My son writes and plays his own music. He’s also an illustrator and cartoonist. He shows great potential as a writer, and also won the ‘Best Actor’ award in a local inter high school drama festival. I asked him recently if he had prayed about and considered attending film school. I was thinking that a set of gifts like that would lend itself well to film where these gifts all often come together. His response was negative. Not because he didn’t have the desire, but because he has a negative view of what Hollywood represents.
What does Hollywood represent? I have often thought it ironic that some in Hollywood attack the Christian right for being so conservative, and yet are sympathetic to Islamic extremists. Those in Hollywood seem to think that the extremists dislike us (legitimately) because of our bad politics. What I believe is ironic is that the actual reason extremists hate America is because they see us as Hollywood often represents us: as completely secular, atheistic, immoral and as promoters of immorality. The battle between ‘terror’ and ‘the war on terror’ as seen by a suicide bomber is not a political battle, but a battle between the godly and the godless.
I don’t believe that the majority of us in North America are as secular, as atheistic, and as immoral as we are perceived to be, or as Hollywood sometimes paints us to be. Unfortunately, there are many in Hollywood who are this way, and they often use the stage they’re given to try and make the rest of us fall in line.
Last year (2009), the controversy between the right and the left at the Oscars was huge. People protested the Oscars because of the movies that were nominated and what they saw as the movie’s messages. Controversy was stirred up when during the awards broadcast, Shawn Penn—who won Best Actor for his portrayal of a murdered homosexual activist in the movie MILK—belittled California voters for supporting the real definition of marriage. Then controversy was stirred up again when an Oscar was given to Kate Winslet for playing an illiterate escaped Nazi war criminal and pedophile that seduces a 15-year-old boy. And once again when actress Marisa Tomei, who plays a stripper in THE WRESTLER, was applauded for showing that “a stripper doesn’t have to lose her dignity when taking off her clothes”. Later in the show, it didn’t help matters when Bill Maher railed against religion saying, “Someday we’ll have to confront the notion that our silly gods cost the world too greatly.”
Christian and Muslim fundamentalists would have agreed together to turn the show off at this point.
So what do we do? Protest the Oscars? Boycott it and watch a rerun of ‘Extreme Home Makeover’ instead? Perhaps we should stop going to their movies and start ‘Christianwood’? Actually, I think the solution is quite simple and as a group we’ve already been silently implementing it for years.
The bottom line in Hollywood is the bottom line. In 2009 there were big fears that the movie industry would be affected by the economy and the credit crunch. Everyone started to tighten their belts. Whenever the black “money-loss-monster” rears its head, the studios are gripped with a sudden desire to only make movies that they know will make money. Our strategy has been a simple one. Since the love of money is the root of all evil, we need to starve that root and only buy tickets to movies we can—or somewhat can—support morally.
When you compare the money made from four movies released in the same year, it appears that our message is in the money and Hollywood is getting our message. The worldwide take for Maher’s ‘Religulous’ stands at only $13.6 million and Milk’s is at $54.4 million. Whereas ‘Prince Caspian’ has grossed $419.6 million and even the low-budget ($500,000) ‘Fireproof’ has taken in $33.4 million to date.
I don’t know if it’s a money-coincidence or not, but there’s far fewer extremely controversial films lined up for this years Oscars then there were for last year. Movies in production with Christian and/or family values are apparently on the increase.
Even the Oscars respond to the bottom line. In 2008, the viewership for the award show fell to a record low. It was concluded by many in Hollywood that the reason for this was simple. There seemed to be no correlation between movies that we the people saw and loved, and the ones that were nominated for best picture. Who wants to watch an award show about a bunch of movies you have no interest in and/or you can’t agree with because of its message or content? Many have speculated that this is the reason why the Academy expanded the best picture category to include ten nominees.
Here are the top ten:
Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, Up, Precious, A Serious Man and Up in the Air.
I remember past years when I hadn’t seen and/or wouldn’t see any of the films nominated for best picture. This year I’ve seen Up and Avatar and I’m planning on seeing the Blind Side… three out of ten. Here’s a link to a blog on a Christian movie review site that gives you a synopsis of each of the ten nominees from a Christian perspective.
There were obviously no movies in Bible times, but there was theater and Jesus made reference to it when he used the word ‘hypocrite’. The greek word for hypocrite denotes someone acting out the part of a character in a play. In Greek theater, the actors held masks, painted to be the character they were playing the part of, over their faces. When Jesus used the word hypocrite he was comparing wicked people, who pretend to be religious, with actors.
When we as Christians watch movies that our consciences tell us we shouldn’t watch, we join Hollywood not only by supporting them with our dollars and helping them misrepresent us to the world, but also by joining the ranks of the actors, professing our Faith but not living it.
I’ll be watching the Oscars this Sunday with my son when he gets back from the play he’s performing in. He may, or may not, join the many talented people in helping to change what Hollywood represents. But for now, we are both looking forward to seeing Sunday night’s results. I’m also looking forward to seeing what Hollywood will look like if we keep voting with our ticket and movie purchases. Perhaps the world, who is watching us through the eyes of Hollywood’s offerings, will one day get a better idea of who most of us are.
If you want to see all the nominations for the major categories of this years Oscars, click through to this video.
There are many sports writers who write about Faith when a top athlete is both a contender and a Christian. So I thought that I, a Faith writer, should return the favor and write about sports for the same reason. Especially since I’m an avid football fan and I’ll be watching the Super Bowl.
The outspoken Christian athlete that’s getting all of the sports writers attention is the Arizona Cardinal’s QB Kurt Warner who will be leading his team against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 43. When the Cardinals won the NFC playoff game, pretty much the first thing Kurt said in his interview was, “I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Kurt Warner is quite vocal about his Faith. Once, when he appeared on Oprah, he was told that he had about three sentences. So he decided to use the second sentence to talk about Jesus, figuring that it would be harder for them to cut it out. They cut it out, anyway.
