It Only Takes a Generation to Die

It Only Takes a Generation to Die

Mayflower Pilgrims

My ancestors came over on the Mayflower. From the record we have of their lives, it’s safe to say William and Mary Brewster were serious about their relationship with God.

And yet as I research my genealogy, my spirit sinks to note that it appears I am, for all intents and purposes, a bona fide 2nd Generation Christian.

My ancestors immigrated to this country and suffered fatal hardships because they loved God, but it didn’t take long before my family tree was indistinguishable from the self-worshipping trees around it. In fact, it became so bad that by the time my parents sprouted, they were some of the first in their families to be born again.

How did that happen? Continue reading “It Only Takes a Generation to Die”

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Parents, Kids, and Tech-tation

Tech-tation

I am sooooooooo thankful we didn’t have smartphones when I was in high school!!!!!!!

I don’t want to imagine the tangible trail of turgid travesties I would have traipsed across the internet!

Thankfully, that wasn’t a temptation I had to avoid (I had enough trouble avoiding plenty of others).

Not the First

Listen, I know I’m not the first to sound a siren call about young people and the threat technology represents. But I hope you’ll be patient with me for just a few moments as I share some insights I’ve gleaned from counseling teenagers addicted to sexual sin.

  1. Lust doesn’t need technology to flourish. Job tells us that he had to make a promise with his eyes not to lust after girls. Job is a book written about a family that predates Abraham! Lust exists in the heart of man, and sexual lust in particular needs only two things – a mind and an object. Please do not think that your children are safe from the temptation we’re discussing here simply because they don’t have a device.
  2. Technology is to sexual sin what airplanes are to world travel. They don’t make it possible, they make it easier. While driving down the road traveling about 45 miles an hour, I’ve often marveled at the amazing speeds we travel compared to the transportation of the past. Horse and buggy have nothing on today’s worst cars. As we’ve already seen, lust doesn’t need technology, but technology sure makes it easier to access it. When before a young man would have to sneak a copy of a dirty magazine, today he can anonymously view whatever forms of vile filth he wants from the comforts of his own bedroom.
  3. Too many parents are ignorant to what temptation technology affords. Did you know that the most grotesque scenes of human sexuality were available to anyone with an internet connection? Did you know your child can send and receive texts you will never know about? Did you know someone could send your child a nude picture of themselves, and you’d never be billed for it?
  4. Too many parents trust their children with technology. We don’t trust toddlers around ovens, scissors, and pools because of the inherent risk each poses. In addition, the proportionate immaturity of the child to the enhanced danger of the object increases our prohibitions. Yet we hand pre-pubescent, hormone-ridden, spiritually-immature young people a device capable of beaming wicked images into their brains, and we somehow justify this decision because our culture condemns us for not trusting our kids!
  5. When sin is finally found out (generally after much disaster has been wrought), parents cut the wrong cords. I’ve seen plenty of parents remove the child’s devices and cut all digital communication with the outside world. But the cord of lust is too often left untouched.

These are the problems I encounter nearly every time I counsel a young person engaged in sexual sins. But let’s not stop with the observations.

I think it’s fair to say I disdain criticism that provides no viable solutions just as much as you do. So please humor me a moment more while I address the very simple ways we as parents can help our children battle tech-tation.

Some Spiritual Solutions

  1. Understand lust. Smell its presence on your children’s breath. See its shadow on their bedroom floor. Watch how they interact with their peers. Do they touch each other? Where are their eyes resting? Understand the biblical root of lust, the consequences of lust, and the cure for lust. Did you know that sexual sins scar a person in different ways than others sins? Did you realize that last statement was Bible-truth (Proverbs 6)?
  2. Come to grips with the fact that when you hand your child a mobile device, you’re not merely making it easier to contact them. Understand the inherent dangers of the device. You would baby-proof a home; teenage-proof the phone.
  3. Research! There are a plethora of up-to-date articles like this one that are written specifically for parents to know how to protect their children, and what to protect them from.
  4. Stop trusting babies around the oven! Nowhere in Scripture is it mandated that a parent trust their child simply because they’re a teenager. Trust is a facet of love, but trust is never unwise in its trusting. You teach your children to use a knife before letting them wield their own. You teach them to drive before handing them the keys. Teach them about the device, teach them about lust. Let them mature, and the bless them with trust equal to their worthiness.
  5. Children need accountability. They need to be taught to live a Christ-honoring life in the middle of this corrupt world. Joseph didn’t need to be taken out of Egypt, he needed to worship God in Egypt. The device isn’t the real issue; the heart is. It may be necessary to cut the cordless device, but don’t ignore the deeper, more significant issue. Get counseling. Root out the lust and help the child desire what is right and good.

