Thursday, October 28, 2010

Glorifying God In Our Education


As Rebelutionaries we all are familiar with the challenge to “Do Hard Things” and “Rebel against Low Expectations” not because we believe in youth empowerment, but because we believe God would have us be strong and effective ambassadors of His word and the Gospel. This takes effort on our parts, and it takes a conscience effort to glorify God in whatever we do. Colossians 3:17, a verse well known to Christians, says,

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father

Likewise, I Corinthians 10:31 says,

"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

This simple but powerful exhortation applies quite literally to our lives and to all our callings. One challenging calling for young people is to glorify God in and through our education.

Recently, while perusing, I came across an article by Stanley Hauerwas titled “Go With God: An open letter to young Christians on their way to college”. The article contains many wise truths and exhortations, but the following portion in particular caught my eye and prompted this post.

“The Christian fact is very straightforward: To be a student is a calling. Your parents are setting up accounts to pay the bills, or you are scraping together your own resources and taking out loans, or a scholarship is making college possible. Whatever the practical source, the end result is the same. You are privileged to enter a time—four years!—during which your main job is to listen to lectures, attend seminars, go to labs, and read books.

It is an extraordinary gift. In a world of deep injustice and violence, a people exists that thinks some can be given time to study. We need you to take seriously the calling that is yours by virtue of going to college. You may well be thinking, “What is he thinking? I’m just beginning my freshman year. I’m not being called to be a student. None of my peers thinks he or she is called to be a student. They’re going to college because it prepares you for life. I’m going to college so I can get a better job and have a better life than I’d have if I didn’t go to college. It’s not a calling.”

But you are a Christian. This means you cannot go to college just to get a better job. These days, people talk about college as an investment because they think of education as a bank account: You deposit the knowledge and expertise you’ve earned, and when it comes time to get a job, you make a withdrawal, putting all that stuff on a résumé and making money off the investment of your four years. Christians need jobs just like anybody else, but the years you spend as an undergraduate are like everything else in your life. They’re not yours to do with as you please. They’re Christ’s.

Christ’s call on you as a student is a calling to meet the needs of the Church, both for its own life and the life of the world. The Resurrection of Jesus, Wilken suggests, is not only the central fact of Christian worship but also the ground of all Christian thinking “about God, about human beings, about the world and history.” Somebody needs to do that thinking—and that means you.

Don’t underestimate how much the Church needs your mind. Remember your Bible-study class? Christians read Isaiah’s prophecy of a suffering servant as pointing to Christ. That seems obvious, but it’s not; or at least it wasn’t obvious to the Ethiopian eunuch to whom the Lord sent Philip to explain things. Christ is written everywhere, not only in the prophecies of the Old Testament but also in the pages of history and in the book of nature. The Church has been explaining, interpreting, and illuminating ever since it began. It takes an educated mind to do the Church’s work of thinking about and interpreting the world in light of Christ. Physics, sociology, French literary theory: All these and more—in fact, everything you study in college—is bathed in the light of Christ. It takes the eyes of faith to see that light, and it takes an educated mind to understand and articulate it."

The church does indeed need men and women of learning and education who excel in all aspects of their calling. The Bible is full of examples of people that excelled in their crafts and were used mightily of God because of that excellence.

Think of Joseph. Though treacherously sold into slavery by his brothers he purposed to excel in doing whatever task the Lord gave Him to do. Consequently, he was raised to the second highest position of the dominant empire of that time and through him God preserved His people.

Think of David. God used his skill with the harp to place him in a position of note with King Saul and there He ministered to the king.

Think of Daniel, and of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Taken from their homeland in bondage, all served God faithfully and excelled in the ministry given to them and all made huge God honoring impacts that are remembered to this day.

The example of these Godly men brings this passage to mind:

29 Do you see a man who excels in his work?
      He will stand before kings;
      He will not stand before unknown men. (Proverbs 22:29, New King James Version)

We won’t all be well known like Joseph, David, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, but if we don't pursue excellence we can be certain none of us will attain it. Even if we know with certainty that we will not be famous and widely influential persons we are all still called to serve God with the same excellence so that we can be effective and faithful tools in the hand of the Master Builder.

Many thanks to Mr. Hauerwas for his exhortations and may we all pursue excellence in our education!

God bless!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NaNoWriMo Is Here!

As the month of November approaches, we would like to promote a rather hefty yet educational challenge that occurs throughout November. It is entitled NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. All participants begin writing on November 1st and are challenged to have a 50,000 word novel, starting from the very beginning of the entire story (you can't start writing in the middle of something you already have ;)), written by November 30th. Normally, authors of the noted length novel take a lot longer than a month to draft and completely write out their first rough draft of their manuscript. However, NaNo focuses more on our ability to simply write, not attempting to be perfect in grammar and style; the goal is to WRITE!

Any Rebelutionary reading this knows just how much we push you all to do hard things for His glory. Thus, we are presenting you with this challenge as an opportunity to write a novel, whether it be perfect or imperfect, for the glory of God and to be the shining light of Christ among the novel writing community that joins together in November and put either pens to paper or fingers to keys. In 2009, 165,000 people from around the world joined in this pursuit (non-Christian and Christian alike) with more than 30,000 people either accomplishing or exceeding the expectation of 50,000 words! Those numbers are not only amazing, but they are encouraging. If they can do it, I'm sure that many other Rebelutionaries can as well.

I fully realize that 50,000 words may seem like a monumental amount. But, I implore you to not scrap this idea simply because the word count could appear unachievable. We (other Rebelutionaries) are all here to encourage you all along the way, whether that be on the NaNo forums or through personal communication. I can tell you right now, achieving 50,000 words in a month is not impossible, but rather entirely plausible!

