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

Think and Act 1.21.15 – If Johnny Manziel Went to Your Church

johnny-manziel-money-sign-shirtJohnny Manziel is a caricature in many senses of the word. So the T-Shirt pic is appropriate.

But “caricature” in the sense that he embodies the word points away from a positive meaning. Instead, Manziel, loaded with both talent and money makes a great lightning rod for football and culture. My goal in this post moves away from football and culture and instead asks: what if Johnny Manziel went to your church? Let me suggest a few thinking points:

1. How would you talk about him attending?

Would it be a novelty to have a famous guy in your church? Would you try to recruit him for the fantasy football league? Would you take a selfie with him in the hallway after service?

Or, would you talk about the opportunity your leaders and men would have to bring godly influence into his life?

2. Do realistic cultural trends influence your thinking about people?

In case you haven’t paid attention, the NFL has had more than one bout with an immature player. The Browns had several, and you wouldn’t have to look too far on other rosters to hear tales of rookies or younger players partying (Leveon Bell and Legarrette Blount anyone?) and jeopardizing their professional opportunity.

Has the bell of your thinking rung to the tune that 21 year-olds aren’t really 21 year-olds anymore? Many young men linger in a blurry delayed adolescence. I’d guess the average maturity of a 21-year old is off by several years, rarely higher. Many college professors and work force professionals could attest to this unfortunate dynamic of delayed maturity.

Knowing this, Manziel’s shortcomings would fit very well with many young people churches labor to point to maturity.

3. Would eternal realities REALLY matter? 

Far above wins, losses, talk of a wasted draft pick, or the Cincinnati debacle, consider the following. If Manziel attended your church for several weeks would you be able to filter past the jersey, the arm, and the athletic ability and care for his soul?

Would the fact that he needs Jesus in order to get to heaven (just like anyone else) really sink in? Would you take interest to help him see the fruit of his immaturity merely reveals much deeper roots?

This, I fear, happens when the idol of athletics lures our hearts away from the worship of God. It’s something I and other sports fans should continually check.

Think. How much does the personhood of athletes affect your thinking, or prayers?

Act. Many people work with athletes, working to confront and help them with spiritual truth. Pray for athletes, chaplains, and coaches who have a great opportunity to lead young men to mature adulthood – both professionally and spiritually. Another great action point could include getting involved in a mentoring opportunity or sports team for young people right where you live.

Tuesday Rambling 1.20.15 – Struggling to Pray

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Tuesday has arrived once again. Today’s topic, I suspect, relates to most of us. Can you relate?

Ready, set, ramble.

Struggling to pray

  • I’m not afraid to admit that satisfaction in my prayer life is lacking.
  • I could pray for several hours a day and still probably say the same thing.
  • So, the “feeling” of struggling has little to do with time.
  • Instead, let me focus on approach.
  • Do you ever wonder how God hears prayers when the universe’s size and sheer volume of people seem to overwhelm the possibility?
  • I seem so small compared to God’s enormous stature!
  • Adequate time proves another daunting challenge.
  • So many demands press into the available time in the average day.
  • If I had more time, would God answer more prayers?
  • The answer to this lies in my heart and yours. Scripturally, we know the Spirit groans when we can’t put our requests into words.
  • Go to God, tell Him your heart. Praise Him, plead with Him, you have not because you ask not.
  • If we know even a bit about prayer, we know this!
  • But even evaluating the heart presents challenges.
  • I’m not writing this to whine. I desire a more fruitful and deeper prayer life. So, I’ll continue to seek God based on what Scripture says. And I’ll do what anyone seeking to grow MUST do: I’ll even ask Him to help me pray more and more effectively, relying on His grace!

Monday Challenge 1.20.15 – “Hate Crimes”, Unworthy Lives, Squashing Anxiety, Be Salt

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It’s Monday again. Anyone up for a good challenge? I hope s0. Why else would you have stopped by?