However, before talking about Mr. Warner any further, I would like to look at some other ways that we, the Body of Christ, have tried and are trying to use the Super Bowl (and other sporting events) to spread the Word. More specifically, I’d like to start a discussion about their effectiveness and what the Bible says about our efforts. Let me say in advance, I’m filing this post under ‘Rick’s rants’ so be ready for it, and if you disagree, jump on in, your comments are welcome. : )
First let me address something that frankly doesn’t make any sense to me at all, the John 3:16 signs. I’ve supplied a link to a video explaining how these signs became part of our pop culture. Briefly, a man named Rollen Stewart, aka ‘The Rainbow Man’ (because he wore a large multicolored wig) was the one who made the now famous sporting event sign famous. Rollen started out trying to make a name for himself by appearing on camera at sporting events dancing with his wig on. He preplanned his position and watch the game on a small portable TV so he’d know when to dance. He got a lot of press.
One night in a hotel room, he watched a televangelist and gave his life to Christ. Shortly after that, he started showing up with the John 3:16 sign with the same wig and strategy, but this time, his motivation was to promote the gospel with his few seconds of camera time. He appeared everywhere and again got a ton of exposure and the John 3:16 sign became an expected sight at sporting events.
Unfortunately, Rollen got banned from sporting events for his antics, and his gospel publicity stunt ideas started to get weird. His last one involved a gun and a kidnapping. He’s currently serving three life sentences behind bars. Something that seemed like a good thing did not end well.
Something is happening at this year’s Super Bowl that reminds me of Rollen’s sign. This year’s festivities are in Florida and one group of Christians have hired an aerial ad company to fly over the Super Bowl towing this message, ‘The Super Bowl champion is Jesus’.
The Bible says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” and, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:14, 17)
There was a time in our culture when there was prayer and Bible reading in schools and tent meetings on every corner. Maybe then, a scripture reference or short sign, might have reminded people of what they already knew and caused them to respond. However, we now live in a society where very few of the people who need the Gospel, know this scripture reference. Those who do, have no idea what it means and more specifically, what it should mean to them.
The gospel isn’t a Bible verse or a slogan. It’s the most incredible story ever told, and the message of God’s grace and salvation. God meant for us to ‘go’ explain it and share it with our neighbors, not flash them a sign. I’m not saying that God can’t use these signs in some way. However, expecting someone who needs to hear the Gospel to get saved, by seeing one of these signs, is kind of like trusting that you can get your teenager to pass his grade ten math exam, just by showing him the cover of the text book.
If you must flash a sign, then how about one that communicates part of God’s message to everyone like ‘Jesus loves you.’ Also, what does ‘The Super Bowl champion is Jesus’ mean? If you must use a football metaphor in the message, how about ‘You are Jesus’ #1 draft choice’. Corny, but at least it communicates a small part of the Gospel message.
I probably have a few of you ready to comment already, but stick with me for a bit. Let’s talk about players who feel that ‘giving God the glory’, for a win or a great play, is their responsibility and somehow makes a difference. Players will either use their words or their index fingers to point to heaven in order to fulfill this obligation.
There are many Bible verses in the New Testament that talk about giving God the glory. I’ll list some of the key ones below so that you can do a study on your own. For now though, let me give you a brief summary of the concept. In John 9:24, the Pharisees confront a man who was born blind, yet healed by Jesus, and they tell him to ‘Give God the Glory’. According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, at the time this phrase was an idiom that meant ‘Confess your sins’. Or in other words, credit should be given to God for whatever is accomplished in you or through you because you’re nothing but a sinner.
Essentially that sums up the New Testaments position on giving God the glory. We are saved by faith in His grace and we cannot boast because nothing we do or have done puts us in God’s good books. It’s what Jesus did and is doing through the Holy Spirit in us. So as we trust God to not only initially save us, but also to work in us and change us into the image of Christ, we give God the glory (credit) for initiating and completing the work. When we bear fruit as Christians, God gets the glory because others see what kind of people we have become and marvel at the change, and we point towards heaven to assign credit. (John 15:8, 2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:15, Philippians 1:11, Hebrews 13:21) Also, when we go through trouble and let God help us and guide us through it, that also brings glory to God. When we trust him to use the gifts he’s given us to administer his grace, (which is ministering to others), then again he gets the credit for what is accomplished through us. (1 Peter 1:7, 4:10, 11) All of which, I’m sorry to say, have nothing to do with playing football.
Many years ago, I went to watch my younger brother play hockey. He was always good at sports. As he headed for the ice, I told him that I’d pray for him to do well. He turned on me and sternly said. “Don’t! I want to do it, I want to try hard, work hard and get good.” Wow! He set me on my heels. What he had understood was that if I prayed, God would do it for him, or through him. The Bible tells us “The glory of young men is their strength”. ( Prov 20:29 ) God allows us the dignity and reward that comes from working hard at something and doing well at it. What I wanted to pray was that God would help my brother do his best, give him wisdom to learn more about hockey, that sort of thing. Christian NFL players don’t make a great play because God did it. If that was the case, every play they executed would be great and only the Christian players would get the great plays. Also, God doing it for a player would be cheating, and God doesn’t cheat.
These players are good, and even great, at what they do because they’ve worked hard, practiced hard and studied hard. They deserve credit for that. Do we tell our kids when they use their manners well, get an ‘A’ on an exam, or do well at a recital, “Give the Glory to God Junior”? I wonder what message our kids are getting when they see and hear players do that; perhaps ‘You don’t need to work hard, just believe’, or ‘You’ll always be successful if you’re a Christian.’
Now I know when some players point to the sky, it could just be a brief call out to say that God is good, but that’s not what comes across to those who don’t believe. It’s alright to just say, “I had a good game, I’m on a good team and God is good!”
It seems to me that much of what we’ve already talked about doesn’t help promote the Gospel. Often it hurts us because outsiders get the idea that we’re religious nuts who don’t know how to just be normal and enjoy a football game.
Having said that, here are some things I think do help. When players get seriously injured and you see other players go to one knee and sincerely start to pray for their fellow player, that sends a message of God’s love. Have you noticed that the camera operators and production teams don’t avoid these shots like they do the signs? Why? Because even the unbelievers see it as an act of caring and compassion, and not as a sound bite or camera shot meant to steel attention and promote a cause.
How about events like this year’s 10th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration? I’ve never been to one, but I think it would be great. The event clearly states what it’s about and it’s not only a chance for the Christian players to fellowship together, but a chance for them to say (by attending) what they believe.
