Twelve Tips for Parenting in the Digital Age

[I recently attended a gathering in Louisville of the Council members of the Gospel Coalition. The highlight of the week was a presentation by Tony Reinke who works at Desiring God. It was massively enlightening and equally frightening. Tony published the written version of his presentation at www.desiringgod.org on Monday of this week and has given me permission to post it here on my blog. I strongly urge all of you to read it closely and pray about his recommendations. Even if you have no children or are an empty-nester, you should read this article.] Twelve Tips for Parenting in the Digital Age May 21, 2018 Article by Tony Reinke / Senior writer, desiringGod.org Who is iGen? Kids between the ages of 6 and 23 fall into a generation now getting labeled Post-Millennial or Gen Z or iGen. I want to introduce you to the research on this generation, then process the implications for pastors, leaders, and parents: How do we steward teens in the digital age? To be honest, I don’t know which sin is worse: the arrogance of speaking in generalities about an entire generation, or the sin of ignoring data-trends. With God’s help, we can avoid both. iGen is a recent label given to those born between 1995 and 2012. It is 74 million Americans, or 24% of the population, and the most diverse generation in American history. It is also the most digitally connected and smartphone-addicted generation. iGen’ers were born after the Internet was commercialized in 1995. They have no pre-Internet memories. Each entered (or will enter) adolescence in the age of the smartphone. As parents, we face many challenges in shepherding these teens in the digital age. Trends Among Teens Jean Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University, has written the most systematic study… Read More

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What to Do When God Feels Absent

[embedded content] Audio Transcript Be patient in the night of God’s seeming absence. Be patient in the night of God’s seeming absence. “I waited patiently for the Lord” (Psalm 40:1). Where? Where were you waiting, David? “He drew me up . . . out of the miry bog,” — out of the quicksand of my despair. He “set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to my God. Many will see and put their trust in the Lord” — which means evangelism (Psalm 40:2–3). Fruitful evangelism resulted from a dark night of the soul. “Be patient. Be modest in the dark as you fight for joy.” Tweet Share on Facebook Do you follow that sequence of thought? “I waited in the mire.” How long did he wait? He was patient. He was modest. He knew he couldn’t make joy happen. “I waited, and God came to me.” He had gutsy guilt. While he was there, God lifted him up, put him on a rock, put a song in his mouth. He started to celebrate the mercies of God, and people put their trust in the Lord. One of the things the Lord is doing in the darkness of your life is fitting you to be able to bear more fruitful witness to his mercies when you come out. I close with perhaps my favorite hymn. I have two or three, and it’s a word that I hope those of you who came hoping for light — and maybe it hasn’t gone on yet: God moves in a mysterious wayHis wonders to perform.He plants his footsteps in the seaand rides upon the storm. Deep in unfathomable mindsof never failing skill,He treasures up his bright designsand works his… Read More

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How to Worship with Your Debit Card

“When we worship God, we are declaring how much he is worth, and how we will offer our lives and sacrifice everything for him. But you’re also doing the same thing every time you slide your debit card. You’re declaring how much something is worth to you, and how much you will sacrifice for it.” — Jeremy Treat Text: Proverbs 3:9–10 Preached: October 9, 2016 Location: Reality LA, Los Angeles, California You can listen to this episode of TGC Word of the Week here. Related:

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Philippians 2:9–11: You Will Bow Before Him

Our hope for Look at the Book is to help you learn to read the Bible for yourself. We invite you to engage the passage first, and then to consider the featured study questions below before watching the lab. In this lab, John Piper reminds us that all religions, all careers, all different life paths will inevitably meet at one point: bowing before King Jesus and proclaiming him Lord of all. Some questions to ask as you read and study Philippians 2:9–11: Have you ever bowed to anyone? What does bowing signify? Does all creation’s bowing and confessing that Jesus is Lord mean that everyone will be saved? Have you submitted to the lordship of Christ? How can you know for sure if you have? [embedded content] Watch this video offline by downloading it from Vimeo or subscribing to the Look at the Book video podcast via iTunes or RSS. Principle for Bible Reading Action/Purpose Authors often give us reasons for why someone did a certain action or why we should do a certain action. They typically give the action statement first (e.g. I went to the store/you should go to the store), then a conjunction or connecting word (in this case, usually so that, in order that, or simply that), and finally the reason for the action or the purpose statement.

