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ESV Family Devotional Bible Review

family-devo

Once again, Crossway produces a magnificent product. I have always been impressed with their products and the Family Devotional Bible is worth the purchase.

Do you sometimes worry that you are not giving your kids the type of teaching or encouragement from the Bible you wish you were or think you should be? Do you believe that since you are not a Bible scholar that you shouldn’t be teaching the Bible? Have you been wanting to start having a family devotion time but was unsure how to start or what to do? This Bible is for you.

The Family devotional Bible will be a great asset for you and will make family devotions something to look forward to however often you want to do them. The Bible contains 130 devotions for you to share with your family as well as questions to guide family discussions and a key verse to be used for memorization or to help remember the main point of the story. The devotions are based on key stories and characters throughout the Bible but never make them larger than who the whole Bible is actually about, God. Each devotion comes back to the main point of the Bible, which is the Gospel and pointing people to Jesus Christ. The questions are great in that they are easy enough for younger children but will even help adults to truly understand how every story in the Bible is meant to point us to Jesus Christ. There are also full color maps in the back to help you and your children understand more about certain parts of the Bible.

One of my favorite parts of this Bible is the fact it is in the English Standard Version (ESV). Some people might not like the translation but I have always found it to be easy to read and understand. Here is a little note about the ESV translation:

The ESV is an “essentially literal” translation that seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. It seeks to be transparent to the original text, letting the reader see as directly as possible the structure and meaning of the original. (from biblegateway.com)

If you are a parent wanting to find a way to encourage regular Bible reading in your family, then give the ESV Family devotional Bible a chance. You and your children will be glad you did.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting / Flyby Promotions for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for this honest review.


Rediscovering Discipleship – A review

rediscovering-discipleship

Rediscovering Discipleship is by far the best one I have read on discipleship, ever. This book, as the subtitle says is really all about “making Jesus’ final words our first work” (front cover). Unfortunately, in many churches, discipleship is more a program or something left for the “professional ministers” instead of something pursued and engaged in by every follower of Christ. One could make the claim this has done more harm to God’s church than any sin. Ed Stetzer, in the foreword, makes this statement: “The Bible tells us that we should be conscious of ourselves and of our teaching…In other words, it matters how you are growing and how you’re leading your people to grow” (p. 11).

Here is how Robby defines discipleship:

Discipleship is intentionally equipping believers with the Word of God through accountable relationships empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to replicate faithful followers of Christ. (p. 155)

Discipleship should not simply be a committee in a church, or even a program, it should be the life of the church. Discipleship should describe how a church grows, how it lives and breathes. Discipleship should be at the root of everything done in the church. If the ultimate goal and purpose of a program or event is not discipleship, what is it? For many, it simply stops after evangelism. After an individual is “hooked” they are left to themselves. There is nobody there to help them take the next steps in their walk with the Lord. This is extremely detrimental to the life of any church because many churches stop there. After someone makes a profession of faith they are left to figure things out on their own. But that is not how it should be, once someone has made a profession of faith, the work of discipleship begins.

The author quotes Heather Zempel, the leader of the discipleship ministry at National Community Church in Washington, DC:

The first model of discipleship that we see in history is the Relational model, which was the dominant approach to spiritual growth during the first few centuries of the church. It is built upon the premise that discipleship will occur naturally when Christians live in community with one another. Relational discipleship was vitally important during the early church because there was no New Testament and there were very few copies of Old Testament writings available to the common people. Spiritual truths were conveyed through the stories of the apostles and their letters to the churches. (p. 92)

Robby then follows that with this statement perfectly showing what happened to this movement, or the church:

Unfortunately, what began as a grass roots, relational movement eventually turned into a structured hierarchy that quenched efforts at discipling those not pursuing professional ministry roles. The common understanding of the church changed from being a people to a place, from a body to a building. The ministry was seen as something done exclusively by the clergy, while the laity sat idle and took on a more passive role. Institutionalized ministry replaced individualized ministry. (p. 92)

Perfect way to describe what has actually happened in the church throughout history. Discipleship is how the church reproduces itself and remains alive and growing. Discipleship is how God molds His children into the image of His Son. When discipleship is simply reduced to another program offered by the church, we suffer and the church suffers. God desires fully devoted followers of Him, not partially committed followers who only come to Him when life gets hard or when they need something. God is molding and shaping us into the image of His Son and discipleship is how God does this.

