Avoiding the “Talkative” in Our Hearts

Thought I am writing this post, I still want people to comment more on the Part 2 of the Objections of the Christianity.  So don’t ignore that!  But I thought I would write about a conversation we had at our last College group meeting.  Right now we’re going through “Pilgrim’s Progress”, and just finished the section where Faithful and Christian run across Talkative.

Talkative is a very interesting character in the book, and like most of Bunyan’s characters, can be known by his name.  Talkative likes to talk a lot.  He believes it is enough just to hear the Word of God and talk about it, but fails to live it out with his life.  He can talk about any religious topic with the best of them, but he has failed to connect it to the way that he lives his life.

Christian catches on to who Talkative really is and recognizes him from the city of Destruction, where he too is from.  He tells Faithful who Talkative really is and challenges Faithful to speak of the power of religion.  That is, he tells him to discuss how religion impacts the believer on the day to day.  So Faithful eventually gets into a great discussion about the difference between ‘crying out’ against sin and ‘abhorring’ sin.

Faithful, when asked what’s the difference, says this,

“Oh!  a great deal; a man may cry out against sin, of policy; but he cannot abhor it, but by vertue of a godly antipathy against it: I have heard many cry out against sin in the Pulpit, who yet can abide it well enough in the heart, and house, and conversation.  Joseph’s Mistris cried out with a loud voice, as if she had been very holy; but she would willingly, notwithstanding that, have committed uncleanness with him.  Some cry out against sin, even as the Mother cries out against her Child in her lap, when she calleth it slut, and naughty Girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it.”

Sorry if anyone was offended by the language, but that is what he wrote.  Mind you, it was written in 1678.

I think that the American believer could do very well to listen to Faithful’s words.   There is a huge difference between crying out against sin and abhoring it, and I have seen the temptation to just cry out against it in my own life.  We recognize it is wrong, but largely fail to run it through and kill it in our hearts.

I saw this pretty clearly at this past Hume Lake high school camp.  It seemed like once a day, the movie “300” was being referenced as a casual illustration.  But from everything that I know, there are a few very inappropriate parts of the movie.  They aren’t ‘grey areas’, but to the discerning heart, should be clearly sin.  But here is the speaker referencing the movie.  And any speaker knows that when you reference a movie, its basically a recommendation to see it.  Did the speaker actually see the movie?  i don’t know, but I do know that there were many cheers throughout the chapel whenever he spoke of it.

When God has truly convicted someone of sin, they shouldn’t just cry out against sin, but should truly abhor it.  There should be no exception clauses enacted or popularity polls taken to see if it is popular enough to excuse.

And I can’t help but think how much more potent the American Church would be if we truly did abhor sin, and not entertain it and domesticate it like the harmless house cat.  We think we can declaw the animal and it won’t be harmful anymore.  But the more we pet and protect our sin, the more powerful and hungry it gets for more.  It is time to no longer to merely cry out against sin, but to abhor it and declare war on the sin that still comes around, tempting the soul, and robbing it of the joy promised through obedience in Christ.

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Top Eight Objections to Christianity: Part 1

I thought this would be something fun, and hopefully something that I can get the high schoolers involved with.  Like I said earlier, one of the most interesting portions of the week was a seminar that everyone went to on the top ten objections to Christianity.  The young lady from Ravi Zacharias’ apologetics organization brought up a student and asked them each one of the questions.  They in turn were asked to reply and defend their faith.  It was a very interesting exercise, and it allowed some of the kids to really shine.  Unfortunately, she was only able to go through 8 of the ten.

So what I want to do here is go through the 8 objections.  I’ll state the objection as best as I can in the words of one who sincerely brings this question.  Then I would like you all to answer me as you would a friend who is struggling with these issues.  Please allow my high schoolers to get in the action.  And I will give you the same directions she gave us.  Just don’t answer with more questions, but with actual answers.  So here’s the first objection:

8.  There is simply no proof that God exists.  How do you know that this isn’t just the creation of a bunch of guys?  I can’t see God and neither can you.  And there is nothing you can do to prove that God actually exists.

Summer Camp Recap: High School Part II

The Top Ten Things I Learned at Hume

Like any good life-student, I’m always open to learning new things, making observations, and coming to various conclusions. Hume is no exception, so here are the top ten things I learned at Hume Lake.

10. Kids can be convicted about something that had absolutely nothing to do with the message. This is somewhat of a combination of the two camps, but it is funny to hear what the kids learned after the messages and hear that they have almost absolutely nothing to do with the message.

