Archive for May, 2008

Question From a Student (# 9)

CLICK HERE to view the other questions.

QUESTION (Part 1): Why did God create “less attractive” people? Why was He so unfair?

God doesn’t deal with us unfairly. He deals with us only in love. If He dealt with fairness we would never be born. Instead, He would judge us for all the sins He knows we will commit. The fact you are alive and healthy means God has been fair with you.

Is it true that some people are more attractive than others? Yes! The problem is that our society puts so much emphasis on how we look and what we do to look even better. We are all attracted to beauty! It’s partly in our DNA, but it is also jammed down our throats by TV, movies, magazines, etc… They say that if you want to be “somebody” in this world, then you have to look a certain way, act a certain way, and talk a certain way!

There is nothing that makes me more angry as a student pastor then seeing the worldly media be the spokesman for this next generation! Knowing a little bit about the Bible, I know that this way of thinking is wrong, and upsets our Creator!

Here are some things to think about:

– God created all of us exactly the way that He wanted. He has a specific purpose for each of us. Isaiah 45:9-12 says:“Destruction is certain for those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot ever argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you are doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be!’ How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father and mother, ‘Why was I born? Why did you make me this way?’” This is what the LORD, the Creator and Holy One of Israel, says: “Do you question what I do? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands? I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the millions of stars are at my command.

- We shouldn’t put as much emphasis on the outer appearance, as we do on the inner appearance. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” God looks at our heart! If someone that is “good-looking” is next to someone that is “average-looking”, our first impression would be based on looks, right? God’s first impression would be based on the thoughts and intentions of their heart. In the New Testament, the Bible says that people will love themselves, which will keep them from doing what God wants them to do. (2 Timothy 3)

- The Bible also says that God resists the prideful, and gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6) Whether you think you are “good-looking” or not, if you are obsessing about it, then you are wrong.

- Did you know that Jesus Himself was not “attractive” by that days standards? Isaiah 53:2 says, “There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.” Jesus was not good looking at all, but still changed the world for ever!

- Instead of asking “Why am I not more beautiful on the outside?”, ask “How can I let God make me more beautiful on the inside?”

- “Beauty” that has led to either self-love or self-denial, has probably caused more people to fall far from God than anything else.

Self-image is something that we all battle! I am going to post PART 2 of this post next week! For now, look up and study some of the verses above, and ask God how you can become more beautiful on the inside.

 

Weekly Re-Cap / Thoughts (Derek’s Wedding)

- I can’t even remember what I did last week other than the wedding trip this past weekend!

- I guess I’ll just stick with that! (maybe)

- Derek and Amy got hitched!

- We got to know Amy’s family really well! They are awesome people!

- Driving a Cadillac CTS all week was pretty cool. I don’t think I would ever actually buy one even if I was richer than rich though… Sorry Cadillac lovers.

- I had not been to Liberty University in two years! They did so many cool changes.

- Lynchburg actually has stuff to do off campus now! I thought that would never happen!

- I absolutely love SHEETZ! It’s a gas station/convenience store on steroids! I must have gone there at least twelve times. I seriously want to see one open in Albany!

- Derek and Amy’s wedding was great! Amy is like the most organized person ever!

- Dr. Ergun Caner, the president of the Liberty Theological Seminary did the wedding. He is a cool guy! He looks like a biker dude! I’m looking into taking online classes with that seminary so it was nice to meet him.

- They got married at the church that Jerry Falwell started. Their brand new facility is off the chain! It is like walking through a shopping mall. I took tons of pictures to get ideas.

Derek and Amy have some awesome friends that are all making a difference.

- I will post some pics from our trip later today or this week.

- I can’t wait to find out how the REVOLUTION went this weekend at Northway!

WEDDING FACTS: (how appropriate)

img_3134.JPG- Wearing a wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was believed that the vein of love ran from this finger directly to the heart.

- The oldest bridegroom was Harry Stevens, who at the age of 103 married Thelma Lucas, a young 84. They were wed in Beloit, Wisconsin in 1984.

- The youngest couple ever to marry was an eleven month old boy and a three month old girl who were married in Bangladesh in 1986. The marriage was arranged in order to settle a twenty year feud over a disputed piece of farmland.