From the time Jesus called His first disciples to His crucifixion, Jesus was involved in discipleship. He was training them, preparing them for/ life after He ascended into heaven. This was God’s plan A from the very beginning and there is no plan B. God does not see discipleship as optional like many churches do. He sees it as foundational.

One of the main reasons I enjoyed this book so much is because it really helps paint the picture of what discipleship should be all about. It is not a difficult read but is encouraging and refreshing in that it explains what discipleship is all about and should be all about, and then goes into application by helping the reader understand how they can actually disciple someone. The last part will serve to be extremely beneficial for the Christian who has wanted to disciple but just does not know how.

Here are a couple quotes from the book:

Train yourself and your people not to be impressed with success in the church that does not accomplish the goal set forth by Christ: making disciples. (p. 23)

Discipleship has an end goal: to be conformed into the image of Christ – to talk the way He talked, walk the way He walked, and respond the way He responded. (p. 79)

Discipleship wasn’t a ministry of the first-century church. It was the ministry of the church…shouldn’t it be ours as well? (p. 85)

Just remember, you cannot microwave disciples. It’s a crock-pot recipe. And it takes time for maturity to take root. The wait is long, but the results are worth it. (p. 138)

Fortunately, Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, did not prescribe for us a single model of how to disciple. Instead, He gave us a mandate: Make disciples! He didn’t give us a single process; he left us with several principles and showed us by His own examples. (p. 154)

A church member once said to me, “your talk talks and your walk walks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” The way you live speaks volumes about the degree of disciple-making taking place in your church.

Rediscovering Discipleship is all about what the title says, rediscovering discipleship. If you are involved in church leadership, a volunteer, or someone who has just begun their faith journey, this book is for you. It will help you understand how intentional and purposeful God is with His children. He does not simply want people to place their faith in Him and then live life how they want to. Choosing to respond to Jesus’ call to follow Him is just the beginning. After responding to the call is when the work really begins, and does not end until our lives end. Get this book, read it and apply it. You will be glad you did. I just think, if every Christian in the world were to take what this book says to heart, apply it and make disciples, there would be no more unreached people in the world today. Besides, what more motivation do we need to make disciples than the fact we are commanded to by Jesus?

 In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I received a complimentary copy of this book from Cross Focused Media LLC in exchange for this review.


Back to WordPress

After a brief 2 year excursion with Bluehost, I have decided to come back to WordPress for the time being. I am looking forward to sharing thoughts, book reviews, questions and ideas with you all through thetoddlynn.wordpress.com. If you have not, feel free to follow me and be notified every time a new post is published.

Also, if you have any ideas you would like to see discussed or shared about on this blog, feel free to comment below.


The Art of Storytelling by John Walsh

Art of Storytelling

Recently, I have become more interested in storytelling. As a youth pastor, there are many times where telling a story would be extremely beneficial getting a point across. Because of this, I have read a couple books on storytelling and when Moody emailed me with a chance to review this book, I jumped at the opportunity. I am extremely glad I did. John Walsh is a great storyteller to learn from and this book is a step by step guide in “presenting an unforgettable story”, as the title of the book states. John Walsh is highly qualified to write this book as he is a nationally known author, speaker and professional storyteller. He founded the Christian Storytelling Network and also serves as president of BibleTelling, “which is an organization dedicated to teaching people how to learn and tell Bible stories and use them in all phases of ministry” (taken from the back of the book in the author bio).

As I have reflected on the many different preachers I have listened to and had the opportunity to sit under, the ones I can remember the best are those who have used stories to help bring their points to life. One of my favorite speakers to listen to is Louie Giglio. I first heard him speak around 2002 or 2003 and ever since then, I try to listen to him regularly due to his ability to bring a passage to life through the Word of God itself, but also through personal and life stories that in many ways, give his messages a little extra punch. He never shares a story to make it the central part of his message, or to take away from the Word of God. He uses them to help transition as well as give life application to what he is preaching. This has challenged me in many ways to look for means to bring passages to life for my audience, to find ways to help students know how to apply passages I speak from to their lives. I never want an audience I speak to, to ever walk away wondering what they are to do with what they just heard. John Walsh with this book has given me yet more insight and wisdom in how to make this happen.

Think back through your life, you can probably remember many different times where you have heard a story presented that stuck with you even though it might actually have been years ago. However, sometimes, it is hard to even remember the pastor’s sermon or points from this past Sunday. This is yet one other reason I want to learn to utilize this tool when speaking. Stories help people remember. A well told story can capture our imaginations and make us feel like we are right there in the story because it touches on our senses.