Currently, the known Rebelutionary participates for the 2010 NaNo are myself (Hannah Marie) (Fantasy Genre), Jay Lauser (Fantasy Genre), Melody K (Fantasy Genre), Jordan Wright (Fantasy Genre), Ashley (Fantasy Genre), Nella Camille (Allegory), Kaitland C. (Unknown), Enoria (Unknown), Beatr-x (Young Adult Genre), Princesswriter (Fantasy Genre), Galadriel (Unknown), Mattskywalker (Science Fiction Genre), Mindy E (Fantasy Genre) and Katie Lynn Daniels (Science Fiction Genre). There is even a personalized thread hidden in the NaNo forums for all Rebelutionary writers. If you are a Rebelutionary writer and I failed to mention you here, please do not hesitate to drop a comment or even better yet, drop by the thread on the NaNo forums and say 'hi!'

For those of you who are interested in learning more about this enticing challenge, please view NaNoWriMo's official website for all the details and answers to questions you may have.

Word of Caution: While this is not a Christian based organization, we do encourage the over all idea and challenge it presents to people of all ages. Hence, why we decided to feature it. But, we do not necessarily promote the ideals found within the site.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Renewing Thoughts: The Purpose of Suffering

Charlie Albright has posted (or re-posted...not sure which) an excellent fundamental examination of the purpose of suffering. I would like to post some of that article with preliminary thoughts and comments prompted in my mind by Charlie's post.

When approaching the issue of suffering, if we are to benefit from suffering, we need to first think about what suffering actually is. I don't pretend or aim to have a full answer to that question, but I would suggest that there are two basic types of suffering: the physical and the spiritual, and that both these kinds of suffering are designed to accomplish common goals in our life (dealt with later in this post). One type of suffering is physical and it is usually pretty obvious. It can be sickness, injury, disease, pain, persecution and other such things. Then there is spiritual suffering, or "affliction". This can include depression, doubts, unrest, sorrow, etc.

One article on suffering I read described suffering in a way I found thought provoking and insightful: "It is a tool God uses to get our attention and to accomplish His purposes in our lives in a way that would never occur without the trial or irritation."

I personally like that definition and believe it is very much in line with Biblical teachings on suffering.

Suffering can be for disciplinary purposes. We know that God chastises those He loves (Hebrews 12:4-7) to purify them (Zechariah 13:8-9) and to bring them back to Him. We also know that what we sow will be reaped (Galatians 6:7-8). I make these points because as young Christians it's important that we understand this truth so we will know to examine ourselves (II Corinthians 13) in the face of suffering and not assume that our suffering is unrelated to our sin.

Suffering can also happen for reasons we cannot see or understand. This is where Christians can (and frequently do) become easily discouraged and disheartened. Just ask Job. He suffered more than I can imagine for reasons he never fully understood. Yet, the fruit of his suffering was clearly evident. Thank God we can always be assured by the truth of Romans 5:3-5 but must understand that we don't always know why we suffer.

Because we can't know why we suffer, it is imperative that we understand and cling to the promises of what is accomplished through suffering. That is why posts such as Charlie's are important and why we are posting it here. So, without further ado, here is an abridged version of Charlie’s post. If you would like to read the rest (and I would encourage you to) please hop over to Renewing Thoughts and read it there.

The Purpose of Suffering

Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9

The suffering Paul and his companions were experiencing at this time felt like a death sentence. The burden of their suffering had driven them to the point that they had believed the time had come for them to lose their lives.

In the midst of the despair and sorrow that surround Paul and his companions the God of all comfort came to them. The experience does not end in despair. Though, it does not end in immediate physical deliverance either. Comfort comes by the means of truth. There is a truth attained by the experience which Paul explains in the last sentence, “to make us;” This tremendous burden of suffering had a purpose. There was an aim, a goal that it was set out to accomplish. No suffering is purposeless. Far be it from that! Instead the very creator and sustainer of ever molecule has a purpose in every affliction in our lives. What is that purpose?

It is theological in giving us a correct vision of God

to make us rely not on ourselves;” The first aspect of this correction is in making us see that we are not God. We are not lords over our lives. We like to think that we are. We like to think that we are in control of each and every day. But suffering is the clearest demonstration that this is not the case. We are not in control.

but on God;” When suffering removes our reliance from ourselves the only place that is a sufficient rock is none other than God. Suffering brings us to the place where the only stable and sure foundation is the Lord of the universe. This is why God brings suffering, that it might drives us to Him!

who raises the dead.” It is not: rarely, maybe, sometimes. Our Lord always moves and works for His children. Our God is one who does mighty deeds and glorious works for His children. He never leaves them behind, but always fulfills the plan which he set out to do for them. Now, His plans are not our plans. Faith is holding on to this truth while waiting for the glorious plan of God to come to fruition.

Suffering is hard and painful, yet by faith we can hold to the truth that the purpose is more glorious than a life of ease. Let suffering drive us to Christ and His love!

To those words of wisdom I heartily say amen!

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Counter Cultural: He's Got the Whole World...

Hello all,

Camden has posted a very refreshing post on his blog, Counter Cultural. I love the fact that it's simple, to the point and based on a childrens song.

I thought about adding some commentary and additional verses to this post, but after adding them they seemed to mess with the flow of Camden's post. So, I'll just pipe down and hand things over to Camden.

