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Looking Out For The Next Generation

I am a youth advocate. Many are. Perhaps most. This advocacy requires that we help young people learn how to think, not just what to think. Critical thinking skills and the art and science of problem solving must include how to frame a debate…how to consider all sides… how to see an argument and its counter argument(s) and how to arrive at a conclusion. Regardless of our own positions, it does next generations no good whatsoever to indoctrinate. The only real way someone can make an informed decision is for that someone to actually know how to get to an informed decision.

The article linked below touches this much needed conversation/ debate/ corrective in both today’s academic and journalistic circles. It’s a recent tale of a teacher, her students, the Walkout on Behalf of the 17, and, apparently, her desire to seize the day during a teachable moment to help her students truly understand the dynamics inherent in such decisions and actions. Her story is creating ripples in a big pond. Folks are taking sides. Read the article. You’ll get it. Unfortunately, with the scope of information available in the article, one can hazard only a couple of conclusions.

1. If the information presented is truthful AND complete, it seems this teacher tried real education and was unfairly shut down. Something to which my experience would cause me to respond, “I’m not surprised considering the direction American academic institutions have been trending for several decades now.”

2. If the information is less than truthful OR incomplete, then any reader’s comment on this teachers situation would be pointless since the article is either unintentionally incomplete and therefore poor journalism or intentionnally misleading and therefore yellow journalism. To which my experience would cause me to respond, “Either way, I’m not surprised considering the direction American journalism institutions have been trending for several decades now.”

My point? Both are cause for concern. So quit looking to the pundits, the politicals, and even the professors for solutions. Do what YOU can and all YOU can to be a youth advocate who knows the difference between true education and indoctrination.

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2018/03/14/rocklin-teacher-questions-walkout/#.WrDBQ_OfzkA.facebook

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Adversity, Bible, Life's Moments

Josh McDowell and My Sister

Josh is one of my true heroes. I remember attending a conference back in the mid 80’s in which he was the keynote speaker. My sister, a single mom with three children, lonely, hurt, abandoned by her one true love, attended with me. I had recently penned a long letter to her. She chose to pull it out and read it again during one of the breaks. Josh saw her. Sat next to her. Asked what she was reading. After hearing it was an encouragement letter from her little brother, a young pastor, he asked if he could read it. She said yes. He read it. Then, with tears of both sadness and joy between them, he prayed for Floria. I’ll never forget her excitement as, later in the day, she told me of the encounter. She made this confirmation, “He is the same up close as he is in the pulpit. I believe I can trust him…and, like you, he says it’s gonna get better.” I’ve read his books. I’ve kept up with his ministry. I’ve seen many of his talks. And I know Floria was right. She’s with the Lord now. I miss her. Josh is still a powerful servant-leader. I look forward to meeting him one day…if not here, then in heaven…with my sister. She will say, “Y’all were right.”

I know you’ll like his powerful testimony in the following video. It’s not too long. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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Praying for Darren Aronofsky

I read a quick review about “mother!” I learned, while being offensive, it had a quarrel to pick with Christianity. Decided to watch it. Glad I did. (Trust me tho, in other ways, I’m sorry I did.)

The man behind the movie also made “Noah” a few years back. According to what I’ve read since seeing his movie, he’s an avowed atheist. Saying the movie was offensive is a monumental understatement. It’s also gross, violent, immoral, and seriously tedious, doctrinaire, and superficial. What actors and actresses are sometimes willing to do for “art” amazes and bewilders me. Yet this is not what I find bothering me.

I find myself wondering and praying. I wonder what lies in the soul and the past of Darren Aronofsky–the movie’s creator…and I pray for him. There is a hurt pouring from every move of his “artistic” life. It’s a hurt producing more pain. Thinking he’s genious, he’s merely simplistic. Thinking he’s discovered the true nature of God, he’s lost in the misinformed statements of the Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens crowd. Thinking his problem is intellectual, he is blinded to the socio/emotional obstructions covering his hurt heart.

I do not intend to see more of his movies, but I intend to keep him in prayer. I also intend to remember the words of a godly woman from Multnomah School of The Bible, Pamela Reeve, who said to her students, “Take your shoes off when you enter someone’s life, because it’s holy ground.”