Finally, I want to talk about what I believe is the most Biblical and powerful way that the Gospel is spread at the Super Bowl, and for that I come back to Kurt Warner as promised. If Kurt was like so many other professional sports players who just point at the sky or thank God after a win, his Faith would not be getting so much press.
It’s who Kurt Warner is, and how he lives out his Faith, that is getting attention. Remember what the Bible says about God getting the glory. Here’s a Christian man who puts family first, loves his wife and kids, attends church faithfully, has his own charity that helps disabled children (see video), he gives back and volunteers, uses his money to further the gospel and help others. When he struggles, he looks to Jesus for strength and help, and credits him for that strength. He isn’t getting attention by what he says, he’s getting attention because he’s trusting God to make him into Christ’s image, and people are marveling at who he is. So when he says his life is about Jesus, glory really does go to God.
How you play on the field (or how you do in any profession) may get you a podium, but it’s how you behave and live your life in Christ that will give you the right to speak from that podium.
No matter what you think of the above methods, it seems to me that the most effective way to spread the Gospel in sports events such as the Super Bowl, is the same way it’s done in every other area of life: by having Christians get involved and let their light shine through their work ethic, character, humility and generosity.
Enjoy, the Super Bowl, I know I’m going to. Go Kurt! Win or lose, you’ve already won!
For help with teaching your children about their Faith, check out The Singing Bible.
(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad)
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1 – 4, NIV)
Some may not be familiar with the actual verses above, but we’ve all been introduced to the idea that every Christian’s prayer list should include the need for praying for our leaders. We even teach our children to pray for us, their teachers, our church leaders, and our political leaders around election time. On special political occasions, such as during an inauguration, we include these prayers in our family prayer times.
Nothing new, however, here’s my challenge. Does the Bible tell us how we should pray or what we should pray and/or teach our children to pray? The standard prayer seems to be one of asking God to guide our leaders and give them wisdom to make the right decisions. Is that what Paul meant when he wrote the verse? Is there more to it? I taught the standard leader wisdom prayers to my own children. However, somewhere down inside I always thought that there must be more to it then that and it turns out that there is.
The point of this blog is to help you understand Biblically what to pray, and how to pray for our leaders so that you can not only do it, but also teach your children to do it. Whether you voted for President Barak Obama or not, we are all called to pray for him and as you’ll see from reading this post, with good reason. At the end of the blog, I’ve included a sample prayer for the new president that you and your family can use as a guide. (Whether you live in the USA or not, Barak Obama’s decisions will probably effect you. So pray for him and also the leaders of your country.)
Let’s start with a basic rule for Bible study; Studying the Bible is like investing in real estate. The most important three things are location, location and location (context, context and context). For clarity of understanding, we must read each passage in its context which includes the intent of the author. In order to discover intent, we must know something about the person writing. One way that we do that is to familiarize ourselves with everything else that author wrote in the Bible. Another way is to know something about when and where the author lived and who he or she was.
Of course the most basic rule (the first ‘location’) is to read each verse in the context of its surrounding verses so lets do that first. In this case, Paul sums up why he tells us to pray for everyone everywhere and to pray for leaders in verse four; …for he (God) wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. (NLT)
In other words, the reason God wants us to pray for everyone everywhere, is so they’ll be saved. He also wants us to pray for our leaders so that we have the peace and quiet we need to go about doing what he’s called us to do, which is to grow his Kingdom and spread the gospel without opposition from (and perhaps even with support from) our leaders and government. Again, so everyone can be saved.
Ever notice that in the Lord’s prayer, Jesus did not pray for leaders? Jesus wasn’t giving us a prayer to pray, he was teaching us how to pray. When we pray for our leaders, our prayers must follow our Lord’s example or template, so our prayer would fall under “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We pray that our leaders work in agreement and not opposition to His Kingdom and His will.
Moving on to the second ‘location’ or context consideration, Paul wrote these verses when Nero was ruling Rome right around the time he started persecuting the church and doing everything he could to capture and kill Christians. Church history has it that not long after Paul wrote these verses, Nero falsely blamed the Christians and specifically Paul for burning Rome and had Paul put to death. Paul had a dream, he envisioned a time when the government would stop standing in God’s way and Paul called the church to pray to that end.
Let’s look at the verses in Timothy in the New Living Translation; I urge you, first of all to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority..
When I read these verses in the New Living Translation, something jumped out at me. Something that requires the next level of ‘location’ or context to understand.
Before Paul’s conversion, he was a Pharisee and he had been thoroughly trained in the law under a well known teacher, Gamaliel. (Acts 22:3, Philippians 3:5) In other words, he knew God’s Word and most everything he wrote in the New Testament was built on what he knew from the Old.
So was Paul thinking of any Old Testament passages and/or stories when he wrote these verses?” The words that jumped out at me were, “…plead for God’s mercy on them…”.
Take a look at these verses from Daniel’s very well known prayer for Israel found in Daniel chapter nine.
So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame–the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. O Lord, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; (Daniel 9:4 – 9)
Daniel pleaded with God, Paul asks us to do the same. Daniel prayed for all Israelites everywhere, Paul placed the prayer in a New Testament context and instructed us to pray for everyone, everywhere. Daniel included Israel’s Kings and leaders, Paul tells us to pray for our leaders. Daniel prayed for God’s mercy, Paul said that we should plead for God’s mercy.
It was natural for Paul to think of the time of the Babylonian captivity because although the Israelite’s were at home in Israel when he wrote these verses, they were being occupied and ruled by a foreign king. The main thing that Paul changes is that he puts it all into a New Testament context. It’s no longer about the Israelites and their leaders, but about all people everywhere and the leaders of all nations.
I believe that Daniel’s powerful prayer was what Paul was jumping off of, but in order to discover more about what Paul was asking us to pray and why, we need to look a little further into what happened with the Babylonian and Persian kings when God’s people prayed. Remember, in the new context that Paul put Daniel’s prayer into, the leaders who need our prayer are no longer only Israel’s leaders, but the leaders of the nations as they were in Daniel’s time.
During the time of the exile, Daniel prayed and God moved on the heart of King Cyrus to agree to let the Israelites go home and rebuild the temple (Ezra 1). The King even paid for the materials. (Ezra 6:1 – 5) Then when the project was being opposed, King Darius (the same king who was involved in Daniel’s lion den experience) ordered those in opposition to not only stop interfering, but also that all expenses were to be paid for by the royal treasury.
