Tag Archives: God

Help Fund An Effort to End Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a major problem in the United States.

Yes, it is an issue overseas…in Asia, Europe, and other countries. But, it is also a problem right here at home. There are numerous websites with information and statistics about human trafficking, so I won’t post the information here…please take the time to go and review the sites – I’ll post a couple below.

But, there is one site in particular that I want to highlight. It is from the Safe House of Hope (SHOH). This organization is located here in Maryland, and I was fortunate to be able to visit them during an open house they had a few months ago.

I attended with my pastor and his bride, and we were able to sit down and speak with the Denene Yates, who serves as the Director of this ministry. She is a really great woman, and after speaking to her for a short time, it is obvious that she loves Jesus and that she has a heart after the lost. She comes from a similar background as the ladies who she has been able to help, and is trying to help, so her desire to see people pulled from this lifestyle is strong and sincere.

This is a video of one of the ladies who has been helped through this ministry.

The SHOH has recently established a “GoFundMe” account with which they are trying to raise money to further help end human trafficking. The “gofundme” site is here. Please take a look at what they are doing. If you are not able to donate, please consider adding them to your prayer list and lift them up before the Lord Jesus.

The SHOH website, located here, lists the following as recommended ways to help end human trafficking:

• NOT buying SEX
• NOT Buying Pornography – One in five images on the internet are of underage girls.
• NOT using ‘pimp’ as a good term
• NOT referring to women as whores, sluts or HOs
• NOT patronizing strip clubs, massage parlors, or places that are known for prostitution.

Also, take a look at the “Do You Know?” section of the SHOH “GoFundMe” site – there are some shocking and extremely disheartening statistics.

The SHOH site has links to other sites to obtain more information. The video at the top of this post is from Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission . Please take some time to review their website as well.

Please keep this ministry in your prayers as they continue to pull more and more victims from this terrible way of life.

Grace and Peace,
John

Pass On One Meal Today

I’ve noticed a new hashtag trending on Twitter: #ForTheMission.

It’s for a campaign that the folks over at the International Mission Board (IMB) have started for continuing support to
overseas missions.

Now being lead by the recently elected President, David Platt, the IMB’s sole purpose is to, as it says on their website, “bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost peoples of the world.”

IMB connectingThe premise of the campaign is for those who donate, to symbolically (or actually for that matter), “skip a meal” by donating $10 in support of the effort. As far as I’ve seen, donations can be made in two ways:

  1. By texting “4mission” to 80888. I believe the charges are made to your cell phone bill.
  2. At this website by credit card.

The IMB is also encouraging folks to post a picture of themselves showing how they supported this cause, and tag the picture with the “#forthemission” hashtag.

Here’s a post from the Radical website/blog which explains a bit more about this initiative.

So, what do you think? Are you willing to pass on one meal today to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ?

I pray you do.

Grace and Peace,
John

forthemission_me

Apologetics

AZ Sunrise

“The so-called argument from design by well-meaning “Apologists” has, we believe, done much more harm than good, for it has attempted to bring down the great God to the level of finite comprehension, and thereby has lost sight of His solitary excellence. Analogy has been drawn between a savage finding a watch upon the sands, and from a close examination of it he infers a watch-maker. So far so good. But attempt to go further: suppose that savage sits down on the sand and endeavors to form to himself a conception of this watch-maker, his personal affections and manners; his disposition, acquirements, and moral character-all that goes to make up a personality; could he ever think or reason out a real man-the man who made the watch, so that he could say, “I am acquainted with him?” It seems trifling to ask such questions, but is the eternal and infinite God so much more within the grasp of human reason? No, indeed. The God of Scripture can only be known by those whom he makes Himself known.”

“The Attributes of God”
Arthur W. Pink

Do You Journal?

journaling

I’ve been using a journal for the better part of a year, and to be honest – it’s been extremely rewarding. I love the idea that I can pick up my notebook or my tablet and read what has happened over the past few months of my life. Many things that have happened to me – good and bad – are all recorded. I say many things because, admittedly, I do not journal every night as I should – but I’s happy to say that I am more consistent than not.