If you find yourself giving presentations or teaching or even telling stories to audiences of any size and want to improve in your abilities, this book is a must read for you. If you are a pastor or ministry director, or even a missionary, wanting to find ways to help your congregation and audiences really take hold of what you are sharing, then pick up The Art of Storytelling. It will help bring your presentations to life. John Walsh writes in an easy to follow manner that will also help you craft your first story as you read along. When you finish the book, you will be excited and energized to put into practice what you have learned. So pick up this book and let it help you take your presentation and storytelling skills to a whole new level, one that will captivate your audience and help them remember what you presented.

 

 I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for this review. 


Tuesday Laughs

Hey everyone, it’s Tuesday and many of you could use something to make you laugh. Well, check out these links:

Crip Walk with Irish Jig

Ravers dancing to Benny Hill

These should be able to give you a laugh to make it through your Tuesday.


Weekly Scoop

scoop

It’s Friday, which means time for the Weekly Scoop. If you have never been here before, the Weekly Scoop is a list of links I have compiled throughout the week I believe would be worth your time. So, without further ado, here are the links for this weeks Weekly Scoop.

Christianity Today sat down with Chris Tomlin where he opened up on different topics from worship to justice and leading people to experience God: Chris Tomlin – On Top of the World.

Timothy Tennent writes about how the movie “Saving Mr. Banks” got him thinking about the Gospel and contextualization. A great article: Saving Mr. Banks and the contextualization of the Gospel.

Has culture reached a “moral gag reflex”: Miley Cyrus and the Moral Gag Reflex.

How we talk about abortion to people can be effective, especially when done in a loving and caring way: I was Pro-Choice 3 months ago.

The Public Service Announcement from New Zealand that changed my driving habits (Caution: This is not for the faint of heart): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvLaTupw-hk
Geoff Surratt shares 3 things the church could learn from the popular TV show Downton Abbey: Lessons from Downton Abbey.
Jeff Strong writes a thought provoking article on mistakes Christian parents make with teenagers: Top Ten Mistakes Christian Parents  of Teens Make.
And one more parenting article: Homeschool Blindspots.
And to end with a little humor: 20 Ridiculously Ironic Pictures.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my Weekly Scoop. If you came across something worth sharing, please share it in the comments, or message me and I can put it in next weeks scoop. Feel free to share this with anyone you believe would benefit from this.

My thoughts on the Duck Dynasty situation

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Duck Dynasty is pretty funny, especially if you enjoy watching rednecks do redneck things. My wife and father-in-law enjoy watching it and most of the time I will sit and watch it as well. Basically, the show is based around rednecks being rednecks. There are a number of shows like this on TV: Rodeo Girls, American Hoggers, The Legend of Shelby the Swampman, and Moonshiners are a few I found after doing a Google search for “Redneck shows on TV.” There are actually more than this if you do more searching.

The Robertson family started a duck call company and they have done pretty well. As you watch the show, and see the houses they live in, you can tell their business has done well. However, what has made Duck Dynasty have an even stronger pull, especially in conservative Christian circles, is the fact they profess to be Christians. After the show took off, you could find the Robertsons making their rounds in the Christian conference circle. Si was at Catalyst. Jace and his wife were on the K-Love radio show, Willie has been to Liberty University and even the Duck Dynasty teens are scheduled to be at a New Year’s party at Liberty University as well. Needless to say, they have had the chance to share their faith on a number of stages because of the success of their reality TV show. It was doing well until recently when Phil made a couple comments concerning homosexuality in an interview with GQ magazine. Then, A&E came out and suspended Phil from the show indefinitely. This does not surprise me.

I would say if the people on Duck Dynasty are truly going to follow their own motto of “Faith, family, ducks” then they should tell A&E there will be no show without their father. If they truly believe in what they say, this would seem to be the logical step. If A&E won’t allow someone on their show to share their own beliefs, then why should the rest of the Robertson family allow A&E to silence their own father but keep making who knows how much money from the show?

You might respond to that by saying look at the witness they are able to have with their show and be on TV and impact so many people. While this is true, is it necessary for them to remain on TV to have an impact on this world for Christ? No, it is anything but necessary. They were a successful family and business before TV, so chances are they would remain successful even without the show. Also, how many people do you think have been impacted simply through watching the show? How many lives do you really think have been changed by watching rednecks do what rednecks do? Probably not as many as we would hope because if you were to do a search to figure out who watches this show, it would probably be a majority of people who already profess some type of faith or who just enjoy watching rednecks.