- The number of marriages in the United States has averaged between 2.25 and 2.4 million every year for the past 20 years. That is 7,000 per day!

- Ancient Romans studied the inner organs of a pig to determine the best day to marry.

- Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Day are the two busiest wedding days in Las Vegas.

Congrats to Derek and Amy!

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It is about 4:30 am right now, and Leah and I are getting ready to get out the door to begin our trek to Lynchburg, VA for my brother’s wedding. LEAH…GET UP! Sorry…I got distracted there for a second! Anyway, as I was saying…my brother Derek and Amy are getting married this Saturday. They met at Liberty University where they both went to school, graduated, went back to school, graduated again, went back to school, and will graduate again. They will probably have all kinds of initials before and after their name soon. Dr, PHD, MBA, ADD, ADHD, etc…

Leah and I couldn’t be happier for them! They have a website that tells their story and has pictures of them. Check it out! No…he does not look like me. I know that I am much bigger than he is and probably could squish him with my finger, or by flexing my bicep, but don’t tell him that. Oh wait…I am tired and might have just written that the wrong way. Maybe he is bigger than me. Whatever…

I have not met Amy yet, and am looking forward to meeting her! The cool thing is that they both have a passion to live for God and follow His lead! When two people are together in any relationship, that is the best thing to have in common! I know that as they begin their lives together, they are going to do some awesome things for God!

So…Derek and Amy, I hope you guys have the happiest lives together! For now, Leah and I have to hop in our Cadillac CTS (it’s a rental) and hit the road. OH MY GOODNESS…LEAH GET UP! (She’s not a morning person)

Question From a Student (# 8)

Click Here to view the first seven questions.

 QUESTION: I feel like I don’t have any freedom at home. My parents expect me to live a way that they don’t even live themselves.  How do I deal with this, and get my parents to not be so strict?

As a teenager, it is normal to feel shackled by the rules of your parents. When you start getting into High School, you start realizing more and more things about yourself and you want to test the waters in so many areas of life.  The only problem is that sometimes the only thing standing in the way of you doing what you want to do is your parents.

When we are all young, we go through a stage where we think that our parents are perfect. Your dad is like ”Superman”, and your mom is like…well just perfect. Somewhere along the line of growing up, we start to see reality and realize that our parents are not as perfect as we once thought. You start to maybe see some inconsistencies, mistakes, or even sin that they are involved in. Either way, your parents are human and are in desperate need of the grace of God. You know what though? So are you…so am I…so is everybody. The bottom line is that God calls us to obey, honor and submit to our parents. God loves everyone one of us in-spite of ourselves and the bad things that we do. We are called to love our parents, not because they always deserve it, but because God loves us and gave His life for us.

Do you love God enough to look at your parents in their imperfections and failures, and say…”I’m going to love them and honor them and obey them?”

This part of your life seems like it is so long and you feel like you will never have your freedom. The truth is that you will probably live to be 80-90 years old and will look back at these years and realize not just how short it was, but how much it impacted your life either in a positive or negative way…all by how you handled yourself at this age. How are you dealing with it?

Here are a bunch of things to think about when it comes to your relationship with your parents:

- It is difficult to be a teenager in 2008, but it is equally difficult to be a parent.

- If you want to live a life wholeheartedly for God, sometimes that is going to mean that you need to live a lifestyle that is inconsistent with how your parents live.

- It’s all about COMMUNICATION!!!You have to learn to communicate in life. You might as well learn it now while you are young. If you feel like your parents are being unfair, then slamming doors and mouthing off WILL NEVER help you gain more freedom! Sit down with them and honestly communicate in a nice manner. Ask them how you can show them that you can be more responsible. If you fight a lot with your parents, then start to communicate now by going to an emotionally discharged place like a restaurant or something. COMMUNICATE!

- Most (not all) teenagers that have a lot of rules over them have them because they are showing their parents that they are either irresponsible or can’t be trusted.

- The more responsibility you can show your parents, then the more freedom you will receive. If your parents want you to call at a certain time when you’re out…don’t complain…just do it! When they want you to do different jobs around the house…don’t complain…just do it! If they flat out say NO to something…don’t complain…just deal with it!

- The Bible says that we reap what we sow. How you treat your parents today will affect you later in life. It’s up to you to decide whether it will be a positive or negative.

