talking about offering the gospel of grace, the greatest news ever, the supreme satisfaction that is the true treasure to people who are in desperate need of it. But…..the idea of going up to complete strangers to talk about our faith and appearing to be a fanatical religious nut still isn’t high on my “things to do when I have some down time” list. I think part of this stems from a constant battle with the idol of the approval of man in my life and part of it is because it is, in fact, awkward and uncomfortable.

And so when I hear that “relational evangelism” is a more biblical, and I am afforded the opportunity to share the gospel after building a relationship with someone, it is a like a breath of fresh air. I think to myself, “now I can do that.” And yet as I affirm this method as a good one, often the relief that it affords me is because it means I can share the gospel on my timeline and when I’m comfortable. But let me tell you something I’ve learned. There’s no way to make bringing up your faith in a Jewish carpenter from 2000 years ago who was the Son of God and died and was raised again to save you from the judgment of God you deserve naturally. At some point it’s going to be awkward. If it’s not then you’re probably not doing it right.

In this article, Trevin Wax gives a charge to those of us who love relational evangelism, but tend to focus more on the friendship and less on making disciples. I think he is exactly right in what he says here. Check it out at: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2014/05/26/making-friends-but-not-disciples/.

Dead Come Alive

Posted: May 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Our justification in Christ is the glorious news of the gospel. This animated video gives us a visual of what Christ has done for us. It is the difference between death and life. Check it out.

The Practice of Repentance

Posted: May 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

When you hear the word “repentance” do negative or positive thoughts come to mind. After I think about street preachers yelling or old southern sweaty traveling evangelist hollering (both negative thoughts I might add), I think about my daily need to repent of sin in my life. Even though there is much grace in repentance I still don’t get excited about it. I found this article to be encouraging as a leader who is need of regular repentance but also think it is valuable to any believer. I hope it’s an encouragement to you as it was to me. Check it out at: https://theresurgence.com/2014/05/14/the-practice-of-repentance.

This article is a helpful one that gives practical tips for speaking the gospel to Mormons. Mormons believe they are saved and part of the only true church and that Christians are actually deceived by Satan. Although, unfortunately, Christians and Mormons are often labeled in the same category there are distinct differences in what we believe on primary issues so that we cannot affirm they are part of God’s kingdom. They are not another denomination, but another religion, and a false one at that. Instead of approaching them arrogantly as people who act as if we have found all of the answers and are righteous on our own, we should humbly pray for them and point them to the truth. Our goal is not to prove we are right, but to be a part in God saving their souls. Here’s the link, check it out: http://www.str.org/articles/speaking-the-truth-in-love-to-mormons#.U3z4_KvD-M_.