Back To Eden

eden

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator (Colossians 3:9-10)

I have to flip the channel when I see that commercial where a girl tries to pay for her cigarettes by picking patches of her skin off and placing them on the counter. It’s haunting! When you see these terms like we have to put off the old self and put on the new self, you can start to think weird things like What, do I need to pay for this “new self” by shedding my old skin like that nasty ad?” 

The new self is a back to Eden mindset. Before the Fall, our way of thinking followed the compass of God’s good revelation, void of evil. As we know, evil entered as the corrupting agent in our thought life with just one bite.

But we have a Lord who purchased this curse. One who calls us from the deathly bite in the garden to the fruit of the Spirit that will renew our knowledge after the image of its creator. To this Lord we are able to submit every thought for his dealing.

Just like we put on new clothes each day (hopefully) we must decide to put on the new self that is progressively refreshing to the original design.

Lord let us be done with the old and embrace the new that has been ushered in by the grace of our creator.

Christian Voting Part 2: Seeking the Good of the City

I need to give my initial disclaimer; this post is appearing on “the green room” which is a blog by the students and alumni of Eternity Bible College. These are my opinions and in no way does what I write in this series exclusively express the positions of Eternity Bible College’s students, staff or alumni. My hope is that if students, staff or alumni disagree with me, we could do what Christians out to do, to dialogue in a healthy, scripturally based manner.

In my last post I argued against the popular argument that as Christians, specifically in this year’s election, we need to choose the “lesser of two evils.” Today I want to address another theme I’ve seen come up in these conversations. Continue reading

With All Your Mind

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” -Mark 12:30

What is the first thing that you think about when you wake up? Is it a thought about schoolwork? Perhaps something work-related? A frustrating relationship? That fight you had last night with your significant other?

Has your first thought of the day ever been about God?

There was a time in my life when I wanted to do this, and sometimes I succeeded. This may seem like a strange thing to do, but I believe that it can be one way of loving God with all of your mind. When you hear the phrase “Love God with all your mind,” most of us typically think that it means being intellectual. Certainly, Christians shouldn’t be ignorant of the knowledge of God. Christians are in a life-long process of knowing more and more about God, so we can’t disregard this aspect of loving God with all of our minds. But I think there’s another aspect to this command that gets overlooked. Continue reading

Why You Should Enroll in Spiritual Boot Camp

You will spend years preparing for your career. But very few Christians spend any time at all preparing to effectively follow Jesus in that career.

Recent research has shown that only 16% of Christians report learning how the Bible applies to their field or area of interest. This means that 84% of Christians spend their lives in a career, but have never been taught how their Christian faith should play out in that career!

And the problem begins earlier than a person’s career. Only 11% of Christians report receiving helpful input from a someone in their church about their education.

This means the church is sending people out to be educated and devote their lives to a career, but leaving them clueless as to how their faith informs their education or career. The church may be doing a good job of teaching people about church life, but it is not preparing the next generation to take their faith beyond church walls.

Continue reading

Youth Ministry Tips

This is just a list that I put together for someone who asked me to make one. This is just a short way to sum up some of the important things I’ve learned. I don’t know everything. So it’s probably not rock solid.

Top 3 things a youth group needs:
1. Committed leaders(healthy leaders)
2. Good communication between leadership
3. Always having a goal in mind(either short term or long term)

3 Things that helped my ministry in NM a lot
(I totally stole some of the phrasing from Cornerstone’s YM packets because they said it better, but I came up with this list separate)
-Intentionality (Definitely #1):

1. Go out of your comfort zone to make sure kids feel wanted/notice/loved!
a. Text students when they don’t come to an event (especially Youth)
b. Communicate with them in any way to see if they will be at an event (Social Media is a great way to communicate with multiple students at one time)
c. Invite student to hang out (regardless if you know they won’t want to)
d. Calling students is a good way to express that they are important
e. Include them when you are doing stuff with other students as well

2. Prepare for your conversations with students beforehand
a. Read your Bible
b. Read some articles on teens, youth ministry, or even cultural trends
c. Pray for wisdom and opportunities
***You won’t know all the answers and you won’t always be prepared. Other leaders can help assist you as well, but never trade that for actually doing your own research on issues

-Time
(This one is really important. It doesn’t take much to say that your time goes a long way with students)

