Month: October 2014

9 Most Dangerous Apps for Students

I am a big proponent of using social media to engage students and understand culture.  We can’t simply turn a blind eye to everything going on around us. After reading this article, I’m not recommending that you don’t let your students use some of these apps. I am recommending you understand how they are using them and what you need to be concerned about.  Some of these apps definitely need to be on the “NO FLY” list, for example “poof.”  There is no good reason a student or anyone else to need that app.

9 Most Dangerous Apps for Students

In 2013, a twelve-year-old girl was lured away from her home by a 21 year-old-man. Once they met, he took her to a motel and took advantage of her. How did this little girl meet this terrible stranger?

Through an app called Whisper on her handheld device (yep, the one her parents bought her). And Whisper is only one of many dangerous apps, apps that every parent should be aware of.

The Scary Truth 

“The bad guy’s not just at the bus stop anymore. He has entrance right into your kid’s bedroom and hand-held cellphone device.” Sexual predators can target your children even when your child is in the room down the hall. And sexual predators aren’t the only problem. Cyber-bullying and exposures to sexually inappropriate content are additional concerns.

New apps are constantly being created, so it’s important to monitor what your child downloads. Being aware of the online tricks predators use will help you know what to look for. So here is a current list of some of the most dangerous apps:

Whisper – This app allows you to post secrets anonymously and also allows you to chat with other users in your geographic area.

Why It’s Dangerous: Many children are drawn to communicating with strangers, feeling that their secrets are safer with them than with their friends. This app is a perfect tool for ill-intentioned strangers looking to connect with young people because it allows you to exchange messages with people nearest to you (so anonymity can be easily lost).

YikYak  – All Yik Yak users are anonymous. They don’t create a profile or account, but they can post comments that are accessible to the nearest 500 people (within a 1-5 mile radius). A psychiatrist called this the most dangerous app he’d ever seen because it “can turn a school into a virtual chat room where everyone can post his or her comments, anonymously. Untruthful, mean, character-assassinating short messages are immediately seen by all users in a specific geographic area.”

Why It’s Dangerous: This app is causing problems in schools across the United States, with students maliciously slandering teacher, staff, and other students. In fact, several schools have now banned smart phones from campus because of this particular app.

Kik – A free app-based alternative texting service that allows texts/pictures to be sent without being logged in the phone history. (Similar apps: Viber, WhatsApp, TextNow)

Why It’s Dangerous – Makes it easier for your child to talk to strangers without your knowledge since it bypasses the wireless providers’ short message services (SMS). Children also think they can “sext” without parents finding out. In addition, strangers can send your child a “friend request.”

Snapchat – Allows you to capture an image or video and make it available to a recipient for a specific time. After that time limit is up, the picture/video automatically disappears forever…or so Snapchat claims. (Similar apps: Poke, Wire, and Wickr)

KEEP READING…

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Confirming Your Calling to Pastoral Ministry

Confirming Your Calling to Pastoral Ministry

By: Dave Bruskas

If you are feeling called to pastoral ministry, the first thing you need to do is confirm your calling.
This is the second installment of an 8-part series Preparing to Lead.

Are you feeling called to pastoral ministry? If so, what should you do next? Where should you start?

I suggest you start by investigating three areas of your life through the lens of Paul’s words to Timothy: “If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach” (1 Tim. 3:1–2).

Do you really want to do this?

The biblical word translated “aspires” is a strong word. It connotes both passion and volition. It’s a word of both feeling and action. To aspire is to reach out from a place of strong desire.

This raises the question: Do you really want to do this? And if your answer is yes, you should test your commitment. How badly do you want to do this? Are you willing to work hard and wait patiently for it? Why do you want to do this? Is this about you and your significance? Or is it about the fame of Jesus?

Ask yourself the hard questions. Then invite those who already serve as pastors to do the same.

Do you know what you are getting into?

It stands to reason that you should have a good understanding of the office of overseer before you pursue it. Over the years, I have been surprised by how many young men I have met who want to become pastors without grasping the task at hand.

KEEP READING…

How Do You Know If You’re Called to Pastoral Ministry?

How Do You Know If You’re Called to Pastoral Ministry?

This article is from the Resurgence, a ministry of Mars Hill. It is the first of a great 8-part series called Preparing to Lead.  I will post the first two articles and then trust if you are interested you can find the rest on their site.