Years later when Nehemiah heard that the walls of Jerusalem were still not rebuilt, he prayed and asked God to grant him favor with King Artaxerxes. He got it. The king gave him permission to go and rebuild the walls. He also sent a small army with Nehemiah and agreed to supply the lumber for the project. (Nehemiah 1, 2)
Again, when the Jewish people faced complete destruction, God used Esther and her Uncle Mordecai with the fasting prayers of his people to turn the King’s heart and God’s people were rescued.
One comment by one of these kings paints a wonderful picture of what God does for leaders who cooperate with his plans. When Darius (lions den king) wrote a letter instructing everyone to support and not oppose the rebuilding of the temple, he wrote “…so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king (himself) and his sons.” (Ezra 6:10) He knew Daniel and he knew that if he and his sons were to be blessed as kings, they needed to support the God of heaven’s agenda.
Paul knew that in the New Testament era we’re also building a temple and a spiritual Jerusalem, the Body of Christ, and our mandate is to love and reach everyone everywhere. For that to happen, we need to pray that our leaders understand what King Darius understood.
Praying that President Obama has the wisdom to make the country and economy run well is fine, but it’s not what Paul was talking about. God wants us to come before his throne, focused on heaven with his Kingdom firmly placed as our number one priority and pray that God would have mercy on us and on President Obama, and cause him to make decisions in cooperation with God’s plans, not man’s.
Paul tells us to pray for mercy, because none of us deserve his grace, favor, salvation and/or an understanding of the truth. We receive it when we humble ourselves because he loves us. When we pray for God’s mercy on President Obama, it isn’t a reflection on the man, his Faith or his character. Paul didn’t say to pray for God’s mercy for only wicked Kings or leaders, he said to pray that way for all of them. It’s by his mercy that he intervines and moves in a leader’s life in a way that can change the course of history.
Also, you may think the world of who President Obama is as a leader and a man, or you might not think much of him at all, but whether he is or isn’t great isn’t what matters. The biggest changes for God’s people and his plans came when his people prayed, sought his mercy, and trusted him for the outcome.
Below is a prayer that you and your family can use as a guide in your prayers for President Obama. The prayer is inspired by all that I believe Paul was referencing and thinking about when he wrote his instructions about praying for our leaders. May God have mercy on President Obama.
A Prayer For Obama
(Taken from Paul’s words and inspired by the prayers and stories of Daniel, Nehemiah and Esther)
Father in heaven, we pray that your kingdom is strengthened and grows. That your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. We thank you for your great love and wonderful plans for us all.
We ask that you would have mercy on the people of this country and around the world that don’t know you, that you would forgive them, cause them to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
We pray also for our leaders and specifically today for President Barak Obama. Thank you for every wonderful thing that Barak Obama becoming president represents in the US. Please pour out your loving mercy on him and his family. Forgive them for any trespasses against you, draw them closer to yourself and help them to understand and walk in the full knowledge of the truth.
Please Father, have mercy on President Obama as a leader and cause him, for the sake of the US and the world, to cooperate with your agenda in everything he does as president. Let your Church and your Kingdom flourish under his leadership and help many to come to know you because of the mercy you pour out on his presidency.
Help us, your children, to live quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness and holiness under President Obama so that we can do your will freely in your vineyard; spreading your Word, reaching the unreached and demonstrating your love. Have mercy on us and forgive us for our slackness in this area. Help us to be more mindful of you and your eternal plans than we are on our needs for today.
Please send wise people from among your children, like you sent Daniel, Nehemiah, Mordecai and Esther, to help President Obama and counsel him in the things that you’d have him do. Guide and direct him and give the Church, your people, and your agenda, favor in his eyes.
Father, as President Obama obeys you and cooperates with your plans, bless him, his family and his presidency. If he sins against you in anyway, we plead for your mercy, forgive him and cause him to turn and support your Word and your work
We ask this sincerely in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. We thank you for all that you’ve done for us and for hearing our prayers. You are a great God and a wonderful merciful Father and we love you!
Pray sincerely and trust confidently. God hears and moves on the prayers he asks us to ask.
For help with teaching your children about their Faith, check out Teaching Your Child How to Pray.
(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad)
In a very short period of time, social media websites like MySpace, FaceBook and Twitter have begun to change the way the world connects and socializes, and for Christians, the way we fellowship and even minister to others.
Tens of millions of users log into these networks daily. According to Wikipedia, FaceBook has over 132 million users and MySpace over 117 million. Twitter, one of my favorites, is only about two years old and already has well over three million users and it’s growing exponentially.
So how are Christians responding? In FaceBook, many groups have been created to reach and help Christians network. There are way too many to mention, but a few examples are;
- 100,000,000 Christians Worship God (over 700,000 members)
- Christian Bloggers Network
- 1,000,000 Christian Parents Raising Disciples For Christ
- FaceBook For Pastors
- Pastors and Ministry Leaders
- Culture Shapers on Digg
The number of Pastors who are now connecting with their congregations and communities through FaceBook and Twitter is growing rapidly. Whole congregations and groups within them are using these sites to increase communication, extend ministry efforts and even to plan events. Social networking has become a valuable social tool that is being used by ministries, churches, Christian authors and bloggers and individual Christians around the globe.
The purpose of this blog isn’t to challenge the validity of Christians using social networking sites. I believe that anyone who’s used them can instantly see how these tools can be tremendously beneficial. Nor am I here to decry the abuses of these tools. No matter how beneficial something is, some people will misuse it. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. What I’d like to do is sound a different alarm.
This is a blog to all Christians everywhere who are using social networking or who are looking into it and my message is simple; please look at your social networking strategies and methods through the lens of scripture and Christian character before you implement them.
Let me explain, when you approach a stranger on the street or a newcomer at your church, there are certain things that you do to make sure that you are perceived as a polite, considerate, nonthreatening individual. Most of us know how to do this because we’ve practiced face to face conversation in our homes and in public for years. Unfortunately, many Christians who dive into social networking don’t know how to do that same thing online. Why? Because although common sense, kindness and good manners are always necessary, the rules for approach and interaction are different in the online world and also different on each social networking site. Without this understanding, we can end up unknowingly offending others and making some or all of our efforts ineffectual.