And just for making it this far, here’re two bonus points!

Bonus Points

    1. Friend, follow, like, digg, and pin your kids. No, that wasn’t an admonishment to psycho-babble, espionage, digging graves, or voodoo dolls. You need to hang out where your kids hang out. Know who they know. Read what they read. Listen to what they listen to. How else do you hope to lead them through the mine field that is this life? Every single time I’ve encountered a young person feeding the flesh on social media, I’ve found a young person whose parents don’t know what Snap Chat or Instagram is. “I don’t use Facebook.” is not a legitimate excuse that somehow gets you off the hook! Is your child on Facebook? Then that’s reason enough for you to have an account . . . or at least to share a login with your child.

I know a set of parents who never would have known a boy in their daughter’s school was soliciting sexual favors from her had all of her incoming texts not also gone to their phones. Is that a scary proposition for you? Good.

  1. “Friend” your child in real-life too. Once again, no psycho-babble is intended here. What I mean is make these steps in their sanctification a you-and-them-together experience, not a you-against-them confrontation. Love them. Disciple them. Be on their side for God’s glory.

What’s at stake in this conversation is the spiritual life and Christ-honoring relationships of your children. Do not naively allow them to undergo the painful temptation technology brings to bear on their lust? Help them know what lust is and how to defeat it in their life with the truth of God’s Word. And then equip them with the spiritual weapons necessary to fight tech-tation.

For Your Consideration

"he txtd me"

He txtd me
and said that I was cut3!
Then he asked me for a pic;
I clicked a selfy.
Y not?

He txtd me
and said that I was "hott"
and told me how he feels
when he c's me at skool.
I told him he was weird.

He txtd me
and asked to see me in
my new swimsuit.
The bois at the pool will see.
Y not?

He txtd me
and said the picture "trnd me on."
He said my body was gr8.
He asked for another.
w.e.

He txtd me
and cmplimentd me a lot
and I felt btfl.
He said he wanted to kiss me.
Y not?

He txtd me
and wanted to see me nude.
o_o
lol
K

He txtd me
and said he thought it might be fun . . . .
I felt kinda weird.
But it might be fun.
Should I?

Daddy.
What happened?
How did I get here?
I never wanted this. I wish
he never txtd me.

-AMBrewster-

he txtd me

Fluffy Children’s Ministries

Fluffy Children's Ministries

I like fluffy bunnies.
I enjoy wearing fluffy socks.
And I love fluffy cotton candy.

But should our children’s programs be fluffy?

Kids4Truth wrote a great article about this phenomenon here:

But I’d like fluff-in for a minute, if I may.

Have you ever really considered the spiritual efficacy of singing “Deep and Wide”?

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a very involved parent. I remember the first Sunday my son told me he sang “Deep and Wide” in Sunday School. I said, “That’s great! Do you know what that song means?”

After about a minute of blank stares, I clued him in.

There’s No G-Rated Version of the Bible

Have you ever noticed that though God has some specific instruction for children, there’s no kid-version of the Bible?

The Gospel’s the same.
The Spirit’s empowerment is the same,
The responsibilities for spiritual growth are the same.
With the exceptions of relationship-specific commands, the entirety of the Bible applies to children as it does to adults.

So why do our children’s ministries differ so much from the others in the church? Why do we feel the need to fluff our kids’ programs? Why do we even have children’s ministries?

Consider This

Have you ever heard someone say, “But she’s only four.” as if that somehow excuses her brattiness? What about, “He’s going through a phase.” Am I allowed to use that excuse to sweep my behavior under the rug?

