Thinking Out Loud

December 11, 2011

Guys Need to Guard Their Hearts, Too

Jamie Wright blogs at Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary, where this rather blunt admonition to guys appeared under the title, Guard Your Heart, Bro. Very blunt, actually. I warned you.

Once upon a time, we took a short line from the Bible and we turned it into a life song for girls. We slapped it on silver promise rings and we stamped it on rubber bracelets. We emblazoned it on fitted v-neck T’s, engraved it in hinged lockets, and chickified it in every way imaginable. Then we developed flowery, heart themed girls-retreats around it to ensure that our daughters would embrace it.

      “Above all else, guard your heart…”

                                    Proverbs 4:23


We admonish our girls to guard their hearts, and we warn them about “giving away pieces of their heart” in the form of every kind of love to the unworthy slobs they hang out with after school. Then we wind their “heart” up with their virginity so tight it becomes a two-fer-one deal – in the process of guarding their hearts, we end up guarding organs south of border. It’s a pretty brilliant plan, when you think about it.

Oh, and we train our boys, too, but not to guard their heart. To our boys we say,”For the love of God, avert your eyes and keep your johnson in your pants.”

I’m, like, kind of an authority on guys because I have a husband who is a guy, and I have lot of friends who are guys, and, also, I have a bunch of kids who are all guys. So yeah, listen to me when I say that it turns out guys really don’t talk about their hearts that much. In fact, most of the guys I know don’t talk about their heart at all. And I’m guessing 90% have never, ever been told to guard their heart. Probably because everybody knows that’s totally a chick thing to do.

As the mother of 2.8 teenage sons, I win the awkward award for trying to engage dudes in these conversations. When I start talking about heart stuff, the eye rolling gets so intense it blows my hair back. This makes me nervous, so I do that thing where you try way too hard to be hip and relatable and end up saying stupid crap, like, “The Bible says you need to guard your heart…dawg.”  And then my kids shake their heads, “No, Mom… Just, no.” So then I say something even more idiotic, like, “I’m just bein’ straight wichyou. My boy, Solomon, was, like, the wisest brother to ever walk the planet and it’s his advice, not mine, Bro.” And then, naturally, one of them will point out that they are, in fact, not my “bro”.

It’s all very embarrassing. And worthwhile.

I don’t think that our men are reminded often enough that they need to guard their hearts.

We teach them to guard their eyes, but I want my sons to know and understand that what porn does to their eyes isn’t what will break them, it’s what it does to their heart that will eventually leave them empty and hurting.

And we teach our men to guard their junk, to keep it in their pants, but I want my sons to know and understand that what promiscuity does to their loins isn’t what will break them (although herpes is no cakewalk), it’s what it does to their heart that will leave them lonely and aching for more.

I want my kids to get it when I tell them that the greatest thing they can bring into marriage will be their own well-guarded heart. A heart that, for all of its years and to the best of its ability, has borne the wisdom of Solomon“For they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.”

When I look around the church, when I talk amongst my friends, when I peek into the world – I see men who are broken and hurting, men tied to their addictions, men out of control, men drowning in lust, so many men longing for peace and grace and mercy, and in desperate need of restoration for their tattered and broken hearts. Hearts that have gone unguarded for far too long. And I want to break this verse like an alabaster jar over their brows. I want to pour out the perfume of Redemption on their lives. I want to release the words of Solomon to his sons, that they may be free to take up their spears and stand guard over their own hearts, because their hearts are worthy of the effort…. above all else….

   “Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.”

Advertisements

July 10, 2011

Promise Keepers’ Seven Promises

There are some classic things that have been devised to reinforce Christian living that everybody needs to have read just once.  Like “The Four Spiritual Laws.”  Lots of people know that term.  But can you name them? 

With that in mind, a few weeks ago I posted here, just for the record Henry Blackaby’s Seven Realities of Experiencing God.   And then I thought, why not post here, just for the record, The Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper.  For those of you reading this from distant places, Promise Keepers is a men’s movement, the term refers to both the organization and those who commit to living out a spiritual legacy. 

So here are the seven statements that form the organization’s foundation.  Honestly, you can get these elsewhere, but people pay big money to subscribe to this blog…

PROMISE 1
A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

PROMISE 2
A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

PROMISE 3
A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.

PROMISE 4
A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values.

PROMISE 5
A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of his church by honoring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving his time and resources.

