Christian Worldview: Should I Let My Child See Deadpool?

If your student is like me they love it when Marvel releases a new film. I am not really into the comics, but I have seen all of the movies they have been releasing as of late. They are funny, clean, and usually have a good message. However, I will not be going to see Deadpool when it comes out this year. Just because it is Marvel does not mean it is okay to go and see as a believer. In this short write up I hope you will see why you should not let your kid see it, and why you should not see it.

1) Language

There are a lot of opinions when it comes to language today, especially profanity. Most Christians I have encountered usually have a reason why using profanity is okay. Typically, because the Bible doesn’t explicitly forbid it and because the profanity today is not the same as then.

I think the Bible speaks towards profanity here, here, and here. The Bible also teaches in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Your kids are already hearing this at school, sports teams, and by playing video games online. Why would we want to enable that any further? This kind of speech is not pleasing to God for us to say or to hear, and by going to see this film you’re allowing your ears and mind to be filled with speech that God finds repulsive.

Everything we say, watch, and do is to glorify God.

2) Graphic Nudity

Let me give you some 2014 stats from an organization called Proven Men:

Christian (18-30):

  • 77% look at pornography at least monthly;
  • 36% view pornography at least daily;
  • 32% admit being addicted to pornography (and another 12% think they may be).

Christian men (ages 31-49):

  • 77% looked at pornography while at work in the past 3 months;
  • 64% view pornography at least monthly; and
  • 18% admit being addicted to pornography (and another 8% think they may be).

Married Christian Men:

  • 55% look at pornography at least monthly; and
  • 35% had an extra-marital sexual affair while married.

What about teenagers. This research from Covenant Eyes is pretty alarming:

“In a 2010 national survey, over a quarter of 16- to 17-year olds said they were exposed to nudity online when they did not want to see it. In addition 20% of 16-year-olds and 30% of 17-year-olds have received a “sext” (a sexually explicit text message).

More than 7 out of 10 teens hide their online behavior from their parents in some way.

35% of boys say they have viewed pornographic videos “too many times to count.”

 

More than half of boys and nearly a third of girls see their first pornographic images before they turn 13. In a survey of hundreds of college students, 93% of boys and 62% of girls said they were exposed to pornography before they turned 18. In the same survey, 83% of boys and 57% of girls said they had seen images of group sex online.”

Part of Deadpool’s “R” rating is because of graphic nudity. You are kidding yourself if you think viewing a movie with graphic nudity will not have an affect on you or your child. With the porn industry targeting 8-11 year old boys why would we want to subject them to that? Read this quote from the linked Patheos article:

“Because males are so visual (especially sexually), pornography is almost irresistibly attractive to them. Pornography is so addictive in the male’s mind because it causes a hormone to be released that actually creates a high. It works in the male brain similar to the way cocaine does. This hormone needs greater stimulation and causes the user to need and want more each time it is released. Porn users need bigger prizes, more degrading, more graphic, and more explicit images. The erotic images viewed are cataloged in a males’ mind for further use at a later time. They also cause him to be desensitized toward women and to make unfair and unrealistic comparisons.”

If we know all of this to be true about porn, and make no mistake about it the graphic nudity in this film constitutes as porn, then why would we open the door for that to our children? Why would we pay money for what might enable a struggle in their life, and in our life, for many years to come. Christians, we aren’t called to tolerate evil or close our eyes when it’s on the screen. No, we are called to flee from it. We are called to rebuke it. We are called to be above reproach. We are called to flee sexual immorality. What signal does this send if we allow our kids to see this film, or worse, see it with them?

Bottom line: Does watching this film draw you closer to and glorify God?

Parents, it will not make you cool or liked to not allow your child to see this movie. Maybe you are considering taking your child to see this movie. Instead of doing that invest in your child’s spiritual formation. They may not thank you now but they may just do it later. Make your kid’s spiritual formation a priority even if it cost you some cool points.

Sit down with your child and explain why you are not allowing them to see this movie. Tell Jesus died because of our sins. He died so we can have relationship with him. Why would we causally indulge in the things that crucified our Savior? Instead, plan a fun evening out doing something else. Just be with them. Before the night is over spend time in Scripture together. It’s an infinitely better story, and one that will also change your kids life in a much better way.

 

Elections and Evangelism

I voted

Do you invite others to vote more than you invite them to Jesus? That is a serious question.

This election season I have seen a lot of individuals voicing their opinion on who to vote for. I have chimed in myself on certain issues. We have been asked to vote for men with integrity, honor, character, and so on. I have seen it said in local and state elections that a vote for a democrat is a vote for abortion, and that republicans hate the poor. I know Christians who have knocked on doors for a candidate, made phone calls for a candidate, passed out tracts for a candidate, pleaded for friends to vote for a candidate, and passionately defended their candidate on social media. Will we do the same for Jesus? Will you knock on doors, make calls, plead for friends and strangers to just listen to the Gospel, and defend Him? Has getting our favorite politician elected become more important than the spread of the Gospel for Christians? I pray that’s not true, I fear that for many it is. Voting is important and I am glad that people care. Every Christian I believe should take time to vote, and urge others to vote as well. I also think Christians should daily proclaim the name of Jesus, and urge others to do that also.

