03.26.13

Cellphones: A Teen’s Lifeline To The Internet   by Camille Bautista

http://mashable.com/2013/03/13/teen-cellphone/

It’s a sight that’s all too common, now: teenagers never looking up, glued to their cellphones every hour of the day. Text messages may seem like the major culprit for this behavior, but a new report shows that one in four teens use cell phones as their device of choice when browsing the web.

According to a study by Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, mobile access to the Internet is pervasive among teenagers. Instead of using desktops or laptops, most rely on their phones to go online. The survey of teens ages 12 through 17 found that 78% have a cellphone, with nearly half of those being smartphones.

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03.26.13

10 Big, Daily Reminders   by Matt Reagan

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/ten-big-daily-reminders

I wake up lost every morning. At least that’s what it feels like. Perhaps something similar is true of you.

So I’ve learned over time to put structures in place that remind me of those unseen things, especially during my bleary-eyed, half-conscious mornings.

One effort is this list of ten truths. I hung it up next to our dining room rocking chair (my preferred spot for study and contemplation). It’s developed over the years as a list of the daily reminders I need most. Many of them overlap substantially, but a double reminder only reinforces the original purpose.

I’ve added a short commentary for each in hopes that something here might help you in your pursuit of remembering the biggest truths that we can be prone to assume and forget.

1) God exists. (Exodus 3:14John 8:58)

It seems so simple, so basic, but I tend to wake up a naturalist, and a narcissistic one at that. I assume that all there is in the world is what is in front of my face. My bed, my wife, my kids, and most importantly myself. The simple yet ultimate existence of God immediately clears my lens, makes me small, and infuses meaning into every step. God exists — and that changes everything.

2) God loves you. (Romans 5:8John 16:27Jeremiah 32:40–41)

Another massive biblical reality, this immediately counters my hesitation to embrace God’s ultimate authority, reminding me that he has set his affections on this little speck of a person. He is far from indifferent toward me.

3) Jesus died for you, and the Father has now bound himself to give you only good things. (Romans 8:28Romans 8:32)

This draws me quickly to the central reality of all history: the cross. It is an objective truth set in time and space, so it immediately draws my gaze away from my own capacity to garner acceptance from God through my efforts. Furthermore, the outworkings of the cross make clear that even the harshest trials will come to me as blessing, for my ultimate good, no matter how bad I feel at the time.

4) God sees you as perfect. (Hebrews 10:142 Corinthians 5:21)

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03.26.13

Learning my lines…  Blog Post by Walt Mueller

http://learningmylines.blogspot.com/2013/03/rob-bell-homosexual-marriage-and-our.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

A formal discussion about sexuality was had on the campus of Yale University back on Saturday, March 2nd. It was part of Yale’s “Sex Weekend.” The conversation took place during a workshop titled “Sex: Am I Normal?” Run by “sexologist” Jill McDevitt – who owns the Feminique sex store in West Chester, Pa. – the workshop included a time for students to anonymously answer questions using cell phones regarding their sexual practices. According to reports, survey responses indicated that 52% of the students had engaged in “consensual pain” during sex, 3% had engaged in bestiality, and 9% had paid for sex.

A report on the event from Campus Reform includes this: Event director Giuliana Berry ’14 told Campus Reform in an interview on Monday that the workshop was brought to campus to teach students not to automatically judge people who may have engaged in these sorts of activities, but rather to respond with “understanding” and “compassion.” “People do engage in some of these activities that we believe only for example perverts engage in,” she said. “What the goal is is to increase compassion for people who may engage in activities that are not what you would personally consider normal.”
I’ve been mulling over this report from Campus Reform for the last two weeks. I got to really thinking about it again yesterday when I read this article in the online Christian Post: “Rob Bell Supports Same-Sex Marriage, Says He is for ‘Fidelity and Love.'” Of course, Rob Bell is no stranger to controversy. . . controversy that usually arises at about the same time he releases a new book. It seems that during an appearance at The Forum at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco he was asked if he was in favor of “marriage equality.” Bell stated that he is “for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think that the church needs to to just… this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.” Continue reading

03.26.13

What Middle Schoolers Want To Know About Love & Dating?

http://blog.stuffyoucanuse.org/love-and-dating/

Middle school students anonymously asked anything and everything they wanted.        Here were their questions.