I have observed and learned a few things through trial and error and by watching others more experienced than myself, and I would like to pass them on. Hopefully, my efforts will help more Christians be more effective and less abrasive while using social networking sites to reach and connect with others. Once you’ve read my tips and ideas, feel free to comment and add things that you’ve learned. When we’re Kingdom building, we can all work together and help each other.
The Ten Commandments For Social Networking Christians
1. Thou shalt not worship and/or social network on too many sites.
When I first started social networking (SN) I went and joined every SN site I heard of and/or read about, Amazon Connect, Xing, Linkedin, FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon and others. I would have joined even more but I ran out of room in my life.
Here’s what I learned, in order to do well on a SN site, you need to actually jump in, learn about the site, play by their rules and become part of the community. If you don’t, then to the people who are regulars on these sites, you’re like a complete stranger who’s walking through their neighborhood expecting attention without investing anything of yourself. At first you’ll be watched, as everyone politely waits for you to learn and get involved, but if you keep it up, you will be ignored and perhaps even resented. That does not reflect well on you as a Christian.
Here’s a suggestion. Google information about the different SN sites. There are a ton of blogs out there that will tell you what each site does, who uses it, how it’s good for networking, and what the best ways are to get involved and see results. Once you’ve done your homework, pick two or three that will work for you and start getting involved, learning and investing yourself in them.
I decided to focus on FaceBook and Twitter. I find them enjoyable and a great way to network with other Christians and to get exposure to my blogs. I’m also still involved in StumbleUpon, Amazon and Linkedin but only as supports for my FaceBook and Twitter efforts. Your plan and choices will probably be different than mine because what you do, what you want to accomplish, and what you will enjoy may all be different.
2. Thou shalt not make your mission an idol.
God has called us to make disciples and that’s about people. For God so loved the world that he gave… so that… Ever notice that John 3:16 puts ‘people’ first, ‘giving’ second, and ‘purpose’ third?
I’ve caught myself running into my social networks with one thing on my mind, get traffic to my blog, find parents to minister to etc etc, running headlong, ignoring people to supposedly accomplish God’s purpose. When I find myself doing that, I stop and get off my computer and pray. Not only should our hearts be right, but social networking is not nearly as effective if you don’t stop to connect with others, listen to them, talk to them, check out what they’re doing and show genuine interest in them. If you don’t demonstrate that you care, you will be seen by many as just another spammer and/or narcissist and your witness and efforts will be ineffective.
Here’s a suggestion, on a sticky note write, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ and stick it where you can see it while you’re on your computer. You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, that’s impossible, but it doesn’t take much to stop, care and be interested. People first, giving second and purpose last.
3. Thou shalt not misuse the social networking sites (it gives God a bad rap).
This one is simple, play nice and play by the rules. Each SN site has rules about what you can and cannot do. Read the rules and stay within them. Others who follow the rules will think less of you for trying to bend them. Each site also has many unwritten rules or courtesies that have been developed over a period of time by it’s regular users. For example on Digg, you can Digg your own content but the regulars of Digg frown on it and may work to bury your content if you keep it up. Take it slowly at first and learn the rules. If you’re not sure about something ask, and when you’re told, do your best to fit in.
Having said that, SN sites are changing all the time because people change how they use them. Once you’ve been on a site for awhile and understand how it works, you may get creative ideas that work within the system and maximize your results. There’s nothing wrong with that, just be careful that others see it as a clever idea and not a way around the rules.
4. Thou shalt remember to relax and enjoy.
Remember, and this is important, social networking online is much the same as it is face to face and many of the same rules apply. For example, ‘All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy!’ When someone looks at your contributions, status updates, tweets, posts, notes etc and see that they are all (or mostly all) about business or ministry or whatever your purpose is, you become dull and uninteresting. You’re also unwittingly telling everyone that you’re only here for self promotion. Not good. Relax, let your hair down and have fun on these sites as well. I have so much fun on Twitter, sometimes my wife has to remind me that I should be writing. Be real, relax, have fun, be social, when people get to know you a little better they’ll be more likely to be interested in what you do.
A word of caution. One of my twitter friends (@jplosier) wondered if I was going to talk about being vulnerable and sharing personal things on SN sites, so I will. You should never pretend to be someone that you’re not and you should always be honest and transparent. There’s nothing wrong with saying you’re having a grumpy day and asking others to pray. However, as a minister of the Gospel, if you are having serious struggles, you should have mentors or peers who you go to for help. Turn your computer off and go and talk with someone face to face.
5. Honor your Father & Mother by remembering that they taught you to be humble.
My friend and Marketing teacher, David G. Johnson once told me that the most powerful word in marketing is the word ‘YOU.’ The Bible teaches that we should not be boastful and that we should not be focused on ourselves. So the most important word in ministry is also ‘YOU.’
There is nothing that will turn others away quicker (in real life and online) than someone who is, or appears to be, stuck on themselves. I don’t believe that I’m stuck on me, but I believe I’ve come across that way online at times and it’s somewhat understandable. When you’re networking, you want people to know who you are and what you’ve accomplished. So you put it out there thinking that it’s innocent enough because your motivation is to build trust and therefore be able to help more people. Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t work and you come off as a braggart. (I know, I learned the hard way.)
Here’s a suggestion, put your bio on your website and/or on linkedin and let others find out what mighty things you’ve done when they’re interested and go looking. The quickest way to get people interested in you, is to be interested and focused on them, do that and eventually they’ll wonder who you are.
Also, if you just signed a book deal or a million dollar business contract and you simply must share the news, craft your announcement humbly. There’s a difference between these two tweets or updates: “My agent just signed a HUGE deal with Harper Collins for my new book!” or “Wow, I’m blown away by God’s grace, he’s letting me write another book.’ Take the humble road and if other’s are interested, they’ll press you for more details.
Oh, also remember that it’s not just your words that show others your humility. Any action you take online that gives people the impression that you think that you’re more important then they are may result in them thinking that you are stuck on yourself. For example, if you use Twitter and someone follows you, follow them back. Having a lot of people following you while you’re only following a few doesn’t make you look important, it makes you look stuck on yourself. Jesus was the greatest person who ever lived. God in the flesh, and our example. He never once turned anyone away who honestly sought him out.