He's Got the Whole World

If you grew up in Church, the chances that you know the rest of this kid's church song is about 95%. In fact, I would be shocked if you didn't. The point is, I think a lot of kid's church songs have an awesome message, but we rarely pay attention past the melody to the words themselves. A good comparison is with John 3:16 -- The words themselves are absolutely incredible, but we've said it so much that it's all but lost it's meaning entirely. So what is the message of this song?

Actually, it's not a trick question. The answer is, "He's got the whole world in His hands!" The reason this is such a huge message is because it's easy to say, but so hard to live. I think you know what I'm talking about, but let me elaborate anyways. In the midst of the star-breathing, galaxy forming, world holding God, it's sometimes hard to trust that God really does have your life in mind. In these times, worry, anxiety, or even fear come upon us. We wonder if God really knows what He's doing.

Or maybe we're just impatient. Maybe we get it -- He's got the whole world in His hands. But truthfully, if we were honest with ourselves, we think life would be a whole lot easier if we had the whole world in our hands. We could make life simple. Easy-going. We'd laugh at any problem that came our way because we could instantly fix it. So why doesn't God allow this? Why does He subject us to hardship and turmoil in our lives?

I think it has to do with faith (a close synonym for trust). See, God could give you everything you ever wanted right now, instantly. But at the end of the day, what has changed in you? You'd have everything you wanted, but you'd be exactly the same on the inside (except for maybe greedier). Your faith would be just as dormant as before. It's not faith if God instantly give us what we want (see Hebrews 11:1 and Romans 8:24-25 for more on this). We don't like to admit it, but our faith grows when we're pressed, stressed, and forced out of that all too-familiar bubble called our comfort zone.

So, the question remains. How do you want to live your life? Of course, I can't answer this question for you. When we try to orchestrate our lives, things usually don't work out so great. When we give control to God, yes, it can be hard and require patience, but it always works out better in the end. He's got the whole world in His hands. So why not give Him your life, too?

Psalm 34:4-5

I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.


Many thanks to Camden for that exhortation. I think it's very appropriate for us as we begin a new week.

God bless!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Veritas Supra Omnis: You want to help, but are you looking to help?

Apathy. Something I (Hannah) have always strived to avoid in all my dealings in life. Yet, often times I see apathy as just not getting things done when I don't want to or otherwise. I didn't really think that not taking that extra step in our dealings and meetings with people really qualified as being apathetic in life. However, Mark Hutchins' presented an excellent challenge showing us that good intentions are not enough, and good intentions without action often lead to an apathetic life style. Since he says it all much better than I, without further to do, here is Mark's original article, first written and seen on his personal blog, Veritas Supra Omnis.

Hello all,

Good intentions are wonderful. I think we can all agree with that. However, good intentions are not enough unless they translate into action. The Bible clearly teaches in Matthew 7 that the measure of a person’s intentions and heart is no less than their actions.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20, New King James Version)

I was really blessed and challenged this week by a story I ran across on about a man who exemplified the union of "intent" and action. The story begins with the following:

"They call retired salesman Don Ritchie "the watchman." Each day, as he sits in his favorite chair at his cliffside home, he looks up and scans the precipice that takes the lives of approximately 50 suicide jumpers each year, trying to discern the intentions of visitors.

When somebody seems to be lingering too long at the cliff, he walks out to talk to him.

"You can't just sit there and watch them," Ritchie told the AP in a recent interview. "You gotta try and save them. It's pretty simple.

Later in the story:

"According to official estimates, Ritchie and his wife Moya have saved 160 lives during the 45 years they have lived near the Gap Park, a famous cliff frequented by sightseers that affords a beautiful view of the Sydney Harbor. However, the unofficial tally is closer to 400, according to the Sydney Morning Herald."

You can read the rest of the story here.

Cliff 'Watchman' Saves Hundreds From Suicide with Kindness and a Smile

When reading the story, the question posted in the post title came to my mind. I wondered, "Do I really believe the things I espouse?" You see, it's one thing to "believe" and another thing to do. For instance, many people think that to be a Christian you must only believe in God and believe in the Bible. But, even Satan and his demons believe.

19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[a] (James 2:19-20, New King James Version)
  1. James 2:20 NU-Text reads useless.

Don Ritchie didn't have to talk to these people that most assume to be beyond help (or worse, unworthy of help). But he believes that life is precious and had a sincere love for these desperate people. When he could have sat in his house and just prayed he voluntarily gave time and effort he was under no obligation to give.

Most of us don't live on a cliff popular with suicide jumpers. But, if we care to look, all of us can and will find something we can do to live out our faith; to unify our intentions and actions into a God honoring and glorifying testimony of loving action. It could be giving a smile to a person in the store that has a downcast look (which requires actually noticing other people and thinking about them), it could be stopping to give a meal to a person obviously in need of a meal or it could be sending baby dolls to Mexico for little girls that wouldn't otherwise have them. Maybe it could be volunteering at your local Crisis Pregnancy Center or be-friending the unpopular kid at school who needs a loving friend. It could be any one of these or a million other things. The point is that belief and desires translates into action and action is inherently pro-active. You need to be looking for opportunities to minister. If you just wait for them to come to you innumerable opportunities will be missed.

As I have been challenged recently to test my own beliefs in light of what I do so I also challenge you to test your intents and desires by your deeds and fruit. Ask yourself the question, "Am I really searching for a way to live out my convictions?" And, "If I'm honest with myself...what does my inaction say about my faith?"

May God give us grace and strength to obediently and faithfully follow the path He has set before.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!

If you liked Mark's post, feel free to visit his blog and leave a comment on the post.

