Menu

850.322.2104

News

82% of unchurched people are "some what likely" to . . .

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

 

Research indicates 82% of unchurched people are “somewhat 
likely” to attend church if invited and

escorted personally.

But, only 21% of professing Christians invited anyone 
to church

No Comments

Category Blog, News | Tags: Tags: ,

Social Networks : Technorati, Stumble it!, Digg, de.licio.us, Yahoo, reddit, Blogmarks, Google, Magnolia.

Body Image – Tatoos: a skin-deep reflection

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Tattoos: A skin-deep reflection

of adolescent life

By Paul Robertson

Although a little hard to see, she never forgets. She wears the discreet tattoo of a small tree on her right shoulder.
When asked to tell the story behind her tattoo she replies, “After I was born, my father planted this tree in our 
backyard in honor of my arrival. He was so proud of me. At 10 years of age, he walked out on us. When I turned 
16 I got a tattoo of the tree to remind myself that at one point in my life I was very important to my dad. I 
haven’t seen him in years and the tree is gone, but he can’t take my tattoo away.”

Young people get body art for many reasons. Some do it because they want to fit in, while others succumb to 
peer pressure. Many are a testimony to the power of media to influence our choices. For some, it is a mark of 
shock and rebellion, while tattoos make others feel sexier. Some simply see tattoos as works of fine art to adorn 
their human canvas.

Every generation has had a mark that distinguished it from previous cohorts. Over the past 50 years, prior 
generations have left us reminders of their passing—ducktail haircuts, cramming phone booths, rock’n roll, 
transistor radios, long hair, dropping drugs, dropping out, bell bottom jeans, platform shoes, polyester pants, 
pet rocks, disco, baggy pants and backwards hats, hip hop, rap, sex without boundaries, body modification, and 
lives lived out on the single mom that she could only describe as “hell.” Entering her second year 
of college, the wings are a constant reminder that there isn’t anything she can’t “rise” above.

Meaghan, 20, sees it similarly: “A tattoo is about me. It is a form of personal expression; part of the culture shift. 
Tattoos fill a void for meaning in a postmodern culture. We need permanency in world of constant transition. It 
forever expresses how I felt at that moment in time. It captures a point in time when I was alive. It is our longing 
for permanence in a world of disposable everything.”

Tattoos can reflect the journey, beliefs, values and hopes of any young person. Many different “chapters” are 
represented by their body art. One of those “chapters” is the family.

Chanel’s father was an executive chef who took his family all over the world. She didn’t move between cities; she 
moved between countries and cultures. Putting down deep roots at any one time was not the norm as they lived 
in Houston, the Bahamas, Vancouver and Jamaica during her first 14 years. Chanel’s father was always busy and 
had little time for her. One Christmas, she recalls, he only spent two hours with her.

At 15, Chanel fell into a deep depression. She felt she wasn’t wanted and having a mother who yelled, “I wished I 
never had you,” didn’t help. As usual, her dad was never around and being left to her own, using her own 
judgment and strength seemed the best she could hope for.

This was the beginning of her rebellion. With her green hair and a fondness for the wilder side of life, she made 
friends with many guys and fell into a life of alcohol, drugs, sex, angry music and disappointment. Korn, The 
Beastie Boys and Nirvana spoke to her empty soul. Her dad was living 7,000 miles away and her mom worked 
long hours. The words, “It’s all for you!” rang empty because all she wanted was a family that cared. Even a 
short relationship with Jesus didn’t help her.

Chanel got her first tattoo at 17 and now has 10. All her tattoos reflect her life’s journey, values and interests, 
including a pair of X-wing fighters from Star Wars on her stomach. Another is of a robot boy who never really 
knew his father—just like Chanel.

Perhaps the most amazing tattoo of all runs the full length of her right side starting just below her shoulder and 
ending just above the ankle. It contains the complete lyrics to “Waiting for the Great Destruction” by The Matthew 
Good Band; a song that questions relational happiness and longs for truth. Chanel says it is a song about her 
male relationships and how many of them she has ruined. She sees herself as the great destruction in having 
lost many friendships during her short lifetime. It is a reminder to her about the importance of relationships 
including those with her mother and father.

