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Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

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Feature Friday (06/01/18)

It’s a word I get tired of hearing. It’s a word used all too often and at the same time, not enough. It can infuriate parents beyond belief. And yet the same word can enlighten a situation in such a way no other word can. As a parent of 3 preschoolers, I hear this word far too often. However, as a leader, I use this word far too sparingly. What’s that word?

Why! A word that parents get tired of hearing and answering an endless litany of reasons. Why? The question that great leaders ask before making decisions, changing course, or starting anything new. Why? But a question that is so vital and core to the faith of every Christ follower at the same time. Why?

Why really is a foundational question to answer and rest on as a Christian! John Stott had a great insight on this one question in his classic work The Cross of Christ. But For The Church does a great job of summarizing Stott’s answer to the why question in their article, “Why did Christ Die?” The best part is: the question is answered from two different perspectives and both are necessary to understand the gospel of Jesus!

Enjoy the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

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Feature Friday (12/22/17)

Merry Christmas from myself and my family! I hope that you will find this weekend and this Christmas a refreshing, refocusing, and rejuvenating one. As many of you know my greatest joy and passion is to make Jesus known through my life, including my blog. It is because of Jesus I have life, both temporal and eternal, breathe, and all good things. If you do not know the Savior Jesus Christ personally, there would be no greater joy to me than to begin a conversation with you about how you can know God.

Since the greatest gift Giver already gave the greatest gift, here is a simple gift from me to you: “The Collected Best Christian Books of 2017”. If you’re a reader this is a great link to bookmark and come back to throughout the year as you finish one book and look to start another. If you are not a reader, well why not start in 2018 with one of these titles.

As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day. And Merry Christmas!

Feature Friday (9/2/16)

Image courtesy of Grace to You

“The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) is one of those concepts that the world embraces in its ignorance…Christ’s rich, complex illustration is routinely flattened into a simple, heartwarming story about showing kindness to others…But that’s not the point of this story.

In order to get at the true meaning of the parable of the Good Samaritan, we need to remember another key feature of Christ’s teaching ministry…” Read “The Most Misunderstood Parable” on the Grace to You blog to find out the key feature to understanding Christ’s parables.

As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Feature Friday (1/23/15)

discipleshipLeading! It is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for the perfect of heart. Neither end of the spectrum, those who are easily persuaded and discouraged and those who think they can do or have done no wrong, make for good leaders. So how do the rest of us, imperfections and all, still lead when it is difficult? Tim Challies writes an article on that very subject here: “The Most Difficult Time to Lead”. Check it out, it is quite encouraging and challenging.

As always, be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Social Media: How it affects us (Words)

Social Media affects everything. It is everywhere in our world:

  • at home,
  • at the store,
  • at school,
  • at restaurants,
  • at work, and
  • in our pockets.

Social media is with us and around us all the time. The truth is…IT IS AFFECTING US! But how? The social media gurus want us to think that social media is strictly positive, and great for everyone and everything. They want us to think that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and texting) are all about building relationships and passing on information.

But is social media really causing us to relate more and give good information? If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all say we have at least once felt, that while we are overly connected by social media, there is still an underlying feeling of being alone, depressed, and unconnected. In light of this reality, we are in the middle of a five week study here at Preacherontherun to examine  how social media affects us. We are looking at five areas in which social media affects our views: relationships, words, time, self, and truth. Today we continue with Social Media: How it affects our view of Words.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but…WORDS will never hurt me.” We have all sung that song or had it told to us when we were upset or hurt because of something someone said. Unfortunately, the truth that song purports really isn’t truth…it is a lie! Words can/do hurt and they have great power. James 3:5-10 tells us that the tongue is “small yet it boasts of great things” and that it is “a fire, a world of unrighteousness…staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of the life…” Those are some powerful words. These verses and many others throughout Proverbs reveal the truth about and power of the tongue.

