Youth Entitlement and the Impact You are Having.

Youth Entitlement and the Impact

 Let me start by saying that we all want better for our children than we had it, that’s a given. My mom and dad didn’t have the things I had while growing up and obviously my kids have far more than I did, but where should the line be drawn?

Here is the story of two youth, one from each side of the tracks so to speak, yet neither of them are really better off in my books and still do not get the point.

Student female has good grades, makes friends pretty easily and has everything she wants…..I mean everything. Her mom and dad have bought her all the clothes that are in style, the shoes everyone is wearing, all the nice stuff in her room..ie….big TV, stereo, game systems and all. She always has the latest and new cell phone with all the bells and whistles and if one comes out before the contract is up, no problem, dad and mom to the rescue. They have even went as far as to by her a new car, help with gas, make the payment and cover the insurance. She really doesn’t work, only a few hours a week and that money is all hers to do with as she pleases. Her college will be paid for most likely with some scholarships but the rest will gladly come from mom and dad.

This same girl in conversations has been heard saying that she is going to wait to find the right man, one who can afford her where she will not have to work if she doesn’t want too. I have been taken care of my whole life by my mom and dad so why should I start now, I don’t have too!

Student male has not had the best life, wears a lot of hand me down clothes from friends and family. Has friends but really doesn’t make them easily and his room has the bare minimum in it, bed, dresser, and an old black and white TV set. He has no game systems, no stereo, and half of his drawers are empty with very little clothes. He has an old cell phone that use to be someone else’s and is limited on his minutes and texts. He does have a car, but it is on its last tire as it were, he has to pay his own gas which is a few dollars at a time and luckily he has not payment but does have insurance. He works only enough hours to get his gas and insurance paid for and really not an hour more. He will probably get a few scholarships but the bulk of his funding will come from grants or student aide.

Yet, this same boy has been heard in conversations as saying he doesn’t want to work and that the system will take care of him.  He has no desire to really work and has bounced from job to job because he always has an excuse not to work. His big plans are that I have never really had anything to speak of so I don’t need much and what I do, the “system” need will get it for me.

When you look at these two students on the surface you see complete opposites, one with everything and one with hardly anything. However, both have the same outlook on life, someone will take care of me, and I don’t have to do it myself.  Again I am all for having my children’s lives better than mine, but too what end? Should there not be a line that is not crossed? When is it time for these kids to learn some responsibility and do something for themselves?

In my humble opinion we are doing more damage to our children by allowing them to have everything and gain everything so easily. We are not teaching them any responsibility, and we are not teaching them that in life you just might have to work at something to get it. I believe we are setting these type of children up for failure. What happens when one day mommy and daddy are not here and they have to do something on their own, what happens then? We must realize that while we want the best for our children, do they really need the latest and greatest things? What happens when you are gone and student female is married to Mr. Right and he gets laid off and maybe they can’t afford the best things anymore? What happens in student male’s life when the “system” quits working for him? Neither have ever had to work for anything because you as parents have given them everything! Just my two cents worth!

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What are we really teaching our kids in sports?

I am a lover of sports, especially football, but at what point do we draw the line between loving the game and right and wrong? At a recent football game I must admit that I got very upset, not at losing the game, but from the actions of one of the opposing team players and the lack of action from their coaches. One of the opposing team players repeatedly ran his mouth using every cuss word in the book and many that this 46 year old man had never heard and I have been around a lot of sports. He repeatedly hit players late, accumulated many personal fouls, and continually ran his mouth. 

The officials in like manner repeatedly told the player to stop and even threatened ejection from the game but never followed through. The coaches for the opposing team only pushed him on and at no time ever called him down for his actions. How do I know this? I know this because I had a friend on the opposing team’s side line who told me afterwards that the coaches always allow him too run his mouth and never call him down, correct him, or take any action against him. Which leads me to the next point, with a runaway game, why would the coaches not take out this player along with other starting players? In my humble opinion the coaches lack class and the true understanding of sportsmanship, nor do they have the class to rise above and teach their players respect.

As coaches, as men, as fathers, teachers for some, and as leaders we must rise above the games and take corrective actions where needed. I know that at times I have not been the leader I should have been, and I have been very upset at games to the point my head was going to explode. However, never to the point that I would allow a player too act in the manner that this player acted with no regards to others around him, including his coaches. We wonder why we see college players and pro’s getting in trouble with arrests, shootings, beating their girlfriends and more, well the answer is right in front of you, we put the game, winning at all cost, before principle and what is right and wrong.