God bless!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Collin Hansen: Dealing with Unanswered Prayers

Hello all,

Few subjects have remained as great a mystery over time as the subject of prayer and the working of God through prayer. On the one hand, we are called to pray and are assured in scripture that God hears our prayer and the Spirit works through our prayers (1 John 5:14-15; Philippians 4:6-7; James 5:16; Romans 8:26) but on the other hand, God doesn't always answer our prayers the way we want, or He doesn't answer in the timeline we want. By "want" I don't imply a negative want - but sincere desire to see God glorified.

So, what gives? Where is the balance between the seen and unseen of prayer? Do our prayers always make a difference?

We can turn to Collin Hansen for some help with that question. He has posted a great article on "Dealing with Unanswered Prayers" that I (Mark, in this case) discovered while perusing The Gospel Coalition site. The title of Mr. Hansen's piece, along with my introduction clues you in pretty well as to the subject covered and I don't really have any comments to add to Mr. Hansen's piece, so I'll be quiet and let you follow the link to his article below. We just recommend it strongly. :-)

Dealing with Unanswered Prayers

Feel free to add any comments here!

God bless!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Redefining Femininity: wrapping up wordliness series

As regular readers might have guessed by reading the title of this post, Rebeka Fry is wrapping up her series on worldliness (we have often termed it materialism) on her blog 'Redefining Femininity'. Naturally, after posting her series here with her blessing, it is only fitting that we post the final post in the series. So, without further ado, here is the post titled "Consider Your True Riches".

Consider Your True Riches

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though He was rich,
yet for your sakes He became poor,
that you through His poverty
might become rich
~ 2 Corinthians 8:9 ~

If you measure wealth by material assets, you won’t come out too high. Like everyone, you conveniently put yourself in the middle – you have more than some, but not as much as the neighbors with the Hummer and Jacuzzi. But measuring your riches through what Jesus did at Calvary – God’s wrath appeased, our sin atoned, our soul redeemed – you have immediately become the richest of the rich. When the gospel gets big, covetousness becomes little.

When someone sets his affections up
on the cross and the love of Christ,
he crucifies the world as a dead and undesirable thing.
The baits of sin lose their attraction and disappear.
Fill your affections with the cross of Christ and
you will find no room for sin
~ John Owen ~

Gratefulness is what the Christian has been called to.

Rejoice always . . .
in everything give thanks;
for this is will of God in Christ Jesus for You
~ 2 Thessalonians 5:16, 18 ~

Living a life of gratitude is humbly recognizing our dependence on God and others, and it battles our pride in our possessions. While gratitude may be and should be expressed through emotions, it is not a feeling and it’s not based on the present circumstance around you. Grateful speech replaces complaining about our supposed “lack.” Gratefulness is recognizing that God is always good and always right in His dealings with us. While the covetous heart cries, “I want, I need, I will have”, in times of plenty or in need, the grateful heart simply says, “Bless the Lord, my soul.” A beloved hymn writer penned it very well.

O bless the Lord, my soul!
Let all within me join,
and aid my tongue to bless His Name
whose favors are divine.
O bless the Lord, my soul,
not let His mercies lie
forgotten in unthankfulness,
and without praises die
~ Issac Watts ~

When covetousness tempts to chain the heart to the pithy things of the world, grace enables us to grasp the truth the Jesus Christ is not only necessary – He is enough. And delighting in such a truth can only bring an overwhelming sense of joy and satisfaction. Christ came to bring the riches of the inheritance of God to all who receive Him by faith. Unlike any other material entitlement, the riches of God are glorious (Ephesians 1:8), immeasurable (Ephesians 2:7), unsearchable (Ephesians 3:8), imperishable (1 Peter 1:4) – and ours forever!

Amen and many thanks to Rebeka for her excellent series! If you would like to read any of Rebeka's posts that you missed or if you would just like to read them again you will find links to below.

The Heart of Materialism

The Unseen Chains of Materialism

It Makes Me Happy

It Makes Me Important

It Makes Me Secure

God bless!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pressing on Toward the Goal: The Mind of Christ

Hello all,

We've featured posts by Daniel Osborne and his blog "Pressing On Toward the Goal" before, but this one just might be my favorite. I won't add much commentary beyond simply saying. . .I love this post because it honestly describes a real life scenario that we all encounter at some point. Plus, it illustrates and Biblically evaluates two basic responses in a simple and to the point manner. I think Daniel's post is likely to pop into my mind at some point in the future when I encounter a similar situation. Not exactly profound, but that, with its simplicity, is the beauty of it.

I hope you are as blessed by it as I was. I'll be quiet now before I seem like I'm gushing. :-P

The Mind of Christ

One of the songs that I listen to quite often on the way to work and back is called, "The Mind of Christ". It talks about living a life of sacrifice... putting others first regardless of what they do... to give grace... to never quit doing right... to give all without regret... to have the mind of Christ. It is one of my favorite songs to meditate on as I roll into work in the morning because it helps me focus on the things that matter. Honestly, today was not an easy day. It was one of those days where a coworker was trying to frustrate me (and succeeded, though I didn't show it). Usually during such days, I am able to refocus during lunch break, but I ended up not really taking a lunch break... and it was just a struggle to keep my heart fixed on Him. I am thankful for His grace and help in helping me to respond correctly, but I know that my heart wasn't matching my actions. I so much want to have the mind of Christ, so that it is not just my actions that are following Him, but my actions are following my heart... a heart that is fixed completely on Him. I was reading tonight in Romans 12 and found great encouragement in verses 14-21.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay", says the Lord. "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I don't think I'd call this "persecution"... or that he is my "enemy"... but it still very much applies. I am to have an understanding heart... rejoicing with him in his successes, bearing his burdens in his failures... to make peace, to overcome any bad intentions he has with giving of myself for his benefit. Oh, how little such an act of grace is compared to the grace of Him who died for the sin that I commit against Him every day. I need that constant reminder of the gospel so that my heart would be fixed on Him. These are such little things, but I so much need His help. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. God, help me to live in the reality of the gospel. I want to love how You love. I want Your heart and your mind. Transform me more into the image of Your Son that others would see You through me. Strengthen me with Your Spirit and the joy that comes with true fellowship with You. Cause Your Word to run free in my heart, stripping me of my selfishness and pride and longing to see You glorified.

