Awareness has been raised. The hashtag campaign is in full force. Celebrities and stars have enlisted in the fight. Bullying, in many ways, has become one of the key issues of our day. And for good reason. Bullying poses a real threat to young people all across our country. It has brought about trauma and tragedy. It is an issue that really must be addressed. However, can the pandemic of bullying be solved through celebrity shout outs and hashtags? Although all these things might raise awareness, the ultimate answer to this question is ‘no.’ The primary reason for this is that the anti-bullying message becomes convoluted and confusing when it comes from a culture of bullying. Consider the following.
As in all of his letters, Paul begins his message to the Philippian church by giving thanks for them and offering prayer for them. Verses 3-5 read, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” I began a new study with our students this past week working through this beautiful letter. As I read these initial words for what seems to be the thousandth time, I attempted to look past my own familiarity with these words and really seek to feel the emotions Paul expressed in writing to his brothers and sisters. His love for this church is obvious through his thanksgiving, his prayer, his transparency, and his encouragement. Paul continues in verse 6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it
*This current series of posts seeks to answer the question, “What should gospel transformation actually look like in our fallen culture?” Because of the internal transformation of the Spirit that takes place in the life of the believer, Christians should be the very best workers any company in the world could possibly have. Further, Christians should be the most sought after bosses for which to work. Sin has caused us to have a distorted view of work. Work is not a curse; sin is. In Genesis 3:17-18, God pronounces his curse to Adam as a result of his sin. He indicates that his work will be difficult. “Cursed is the ground because of you,” God says; but, this does not mean that work, itself, is a product of the curse. It simply means that because man’s relationship with the creation has been broken due to the entrance of sin and its consequences, work will be difficult and laborious. If you
*This current series of posts seeks to answer the question, “What should gospel transformation actually look like in our fallen culture?” Because of the internal transformation of the Spirit that takes place in the life of the believer, Christians should be the very best friends anyone in the world could possibly have. This thought is pretty simply, really. One of the terrible side-effects of sin is that it naturally divides. Sin is a relationship breaker. Our sinful hearts cause us to be self-centered and focus on our own happiness, even to the exclusion of others. Sin causes us to look at others as useful to that end. When they are making us happy, they are welcome to remain in our lives. When they serve as a hindrance to our happiness, we seek to remove them. Sin causes us to survey others as either useful or a threat to that happiness. We judge ourselves according to each other and often treat
Let me start by giving a disclaimer. I listen to K-Love from time to time. I love much of the music on K-Love. I love a lot of Christian music. I do have some critique towards some of Christian music (for example, see my last post!), but by-and-large, when I listen to music I listen mostly to Christian music. Also, I am using “K-Love” when really these issues deal with other Christian radio outlets I have encountered, too; but, as K-Love continues to spread its influence all across the country, I believe it best represents that to which I am speaking. Now that that has been cleared up, let me get to the heart of the issue here. I believe that the picture of Christianity that K-Love paints for the listening world is one that is less than biblical and potentially dangerous. I take issue with it because it is not real. It is not true…at least not for most
Insecurity can be a dangerous thing for a believer. Insecurity combined with a lack of Scriptural knowledge and understanding can lead to a search for security from emotionalism rather than biblical truth. I have found that some popular Christian music has sought to stroke that need for emotional security through its lyrics, but fall desperately short of biblical doctrine. One such song that has become popular lately is called Someone Worth Dying For, by Mikeschair. No doubt that the song offers a wonderfully fulfilling thought that God sees us as someone worth sending Jesus to die for; but, emotional fulfillment is not the goal. Biblical truth is the goal. Not only are these lyrics just blatantly wrong, the actual message of the Bible concerning our identity offers all the security and sufficiency we should ever need concerning who we are as God’s children.
After the Apostle Paul draws his comparison between those who are outside of Christ and those who are in Christ, he provides great insight into how we should view self-expression. Ephesians 2:10 has opened incredible insight to me, and I have begun to share it frequently to students, both in corporate and individual settings. I want believers to embrace this verse as they think about who they are and the mission God would have them pursue in their own life. Before we get to verse 10, however, we are reminded of the reality of this shift in identity and how it came to be. A foundational truth in understanding our own self-expression lies in the fact that this change in identity is completely undeserved and unearned on our part. It is completely by grace. Because of this, we have no room for boasting…not only in our salvation, but also in our position, in our gifts, in our place in life,
Before we can walk with Jesus we must understand who we are in Jesus. I believe that. We need something to pursue before we will actually join the pursuit. Now, I understand that knowing who we are in Jesus is something we will be learning all our life. But, we need to communicate to both lost folks and new believers just who they are in Christ. Salvation is not just a proclamation of faith or conversion, but rather an actual joining with Christ. Paul understood this when he proclaimed, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, the One who loved me and gave himself for me.” Ephesians 2:1-7 offers a wonderful picture to us of who we were before being rescued by Christ and who we now are
I admit I just do not get Lady Gaga or the fascination so many have with her. But whether I ‘get’ her or not, she has become more than a singer or performer. She has become a movement. Arguably her most adored hit, “Born This Way,” has evolved from lyrics sung to a full fledged foundation. On its website, the foundation states its purpose as “building a kinder braver world that celebrates individuality and empowers young people.” I have been amazed at the response of our younger generation to this mission. Watching this movement unfold has awakened a reality within me concerning the way we approach discipleship with young people. Today’s young people are passionate about two areas: self-identity and self-expression.