Unless someone is obviously a spammer, or is trying to peddle pornography or something like that, follow them, befriend them, connect with them, return their messages, say hi. It doesn’t take much but it tells everyone that you care and that you believe that we’re all equal in God’s eyes. (And yes, I know that Jesus kept twelve close, seventy not as close and then the larger group of disciples a little less connected. However for the most part, SN is not about your closest group of friends, they’re the ones you see off-line.)
An exception to this is if you’re setting up a network for the purpose of communicating with your church or ministry group only. If this is the case and if the SN site allows it, ‘close’ the group (or spell it out in the bio line if you’re on Twitter) so others understand that it’s for a limited group and don’t think that you have an ego problem.
6. Thou shalt not try to murder trolls.
According to my son (who has to catch me up with the lingo from time to time) the word ‘troll’ used in an online context refers to someone who enters websites, forums or SN conversations with the sole intent of stirring up trouble, being belligerent and turning polite conversations into arguments.
Many times Christians get drawn into conversations with these people thinking that they can reach out to them and change their minds. Unfortunately, the more you enter into the conversation, the ruder and more opinionated the person gets. Finally, the Christian gets so agitated that they often become rude and/or condescending themselves. I’ve witnessed this many times and the testimony of it is not good.
Thus the saying, ‘Don’t feed the trolls’ was popularized. Which means don’t let them draw you in to the argument because they feed off controversy and their goal is to start a fight. Peter said that we are to be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us, but I think Peter was talking about sincere questions, not the rhetorical and adversarial ones that are posed by trolls.
If someone is sincere and interested, and even argues with an openness, and you have a Bible based answer, then engage. However, if you detect a belligerent person seeking a fight, be polite but disengage. One more point here, if you’re not ready and prepared (studied) to answer a question, just say so. Too many online Christians engage the trolls and they don’t even know how to answer the question or defend their Faith. The troll scores another point.
7. Thou shalt not commit social guffaws.
This one is simple, remember you’re an online representative for Jesus. Be mannerly, be polite, be thoughtful and be appropriate. Do not engage in any conversation with anyone that your Pastor couldn’t listen to and approve of. If a conversation with someone from the opposite sex starts to go the wrong way, politely end it.
8. Thou shalt not steal the ideas and/or content of others.
Another simple one, we who preach ‘though shalt not steal’ should not be stealing online. If you use someone else’s content, do it with permission and if necessary, with payment and always with proper credit. Let me push it a little further. An online friend of mine, Deb Burton (@debburton on twitter), did an awesome blog where she turned the 10 commandments on their head and wrote them in a positive way, ‘Thou shalt…’ instead of ‘Thou shalt not…’ So I’ll borrow her inspiration (with proper credit) and say, ‘Thou shalt respect the property, ideas and content of others and treat them in a way that you would like your stuff to be treated and also give honor where honor’s due.
9. Thou shalt not attempt to mislead others, even by omission.
Honesty is the best policy. Please, please be upfront about your mission and purpose with everyone. Whatever you’re doing, for whatever purpose, admit it right up front. If your purpose is to sell something, say so. If you’re looking for clients, say so. If you want people to read your blog, ask them to. You can still have fun and connect with people, but if you’ve been upfront about your purpose from the beginning, then when people get to know you and they need the service you supply, they’ll consider using you. So relax and have fun, truly care and be social but be completely upfront about your purpose.
10. Thou shalt not covet the sites, talents and traffic of others.
If when you read someone else’s material, or you look at their website idea, you start to feel like you wish you had come up with it yourself, stop. Or if look at their success and wish…, again stop yourself. Be glad for what God has given them.
If you want people to share your material with others, spend the time doing the same for them. If you have a share button on your site, I hope that you know how to use it on the sites of others. When someone else posts or Twitters a link to their post, go take a look and if you like it, comment and share it and Stumble it. If you’re not on StumbleUpon, I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to share content and drive traffic to your site and the sites of others. Unlike Digg, they have Christian categories.
Promoting someone else’s material can be hard if that ‘someone else’ is doing the same thing that you’re doing. The competition factor in our market driven society leads us all to hope that we’re the only ones doing our particular thing online for God, or that we’re somehow doing it better than everyone else. Ask yourself though, do you really want that pressure? I believe God has called me to help Christian parents pass their Faith on to their kids. If I was the only one God called to do that in my generation then I should expect God to hold me, and me alone, accountable for whether it gets done or not, worldwide. Ouch!
God has called many people to the same task and I want to work with them, help them, and promote their work and ideas. We aren’t supposed to be building our little kingdoms. We’re called to work together to build His.
Thank you for reading and considering my musings. If you’d like to connect with me on any of the following networks, I’d count it a privilege.
Also, if you’d like to join the FaceBook groups I’m involved with, I’d love to see you there.
- 1,000,000 Christian Parents Raising Disciples For Christ
- Culture Shapers On Digg
- Christian Leaders On Twitter
If you’d like to network with other Christians, please leave a comment on this blog and add your urls (please cut and paste from your address bar so that the link is live) for each of the SN sites that you’re on and I’ll post them for others who want to network as well.
Please follow these four simple steps:
Step 1 If you’d like to Network with me, add me to the networks we have in common.
Step 2 Look at the previous comments to this post and add the others (who have requested to network) to your social networking sites (that way everyone will end up following everyone else).
Step 3 Cut and paste the urls from the address bars of your SN bios or home pages and list them in a comment to this blog for others to follow.
Step 4 Follow the 10 Commandments for SN Christian.
How many times have you heard a sermon framed around Jesus’ comments about the harvest? The ones I’ve heard usually come around to making the point that we should be involved in the harvest, tell everybody around us, all the time, about Jesus.
I’d like to ask you to read on as I look at this section of scripture more closely because I believe that it not only generally applies to all times, but it specifically applies to today as our world goes through a difficult financial time.
Matthew, Luke and John all record Jesus’ words about the Lord of the Harvest, but they all put them in a slightly different context. It’s likely that Jesus talked to his disciples about this more than once. I’d like to start with Matthew’s account.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:35 – 38)
Notice that before Jesus said that the harvest (of people) was plentiful, the scripture gives us a glimpse of what he was thinking and why he said what he did. He saw the crowds and their situation, that they were harassed and helpless, and he had compassion on them. Jesus said the harvest was plentiful because of the state that the people of his time were in.