9. Matt Hammett, the speaker, has unmatching biceps. Our church sits in the front row and many of the kids noticed that his left bicep was bigger than his right. And its substantial, folks. The guy is pretty yolked to begin with, too. So we were deep in thought as to why that would be, and Beth Smith had the best explanation: he’s an avid southpaw arm wrestler. So we’re all in the snack shop and he walks in with his family. We exchange pleasantries and he goes and sits down. I then feel like this is the perfect time to go and ask him what’s up with his biceps. So before I can finish my question, he starts laughing like he knows exactly what I’m talking about. He says he is left-handed and his left bicep is just shaped differently. Maybe funniest of all, his wife Roxanne, was sitting there and was shocked to hear that she has never noticed this. So we noticed something that his wife of like 15 years hadn’t. Take that how you will…

8. I LOVE RICH BAKER!!! the brevity makes up for the last.

7. Sean Pierson is not one to play Apples to Apples with. He just doesn’t make sense when choosing which card should win. He basicaly chooses the most absurd option, and goes with it.

6. The girls will always be crazy about some boy in the band. This year it was the lead singer who they nicknamed ‘soft features’ because he basically looked like a 12 year old. They also counted how many different pairs of shoes he wore, and I believe the final number was nine. And that’s just during the chapels, not including when they would walk around the camp.

5. Parker had a disturbing obsession with the basis, who was a male. He screamed when he touched him, and the guys got him an autograph personalized to Parker. It is a very disturbing obsession.

4. Josh Wataru and Spirit Girls don’t mix. Kind of like oil and water. She was a bit too peppy for him, which made it so funny when his dorm was chosen out of all the dorm rooms to go on a special night hike with her. hahaha, it started at 11 and didn’t get back until 12:45.

5. During the time where the kids were asked how to answer some of the objections to Christianity, one young man was asked how a loving God could allow so much evil in the world. His answer was amazing: “Well, first of all, we know that God gives us all free will.” Then he continued to say how we were created in the image of God, and even though we’re not really gods, we’re capable of so much. He said that we can do so much just in and of ourselves to stop this evil in the world and basically said that we need not involve God in things that we are powerful enough to change in our own strength. The poor girl that had invited him up could only shuffle him off as quick as she could. Good times.

4. High School Musical is not just a girl thing. This was what I thought, having not seen the movie, but apparently it is almost as big with boys as it is with girls. Basically, its the “Grease” of the present generation of youth with no taste. There was equal excitement over the possibility of watching the movie on the bus.

3. Boys don’t flush urinals anymore. It seemed like every time I went to the bathroom, the urinal wasn’t flushed. This is made much worse by the fact that most boys were not properly hydrated, making the bathrooms that much smellier. In fact, once I directly followed a high schooler and he just walked away without flushing. Just gross! So here’s an appeal to boys everywhere: start flushing the urinal. Basic consideration of the the one following you.

2. Many high schoolers must have no idea how foolish they look. And mind you, this is coming from someone who basically doesn’t care what people look like. I’m not talking about the kids who purposely dress to make a statement and stand out. They are funny enough themselves. They totally want to be individualistic, but all end up dressing the same. They can’t understand that they too are giving in to a certain style and image. But I’m talking about kids who, when they leave the cabin, must be thinking that they are God’s hottest gift to the camp. The boys fascinate me the most, because boys aren’t supposed to care that much. But they walk around like they totally want to be seen by everybody and have everyone thing they’re so cool. Aggravating.

1. I LOVE RICH BAKER!!!!

Summer Camp Recap: High School Part I

I always love going to Hume Lake.  The week we are up there with our kids is pretty much vacation for me, since all we do is shuffle the kids to and from things.  All that is missing from a vacation is sleep.  Late nights and early mornings.  But it one of the most relaxing weeks of the year, and offers an awesome opportunity to hang out and talk with the kids.  Each day brings four hours of free time in the afternoon and the kids can go out on the lake in canoes, kayaks, or boats, or they can go to the skatepark, play disc golf, or just hang out on the Hume ‘n Beans deck and play cards.

The boys (mostly staffers) enjoy playing disc golf daily.  The course is a nice course, but it is long and it has a lot of elevation changes that make you quite tired and winded by the end.  Combine that with the dusty terrain, and you leave brown and sweaty.  Since we play on a regular basis, we play the holes at Par 3.  If you played the course as they designed it, there are 13 par 4s.  My best game was 2 over playing our way, or 11 under the course way.  But I still only tied the leader once during the week.  But as the week went, my shoulder began to hurt more and more, so I had to sit out the last day.

The other thing I liked doing was just hanging out on the Hume ‘n Beans deck and playing cards.  We played a lot of a game called “Apples to Apples”.  It’s a fun game, depending on who you play with.  Basically, everyone has seven cards with ‘things’ on them.  They can be people, events, professions, things, era’s, or something else.  Then each person takes a turn being a judge.  They flip over a green card that has an adjective or adverb on it and you have to lay down a card that is best described by that adjective or adverb.  For example, if the green card was “deadly”, you could put down “charging rhinos” or “hand guns” or you could just be silly and put “your high school prom”.  The judge then chooses whose is the best and the person gets the green card.  The first person to get seven cards wins.  It gets really interesting and you have to do it according to the opinion of the judge and their individual tastes and perceptions.  When we got down the mountain, Leah and I found out that some of the girls had called their moms and had them buy us the game for ourselves, so that was a nice surprise.  Thanks Mary, Jeana, and Francie!

