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July 25, 2014, 2:00 PM

Covenant Eyes


 

Church Family,

Did you know that 81% of teenagers have seen online pornographic material in their homes. Don’t let your kids be among them.

That why, I hope you will take a look at Covenant Eyes web site.  What is it?  It is Internet Accountability that tracks websites you visit on your computers, smart phones, and tablets, and sends them in an easy-to-read report to someone you trust. This makes it easy to talk about the temptations you face online. 

Give yourself peace of mind and protect the whole family for just $13.99/month.

To find out more about Covenant eyes and to protect you and your family go to: www.covenanteyes.com .

 

All for Jesus,

Bro. James

 

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July 9, 2014, 2:55 PM

High School Grads Who Donít Leave the Church


 

Written by Dr. Richard Ross professor of Student Ministries at SouthWestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.

 

The bad news is that some young adults leave the church after high school. The good news is that not as many are leaving as we once thought. And, we increasingly know what makes the difference.

Once, we thought that kids who generally attended church for 18 years developed an okay faith. Then, we thought, they would go off to the terrible secular university (or military, or workplace) and there they would lose their faith. But the research does not support that scenario. The older teenagers who possess a genuine faith carry that faith on into adulthood. The older teenagers who never really possessed a genuine faith tend to leave the church after high school. But they are not “leaving the faith” because they cannot leave what they never had.

They are not “leaving the faith” because they cannot leave what they never had.

A Focus on the Family study casts light on trends among young adults that may contradict doomsday predictions for the Christian faith. The study, titled “Millennial Faith Participation and Retention,” tracked the religious trends of Millennials (usually those born between 1980 and 2000). The study utilizes data from the Pew research sources and the National Science Foundation’s annual General Social Survey.

Of the young adults who now are unaffiliated with any church, only 11 percent said they had a strong faith as a child and lived in a home where a vibrant faith was practiced and taught. In other words, the great majority of Millennials leaving the church (89 percent) never had a strong faith to start with.

The great majority of Millennials leaving the church (89 percent) never had a strong faith to start with.

Homes modeling lukewarm faith do not create enduring faith in children. Homes modeling vibrant faith do. “This is not a crisis of faith, per se, but of parenting,” the Focus on the Family study noted.

“Parents who provide a home where faith is vibrantly practiced—even imperfectly—are remarkably likely to create young adults who remain serious Christians, even as they sometimes go through bumpy spots in the road,” the study said. “[N]ot surprisingly, homes modeling lukewarm faith do not create enduring faith in children.”

Christian Smith, architect of the National Study of Youth and Religion, reports in his book Souls in Transition that “Religious outcomes in emerging adulthood are not random happenstances about which all bets are off after age 18. Instead, they often flow quite predictably from formative religious influences that shape persons’ lives in early years. … The religious commitments, practices and investments made during childhood and the teenage years, by parents and others in families and religious communities, matter—they make a difference.”

Parents can be divided into three groups:

Parents who are lost

Those parents do not know God through faith in Christ.

Most of those who grow up with lost parents spend all their lives lost (including their eternity). The few who do come to faith in Christ are true miracles.

Parents who are converts

Those parents know God through faith in Christ, but their faith is shallow and their daily preoccupation is themselves. Self reigns.

Most of those who grow up with convert parents leave the church and adopt a lifestyle similar to lost young adults. While middle-aged convert parents may find reasons to stay in church, young adult converts seldom do.

Parents who are disciples

Those parents know God through faith in Christ, and they are so transformed that their daily preoccupation is adoring King Jesus, following Him, and living for His glory.

Most of those who grow up with disciple parents spend all their lives as disciples. The few who do not are tragic exceptions.

The Focus on the Family study also noted a relationship between religious disengagement and the trend to postpone marriage and parenthood.

“Settling down in family usually means settling down to church,” the study said. “Growing strong marriages and thriving families is an important church growth strategy that cannot be ignored.”

Church sociologist Robert Wuthnow of Princeton would agree, noting that “today’s young adults are divided religiously on lines that correspond closely to their marital status. Young adults who are married go to church and often go to theologically conservative churches. Young adults who are not married are less likely to attend religious services.” (After the Baby Boomers)

Among the study’s key conclusions for ministry:

Churches clearly teaching the Bible (conservative evangelical churches) are growing while those that do not (mainline denominations) declined. Young adults want “uncompromising truth” that “calls them to something beyond themselves.”

Homes with serious faith tend to produce children who carry faith into adulthood. Christians should create homes where children “witness a vibrant faith that’s lived out honestly and intentionally.” Strong families produce lasting faith.