It’s obvious that children are different than adults in many ways (height notwithstanding), but do you realize that when it comes to God’s truth . . . there’re very few differences.

But,” you say, “the Bible tells us that foolishness is bound in the heart of children! See, there are intrinsic differences!

Yes, but every other example of a fool in the Bible refers to adults. Foolishness resides in their hearts just as much. And just as the rod of correction will drive out the child’s foolishness, so does the rod to the back of the bigger fool.

In my years of ministry I’ve noticed that almost every single reason or source we cite to defend that children need something that adults don’t, or that we should treat them differently, comes from extra-biblical sources. It’s impossible to argue for a fluffy children’s ministry from Scripture.

None of the biblical injunctions for our mini-people can be used to argue for flannel boards or circle-games. Should children honor and obey their parents? Yes. But the only thing I can extrapolate from this command is that children should receive instruction from and submit to their parents. It has no bearing on their ability to understand the Bible or my necessity to use cute morality tales.

In fact, Jesus Himself told the group of men who followed Him that unless they became as a child they could not be converted! He told the apostles that unless they humbled themselves as children, they wouldn’t even understand God’s truth. Perhaps the adults are the ones who need flannel boards.

My point in all of this is simple. Many of the reasons we have a children’s ministry are simply unbiblical.

Don’t misunderstand me . . .

I’m all about a children’s ministry that exists for Christ-honoring, biblical reasons. Unfortunately, most of the time it’s a glorified baby-sitting service because mom and dad don’t want to have to deal with the children they haven’t taught to listen to and understand God’s Word.

Fluffy children’s ministries stand in opposition to the truth that God gives us everything we need for life and godliness from the pages of His Word and the power of a His Spirit . . . and it doesn’t matter how young the believer is! The Father still loves them in His perfection. The Son still died for them in His holiness. The Spirit still works in them to His fullest. They have the same gospel. They have the same responsibilities. They have the same Bible.

How do I check my ministry’s Fluff-Rating?

Do you avoid reading the actual words of the Bible? Isn’t paraphrasing good enough?
Do you find more value in an event or game than you do a lesson? Children won’t want to come to Sunday School if they won’t enjoy themselves!
Do you sing songs with little-to-no understandable spiritual application (“Father Abraham”), or do you sing songs with spiritual depth but forget to explain the concepts (“Deep and Wide,” or “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock”)? Everyone knows “Father Abraham” was written to wear kids out before the lesson! How else can we expect them to pay attention?
Do you teach more missionary stories and Billy/Suzy illustrations than biblical truth? But missionary stories have more adventure than the Bible!
Do you promote morality without emphasizing the deeper reality of a relationship with God? Veggie Tales teach kids how to behave. Who needs doctrine?

Do you know what I find really interesting?

Churches with the most biblically sound children’s ministries promote kids sitting with their families in the main service, and the kids’ service times they do have resemble the adult services with informed worship, biblical exposition, and appropriate application . . . and they know how to have fun too.

Can Facebook be Redemptive?

facebook

My analytics tell me that if you’re reading this blog, you likely linked to it from Facebook. Thank you, by the way, for clicking!

Therefore, I’m going to begin with the a priori assumption that you have a Facebook account (or some other social media account). Therefore I can assume that you generally find value in the medium (minus the stupid videos “everyone else” posts). I’ve found that the degree to which people find value in Facebook is directly related to the quality of everyone else’s posts.

Still, you have one, and you probably don’t think it’s a tool of Satan. But have you considered whether or not it can (or should) be used for intentionally redemptive purposes?

What is Facebook?

Simply put, Facebook is a medium of communication.

Before social media, communication was limited to conversations, printed materials, letter writing, and smoke signals. But as technology has blossomed, we’ve created a hybrid form of communication that synthesizes real time talk with publishing.

What is Communication?

Merriam-Webster defines communication as,

“The act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else.”

Thank you, Webster.

But for those of us interested in reclaiming biblical truth for everyday life, we must ask the next necessary question . . .

What is God’s Purpose for Communication?

