The Generation That Desires Change

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Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitialPhotos.net

In June 2007, Apple released the first iPhone. On that day Apple started a cultural shift of a generation.

Not only would access to amazing, cutting-edge, technology increase. Not only would the cyber-world be unlocked at our fingertips. But, the mindset of change — and always wanting something better — was heightened in our American society.

For the last seven years, Apple has released a brand-new iPhone model that’s always a step up from the previous model. This has left many iPhone (or enter your preferred smartphone device) owners always desiring the best model.

To get one of these phones at a moderately affordable price, you engage in a cell phone contract with one of several phone providers. Most of us have the usual 2-year phone plan, which means you can get an upgrade on your phone every two years.

The problem? When you signed your contract in 2011, you got the best iPhone out there — the iPhone 4. But, by the fall 2012, you desperately want the brand new iPhone 5 and your iPhone 4 isn’t quite what you thought it used to be. And guess what? Now you have to wait until 2013 to get your upgrade.

But, wait there’s hope! Say hello to AT&T Next, which promotes that you can now get a new smartphone every year. Why wait for two years, right?

It sounds silly, but this is our culture.

Always get the new thing. The best thing. The most effective thing. It’s consumerism and materialism and we’re all guilty of it.

But, would you believe me if I said this mentality in church circles is of extreme importance in the modern-day church?

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Giving Your Students Ownership with Giving

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Photo Credit: Todd White (creationswap.com)

Photo Credit: Todd White (creationswap.com)

The Achilles’ heel of all youth ministry – getting students to put faith into action.

It’s an ever-cycling situation. We preach, we teach, and they still may not get it; they fail to realize the difference between believing a truth and living a truth. This can be especially accurate with the subject of giving.

With teenagers, it may seem to be a no win situation when the offering plate (or hat, box, open container available) is passed. This is because…

a.) Most of them don’t have jobs; therefore, they have no income to give.

b.) They’re not taught at an early age to give.

c.) In the words of one wise student, “Um… yeah, I just forgot.”

Thankfully, on the great field of ministry, a good defense called ownership can tackle forgetfulness and apathy, but what would ownership in offering look like going past supporting their own youth group?

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A Modern Day Cuss Word: Pentecostal

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Credit: Dianna Wizner (Creation Swap)

Photo Credit: Dianna Wizner (Creation Swap)

You’ve just came across an old friend or aquaintence and you’re making small talk. Naturally the conversation begins with the weather followed by the local professional or college football team.

The conversation heats up and now you’re talking about something that really has this person passionate. Before you know it, this person starts bouncing cuss words all around the random area you two are holding a conversation.

Internal grunts and discomfort probably ravishes through your body — I mean if that kind of stuff bothers you. Before Jesus, I cussed with the best of them, so something like this wouldn’t phase me — I’d actually think nothing was wrong.

Now? Being a new creation through Jesus and having all my old things pass away, cursing is something I don’t do and something, honestly, that’s not in the everyday vocabulary of people I talk too.

So don’t think I’m a weird legalistic Christian if I cringe a little when someone drops the F-bomb in conversation.

Throw yourself in a similar conversation again (humor me). The same small talk leads to church discussion — how fun! Tell me if you’ve ever experienced this:

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Zoom. Focus. Click: Son of God Movie Review

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Photo Credit: Brian Buchanan (Creation Swap)

Photo Credit: Brian Buchanan (Creation Swap)

Have you ever taken a mental snapshot? Well, before answering, let me define what I’m asking.

Mental snapshot: (men-tal snap-shot) noun

1.) a quick, informal moment in time captured by the mind that brings forth nostalgic feelings from one’s past experience

In layman’s terms – one moment you’ll always remember from your life that summarizes a grander picture from the past.

I frequently take mental snapshots – some embarrassing, some lovely and warm, some I hope to forget and many I’m confident I’ll remember. What I find so interesting about these brain pictures is their connection to what we associate them with. My bet is that what you’ve mentally captured for years about a historical event isn’t even what you hoped to remember.