PROMISE 6
A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

PROMISE 7
A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (see Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19-20).

July 12, 2010

Rock Music and Pornography: Parallels

The 1960s was a time of accelerated social change in Western Europe and North America.   No chronology of those times is complete without some reference to the role that popular music played in both reflecting and shaping those times.

As folk singers protested Vietnam and The Beatles sported longer hairstyles, the church began to establish its somewhat defensive posture; and by the end of the ’60s, the psychedelic branch of rock music combined with the message of free love to confirm all their worst fears.     Any band with guitars and drums was immediately caught in the line of fire.

The actual music form itself was no different than the modern worship that was played in the church service I attended yesterday.   The drums, bass guitar, electronic keyboards, lead guitars and rhythm guitars would later be regarded as morally neutral.

By the 1980s we began to hear a redefined meaning to the term “rock music;” it wasn’t the music itself, but the performers and their lifestyles and ideals; it was the attitude and the surrounding culture.   The music itself — the notes, the harmonies, the rests — were simply the wave which carried youth culture along; in fact it was the youth culture itself that the church had really been afraid of all along.

The eventual emergence of Christian rock wasn’t so oxymoronic.   It showed the spiritual neutrality of the musical forms, and showed that those forms could be used to carry a positive and even Biblical message.

Over two years ago, I posted a rough manuscript online of a short book titled The Pornography Effect:  Understanding for the Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters and Girlfriends. Part of the reason that I’m still looking for a publisher for the print version is that some people disagree with the book’s basic assumption.

I believe that the visual images that one thinks of when they hear the term “pornography” are not the ultimate core issue.    I do believe that they are addictive, that they are exploitative and that they can be devastating to men (and women) and especially teens and pre-teens.

But like the music issue of the ’60s, I think we may be focused on the wrong target.   (The parallel ends there however; I don’t foresee those images appearing in our worship services 25 years from now the way that contemporary music styles are part of modern worship.)

Just as rock music is about lifestyles and ideals and attitudes, pornography changes the worldview of those who partake.   Again, I think that the point in my manuscript that some people can’t get past is the idea that text pornography — chats, forums, stories, blogs, etc. without pictures — is every bit as serious a threat as sites with various types of pictorial images. If not more so.

click image to orderThe Church’s response is to think in terms of pictures and videos (a concern not to be minimized) and think in terms of addiction (an issue to be taken seriously) but to neglect what exposure to porn does in terms of how men look at their wives and girlfriends, and even their sisters, daughters and mothers.   (The promotion of incest is a major agenda on many websites.)  Perhaps we’re more concerned with the physiological sexual response than the brain ‘wiring’ or brain conditioning that is at work here.   Perhaps it is easier to choose a target we can see than consider the more serious concern which is invisible.

Pornography has even changed the expectations men have as to what constitutes normal sexuality within marriage.   (And, as we’re seeing, increasingly changing the expectations of women also.)   The result is an increase in unusual requests and even demands in the bedroom.   But it also causes men to think nothing of considering an office affair; it causes boys to make advances toward their sisters; it causes heretofore straight individuals to nurture same-sex attraction.

It’s the 1960s all over again.   The “Summer of Love” of 1969 is back with its message of free sex without consequences, but aided by a new technology tailor-made to get that message to the widest audience.

It’s the escapism drug-of-choice; with each dosage customized to meet individual desires.   In online pornography nobody ever gets pregnant, no STDs are spread, no one is arrested for rape or indecent exposure, no small children are ever left without a daddy.

Hedonism is the reigning philosophy.

Jesus said He came so that we might experience life to the fullest; however the “abundant life” is also the “narrow way.”  Countering the ‘message’ of pornography isn’t about saying “don’t look” anymore than putting up a wet paint sign on a freshly whitewashed fence is going to accomplish “don’t touch.”    Pornographers, advertisers and fashion designers will continue to keep pushing the envelope.   Men’s thoughts will continue to stray.