Scot’s name seems quite appropriate for a boy born in Scotland. He is 21 years old and has inherited his dad’s 
artistic talents. Scot and his dad were very close and shared many wonderful memories. Sadly, Scot’s father 
James died a couple of years ago. Shortly before he passed away, he was quite impressed that Scot had his 
father’s initials tattooed on his arm. However, his dad was too afraid to get a similar one.

Two months after his father’s death from lung cancer, Scot wanted to find a way to remember his father. The 
gravestone has the picture of a white dove with a Scottish thistle in its mouth. Scot decided to pick up on that 
theme so he drew a childhood picture of himself releasing the dove as a picture of his father’s freedom. It serves 
as a daily reminder of a father he loved deeply and misses greatly.

For Jennifer, age 20, a small rose speaks of healing and wholeness in a life that was once marked by depression 
and hopelessness. It is a reminder to never give up.

Jen’s life began to crumble when she was in eighth grade, beginning with her grandmother’s death. As Jen 
says, “My grandmother was a very, very strong piece of my life.” Three weeks after she died, her grandfather 
had a stroke. A few weeks later, her adopted sister decided to move back with her birth parents for a short period. At about the same time Jen switched high schools, a traumatic enough event, and soon suffered a sports injury that meant 
she could no longer compete.

Jen says she “bottomed out with depression” in ninth grade when her sister left for good. She still misses her grand
mother and feels the pressure of trying to keep the family together. Jen was also sexually assaulted during her 
later high school years. In her own strength, Jen began to look for ways to heal. It was then she remembered a 
saying she used to share with her sister, “every rose has its thorn,” from a song with the same name by the group Poison.

Jen shares how she arrived at just the right location for her blue rose tattoo, the color of the rose she laid on her grandmother’s coffin. As well as being her grandmother’s favorite color, blue also signifies Jen’s love for swimming
and water. She says, “Everyone has burdens to carry and everybody carries them in a different way. My grandmother always said you carry the stones on your shoulders and you carry the bull on your back. The bigger the p
roblems are, the bigger that bull is. And when I started getting rid of my burdens I realized she was right. And 
just as a reminder for her, I had the rose put on my lower back.”

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many books may well be written on youthful bodies? We only have 
covered a few stories in abbreviated format. What we cannot capture is their tone of voice—one moment filled 
with pain and despair and the next minute full of joy and hope. We cannot look into their faces. We cannot feel 
what they have been through. However, we can be more understanding by realizing that some painted people 
are not who we think they are.

Next time you see a young person with a tattoo, why not ask them to share the story behind it? You might be 
amazed at what you hear … and be better off for it.

The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding grants permission for this article to be copied in its entirety, provided the copies 

are distributed free of charge and the copies indicate the source as the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding.

No Comments

Category Blog, News | Tags: Tags: ,

Social Networks : Technorati, Stumble it!, Digg, de.licio.us, Yahoo, reddit, Blogmarks, Google, Magnolia.

Teenagers and Pornography

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Pornography and Minors13-18 year olds spend 72 hours per week using electronic media – (internet, Support site for those seeking accountability for online moral purity

No Comments

Category Blog, News | Tags: Tags: ,

Social Networks : Technorati, Stumble it!, Digg, de.licio.us, Yahoo, reddit, Blogmarks, Google, Magnolia.

Facebook – how many and when

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Facebook – who founded it and how many use it
Facebook, formerly The Facebook, is a free-access social networking website that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. The website’s name refers to the paper facebooks depicting members of a campus community that some Universities and prep schools give to incoming students, faculty, and staff as a way to get to know other people on campus.
Mark Zucherberg founded Facebook while he was a student at Harvard University. Website membership was initially limited to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges and Stanford Univeristy. It later expanded further to include Facebook friends.
Planet earth has 6,845,609,960 humans with 2 billion i
nternet users and at the beginning of 2013 over 1 billion Facebook users
Put another way: about 7% of the world’s humans are on Facebook.
The figure is as of September and was disclosed Tuesday in Facebook’s quarterly earnings report.
Facebook also says it had 584 million active users each day on average in September and 604 million using Facebook from a mobile device each month.
Here is a look at how the number of active users at Facebook has grown:
1 million — End of 2004.
5.5 million — End of 2005.
12 million — End of 2006.
20 million — April 2007.
 