Millennials want serious, substantive faith—not entertainment and theatrics. “Truth trumps trappings,” the study said.

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May 17, 2014, 3:06 PM

Donít Waste Your Parenthood: Preparing Children to be Adults


Written by: Dr Richard Ross, Professor of Student Ministries at Southwestern Theological Seminary

The majority of those 18 to 25:

  • Do not have a clear vocational focus nor the drive to move forward vocationally.
  • Do not feel motivated to achieve independence in their finances or life situation.
  • Do not feel ready to accept the lifetime commitments that marriage entails.
  • Do not feel ready to parent.
  • Do not like to delay gratification for a greater good.
  • Do not like to work hard for long hours at uninteresting tasks to achieve a goal.

Small changes in the home and church will not be adequate to create a generation of high school graduates who are far more mature, far more ready to take on adult roles, and far more ready to join King Jesus in bringing His kingdom on earth. Before considering new ways to accelerate growth, parents need to consider, “Am I ready to declare my independence from what is average in order to launch a generation that is mature and looks a lot like Jesus?”

God designed humankind before the foundation of the world. That included designing every facet of people who would move through the ages of 12 to 18. Observing such people in the biblical period and in early centuries reveals that God chose to build amazing potential in that age group.

Those same spiritual, mental, emotional, and social potentials exist within teenagers today. If parents respond to those teenagers in new ways, future young adults again can fulfill the possibilities they carry within them.

In just a few years, imagine launching 18-year-olds:

  • Who live for the glory of God.
  • Who invite the Spirit to empower them to enjoy and order life under the supreme lordship of High King Jesus.
  • Who have a deep understanding of the Gospel.
  • Who know the depth of the Father’s love toward them and display a lifetime of gratitude for the grace that has been extended to them.
  • Who invite Christ to live His powerful life through them.
  • Who join Him in making disciples among all peoples.
  • Who have an identity and a purpose on earth anchored in who they are in Christ.
  • Who love others more than they love themselves.
  • Who exhibit biblical servanthood and a willingness to sacrifice for others.
  • Who have a strong work ethic.
  • Who are willing to delay gratification.
  • Who are willing to do the mundane tasks for hours to accomplish a goal.
  • Who appreciate all the sacrifices parents have made but now are ready to get on with their lives.
  • Who have goals and know how to move toward those goals.
  • Who move toward lifetime marriages if God should so lead.
  • Who understand pregnancy, childbirth, and the care of babies.
  • Who are prepared to parent if God should allow.
  • Who know, understand, and can state their faith.
  • Who experience the spiritual disciplines in mature ways.
  • Who can defend their faith.
  • Who can share their faith.
  • Who have a uniquely biblical worldview.
  • Who feed themselves spiritually and take initiative for their own spiritual growth through the Spirit.
  • Who know how to lead and how to follow at church.
  • Who enjoy relationships and kingdom service with all the generations at church.
  • Who know how to find the will of God.
  • Who join Christ in changing the world.
  • Who go out to reach the last unreached people groups on the earth.
  • Who live and, if called on, die for the glory of God.
  • Who know how to care for their home, transportation, possessions, and health.
  • Who know how to make wise decisions about finances.
  • Who know how to form and sustain adult friendships.
  • Who know how to succeed in college or in whatever life preparation God ordains.

Parents prayerfully must consider major changes. Parents can choose to live and lead in ways that will make them very different from both the secular culture and, at times, even the prevailing church culture.

At minimum, I believe families need 30 minutes of focused conversations, three nights a week. One session can focus on building a lifetime faith and two can focus on the knowledge and skills people need to live and function as adults. Parents can and will find time to do what they come to believe is important. Tim Elmore, president of Growing Leaders, says it this way: “Mature, healthy people live by a set of values and principles. They don’t merely react to whatever the culture is doing around them. They act based on who they genuinely are.”

Here are three practical changes families can make:

  1. The Nielson Company confirms that adults watch an average of just over three hours of TV a night. Some parents do web surfing or social media some or all of that time. Moving from three hours to two hours of media would open up a new hour to connect with children.
  2. Many families have chaotic schedules because teenagers have too many extra-curricular activities. Trophies and ribbons are exciting, but they do not always prepare kids for real life as an adult. Parents can take the lead in finding a healthy balance of activities.
  3. Some parents still believe that giving kids economic advantages trumps spending time with them. Not a shred of research supports that thesis. Parents who leave work on time might discover new time to lift the eyes of a teenager to Jesus.