About dating:

  • How do you ask someone out?
  • Is dating a sin?
  • Does God want me to date?
  • How do I know if a boy/girl likes me?
  • How old should you be when you start dating?
  • What’s the limit of people you should date?
  • How do you say no when a boy asks you out – without being mean?
  • How do I decide who I should date?
  • What do I do if Justin Bieber asks me out?
  • My boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t go to church or believe in God. Should I break up with them?
  • Why is dating so hard to resist?
  • Are boyfriends/girlfriends overrated?

About Self-esteem:

  • How do you know if you’re good enough for the person you like?
  • Why do my friends feel like they need to be dating someone to be cool?
  • What do I do if I really like a boy, but he says he will only go out with me if I kiss him?
  • Sometimes I feel like I need to act a certain way, or be someone different, to get a guy/girl’s attention – is that bad?

About Relationships:

  • What are some good qualities we should look for in a boy/girl?
  • Should you date one of your friends?
  • What’s it called if I like cookies more than girls?
  • What are some standards you would recommend having in your relationships?
  • How do you know when you’re in a serious relationship?
  • What does a good relationship look like?
  • Is it bad to not save your first kiss for your husband/wife?
  • What’s it like to fall in love?
  • Why does God make us wait so long?
  • Why does the Bible say it’s bad to lose our virginity when we’re not married?
  • Why does God say it’s “sexually immoral” or whatever to to be with more than one person?

About Marriage & Divorce:

  • How old should you be when you get married?
  • Why is marriage important?
  • What does a good marriage look like?
  • Why do divorces happen?

03.20.13

‘Preachers’ Daughters’ shows Hollywood vs. faith   by Jim Denison

http://www.denisonforum.org  (interesting to think about!)

A pastor’s daughter fantasizes about becoming a porn star.  Another pastor’s daughter struggles with telling her parents she’s not sure of her child’s paternity. These are some of the plot lines in Preachers’ Daughters, a reality show which aired last night on the Lifetime network.  The program received interest from six different networks.  Imagine the backlash from Muslims if Lifetime aired a similar show titled “Imams’ Daughters,” or from the Jewish community for “Rabbis’ Daughters.”

Why is there such antagonism in Hollywood toward Christianity?

Two decades ago, movie critic Michael Medved published Hollywood vs. America.   He cited a survey of 104 of the most influential leaders in TV’s creative community.  Though 93 percent received a “religious upbringing,” only seven percent were “regular” participants in religious services.  Medved then told of a survey he conducted with dozens of movie professionals, asking them to guess weekly attendance at worship services.  Their most common response: “five percent or less.”  Census surveys place the actual figure at 43 percent.

Clearly, some in Hollywood are intentionally persecuting Christians.  But could it be that many others are creating movies and TV shows that simply reflect their version of reality?  They see an America where religion is irrelevant if not harmful and produce films and shows that correspond to their misguided, misinformed opinion.

What can Christians do?  One: speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), making plain the light of Christ in our dark world (Matthew 5:14-16).  Two: stand strong when our faith is attacked, remembering that “in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:12).  Three: pray for Hollywood executives and actors, knowing that “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Hollywood’s effect on our culture is pervasive.  Let’s ask God to redeem this influence for his Kingdom.

03.20.13

I Am Damaged Goods   by Sarah Bessey

http://deeperstory.com/i-am-damaged-goods/

(long but one we all need to read!!)

I was nineteen years old and crazy in love with Jesus when that preacher told an auditorium I was “damaged goods” because of my sexual past. He was making every effort to encourage this crowd of young adults to “stay pure for marriage.” He was passionate, yes, well-intentioned, and he was a good speaker, very convincing indeed.

And he stood up there and shamed me, over and over and over again.

Oh, he didn’t call me up to the front and name me. But he stood up there and talked about me with such disgust, like I couldn’t be in that real-life crowd of young people worshipping in that church. I felt spotlighted and singled out amongst the holy, surely my red face announced my guilt to every one.