God bless!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tim Challies: Solomon on Social Media

Hello folks,

How do Christians conduct themselves in a digital world in which online social media seems to (perhaps unfortunately) serve as a primary means of interaction? After all, we as Christians don't have any less duty or obligation to be faithful witnesses to the world around us and instruments of righteousness in His hands when we are online than when we are in person, right?

Those are good questions and ones probably not dealt with Biblically and thoroughly enough. Personally, I've always thought they should be easily answered questions, but it seems whenever I've tried to answer them coherently and thoroughly I've run into a brick wall after about the first sentence or two. :-)

Thankfully though, Tim Challies has posted an excellent blog entry that outlines fundamental principles for Proverbs that can and should govern our online interaction.

Normally, I wouldn't post the entirety of a post like this, but I can't break this post up in a way I like so I'm just re-posting the whole thing. I don't want to cheat Mr. Challies out of any blog hits though, so if you like his article please pop over to his site and leave him a comment. I have signed up for his daily email updates and have been tremendously blessed by them. :-)

Solomon on Social Media

There are many who doubt or downplay the relevance of the Old Testament to our times. Those people have probably never taken the time to read the book of Proverbs. I read from Proverbs almost every day and I am continually amazed at just how relevant this book is. It seems that wisdom is timeless. The lessons David taught Solomon speak to myself and my children as much as they did to the men and women of ancient Israel. The wisdom of God given to Solomon continues to ring loud and clear in my heart.

If Solomon were alive today and we were to ask him how we are to relate to one another in this digital world, if we were to ask him how we can honor God in our use of all these social media available to us today, here is how he might respond.

Count to ten before posting, sharing, sending, submitting. “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him (29:20).” How many arguments could be avoided and how many relationships saved if people were only a little less hasty with their words? Before posting an article or before replying to a Facebook status, it is always (always!) a good idea to re-read what you have written and consider if your words accurately express your feelings and if expressing such feelings is necessary and edifying. And while I’m on the topic, a spell-check doesn’t hurt either.

Leave the fool to his folly. “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself (26:4).” There are times when it is best to leave a foolish person to his own devices rather than to try to change him. Sometimes it is best just to leave him alone rather than providing him more ammunition to work with. This means that it may be best to ignore the troll, to leave a rebuke unanswered, than to bait him and to suffer his wrath.

Expose folly. “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes (26:5).” Here it is—undeniable proof that the Bible contradicts itself! Are we to answer a fool according to his folly or not? Evidently this “contradiction” is deliberate and is in the Bible to show that there is no absolute law in this situation. There are times when folly must be exposed, either if the fool is one you believe is honestly seeking after wisdom, or if his folly will damage others. If a fool is impacting others, drawing them into his foolishness, he must be exposed for the sake of the church’s health.

Know when to walk away. “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet (29:9).” There are times when you need to walk away instead of carrying on an argument. Foolish people have no real desire to learn or to be wise. Instead, they only seek opportunities to loudly proclaim the folly. Walk away so you can have peace. Shut down, log off, erase—do what you need to.

Be careful what you read. “Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool (26:8).” Be careful whose words you read and whose wisdom you trust. Foolish men may seem wise, but they will still lead others astray. If you give honor to a foolish man by reading and soaking in his words, you are as foolish as a person who binds his stone in a sling, rendering the sling useless and leaving himself defenseless.

Avoid the gossiper. “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body (29:22).” There are many web sites, blogs and Twitter accounts dedicated almost entirely to gossip, to sharing what is dishonorable rather than what is noble. Avoid these people and their gossip!

Be humble. “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips (27:2).” “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor (29:23).” Let others praise you. If you never receive praise from anyone, especially from those who are wise, it may be a good time to examine your heart and examine if you are walking in the ways of wisdom. Those who are humble and lowly in spirit will receive honor while the arrogant will be brought low.

Mind your own business. “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears (26:17).” If you have ever grabbed a dog by the ears you know it will inevitably bring trouble. Grabbing a strange dog by the ears will bring even more trouble. Stay out of other people’s fights rather than wading into them as if they are your own. There may be times to wade into a theological dispute or to try to mediate a disagreement in the blogosphere, but wisdom would usually tell you to mind your own business.

Don’t be a troublemaker. “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling (26:27).” Those who exist only to bring trouble to others will pay a price. And unfortunately, on the Internet there are many of these people. Don’t be one!

Examine why you write. “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike (27:14).” The proverb speaks of a quarrelsome wife, but it could as easily apply to anyone. If you are writing merely to be quarrelsome or because you enjoy an argument, perhaps it is best to find something else to do. “As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.” Do not be the kind of person who kindles strife for his own enjoyment.

Be careful what you teach. “Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit, and the blameless will have a godly inheritance (28:10).” Those who choose to teach others accept a grave responsibility; if they mislead others, they must expect that there will be consequences. Be careful what you teach, what you share, what beliefs you express. Remember that your words are public and that they may remain available forever.

