Archive | November, 2014

Your Black Friday Prayer

26 Nov

shopping mallI have experienced Black Friday.  It began way before any human should be awake.  It began in a line that was so long that it wrapped around two sides of the store.  I wish that I could say that it got better.

I picked up the few items that I was buying, and then headed towards another extremely long line.  Two young women were in line right behind me.  One of them had a cart with various odds and ends, while the other was attempting to move a television box that was bigger than her.  I couldn’t help but listen to their conversation.

“This television is such a great deal.”

“Yes, it is.”

Silence.

“What are you going to do with it?”

“I don’t know.”

“You already have one.”  Silence.    “You don’t have anywhere to put it.”

“But it is such a good deal.”

The conversation ended, but the point was so clear.  I actually hung around just to see what would happen.  In the end, the television won, and all humanity lost another round to American consumerism.  As Black Friday approaches, many of you will brave the long lines, and mass chaos.  Here is a simple prayer that can help you come out on top.

 

Black Friday PrayerDear Lord,

 You are Lord of all that I have – including my money.  Today, my shopping is under your control.  Help me to use discernment while using my money.  Help me to spend only what I have, that I might be free from the bondage of debt.  May I remember that your call to generosity extends beyond my family, but to the “least of these.”  May your Spirit guide me, and not greed.  May I not believe the lie that possessions will bring me or my family happiness.  May I not attempt to earn the love of others through gifts.

 May my day be filled with your love, your joy, and your peace.

 Always and forever yours,

Lead Me – Sanctus Real

20 Nov

During my high school years, I started working at a Christian bookstore.  It was there that I discovered the world of Christian music.  In those early days, I used to rock out to Acapella and 4-Him.  Christian music has made a huge impact in my faith journey.  Barely a day goes by that I do not listen to music that directs my soul to God and His truth.

Here is one song that has impacted me as a husband and father.  It is a father’s prayer acknowledging his own inability to lead, and revealing his passion for God’s help.

I hope that it will encourage you in your journey.

Sanctus Real has been performing for over 18 years.  I hope that you will check out their website.  SanctusReal_LayItDown_ImageOnly

The No. 1 Reason Teens Keeps the Faith as Young Adults

18 Nov

sessums-mother-daughter-679867-h[1]This article was just released by the Huffington Post, and I thought that it would be an encouragement for parents of children, teens, or emerging adults.

Click here for the ARTICLE.

The article is based on research by Christian Smith and the National Study for Youth and Religion.  My favorite quote in the article by Christian Smith,   “No other conceivable causal influence … comes remotely close to matching the influence of parents on the religious faith and practices of youth.  Parents just dominate.” 

So go read the article, and then go DOMINATE your kids by speaking, teaching, and living your faith within your home and your relationships with them.  

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.  If he can encourage the parents in your community, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

10 Ways that Jesus Models Authentic Manhood

13 Nov

Found this Article, and wanted to share it this week.  Enjoy!

Thomas L. Garrett is senior pastor of Faith Christian Center in Tampa, Fla. He is an honor graduate of the Word of Faith Bible Training Center and a graduate of Lawrence Tech University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineer

Recent News from Mars Hill and What Christians should learn

11 Nov

Whether or not you like Mark Driscoll, you should read this.

Whether or not you like Mars Hill, you should read this.

Whether or not you attend a megachurch (more than 500), you should read this.

This post is not about attaching a personality, but in noting a few lesson which all Christians can learn from what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Seattle.

News was released this week from Mars Hill, and we can learn from it.

  1. The problem was not found in one person.

    mark-driscoll_profile_imgMark Driscoll isn’t the only one who needs to say sorry.  Powerful people create a system that legitimizes their perspective and supports the abuse inflicted upon others.  While not all apologies need to be public, I hope that those who supported and legitimized Mark’s behavior are also seeking the forgiveness of those who were hurt because of their inability to stand up against his leadership.  I am proud of the leadership who has come forward and offered public apologies for what they allowed to happen at the church (NEWS FROM MARS HILL).  My prayer is that behind the scenes, hundreds of people are being healed now that the power structure of silence and abuse is broken.

 

  1. Churches who are dependent upon a personality are not really churches, but a Christianized talk show.

    It was announced that Mars Hill church will be disbanded, and that all satellite churches are becoming distinct separate communities (NEWS FROM MARS HILL).  The disbanding of Mars Hill reflects that these organizations were centered on Mark rather than the spiritual community of believers, and geographical location.  Churches should be grounded to the community around it.  If your church is not unique to your environment, and the people attending, then put it on the airwaves – you are “Oprah” in the making.   Unfortunately, this is the basis upon what most satellite churches are built.

 

  1. Many Christians are desperate for a charismatic leader.

    I bet if Mark Driscoll announced that he was ready to start over with a new church, that he would start with several thousand people.  It is a sad reflection of the church today that we have celebrity pastors who write books, and speak for the masses, and build walls and leadership structures that keep them isolated from the masses, and free to act as they wish.  While I am not opposed to people who speak, travel, or write, the western church has become dependent upon this current format.  There are probably trendy, hip pastors moving to Seattle ready to step in the gap left by Mark.  Dear Christians, you have a leader, and his name is Jesus – follow Him.

 

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director for EA Resources.

The Scary Steps of Freedom

6 Nov

© 2010 Dave Nakayama, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)

I don’t understand freedom.  I have spent my entire life in chains.  Like the baby elephant bound by the tent peg.  Like the dolphin confined by the tank.  Like the puppy confined by the cage.  At times I consider venturing out to something new, but I can’t.