Over 90% of active church members (as high as 98%) will never share their faith with another person. They may share a verse on twitter, say they are a Christian on Facebook, or even mention it to a coworker. Still, they will not sit down and share the most important message they have ever heard with someone who does not know it to be true. The reality is that no sharing our faith is sin. Matthew 28 Christ commands, not suggest, that we go and tell others about Him. We are to go, disciple, baptize, and teach. Non-optional, failure to do so is disobedience to a Holy God that has sent us on mission.

In Romans 1 Paul tells us that all men have knowledge of God and are without excuse. Meaning that many will be born, live, and die without hearing the Gospel. That person will go to Hell. Scores of people in the over 3,000 unreached people groups (and 3,000 unreached and unengaged people groups) will never hear the Gospel because we are failing to tell someone about Jesus. Many Americans will tell you that if you are a Christian you will vote for a certain political party, and they will help a politician get elected. Volunteering money, time, and talents. Sacrificing so much for a campaign, but will they do the same so someone can finally hear the Gospel? Will you knock on a door, give out a tract, call someone, invite a stranger to church, and so on for the glory of God and spread of His kingdom? If we spend more time, money, and resources doing that for a campaign than the Gospel then we have declared what is most important.

So my prayer is this: if you are christian who spent anytime knocking on doors, making phone calls, urging people to vote, posting on social media about the election, and passionately shared your views with all who would listen. I pray you will do the same ten-fold for the name of Jesus. It’s an infinitely more important that message to be shared. Serve Jesus more than any candidate. Tell more about Jesus than you do about any candidate. Love Jesus more than the GOP, the Democrats, the Libertarians, and more than America. May it be abundantly clear in all our lives in the way we spend our money, time, and talents what and who the most important things is to us.

The questions I have been asking myself lately is am I sacrificing things for God, or sacrificing God for things? I hope you will ask yourself that question as well. May we push each towards righteousness, exhort one another, rebuke in love, and glorify God as we reach the nations with the most important message we could ever tell anyone.

Q&A: What Is The Meaning To Life?

Last night the students I have the opportunity to lead engaged in a “Theology Q&A Night.” I took questions submitted anonymously from the students and spent the service attempting to answer their questions. There were many good questions but this one, what is the meaning to life, really struck me. All the time I hear of people looking for “God’s will for my life” or something of the sort. I am going to share with you what I shared with the students, this is the meaning of life.

Ecclesiastes  1:2 says this, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” Another way of saying this would sound this way, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” King Solomon wrote this verse and was a man of great wealth, many wives, beautiful palaces, and anything he wanted. He once wrote anything his heart desired, he pursued. Yet, this is how he summed like up: meaningless. A man who had all he wanted and gained so much described it all as meaningless. Why? Because created us for something more. Something more than we can experience in our finite lives in the here and now. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

Go back to Genesis 1:26, man was initially created in the image of God. Created to reflect the image of the invisible God, sometimes that Christ did perfectly according to Colossians 1. In the first three chapters with that in mind we see four things that God set aside for humanity to provide fulfillment in life.

1) He created humanity to have dominion of the earth (Genesis 1:26)

2) He created humanity to work (Genesis 2:15)

3) He created humanity as social beings (Genesis 2:18-25)

4) He created humanity to fellowship with Him (Genesis 3:8)

These things gave life meaning to humanity, fulfillment in life, and responsibility in life. However, the fall that happens in Genesis 3 with the ushering in of sin deeply distorted all of this. The good news is when we read Revelation it will all come full-circle and will be restored once more as God intended, but we are not there yet. So we ask, I am here today so what is the meaning until that is resorted? Real meaning in life, right now and for eternity, is found in the restoration of our relationship wit God that was lost with Adam and Eve’s fall into sin. That relationship can only be restored through Jesus Christ.

Real meaning in life does not stop though at crying out to Christ to save you. Rather, real meaning in life is one surrenders, submits, and beings to follow Christ as a disciple. Learning of who He is, spending time with Him in His Word, communing with Him in prayer, and walking on obedience in light of His commands.

To the unbeliever that may sound unappealing, or even to a Christian. To submit your life and give God a blank check and say I will do whatever you call me to. Look to these verses though to prove doing that will give you the meaning you are searching for:

              “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.          Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,   and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”

Matthew 11:28-30

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”

John 10:10b

“Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”

Matthew 16:24-25

What these verses are saying is you have to make your mind up. We can continue to seek and lead our own lives, which will result in emptiness, or we can fully submit to follow God and pursue after Him, as He pursues us, and let Him have control of our lives. This will lead to a life of joy, fulfillment, purpose, satisfaction, and contentment. This is what God wants for us. It may not result in the easiest life, but it will result in one that makes a difference for the Kingdom and one the glorifies God. The meaning of life is to glorify God in everything that we do.

Summed up: The meaning of life is to know God and enjoy Him forever.

Are We Giving God Our Best, or What’s Left?

Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament, and a book we probably do not hear from a lot. However Malachi teaches an important lesson in chapter one verses 6-14.