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9 Things You Should Know About Wicca and Modern Witchcraft

A growing number of young women—driven by feminist politics and the #MeToo movement—are being drawn to a new brand of witchcraft, according to a report by NBC News. Here are nine things you should know about Wicca and modern witchcraft. 1. Witchcraft refers to the worldview, religion, and practices associated with using rituals that are believed to harness and focus cosmic or psychic energies to bring about some desired change. Modern witchcraft is the largest and most common subset of neo-paganism, a diverse group of religious movements that claim to be derived from historical pagan religions. 2. Within the witchcraft revival movement, the largest subset is Wicca. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey estimated that in the United States there were about 600,000 neo-pagans, with about half identifying as Wiccan. Some estimates conclude that in 2017 there were more than 3 million practicing Wiccans. 3. In modern usage, the term “witch” is considered gender-neutral and can apply to either men or women. The term “warlock” is often considered a derogatory term as the original usage of the term meant “oath-breaker.” A group of witches who meet together regularly are known as a “coven.” Some witches believe a coven must have 13 or fewer members, though not less than three. 4. Wicca was created in the 1940s by Gerald Brosseau Gardner (1884-1964), a retired British civil servant an ordained minister in the Christian sect known as the Ancient British Church. Gardner is considered the “father of modern witchcraft,” though his neo-pagan beliefs had almost not connection to older forms of witchcraft. His brand of wiccanism (sometimes referred to as Gardnerian Wicca or Gardnerian witchcraft) was taken from more modern influences, such as Freemasonry, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the English occultist Aleister Crowley. Gardner referred to his belief-system… Read More

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Help get the Bible into all 7000 languages!

I have been a volunteer with Wycliffe Associates for three years, in their MAST program, and am very excited about their goal to see the Bible in all 7000 languages of the world. It is very rewarding to spend some of my “off time” helping people around the world to hear the Bible in their language for the first time. Some volunteers are Greek and Hebrew language people. But many jobs do not require special preparation, just a desire to invest a few hours a week in getting the job done. You can contact Dennis through the WA website, or Message me and I’ll give you his email Dennis writes: “We are seeking volunteers with Bible background to help us create Scripture tools which will serve national Bible translators. If you were a pastor, went to seminary, or just have strong Bible knowledge, we need your help! We are looking for people who have extensive experience in Bible study; have a heart for world missions and the edification of the global church; and are familiar with current biblical reference materials (including Study Bibles, commentaries, Greek and Hebrew texts, lexica and grammars depending on the project). At least a basic knowledge of either Greek or Hebrew would be very helpful. (but not required!) This is a remote position, and as long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you may work from your own home. We are asking for about 8 hours of service per week for this role. If this is something that might interest you, please let me know and I will have someone contact you with more info. Thanks. Dennis DeRight, WA Recruiter Advertisements Share this: Like this: Like Loading… Related

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1 + 42 + 2 = Victory! Revelation Part 22

Revelation Part 22 Chapter 11:1-14 1 + 42 + 2 = Victory!   John Newton once began a sermon with this short poem – I take it as my own prayer today as we enter this very difficult passage: 1 Now, Lord, inspire the preacher’s heart, And teach his tongue to speak; Food to the hungry soul impart, And cordials to the weak. 2 Furnish us all with light and pow’rs To walk in wisdom’s ways; So shall the benefit be ours, And thou shalt have the praise. There is little question, that this chapter in particular is one of the most – if not THE most – debated chapter in the entire book of Revelation. If you are coming at this book with a grid already in mind, ANY grid, you will look for some foundational concept of that grid in this chapter. As we’ve seen so far, untangling what is symbolic and what is quite literal in this book is sometimes hard to unpack. That remains true here. Just which aspects of this portion fall into which of those categories is especially challenging. Nevertheless, by time we are done this morning, I hope once more to tease out the main points which can be useful for suffering Christians in all ages, no matter which end-times scheme one might hold. As we’ll see, there are 3 things which stand out in the passage that deserve our special attention and which then translate into the practical applications we’ll end up considering: I. Measuring The Temple (1 & 2) II. Forty two months (2 & 3) III. Two Witnesses (3-13) Fortunately, all 3 of these have clear precedents in Scripture. Measuring – whether it be a people or in this case the Temple – is something already encountered in a number of… Read More