 

No Comments

Category Blog, News | Tags: Tags: ,

Social Networks : Technorati, Stumble it!, Digg, de.licio.us, Yahoo, reddit, Blogmarks, Google, Magnolia.

Using YouTube

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

How to capture, download and use YouTube video

Option #1 go to http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/
After downloading the program, go to Youtube.com and copy the link in the browser while the video you want is currently playing.
Click on the Downloader program and paste the link inside the box. It will probably appear automatically and you will not have to paste the link. Inside the lower box (Paste) the link and change the destination where you want to save the video.
This will save the video in a quicktime/apple format.
If you want it to play well with other kids (like www.youtube.com and select the video you want to capture.


Right click and copy the URL ex: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anxkrm9uEJk)

  1. Open another webpage and go to http://kej.tw/flvretriever/

  1. Once you are at FLV retriever website, paste the URL address into the box from your Youtube video selection. Once pasted into the box, click on RETRIEVE NOW!
  1. After you click Retrieve Now, the video file address will be captured for conversion.
  1. Choose the option: save as a new file and then you can rename it as a .flv file
  1. When prompted, save the file to your
  2. Once it is saved, simply go to the file, right click on it and choose rename. Then rename the file you want it to have AND add the file ending .flv (that’s .flv) Once you have renamed the file and saved it as an flv file, you can now convert it to a useable format of your choice.
  1. Open up a converter program such as (www.AVSvideoconverter)
www.avs4you.com or another inexpensive or free converter.
  1. Use the Browse button to retrieve the video that you just renamed to an .flv format file.
  2. When the file has been retrieved, select the format you desire to convert you video to – such as WMV for using complete, locate the new video to test it out. Now you can delete the flv file (chances are you will not use it for anything else unless you use an flv video player.
  3. Finished

No Comments

Category Blog, News | Tags: Tags: ,

Social Networks : Technorati, Stumble it!, Digg, de.licio.us, Yahoo, reddit, Blogmarks, Google, Magnolia.

Facebook Abuse on its way down . . .

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

You Are Facebook’s #1 Commodity
Is Facebook Using You ? The rate of FB growth may have leveled off with 13-19 year olds but that does not mean they are through using you.

In early February 2012 Facebook filed documents with the government that will allow it to sell shares of stock to the public. Currenly the stock is estimated to be worth at least $75 billion. But unlike other big-ticket corporations, it doesn’t have an inventory of widgets or gadgets, cars or phones. Facebook’s inventory consists of personal data — yours and mine.

Facebook makes money by selling ad space to companies that want to reach us. Advertisers choose key words or details — like relationship status, location, activities, favorite books and employment — and then Facebook runs the ads for the targeted subset of its 845 million users. If you indicate that you like cupcakes, live in a certain neighborhood and have invited friends over, expect an ad from a nearby bakery to appear on your page. The magnitude of online information Facebook has available about each of us for targeted marketing is stunning. In Europe, laws give people the right to know what data companies have about them, but that is not the case in the United States.
Facebook made $3.2 billion in advertising revenue last year, 85 percent of its total revenue. Yet Facebook’s inventory of data and its revenue from advertising are small potatoes compared to some others. Google took in more than 10 times as much, with an estimated $36.5 billion in advertising revenue in 2011, by analyzing what people sent over Gmail and what they searched on the Web, and then using that data to sell ads. Hundreds of other companies have also staked claims on people’s online data by depositing software called cookies or other tracking mechanisms on people’s computers and in their browsers. If you’ve mentioned anxiety in an e-mail, done a Google search for “stress” or started using an online medical diary that lets you monitor your mood, expect ads for medications and services to treat your anxiety.
Ads that pop up on your screen might seem useful, or at worst, a nuisance. But they are much more than that. The bits and bytes about your life can easily be used against you. Whether you can obtain a job, credit or insurance can be based on your digital doppelgänger — and you may never know why you’ve been turned down.
Material mined online has been used against people battling for child custody or defending themselves in criminal cases. LexisNexis has a product called Accurint for Law Enforcement, which gives government agents information about what people do on social networks. The Internal Revenue Service searches Facebook and MySpace for evidence of tax evaders’ income and whereabouts, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has been known to scrutinize photos and posts to confirm family relationships or weed out sham marriages. Employers sometimes decide whether to hire people based on their online profiles, with one study indicating that 70 percent of recruiters and human resource professionals in the United States have rejected candidates based on data found online. A company called Spokeo gathers online data for employers, the public and anyone else who wants it. The company even posts ads urging “HR Recruiters — Click Here Now!” and asking women to submit their boyfriends’ e-mail addresses for an analysis of their Stereotyping is alive and well in data aggregation. Your application for credit could be declined not on the basis of your own finances or on the basis of aggregate data — what other people whose likes and dislikes are similar to yours have done. If guitar players or divorcing couples are more likely to renege on their credit-card bills, then the fact that you’ve looked at guitar ads or sent an e-mail to adapted from an article By LORI ANDREWS / Published: February 4, 2012