Journaling is deliberate. I am consciously setting aside a portion of my day, either by placing the time on my calendar or on my todo list, in order to have a meaningful review of what took place that day, and record those events. When you think about it, it’s really my opportunity to take a snapshot of time. Later, in a few months or even years, when I pick up a certain journal,  I can do some self-assessment and see if I’m growing and maturing from past events and decisions. And most importantly, I can asses my growth and maturity in my relationship with Christ.

In my home, my girls have also taken up the habit of journaling. Both of my daughters have their own respective journals, and my bride shares a journal with our youngest daughter. This journal is an outlet for our youngest daughter to have a platform to share things in writing, that she is not comfortable sharing verbally. This medium has worked well for her.

I’ve covered a variety of topics in my journaling. Everything from challenges at work to vacations with the family. I written about disagreements with my bride to Saturday morning breakfast with her. I’ve written about my failures in sin and my triumphs in Christ. Seriously – I think I’ve run the gamut of topics to jot down in my journal…and it never gets old to me. I really do enjoy putting my thoughts down via paper or electronic.

For a few months, I used a moleskine type notebook as a journal. It came in handy…it was useful, and truth be told – that is my preferred method to record my thoughts. But, lately I have been using an app on my phone, and surprisingly – it’s been working out pretty good. (Maybe I’ll write a short review of it later.) The point being – since my smartphone is 99% of the time within arms reach, I really have no excuse for not taking down a note or two about my day.

I think, for some reason, journaling has never really been seen as “manly”. Growing up, it was always the girls that had a “diary” – never the “tough guys”. But, it was always the “tough guys” that wanted to know the what the girls were putting in those diary’s. It’s unfortunate that some people do not realize the many advantages of maintaining a journal until later in life – as I later discovered.

However, I’ve been encouraged by a few of the articles that I have come across over the past few weeks regarding journaling – I have posted two of my favorites below. The authors of the below articles provide good encouragement about the practicality of journaling and some f the subsequent benefits. I won’t repeat the reasons as stated in these articles, but I encourage you to take some time to read through them. Prayerfully, you will see how journaling can be a blessing to you many times over.

Are you already maintaining a journal? How is it working out for you? If not, what are your thoughts about starting one?

Grace and Peace,
John

Why Do You Journal?
7 Reasons to Keep A Journal

 

“Blogging Theologically” by Aaron Armstrong

blog

Today’s “Follow Friday” blog recommendation is “Blogging Theologically” ran by Aaron Armstrong. I learned about Aaron’s blog as I was first getting serious about my own blog. I took some time to take a look at what current writers were doing on their blogs and I stumbled upon “BT”.

I took a look through the site and one of the first trends I noticed about Aaron’s posts was his transparency. He is a brother who seemed to have no issue with telling his readers about his personal shortcomings. I appreciate his honesty.

Aaron’s site was one of the few that I saw, initially, that didn’t have posts that would be 4 – 5 pages if read on a word document. What I mean is, his site showed me that every single post doesn’t have to be really long and theologically deep in order to be God glorifying, people edifying, and worth posting. Many of Aaron’s posts are short (I understand that it a relative term) and to the point. Once you finish reading what he’s written, you don’t feel like you’re missing something. He puts his points across very well.

If you’re on twitter, follow him here.

The articles below are a few that I’ve enjoyed in my time reading “Blogging Theologically”. These articles are no way exclusive of the great writing he does on a daily basis, but there are just a few I’d like to point out:

  1. Choosing A New Preaching Bible
  2. Four And A Half Books I Shouldn’t Have Read As A New Christian
  3. Think About What You Read
  4. 3 Passages I Want to Preach (but have been afraid to)

Take some time over the next few days to check out this brother’s site. Grab a cup of coffee, your favorite reading device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc), and settle in for some good, honest reading. If you like what you read, recommend him to others.  Drop him a line if you can. Tell him that John sent you! 😉

Grace and Peace.

Have you already been to his site? What are your thoughts about it? Are there other sites you’d like to see highlighted for “Follow Friday”?