So while we do need to tell the world that,

  • pornography is an addictive behavior;
  • as an addiction it is subject to the laws of diminishing returns; the addict is never satisfied;
  • with God’s help you can be set free;

we also need to be proclaiming,

  • the version(s) of sex depicted online does not generally represent God’s intention for sex;
  • many of the subjects in online images are being exploited or being forced to participate; it’s not true that “nobody is being hurt”;
  • the movies and stories are unbalanced; they don’t show disease, unwanted pregnancy, loss of self-respect, or ruined lives;
  • if you keep watching, the images are changing you; as you give more time to worship at the altar of porn, the pornography effect is a sacramental effect; as you receive it, you’re allowing it to shape you and define you;
  • those so exposed need to recognize, confess and confront how pornography has so changed their worldview; both in subtle and greater degrees;
  • the consequences of long term exposure to the larger society is that it places that society in a downhill spiral (what pilots call a ‘graveyard spiral’) from which there is no recovery apart from dramatic repentance followed by dramatic intervention from God (or what might be called “a turning” or “revival”)
  • because it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness; more energy needs to spent promoting models of modesty, purity and chastity; and less energy on appearing spiritual by simply “denouncing” porn;
  • in the end, pornography is not the problem; the human heart is deceitfully wicked; the core of the problem is human rebellion against God;
  • finally, we need to proclaim the omnipresence of God; men and women need to be reminded that God is constantly sitting next to us as we click the mouse, turn the scroll wheel and stare at the monitor; His Lordship has to extend to be Lord over the URLs we visit daily.

Allowing myself to be a spokesperson on this topic has had to involve some awareness of its magnitude, and I think the people who say there are 200,000 pornographic websites online are terribly low in their estimating.   I believe the person who suggests 1,000,000 might be more accurate.

This means that realistically, we’re not going to see an end to pornography any time soon.  (Although, I applaud those who faithfully file objections to blog hosts, internet service providers, and search engines; each day sites all over the world are shut down because of their counter-measures; and even some of the most liberal pornographers recognize a need for someone to be applying the brakes, though often for different reasons.)

What we can do is build resistance (not immunity) to it.   We can recognize that just as the music debate really wasn’t about the musical forms itself, the sexual ethics debate is not about this picture or that video.

It’s a battle for the mind.

It’s a battle for the heart.

Want to study more on this?  Here’s an article also posted today on the complications of leaving internet choices to filtering devices.


February 8, 2010

Yichud

Okay, so first of all, if you’ve landed here from a Google blog search or a WordPress tag, you need to know that I’m not Jewish.   This is actually a Christian blog, and up until about an hour ago I’d never heard the word Yichud before.   Since then, I’ve been reading various internet articles, and while I’m not an expert, let me say to any Jewish readers who land here, I’m impressed with the concept.

The word and I crossed paths in a stage show review published Thursday  in The Toronto Star.     Longtime theatre critic Richard Ouzounian was reviewing a play bearing this word as its title, in an article titled Wedding Crashers.   The husband and wife in Yichud are, in real life, also husband and wife.     She grew up in Judiasm, while he converted from Roman Catholicism.

So what is Yichud?    Let’s start with Wikipedia which quickly alerts us to two different definitions around which the play Yichud revolves:

…the impermissibility of seclusion of a man and a woman a private area. Such seclusion is prohibited when the man and woman are not married to each other in order to prevent the two from being tempted or having the opportunity to commit adulterous or promiscuous acts. The laws of yichud are typically followed by Orthodox Jews. Some Orthodox authorities view these laws as so strict that they may not be broken even when a life is in danger.

Okay; got that one?   Then you’re ready to move on to meaning number two:

…a ritual during a Jewish wedding in which the newly married couple spends a period of time secluded in a room by themselves.

But it’s the first definition I want to return to.   The prohibition finds its roots in the story of David and Tamar, as spelled out here on the website JewishMag.Com.   (II Sam. 13: 1-29)    The restrictions — which extend to parents and siblings — are spelled out in detail by Rabbi Howard Jachter.

[Sidebar:  To my Christian readers — There is a Jewish internet world*, besides the Christian internet world.   You should check it out sometime.   Of course I realize this is going to come as a bit of a shock to some who didn’t realize there was a Christian internet world beyond the Calvinist internet world.]

Everybody back?  I want to return now to comments that were made by Aaron Willis, the Catholic-turned-Jewish actor in the Yichud review, and his wife Julie Tepperman:

“There are so many levels of seclusion, within religion, within family, within ourselves,” says Tepperman. “I came to realize that all the laws of Judaism keep us safe. The Torah is like a blueprint for life.”

Willis adds his perspective. “My experience with Judaism is that one of the most beautiful things about it is that you experience it by doing, rather than intellectualizing. There are 613 mitzvot or commandments and every one is capable of making your life fuller and deeper.”