Case and point: I have no idea from memory what the reception decorations looked like at our wedding. I only can relate because of pictures taken. Generally, that’s what I spent all of my time focusing on, but it’s not what I remember. What’s engraved into the stone tablets of my mind is the eye-catching, heat lightening that catapulted through the sky for more than an hour as we left the reception.

Zoom. Focus. Click. That’s my mental snapshot.

Now, let’s all take what we just learned and apply it to the newly released movie, Son of God. Basically, it’s a mental snapshot.

For those searching on what to expect when viewing the movie, my advice is to go into the theatre knowing these thoughts:

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Hello: I’m a Pastor’s Husband

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husabdn2This post is from my perspective: You might (will) disagree, and that’s fine with me. My hope is that one person — just one — will have their eyes opened to truth and in turn be set free.

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There’s a phrase and title I’ve heard for the past few years;  when I hear it, these three words make me want to scream in an uncontrollable rage.

The pastor’s wife.”

Here are two reasons why I cringe at this phrase.

1. It’s a horrible stereotype for all women in ministry.

Real quick: when you think of “the pastor’s wife” tell me what you’re thinking. I’ll start:

  • Nursery worker
  • Amazing mother
  • First one to serve drinks at fellowship meal
  • Leader of women’s ministry
  • Woman who works a secular job, or is a stay-at-home mother

The list continues. Now nothing at all is wrong with any of these — nothing! There are women who feel called to fill those roles. Not all women, and not all men, will always preach, teach, or be in church leadership.

However, this means there are women who WILL preach, teach, pastor and be in church leadership. The problem with this title is the stereotype. The church culture, knowingly or not, has widely adopted this role to all women and all wives of pastors.

I’m the man — I’m the pastor. You’re the wife — you’re the pastors wife. The danger in this phrase is that women are not able to live up to their full potential in Christ.

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The Pink Elephant in the Room

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castleGrowing up, you could say I was a tad bit sheltered when it came to traveling. Most of my adventures didn’t come until after my 18th birthday. My expedition bucket list included fun first time getaways like visiting outside the South and flying in an airplane. My favorite to this day is my trip to the happiest place on earth.

Like others, I remember watching the commercials where Mickey and Minnie are waving through the screen, inviting you into their home. A few shots later of Typhoon Lagoon, the spinning teacups and Cinderella’s castle, and I was hooked. Year after year I begged, “Please, mom and dad, let’s go to Disney!”

While I never had the opportunity to have that experience with my parents, I have a loving and thoughtful uncle and aunt who brought me as a graduation present. The vacation was indeed — as the park advertises — remarkable.

After five days at Disney, I had only one ride left on my agenda: the Flying Dumbo ride in the Magical Kingdom. Laugh if you will, but this ride was the epitome of the whole trip. The attraction wasn’t so important because of it’s speed, intensity or force, but rather for it’s nostalgia; it was the ride that meant my trip was complete.

So, there I am at my last ride of the vacation. My family was ready to leave, and it was essentially my last big bang of Disney to squeeze in. As I neared the entrance gate after a 30 minute stand still in line, my eyes set and my attention focused on one measly elephant — specifically the pink elephant they show in commercials. When the gate opened, I ran to the pink seat, leaving every four-year-old and their mother in the dust. I buckled my seatbelt and prepared to launch as high as that wonderful elephant ride could take me.

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Remember When?

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rememberThere’s a game that has been a staple in the lives of Kayla and myself since we’ve met. It’s called remember when.

The premise of this game is simple: you reminisce about something fun, funny, crazy, strange that has happened. The game can go on for any length of time, especially when it’s my valiant attempt to stump Kayla and hear the words: “No, I don’t remember that!”

While playing the other day, reminiscing about our LSU days and other funny times, I received an almost too simple — MATT, how have you never thought of this before — revelation.

No matter what situation; no matter the season of life; no matter the city, the state, the country, we’re making memories and leaving a legacy to the revolving door of “remember when.”

This earth-shattering revelation allowed me to shift my mind and focus on present-day. It made this thought roll around my mind, “Hey, one day we’re going to talk about this stage of our life while we play ‘remember when.’” See, as people we tend to want to focus on the good ole times of yesteryear.

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