Of course there were chapels throughout the week.  The main speaker was from the church “Flood” in San Diego.  Something Like Silas used to play there.  He did a pretty good job at challenging the kids and preaching through the book of Daniel.  He even quoted Jonathan Edwards, so he was all good in my book.  The missionary for the week was Luke Everett.  He is a missionary in Mexico and runs a school for deaf children.  Looks like an amazing ministry.  He is also 80% deaf.  He was a great speaker and incredibly captivating.  You will see a link to the right under Student Ministries Links for a preview of a documentary someone is doing on him and his family.  An amazing speaker.

On Wednesday, they usually do six or so seminars that the kids can choose two from to go to.  This year, they had everyone stay in the chapel for a speaker from Ravi Zacharias’ ministry.  She spoke on the top 10 objections to Christianity and called different kids up to answer the questions.  Some did great, and some did very poorly.  We were able to get one of our kids up there, and he did a pretty good job and explaining how we can know God even exists.  I was a proud papa at that point.  It was great to hear how the kids sitting around me would answer the objections and knowing they are well prepared for the world.

Later on I’ll write about the top 10 things I learned at Hume, along with some other encouraging details.  Stay tuned!

Self Image and Advertising

This past week at Hume, some of our girls went to a seminar by Jessie Minassian.  She is also a graduate of The Master’s College, and has recently written “The Big Sis Guide To Health and Beauty”.  It is a Biblical centered view on beauty and health in the lives of young women.  We snapped up a few copies for the girls to buy and read through.  I thumbed through it and it seems like a really good book for any young, Christian girl to read.  She speaks of advertising, how to use makeup, how to eat, how to take care of their bodies, and a God-centered view of who the girls are in Christ.

I was reminded of this when I got home and saw a headline about how the new issue of “Vogue” has 727 pages of advertisements.  Do they realize they are paying to see advertisements.  That’s 727 pages of people telling you what is important and what your priorities should be.  The whole magazine is 840 pages, 4lbs 9ounces.  Where’s Al Gore protesting the use of paper?

Summer Camp Recap: Jr High

I’m back at church, taking a breather before we head back up to Hume for our College retreat, Colloquium. So the next few days I will be updating you on how camp went, how praise can be brought before the Lord, and we can continue to pray for permanent and continuing change.

Two Thursdays ago, Leah, Micah, and I headed up to Big Bear for our Jr High camp.  The focus was on what it means to be sold out for Christ.  We talked about how it doesn’t just mean sacrificing things and not doing sin, but it means pursuing a knowledge of Christ that enraptures your heart.  When you become enraptured with Christ, then you mature and no long have an interest in the things you are to put off.

It was a great time of fun with the kids, too, as on Friday we went to the Alpine Slide, where you ride a little cart down a long, winding fiberglass track.  If you don’t watch out, you just might crash and get a pretty awesome scar you can carry with you the rest of your life.  So we went down that quite a few times, along with some kids on the water slides, miniature golf, and racing go-carts.  That afternoon we took the kids into town and went to the candy store, the arcade, drank smoothies and hung out.  Fun stuff.  The owner of the arcade was so impressed with our kids that she gave the leaders free stuffed animals.  So Micah got a really neat, fuzzy monkey, which he immediately fell asleep with.

On Saturday we headed home as the kids headed out to a day on the lake and a picnic in the park.  The kids were also able to rent some electric paddle boats with water guns on them, and they raced them around the buoys and tried to soak each other.  Leah and I  had to get home to do some laundry, and repack for a week at Hume Lake with the High Schoolers.

One of the frustrating things about camp was how difficult it was to get the kids to sit down and have a private time of devotion.  I prepared ahead of time a devotional for them to go through that went along with the lessons of the day.  It was designed to make them think and get them into the Word.  Well, about five minutes in, I heard the pitter patter of a ping pong ball going back and forth.

These kids couldn’t sit for ten minutes and do this.  I had to fight with them to be able to do what should be a good habit at this point in their lives.  This got me thinking about how the parents must not be having their kids in the Word on a daily basis.  Why?  Well, I imagine that one of the objections would be that the kids are still young, but then I thought of what the Puritans would think.  They had their kids memorizing scripture and catechisms before they could tied their shoes.

Of course there are other objections like they don’t have the time to make sure their kids are doing these things, or they are just too busy.  Do you make sure your child bathes?  Or they eat healthy?  Or they do their homework?  Why not make sure they are in the Word on a daily basis?

I think the real reason is the parents feel a sense of shame or hypocrisy because they simply aren’t doing it either.  It saddens me that a parent will have every concern for their child, except spiritually.  They will make sure they have nice clothes, good food, they will drive them all over God’s green Earth for sports and events, but they won’t lead them to the Word on a daily basis?

So my appeal is to parents to make sure that they are leading their children to the Lord on a daily basis.  I know this is a renewed focus for me, since Micah will be old enough in a while to pray with and spend time with each day directing his heart towards God.