No Comments

Category Blog, News | Tags: Tags: ,

Social Networks : Technorati, Stumble it!, Digg, de.licio.us, Yahoo, reddit, Blogmarks, Google, Magnolia.

The Tablet Generation

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

No Comments

Category Blog, News | Tags: Tags: ,

Social Networks : Technorati, Stumble it!, Digg, de.licio.us, Yahoo, reddit, Blogmarks, Google, Magnolia.

How important are small groups?

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

How important are small groups in student ministry – well, I think it is so important that Im not sure it can be measured or articulated in a short while. So, whether you are the youth pastor, small group leader or potential volunteer candidate, I want to share with you a dozen benefits teenagers receive from the ministry of small group leaders:

1.   They have another significant adult caring about what they do and the decisions they make.  I once heard Psychologist Dr. James Dobson report that 40% of kids are born into homes with no father to mentor them, correct them or cheer them on and that every ado adolescent needs a “significant other” adult willing to journey with them for the sake of what I call the THREE “C”s  Challenging, Correcting and Cheering.

2.   Youth receive weekly encouragement to grow spiritually  from someone other than mom or dad. Let’s face it, there is only so much mom and dad can say and only so long it will be heard before the ears of a teenager become supersaturated with the do’s and donts during adolescent development. Small group leaders bridge that gap for parents and in the cases where spiritual parenting and modeling is absent, the gap they fill is quite significant!

3.   Small group leaders provide an important support beam when hurricane force winds blow through the life of a teen. An invested connected parent and youth leader simply cannot meet the needs of enough students – they need help from committed small group leaders.

4.   Youth receive an encouraging word or a smiling face at sporting events or other type activities.  A caring presence from non-relatives is a KEY player in keeping them on the right side of the road or correcting their actions when needed.

5.  Youth get to connect with an adult who is truly excited to see them at church.

6.  Youth are NOTICED when they are not present in small group and they respond positively when they realized their presence is NOT Incidental or taken for granted.

7.  Students benefit from of the voice of affirmation – whether a text, tweet, facebook, phone message or old fashioned snail mail note – they cant help but know invested small group leaders care and will not give up on them.

8.  Students need a “neutral adult”  for practical life issues – being too close to the situation makes a parent vulnerable to emotional rule. A small group leader can support the parents from one step outside the boxing ring.

9.  Only in small group can a student find the connection deep enough to have a SAFE place or person in time of need.

10. Youth are accounted for in small group – from a practical management side, they are noticed when present and when not present. Small group leaders provide the ultimate management system for the youth ministry.

11.  Only in small group can spiritual truths be planted using the highest retention rate methods. Its these teaching methods that provide future Holy spirit recall moments.

I love my kids and no matter how old they get, they will still be my kids, but they were blessed beyond measure to have caring, trained adults who coached them along in small group strengthening what my wife and I wanted them to grasp. If you want your students to become fully devoted followers of Christ INVEST in small group and small group leaders.

No Comments

Category Blog, News | Tags: Tags: ,

Social Networks : Technorati, Stumble it!, Digg, de.licio.us, Yahoo, reddit, Blogmarks, Google, Magnolia.

