Tag Archives: Faith

A Word to the Wounded

17 Feb

 

I didn’t expect this to happen. I didn’t want this to happen.
But now it has come, and its weight slowly settles onto my shoulders and back.
Like a storm moving in, removing light, removing warmth, removing hope.
The earth beneath my feet has turned to mud. I sink, I slip, I fall.
I am now dirty, wet, tired, and broken.
My burdens once bearable, now seem impossible.
I try to rise, but a misplaced foot leaves me where I began – face first in the mud.
Lying still on the ground, a sickening solace fills me – driven to a point of exhaustion and hopelessness.
I contemplate a choice to let wind and water reign.

 

Storm from Flickr via Wylio

© 2015 Jussi Ollila, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

 

But then I feel a presence – a familiar warmth, a stirring memory.
I lack the strength to look up, but I know who has come to me.
Fearing not the mud would stain his garments of white, he bends the knee.
Strong hands gently lift the weight from my back.
Part of me is not ready to release it, but I let go.

He lowers his hand – scarred and calloused.
Moments ago, there was not the strength to reach, but with no burden, a desperate lunge found me in his grip. The warmth of his hand, seeped down into my cold spaces, awakening life within.
I stood to my feet waiting for the storm to end, and all to be made right.
The moments passed, yet the wind and rain only grew in its thirst to overthrow me.
I clung to the One beside me, who alone made each step possible.

Searching to find a way out, my eyes stray.
I stumble and almost fall – steadied by Him who walks beside me.
I dare a look up into his eyes wanting to apologize for the mess I am in.
Expecting judgment and disappointment, his eyes are wholly other – filled with confidence and love.

At that moment, I know everything will be okay.

 

This poem was written in memory of Eric Harms.

Fantasy Readers

28 Mar

Calydrian ProphecyAs a child, I used to spend hours reading.  A few of my favorite reads were:  the Redwall Series, the Hardy Boys, the Chronicles of Narnia, and the Lord of the Rings.

There were many other series that I started to read as a child, and then stopped because I felt as if the content was not good for me.  It was heart-breaking to fall in love with an author’s work, only to have to put it down for the sake of my spiritual/mental health.

Sometime during college, I began to write a fantasy novel.  I have released the novel on Inkitt.  If you are interested, please check it out.  Here is the Prologue.

How had they found us? We had been so careful–never to leave tracks, never to draw attention, never to reveal our faces. We journeyed through wind, rain, freezing cold and scorching heat–stopping not for light of day nor cover of night. Though we felt we could not take another step, we pressed on. How many times had we fled? Countless. Sometimes because of dangers real; sometimes due to fears imagined. We could never take a chance, however the price of discovery being too great.

Here is the story.

Parenting Your Emerging Adult

8 Aug

Equipping yourself for each stage of your child’s development is important.  At each stage, you must pick up a few new tools.  Emerging adulthood is the life phase following adolescents (approximately 18-28 years old).  For a full description, read this!

Here is a podcast by Steven Argue, who is an expert on emerging adulthood and faith.  He is also the parent of three emerging adults.

Click Here for the Podcast!

If you work regularly with Emerging Adults, connect with Steve and many others through joining the EA Network on Facebook.

Steve joined the Fuller Theological Seminary faculty in June 2015 in a hybrid role as assistant professor of youth, family, and culture and as an applied research strategist with the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI). He is a thought leader and researcher with decades of on-the-ground ministry experience.

Questions to Ask before they leave for College

7 Aug

Fall is upon us, and student will soon be packing their bags and leaving for college.  If your child is leaving, Kara Powell from the Fuller Youth Institute released this article about preparing your child for college.  Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary.

When our oldest started high school, multiple older parents told me that high school would fly by. I didn’t believe them, but now that Nathan is diving into eleventh grade, I’ve jumped on the “high school goes so fast” bandwagon.

Here is the full article! 

Pass it along to someone you know is dropping off a student this fall.

If you work with emerging adults, please join Kara and other members of the Fuller Youth Institute as members of the EA Network – a networking site on Facebook.

Other resources:

Why did emerging adults not vote in the 2016? What does this mean for the Church?

26 Jul

In the 2016 election, 46% percent of emerging adults (18-29) voted.  This percentage was up slightly from the 2012 election.  Historically, younger Americans do not vote as much as older generations.  For example, over 70% of those over the age of 65 voted in the election.  We could say that the reason that emerging adults don’t vote is because they are all lazy and narcissistic, but that would not be true.

http://www.census.gov

I believe that young voters often do not believe that their vote will make a difference.

Democracy is built upon a belief that each individual has a voice, and that each vote matters.

I recently read an article that was discussing the recent election in the United Kingdom.  In the last election (which included the decision about the UK leaving the European Union), 43% of voters between the ages of 18-24 did not vote.  The author stated that behind each young adult, there is a story as to why they feel as if their vote did not matter.

The author states that she believes the same thing is true about the church.  She states, “If they [emerging adults] haven’t been included in decision making and leadership, if they’ve been patronized or belittled, why would they bother turning up?”  I believe that there is a correlation between the involvement of emerging adults in the institutions of government and the church.