To close let me say this, I am as competitive as the next guy and love to win. Yet, right and wrong must come first when mentoring these kids in any level of sports. Sports are here and gone before you know it, some after high school, for the lucky after college, and for very few maybe after a pro career. However the lessons you teach them about right and wrong, good and bad, and actions you allow will stay with them for a lifetime. Just my 2 cents worth!    

Quick Thoughts on Non Christian Friends and Living Life

As I was doing my bible study this morning my atheist friends came to my mind. I have some dear friends who openly claim to be atheists while others simply chose not to follow a particular form of religion. Other friends don’t really believe in a “god” but do believe there is a higher power governing the universe. Now for some of you that might seem funny, a Christian who has friends that don’t believe in God or follow a particular religion, simply put yes! Why not is what I ask?

Now, it is a BIG responsibility to be a Christian friend to someone who doesn’t believe in God, if for no other reason than because they might judge other Christians by your actions. You might not believe what they believe, but you can still always show Jesus through your actions towards them. Sometimes we need to take a step back and realize that not everyone was raised the way you might have been or even have the same beliefs that we might have. However, that doesn’t make our God love them any less so why should we?

This is something that I often share with my non believing friends, I am sure many of you have heard it before. You can live your whole life like there is no God, and if there isn’t, no big deal. You enjoyed life and there will be no penalty for your actions, bravo! However, what happens if you live your whole life like there is no God and there really is? What then?

For me and my family we will serve the Lord. I personally believe God exists and that I have a personal relationship with him. I talk to Him on a daily basis and if I listen closely, yes, I can even hear from Him. Don’t get caught up in the world and the temporary joy that you might think is great. Put your faith in Him and have the joy that will last eternity. Just my two cents worth!!

Through The Eyes: Samaritian Woman at The Well

We can only imagine as we read some of the stories in the Bible how it would have been to actually have seen some of these events with our own eyes. Take for example in the book of John the Samaritan woman at the well. As Jesus and His disciples were traveling from Jerusalem in the south of Galilee to the north, Jesus as would anyone took the quickest route, through Samaria.  Tired and thirsty, Jesus decided to set by Jacob’s Well, while his disciples went to the village of Sychar, about a half mile away, to buy food. It was about noon, the hottest part of the day, and a Samaritan woman came to the well at this inconvenient time, to draw water. As you can imagine Jesus was probably covered in sweat, dirty, and probably didn’t look His best, however Jesus spoke to the woman as she came to get water.

In His encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus broke three Jewish customs: first, he spoke to a woman; that was simply not done during that time.  Second, she was a Samaritan woman, a group the Jews traditionally despised; and third, he asked her to get him a drink of water, which would have made him ceremonially unclean from using her cup or jar. This shocked the woman at the well. Can you imagine, this woman, knowing He was a Jew first of all speaking to her but then asking for a drink of water. What shock she must have been in, if it were in our day she would have probably been looking for the hidden camera and for someone to say “gotcha.”  Then Jesus told the woman he could give her “living water”  so that she would never thirst again. This probably confused the lady and at that point probably thought Jesus was nuts. However, Jesus used the words living water to refer to eternal life, the gift that would satisfy her soul’s desire only available through him. At first, the Samaritan woman did not fully understand Jesus’ meaning. 

Although they had never met before, Jesus revealed that he knew she had had five husbands and was now living with a man who was not her husband. As you can imagine,  Jesus now had her attention! How would you feel if someone came up to you, who shouldn’t be talking to you, dirty as all get out, and knew things about you that no one should know? That would be scary by itself wouldn’t it? Yet the two began to talk about their views on worship, the woman voiced her faith that the Messiah was coming. Jesus answered, “I who speak to you am he.” (John 4:26,) As the woman began to grasp the reality of her encounter with Jesus, the disciples returned. They were equally shocked to find him speaking to a woman, this is something in their eyes should have never happened, it was forbidden. The woman leaving her water behind return to the town and began inviting everyone to “Come, see the man who told me all that I ever did.”  (John 4:29,) Again can you imagine what the people of the village where thinking, really, this man told you things about yourself that you didn’t tell him? We have got to see this for ourselves. However, you have to know that some where thinking, sure this Jew spoke with you at the well, NOT! And sure He is the Messiah and knows all. They must have thought she had flipped her lid.