Here is where I want to take a little different route for the rest of this post. I want to discuss what has come to be known in this part of the world as basically “celebrity Christians.” You can find them all over the US: sports, movies, TV shows, music industry and more. Christians have claimed people from Tim Tebow to Carrie Underwood to Justin Bieber (not so much anymore) to Mel Gibson among many more. It seems anytime someone states they believe differently than the world, we are quick to accept them as Christians even though we do not know much about their lives. Do celebrity Christians truly help the cause of Christ? Or do they sometimes bring about more negative views from the public? Let’s look at the most recent comments by Phil Robertson as an example.

Let me give two illustrations. For the first one, let’s say Phil Robertson is having a meal with a family friend who happens to not be a follower of Christ. Maybe Phil has been praying for this individual for a long time and for a chance to witness to this individual. Their conversation turns to faith and God. This is a great place for Phil to share his beliefs because he has a relationship with the person he is talking to, the person knows Phil is not a homophobe or “spewer” of hate language and such. This individual is also able to sense the love Phil has for everyone, including homosexuals, though he clearly does not agree with their lifestyle and holds to what the Bible teaches, which is homosexuality is a sin.

Next, let’s say Phil has an interview with a well-known magazine publication, maybe GQ, because of his celebrity status (face it, GQ would not be interviewing Phil Robertson for anything if not for the success of the TV show). Perhaps GQ asks Phil a question about his faith, in his response, he shares what he believes in a loving way and he simply states he believes, according to the Bible, homosexuality is a sin.

Which of these situations will receive a better response from someone who does not believe in God? Which situation would probably receive more chances to share their faith with that person and more who need to hear about Christ? It is obvious the first situation, a personal relationship, is the best way for anyone to share their faith in Christ. When Christians are given a platform to share what they believe with the world, many times, maybe most of the time, it will come out in a loving way but be taken as hate language because they hear words going against their chosen lifestyle. And in the world we live in, people are constantly looking for ways to quiet Christians. This does not surprise me. 1 John 3:13 says we should not be surprised the world hates us. 1 Peter 4:12 says “do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes to test you, as though something strange were happening to you…if you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”

Thus, celebrity Christians can wind up doing more harm than good. The way A&E responded to Phil Robertson is not surprising. It is the world acting like the world. The world does not agree with us anymore and the time where Christians could stand on the street corner and preach or have open air evangelistic crusades in this country and have an overwhelming response is basically in the past. The time where Christians could openly share what they believe in the public is no longer here. For every couple people impacted with the Gospel by a celebrity Christian, you have more people turned off by it who could have been reached through a friendship with a follower of Christ. When a celebrity Christian says something from a platform that goes against culture, it can close them off from Christian influence and even hurt friendships with Christians.

So, I have said a lot but what is my point? What would I say to Christians today in this world who are crying foul to what has recently happened? I would say it is time for Christians to come back to a 1 Timothy 2:1-3 lifestyle. What does 1 Timothy 2:1-3 say?

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.

Throughout history, Christianity has spread more through personal relationships than any other way. More people have been impacted by Christ through a relationship with a Christian. Not a knock on the door and an evangelistic presentation, but through doing life together and living in community. Unfortunately, that has been lost in today’s society. We try to live lives among people like us, hoping the world comes to us. We will invite someone to church without getting to know them or getting to know their story. It is in a personal relationship where we can show people we truly do love everyone and are not spewing hate language when we tell them we believe homosexuality is a sin. The world needs Christians to live as Jesus did, to live among them and love them while living a godly life. This is the type of life that will bring avenues to witness and see changed lives. When Christians get up in arms because of a situation like what happened to Phil Robertson, I do not believe it does much good for the cause of Christ. It might do things for the American way or the American dream, but not so much for the cause of Christ.

If we truly want to make an impact on the world, I believe 1 Timothy 2:1-3 gives us the best advice on how to do that. Then if we add that with the Great Commission, we will impact the world and lives will be changed. If we are going to fight for a freedom of speech, do not claim it is what the Bible says we as Christians should do because I have yet to see anything in the Bible that truly tells Christians to boycott or picket or email companies announcing our displeasure. The Bible never says we are to get revenge. But it does tell us to be ready for fiery trials and persecution.