What strikes me there is the complete trust that — without putting too many words in their mouths — God’s rules have our best interest at heart.   It reminded me of another scripture verse that may be more familiar to my regular readers:

Trust in the Lord with everything you’ve got,  and don’t depend on your own rationalizing.   Put Him first in every decision and He will illuminate the pathway for your journey.    Prov. 3: 5,6 (my paraphrase)

When it comes to definition number two…

…What Tepperman discovered was that “many people consider the time spent there more sacred that the wedding itself…”

The play itself  “revolves around an arranged marriage, where this is the first time the couple have been alone together. Originally developed by Convergence Theatre, the production transforms the entire theatre into an Orthodox Jewish Synagogue.” [Toronto Star stage play summary, Feb. 4]  And yes, the various websites on the subject indicate that some couples do, in fact, do it in the Yichud room, while a greater majority would indicate no, couples do not, in fact do it in the Yichud room.

Christians believe that with the coming of Christ, we moved from a period of law into what is called the “age of grace.”   However, we also believe that God is the same:  In the past, in the present and in the future to come.  (Hebrews 13:8 speaks specifically about Jesus, but the expansion from this to the very nature of God Himself is implicit, such that the verse is often misquoted with God as the subject.)

Do we as Christians have the same trust that God is looking out for us, as Julie indicates in her appraisal of the commands?    Psalm 119 — the long Psalm — also testifies to a love of the law, with almost each of its 176 stanzas praising law, commandments, ordinances, statutes, etc.

Finally, the take-away from this for Christian parents with preteens and teens is huge.   Or even non-religious parents who are trying to maintain some kind of moral or ethical standard in the home.     Go back to the Rabbi Jachter link above, and show your children the rules that some teenagers live with, even in sex-saturated 2010.  I’ll bet the rent that it makes whatever rules you’ve got in place at your house seem tame by comparison.

Remind them that God doesn’t view our choices as simply good or bad, but that in his view, our good choices can be overshadowed by the possibility of better choices, and that those in turn, are nothing when compared with best choices.   God is looking out for our best.

Do we delight in his law to the same extent as Psalm 119 does?

*I tried to find an updated version of these 2006 awards for best Jewish blogs, but even though many of them may no longer exist, I’m posting the link anyway, because I want you to see the categories that they assign to various Jewish bloggers.

February 2, 2010

Meet Kevin Sanders aka Kuya Kevin

On one of the blog aggregators (or portals) this blog is on there is a popular blog called “Basta Love Life: Love and Relationships” authored by Kuya Kevin.   An American, Kevin Sanders is a missionary to youth in Manila, The Philippines.


“There’s a story here;” I said to myself several months ago, “And sometime soon I’ve got to find out what it is.”   Kevin was good enough to play along as I asked him a number of questions…

How does a guy from Alabama end up spending the last eight years in The Philippines?

I felt God was calling me into ministry back in my teen years.  I was very involved in student ministry throughout high school and college.  I remember several missions conferences back in my college days — these made a real impression on me.  These “student years” gave me a passion for two things: missions and college ministry.

I decided to pursue college ministry after I finished seminary.   To make a long story short, it was a process of sending out resumes and seeing where God opened doors.  I eventually applied to become a missionary here.  It’s been the best of both worlds–missions and college ministry.  I was originally planning to be here for one year.  God obviously had other plans.

What does a typical week look like for you?

The most important thing I do is campus evangelism and discipleship.  I approach students, share the gospel, do Bible study with those who respond positively, and train student leaders to do the same.  I usually spend 3-4 days a week doing this.

The rest of my time is divided among different ministry activities: 1. Speaking engagements at schools and churches. 2. Recording our radio show. 3. Writing, which includes blogging, responding to email, and books (if I happen to be working on a book project).

It’s kind of a juggling act and I’m always praying for discernment in the best use of time.  Speaking engagements are a big deal this month because of Valentine’s Day, so I’m willing to spend more time than usual doing seminars.  It’s all about making the best use of the time God gives us.  I haven’t mastered this by any means, so I always pray for grace and wisdom.

What would you say are the cultural distinctives among youth there versus in the States?  What things did you have to adjust to?

Filipinos are naturally fun-loving and gregarious people.  I feel in love with them almost instantly.  Cultural adjustments haven’t been terribly difficult for me.