While the Samaritan woman was running around telling everyone what Jesus had done, He was telling his  disciples the harvest of souls was ready, sown by the prophets, writers of the Old Testament, and John the Baptist. The Samaritans out of curiosity came from Sychar and begged Jesus to stay with them. So Jesus stayed two days, teaching the Samaritan people about the Kingdom of God. When he left, the people told the woman, “… we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42,)

Now can you really imagine this event? What it must have been like for the woman at the well? This man, dirty and probably stinky, talking with her, which He shouldn’t have been, then knowing everything about her. We know but don’t you think there had to be something special about Him? I can imagine some kind of feeling or glow about Him that this would after only speaking to Him for a few minutes, instantly knew who He was. This must have been overwhelming for her, I know I would have been, to actually meet and speak with the Messiah, Savior of the world!  

Points of Interest from the Story of the Woman at the Well:

• The Samaritans were a mixed race people, who had intermarried with the Assyrians centuries before. They were hated by the Jews because of this cultural mixing, and because they had their own version of the Bible and their own temple on Mount Gerizim.

• The woman at the well came to draw water at the hottest part of the day, instead of the usual morning or evening times, because she was shunned and rejected by the other women of the area for her immorality. Jesus knew her history but still accepted her and ministered to her.

• By reaching out to the Samaritans, Jesus showed that his mission was to the entire earth, not just the Jews. In the book of Acts, after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, his apostles carried on his work in Samaria and to the Gentile world.

• Ironically, while the High Priest and Sanhedrin rejected Jesus as the Messiah, the outcast Samaritans recognized him and accepted him for who he truly was: the Savior of the world.

Question for Reflection:

Our human tendency is to judge others because of stereotypes, customs or prejudices. Jesus treats people as individuals, accepting them with love and compassion. Do you dismiss certain people as lost causes, or do you see them as valuable in their own right, worthy of knowing about the gospel?

Journal Article Critique; Hall, N. “Total Depravity”

JOURNAL ARTICLE CRITIQUE

of

Hall, N. “Total Depravity” The Western Luminary Volume II, Issue 5 (August 13, 1834)

 THEO 525 LUO (fall 2011)

Systematic Theology I

 Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

 Anthony D. Padgett

 September 20, 2011

          The topic of this article is on original sin and in the authors’ opinion the connection between that and the doctrine of “total depravity.” The author is quick to point out Isaiah 1:5-6 “Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted.  From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness— only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil. The author believes by this passage that it is clear that the head and heart of man is “diseased and faint.”[i] That from the very sole of his feet to the very top of his head, moral corruption reigns and that his “heart is a cage unclean and filthy bids, full of deceit, and every evil work.”[ii]

            The author believes according to Paul in Rom 7:18, which the term “flesh” means, “man’s unregenerate, or natural state, or, that sinful nature derived from Adam.”[iii] That from this corrupt nature all other things precede including adultery, uncleanness, wrath, murder, as well as other acts that are too many to list. The author believes that this depravity is so deep and interwoven and mixed completely with our very nature that it is very difficult to understand even our own hearts. The author continues with his belief that the total depravity and enmity of the human heart may be learned from man’s great unwillingness to believe in the being and perfections of our great God. The author uses the words of David to clarify “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge” of Him.[iv]

He continues to explain that man is made from two substances, body and soul, or spirit; “your body you know must die, and got to dust, but your spirit can never die, it will live forever. You can see your body, but you cannot see your spirit, and you do not know that you have such a substance except by feeling it within you.”[v] It is by this spirit that your body acts and when it leaves the body it is how you know the person is dead. The body becomes of no use when the spirit is no longer within it. The author continues to explain that God differs from our own being by Him not having a body or form such as man does, however He does have a spirit like man’s soul or spirit. It is because God has no human form and is a spirit that He can be in all things. “If I ascend into heaven, thou art there, if I descend into hell, thou art there, if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, there shall thy hand lead me, and they right hand shall hold me.”[vi] The author then proposes the question how can God be present in all parts of earth and heaven yet He can’t be seen? The author states clearly that He is The Spirit and a spirit has no form. He suggests that when man prays to Him that it should not be to a being in the shape of a man, but to God the spirit. As God is a Spirit, the Bible tells man to worship him as a spirit and in truth that is, must worship Him with the entire heart.

The author expresses clearly that with man’s head and hearts so diseased and full of corruption, man cannot clearly understand the complete being and perfection of the “Great Jehovah.” That He is not like man who has a body and a spirit and is limited in our abilities. That He is God and has no form and can be at all places if He so desires. The author clearly explains his thoughts and uses biblical references in a clear way of supporting his conclusions. From the review no weakness were found and the article seems to be biblically correct and supported.