With A Cup of Coffee

As you sit down with your coffee this morning, enjoy some of these articles that I’ve enjoyed over the past few days.

1. Primer on Reading the Bible by John Hughes

There is a lot of advice out there about how to read the Bible. As with any advice, some is good and some is bad. I love these pointers because each one is rooted in dependance on God for understanding of His scripture.

2. This is your brain on mobile by Jeremy Vandehey

This is just an interesting article. Please be aware, there is a curse word or two at the end of the article. In general, the author brings some good points and recommendations on how to unplug.

3. FBI rescues 168 child prostitutes, nabs 281 pimps, in weeklong sting by Peter Weber

I am always, ALWAYS, happy when I read articles like this. Granted, there are still hundreds, if not thousands of people (children specifically) whom are still caught up in this way of life. However, this article tells me that there are 168 children that are no longer enslaved to 281 pimps and this life. And those 281 pimps are no longer on the street. Please continue to pray for, not only these recently rescued children, but also those whom have not been rescued. Also, pray for the repentance of, not only the 281 people just arrested, but also for those still enforcing this life on others – adults and children alike.

4. Hey, remember that time Google accidentally made Skynet? by Bryan Bishop

This is a amusing article, albeit a bit disconcerting. The imagery and comparisons used by the author in telling the story are a bit too realistic for comfort. The author places the creation and advancement of the Google operating system, i.e. Android, in the context of “The Terminator” plot. Quite an interesting twist to this technology.

5. “5 Ways To Fight Temptation” – I’ve always enjoyed the videos that Joe (@whatisjoedoing) released. I think this brother has a gift to relate biblical truths to a young generation in a manner which is easily accessible and understandable.

Moral Absolutes

thIn The Christian Imagination, edited by Leland Ryken (Professor at Wheaton College), Francis A. Schaeffer’s essay, “Perspective on Art” is used to emphasize the premise of the book – that being to learn how to read and understand art from a Christian worldview.

In the essay, Schaeffer proposes that the Christian worldview can be divided into two themes; major and minor. Regarding the major theme and the morals therein, he says this,

Christianity gives a moral solution on the basis of the fact that God exists and has a character which is the law of the universe. There is therefore an absolute in regard to morals. It is not that there is a moral law beyond God that binds both God and man, but that God himself has a character and this character is reflected in the moral law of the universe. Thus when a person realizes his inadequacy before God and feels guilty, he has a basis not simply for the feeling but for the reality of guilt. Man’s dilemma is not just that he is finite and God is infinite, but that he is a sinner guilty before a holy God. But then he recognizes that God had given him a solution to this in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Man is fallen and flawed, but he is redeemable on the basis of Christ’s work. This is beautiful. This is optimism. And this optimism has a sufficient base.

Romans 1:20-21 tells us that,

…his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him…

Everyone knows that God exists. This fact is easily notable and inherently undeniable based on God’s general revelation of himself. Even further, if God’s very character is truly reflected in the moral law of the universe, then the question of from where morals come is no longer a matter of debate – they come from God.

A standard is a standard is a standard.

When creation acts outside of the bounds of which the Creator has purposed them, rebellion ensues; destruction commences; and sin reigns. When everyone does  what they believe is right for themselves, what absolute standard – i.e. moral – are their actions being measured against? If my standard for “good conduct” is significantly lower than someone elses, I cannot be faulted for doing that I believe is right for me – even if I sin against that person! However, God has already set the “measuring stick” by which our actions are compared – His Word.

A non-believer may disagree with that statement. Even a believer who is fairly liberal in their views may not fully stand in agreement. However, their standing has no merit because the Bible has already told us about those who do not honor God, even though they know him. Bear in mind, honoring God involves more than a profession of faith with your mouth. Are you also honoring God with your hands and feet?

We’ve failed to live up to God’s moral standard (Gen 3). The cross was our way back to be reconciled into relationship with Him, thereby, once again, providing us the example of a moral standard in Christ. Christ’s work on the cross is forever.