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name? ’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you? ’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.” Malachi 1:6-14

Israel was giving blemished sacrifices to God. If you know anything about the Law of Moses, Israel was commanded to give an unblemished lamb, a holy God requires a perfect sacrifice (Leviticus 23:12). Israel had become guilty of giving injured lambs, stolen lambs, blemished lambs, and so on in their sacrifice. There sacrifice was not actually a sacrifice, it cost them nothing. A sacrifice requires giving up something we want or need to God, if what we give isn’t a sacrifice to us we are not giving God our best. A sacrifice cost something. Worst than that Israel didn’t see why it was such a big deal! Are we not guilty of the same? Do we not fill our lives up with non-meaningful things that do not matter when it comes to eternity.

At FUGE Camps on the third day we take-up a missions offering to go overseas to support missions around the world. Students walk up front and put their money in the basket. One year a girl did something different than the norm. She walked up front and instead of putting money in the basket she looked at it, and then stepped in it. Proclaiming God I do not have money to give, but I will give you my life. How profound. Are we giving God our lives? Are we proclaiming with out lives that nothing is more important that God, and what commands?

The value of what we give is determined by the value it is to us. If it is not of much value to us, then it will not be to God. Giving God one Sunday every few months, a quiet times every so often are not giving God much. Do we take what God says seriously? What Israel was giving displeased God. Are we not guilty of the same? Are we sacrificing things to God, or sacrificing God for things? I have continually ask myself this in my life.

Look to how God responds to Israel. He does not want their worship because they are not a priority. It is not different today. God doesn’t want our Sundays, he wants our lives! He wants nothing to be before him. My prayer is that we hunger so much and thirst so much to know God more that we can’t get enough of him. That we understand the need for community and not only look forward to it, but feel like we can’t miss it. My prayer is that the local church becomes the image of Christ, who is the image of God, on earth today.  A community of believers doing life together, exhorting and rebuking in love, on mission together, and serving God above all else.

We have filled out lives with things. Sports, hobbies, and so on that do not glorify God because they take priority over God. They take priority over meeting as a local church. If we spend our Sundays at the ball field, watching the NFL, or any other hobby more often than we are meting with a local believing covenant community we are in sin (Hebrews 10:25). Are we spending more time reading a recruiting website of our favorite college team, or in the Word of God? We have declared what is most important by what we spend our time doing and where we invest our money. People notice, our children notice, and most importantly God notices. Are we giving God our best, or are we giving him what is left?

The Church and America-WIll You Help Change the Trend?

Below in this blog are some hard facts for those a part of the church in the United States to look at. The numbers at first glance will not be encouraging, and honestly it is very sad to see. The good news is we as christians possess the power to change this through evangelism. Evangelism is something we talk about but the numbers must ask us if it is something that we actually do. A lot of churches have programs geared towards evangelism, but they for the most part are not effective in the US. Look at the statistics below and see what the church is dealing with in the culture. Ask yourself as a Christian, if you are one, what you will do to change these numbers.

-It takes 86 church members (all denominations) in the US to reach 1 person for Christian’s

-Issue: Not the specific number but the fact it continues to rise.

-Polls report 41-43% of Americans say they attend church on a given weekend

-the real number is 17.5% of Americans actually attend church on a given weekend

-85-94% of our churches are non-growing

-There are some that are growing but we have to ask why? Lost coming to Christ, or transfer membership?

-In the past decade, the US population has increased by around 9%

-US church attendance has decreased by 9.5%

-We are fighting in a hole with a 18.5% deficit

-No state has maintained a level of church growth that has kept up with population growth

-Northeastern USA is growing the fastest, south is the greatest decreasing

-Not a single county in the US can report more people attending church than 10 years ago

-1972, Southern Baptist baptized 140,000 teens and in 2008 they baptized 75,000

-1 out of 4 Southern Baptist churches will baptize 0 people

-1 out of 3 Southern Baptist churches will baptize 2 or less people

-In the SBC, the number of church plants increased between 2010-11 from 780 to 990

-but the actual numeric change in church was only 37 (smaller gain in 40 years)

-The number of people who claim no religious affiliation has doubled since 1990

-non-believers represent the 3rd highest group of Americans, first time in American history

-after catholics and baptist

-there at least 195 million unchurched people in the US (nearly 2/3 of the population)

-This makes the US 4th largest unsaved nation on the planet

-behind China, India, and Indonesia

-Within 10 years the USA is expected to overtake Indonesia for 3rd place

-Studies indicate that over 70 million people in the US could be close to or on the path toward salvation

-If 70 million were saved, it would be the greatest spiritual awakening in the history of our nation

-In fact, less than 10% of the unchurched would be considered antagonistic or hostile toward the church

-The “enemies” we see are the ones suing the schools or on TV.

-Most are open to discussion and willing to talk.

-Over 90% of out active church members (generous, can be 98%) will never share their faith

-This is utter disobedience to the command of Christ.

So take the numbers for what they are. The good news is if you are a believer you have the power of Jesus Christ inside of you, and that is the power that saves people. The power that equips you to handle rejection, answer the hard questions, and direct people to God as he reveals Himself to them. Let us reach our neighbors.