Freedom comes with many emotions – joy, excitement, and over-whelming…

fear, uncertainty, and panic.

For chains are something that one can becomes accustomed to especially if they are all you have ever known.  Even the most restricting chains becomes to feel like what should be.   I stand at the opening of my cage weeping.

After years of boundaries, freedom comes with a sense of guilt from breaking boundaries even after they have been removed.  After years of darkness, the light of freedom can cause you to become disillusioned.  After years of being determined, freedom comes with an unwelcome sense of responsibility.  After years of the same, freedom comes with a sense of unknown.

I thought freedom would be an easy journey.  I thought it would feel immediately natural, and once free I would never want to go back.

I can tell you from experience that freedom takes some adjustments, and you might need some help from those who understand how a life of freedom works.  You will need someone who can steady you when you stumble, push you when fear freezes you, or exhaustion tests your resolve, and confusion causes you to dream of returning to what lies behind.

Freedom bring another emotion… a great sense of humility.

The bigger the gift, the more unworthy you feel as the receiver.  God’s freedom is big, and came with a huge price – a price that was paid on Calvary so many years ago.  A payment was made so I didn’t have too.  A promise was fulfilled that was made so many years before.

Freedom for me then is free…but that doesn’t mean that it is easy.  It was not easy to find.  It was not easy to embrace, and it certainly is not easy to live.   

Freedom that comes with such a price would be a shame to miss.

So why do I still stand at the gate of my cage?

 

© 2012 Steve Baker, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

Here is a great video of some dogs who are experiencing freedom for the first time.

 

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to help emerging adults and their parents.

What I Learned about Atheists from God’s Not Dead –

4 Nov

I waited almost six months before I watched the film “God’s Not Dead.”   Part of the reason is because I don’t have extra money to go the movie theater.  Another reason is because I am usually 6 months (or more) behind on the latest TV or movies.  However, to be honest, the main reason is because I suspected how I would feel about the movie.

I was right.

I recently came across this article that expressed some of my own struggles with the film.  The article is written by Neil Carter, a former church elder with a seminary education.  Neil writes about the struggles of former evangelicals living in the midst of a highly religious subculture.  While I don’t agree with Neil’s views of faith; however, there are many things that I think we can learn from the article.

1.  Characterizing atheists and people from other religious backgrounds does not benefit the Kingdom of God.

Stereotyping others is unfair, and unhealthy.  It builds walls, and cuts down healthy communication.  Christians are often stereotyped by media in negative ways.  So it seems as if when Christians have a chance to make their own movies, then they view it as a chance to get even.  While it might be fair, is it right?  Regardless of how you answer that question, here are a few of the characterizations of atheists in the movie (according to Neil):

  • Atheists are selfish, self-absorbed, greedy jerks. Atheists are clearly incapable of love.”  Due to my conservative up-bringing, I feared those outside the church, and believed all non-Christians were mean, and incapable of love.  Once leaving the “bubble” of Christian educational institutions, I met many individuals who demonstrated more love than my Christian brothers and sisters.  This realization caused me to wonder about what other things I was taught about the outside world that were not really true.
  • “Atheist professors are predatory, and they are out to convert everyone into ideological clones of themselves.”  The movie portrays college classrooms to be threatening to their students’ faith; however, the rise of postmodernism has made college campuses much more open to diversity and religion.
  • “They disbelieve in God because something bad happened to them.” While pain might cause some to turn away from God, people don’t believe in God for a variety of reasons.  An interesting book about why people have left the faith is Drew Dyck’s book – Generation Ex-Christian.

Unfortunately, the movie did not stop at characterizing atheists, but fulfills the stereotype of the Muslim father who beats his daughter and throws her out of the house when her faith is exposed.  The scene was abrupt and unnecessary to the story and only served to build walls in my opinion.

2.  When movies such as “God’s Not Dead” are viewed by non-Christians, these movies reveal that our purpose is not to show our care for others, but to protect our own personal beliefs and emotional safety.

Neil writes, “The central injustice of this movie is its failure to fairly represent a class of people whom Christians purport to love.  But it’s not loving people well to misrepresent them this badly.” Christian media spends most of its time and attention on trying to prove the truthfulness of its claims.  I believe that Christianity which has nothing to prove to current culture is more engaging and powerful.

I don’t care if you agree with Neil’s perspective of the film.

I don’t care if you agree with my perspective of the film.

I don’t care if you loved the film, or hated it.

I do care if (in Neil’s words) “this movie will provide the only depiction of atheism most evangelical Christians have ever seen.”  It was true about me for too much of my life, but no longer will I allow prejudice and fear to stifle my ability to love others.

If we are to be in the world, then we need to know people.  We need to know our neighbors without fear of those who ascribe to a different faith.

The author goes on to say, “If you are able to make it through this film without cringing at the stereotypes and misrepresentations it presents, I cannot imagine you will be able to see me for who I really am or relate to me in any way that is based in reality.”  If we are guarded or consumed by fear when around non-Christians, then the result is that you will never connect intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually with them.

I think that I would like Neil.  I would enjoy sitting down to coffee with him.  I actually would like to be his neighbor.

Not so Neil could be my next “soul-winning” project. (His soul is not for me to win, but he is someone that I am called to love.)  Not because he is an atheist.  Not because he is a writer (although that is pretty cool.)

Neil, if you read this, feel free to drop me a note.  If you are ever in Minnesota, give me a call.

I hope you will read Neil’s article, and see what you can learn.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources – a non-profit designed to encourage emerging adults and their parents.

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