Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Music makes you braver.

Posted: September 8, 2015 by abestratton in Culture

I like music as much as the next guy. To be transparent, I’m a pretty emotional dude. I like power music for working out, love songs for dates, quiet tunes for background, worship music for anytime.

But this morning I saw a statement which made me stop and think: “Music makes you braver.”

Does it? Does it really?

I know music arouses feelings; it stirs desire; it provokes imagination; it even inspires thought. In our culture we use music for everything; it’s everywhere. I mean, how did football players prep for games before Dre Beats? How did people celebrate weddings before DJs? How did our grandparents go to sleep before headphones? How did teenage men storm the beaches of Normandy before jams? How did husbands date their wives before playlists? How did churches worship before amps? How did Christians face the coliseum and the stake before Spotify?

Music communicates, and it stirs. But I think there’s a subtle and dangerous lie out there that music can make you something that you’re not. “You can be the jacked dude that everybody stares at.” “You can be the church that everybody comes to.” “You can be the one that everybody likes.” “You can save the world.”

I hear it. I feel it. There’s something in the power music that makes me think I’m superman. There’s something in the love songs that makes me think my wife (or even other women) can’t resist me. There’s something in the worship music that makes me feel like I’m close to God. But are those things really true? Does music itself make those things true?

Music is a gift. It’s a unique medium given by the Creator and crafted by His image-bearers to point us, not to ourselves, but to Him. But music cannot and must not be the substitute for God himself. Music cannot change us like our Creator can. Music cannot reshape us like our Creator can. Music cannot ennoble us like our Creator can.

There is a quiet and silent place where true change happens. Moments, days, weeks, and years actually shape character. Countless acts of self-denial empowered by the Spirit of God actually make me loving. Daily knowing, following, and imitating the Great Hero actually makes me heroic. Consistent and personal investment in reading the Christian Bible and talking to God actually make me close to Him.

Music is a tool; it is a gift. But it can never be the substitute.

Be still. Stop. Cease. And know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).


Here are some special words from a man who wrestles with same-sex attraction and who is following Jesus. He gives helpful advice and strong truth from the Scriptures.

Paul vs. Porn

Posted: May 20, 2015 by abestratton in Articles, Culture

Luke Gilkerson from Covenant Eyes writes a solid article on the truths which free us from the bondage of porn (or any other idol we would pursue).

It’s a longer read, but it is well worth it. The realities which we cannot see begin to break the shackles of slavery when we focus on them instead of our shackles, and these eternal realities are, in fact, much more real than the screaming images and temptations which beset us.

Meditate on these truths, and keep fighting the good fight!

Human Purpose, Identity, and Sexuality

Posted: May 1, 2015 by abestratton in Culture, Parents, Videos

Dale Kuehne shares some thought-provoking insights on the modern link between identity and sexuality and how that link is impacting the next generation. The 10 minutes is well worth your time!

Walt Mueller’s thought-provoking comments on our technology are worth a read. I’ve included an excerpt below, but you can read his entire article here.

Death by iPhone… Sort of…

OK. . . that was a dirty little trick, wasn’t it? But now that I have your attention, let’s talk about technology and what it does to us.

death by iphoneBetter yet, let’s ponder Gillian Share-Raab’s out-of-the-box thoughts on what her smartphone has done not only to her life, but to the lives of her peers. Gillian, a student at a suburban Philly high school, wrote aninteresting op-ed piece for her local paper, entitled “Why my iPhone is ruining my adolescence.” Gillian’s thoughts are out-of-the-box for the simple reason that she is thinking about what her technology is doing to her life. Most people her age. . . or anyone of any age for that matter. . . aren’t thinking about these things. I’m guessing she has no idea who Marshall McLuhanwas or what he’s famous for saying, but her thoughts put meat on the bones of McLuhan’s conviction that “first we shape our tools. . . and then our tools shape us.”

Gillian writes, “In between being awake and sleeping, I need to be on my phone checking endless social media accounts in order to keep up with every friend and acquaintance whose lives somehow ended up in my daily scrolling. . . if I were to print and lay out every inch of Instagram and Facebook I have examined, I’ll bet it would circle the planet three times. . . The smartphone exists to provide a barrier between people in order to make both parties feel more secure and comfortable, allowing each person to remain in his or her security bubble forever. . . In a time when I’m supposed to be meeting new people, having new experiences and breaking out of my shell, I feel more and more as though phones act as a virtual wall. Now, my conversations consist of dehumanized, emotionless messages used for necessity that are conducted without essential facial expressions or body language (i.e., texting). . . I often think of how different the high school experience must have been for my parents’ generation, or even just 15 years ago, when two people seated next to each other with common interests and mutual friends were able to have a civil conversation without looking down at their phones in order to avoid eye contact. . . In my experience, the only way to truly be connected with the thoughts and feelings of others is by disconnecting everything else.”

I recently read an article written to a parent who was asking for advice about how to deal with their child’s inappropriate use of social media. The author who wrote the article made a powerful statement.

“I know [your daughter] probably just thinks it’s all just harmless fun, but try not to make it about [social media]. It’s about her heart, her attitude towards inappropriate topics.”

The ultimate problem with anything that dominates our children/teens or us (e.g. TV, sports, phone, shopping, IPad, internet, reading, etc.) is not the thing itself; it is our heart-desires. Each of us craves something that will satisfy us, and we each tend to seek for satisfaction in idols and empty wells. But those around us need to see from us that Jesus is the only well of Living Water!

Who am I?

Posted: March 11, 2015 by abestratton in Culture, Videos

One of the biggest issues of struggle for people in our culture today is our identity.

Who am I? What determines my identity? Is my identity locked in, or can it be changed?

Here are 2 very insightful videos regarding identity.