All of the verses in the Bible that deal with our communication center around one glorious motive . . . to glorify God. But what brings Him glory in communication? I believe the answer is simpler than we realize.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

The greatest goal for any of our communication is to communicate God’s truth for the purpose of redemption. The unbeliever is “bought back” from sin and death in justification; the believer is “made better” through the power of the Holy Spirit in sanctification.

All of our communication needs to bring God glory, and though that doesn’t mean we always have to be quoting verses, it does mean we can’t glorify Him if we never acknowledge His truth in our communication. And I would argue that the more we reprove, rebuke, exhort, admonish, remind, encourage, bless, and edify using God’s truth . . . the more He will be glorified.

So, what about Facebook?

How Can my Facebook be Redemptive?

This linked article is a sad one indeed. A teacher chose to leave her substitute teaching job of 35 years because she refused to “unfriend” her students on Facebook. Being an educator, I’ve studied this trend a lot. As a counselor, I’m intimately aware of the pit-falls associated with “more-than-friending” students on Facebook. But what I want to point out in this article is what one of her former students said:

One of Thebarge’s former students told WMUR that if she didn’t have ‘Ms. T’ in her life, and as a friend on Facebook, she wouldn’t have graduated high school last year. ‘Facebook is a great way to communicate with people when you’re going through stuff at home.'”

I don’t know if Mrs. Thebarge is a Christian, but I know that she used Facebook in an encouraging way.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again with more than just my students. Facebook is digital meeting place where people interact in many of the same ways they would at the mall. And when Christians talk, redemption can happen. What’s interesting about social media is that some people actually feel freer to say and ask things online they wouldn’t normally say to your face. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it’s an insightful observation.

Our Facebook pages will become redemptive only when our daily communication becomes redemptive. We need to start there. When God’s glory becomes our chief goal, it will bleed over into every facet of our lives from physical to digital.

In the meantime, as we strive to become more like God in all we say and do, here’re some helpful tips for making Face-time, growth-time. We’ll be using the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 and Paul David Tripp’s 10 communication questions from War of Words for guidance.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

  1. Your Facebook should lead to biblical problem solving. Stop complaining and offer solutions. When someone else complains, offer them solutions.
  2. Your posts should have a “stand together” instead of a “me against him/her/them” posture. The world is to know that we’re followers of Christ because of our love. During the high priestly prayer, Jesus prays that His followers would be united as Jesus and the Father were one! It’s completely acceptable to stand against sin, but too often we drive a wedge where God has commanded us to be linked.
  3. Your online demeanor should encourage others to be open and honest about their thoughts and feelings. Are you harsh and critical? Who would want to talk about their problems to someone like that?
  4. Your updates should show that you are approachable and teachable instead of defensive and self-protective. When your friend private messaged you and admonished you about that inappropriate movie quote or meme, how did you respond? Do you think they’re likely to keep you accountable in the future based off of the response you gave them?
  5. Your online relationships should all be as equally healthy: parents/children, husband/wife, extended family, siblings, employer/employee, friend/friend, body of Christ. Do you avoid posting things because you’re “friends” with your boss? Are your posts to peers nice, but your interactions with people younger than you are condescending?
  6. Your comments should encourage faith and personal spiritual growth. You don’t have to post a verse a day, but I cannot recount how many times a friend has shared a verse on Facebook, and God used it to meet a specific need in my life. God’s Word is the only Facebook post that carries the divine promise to never return void. Talk about a viral post!
  7. Your private messages should develop relationships, instead of only communicating with someone to cause or solve problems. So one of your students posted something inappropriate. Is this the first time you’re going to connect with them online? That just makes you come off like the Facebook police. But, if you build a relationship of love and understanding, they will accept your admonishment that much better.
  8. Your Facebook updates should be humble and honest. Stop exaggerating. Stop bragging. Period.
  9. Your posts should reflect a willingness to serve others, instead of demanding that everyone serve you. And all of a sudden the complaints about the weather, the government, and the news suddenly disappear!
  10. Your comments should show a recognition of the gospel in salvation and sanctification. Do you communicate biblical truth? You can use Facebook to disciple, encourage, evangelize, and rebuke just as easily as a phone call or a chat over hot chocolate.