By Dave Bruskas

How Do You Know If You’re Called to Pastoral

Ministry?

View the Preparing to Lead series

Many people imagine being called to pastoral ministry is a mystical sense or experience. But the Bible shows us that being called is more objective and measurable than that. This is the first installment of an 8-part series Preparing to Lead.

The Apostle Paul had a direct encounter with Jesus that defined his call to ministry. As far as we can know from the silence of the Bible, Timothy, his protégé, had a different experience. But it’s important to understand that Paul gives Timothy authoritative direction on how to evaluate a call to pastoral ministry. We can see there are at least three critical dimensions to calling from the Bible’s pastoral epistles.

1. Compelled

In the heart of the man being called into pastoral ministry is a desire to serve the church as an overseer. Scripture encourages such an ambition, telling us, “If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task” (1 Tim. 3:1). If this desire can’t be shaken, then it must be taken seriously.

The Apostle Paul had a direct encounter with Jesus that defined his call to ministry. As far as we can know from the Bible, Timothy had a different experience.

Too often, our conception of a call to ministry takes on a mystical element that the Bible doesn’t require. It is more objective and measurable than that, according to the Scripture. It is a noble desire residing in the heart of a man who loves the church and wants to serve as a leader.

2. Qualified

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12 Reasons You Should Pray Scripture

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By Andrew David Naselli
Andy Naselli is assistant professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, research manager for D. A. Carson, and administrator of Themelios.

12 Reasons You Should Pray Scripture

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a prayer-expert. I’m not. But that’s one reason I find praying Scripture so helpful (more on that later).

My argument is simple: You should pray Scripture.

Three qualifications:

  1. I don’t mean merely that you should pray. That’s a given.
  2. I don’t mean that you should merely pray scripturally informed prayers. That’s also a given. I’m arguing specifically that you should pray Scripture itself.
  3. I’m not arguing that you should pray only Scripture every time you pray. Rather, I’m arguing that you should pray Scripture itself often.

So why should you pray Scripture? For at least twelve reasons:

1. You should pray Scripture because God’s people in the OT and NT did.

It’s not always logical to argue that we should do something merely because the Bible records God’s people doing it. Sometimes OT narratives or the book of Acts describe practices without prescribing them. But I can’t think of a one good reason that we shouldn’t emulate these two examples.

First, an example from the OT: When the Israelites confess their sins in Neh 9, the Levites lead the people in prayer (Neh 9:5–37). The entire prayer is scripturally informed (e.g., 9:11),1 and verse 17 quotes previous Scripture:

They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies . . . . (Neh 9:17–18, emphasis added)

In the middle of their prayer, they quote Exod 34:6. They apply that Scripture to their specific context.

Second, an example from the NT: After the antagonistic Sanhedrin release Peter and John in Acts 4, how does the early church respond?

And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,

and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers were gathered together,

against the Lord and against his Anointed’ . . . .” (Acts 4:24–26)

In the middle of their prayer, they quote Ps 2:1–2. They apply that Scripture to their specific context.

2. You should pray Scripture because Jesus did.

I need to develop this further because it’s not always logical to argue that we should do something merely because Jesus did. Jesus did a lot of things that we can’t do—like walk on water and forgive people of their sins. And Jesus did some things that we shouldn’t do—like die on the cross to satisfy God’s righteous wrath against sinners. But Jesus did many things that we should imitate, and praying Scripture is one of them.

Both the Gospel according to Matthew and Mark record that Jesus prayed this to the Father when he was dying on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34). That quotes the first line of Ps 22.

We have to be careful here because Jesus fulfills Scripture in a way that we don’t. Jesus is unique.2 My point is that Jesus prayed Scripture. For him to do that, he had to read Scripture, correctly understand Scripture, meditate on Scripture, and then apply Scripture to his specific situation. We don’t typologically fulfill Scripture in the same way that Jesus does, but we can and should pray Scripture appropriately with reference to our contexts. For example, we can appropriate God-breathed prayers in Scripture as they match our own circumstances. God’s people have been doing that with the Psalms for thousands of years.

3. You should pray Scripture because it glorifies God the Father.

Jesus told his disciples in John 15:7–8, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”3 What is the “fruit” in the context of John 15?