I’d say one significant difference is the group mentality.  Filipinos tend to be more comfortable acting in groups (a group of friends is called a barkada here, and almost everyone belongs to such a group).   I rarely approach just one individual–there’s usually at least four or five of them hanging out together.

For many youth workers, the issues of sexuality and dating are part of a larger ministry portfolio, but you’ve chosen to specialize in this area ; do you find there’s a great need for this among the kids you work with?

I never really planned to get involved with purity advocacy when I first arrived here.  It’s something that just happened through a series of events–events I believe God orchestrated.

It started around 2003.  A Filipino version of True Love Waits was produced and we decided to try doing seminars on campuses.  The response was so overwhelming that I knew God wanted me to pursue it further.  There’s definitely a need here.  Filipino youth tend to be more conservative than their Western counterparts, but they are struggling with this x-rated world we live in.

The podcast is English.   Do most of the kids you work with speak English?  What is the main language in Manila?   What does Kuya (as in Kuya Kevin) and Basta (as in Basta Love Life) mean?

Filipinos are excellent English speakers–they can usually understand it without any problem.  Having said that, Tagalog is their first language here in Manila.  Some students are not completely comfortable speaking English, so I learned to speak and understand Tagalog.

“Kuya” means older brother.    “Basta” doesn’t translate very smoothly into English.  But the simplest way to translate “Basta Love Life” would be “Just Love Life.”

You sometimes lapse into Tagalog in the middle of the podcast.   Obviously, you’re very much at home there now.   Do you get back to the U.S. at all?

The summer break here is in April/May.  Usually I come home for a few weeks during those months.  It’s an opportunity to visit my family, speak at churches, and do some bass fishing.

Your blog must get American as well as local readers… I see it also connects you to a youth group you work with…  Is it hard speaking to two different cultures at the same time or are the issues the same everywhere?

I’d say the issues are essentially the same.  Here’s an interesting thing about the show:  I’m an American who has spent the past seven and a half years here.  My co-host (Erwin) is a Filipino who grew up here but spent several years living in the States.  This helps us see issues from more than one cultural angle.

I’ve considered publishing and American “version” of Basta LoveLife, my first book.  But I’ll need to go back and Americanize it–make a few minor modifications.

What’s the core of what you want to say to young people about sex and purity?

I often summarize God’s instructions for singles in two commandments: be pure and be wise.  “Be pure” means avoiding sexual intimacy outside of marriage.  “Be wise” means using biblical wisdom in matters of the heart.  I think at least 90% of problems are avoided if singles will just follow these two principles.

Thanks, Kevin.

If you’re reading this and you’re interested in knowing more, first of all visit the Kuya Kevin website, check out the weekly podcast and then remember Kevin Sanders in your prayers.

If you’re looking for a mission project that is worthy of your financial support, donations can be sent to Kevin Sanders Ministries, First Baptist Church Pinson, 4036 Spring Streeet, Pinson, AL 35126.   For those of you in the U.S., tax receipts are available.

Kevin also wanted me to add that he has a strength and fitness blog; check out Strong and Fit.

September 23, 2009

More of the Best-Of From September, 2008

Filed under: Faith — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 4:42 pm

Keep Your Mind Pure

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

~ Phil 4:8 & 9 – The Message

.

.

.

Are You a Spectator or a Participant?

Are the people at your church participants or just spectators? Cathy Lynn Grossman asked this question on her discussion forum on the religion page of USAToday (linked on my blog, but a new topic may have been introduced, pushing this one back to a ‘previous week’ status). She wrote:

When I looked at the challenges and changes in the realm of megachurches this week, pastors I spoke with were concerned.
They’re proud of the high quality of their worship services — good music, clear preaching, creative artistic touches and lots of talk about serving the world.
But they see a worrisome number of people who come to church the way they go to a movie or concert. A little entertainment, a little something to think about and then it’s time to move back to real life.