Finally…

Dear Mr. Aronofsky, I recognize the risk in my post. I recognize folks can easily take my words and position to be immeasurably arrogant and self-important. I’ll take that risk. Not doing so runs another risk…not caring, not being compassionate enough to address my observations. My guess is that you run the same risks, so you make movies based on what you think and feel. Offense may not be intended, but it may very well be taken. Of course, no one other than the Creator and the sub-creator can know for sure whether offense was intended. So I can not know whether or not you meant to offend this customer, but rest assured you did not. Been there, done that speaks volumes. Your worldview is neither new, original, or even interesting. It’s just kinda worn out. It fails to prevail. Intended to eradicate something, it merely twitters itself away. No amount of sensationalism–on the big screen, in a book, lecture, play, or antics of a jester can prevent death giving way to death. I do so hope you keep searching. Your sin and mine start in the same place. The ways upon which it travels, however, are obviously different. So again, keep searching…and I promise, I will too.

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Adversity, Bible, Life's Moments

How Can You Mend A Broken Heart

Adversity often pounds away at the human heart until the heart finally breaks. Then the questions flood the soul…

…what now?
…where do I go from here?
…who do I turn to at this point?
…when will my broken heart
feel better?

Making adversity even worse is the simple, yet profoundly terrible, truth that we never thought it would happen to us. Like the opening lines from the Bee Gee hit, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart:

“I can think of younger days
when living for my life was everything a man could want to do. I could never see tomorrow but I was never told about the sorrow.”

We’re just not prepared. Adversity is random. It’s out of contol. Unexpected most times.

But there is someone who specializes in mending broken hearts. If we’re listening, he’s letting us know all the time. Even while reveling in Michael Buble’s cover (my favorite version) of the Brothers Gibb timeless song, the Lord reminded me yet again with his word…

Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:1-3

What once was a song to bring tears has now become a propellent for thanksgiving, because what was once unanswered is now no longer so. It’s not how can you mend a broken heart, but who has mended my broken heart.

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Adversity, Bible, Life's Moments

In the Still of the Night

In the still of the night, more than any other time, my flesh begins to crawl. No, not like that…not the spooky afraid of the dark sort of thing. I’m referring to flesh in the biblical sense…those old memories, those hauntings, those willowy vestiges of a man long since dead. You know, the memories still lodged in my brain from a time before my Nic at Night moment.

Do you know about Nicodemus? You can read about him in The Gospel of John, chapter three. He came to Jesus during the night and this happened…

” ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.

Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.

How can someone be born when they are old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!

Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.‘ ”

I’m not sure about Nicodemus, but I took Jesus at his word and my world changed. I changed. I was born again. Old habits died off. Old yearnings went away. Supernatural change was afoot. I received a new Spirit…but not a new body. My body is not yet redeemed. The brain can still process junk…if I allow it. This is the crawling flesh to which I refer. And, in the still of the night, the hauntings of the past arise. Slowly at first. Being tired, I sometimes fail to rush to the breech. I forget all I need do is submit to the Lord, listen for his word, and rest. If I linger too long sin finds an approach. My thoughts become my worst adversity. Then I pray…

Then I pray…and this happens…the word of God comes from the Spirit of God. Oh no, don’t misunderstand. It’s not inspiration. It’s not a “new word from the Lord.” It’s his word given by prophet, apostle, or Jesus himself and left for us in the Bible. When the flesh crawls his word is the last thing I look for or think of, but then the real me, my new spirit, once again becomes witness to the Holy Spirit testifying within me that I’m not that person anymore. I’m a child of God. Words like “It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your lovingkindness in the morning and your faithfulness by night” (Psalm 92:1,2) begin to pour in. His word. His will. Meant for me…for peace…in the still of the night.

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Adversity, Bible, Life's Moments

Late At Night When the Heart is Troubled

Late at night, when the heart is troubled, the Spirit of God whispers his word to my spirit, “You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7). This is what King David knew to be true of the Lord. It is now the very real and tangible evidence of the presence of God for me. As Francis Schaeffer said, “He is there and he is not silent.” It is also the seed of a beautiful song of praise:
You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart
With songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid
I will trust in You
I will trust in You
Let the weak say I am strong
In the strength of the Lord

And, if it was true for King David, it’s true for us when Jesus is on our throne. Amen. Come on tomorrow!

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