1. Actually follow through and hang out with students
a. Sometimes kids just need to know that you care before they can care about what you know
b. You don’t always have to spend money on them to hang out with them
c. “Doing life” with students will help you better understand and minister to them

-Consistency
1. Meet with students regularly
a. Once a week is ideal, but once a month says a lot, too (And that’s not even hard!)
b. Kids like to know that you actually care and consistency actually shows how important something is to
c. It’s hard to impact anything when you are only around for a season

2. Be consistent with who you are
a. integrity will teach the students a lot
b. try your best to focus on being like Christ not only on Wednesdays but even when you home and in your most comfortable place
c. Sometimes we leave our faith outside our home, but students need to know they can trust who you are

3. Be consistent in what you say
a. Consistently encourage students
b. Try not to contradict yourself
c. Do NOT be a hypocrite
d. Remind students who they are in Christ (in God’s eyes)

***None of this stuff happens over night. Also, it’s not supposed to be something that you just do. You should enjoy this stuff and not make it into a task or job. These are just tools to utilize. It’s not a legalistic list of rules to follow.
*Some stuff was added by my roommates as well.

Mentors Are Not Pets

In preparing to attend Eternity, I was greatly intrigued by their emphasis on student mentors. Each Eternity student is required to find someone within their local church body to walk alongside and disciple them as they acclimate to Bible college, redefine their faith, learn how to correctly approach and study Scripture, or even make independent financial and relationship choices. Going into it, I was a little scared. Not only was I moving across the country and finding a new church, but now I had to start a relationship with someone who I had just met so that they could disciple me. My previous mentor had been my youth pastor, someone that I had been close to for a long time and informally spoke into my life on a daily basis. Eternity seemed different.

The mentorship program that Eternity focus is brilliant and phenomenal, which is something I didn’t understand before I started classes but I fully understand now that I’m three semesters in. Entering into a new climate (not just the beautiful SoCal weather) of rigorous biblical, historical, and philosophical studies is challenging but exciting. Processing the informational deluge in your first semester is no small task. God created Christians to live in harmony with one another and not individually. Placing yourself in a community of other believers (a.k.a. church) will help dispel some of the tension and take some of the stress away from late nights. But sitting down one-on-one with someone older and wiser and letting the faucet of your brain explode through your mouth in intentional conversation…there’s hardly anything better, especially for verbal processors like me.

So when looking for a mentor, here are a few goals to keep in mind:

  1. A mentor is not a pet. Pets are cute and kept in stores where people, mostly teenage girls, walk up and down the aisle “ooh”-ing and “aah”-ing over their adorable little paws until they find one they like. Mentors are different. Don’t treat your search for a mentor like you’re picking out a pet to keep you company. Be intentional about your search. Who are some of the people in your new church who you’ve gotten to know? Who are the wisest people in your congregation? Those are the people you want to keep in mind.
  2. Wisdom is a must. Your mentor should definitely not be on the same level of faith as you are. Picking out a mentor similar to myself would have looked a lot like the blind leading the blind. Look for someone who knows more than you, which is a really humbling experience. Look for someone who’s been around the block in their faith and has grown out of that. Most of, but not all, the time this is someone older than you.
  3. Your mentor doesn’t have to be your pastor. Pastors are the greatest and worst candidates for mentors. They’re great in the fact that, well, they’re guys who spend their entire lives reading the Bible, living it out, and teaching other people how to apply it to their lives. That’s perfect! Yet, pastors are also arguably the worst because they’re pastors. Shining the spotlight on a pastor because he’s a pastor takes all the other extremely wise and qualified people in your congregation who weren’t called to be pastors, but are just as wise as one, out of the spotlight. Also, the entire work of the church is meant to be shared instead of laid entirely on the pastor’s shoulders. Between preparing messages, raising a family, possibly having another job, and ministering to the rest of the congregation, your pastor has a lot on his plate already. It’s likely that your pastor knows of people in your congregation who would make great mentors. Ask him. However, he would probably be willing to do it himself, and that’s great too.

When it all boils down to it, searching for a mentor isn’t all that bad. It requires grabbing coffee or lunch with a lot of people and making a lot of friends. I was under the impression that most people wouldn’t want to commit to a mentor relationship, but I was dead wrong. Most people you ask would love to pour into someone else’s for a while and would jump at the chance to do so.