Conclusion

You better believe Facebook (Twitter/Instagram/etc.) can be redemptive! But whether or not you “[Facebook] to the glory of God” is up to you.

Imagine a social network where just logging-in built up your relationship with God.

Start by sharing this post with your friends. Just click the Facebook icon below. The more of us who choose to use social media as a tool for good, the faster we’ll make an impact.

#EvermindRedemptivePosts

And while you’re browsing, check out these other Facebook-related articles by AMBrewster:

5 Reasons Christians Must Engage in Facebook Debates

What Your Friend’s Snarky Facebook Post Says About You


 

For Your Consideration:

“Some Posting Motivation”

People type completely inane
And frivolous and biting and plain
Observations.
You would think that with the most
Amazing ways to communicate and post,
Some might favor reconciliation
To driving bitter wedges.
Others might lift us from the dredges
With timely edification.
Consider the benefit of quoting
A passage designed for removing
Trepidation!
If we simply decided in all things to glorify,
Perhaps our posts might start to amplify
Sanctification
In the hearts and minds of men and women
Whom God has given the redemptive mission
Of Christ-honoring inspiration.
-AMBrewster-

 

Evermind Ministries

What Does Evermind Mean?

If you Google the word evermind you will find links for bands, web designers, and organizations. You will also find that Merriam-Webster says it’s not a word. Hmmm.

But Evermind Ministries is a Bible-based organization with a very well-defined purpose.

In the late 90′s Aaron Brewster came up with the word evermind to mean the exact opposite of never mind. It means simply “to continually keep at the forefront of one’s mind, and to make the center of one’s thoughts and motivations.”

We chose to use this word for our Ministry because we’ve found that God’s truth is frequently the last thing on people’s mind when they’re in line for coffee, navigating a mine field of bad drivers, in the throws of a child’s tantrum, or when they’re typing empty words into a business memo. But the divine reality is that God’s truth should not only always be in view, it should be the reason we’re standing in line for coffee or handling a child’s tantrum.

I Peter 1:3, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Everything I need for life can only be found in the true knowledge of God. That true knowledge can only be found in the Scriptures. We must evermind God’s Word.

Our Mission Statement is simple:

Evermind Ministries exists to keep God’s Word at the center of the human experience by teaching it, reminding of it, and applying it to life.

1. Teaching – Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Teaching includes any time someone hears God truth for the first time. This can be a gospel presentation, or when someone learns something new about God they didn’t previously know. It is one of our foundational tenants that God’s truth can only be learned from His Word, the Bible.

2. Reminding – The doctrine of Remembrance is fleshed out in the entirety of Scripture. Most of us don’t struggle with biblical ignorance so much as we simply forget what we know. James 1:23-24 “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. ” We have God’s truth in His perfect mirror, but then we forget what we saw there! We all need daily reminders about what we have learned.

3.  Applying – When we apply sunscreen, do we leave the lotion in the bottle? Do we pour it on the ground? Of course, not! We spread it directly where it’s needed. The application of God’s truth is something that is daily ignored in our Christian culture. We memorize verses about loving God. We tell people from the pulpit that they need to love God. But many Christians wonder, “How do I love God? What does that actually mean? Is loving God any different than what I’m already doing?” Teaching and reminding people of God’s truth is fruitless if we do not intentionally apply it to life.

How Does Evermind Fulfill It’s Mission?

We are tackling our three-pronged mission with a three-pronged communication approach.

1. Counseling – We view our counseling program not simply as advice or clinical therapy. Counseling for us is a dynamic, life-on-life, intentional discipleship process that utilizes the Word of God to find the answers we need for life and godliness. It’s iron-on-iron, one-another ministry. Though we are delighted to offer biblical advice and give counsel via social media, email, Skype, etc., our counseling ministry is primarily a local ministry to the people geographically near us. As more people join Evermind Ministries, we will be able to biblically counsel more people in more places. Until then, we’d be happy to point you to biblical counselors in your area who can do for you exactly what we would do.

