Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Friday Link Highlight 9.28.12 – 10 myths about premarital sex

Here is the link that drew the most interest from Monday’s post.

10 myths about premarital sex.  This article is really worth the read for anyone who cares about children & teens.  It’s good food for thought.

Here are a few of my own thoughts:

1. Statistics only say so much.

The bottom line is you can’t know exactly who is represented in statistics.  Stats will say all kinds of funky things, but it’s really hard to discern sometimes because you have to take a lot of factors into account before accepting a poll’s results.  The bottom line as it relates to pre-marital sex?  There ARE people who value monogamous, long term relationships.  I prefer to call that marriage of course, but it IS still a cultural value and you CAN find people who support it.

2. It DOES matter.

Sex isn’t something to do to have fun or to keep a relationship alive.  It’s certainly something you don’t do under pressure.  If you’re unmarried and reading this, know that your decision to keep yourself pure for your future spouse is something that WILL pay off in the long run.  It IS worth it!

3. Living together before marriage is absolutely the wrong thing to do.

Even as shaky as stats can be, whatever research is available on this topic does not favor cohabitation.  The Bible says there shouldn’t be a hint of sexual immorality among you (Eph. 5:3).  Let the truth of Jesus transform your heart and get married before you live with someone!

Have a great Friday and a great weekend everyone.

On My Mind #41: Five Reasons I’m Not Excited About New Smartphones

Here are five reasons I’m no longer interested in new smartphones.

1. Let’s be honest, they’re all doing the same things. And, they’re all doing the same things pretty well.

2. There hasn’t been a new development in a long time. When the iPhone came out, it was unlike anything available. I’ll be excited when there’s another major leap.

3. I think they divide people. Let’s lay down the pride and admit #1 is true. Just remember: have an opinion but leave it at an opinion. I have an opinion but it’s not life and death.

4. Finding the best plan is more exciting to me than finding the best phone!

5. Pursuing obedience to Jesus is way more exciting anyway.

Full disclosure: I typed this entire blog entry on my iPhone 4 (which I love using)

Monday Links and Bullets 9.24.12

As usual, good reading and my own thoughts below.  Check out the articles and on Friday I’ll highlight the one that gets the most traffic.

WEEKLY LINKS

LINK OF THE WEEK

–Related to yesterday’s sermon, here are 10 myths about pre-marital sex.

THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

–Some thoughts on making America great again.

Ask for tolerance before answering a loaded question.  This is a really helpful piece of advice.

Joel Osteen’s latest appearance in the media.

GREAT PIECE HERE.  What kind of Christianity do you live?

TECH AND CRIME

How’s this for technology advancing?

BULLET THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK

  • I’m excited for everyone running a part, half, or all of the Akron Marathon this Saturday.  Should be perfect weather.  I’ll be running with Josh Miller, our church’s youth director, who will be running his first!  Woohoo Josh!
  • My mind still drifts quite frequently to the time spent in Haiti this summer.  The believers we met, although with limited contact, remain a great source of inspiration for me!
  • Baseball is going to have an exciting final 10 days.  I still like the Yankees’ chances of winning the division.  How important it is this year with the wild card teams forced into a one game live or die scenario.
  • Browns? Clowns. I smell 0-16.
  • Preached a sermon on divorce yesterday from Mark 10.  It was a rather laborious experience, but it seemed like it was challenging based on some of the meaningful feedback I received.
  • It’s been a good Monday – I’m really looking forward to the rest of this week. Are you?
  • My Facebook opinion: If it involves any kind of trouble between you and someone else, it probably shouldn’t be posted.  Resolve it in person.  Facebook doesn’t care!
  • I’ve been praying a lot recently.  If you have requests, send them via Facebook message or e-mail and I’ll be glad to pray for you!

Have a great week everyone!

 

Friday Link Highlight – A Picture of What Porn Does

Here is a very interesting info graphic of the effects of porn.  This was the highest clicked link from my Monday post.

learningmylines.blogspot.com/2012/09/eye-opening-pornography-infographic.html

A few thoughts:

1. Overwhelming

This graphic is simply overwhelming.  I’ve known many men who have struggled and do struggle with pornography.  These stats show why  the fight is worth it.  Higher rates of divorce, aggressive behaviors, cyber sex – none of these should surprise us as effects of pornography viewing in people’s lives.  There are MANY effects.