- Pray for your parents every day!

- THIS IS HUGE!!!!! It takes three times as much work to restore something that was broken.If you have been blowing your curfew, disrespecting your parents, not doing your homework, etc… then it will take three times as much work to show your parents that they can trust you again!

- If your heart is in the right place, and you continue to pray and seek God, then He will empower you to bring restoration to hurt relationships.

- When you are doing something that is wrong to your parents, don’t ever tell them…”Well, this is just who I am, so deal with it”. That is not true. God has given each and every one of us the power to choose the right things. You have to work to re-build the relationship!

Well, that is a lot of stuff, but I hope that you pray about some of this and take it to heart. Unfortunately, not everyone in this world has parents, or parents that show their kids love. Either way, make sure you stay focused on God. God will never fail you!

I have been given a lot of questions about parents. I will post a lot more on this topic soon!

Internet Troubles

I know…I know…I said I would post the next “Question From a Student” today, but I’m having some minor internet connection troubles. :)

I will definitely get it up for tomorrow morning! It will deal with students living under their parents rules! Make sure you come back tomorrow to check it out…

Weekly Re-Cap / Thoughts

- I don’t know where to start…

- I had a really wierd work week trying to stay close to home because of two struggling cars.

- The Revolutionweek three at Northway was awesome!

- Pastor Buddy baked a cake on stage for mothers while he talked about the ”ingredients” for a church that lasts. Good stuff…

- Leah’s sister Cassie came over from Vermont for the Albany Tulip Festival.

- I don’t really care for tulips too much…I’m allergic and they smell wierd.

- Did you check out my horribly corny and cheesy tulip video blog yet??? (scroll down or click the link)

- Leah says I should stop making fun of tulip lovers.

- I will post some pics probably later today of our tulip experience since it was so life changing…

- The Jeep is in the shop today…finally! It needs a radiator pretty bad!

- MY BROTHER IS GETTING MARRIED TO AMY THIS WEEK!Leah and I are heading down to Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA on Thursday! I’m blogging about them later this week.

- I went ahead and got a car rental for the week since it’s cheaper and my Jeep is in the shop. I talked the guy into giving me a dark gray Cadillas CTS instead of the white Ford Focus. Anyone want to go for a ride? :)

- Come back tomorrow for the next Question From a Student…It has to do with students relationships with their parents.

- We have around 100 students going to camp so far!!! Incredible!

FORGETTABLE FACTS ABOUT TULIPS:

img_2988.JPG- The word “tulip” comes from the Ottoman Turkish word for turban or muslin.

- In Victorian times, red tulips were considered a declaration of love, making them an ideal gift for any romantic occasion. So where do roses come in?

- When you see a tulip that looks like it has stripes it is actually a virus that causes that. It is grown that way on purpose.

- We have single tulips, double tulips, fringed tulips, lily-flowered tulips, and parrot tulips.

- When tulip bulbs are harvested, the apical meristem is vegetative. Does that mean you can eat it? If I had only known this before I wouldn’t have eaten all that fried dough!
 

Albany Tulip Festivities (Video Blog)

Welcome to my first ever attempt at amature video blogging (even though there is this text)!

Leah, Cassie (Leah’s sister), and I went to the Albany Tulip Festival (see post below) and had a good time. We took tons of pictures and made the video below. It was everything that I hoped it would be and everything I ate tasted great!

I will post more about it with pictures and stuff (including a pic of the male “we dress up like woman and run through the park” club), but for now here is the amature video I made of our experience:

Fried Dough, Allergies, and Tulips (a.k.a. Tulip Festival)

tuliplogowebrgb.jpgYep! You read that picture right! This weekend marks the 60th annual Tulip Festival in Albany! For people like me, it means stuff like – Fried Dough, Crab Cakes, Cotton Candy, Hot Dogs, Dippin Dots, concerts, and flower allergies. Then you have people like Leah and her sister Cassie who walk around and spend hours upon hours upon hours taking pictures of the tulip things. I have to admit though, it is a nice site. (Especially when Leah stands next to the flowers) haha…that was corny…but it is what it is! :)

Anyway, we went to this event last year and had a good time. Leah’s sister was here back then and took tons of pictures with Leah. Cassie is from Vermont, and I guess they don’t have Tulips up there. (Probably because the cows eat them all before people can enjoy them!) This year, Cassie is back for round two! My job is to carry the umbrella, eat fried dough, run back to the car when they realize they forgot something, and be patient! :) Seriously though, I do have fun.