When a leader suggests taking 30 minutes to teach a teenager about taxes or caring for babies, parents can respond with:

  • Old Thinking: “We don’t have five extra minutes in an evening, so a half hour is ridiculous.”

or

  • New Thinking: “Now that we moved my son from three leagues to only one league, I think we can find the 30 minutes to get him ready to be an adult.”

Parents are on planet Earth to live in a grace-drenched love relationship with Christ and to glorify Him as they complete their mission on earth. They fulfill a major part of that purpose by rearing children who also love God and fulfill their unique purpose. Wise parents will make significant changes in schedules and lifestyles in order to see offspring who look a lot like Jesus and who fully are prepared for adult life.

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March 2, 2014, 3:23 PM

What is Revival?


 

 

Revival is getting back on the path, getting the goal in view again, and pursuing with new passion the One who can make your life more than you ever dreamed.

Revival is simply: God, gladly at the center of my life, experienced and enjoyed. I see God working. He’s working in my life, and I’m loving it more and more. That’s revival.

Maybe you remember a time when you were fired up about the Lord, but somehow you drifted away. Maybe you’ve become like that guy in the lawn chair at the entrance of a church; you’re showing up, but you’re missing the mark. Maybe you could say, “Somewhere along the line I lost my passion for the Lord.” Well, you can have it back, and God wants you to have it back! God wants that reviving for each one of us, and there’s no biblical reason to doubt it.

But don’t attempt to be revived if you have never been vived in the first place. Can you tell a story like this?

There was a time in my life when I was going the wrong way. And the Lord reached out and brought me to the cross. By faith I experienced the forgiveness of sin that Jesus died and rose again to provide. At that time my eyes were opened, my heart was gripped, my life was captured by the grace of God; and I have never been the same since.

Have you found that new life in Christ? Have you had a conversion experience? Have you been vived? Don’t get the card before the horse. There is no point in pursuing re-vival if you have never been vived. If you would like to speak to someone about a personal relationship with Jesus you can call the church office.

All for Jesus,

Bro. James

 

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January 16, 2014, 10:52 AM

Eternal Security


 

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, dominion and power,  both now and forever. Amen” Jude 24-25

 

The entire doctrine of eternal security, that is, once you are saved you are always saved, is built around the words to Him who is able. (v.24)  Dear friend, that is the bottom line.  That statement is the key to the door of eternal security.  Our God is not only an awesome God, He is an able God.  He is able to do anything.  That means that God has not failed, God cannot fail, and God will not fail.

Now knowing that God is able, tells me something about salvation.  It is our responsibility to be saved, but it is not our responsibility to stay saved.  Now if that confuses you let me put it to you this way:  Once you are saved, getting to heaven is not your responsibility.  It is your response to His ability.  If I am able to keep my son Joshua from walking off of a cliff, and I just stand by and watch him walk off the edge of that cliff anyway, and fall to his death, then in reality it is not his fault that he fell, it is mine.  Likewise, if God can keep me from falling, but I fall anyway, then it is not really my fault that I fell, it is God’s fault.  But this verse tells me that I cannot fall.  Because if God could keep me from falling, but let me fall anyway, then either He made a mistake or He didn’t care.  But I tell you, God is too wise to make a mistake, and He is too loving to be unkind. 

The God who can keep is the God who does keep. Jude had no doubt about the ability of God. 

You notice that God’s ability is not something that is confined to the yesterdays of life, or Jude would have said, to Him who was able.

You will also notice that God’s ability is not something destined for the tomorrow’s of life, for Jude would have said, to Him who shall be able. He said at this very moment God is able. 

When I go all the way back to the book of genesis and I begin to make my way through both the old and New Testament, I see evidence after evidence, and proof after proof that God is able:

- The creation of the world tells me that God is able.

- The parting of the Red Sea tells me that God is able.

- The walls of Jericho tell me that God is able. 

- The killing of Goliath tells me that God is able.

- The fiery furnace and the lion’s den tells me that God is able.

- The virgin birth tells me that God is able.

- The feeding of the five thousand tells me that God is able.

- The healing of the blind, deaf, mute, and lame tells me that God is able.

But more than any of these things, or all of these things, the empty tomb tells me that God is able.       

 

When you understand that you have faith in a God who is able to do anything, and will do anything necessary to keep you from falling, you have no need to ever doubt your eternal security again.


Have questions about your eternal sercurity, you can email our me at pastor@fbcgholson.org.

 

All for Jesus,

Bro. James
 

 

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Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7   Entries 26-30 of 32