Walk with the Lord. “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered (28:26).” And here is the key to everything else. Trust in the Lord rather than in yourself. Walk with the Lord and in the ways of wisdom taught in the pages of the Bible. Be a wise man or woman of the Word, rather than a fool who trusts in his own wisdom (or lack thereof). Arm yourself with spiritual maturity, with true wisdom, before venturing into the world of social media.

I truly believe that if we as Christians and Rebelutionaries evaluate and govern our online interaction by these principles we will find ourselves far more effective ministers of His word.

Do any readers have thoughts or additional principles to add?

God bless!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Redefining Femininity: It Makes Me Secure

Hello all,

By this time our regular readers are growing well acquainted with the work of Rebeka Fry on her 'Redefining Femininity' blog and specifically her series on materialism. Today, we've got another excellent post from Rebeka as she continues her series on materialism, this one dealing with the issue of security and possessions.

It Makes Me Secure

In the Western world, poverty seems to be unimaginable. We have every resource at our finger tips, whether it be technology, education, health care, entertainment; whatever we call for, the butler delivers. In the parable Jesus told about the rich fool, the times were plentiful, abounding with riches and prosperity. This time of plenty was from the hand of God. But the Lord doesn’t prosper us just to give us a life of ease; His blessing can become a test – a test as to where our trust lies. Tragically, the rich fool failed the test epically.

"So he said, 'I will do this:
I will pull down my barns and build greater,
and there I will store all my crops and my goods."
~ Luke 12:18 ~

Now, some may look at that and say, "He was being resourceful! What's so wrong with that?" The problem with his statement follows in the next verse.

"'And I will say to my soul,
"Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years;
take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."'"
~ Luke 12:19 ~

This statement reveals a problem. It reveals where his trust was found - in himself and his material gain.

Too often, I've heard stories of Christians from other countries who have come over the United States (or another Westernized nation), whether it be for business, medical school, or for long-term immigration. While they were in their home country, they stood firm in their faith, disregarding distractions and wealth. Arriving in the West, however, they found a new world that was enchanted by Hollywood, cutting-edge technology and plentiful entertainment, accessible education, and many other delights. And while these things aren't inherently evil in and of themselves, for a person from a third-world nation, it became a potential hazard for their faith in Christ. One Romanian pastor said,

"In my experience, 95 percent of the believers
who face the test of persecution pass it,
while 95 percent of the believers
who face the test of prosperity fail it."

Isn't that so true? As I read through Foxe's Book of Martyrs or a "Voice of the Martyrs" magazine, the stories always amaze me. Those Christians stood and are standing firm in their commitment towards Christ, their legacy of unbending faith resounding on to this generation and those that are to come. But the Westernized church has become distracted by the world, letting its pleasure dazzle the eye and trifle the heart. Our confidence is very weak or maybe not even in the glories of the cross. It has been sabotaged by the outward veneer of covetousness.

While we may put God to the test and say, "Go ahead - bless me!", if the rich man failed the prosperity test, what hope do we have to do better? We have no hope in ourselves. But, thanks to the cross, we can stand with confidence in the fact that where we failed, Christ was obedient. Where we stumble, He completed the race, setting a new record. When we are tested with the riches of this world - the new iPhone 4, a new car, the new house - we have a refuge we can find shelter in. We can go to the Savior who secured a place for us with God through the cross.

Some scriptures that came to mind as I read this post are as follow:

Luke 1613 - "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other You cannot serve God and wealth."

Matthew 6:19-21 - "19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Hebrews 13:5 - Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU"

Many thanks to Rebeka for sharing!

God bless!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Resurgence: How to Fight Clean Over Doctrine

Hello all,

So, how do we conduct ourselves in discussions and interaction with people who hold different theological views than we do? Dustin Neeley has some simple yet effective and important pointers for those of us that need them (I'm sure I don't need them :-P ). I'll just stick to posting his introduction and four points without his added commentary, so if you want to read his entire post (I recommend you do) you'll have to hop over to The Resurgence and read the rest there. :-)

How to Fight Clean Over Doctrine: pursue humility with the same passion that you pursue clarity


Meet Tim and Ted, brand new, computer-selected freshman roommates at the local Christian college.

Tim became a Calvinist about six months ago. He reads Reformed books, listens to Reformed podcasts, talks incessantly about Reformed theology, and just got a “Soli Deo Gloria” tattoo. Tim is obnoxious.

Ted, his roommate, is not Reformed. In fact, he actually doesn’t like Reformed people very much. He listens to Southern Gospel music on tape and is against all tattoos of any kind. Tim is equally obnoxious.

It’s going to be a long semester.

Were we to listen in on their conversations (significant disagreements) throughout their short journey together, we would likely hear several things: first, we would hear two young men who are equally passionate about what they believe; second, we would hear that they actually agree on much more than they disagree on, but are usually shouting too loudly to hear it themselves; third, we would hear that they are not very different from those of us listening in.

Intramural Debates

Over the years, I have seen “intramural debates” over minor issues, such as the end times and spiritual gifts, become major problems. I have seen people get fired up over secondary issues, and all the while, the gospel was obscured, the mission was sidetracked, and the body of Christ injured in the process.

So what is the alternative? Just skip doctrinal discussions because they could be potentially divisive? Hardly. How about we just find a way to “fight clean” over doctrine? Consider these suggestions:

1. Keep the cross at the center of your theological system.

2. Ask yourself some uncomfortable questions.

3. Remember that you probably held the other position not long ago.

4. Pursue humility with the same passion that you pursue clarity.

Be sure to read the rest here!