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10 Things You Should Know about Jehovah’s Witnesses

May 21, 2018 | By: Sam Storms I read in the local newspaper today (5-18-18) that an annual Jehovah’s Witnesses convention is scheduled to convene here in OKC this weekend. It got me thinking once again about this unusual religious organization. Some demographic details are enlightening. In his article at the website of the Gospel Coalition, Joe Carter cites the Pew Research indicating that “no more than 4 in 10 members of the group belong to any one racial and ethnic background: 36 percent are white, 32 percent are Hispanic, 27 percent are black, and 6 percent are another race or mixed race. Roughly two-thirds (65 percent) are women, while only 35 percent are men. They also tend to be less educated, with a solid majority of adult Jehovah’s Witnesses (63 percent) having no more than a high school diploma (compared with, for example, 43 percent of evangelical Protestants).” Here are some ten things that may prove helpful for you to know, especially as they likely will come knocking at your door sometime soon. (1) Two men in particular are generally recognized as giving theological shape to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The first, Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916), was raised in Scotch-Irish Presbyterianism but soon abandoned his heritage due to his objections to the doctrines of predestination, eternal punishment, and the physical/visible return of Christ. Russell secured a legal charter in 1884, the year generally recognized as the official launch of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (hereafter JWs). His wife divorced him in 1913 on grounds of adultery. Joseph Franklin “Judge” Rutherford (1869-1942) succeeded Russell in 1917. He wrote a book insisting that both the Roman Catholic Church and all Protestant denominations constitute present day Babylon. He was arrested in 1918, together with seven others, on charges of sedition for refusing induction into the… Read More

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20 Quotes on the Story of Scripture

The following 20 quotes caught my attention as I read Trevor Laurence’s helpful book, The Story of the Word: Meditations on the Narrative of Scripture (Wipf and Stock, 2017). The only way back to the tree of life is to trust in the one who hung upon the tree of death. (11) Anger isn’t opposed to love. It’s part of love. Anger is the loving response to anything that threatens what we cherish. . . . A God who doesn’t get angry is a God who doesn’t care about justice. A God who doesn’t get angry is a God who doesn’t love. (14) In Genesis 15, God walks through the pieces to show that he would rather die than break his word. In Jesus Christ, God walks the lonely path to the cross where he will die in order to keep his word. (19) Though God had every right to demand the life of a sinful human, God himself provided the sacrifice that he required. . . . All of us deserve to die for our sins, but God provides the lamb for the sacrifice—the lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Rather than having Abraham offer up his beloved son, God the Father will offer his beloved Son in glorious fulfillment of his covenant of grace. (23) That’s the kind of king Jesus is—the kind of king who willingly walks into the wilderness to face down the Devil so that sinners like us can receive grace for all the ways that we’ve rebelled against God and chased after our temptations. (64) We expect a king to approach in royal garb and power, but Jesus comes in humility. We expect a king to arrive mounted on a military horse and poised for war, but Jesus arrives on a donkey, a sign that he comes to bring peace. This King will receive… Read More

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Some Thoughts on Revelatory Gifts of the Spirit and the Sufficiency of Scripture

May 16, 2018 | By: Sam Storms Perhaps the single greatest criticism from cessationists is their belief that the charismatic embrace of revelatory gifts of the Spirit, such as prophecy and word of knowledge, undermines and is inconsistent with the sufficiency of Scripture. As odd as this may initially sounds, I believe the opposite is true. It is the cessationist denial of the on-going validity of revelatory gifts that compromises the sufficiency of Scripture. By the sufficiency of Scripture many things are meant, but at the heart of the doctrine is our belief that the Bible contains every theological truth and every ethical norm that is required for living a Christ-exalting and God-glorifying life. What the Bible contains and teaches is “enough” to enable us to lead godly lives in this present age. This then raises the question: “What precisely does the Bible say that God has done or provided to enable us to be edified and built up and thoroughly equipped for every good work?” Among the many things that it says God has done and provided is the blessing of the many spiritual gifts, those in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 in particular. The “all-sufficient” Word of God explicitly commands us to earnestly desire “the higher gifts” (1 Cor. 12:31a), which Paul goes on to identify primarily as prophecy. He again commands us to “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy” (1 Cor. 14:1). Again, “Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy” (1 Cor. 14:5a). And if there is any doubt about Paul’s meaning, he closes this chapter with the exhortation, “So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues” (1 Cor. 14:39). Note well: it is in the all-sufficient Scriptures that we find these… Read More

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Preachers: don’t believe everything you see!