This Website is moving

Hello all,

I am writing this post to let you know my blog is moving. I have set up a new website where I will host my blog along with other stuff I am wanting to include.

The new site is thetoddlynn.com. I wanted to keep it simple so please join me on the new site.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

TheToddLynn


My Thoughts on the VMAs

My thoughts on the VMA’s

Personally, I believe the world is acting just like the world. Gone are the days when even those who did not attend church still lived what could be called moral lives. The days have arrived as described in Romans 1:24 and 28:

“Therefore, God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them…And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”

How does that fit with this blog for today? Keep reading and I pray our eyes would be opened.

A couple days ago, MTV put on the VMA’s, Video Music Awards to honor the best music videos of the year. It has been going on for 20+ years. Since that day, there has been a huge amount of dialogue concerning what happened during the performance of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. If you have not seen it, you did not miss anything. Words you could use to describe the performance could be, but are not limited to: offensive, vulgar, disgusting, sad, shameful, etc. As a culture, we should be ashamed that such acts are performed, and in some cases even celebrated. However, nothing seems shameful to our culture anymore, even acts such as this one.

Miley Cyrus used to be known as Hannah Montana but ever since that show ended, she has done everything possible to separate herself from that persona. Her music, her actions and her lifestyle has done nothing but show that she is creating a new name for herself allowing her to do whatever she wants at any time. She is basically living what America has been teaching young people for years now of do what you want. You are your own person. You don’t have to answer for your actions. Live out your youth. There are no ethics or truth to live by so go and live. Now it may not come in those exact words but that is basically what is being conveyed to young people. So, she is living out what she has been fed and all of a sudden, we are going to draw a line? Something seems hypocritical about that, don’t you think? It does not add up. In this blog though, I do not want to pick on Miley or speak any ill words to her because in all honesty, each of us has within us the same thing she is dealing with, a sin nature. Unfortunately for her, her choices are broadcast all over the world. All of us would be ashamed if our sins were broadcast all over the world as well. Praise the Lord for grace and how He has lavished it on us. We deserve nothing better than Miley which is why our hearts should break for her and the life she is living because it will only lead to emptiness. If you want to read another piece on Miley, check here.

With that said, I want to actually mention a couple other players in the VMA’s who have not faced the same scrutiny but in some ways, can be partially blamed for a young lady such as Miley behaving as she has. The first player would be Miley’s “partner in crime” at the VMA’s, Robin Thicke. Mr. Thicke is 36 years old, married with a 3 year old son. Why is he not being scrutinized for having taken part in this performance? Robin Thicke actually tweeted “That was dope” and gave a shout out to Miley after their performance to over 770 thousand followers. Along with that, Robin’s most popular song, Blurred Lines, has over 151 million views. The unrated version has over 14.5 million views. If you watch the music video, it appears as though Miley was doing nothing more than playing the part of one of the women in the music video. The fact there is an unrated version of the music video can tell you a little bit about Mr. Thicke himself. The lyrics of his song are far from wholesome in that the song implies sex and objectifies women. If you watch the performance, you can tell that he had just as much a part in the act as Miley. The old saying of “it takes two to tango” can apply here as well. So why is this 36 year old husband and father off the hook? He is not exactly living a life that makes him a great role model for our young people either, but instead of mentioning him, we want to blame the 20 year old girl following the path of those who have gone before her.

Moving on, I want to mention one more person who has basically flown under the radar but who I feel could be scrutinized as well for what he has been teaching young people for years. This individual has been celebrated by basically everyone for his performance, and that is Justin Timberlake. He brought the house down and everyone to their feet by putting on a show that had everyone up and dancing, including Taylor Swift, who for some reason seemed to be shown every 10 seconds during his performance. However, you might be wondering how I can compare someone like JT with the train wreck that Miley appears to be. I mean, Justin was properly dressed, did not make any lewd or offensive gestures and was not dancing and grinding with someone 16 years younger than him. But that does not let him off the hook. The problem here is that while Justin does not parade around stage in the same manner as Miley, he has a powerful influence on others with the words he chooses to put in his music. I do not want to just speculate, I want to actually list some of his lyrics for you to read.

“Senorita” from “Justified” – 2002:

The men sing “It feels like something’s heating up, can I leave with you?” And then the ladies sing “I don’t know but I’m thinking about, really leaving with you.”

The song basically speaks of hooking up at a club and going home with someone.