The Rise of Extreme Tolerance

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Many evangelicals once known for a very prudent and biblical approach to doctrine are fast becoming as doctrinally clueless as the unchurched people they are so keen to please. At least three decades of deliberately downplaying doctrine and discernment in order to attract the unchurched has filled many once-sound churches with people who utterly lack any ability to differentiate the very worst fast doctrines from truth. I constantly encounter evangelical church members who are at a loss to answer the most profound errors they hear from cultists, unorthodox media preachers, or other sources of false doctrine.

In the church today, there is a growing reluctance to take a definitive stand on any issue. Discernment is frankly not very welcome in a culture like ours. In fact, the postmodern perspective is more than merely hostile to discernment; it is practically the polar opposite. Think about it: pronouncing anything “true” and calling its antithesis “error” is a breach of postmodernism’s one last impregnable dogma. That is why to a postmodernist nothing is more uncouth than voicing strong opinions on spiritual, moral, or ethical matters. People are expected to hold their most important convictions with as much slack as possible. Certainty about anything is out of the question, and all who refuse to equivocate on any point of principle or doctrine are therefore automatically labeled too narrow. Zeal for the truth has become politically incorrect. There is actually zero tolerance for biblical discernment in a “tolerant” climate like that.
In the secular realm, postmodernism’s extreme tolerance has been foisted on an unsuspecting public by the entertainment media for several decades. A plethora of talk shows on daily television have led the way. Phil Donahue established the format. Jerry Springer took it to ridiculous extremes. And Oprah made it seem somewhat respectable and refined. Shows like these remind viewers daily not to be too opinionated-and they do it by parading in front of their audiences the most bizarre and extreme advocates of every radical “alternative lifestyle” imaginable. We are not supposed to be shocked or notice the overtly self-destructive nature of so many aberrant subcultures. The point is to broaden our minds and raise our level of tolerance. And if you do criticize another person’s value system, it cannot be on biblical grounds. Anyone who cites religious beliefs as a reason to reject another person’s way of life is automatically viewed with the same contempt that used to be reserved for out-and-out religious heretics. The culture around us has declared war on all biblical standards.
Some Christians unwittingly began following suit several years ago. That has opened the door for a whole generation in the church to embrace postmodern relativism openly and deliberately. They don’t want the truth presented with stark black-and-white clarity anymore. They prefer having issues of right and wrong, true and false, good and bad deliberately painted in shades of gray. We have reached a point where the typical churchgoer today assumes that is the proper way of understanding truth. Any degree of certainty has begun to sound offensive to people’s postmodernized ears.
One young pastor told me he didn’t like the authoritarian implications of the word preaching. He said he preferred to speak of his pulpit ministry as “sharing” with his people. He didn’t last long in ministry, of course. But sadly, his comments probably reflect the prevailing mood in the church today.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones noticed the same trend several decades ago. His marvelous book Preaching and Preachers began by noting that modern society was becoming uncomfortable with the whole idea of “preaching”:

A new idea has crept in with regard to preaching, and it has taken various forms. A most significant one was that people began to talk about the “address” in the service instead of the sermon. That in itself was indicative of a subtle change. An “address.” No longer the sermon, but an “address” or perhaps even a lecture…what is needed is a chat, a fireside chat, quiet talks, and so on!1