God bless!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Elyse Fitzpatrick - Submission Is Harder Than You Think

I was tremendously blessed and challenged today by this post, written by Elyse Fitzpatrick, that I ran across while perusing The Gospel Coalition website. She begins her post...

As a Christian woman and a wife, I’ve heard a lot of teaching on the topic of submission over the years. I assume that most women who attend good churches have, too. I’ve also had disturbing conversations with egalitarian women who think that submission is mutual in marriage: husbands and wives equally submitting to one another. Gallons (drums?) of ink have been spilled over the roles of men and women in the home and the true definition of what it means for a wife to submit to her husband. Yes, submission has been a hot topic in Christian circles for years.

From this point in her post she shifts from a more woman specific perspective on the issue and more broadly identifies what true Biblical submission means for both men and women. I won't re-post the entirety of her post, but allow me to select a few of the passages that I believe cut most deeply and directly to the heart and matter of her post.

But there’s one form of submission that Paul speaks of that I’ve never heard anyone discuss—at least not in those terms. Here’s Romans 10:1-4:

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Isn’t that the difficulty with true Christianity? It forces us all, women and men, to subordinate ourselves—to bow low beneath the truth that if we want to be righteous we must give up all our efforts at righteousness and submit to his.

I ought to rejoice that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness,” but I’m not sure that I always do. Yes, of course, when I’m in my right mind, I exult in the truth embodied in those words. But there are other times, and far too frequently, when I find myself relying on my obedience to the law so that I can assure my own heart and beg to squirm out from under the total submission he’s demanded of me. You mean I can’t rely on myself at all? Really? Can’t I just craft a little something to hang on to when I start to doubt whether grace is enough? This feeling of freefalling into someone else’s mercy and righteousness is really quite unnerving. Sometimes grace gives me the shivers.

I’ll admit that wifely submission is difficult. But this kind of submission, submission to an alien righteousness, a righteousness that I do not deserve and don’t really even always want, is utterly impossible. I will never, and I mean never, give up the moral high ground on my own. God must humble me and change my heart by his Spirit, compelling me to bow the knee at Calvary, or I will always remain a proud Pharisee.

I don't know about you, but I feel thoroughly chastised, exhorted and empowered. :-) Be sure to read the entirety of her post here.

God bless, and as Mrs. Fitzpatrick says to close her post, "Let’s pray today that the Lord may grant us all, women and men, the grace to submit ourselves to his righteousness and stop seeking to establish our own . . . no matter what form that might take."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Godz Dancers: A Call to Courage and Endurance

Hello all,

Tabitha has posted a great call to courage and endurance on her blog, Godz Dancers. It definitely got my attention and left me nodding my head vigorously in agreement. :-)

"Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered."
-Numbers 10:35

We are in a battle, dear Christian. We are soldiers of Christ fighting each day in His name, sustained by His strength. In time of peace, soldiers do not rest but continue to train, submitting to long days of hard labour so that they will be prepared when the battle is upon them. But unlike the soldiers who fight for the sake of temporal things, our battle is a spiritual one. Still we need training, preparation, and protection. Each morning when we wake, we ought to plead, just as Moses did; 'Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered.' If we ask, and if we are willing to give all of ourselves for the sake of gaining all of Him, He will fight for us. Christian, the greatest Soldier is on your side; do not fight in fear.

"Onward Christian soldiers
marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus
going on before

The call to "arise" and to "take up our cross daily" (Luke 9:23) is counter to the expectations placed on youth by today's society. But, by God's grace we can overcome the shackles of low expectations and be mighty warriors everyday.

Please pop over to Tabitha's blog and leave her a comment if you appreciated her post! :-)

God bless!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Redefining Femininity - It Makes Me Important

Hello all,

This is another post from Rebeka Fry's series on materielism. In this post, she addresses the deception of "importance" delivered by materielism.

Some may be wondering why we keep posting these posts on materielism, and if you are wondering why, here is a short answer. Materielism is a worldview and mindset that seeks to replace God with things. It's pretty much that simple; and for that reason and the fact that our nation seems gripped by the stranglehold of materielism, we believe this is an extremely important issue. We can't say how glad we are that Rebeka agrees with us and has provided us with all these greats posts. :-)

It Makes Me Important

"For all that is in the world -
the desires of the flesh and the
desires of the eyes and
the pride in possessions -
is not from the Father
but is from the world.
~ 1 John 2:16, ESV

Remember our twin, Mr. Stock Broker, from Luke 12? His life was consumed with his life. Each action was to build up his esteem, taking comfort in the pleasures of this life. Every statement he uttered dripped with self-glorification. The rich fool lived in the world of All About Me.

There's another name for the "it-makes-me-important-" chain; God calls it the pride in possessions. A quote from the New Bible Dictionary inserts a very insightful thought about this verse.

"The two dominant characteristics of 'this world' are pride,
born of man's failure to accept his creaturely estate and
his dependence on the Creator . . .
and covetousness, which causes him to desire and possess
all that is attractive to his physical senses
~ R. V. G. Tasker ~

If I'm truly at the center of everything (pride), then stuff exists to serve my cravings (covetousness). And if my identity comes from stuff (covetousness), then the amount of stuff I attain makes me important (pride). The dual chains of pride and covetousness always snake around the person who find self-importance in material possessions. The intertwining of the two are as inevitable as they are destructive.