He passed around a cup of water and asked us all to spit into it. Some boys horked and honked their worst into that cup while everyone laughed. Then he held up that cup of cloudy saliva from the crowd and asked, “Who wants to drink this?!”

And every one in the crowd made barfing noises, no way, gross!

“This is what you are like if you have sex before marriage,” he said seriously, “you are asking your future husband or wife to drink this cup.”

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03.20.13

8 Reasons Why It’s Okay for Christians To Want Thousands of Twitter Followers   by Peter Guirguis

http://www.emergingevangelists.com/peter-guirguis/2013/2/19/8-reasons-why-its-okay-for-christians-to-want-thousands-of-t.html

(even with only a few followers this article is helpful!)

In order to tell people about Jesus and in order tell the world about our AWESOME God, you’re going to need Twitter followers. So if you’re struggling with wanting to get more Twitter followers but aren’t sure if it’s the right thing to do, then here are to top 10 reasons why it’s okay to get them if your motives are good.

1) IT’S NOT ABOUT PRIDE

Most non-believers want to have lots of followers on Twitter for the obvious benefits. You’ve got to admit it, having lots of Twitter followers means that you’re popular, people look up to you, and who doesn’t want to be the popular kid on the block?

But if you’re a Christian who has your heart in the right place, then having thousands of Twitter followers isn’t about looking cool, it’s about sharing Jesus with others.

Having a heart for the lost will put things in perspective: Don’t promote yourself on Twitter, but promote Christ.

2) TO REACH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE FOR JESUS

Ask any one of the evangelists that guest post on this blog about what their ministry dream is and each one will probably tell you, “To reach the world for Christ!”

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03.20.13

I thought these might be a fun ice-breaker or CG fellowship activity?!

God is like…

BAYER ASPIRIN

He works miracles. 

God is like…

COKE

He’s the real thing.

God is like…

HALLMARK CARDS

He cares enough to send His very best.

God is like…

TIDE

He gets the stains out others leave behind. …

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03.11.13

HELP! I’M SCARED OF STUDENTS   by Doug Franklin

(this may give you some insight and ideas when talking to potential leaders!)

When you think about it fear keeps us from lots of things – deeper relationships, meaningful conversations and implementing risky ideas, it’s also the thing that keeps most adults from volunteering to be a small group leader or a mentor for students. One of the best ways I have found to deal with adult fears is to name them and talk about them. I am suggesting that you make a Power Point presentation listing all the fears that adult face and deal with them one by one. This is the list I use:

Top Ten Fears of Youth Workers

10. I’m to Old

9. I’m not hip

8. I don’t speak the language

7. I’m to smart for this

6. I don’t know what to say

5. I don’t look the part

4. I don’t know enough about the Bible

3. If students ever knew what I did in the past…

2. I can’t relate

1. Students won’t like me

I place a funny picture next to each fear, which serves to release the tension and gives me an easy opening into an often-difficult discussion. I have found that these little fears are powerful and gripping to youth ministry volunteers. Quick quips and silly stories will not be helpful for most adults. I start by telling my own fears and how I have dealt with them. I also give adults the chance to see themselves as students do which for most adult is powerful.

I do this in four ways:  Continue reading

03.11.13

How to Hear From God Through BIble Devotions   by Bruce Chant                            To see the original article click here.

Four simple things to look at and consider as we read a passage of Scripture.

L – LOOK into the Scripture

As you read highlight what the Holy Spirit impresses upon you personally. What strikes you out of the passage you have read? Which verse or verse stand out?

I – INSPIRED by what?

What is that inspires you or speaks to you out of these verses. Take a minute to fashion that understanding into your own words.

F – FORM a life response

If God has spoken to you personally out of a bible text, what is He wanting you to do in response to it? In other words, write down how you will apply this to your life.

E – ENGAGE in Prayer

Out of this word and your response / application, take it to God in prayer. Acknowledge your need for God and for Him to work to accomplish what it is He is speaking to you about.

As you read your daily bible passage, consider these four points and journal your reflections. What you have in your writings is what you are hearing God say to you. It is not all God might be saying to you, but it is a great start!