Do any of you Upper Staters go to this festival of tulips?

Here are some of the pics from last year…

(It’s lemonade)

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Ever feel like…

(Just watch each video and see below) 

…this guy and think that everything is great, so you don’t finish strong and end up losing?

 …this guy and you try your hardest,but just hit the wall hard?

…this guy and you’re doing your best, but someone else selfishly comes alongside you and takes you out?

 I know that I do at times. Right now, I feel like God is trying to teach me things. My adult connection group is studying the question, “What is the wise thing to do?” I feel like everywhere I turn recently, Leah and I are being forced to really ponder that question. I love studying the Bible because I know that it contains answers to all my questions. It is God’s “love letter” to me, and I can rely on it’s promises. I re-read one of my favorite all time verses today. It reminded me that no matter how rough of a time we ever go through, we can know that God is with us and WILL carry us through when we look to Him.

This is what I read:

Isaiah 40:28-31 – Don’t you know that the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak.  Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up.  But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Right now, I don’t have all the answers, but how can I not be encouraged to stay strong for God by reading those verses! :)

Question From a Student (#7)

View the other questions HERE.

QUESTION: Besides just having faith, how do we know the Bible is really true?

If we seriously investigate the claims in the Bible about it being inspired by God (stated over 3,000 times in various ways), then you will discover that the claims are justified!

This is another thing that I don’t have enough room for on a single blog post, but I can give kind of a “cliff note” version. Hope this isn’t too long! :)

Here are five quick things to think about and study on your own:

1. FULFILLED PROPHECIES!

Hundreds of Bible prophecies (proclamations about the future that would not be possible for the person to foresee or discern) have been fulfilled, specifically and meticulously, often long after the author had passed away. There are extensive prophecies dealing with individual nations and cities and with the course of history in general, all of which have been literally fulfilled. More than 300 prophecies were fulfilled by Christ Himself at His first coming. Other prophecies deal with the spread of Christianity, as well as various false religions, and many other subjects. I love this quote: “Only the Bible manifests this remarkable prophetic evidence, and it does so on such a tremendous scale as to render completely absurd any explanation other than divine revelation.”

2. HISTORICAL ACCURACY!

The historical accuracy of the Bible is also in a class by itself. No archaeological discovery has ever contradicted a Biblical reference. In fact, some archaeological discoveries have been uncovered and then explained by referencing the Bible text. The Bible is so accurate that many historians actually look to it first in order to find out more about where to look when trying to dig something up.

3. SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY!

This is my favorite part! Did you know that many of the principles of modern science were recorded as facts of nature in the Bible long before scientists confirmed them experimentally. Pretty cool! The verses below are not stated in the technical jargon of modern science, of course, but in terms of the basic world of man’s everyday experience . Check out these verses:

  • Roundness of the earth (Isaiah 40:22)
  • Almost infinite extent of the sidereal universe (Isaiah 55:9)
  • Law of conservation of mass and energy (II Peter 3:7)
  • Hydrologic cycle (Ecclesiastes 1:7)
  • Vast number of stars (Jeremiah 33:22)
  • Law of increasing entropy (Psalm 102:25-27)
  • Paramount importance of blood in life processes (Leviticus 17:11)
  • Atmospheric circulation (Ecclesiastes 1:6)
  • Gravitational field (Job 26:7)
  • and many others.

4. UNIQUE STRUCTURE!

The Bible is a collection of 66books, written by 40 or more different men over a period of 2,000 years, it is clearly one Book, with perfect unity and consistency throughout! You can’t beat that!

5. THE SPIRITUAL EFFECT!

No other book has ever held such universal appeal nor produced such lasting effects. If you look at the stories of the people that did believe the Bible to be true, it is mind-boggling! It’s promises are true! It’s counsel is sound! It’s instruction is wise! Most importantly, it’s message of salvation is powerful and can meet the need of every person that ever walks on the earth!

I BELIEVE IT IS TRUE! It has changed my life for ever. What about YOU?