2. Help

There is hope.  As many guys I know who’ve struggled, I know just as many who have overcome.  Jesus is powerful, so is the gospel.  Here is one of the best on-line reads I can recommend:

http://www.challies.com/node/4640

This book is full of reality as well as encouragement; truly a model of speaking truth AND grace.

3. Struggling and don’t know what to do?

Begin by telling God about this problem.  Then, seek out a trusted friend, pastor, counselor, whoever, and begin the process of fighting.  I hope you will know there is a love we share as Christians that can help you make strides and eventually overcome this sin – all because of the blood and because of the grace of Jesus.

 

On My Mind #40: Parents: Is Fear a Part of How Your Child Views You?

Parenting, yes parenting. I hesitate even to write about parenting because I feel so inadequate. Guess what, we all do. So let’s get over that. Before I make my main point, let me be sure to say what is NOT happening here:

–I am NOT saying my kids are perfect (sheesh, have you met them?)
–I am NOT saying I know everything there is to know. In fact, I learn actively from articles about parenting and parenting blogs. I like to have lots of conversations with parents because it’s as much a craft as it is an exact science.
–I am NOT giving you specific instructions for how to raise your child. Even the Bible does not give specific instructions in handling certain difficult situations that arise, so I will hesitate to speak with authority.

My point? FEAR should be a PART of how your child views you. Why am I saying this? Here are three things I’d like to give you that I hope challenge your thinking.

1. Fear should be a part of how we approach God, so fear should be a part of how we parent.

God strikes fear in me. It’s true. He despises sin and the Bible says He will judge it in terrifying ways. This concept is something I take seriously as I consider my sin, how I lead as a church leader, and how I challenge others to flee their sins. If God was all grace all the time, there would be no reason to fear Him because we’d think He’s just a nice God. He is an incredibly loving God and I worship Him for that. But I also worship Him because He’s done something to save me from His terrible wrath. Both must be present in the equation. This is the theological part that sets up a couple practical parts related to parenting.

2. I want my children to fear me in a healthy sense that there will be consequences for their behaviors.

Just like someone who believes God is all nice all the time, a child who thinks their parents are all nice all the time will eventually abuse it. Parents should not be concerned with hurting their child’s feelings or damaging their self esteem by setting firm boundaries, saying no, refusing to engage in arguments, and occasionally asserting authority through stern warning and physical punishment. NONE of these things (done with love and grace and without a twinge of abuse and anger) will damage your child. That said, if this is the ONLY way your child is relating to you, then it will damage them. Fear must be a PART of how your child views you.

Maybe an example will help. Tired of the whining child? Get in their face once in a while and let them know it’s a completely unacceptable way to communicate. Do so in a very stern voice and grab them firmly or pick them up if they are smaller. At the same time tell them you will be glad to communicate with them when their tone changes and there will be clear consequences if they fail to stop communicating that way. Here they are not getting only a rebuke. You are loving them and showing them you’ll be glad to engage them when they’re ready to do so in a proper manner. The examples could go on and on, but I hope this gets you thinking.

3. Yes, this means I don’t hesitate to let my children know when I’m downright angry with them.

The other day our son decided that hitting his sister would be a great way to get her to leave his room. (You can refer to the part above where I mention my kids aren’t perfect). Pretty much a stupid decision and he knew it. I made sure he understood how angry it made us that he would resort to hitting and that hitting in any case, especially a girl, is not something we find acceptable. In addition to letting him know we were angry (which he probably knew), we will be working with him to find healthy ways to handle it when he gets angry. The anger (from us as parents) is present, but it’s not the entire equation.

In sum, please value that having your children fear you is a part of helping your children see God and understand who He is. Don’t take this as a license to go off. And don’t discipline (especially spanking) out of anger. Just don’t be afraid to be firm. Show grace with it. You may have to follow up with consequences repeatedly and that can be tiring, but I believe it is worth it as kids (in general) will warm well to the structure you are providing.