Have you seen the memes that go like this? A pastor friend just mentioned something that I had also wondered, that the figure 365 seemed really high! So I ran it through my Bible software, and within a few minutes found that the number indeed was way off.[1] “Fear not” is a Kings-James-ism; the NET and the NASB versions each have it a few times, the other modern versions do not, including the New KJV; the earlier English versions do use it: Douay-Rheims, Coverdale Bible, Geneva Bible. So, checking the KJV, I would say that are exactly 70 examples of the phrase “fear not.” But only around 44 are in the sense of, “Fear not, because God is with you,” as said by God or some messenger. The other 26 examples are more mundane: “Fear not, your baby is almost born” (Gen 35:17) and other things.[2] 33 “fear nots” are from the Old Testament, 11 from the New Testament; Isaiah is the winner with eight instances; taken together, the Nativity stories of Matthew and Luke have four. #1 is this well-known verse: “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Gen 15:1 #44, the last, is Rev 1:17 – “And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.” Even if one expanded the search to include other versions of the phrase (“do not be afraid,” for example), one does not attain the magic number of 365. That is to say, the Bible has 365 “Fear not” passages if and only if you own nine copies of the King James Bible. Of course, if one wanted to say that there are hundreds of verses which, whether they use the specific phrase “fear not” or not, serve… Read More

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Revelation Part 21 – There’s Good News AND there’s Bad News

Revelation Part 21 Revelation Ch. 10 Matthew 3:1-12 There’s Good news and there’s Bad news By all accounts, chapters 8 & 9 in the Revelation have been pretty harrowing. Ch. 8 begins with the opening of the 7th seal of the scroll introduced in Ch. 5 – which scroll contains the whole program of God’s redemptive plan right up to the very end of this present existence as we know it. Both God’s final judgment on all sin – human and angelic, and the fulfillment of all of God’s promised blessings on those who are reconciled to Him in Christ by means of faith in Jesus’ atoning, substitutionary death on The Cross. As each seal was opened, we saw more and more of what has to unfold in bringing things to this end. Now as we enter into Ch. 10, we encounter something in the structure of the book that we’ve seen once before – a pattern that is helpful in unpacking this rather puzzling chapter. You’ll recall that Ch. 6 contained the opening of 6 of the 7 seals. Then, Ch. 7 introduces some sort of break before the 7th seal is opened in Ch. 8. This break in the action of opening the seals is a sort of breather for the reader. It brings a much needed shift of perspective. The 6 seals reveal that there is going to be a lot of disruption on earth and suffering of all kinds as God brings His plan to completion. Then Ch. 7 takes us into the heavenlies again to witness God marking out His saints so that while these judgments are being poured out – Believers are brought safely through. It lets us breathe a giant sigh of relief. Now, this pattern repeats. At the opening of the 7th… Read More

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Gossip, anyone?

“Let’s pray first!” I overheard the two sitting at the next table at my favorite coffee shop, before they sipped their coffees and nibbled at their bizcochos. I smiled, pleased to hear people stopping to pray in a public place. My smile was soon to fade. So they bowed their heads. And prayed. And as soon as they finished, launched right into an angry running attack on a person who wasn’t present. The target was another church member who was engaged in some sort of ministry with them. And kept it up for a good 45 minutes. (It’s cool – they’re just “networking”!) Now, I promise, I was trying hard not to eavesdrop, but they were very passionate, and I didn’t want to give up my comfy chair just to avoid hearing them. I have just spent some time in Romans, and 1:29-31 seemed relevant here – I have marked the sins that this pair may have been committing. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. [And if they were not telling the strict truth about their “frenemy,” one could tack deceit on to the list] And if we do what we’re supposed to – read the Bible in its context – the horror keeps piling up: this list is Paul unpacking what he meant by “God gave them over to a depraved mind” (Rom 1:28). Paul goes on in Romans 12-13 to show how Christians ought to treat one another: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to… Read More

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