Let’s take a look at what the people who Jesus was looking at were going through. I’m not a historian but it doesn’t take much research to come up with a general picture. Not only were the people of Palestine under the heel of the Roman Empire, they were also suffering financially for it. First of all, the reason why tax collectors were hated was because the Roman empire was taxing the people beyond their means to pay. Add on top of that the taxes that Herod was inflicting on the people and the burden was unbearable.
Next, let’s look at loans and interest. The Jewish law limited interest by outlining when it could and could not be charged and how much could be charged. However, the Romans had no such laws and many of the Jewish people had left God’s laws behind in favor of greater profits. Some accounts say that interest rates were as high as 50%.
Here’s what was happening. The Romans demanded that their taxes be paid with money. Many of those who lived in this agrarian society didn’t have money, so they had to borrow it. The only way they could borrow money was to take out a mortgage on their property. Between rising taxes and rising interest rates, the property owners would end up in foreclosure and lose their land. As the rich got more and more land through economies of scale and the use of slaves to work their vast farms, they prospered and sent more and more families off their lands. Because those foreclosed on had no trade and slave labor was so cheap, many became destitute.
The system made the rich, richer – and the poor, poorer. The poorer you got, the more you needed loans and the higher the rate of interest you were charged. So financial devastation started due to ill-advised loans at high interest rates resulting in foreclosures in a system that favored the rich. Sound familiar?
Jesus saw that many of the people who flocked to him were sick, oppressed, financially devastated and in bad need of God’s love and intervention. That’s when he concluded that the fields were ready for harvest. Remember, it’s God’s goodness that leads us to repentance. Jesus knew (as he outlined in the story of the prodigal son) that many people don’t look up until they come to the end of their rope. When they do, God is there ready to show them his love (Jesus had compassion on them) and meet them where they are.
I believe that we are now in a time where again, the fields are getting white and ready for harvest. Although financial difficulties aren’t pleasant, we as Christians know that if we trust God, he’ll meet our needs. So should we be spending our time complaining about the times, or should we be praying that the Lord of the harvest send workers into the harvest?
In John 4, we find Jesus also talking about the harvest. He’s just finished talking to the woman at the well and is waiting for her return. He probably knows that she’s about to lead the whole village out to see him. The disciples offer him something to eat and he refuses saying, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” Then he went on to talk about the harvest.
Was Jesus saying that when we’re doing God’s will, we don’t need to eat? No, I believe that he was contrasting a physical harvest to a spiritual one and telling us that the spiritual one is of far greater importance. If we have to tighten our belts and learn to rely on God a little more for the sake of a spiritual harvest, it’s well worth it.
I know I’ve blogged on for a bit, but stick with me a little further. If we are in, or going into a time of harvest as I believe, what do we need to do besides pray? Let me return to those sermons we hear so often on Jesus’ words about the harvest.
It’s pointed out to us that Jesus said ‘pray for more workers’, then he immediately sent the ones he was talking to out to work. The sermon’s conclusion, when you pray, be willing to be sent. However, let’s go a little deeper. Why would Jesus tell them to pray and then instruct them to go? Why not just send them? They probably didn’t even have time to pray before he sent them.
I think Jesus did this as a reminder to them and to us that we are not in charge of the harvest. He is the Lord of the harvest and he is in charge of the times. He is the one who prepares the harvest and directs the workers. We are to pray that THE LORD SENDS workers into HIS harvest. That’s the emphasis.
We of course can gear up to help the poor and reach out to the hurting. We’ve been given those basic tasks. But more importantly, we need to pray and ask the Lord to send the workers that he needs to send, to do what he knows needs to be done, to reach those he knows are ready, in this time. Then like the disciples, we need to wait on our instructions and see what he wants us to do. Don’t worry about how you’ll get by, he’ll meet your needs. Don’t worry about how you’ll get it done, he empowered his disciples and sent them out with nothing, and don’t worry about how he’ll direct you. If you’re open to his direction and praying about the harvest, he’ll find a way to show you what to do. You may even already know.
And remember, as you go, the Gospel isn’t about populating our churches. It’s about God reaching out in love, wanting to adopt the lost and care for those who are hurting. We bring them to church so that they’re close enough to receive God’s love and help through us.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
For help with teaching your children about their Faith, check out Teaching Your Child to Pray.
(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad)
How should a Christian vote? It seems to me that, with very few exceptions, there are Christians backing each and every political party and asking others to do so along side them. There are Christians who align themselves with an issue or issues instead of a party. They believe that these issues are important to their Faith and therefore more important then their allegiance to a certain politician or political group. The problem here is that Christians seem to differ greatly in their opinions about which issues should be seen as paramount and also on what the stand on these issues should be. To top it all off there are Christians who believe that we shouldn’t get involved in politics at all. In short, Christians are all over the place regarding politics and how we should vote and in many cases are even opposing one another.
Please allow me to humbly throw my hat into the proverbial ring. However, instead of siding with any party or issue I would like to take a look at what God’s Word says about our vote. There are no scriptures that deal directly with government as we know it, democracy, voting etc. but there are teachings about our response to and responsibilities towards governments that can be applied to our vote today.
Let’s take a look at one of the primary New Testament portions of scripture that deals with church and government, 1 Timothy 2:1 – 4.
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1 – 4)
I don’t know about you but for years every time I read these verses or heard them preached the words “that we might live peaceful and quiet lives” always bothered me. Didn’t Jesus tell us that we are not to put the things of this life first but to put God’s Kingdom first? Didn’t he tell us that one of the first things we are to pray about is for his Kingdom and also that his will would be done on Earth? Isn’t it true that pretty much all of the New Testament writers and Jesus himself have called us to be witnesses for the Gospel and to endure persecution for doing so? Didn’t Paul, who wrote the above words to Timothy (and us) teach that we are to FIGHT the good fight, run the race to win the heavenly prize, to boldly share our Faith and also to expect persecution?
Perhaps I was misunderstanding the intent of Paul’s words to Timothy because the Bible does not contradict itself. The problem was that I wasn’t trying to understand Paul’s words in their context.
