Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
As I sit in the student center at the PIttsburgh Theological Seminary trying to get some work done prior to class, my mind keeps wandering back to my high school experience. The torture of having to wake up and go to the very place which I hated. You see every day I would go to school just knowing that it was going to be a bad day, there was no hope. I was going to be made fun of.
This is what is going through the minds of bullied teenagers as they ride the bus on their way to another daunting day of school. There is no escape and the worst part is no one is stopping it. People that you thought were your friends stand by and say nothing as jokes are said to your face. That was what it was like 10 years ago and I can only imagine how much worse it is today.
The hardest part was that I could not understand why my peers enjoyed putting me down. Granted I did not have the best hygiene, I had hand-me-down clothes and I was overweight, but is that enough reason to make fun of someone? I began to believe what they were all saying and the only way in which I could deal with all the pain was to be proactive and make fun of myself and laugh it off. The plan was to beat them to it.
No matter how teens deal with it, bullying leaves deep scars of insecurity and self doubt. It is no surprise then that bullied teens are 30% more depressed and 20% more suicidal then non-bullied teens.
Parents, Teachers, Friends: we all have to fight bullying. Far too long have we let it fester and grow in our schools. We fight drunk driving and drugs because we have seen the direct problems that it causes in the lives of teens. We must do the same with bullying.
So what does the Bible have to say?
Jesus say LOVE your enemies and PRAY for those who persecute you.(Matthew 5:43-48) Repay their HATE with His LOVE. When I read those words I don’t even know how to begin doing that. There is not much comfort in those words for me or for someone who is being bullied. But then I remember what God said in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” This is what I was seeking, and the message we need to be spreading, YOU ARE NOT ALONE !!!!! God is with you and WE are with you.
So then what can we do about this issue of bullying? How can we stop the hate? Paul writes in
Phillippians 4:4-7, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
If anyone can speak to being bullied it is Paul. He was beaten, stoned, attacked, spit on and driven away on many occasions. Instead of attacking back what does he do? He rejoices in the Lord and makes his requests known to God through prayer.
Parents be praying for your kids and their friends DAILY, Teacher be in prayer for your students DAILY, Friends be in prayer for yourself and your friends DAILY. Together through the power of prayer we can come before a holy and righteous God who loves and cares for us, and we can lift up this serious issue which is plaguing our schools.
Monday, October 26, 2009
To paraphrase Jon Piper from his book, God is the Gospel. If you could have heaven with no sickness, no pain, all of your friends and family. Being able to do the best activities you ever did, but Jesus was not there could you be satisfied?
Are we in love with Jesus?
This is a hard question to answer, but an important question to ask none the less. If we come to the conclusion that we may not be, what is next? How do we fall in love with God?
Thursday, October 22, 2009
What is it that you believe? Why do you believe it?
You see all to often we do not investigate enough what it is that we truly belive. We do not know the Bible enough so instead we listen to people who do. We hear what they tell us and take that as what the Bible says.
Have you ever really read the Bible? I don't just mean a chapter here or there, but really gone through the pages and asked God to reveal to you what a relationship with him is all about. There comes a time when you will have to decide what you believe. Not what your pastor or youth pastor has taught you. So please read the Bible and ask God to show you the truth for yourself,
We will be talking about our own doubts. What about God do we really doubt, and why?
Then taking a look at the Bible and seeing what it says about those very doubts.
This week we will take a long hard look at our own lives to see if we are really in love with God. Do we have a crazy and passionate love for him, or do we go through the motions. This is a very hard process, but one that is very important. We do not want to be lukewarm, instead we want to be piping hot, on fire for God. With a passion for his word.
Here are some examples of what Francis Chan describes as a lukewarm person:
Lukewarm People attend Church regularly. They believe it is what "good Christians" are expected to do.
Lukewarm People give money to charity and the church, as long as it does not impinge on their standard of living.
Lukewarm People rarely share their faith with their neighbor, they are afraid they will be rejected.
What is it that holds you back, that causes you to be lukewarm?
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Student Life Publishing
You are wealthy Did you know that? Okay maybe not in comparison to the celebrities in People magazine but if you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back and a roof over your head, you are richer than 75 percent of the world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet and spare change in a dish somewhere....you are among the 8 percent that comprise the world’s wealthiest.
But we possess an even greater wealth. Knowledge of salvation.
Read Psalm 67 together as a family. It’s almost as if the unknown writer of the hymn had a glimpse into the future. Although he didn’t know exactly how salvation would come he was sure that it would come because he believed in God’s promise to Abraham.
No amount of riches can give us the salvation that we so desperately need. Without God’s mercy, we are hopeless and bound for destruction. But we have a giving, loving and gracious Saviour who has had a plan for salvation since the beginning of time. We have a Father whose heart aches and who has gone to a great extent to be reconciled to His children.
As we grasp this, praise and thankfulness should flow from our lives. It is a love story so amazing that we won’t want to keep it to ourselves. We have the privilege of telling other people this news, and He desires all who have ears to hear it.
With our abundance of knowledge, material wealth, possessions, and technology also comes a great responsibility. Not only are we more privileged than most people on the earth, but we also know a truth that millions have never heard or experienced. God has blessed us and now it’s our turn to be a blessing.
1. As a family, write down specific ways that God has blessed your family. Then take time to thank Him for those things.
2.Take turns naming specific gifts, talents, and passions that each family member has that God can use for His glory.
3. Statistics are beginning to show that less and less people in America are claaiming any religious affiliation. Does this motivate you and help you to see the urgency of sharing the message of CHrist? What do you need to do to be prepared to share the message of Christ more effectively?
4. What are the biggest obstacle to sharing your faith? What can you do to overcome those obstacles?
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