[i] Hall, N. “Total Depravity” The Western Luminary Volume II, Issue 5 (August 13, 1834)

 

[ii] Ibid.

 

[iii] Ibid.

 

[iv] Ibid.

 

[v] Ibid.

 

[vi] Ibid.

Survey on why people leave the church, the top 3 reasons according to Lifeway

In 2006, LifeWay Research conducted a survey of formerly churched adults in America, hoping to uncover certain trends about the de-churched. Lifeway admitted that they found the results shocking and cause for concern. Below are the highlights of the study.

Change in life situation
The number 1 reason for leaving church is a life change that prompted people to stop attending worship. In fact, almost 60% of de-churched people said that some adjustment to their lives is the primary reason why they no longer attend church.

Specifically, one-third of the formerly churched believe they are simply too busy for church. To them, life changes—often family or home needs—are as important as or more important than attending a local church. Several people reported that family responsibilities were causing them to feel too busy to attend church. And women (64%) are more likely than men (51%) to feel this increased pressure from home responsibilities.

One of the more surprising results about the formerly churched was the tendency to blame a physical move away from their home church as a reason for not returning to any church. About 28% of those reporting lifestyle changes said that a move to a new location caused them to stay away from the Church. Such a reason for leaving the Church demonstrates a great need for more outwardly focused churches. When a person or family moves to a new place and feels no motivation to join another church, it’s up to congregations within that community to reach out to them.

Disenchantment with the church
A number of the de-churched claim they’re disenchanted with the current state of their church. And 37% say this disillusionment is one of the primary reasons for leaving. Perhaps even more surprising than this percentage are the reasons for their cynicism. Several that were listed are as follows; the top 3 are in order, the pastor seeming above his preaching, clicks, and favoritism.

However, it must be noted that it was found interesting to note that only 15% of those who feel displeasure with the church say it’s due to a moral or ethical failure of the church leadership. While the local and national press often have a field day with moral breakdowns of pastors, that’s not a major contributing factor to people deciding to leave the Church.

The unloving church
Not only is the pastor a contributing factor to discontentment within the church, the way the formerly churched perceived the people within the church also motivated their leaving. Of the formerly churched who expressed dissatisfaction with those in the church, 45% said the other members were judgmental and hypocritical. Did you get that, judgmental and hypocritical!

In 1 Cor. 1:10, the Apostle Paul urged the church to preserve unity, having “no divisions” within the body. Our research shows that unity is key in the success of a church maintaining a healthy percentage of its members. If church members hold grudges against each other and don’t seek to sustain harmony within the body, people will leave. In fact, of those who said the church is unloving, many left because they didn’t believe God was at work within it. Clearly, for God to use a local body for His glory, it must keep a balance of unity and love.

Not Christians
One of the biggest mission fields may be the people sitting in your church every week. While no one will ever know exactly how many attending worship are believers, many are leaving the Church because they were never Christians in the first place. Our survey found that about a quarter of people leaving the Church expressed a change in beliefs or simply lost interest in religion. Of that group of people, 62% stated that they had stopped believing in organized religion altogether.

Don’t miss the enormity of this issue. Not only are people leaving the Church, but many are coming in and out your doors without meeting Christ. Inevitably, some will simply refuse to accept Christ no matter how evangelistically healthy a church becomes. But a large group of people, possibly tens of thousands who could be reached for Christ, are leaving the Church.

So what does this mean in my opinion? First, we need to be reaching out to those with families and who as many of us know struggle early on in our marriages with the juggling of kids, work, and other responsibilities. We need to make a special effort to let them know, at least while in the doors of the church if that is all we have, that they do not stand alone. Many of us have been where they are and in many cases still are.

Second, and for me and big one, stop the clicks and favoritism. For new people it is easily seen and observed and for the season member it just simply gets old. We must be mindful of the little things we do and say. Example: I once attended a gathering for a guest speaker, during this gathering several tables had been set up with only one being clearly marked as the speakers table. A couple whom it later was found out that had just visited the church that morning came to hear the speaker later that week at this gathering. Not knowing really anyone they came in and sat at the first table they found. No one had obviously been setting there so they took off their coats and sat down. After a short time one of the organizers of the event came by and told them that, “this table is saved, could you please find another seat.” The look in the people’s eyes said it all, shocked! They moved quietly to another table, listen to the speaker, and then quickly got out and have yet to be seen again. Now the sad thing is the organizers all sat at that table together. What was the big deal about them sitting there? Nothing, it came down to the click wanting to be together not about what was right or what Jesus would have done.