Emerging adults are rarely allowed into places of leadership.  Emerging adults are rarely given the opportunity for their voice to be heard.

The decline of religion in the UK has been occurring for many decades, and as the decline of religion is becoming clear in the US (Millennial Exodus), we should listen and learn from them.

Unfortunately, sometimes current church leadership does not want them to vote – because they are afraid.  They are afraid of what the new generation believes.  So instead of everyone coming together to work out our differences, we simple don’t leave room for them at the table.

Instead of fear, I believe that we should respond in faith.

Without the voice and vote of emerging adults, the church suffers.

Relevant Links

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources.  He is the founder of the EA Network.  If he can help you and your community ministry to the emerging adults in your community, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

Facebook is seeking Authentic Community

8 Jul

I came across this article, and had to share it.  Facebook is now seeking how to develop community that is real and authentic.  Many churches are attempting to do the same thing – for a different reason.

At Facebook, mere “sharing” is getting old. Finding deeper meaning in online communities is the next big thing.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg is no longer satisfied with just connecting the world so that people can pass around baby pictures and live video — or fake news and hate symbols. So the Facebook founder wants to bring more meaning to its nearly 2 billion users by shepherding them into online groups that bring together people with common passions, problems and ambitions.

In this Wednesday, June 21, 2017, photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, right, talks with Facebook group administrators Lola Omolola, left, Erin Schatteman, second from left, and Janet Sanchez during the Facebook Communities Summit, in Chicago, in advance of announcement of a new Facebook initiative designed to spur people to form more meaningful communities with Facebook's groups feature. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Here is the full article.

The article explains how their leadership team is seeking to move Facebook from social sharing into communities where people find genuine community.  Community is powerful.  As humans, we were created to be in community with one another.  The ability to develop a community is so essential, that I present it as one of the basic developmental factors of adulthood. 

Facebook is facing an uphill battle.  While still the largest (by far) of the social media platforms, Facebook is facing decline among today’s adolescents and emerging adults who prefer to use Snapchat or Instagram.  Their decline in popularity is causing them to rethink how to create authentic community.

The main reason for this change is money.  Facebook made $27 billion dollars on advertising last year.  The longer that people stay on Facebook, the more income that they produce.

According to Anita Blanchard, virtual communities “can fill a fundamental need we have for a sense of belonging, much like eating or sleeping.”  The real hurdle is whether virtual communities, can truly provide undivided attention, a warm embrace, or show up when your car won’t start.

If you are looking for a virtual community to join, check out the EA Network – a network of people who desire to minister to the needs of emerging adults.

Related articles:

 

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder of EA Resources, and the EA Network.  If he can help you minister to the emerging adults in your life, contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

Faith in the home – Spiritual Conversations with your Children

5 Jul

Research done among youth group participants by Fuller Institute revealed only 12% of mothers have regular dialogue with their children about spiritual or life issues.  Only 5% of teenagers reported that their fathers have regular dialogue with them regarding spiritual or life issues.

The lack of communication in our homes about our faith is clearly an obstacle to the passing on of our faith and a cause of the Millennial Exodus.

Most of us are familiar with our responsibility as parents to imprint our faith upon our offspring.  Deuteronomy 6:6-7 states…

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 

However, being a spiritual leader in the home is not always easy.

Many parents struggle with addressing spirituality within the home.  Some parents struggle because it was never modeled for them, or feel as if they are not equipped.  The main reason that parents don’t talk to their children about faith is because they are afraid. 

Yes.  Fear shuts down the conversation before it even begins.

We fear how our child may respond either through statements, questions, or actions.  As parents, we fear that our child may reject the faith that we believe – and that their unbelief means that they are rejecting us.

Another source of this fear could be that our child might struggle with the same doubts that we ourselves possess.  Most Christians do not like facing our doubts, but we try to ignore or bury them in other activity.  We know the “church answers” or party-line responses for our doubt, but those pesky doubts linger.  Instead of leading our child on this pathway of faith, we give our children the glib responses that we don’t truly believe.

While making spiritual conversations with your children doesn’t take a lot of training, it does take courage.

  • Be courageous – step out and speak to your child about their spiritual lives and beliefs.
  • Sit back and listen.  Don’t attempt to answer all their questions, or solve all their doubt.  As your children age, you should not be looking to convert them or change their beliefs.  You should seek understanding for yourself, and encourage them.  If you seek to change them, these conversations will always end in conflict.  If you seek to listen to them, these conversations will lead to a deeper fuller relationship with your child.
  • Speak to your journey – trials, failures, victories, and hopes.  Share with your child your own experiences, while acknowledging their autonomy to make their own decisions.
  • Reflect and pray.  Don’t express your concerns to your child, but express your thoughts through praying to God.  Process what you hear with your spouse or friends.  Having community with others who are parenting emerging adults is essential for maintaining your sanity.
  • Repeat. 

May God grant you the faith and courage you need to faithfully parent your emerging adult children.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder of EA Resources.  He has a passion to encourage parents of emerging adults, and faith communities who want to minister to their needs.  If he can help your community, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

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