There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, grounds for someone to rightfully claim that there are no moral absolutes. God, by nature, is moral. God, himself, is absolute. And above all else, God alone is perfect and requires no example of morality. We do.

The 2014 Baptist21 Discussion Panel

On, Tuesday, 10 Jun 14, Baptist 21 held a luncheon during the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Annual Meeting. As it says on their website, Baptist 21…

…exists to contend for ‘the faith once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3).We embrace our past, believing this faith has been proclaimed in our Southern Baptist heritage. We work in the present, believing the Kingdom effectiveness of Southern Baptists will be in proportion to our fidelity to the Gospel. We cooperate for the future, believing the only hope for the people of the world is the Gospel of King Jesus.

I was fortunate to attend this luncheon and witness the discussion between the guest panel of speakers first hand. The panel was pretty amazing; an almost “who’s who” in the SBC, and there was no doubt that they kept the attention of all those in attendance. I won’t list their names here because Pastor Jonathan Akin introduces them on the video, but believe that the hour spent watching the video and listening to these gentlemen is an hour spent well.

Enjoy!

There’s An App For That!

IMG20145272753HI (1)If you attend a church that is in cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention, then you are already aware that the 2014 Annual Meeting is next week here in Baltimore, MD. From what I understand, this is the first time in decades that it has been held here. At my church, First Baptist Church of Brooklyn, we are pretty excited to see it happening in our neck of the woods this year.

There have been a flurry of comments and discussion in various articles over the past few weeks about the meeting. Some were on the SBC website, some were in the various posts of the many dedicated blogger in the cyber world, even some select news sites offered updates and feedback about the event.

Well, add to these outlets one more resource – the SBC Annual Meeting App. It makes total sense for a resource like this to be offered. The influence of technology is massive…huge. It’s to the point that to not have an app for something is counterproductive in many cases. An organization’s sphere of influence is greatly decreased without an online presence, let alone without having their an app.

The Baptist Press provides an overview of the app here, so I won’t give an overview. However, since I’ve downloaded the app and played around with it a bit, I will provide some user feedback on a few features. First off, the app is available on both the iOS and Android platforms (thank you! – I’ve seen more than a few times the android version of an app be released significantly later than the iOS version – sometimes not at all!), so I will be speaking from the perspective of using the Android version. I wouldn’t think the iOS version is too much different.

A few features of the app that I enjoy include –

The schedule embedded within it. As I was planning for this meeting, I was wondering how I was going to keep track of what seminars/ workshops/luncheons I planned to attend. However, I didn’t want to populate my personal everyday calendar with this information. I guess I could have hand-written a schedule, but who does that today. I could have typed it out on Evernote as well. But, with the built-in calendar, keeping track of my events is a non-issue.

I like the “Attendee Resources” link. These resources include the SBC Pastor’s Conference Program, a Prayer Guide, the 2014 Annual Meeting Program, and many other documents – all of which are available for download in PDF format, so they can be kept for later reading if you so choose.

There is a “Local Churches” directory. This section of the app lists churches located in one of two areas: 1) Inside Interstate 695 Baltimore Parkway and 2) Outside Interstate 695 Baltimore Beltway. My home church is listed in area number two. I like this part of the app because it gives people who are new to the area an idea of what churches are available for them to attend.

A few more features of the app include a link for YouTube videos of some of the speakers encouraging people to attend the meeting and workshops, there is a list of those organizations and ministries who are sponsoring workshops, there is a link to a “database” of attendees (provided the attendee took the time to complete their profile), and many other resources.

So, if you attend a Southern Baptist church or not, whether you are able to attend the annual meeting or not – It wouldn’t be a bad idea to download the app and take a look through it. I’m sure you will find it interesting in some way; either by watching the videos or reading the PDF resources contained or reading a bit about the Pastors and speakers who will be in attendance. Take some time to get the app. I think it’s pretty good – maybe you’ll agree.

Grace and peace to you always.

If you’ve attend annual meetings of your denomination in the past, was there a similar resource for use? Is so, was it useful? If not, do you think it would have made your experience better?