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In real life when we are face to face with people, we will rarely say pointed or harsh truths without padding them with some sort of love, affection, and encouragement. However, when we get on social media, it seems as if the rules no longer apply. One example of this is the Seattle Seahawk’s cornerback, Richard Sherman’s, interview after the Seahawks won in the NFC championship game. Sherman essentially smash talked a receiver from the 49ers and inevitably made some remarks that he later regretted. The worse part is, that he was on live TV as well as being recorded all over the world. So within minutes the clip was on Youtube, and what Sherman said could not be taken back. It was out there for all to see because of social media. He could not retract it, edit it, or delete it, because others had the video in their hands; so all he could do was watch and apologize later. That is just one of many examples of how social media affects our view of words. People can lose their job over something they post on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Worse yet, people can and have been sued because of what they put on Facebook and Twitter. But our world does not like that. The social media sites want us to think that what we put there is our property and no one can do anything about it. But it is public and therefore we are to be held accountable for it.

As believers God holds us to high standards in our speech and words. Ephesians 4:29 states, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”. Why do we think that this command from God does not apply to social media?

But some people with social media will say, “It’s not against the law to speak my mind and let my thoughts be known”. This is true, but listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor”. Is that the attitude we have when we post on Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube?

gavel2This is not merely a matter of preference or even respect, but of understanding where we will be standing one day! “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36). Every word they speak! And God said that His written Bible is His word. So He will hold us to the same standard. Our writing is synonymous with our speaking.

As I argued from the beginning, social media affects everything. And one of the major areas of our lives and thinking it affects is our words. Social media has changed the way we speak with and about one another. But the final question must be: are we utilizing our social media to build up others and proclaim Jesus Christ or just to get our opinion out there? Stop by next week where we will discuss how Social Media affects our view on time. In case you missed it Social Media: How it affects us (Relationships) you can find it here.

Christian Education: Summary

Node-Christian-Education1-large1Education: there are so many forms of it today–public, home school, Christian, private, adult, special, informal, primary, secondary, higher learning, and the list goes on. With so many choices, how do you know the best option for yourself, your children, and your family? I am not one that thinks there is a one-size-fits-all mold for education. However, I do believe as a follower of Jesus Christ, that any education we undergo ourselves or in which we place our children should be Christian. I have not been arguing that every set of believing parents must put their children in a Christian school or they are sinning. No! This series was not about why you should send your children to a Christian school. Far from it! Instead I hope I have helped you frame your thinking about what “Christian education” really is and is not. Over the last number of weeks we have discussed the many aspects of Christian education. This week,  I want to simply summarize all the discussion on Christian education.

Summary

Christian education may come in many sizes, shapes, forms, methods, and times of life, but one thing is sure—if the education is truly Christian it will be focused on Jesus Christ and growing individuals to become more like him. The whole point of Christian education is not to make people knowledgeable about the Bible, although that will happen. It is not to make a nicer, cleaner, less criminal society, although that may happen. It is not even to cause families, communities, and nations to be more concerned for each other and the needs around them. The point of Christian education is to cause people to love and value Christ so highly that they become more like Him day after day.

Throughout the educational process many things will change—the content distributed, the methods utilized, and the individuals involved—but one thing must remain the same for education to be recognized as Christian. The goal of forming individuals into the likeness of Christ must not change. The goal and purpose is what sets apart any educational program, philosophy, or practice. Only with Christ likeness as its purpose and mindset should any individual or institution claim to be performing Christian education. The only true Christian education focuses on God, forms people into Christ likeness, and looks forward to an eternity spent with Him.

I hope you have enjoyed this series on Christian education. More than that, I pray that you have been challenged in your thinking about and carrying out an education that is truly Christian in nature. Whether it be in your home, classroom, church, or other social setting, may all the education in your life be truly seeking to be Christian. Remember, Christian education flows in every way out of God’s Word as mature believers model and mentor younger believers to spiritual maturity. In case you missed part 1 of the series: Christian Education: Definition and Goals, or part 2: Christian Education: the Teacher, or part 3: Christian Education: the Student, or part 4: Christian Education: the Content, or part 5: Christian Education: the Methods, part 6: Christian Education: Various Philosophies, or part 7: Christian Education: Evaluation, check them out here. Thanks for being part of this series with us!

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