Be sure to stop back Friday for a feature of this week’s most clicked article.

Fired for Faith

In response to the Atlanta fire chief getting axed for his faith, Russell Moore asks: Is glorifying God a hate crime now?

Question: How does this article shape your thinking about living as a Christian?

Be the Salt

Cornell Ngare brings a great perspective to Jesus’ challenge to live as salt.

Question: This week, how can you help the world experience salt?

Squashing Anxiety

This post definitely stretched me. But the point, if not taken as a “do-it-once-and-everything-is-fine” sort of cure, rings true: Squash anxiety by . . . .

Question: Do you think this is realistic?

Sanctity of Life

Is any life unworthy?

Question: How can this article challenge someone’s view of what life really is?

Friday Feature 1.16.15 – A Teenager’s View on Social Media

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How do teens view social media? Differently than I do! And maybe you too if you’re a bit older. This is worth your time. After all, it WAS this week’s highest clicked link.

Read the article here: A Teenager’s View on Social Media

After you’ve read it, see a few of my own comments below:

1. Teens and Facebook 

I keep hearing Facebook is dead to teens. I volunteer an average of once a week at a local youth center where teens and young adults gather.

I would estimate that 90% of the computer usage I observe is Facebook.

I understand why teens don’t use it. I’m just not sure it’s “dead”. This thought certainly provokes my thinking.

2. You get the picture.

I’m unable to say Instagram is familiar to me. So the author’s thoughts about the app provide help. Pictures dominate interest in social media, I think especially the younger the age. Instagram has the market in terms of efficiency, app capability, and privacy (great point about all of your “likes” showing up on Facebook).

3. What about information?

I wonder if teens use social media at all to gather information. I doubt too many teens read my blog, so I don’t expect tons of interaction on this. But if you have a comment to provide some insight, I’d love to hear it.

I would say the predominant (75%) usage I have for social media is gathering or sharing information and thoughts. Makes me wonder how younger people do that – or if in general they have interest at all.

Think. What do you know about people younger than you?

Act. Does knowing a bit about or lightly using social media give you a chance to relate to younger people? If so, give it a shot!

Think and Act 1.14.15 – Relieving the Stress of Parenting

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I’ll confess – parenting stresses me out. Not all the time, but does a parent exist anywhere who doesn’t experience stress?

Let me suggest four basic, Biblical ideas/reminders to help relieve that stress:

1. Remember: It’s not your child.

As believers, we must remember our children don’t really belong to us. They belong to God. He created them. What does this mean for parents? God is way more qualified to absorb stress about our kids than us.

Remain in prayer that God would remind you as much as necessary of His authority over your kids!

2. Remember: It’s not a test of your ability.

The Biblical idea of parenting calls parents to rely not on their own ability. Rather, the Bible calls parents to rely on God’s plans and grace.

Nowhere do we see this better than in Abraham’s example. God called him to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22). Abraham presented himself as willing to obey, but key to the story is how he relied fully on God who provided every step of the way.

We should pray that God’s grace would fuel our obedience.

3. Remember: Focus on growing closer to God way more than you focus on appearing better than other parents.

Which would God rather have?

1. A parent with really rough skills who’s wholly devoted to God and reliant on Jesus’ blood to forgive them as they grow in life and parenting

OR

2.  A parent with great skills and well behaved children who is self reliant and looks down on others who can’t parent as well as they do?

The results of the second parent appear better to the outside world. We are repeatedly warned in Scripture to examine the heart condition of any believer. The first parent described has a much better chance at being used to further God’s kingdom.

4. Have some fun.

I’m not sure the Bible actually says this, but I do believe we can see a picture of Heaven being an enjoyable place. The Bible portrays God as Father.

I don’t think having a little bit of fun is going to increase the stress level, is it?

Think. How much does stress show up in your parenting?

Act. Use these suggestions to focus on God first in your parenting. Do some further Biblical study to see how parents in the Bible realized God had control.