Lloyd-Jones was simply noticing one of the subtle harbingers of postmodernism’s contempt for clarity and authority. A problem that existed in embryonic form in his era is now a full-grown monster.
At the “Emergent Convention” in 2004, a gathering of some eleven hundred leaders in the Emerging Church movement, Doug Pagitt, pastor of Solomon’s Porch (an Emergent community in Minneapolis), told the gathering, “Preaching is broken.” He suggests that a completely open conversation where all participants are seen as equals is better suited to a postmodern culture. “Why do I get to speak for 30 minutes and you don’t?” he asked. “A sermon is often a violent act,” he declared. “It’s violence toward the will of the people who have to sit there and take it.”2
Rudy Carrasco, a Pasadena-based Emergent pastor, agreed that preaching is simply too one-sided, too authoritative, and too rigid for postmodern times. “Every day, every week, there’s stuff that pops up in life, and it’s not resolved, just crazy and confusing and painful. When people come across with three answers, and they know everything, and they have this iron sheen about them, I’m turned off. Period. I’m just turned off. And I think that’s not unique to me.”3
Many in the church, caught up in the spirit of the age, think Christians should never take an uncompromising stand, should never argue about anything. We’re not supposed to engage in polemics. I hear this frequently: “Why don’t you just state the truth in positive terms and ignore the view you disagree with? Why not steer clear of controversy, forget the negatives, and present everything affirmatively?”
That ethos is why it is no longer permissible to deal with biblical issues in a straightforward and uncompromising fashion. Those who dare to take an unpopular stand, declare truth in a definitive way-or worst of all, express disagreement with someone else’s teaching-will inevitably be marked as troublesome. Compromise has become a virtue while devotion to truth has become offensive.
But many of the issues being compromised within the evangelical movement today are not questionable. Scripture speaks very clearly against homosexuality, for example. The Christian position on adultery is not at all vague. The question of whether a believer ought to marry an unbeliever is spelled out with perfect clarity. Scripture quite plainly forbids any Christian to take another Christian to court. Selfishness and pride are explicitly identified as sins. These are not gray areas. There is no room for compromise here.
Nevertheless, I constantly hear every one of those issues treated as a gray area-on Christian radio, on Christian television, and in Christian literature. People want all such matters to be negotiable. And too many Christian leaders willingly oblige. They hesitate to speak with authority on matters where Scripture is plain. The lines of distinction between truth and error, wisdom and foolishness, church and world are being systematically obliterated by such means.
The world needs Christians who embrace an antithetical worldview, a biblical mindset that answers questions of truth and morality in terms of black and white. Why? Because there is no salvation without absolute, unshakeable truth. Compromising, changing, tolerant opinions don’t provide answers for the “crazy and confusing and painful” issues that confront pastor Carrasco every day. Only truth saves and sanctifies and gives hope.
What’s needed today is a generation of men and women who will take a stand on biblical truth. People like that fear the Lord, not men, and will find power and courage from the Lord to uphold His truth in an age of extreme tolerance.
Adapted from The Truth War, © 2007 by John MacArthur

No Comments

Category Blog, News | Tags: Tags: ,

Social Networks : Technorati, Stumble it!, Digg, de.licio.us, Yahoo, reddit, Blogmarks, Google, Magnolia.

Social Networking – A Loaded Weapon (Part 1)

Monday, April 30th, 2012

By Jarred Boyd

With the rise of social networking (Twitter, Facebook, blogging sites, etc.), we’re provided outlets for expending each and every thought, idea, and/or belief that pops into our minds. At any moment, we are able to permanently etch a thought into the cyber world that can be seen globally by every eye on the web. Smart Phones have certainly augmented this phenomenon. Now, all of our favorites networking sites are right at our finger tips at all times. Convenient? Certainly. However, the danger has the potential to far outweigh the expediency.

 

The teenage years are defined by physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and (Lord willing) spiritual development. Each of these areas of development consist of extreme ups and downs. Youth ministry sage Jim Burns writes, “For many teenagers this period of life can be summarized by an increase in chaotic extremes and contradictory, intense inner feelings.” Go down the Facebook News Feed that features 12 year olds through 20-somethings. You’ll find feelings of depression (i.e. break-up sob stories), elation (i.e. “Jenny said ‘YES!’…..to go with me to Prom!”), anxiety, worry, anger, inferiority – and all of these are typically expressed with deep passion and intensity. The next week, a completely opposite emotion might be expressed by the same people. Because of this, social networking couldn’t be a more dangerous weapon in the hands of teenagers.

“A vehicle,” in the words of my father, “is not a toy; it’s a “loaded weapon.” ‘Teenagers driving’ is a scary thought – simply because they are often unpredictable and careless behind the wheel (primarily due to a lack of experience). I would argue that social networking sites are much like vehicles – loaded weapons in the hands of developing adolescent minds.
The book of James speaks directly to us on the issue of bridling the tongue. James 3:3-8,

 

3If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil,full of deadly poison. 

 

Our bodies are comprised of legs, arms, muscles, tendons, etc. But, much like a ship guided by a small rudder, we are directed by our tongues. The tongue is also likened here to a deadly fire as well as a deadly poison that stains the whole body, being full of evil. Those are strong descriptors that could certainly point towards being a “loaded weapon”.