But one of the most interesting responses came up this morning from a Mormon woman. Here’s what she wrote:

As a member of The Chuch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you cannot be an active member of the congregation and be just a spectator. All of the adults in the congregation take turns giving talks over the pulpit, we do not have our Bishop preaching to us each Sunday. I personally like hearing from those different people, their experiences, testimonies, and it’s nice to look at new faces across the pulpit each week. Also, we each serve in the congregation to make the rest of the Sunday meetings possible. From serving as adult Sunday School teachers, to teaching a youth class, or one of the many children’s classes. There are people who are asked to play the piano, lead the music, work in the library that provides supplies for the different classes, run a nursery class for the children 3 and under. We are all working together and contribute to have a wonderful Sabbath day experience worshipping at church. I think because of that, we are stronger members of the church and we feel like we need to “practice what we preach”, because we are all doing the preaching in one aspect or another.

There is much being written today about the small group movement and the house church movement, and I believe that the message to those of us who have chosen to remain in the institutional church is to greatly increase the interactive element in our services, and greatly increase the number and degree of lay participation.

The Male Domination of the Christian Internet

Although the blogroll at right lists a handful of sites I think are worth visiting, my personal bookmarks include some 70 + Christian blogs which I try to check out at least every other day. That’s a lot of blogs. And you know what? They’re all written by men. As in males. As in not women.

Tonight I landed on a couple of blogs written by women that aren’t part of my bookmarks. I immediately bookmarked both of them. I need to hear their perspective. I need to listen carefully to what they’re saying. I realize there is a certain dimension, possibly even a certain depth of spirituality that I don’t find reading stuff by fellow guys. A different understanding of God’s dealings with us in this broken old world.

I think that much of this has to do with the fact that men “publish” on the internet with the intention of reaching the widest audience. Women tend to be truer to the idea of blogs as online diaries; they write about raising kids, about intimate feelings, about deep personal discoveries in their reading of the scriptures. In that sense, women bloggers often tend to be more “Psalm-like” in their online composing. In the Psalms, David (or Asaph, or whoever) unleashes both high praise and extreme frustration towards God, who is always there as listening friend, whatever David’s mood that day. The Psalmist just wants to express something.

What do you think? Is it just me, or is Evangelical Christianity totally dominated online the way it’s dominated in the church, and in Christian publishing? What percentage of the bloggers you read are female?

October 29, 2008

Choosing Where Your Computer Takes You (and Where It Shouldn’t)

Filed under: Christianity, internet, pornography — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:02 pm

When it comes to distractions, temptations, and the ugly side of the internet, I could write a book.   Oh… wait a minute I did write a book.   After doing research on this topic, I know where many of the sites in question are just a click away.    These days I don’t visit those sites.   I’m long done with it on a personal level and am no longer in any ‘research’ mode.   Still, there are times I find myself wasting time online looking for something ‘edgy.’   It’s not the same as the hardcore addiction that many deal with, but it’s probably trying to feed the same beast.  Or simply be a stepping stone to the next site, which would be more ‘edgy.’

So, in an effort to respond to the calling that God extends to everyone — to walk in greater degrees of purity and holiness — about ten days ago I taped a little yellow piece of paper to the bottom of my monitor that simply says, “Good Choices, Better Choices, Best Choices.”   I believe that many of the choices we face in life are not a matter of “Good versus bad;” but rather, “Good versus Better versus Best.”  (Capital letters intentional.)

And ya know what?   It works.   It really helps me stay focused on what I’m spending time online doing.   If you’re in a position where this applies to you, try it and let me know how it changes what you do on the net.   And if it’s someone else who uses the same computer who might have an issue with this, tape it to the monitor for them, too.   And if your kids have their own computer, tape it to theirs, and insist they leave it in place.

October 23, 2008

When True Love Doesn’t Wait

Filed under: Christianity, family — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:17 am

When a guy and a girl decide to have sex before marriage, one of the arguments used to justify this is the classic, “You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive.”

This is, on the surface, sound logic.  In its full extension, it means that if the test drive isn’t favorable, you can decide not to purchase.    There are a lot of things around you can take back.   You can return a pair of pants if they don’t fit.   You can ask the waiter to take your food back to the kitchen if it’s not to your taste.  Some stores will take back a toy if the child didn’t find it amusing.

But fortunately, our high-tech world offers an analogy that works in this situation, to some degree.  Here it is:  Having sex before marriage is less like a test drive of a car, and more like buying a package of computer software.  Once you break open the package, you’ve bought it; there’s no taking it back.

September 19, 2008

Four 4-Letter Words: Keep Your Mind Pure

Filed under: bible, Christianity, Faith — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:34 pm

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. 

~ Phil 4:8 & 9 – The Message

« Newer Posts

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.