“Right For Me” from “Justified” – 2002

“I got plans tonight, and you, you know what I like and you’re approaching it right but I gotta make sure it’s right for me…
…turn around and then you flip your hair, I could think of a couple positions for you…a million nasty things went through my mind…”

It does not take a genius to figure out what this song is talking about. Again, he objectifies women.

“FutureSex/LoveSound” from FutureSex/Lovesounds – 2006

“So slide a little bit closer to me, little girl, daddy’s on a mission to please…Just tell me which way you like that all you gotta do is tell me which way you like that. Do you like it like this? Do you like it like that? Tell me which way you like that…”

“Chop Me Up” from FutureSex/Lovesounds – 2006

“I know you see me looking, girl go on and act right, a little closer, let me see you in the spotlight now turn around and let me see just what ya curved like…Now I know you got a buzz off that alcohol, I got a house that can entertain all of y’all…”

“Suit and Tie” from The 20/20 Experience – 2013

“All pressed up in black and white, and your dressed in that dress I like, love is swinging in the air tonight, let me show you a few things, let me show you a few things, show you a few things about love, now we’re in the swing of love, let me show you a few things, show you a few things about love…”

Now, I might be going out on a limb here but is Justin really singing here about love? Or once again is he talking about a girl because of how she looks?

The songs listed above are a small sampling but from that sample, it is easy to gather Mr. Timberlake might not be the best example for our young people to follow either. This is hard because he has a great voice and the music in his songs are some of the catchiest tunes. But, if you read more of his lyrics, you can see sex, alcohol, and infidelity implied and even talked about without shame. By examining his life, one can see he does not hold the highest moral standard either. However, do we see anyone talking about his performance in a negative way? No, because his messages are more subtle, causing them to be even more dangerous. I am not saying JT is purposefully misdirecting young people today, but when you are in a position where people look up to you, people will follow what you say, and in his case, what you sing. Therefore, even though JT is not out dancing around and acting like Ms. Cyrus, he can have the same impact with the words he chooses and the life he lives. People are watching him and people will follow him but since he is not acting out in such a bold and defiant way as Miley, not many people say anything about him or his message.

Song of Solomon says it is the little foxes that ruin the vines. Fences were put around vineyards to keep predators from getting in and ruin the vines, but it was the smaller foxes that still managed to find a way inside and ruin the vineyards. The bigger foxes were stopped by the fence. When we see people living as Miley Cyrus is choosing to, it is easy to ridicule her and object to her actions. On the other hand, when someone such as JT or Robin Thicke come along and are not as openly defiant, it is harder to see the danger, and therein lies the even greater danger.

Do not get me wrong, I am not trying to blast any of the aforementioned artists. I believe each of them is extremely talented in what they do. This is obvious by their huge following and fan bases. What I am trying to say is we need to be careful about only pointing out one individual choosing to live in the manner she has seen and heard and been taught by those who have gone before her. She is only taking it to a new level. This is not anything new; this is how history and life works and repeats itself. I read a quote once that said what one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace. All you need to do is take a clear, unbiased look at the world around us and we can see how evident this is.

If all we do is blame the outcome or result but not take a look at the systems that got us to where we are, we are blaming the wrong thing and we will never see any change. If we do not take the gospel to the world, we will not see any change. Yesterday on Twitter, I read a tweet that I feel bears repeating:

“Watching the VMAs last night affirms the option is either to run and hide from our culture or to rush in and help. Because it’s dying.” – Josh Rutledge

Again, read the passage from Romans 1:24 and 28 says “therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves…and since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” When we see people who are not followers of Christ living as they do, it should not surprise us. If anything, this should serve as a reminder there is a lost world that needs the Gospel. The world does not need us to be silent. The world needs us to remember our mission in this world. We have been distracted for too long. We have allowed ourselves to be entertained by the world far too long. We have been waiting for the world to come to us and visit our churches instead of going out and being the difference in the world, the salt of the earth. What happened at the VMAs should once again not surprise us; it should open our eyes and remind us of what the world becomes when Christians remain silent and uninvolved. This should serve as a wake-up call in that it should wake us up to the knowledge this world needs followers of Christ to live as followers of Christ and be the hands and feet of Jesus. This world needs us to go out to it and not wait any longer. I am praying it wakes me up. Will you join me in praying this for yourself and for the church?


In Honor of the 27 Million slaves around the world today!!!

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