My family hails from the south, so naturally we own guns. We like to hunt (and secure our borders with a little home defense). At a relatively young age, my brother and I were taught how to handle a rifle by my dad in addition to hunters’ education courses. Everything that entered our ears revolved around safety – how to load the gun, how to hold the gun, how to aim the gun, how to shoot it, pointing the gun up or down, the safety mechanisms on the guns, etc..  When I was in the fifth grade, there was one particular occasion on a hunt with my dad and brother on which, while carrying a .22 caliber rifle and walking a few feet behind them,  I about gave my elders a heart attack when my rifle suddenly went off by accident. However, because it had been engrained within me to point the rifle towards the ground, no one was injured (except my pride). My dad was startled and upset with me because I should have had my safety on. The event certainly gave me a renewed wake up call to the importance of utilizing safety precautions – they are in place to prevent serious injury or death.

Similarly, the tongue is a loaded weapon. We must bridle and tame it. We must take steps of safety to prevent our tongues from bringing pain upon ourselves or injuring others. Dad gave me a BB gun when I was 7 years old, a .22 when I turned 10, and a rifle and shotgun when I turned 14. He waited until those points because it simply isn’t smart to give a small child a loaded weapon – especially the more high-powered, dangerous ones. I would argue that when parents allow their developing, emotionally manic children cell phone usage and the ability to access these networking sites without ANY discretionary safety steps, it is like they are letting loose a 5 year old with a loaded gun. Why? Because these rapidly changing adolescents haven’t learned how to tame their tongues yet. They haven’t learned all of the necessary precautionary steps to guarding their hearts, minds, and tongues.

Many adults have not even learned the necessity of taking these steps! When I was in college (which is late-adolescence these days) I began blogging on Facebook… I was an idiot. I blabbered off about theological hot topics and social issues… I failed to tame my tongue and it came back to bite me in the butt, and in some ways of which I’m probably unaware (my reputation). Even to this day, I struggle with hypocrisy in this arena. Because of this, I have to take extra precautionary steps. For example, with my Twitter account, I’ve recently begun filtering some of my tweets through a trusted individual before I publish them.

We need to think before tweeting/texting/updating a status. Rather than telling the Facebook world about the break up, or how you really hate life right now, or sending ambiguous messages about not liking people who (fill in the blank) that are obviously directed towards certain individuals – we should talk to God; we should talk to Christian elders; we should talk to a journal. We should learn to channel those emotions in places where the tongue can’t get us into trouble.

The heart is deceitfully wicked and can’t be trusted (Jer 17:9). The tongue is a restless evil and full of deadly poison (Jas 3:8). Whoever learns to keep his/her words few and practices discernment in communication keeps him/herself out of trouble (Prov. 21:23). May we impart this wisdom in the lives of teenagers as well as practice it in our own lives. After all, if we fail to do this, according to James our religion is worthless (Jas 1:26).

The problem isn’t the advancement of technology. The problem is man’s sinfulness. Technology isn’t going anywhere, and social networking will only grow more convenient. The solution, despite Great-Grandpappy Delbert’s belief, isn’t to burn all of the iPhones and computers in the world… Instead, let’s impart biblical wisdom – which begins with the fear of God – and discernment to ourselves and the young people with whom we’ve been entrusted. In both wisdom and discernment, we find the Gospel. True wisdom is carrying out righteousness and it can only be obtained by those who fear God by putting their trust in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Instead of giving young adolescents a loaded gun, let’s give them the book of Proverbs and teach them wisdom. So, in the words of one of my professors at Southern, Gary Almon, “The book of Proverbs is like a bag of nails. If you wanna nail your kids to Jesus – give ’em wisdom.” Wisdom is the sheath that covers a double-edged sword. It is the strength to harness the tongue. But while we learn to master wisdom, it is equally prudent to take practical steps towards inhibiting the tongue to organize damage. Let’s encourage wisdom to stop posting personal issues, complaints, vendettas, slanderous or potentially harmful comments on Facebook and Twitter. This isn’t a call to replace them with “Christian-ese” comments (I’m speaking to myself as well…). Let’s heed the call from Ecclesiastes 5:2 – “Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.”

No Comments

Category Blog, News | Tags: Tags: ,

Social Networks : Technorati, Stumble it!, Digg, de.licio.us, Yahoo, reddit, Blogmarks, Google, Magnolia.