2. Speaking – God’s truth was meant to be spoken. Counseling affords an intimate, one-on-one or small group setting, but conference speaking gives us the opportunity to share God’s glorious revelation with larger groups. Time allowing, we would love to participate in your conferences, special meetings, services, chapels, and programs. Over the past ten years we have ministered in churches, schools, camps, mission boards, universities, boarding homes, academic associations, and Christian media companies. We count every opportunity to teach, remind, and apply a blessing from God. If we can partner with your ministry, please contact us at AaronMichaelBrewster@gmail.com.

3. Social Media – When we can’t be proclaiming God’s truth with our lips, we turn to the internet! We have a presence on Facebook called Evermind Ministries, you can follow our founder, Aaron Brewster on Twitter @AMBrewster, and you have obviously found our blog, Taking Back the Bible. We hope to grow our internet presence with more articles, links, and videos. Our goal is not our own popularity, instead we desire to do this because our day and age has afforded us, like no other, the opportunity to reach people we otherwise would never have met. We can simultaneously teach, remind, and apply the Bible to millions of people in hundreds of countries! We would ask that you strongly consider following us online and sharing anything we post that’s a blessing to you. It’s so easy to share God’s Word with the simple click of a “share” button!

How Can You Help Evermind Fulfill Its Mission?

Please strongly consider doing one or all of the following:

1. Pray – Petition God that He grants us the grace and wisdom we need to share His truth in His way for His reasons.

2. Follow – Like us, follow us, and share us on social media. The more people we can reach with the answers to life and godliness, the better!

3. Invite – We know there are a lot of resources available out there, but we would love to partner with your family, group, class, ministry, or program. We have a driving passion to share with the broader body of Christ what He is daily showing us!

Thank you for taking the time to get to know us.

Always,

Aaron M. Brewster and the Evermind Staff

Spanking: When Christians and Atheists Agree??

Spanking

“Just as Rob Bell tried to erase Hell, egalitarians try to erase male leadership language from the Bible, and anti-spanking fanatics try to erase corporal punishment from the Bible. It’s all there, and it’s in language as plain as day. And for an atheist, that’s all understandable.

But throwing grenades at fundamentalists, denying total depravity, and erasing clear language of Scripture, all while pretending that you’re still a Christian parent . . . that’s the confusing part.”

-Jeremy Larson.-

The above paragraph posses some fantastic questions. The greatest of which is how can a Christian accept atheistic thinking considering child discipline?

 

“Why I’m Not a Christian” – Jeremy Larson

Why I'm Not a Christian

I appreciate Jeremy Larson’s handling of Bertrand Russell’s philosophies in his blog post Why I’m Not a Christian.

I have found that atheists are incurably inconsistent. It is true this is a common problem among humans, but it is not an issue with God. That is why when we argue from Scripture, inconsistencies cannot abide. But for the atheist, whose sole ground of authority lies in human reasoning, their arguments are fraught with inconsistencies and holes.

But, praise God, between those inconsistencies I find that God’s Word fits rather nicely.

When Wisdom Becomes a Sin

When Wisdom Becomes a Sin

I like to deal with issues that are applicable to the culture we live in. For this reason I take the occasional cue from what others are writing about. When we’re all discussing it, it’s probably worth discussing.

I was in a singles’ group once that was going to cover “current cultural issues.” Most of the topics were met with confused looks from the singles because not one of us had an issue with any of the “issues.” But when we were allowed to express our own ideas about issues we faced every day, we had more than enough fodder for the discussion.

David Crabb has once again put his finger on an important cultural issue in many churches in his article entitled Forbidding What God Allows. The title is extremely clear and the topic necessary.

David’s key idea can be summed up in the following quote:

“When I allow what God prohibits, I am setting myself up as god–as the lawgiver. My rule is supreme. On the same token, when I prohibit what God allows, I am not ‘erring on the side of caution,’ but am actually setting myself up as god–as the lawgiver. My rule is supreme. If I cannot prove that God prohibits something, then I should simply acknowledge it. I might have an entire list of reasons I believe a certain course of action to be best, but far better to use words like ‘wisdom’ and ‘prudence,’ rather than absolute moral terms (e.g. ‘sinful’).”