Third, we need to reach out more to the non-Christians in our churches. If like me you find it hard at times to know who is and who isn’t, ask someone who might have been there longer than you or simply go up to someone and introduce yourself. You don’t have to find out at that moment if they are a Christian or not, but began to build a relationship with them and soon you will know. We need to get the new Christians or even the non-Christians involved as soon as we can. Yes, I said non-Christians involved. Andy Stanley so clearly points out in his book Deep & Wide that getting the non-Christians involved in simple things can make a big impact on their growth towards Jesus. Yet, most churches use the same people for most of what they do. Branch out and get these people involved, they are searching that is why they are there, find a place for them to fit in!

As you may have noted the first reason was to do with the preacher. I intentionally skipped that one and saved it for last. There is so much I could say here but I will leave it to this. People want a God fearing, Christ centered, loving man to lead them. However, they want someone approachable, not unlike them in many ways, and who can relate to their feelings, needs, and struggles. It is in my humble opinion that more often than not our well educated pastors miss that mark. Do they know the bible, yes! Can they preach the most amazing sermons you have ever heard, yes! Are they Godly men, yes! Do they relate to the people they are preaching too, in many cases, no! Just my two cents worth!

Christians and the gay debate on marriage

Christians and the gay debate on marriage.

This is just my personal belief and stance on the current hot subject around the world.

I believe all too often Christians get a bad rap when it comes to the marriage of gays and gays in general. Now this is not to say that some right wing Christians don’t take things overboard from time to time, but show me any particular group of people that don’t. I live in the capitol of rednecks and believe me they take things too far all the time, but you can’t label a group by the radical.

Why do Christians also get a bad rap when it comes to speaking out about our beliefs? Is it no more than what the opposite is doing for their group?  When gays stand up and holler equal rights the media jumps on the band wagon by fully supporting them while admonishing those who oppose, why? If you think it is because the media fully supports you then you are crazy, they want ratings and news, you provide it for them! I believe in the freedom of speech, in fact I served our country so you could have your right as well, why muzzle mine and amplify yours? You speak of equal rights then give me the equal right to oppose something I don’t believe in!

As I have said many times and in a recent blog post, I was around gay before most even knew what gay was. My cousin was gay before there was even a closet to come out of, I grew up around it. Do I love my cousin, yes, do I support his lifestyle, no! That doesn’t make me a bad person, I’m sure there are things in my life that he doesn’t support or agree with it. The fact of it is I disagree with the gay lifestyle because I believe in the God’s word, plain, simple, truth!

Now for those who claim to be Christians and followers of God yet openly support gay marriage, well you are in line for a rude awakening. The Bible clearly states in Romans 1:24-26 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Plain and simple you would think!! Men are not to be with men and women are not to be with other women. Think of it another way, many of you have heard this before as well, God made our parts different so they would fit together for a reason. Women parts don’t naturally fit together and men’s don’t, unless you know something I don’t. God didn’t make Adam another man from his rib, He made him a woman. God didn’t say leave your mother and father for another man or woman, but take a wife (female) and produce off springs. Again plain and simple you would think!

Now if you are not a Christian and believe in gay marriage and rights, well there isn’t much I can say to sway you. What I can say is someday soon you will be awakened to your sin and everything will come full circle and only then will you understand. Can I make you do that? Nope! Can anyone else? Nope! But there is one coming that can!!!

Now, I can’t speak for all Christians, but I do believe most would agree with this. We will love our family and friends who are gay, we will be there in their extreme time of need, ie…deaths, sickness, ect. However, nothing says I have to like their ways or support what I do not agree with and go against my Lord and Savior!  That means I do not support gay marriages because it is not Biblical. Does that make me a bad person, nope! You stand up for what you believe and I will for what I believe.

Let me leave you with this last thought. I find it interesting that the gay community has chosen the equal sign for their cause. In part I understand why, but I think God is even working in that. See an equal sign is two exact indistinguishable bars/lines with the same orientation that are forever standing apart, never to cross. If you were to draw them out to infinity they would never intersect, it would be impossible. However the cross, a juxtaposition of two different lines/bars in its orientation crosses perfectly and which are fused into one single shape. Funny how God works in the smallest of things, equal sign never will cross and stand alone; the cross fuses into one and never stands apart. Even in the symbolism God is working!