We've all heard the advertisements. "Use this shampoo and your hair will give such a shine that your neighbors will be jealous." Or something like that. It's always a point for advertisers to make us feel that we will somehow be better than our friend if we just buy their product. But pride is never satiated. When we obtain our desire, we then feel superior, sinfully assuming that the product makes us wonderful. Our purchases become a sacrifice to the one we worship - ourselves: "Look at you, you great chum! Here is you much-deserved offering of love!"

Or, in other words, my stuff makes me important.

Thanks very much, Rebeka! If you didn't read her post about materialisms false promise of "happiness," then be sure to follow this link and check it out.

God bless!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Redefining Femininity - The Unseen Chains of Materialism

Hello all,

We are back with another challenging and thought provoking post on the issue of materialism from Rebeka Fry and her 'Redefining Femininity' blog.


The Unseen Chains

"Then He spoke a parable to them, saying:
'The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.
And he thought within himself, saying,
"What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?"
So he said, "I will do this:
I will pull down my barns and build greater,
and there I will store all my crops and my goods.
And I will say to my soul,
'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years;
take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.'"
But God said to him,
"Fool! This night your soul will be required of you;
then whose will those things be which you have provided?"
So is he who lays up treasure for himself,
and is not rich toward God
~ Luke 12:16-21 ~

This simple tale is comprised of two short parts and two characters, the first being the rich man. Apparently, his fields produced a bumper crop and he needs to consider storage upgrades. Needing a professional opinion, he calls upon the most trusted advisor he knows of – himself. Building bigger barns is the most logical solution and, inspired by his own genius, he comforts his soul and prepares himself for a long retirement.

Enter the Divine Stock Broker. The rich man’s number has come up and it’s time for the great accounting of his investments in heaven, but that only leads to a startling surprise. In the one audit that eternally matters, this man’s portfolio is bare! Standing on the brink of a damnable eternity, he falls bankrupt with nothing to show but debts he cannot pay.

Look around you. No, I’m serious, look around the room you’re in. How much of it will matter in heaven? Everything on this earth is confined to this earth. And in the end, it is all left behind.

The ancient Egyptians had a certain burial tradition they practiced when someone of honor died. They would fill that person’s tomb with treasures they would “need” in the afterlife. For instance, if a captain of an army died, they might fill his grave with a chariot or weapons of war. In November of 1922, the world-famed archeologist Howard Carter made history by unearthing the tomb of the renowned pharaoh King Tut (or “Tutankhamen” for the historically adept). What made this discovery even more newsworthy was the fact that most of the treasures were still in it. Dismantled treasures, chariots, even thrones – all the things a king would need to satisfy him in the afterlife were there. But King Tut was a fool. Thinking he would keep all his earthly possessions, they (the tomb preparer people) loaded his tomb up with earthly trinkets. But while he may have left the building, his treasures stayed behind.

Like these two men, we can become fools ourselves. Powerful lies can begin to shape our world and, like an unholy blacksmith, they can become as forged chains around our souls and stake our life to this passing world. This story Jesus told about the foolish rich man was meant to free our eyes to see these chains, and to look to Him as the ultimate source of provision. These next four posts will address some of the common lies that come with in the package of materialism.

If you appreciate Rebeka's work, please pop over to her blog and leave her an encouraging comment!

God bless!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dye2Live4Christ - Heart Check

Hello all,

It's easy in the rapid paced life that most of us live these days to forget the truth contained in Jeremiah 17:9. It says, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?" There is a strong tendency in most people to follow their heart and to a great extent this is a good thing because the Holy Spirit works through the heart. But as Jeremiah 17:9 points out, we can't trust our heart. We need to frequently evaluate our hearts by the light of God and His Word if we are to stay on a path that is of God and honoring to God. As Jeremiah 17:10 says..."I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds."

Samuel Dye, on his blog Dye2Live4Christ, shared some great thoughts on this matter. His post offers a great challenge to those who want to love the Lord with all their heart

Wednesday 9-29-10

"He did right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. The LORD struck the king, so that he was a leper to the day of his death." 2 Kings 15:3-5

As I read this it struck me that Azariah could be so blind to his sin. In chapter 12 and 14 we see two other Kings of Judah do the same thing. They lived right before God, only they did not remove the high places. And as I pondered how either blinded he must have been, or he didn't truly care. I was convicted, how many times has and does God show me my sin and yet I continue in it. It seems to very well coincide with what I was reading in Proverbs 29 today, it says: "A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy." God is so merciful, it honestly boggles my mind that time and time again I sin against Him, and I right now the wrath of God is not bearing down upon me. Even more than that, Christ took the wrath of God for me, I sinned I deserved God's wrath, Jesus died and took that wrath and punishment for me! But let me not "presume" upon grace, for Romans 6:2 says that we who are dead to sin are not to continue therein any longer.

I will be the first to admit, I've been deceived by sin, by my own lusts. In fact the natural man is nothing but deceived, because his mind is set on the flesh and not God. Satan is called the deceiver of the world in Revelation 12. We are not called to complacency or conformity with this world but rather to the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2), that we might have that mind which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:5). We are also called to encourage, exhort and even reprove other brothers (and sisters as the case may be) in Christ, that we would become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Heb 3:13). However if we attempt to not be deceived in our own strength and have the mind of Christ by our own doing, it will fail. We see in Jude 1:24 that it is only Jesus who can keep us from stumbling and present us spotless and without blame before the Father. And ultimately it will be worth it all because one day we "we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is." (1 John 3:2)

Amen and many thanks to Sam for his post! If you don't follow Sam's blog yet I highly recommend that you do. It's a great expositionally oriented blog and I am always blessed by his updates.

God bless!