A perfect New Testament example of this is when Jesus Christ was condemned by the Pharisees for “working” on the Sabbath (this happened frequently). First, we must recognize that Jesus never sinned. He was incapable of breaking the Sabbath. Second, we have to understand that the “laws” He was breaking had been instituted by men, not God. Therefore, the religious leaders of that day were telling God Himself that He was breaking His own law. They set themselves up “as god – as the lawgiver. [Their] rule [was] supreme.”

What’s the application for us?

Continue reading “When Wisdom Becomes a Sin”

Why Does the World Hate Us?

Why Does the World Hate Us

Cassandra was that unfortunate woman who was cursed with an ability to foretell the future accurately, while at the same time never having her predictions believed. There is a sense in which that particular curse is a type for our times.”

Doug Wilson’s insights into the Christian’s “prophetic curse” are remarkably accurate. Every pastor, parent, counselor, teacher, and loving friend who has ever tried to warn someone about the consequences of their sin will understand what Doug is saying.

The same thing happens to individuals. When someone starts making stupid and inexplicable choices, you can describe for him where it is all going to end up. Those concerns will just be taken as further proof of your lack of compassion. And the problem is, when it ends up right where you said, and he comes out of the closet (say), the chances are excellent that no one will say, “Whoa, boy, did you call that.” No, the more undeniably right you were, the more insufferable it will be for them, and the more bluntly it will be insulted.”

Christ tells us in John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” The problem is,  I don’t think we often ask the deeper question here . . . why did the world hate Christ in the first place? The answer is simple: He told the truth.

Christ told the truth about everything! He told them Who He was. He told them what He came to do. He told them about sin, righteousness, and judgement. And because He warned them, because He offered them a way to escape the ends of their sin . . . they hated Him. It doesn’t make sense to the believer, but it doesn’t make the reality any less real.

Therefore, since sinful man hates truth, if not for the grace of God, they will hate it when we share God’s truth with them as well. Of course, that doesn’t remove our responsibility to share God’s truth. Romans 10:14 states, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” Our simple mission is to do what Christ did.

We must share God’s truth.

We do not change people. We do not make people believe. We tell the truth, and if they hate us, we know it’s because they hate God and His truth.

Read Doug Wilson’s blog post here at The Cassandra Effect.

The New Me: Part 5, “Student Leaders”

Welcome to Part 5 of The New Me. Get caught up on the rest of the story! Click to view Part 1, Part 2Part 3 & Part 4.

Two years had passed since I taught my first 6th grade class as SCS. But it was time to say goodbye to elementary. I found out over the summer that I would be moving up to the secondary level. I know not everyone agrees with me, but I love working with older kids. I find their reasoning skills are more defined, and they don’t always take everything at face value. If you’re not 100% genuine with them . . . they see it. I also have a burden for them because their level of independence is catching up with their decision-making abilities. If they do not have a firm foundation in God’s truth, they will flounder and fall once the world is turned loose on them. Side Note: You’re not turning your kids loose on the world. You’re sending them out into the battlefield. I guarantee you the Army didn’t send a bunch of new recruits to storm Osama Bin Laden’s bunker. The commanding officers knew the enemy would destroy them. So why do we send off our unprepared young people into the world as if the world is the one who should watch out?! But I digress.

My new semester lineup included JH Bible, JH Speech, 9th grade English, 11th grade Economics, SH Speech, and Yearbook. I also took on the upcoming 9th grade homeroom. As the year progressed I was reminded every day why I love my job. I had the opportunity to take things like diagramming sentences, Jevon’s principle of diminishing marginal utility, and proper voice projection and apply it directly to my students’ lives. God’s Word came alive in discussions of friendship, moral tone, insatiability, and persuasion. Side Note: If you can’t find God in the mundane, you will struggle to find Him anywhere.

