Archive for the ‘Words from the Wise’ Category

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.

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“Class of 2015. . . it’s not going to work out the way that you are hoping, planning for, dreaming, or imagining. How do I know that? The same way that every single adult my age who was once sitting where you’re sitting today knows it.

You are sitting there today with a script that you believe is going to play out for your life. You’ve written that script. I had a script way back in 1978. It was a good one. It was good because it was smooth, full of pleasure, and void of pain. But in the years since then, God has given me a different script. It’s a script filled with a lot more difficulty, disaster, surprises, and suffering than I ever could have imagined being able to weather. But you know what, I wouldn’t trade this script for anything. Seriously. It’s far better than the script I had dreamed up for myself. The reason? God’s gift to me of His script for me has slowly forced myself out of myself and into Him. Whether I’ve known it or not, that’s where all my yearnings have pointed. . . and in His grace and time, He’s taking me there.

So, the best advice I can give you today is this. . . immerse yourself in a quest to faithfully follow the incarnate Word (Jesus) into every nook, cranny, and second of your life. And, immerse yourself in a never-ending quest to faithfully know and love the written Word where God has revealed His will, way and story (the Bible). And as you engage endlessly and passionately with both, continually pray these three prayers:

1. Lord, show me you.

2. Lord, show me me.

3. Lord, show me your plan for me.

Now, sit back and enjoy the unfolding of His script!”

Walt Mueller

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!

Fifty Shades Today

Posted: February 12, 2015 by abestratton in Culture, Resources, Words from the Wise

Writer, blogger, and youth culture expert, Walt Mueller writes some strong words regarding this weekend’s release of the film, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Below is an excerpt, but his article is a must-read for all of us.

“Perhaps today is a great day. . . THE day. . . to leverage all the attention our culture is giving this film and sit down to talk with our kids. . . openly, frankly, seriously, and honestly. . . about the very real pull, power, and dangers related to pornography use.  .  . to talk about what it will do to us and what God is calling us to do with it. (Click here for a resource you can use to get the discussion started)

“The great Reformer Martin Luther once famously said, ‘You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair.’ That’s a clear and powerful picture of the difference between the temptations we face and the sins we choose. I pray that this weekend, none of us will have allowed pornography to nest on or in our heads.

“Because of my own brokenness, I’ve learned to constantly remind myself that every time I make a choice, I’m choosing sides.

“Which side will it be this weekend? The Gospel offers so much more!”

Training Our Children for Their Good

Posted: September 19, 2014 by abestratton in Articles, Resources, Words from the Wise

My friend, Andy Naselli, has written a great article on training and disciplining our children. It provides a great foundation for the whole concept of discipline – discipline is rooted in the character and work of God himself.
But Naselli’s article also presents strong biblical instructions for carrying out different kinds of discipline. I’ve provided the outline of the article below, or you can read the whole article here.

1. Seven Propositions about Discipline from Hebrews 12:4–11

God disciplines his children (Heb 12:5–7, 10).
God disciplines all his children (Heb 12:6, 8).
God disciplines only his children (Heb 12:6–8).
Discipline is training: God disciplines his children for their good (Heb 12:10–11).
Discipline seems unpleasant and painful (Heb 12:11).
God’s children should endure God’s discipline (Heb 12:5, 7, 9).
God’s disciplining his children compares to human parents’ disciplining their children (Heb 12:5, 7–10).

2. Levels of Discipline in the Book of Proverbs

Level 1. Teach
Level 2. Warn
Leve 3. Enforce
Does “the rod” represent discipline but exclude physical discipline (Prov 13:24; 22:15; 23:13–14; 29:15)?
Is spanking a form of physical and psychological child abuse?
Do the proverbs about using the rod refer to young men rather than children?
Is spanking an obsolete part of the Mosaic law-covenant in the Old Testament?
Is spanking antithetical to the gospel?

3. Concluding Application

Pray for your children.
Evangelize your children.
Use multiple levels of discipline.
Love your children, and tell them and show them that you love them.
Beware of two extremes: (a) not disciplining and (b) over-disciplining.
Fathers, take the lead in discipline.
Learn how to discipline each of your children most effectively.
Distinguish between family rules and the Bible.
Be humble about parental discipline; don’t be proud and judgmental.
Persevere with a long-term view that trusts God’s word.

4. Recommended Resources

Baugham, Brad. “Gospel-centered Parenting: Our Greatest Challenge—Discipline.” Sermon preached to Emmanuel Bible Church in Mauldin, SC. March 1, 2009.
Farley, William P. Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 2009. See chs. 8–9 (pp. 145–74).
Fitzpatrick, Elyse, and Jessica Thompson. Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. Wheaton: Crossway, 2011. See chs. 5–6 (pp. 81–110). [Cf. the review my wife and I wrote.]
Grudem, Wayne. Politics—According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010. See “Discipline of Children and Spanking” (pp. 256–60). [Cf. the review my Dad and I wrote.]
Köstenberger, Andreas J. God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation. 2nd ed. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010. See “Physical Discipline” (pp. 142–46, 341–43).
Schreiner, Thomas R. Review of William J. Webb, Corporal Punishment in the Bible. The Gospel Coalition Book Reviews, September 12, 2011.
Wegner, Paul D. “Discipline in the Book of Proverbs: ‘To Spank or Not to Spank?’” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48 (2005): 715–32.

Kevin DeYoung, a pastor and writer, recently tweeted a powerful statement.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. The beauty of Christ is better than a second look or another click.”

Our culture is saturated with illicit sexual opportunities (physically or mentally), and for the believer (let’s be honest) it’s really hard to keep fighting the deluge of temptation. However, we have a greater pleasure, a more enticing beauty, and a far longer-lasting experience. It is found in gazing on Jesus. Jesus doesn’t always give you the instantaneous rush or titillation, but He does bring a slowly increasing and massively building and soul-gripping pleasure that will last. Without the hollow emptiness. Without the gnawing guilt.

Seek Jesus. Love Jesus. Enjoy Jesus.

Fight temporal and empty pleasure with glorious and eternal pleasure.