I won’t take the time to demonstrate this here,4 but here’s how I understand John 15:4: “Abide in me, and I in you” essentially means “Obey my words, and let my words remain in you.” Therefore, Jesus abides in us (believers) to the degree that his words abide in us, and we abide in Jesus to the degree that we obey his words. Every believer abides in Jesus to some degree, resulting in different degrees of fruitfulness.

So when we internalize Jesus’ individual utterances (i.e., his words remain in us), we will make scripturally informed requests, and God will answer them. So what is the “fruit”? I think that the fruit in this context is the answers to those prayers. That does not refer exclusively to when we pray Scripture; it refers to scripturally informed prayers. But that certainly includes our praying Scripture. When we pray Scripture, we demonstrate explicitly that Jesus’ words are remaining in us.

And when we are bearing much fruit through our praying Scripture, that is a way that we glorify God the Father: “By this my Father is glorified.”

4. You should pray Scripture because it helps you focus on what is most important.

KEEP READING…

When the Abortion Industry Self-Destructs

When the Abortion Industry Self-Destructs

One of my greatest fears is when people begin seeing abortion for what it really is, killing unborn children and don’t care.  This rhetoric already exists in articles I’ve read from abortion advocates.  They reason that the woman has a great right to her choice than the child does at their life and therefore it is okay to murder innocent children at the request of their mothers.  This is a horrifying precedence.  They are no long arguing the existence of life, but rather the choice and right of mothers to murder their children.

This article touches on that point and ultimately tries to drive home the point that seeing abortion for what it truly is, is only a matter of time.

When the Abortion Industry Self-Destructs

By Jonathan Parnell
Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is a writer and content strategist at Desiring God. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Melissa, and their four children, and is the co-author of
How to Stay Christian in Seminary.

In one sense, there are really just two types of people when it comes to the topic of abortion: those who think it is okay to kill unborn babies, and those who think it is wrong. If you don’t think you’re in one of these categories, you still are; you’re just confused.

Confusion, though, isn’t the most terrible thing. It means there is still hope, and in fact, this hopeful condition likely characterizes the general public of the United States. Most people don’t have a deep conviction about unborn babies. Most people don’t even think about unborn babies unless it’s an election year or the news runs a story. Even most who support abortion could only repeat the rhetoric they’ve heard from devotees.

And therefore, if confusion is what’s really popular, the question becomes: What will it take for abortion activists to convince the general public that their position is a psychotic threat to humanity?

Toward the Tipping Point

When will the rhetoric about women’s health and women’s rights be exposed for what it truly is (since, of course, by women’s “health” and women’s “rights” they must not mean the near 28 million girls aborted since 1973)? What will it take? Where is the tipping point when the truth of their enterprise can no longer be ignored by the popular conscience?

KEEP READING…

5 Things I’m Teaching My Boys About Abortion

5 Things I'm Teaching My Boys About Abortion

I ran across this article and thought it was worth passing along.  Abortion is a big issue to me, one that I hope we see stopped.  I do not want to look back on my life and say I remained silent about this issue.  This article is something I will archive and will be one more thing I will talk to my boys about when they get a little older.

5 Things I’m Teaching My Boys About Abortion

by

1. The Big Cop-Out for Men: “It’s a Women’s Issue”

I want my boys to know they can’t cop-out of this issue by saying it’s a “women’s issue” and thus have no opinion.

Abortion isn’t just a women’s issue; it’s a human issue. If you’re a human, it’s an issue that impacts you. Our children need to understand this is too important of an issue to ignore.

I want my boys to learn to stand for the rights of those who can’t stand for themselves. I want them to learn to stand up for the helpless, the marginalized, those that are discarded and seen as unimportant. I want them to know that a noble man, a man of virtue, is a man who stands up for the rights of others without regard to how it impacts them personally.

I’ve known too many men in my life who have used this excuse for non-involvement—and it absolutely infuriates me. I can’t respect a man who uses this cop-out. Have an opinion, know what and why you believe it, and stand firmly for it. I don’t want my sons to pull this wishy-washy stuff and say they have no “right” to an opinion. 

2. Life Begins at Conception—any dummy can tell you that

When our children interact with the world, they’ll encounter all sorts of lies. One such lie that many spout is that a fetus is not a human life—a baby.

I have a degree in Biology, but you don’t need one to know this. It’s unequivocal. When a sperm and an egg meet (in humans as well as in any species of animal) a life is created. Things either are living or inanimate—they have a capacity for growth and development or not. Clearly, an embryo has a capacity to grow and develop.

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