This continued for 3 years, and every summer my school room became a camp ground. But during second semester of my 5th year (3rd year teaching high school), the Lord provided me with a new challenge. Our school, like every other, is full of sinners (we teachers are included). But for the most part, the teachers are the ones pointing the way up the path of righteousness, and there are always a core of students who want nothing to do with it. In fact, they are setting up neon signs pointing down the opposite way. Human nature being what it is, who do the fence-sitting students want to be like? Do they want to emulate their teachers . . . or their friends? So, every day the students become more like each other in the giant cookie-cutter factory. Of course, you’re wondering “What about those kids who genuinely love the Lord and want to serve Him?” I have two questions for you: 1. Where you that kid? 2. How were you treated? I think we adults become senile a lot earlier than we believe when we allow ourselves to think that the scorners in our schools aren’t tearing down our kids left, right, and center. Once again, let’s use the Army metaphor. These new recruits know they want to serve their country, but they have no idea how to fight. If the enemy infiltrates the ranks, there is little hope.

So, how do you help the problem? Train the soldiers with a sense of urgency! I had the idea to start developing student leaders by instituting a Student Body Council program. We had a quasi-student leadership program before but it had deteriorated into a popularity contest between which heathen and which pagan had the most friends. Side Note: If your students leaders aren’t outspoken testimonies for Christ . . . they shouldn’t be student leaders.

Please don’t misunderstand me. No one is perfect. I have seen my fair share of college Prayer Captains, high school Student Body Presidents, and (dare I say) church pastors do one thing or another to disqualify them from their position. But that doesn’t mean we throw the baby out with the proverbial bath water. I say, “No!” We don’t give up discipling because we know they’ll never be perfect!

My plan behind the SBC was four-fold: 1. Give the students visible and productive roles within the school in order to be a good example. 2. Allow the students to suggest and even enact change that would help our school conform to God’s will for us. 3. To teach the students how to handle themselves like adults. Teach them to run meetings, vote, brain-storm, and produce a quality product without being harassed or cajoled by an authority figure. 4. Disciple them. I desired to use this council as an opportunity to find those God-loving young people and work with them one-on-one to become true leaders for Christ.

The student body was started and I have to say that our first experimental semester went very well, and I am looking forward to next year’s council. I’m also excited about some of the SBC’s summer projects!

But this service opportunity quickly shot off another tendril of service opportunities. Side Note: Do what God calls you to do and watch the opportunities multiply! I can’t actually remember how I got it into my head, but I was inspired in part by a friend. Yohannan Lee works at SCS in the kitchen, but he also is a tremendous help to me when it comes to Yearbook. Yo, is a gifted photographer and graphic designer. He created five of our Yearbook covers, takes tons of photos, Photoshops them all, and loves every minute of it. He is also a videographer. It just so happens that photography, graphic design, and videography are some of my passions as well.

Before long he and I created Student Body Films to function as our production company. We also founded Three Hands Studios to handle the technical side. In that first semester the Lord allowed us to produce the following projects and start our own YouTube channel.

The first was delivered by our Student Body President as a way to introduce the new SBC and to tell the student body a little bit about how she viewed her school

The second was just for fun. Our basketball teams were both competing in the Illinois state IACS competition and we wanted to liven things up a bit.

Our third and longest project was designed to help our junior highers as they prepared for the state fine arts tournament.

The final finished project promoted our school play, Anne of Green Gables.

The overall goal is to help the student leaders have an impact far beyond the four wall of their school. We want to show the other students that they can make a difference for Christ if they just try. So far these few videos have been watched over 2,500 in over 20 countries. Next fall we will focus on more educational and spiritual projects as well as the occasional entertaining film.

Side Note: Never be ambitious for power and glory. But don’t pass on opportunities to widen your circle of influence. When He was bodily on earth, Jesus had hundreds of disciples, 12 apostles, 3 in His inner circle, and 1 who was considered the closest to Him (note that I did not say favorite). You don’t have to be intimate with everyone, but if you can write a book, keep up a blog, post videos on YouTube, or preach to people who most individuals will never have the chance to meet . . . then do it!

Pray for our student leaders. If God can capture their hearts and train them to serve Him with all of their minds, bodies, and strength they will be a powerful enemy against Satan and his destructive purposes. Train up the children!