Please allow me to take the liberty of adding some commentary to Paul’s word’s so that I can get right to my point. Here’s what I now believe Paul to be saying in these verses, my words in parenthesis:
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone (all people everywhere)–(Also) for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (So that we can get on with growing in Christ, sharing the Gospel with everyone, and expanding God’s Kingdom everywhere, as unimpeded by Kings and governments as possible.) This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (And praying for authorities will help us accomplish this.)
When Paul penned these words the church was being persecuted everywhere. Nero was governing Rome and not too long after these words were written Nero put Paul to death. Paul was letting Timothy and the Church, then and now, know that we should pray for the gospel to be spread to everyone everywhere and that we should pray for the governments everywhere because doing so can help us get the job done. The Christians of that day easily understood Paul’s words because they were attempting to follow the Gospel’s mandates and they were being persecuted and stalled at every turn.
Our focus is to be on the spreading of the Gospel not a quiet and peaceful life. We need the governments to not oppose us and perhaps even cooperate with us so that we can use the resulting peace and quiet to get on with our calling.
So how does this relate to politics, democracies and our votes as Christians today? Well in my estimation understanding Paul’s intent in these verses makes it simple. We are to stick with our Kingdom first purpose and pray for governments to not hinder us and perhaps even help us. Since in a democracy we have a say or a vote, our vote should mirror our purpose and prayer. Simply put we should vote for the person, party government etc who (after prayer and consideration) we believe is most likely to not hinder but to promote our God given purpose, to grow as Christians, to spread the Gospel and to expand God’s Kingdom.
Any vote for any other purpose by a Christian, say for the economy, more tax breaks, more money in our pockets is a misguided vote for a peaceful and quiet life for the sake of personal comfort.
It’s recorded six times in the Gospels that Jesus said that those who deny their lives for the sake of the Gospel will find their lives, but that those who put their lives first will lose them. Let your vote count, vote for those who will be more likely to support God’s agenda for this planet.
I appreciate and welcome your comments.
For help with teaching your children about their Faith, check out The Singing Bible.
(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad)
A parent’s practical guide to God, Bible stories, children and church, bedtime prayers, virtues, and other spiritual stuff.
This book answers over thirty how-to questions commonly asked by parents about everything Christian.
Questions like, “How can I show my children that the Bible is trustworthy?” and, “What can I tell my kids about Heaven?”
The text does not just stop with the answers but moves beyond and supplies easy tools for getting the job done.
This book is recommended for parents who want practical hands on help with the basics.
A great gift idea for new parents, for relatively new Christians with kids, or for those who are contemplating reconnecting with their Christian heritage now that they have kids.
Listening to all the news about economy lately has got me thinking about an old friend. Anyone remember the best-seller, ‘The Coming Economic Earthquake’? One Amazon review, written last month, says this about the book, “This book clearly outlines why the recession is here and it was written in 1991 predicting it.”
I had the pleasure of knowing Larry Burkett and being able to call him my friend for several years before he left us to be with our Lord. He was a wonderful person, a faithful friend and an awesome man of God. He studied the Bible and understood perhaps better than anyone what God’s Word says and teaches about money.
I met Larry shortly after he wrote ‘The Coming Economic Earthquake’ and although I didn’t understand all of what he was saying about where the economy was going, we talked about something that was near to my heart. Him and his son Allen Burkett Jr. wanted to help parents teach their kids Biblical financial principles so that Christians and the Church in the generations to come could stand strong during tough times.
Larry showed me the conclusions of a nation wide survey that tested the financial IQ of high school seniors. The director of the report summed up the results by saying that our kids were graduating financially illiterate. He also shared with me statistics that showed that 85% of young couples who divorce site financial issues as the reason for their marital breakdown. That discussion led to Larry and I co-writing the book ‘Financial Parenting.’ I also went on to work with both Larry Sr. and Jr. to develop many resources that help parents teach their children financial principles.
The Bible tells us that as parents we are to bring our children up in the instruction of the Lord. The Bible doesn’t just teach us about God, love and salvation. Moses, Solomon, Jesus, Paul and others were all used by God’s Spirit to teach us about stewardship and proper money management. It’s our job as parents to safeguard our children’s future by intentionally bringing them up in these truths.
I don’t know if the ‘Economic Earthquake’ as Larry saw it is here yet but I do know that if we want our kids to survive financially, now and in the future, we need to spend some time teaching them what God’s Word says about money.
The Coming Economic Earthquake, Financial Parenting and the other resources we developed for kids have been selling well and helping families for years but perhaps they are even more relevant and more important now.
Although Larry Burkett is no longer with us, every book he wrote was based on God’s Word and therefore timeless and very relevant today. I highly recommend the following books and any other’s with my friend’s name on them.
(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad – your source for Christian Parenting advice)
Do you remember your parents telling you to not air your family’s dirty laundry? It’s a metaphor which apparently can be traced back to Napolean. The idea being that you shouldn’t do laundry in public (eg hang clothes on a line to dry) that would reveal intimate details of your life and you also shouldn’t tell others about the troubles and private things that happen in your family.
I remember hearing this saying when I was young and my Granny was still alive. I remember wondering why (if this saying were true as a fact as well as a metaphor) she would hang her unmentionables on our clothes line when she visited. Now I should mention that my Gran was a wonderful lady but she was a very large woman and her private garments would attract attention. However, for some reason she seemed oblivious to this fact.
I’m telling this story because I believe that somehow, somewhere along the way, we’ve adopted the idea that what happens behind closed family doors is no one’s business but our own. Which has again somehow led to the idea that we are free to behave in ways in our homes that we would not act in public. Read more
Is it unfair for Christian parents to teach their children about christianity when they are young and impressionable?
This is part 2 of the video of Richard Dawkins, an avowed atheist speaking about why he thinks children should not be indoctrinated in religion. I would love to read your comments on the videos and blogs.
The atheists accuse Christians of keeping their children cloistered away from other views and indoctrinating these young and impressionable minds as opposed to presenting them with a range of choices. Which they say is unfair to the children.
According to dictionary.com, the word ‘indoctrination’ means to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology etc. especially to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view. It goes on to say that indoctrination involves teaching someone to accept doctrine uncritically and that a synonym for the word is brainwashing.