SPAM (Some Parts Are Me)

First I would like to tell you a bit about myself before setting the stage for what you’re about to read. This is my second post regarding why I chose to be accountable, you can read the first post here.

I’m a born-again Christian, husband to a loving wife, and father to an awesome son. I worked long hours in the auto industry for about ten years (60-80 hrs. per week). However, one day, after becoming convicted about how I was neglecting my family… I quit and became a full time home-maker. I choose to serve my family by making the time to be available for them.

Here’s how it all began

It was 8:15 AM and I had just dropped something off for my wife at work (she’s a teacher at a Christian Pre-School). On my way out the door, I ran into a father whose son was in my son’s class. We exchanged pleasantries and, as I was preparing to excuse myself from the conversation to go home to drink some beer and surf the net for porn, he asks me if I’m part of an accountability group? At the time I had never even heard of such a thing.

Next, he handed me a card with 10 questions printed on it. The question which called out the most to me was, “Have you had any lustful thoughts, attitudes, or watched anything which does not glorify God?” Well, within a nanosecond I was ready to say, “No thanks!” and just walk away like he was selling sunglasses at a mall kiosk.

But something deep inside of me cried out, “I really need this in my life right now!” so asked my friend some other questions about the logistics of the group. After spending about ten minutes trying to fight off the call of the Spirit, I submitted and agreed to go to the next meeting.

The morning of the meeting was filled with great anxiety over how I would answer some of the questions. It seemed like it would have been easier if the group was made up of men who were total strangers, but the group consisted of the Headmaster of the school my wife teaches at, a local preacher, and an insurance salesman. I thought to myself, I’ll just lie about some of these questions so that they won’t find out how depraved I really am. After all, I’m a Christian! I have to live up to a certain image of perfection! As most Christians probably realize, but never talk about, we really do judge a book by its cover.

We met on the scheduled morning and began with some small talk… last night’s ball game, this morning’s run, and a problem customer who is never happy. Not long after, the guys all brought out their question cards and prepared themselves to go through each one.

When we came to the question that initially caught my eyes, I began to sweat. I didn’t want to lie, but I didn’t want to look foolish in front of these mature Christians. My canned SPAM response was ready to go…

If you want to know more of what happened, tune in next month for another installment in this series.

———–

Digital Sojourner would like to thank Long Vo for writing this guest post.

Read More

The Light of Halloween

Every year I’m baffled by all of the excitement and hoopla surrounding Halloween.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand why children get excited about free candy. Free candy! What’s not to like about that? You want to give me a box of Nerds? Go for it!

It’s also obvious why children like to dress up in costume. Who wouldn’t like to dress up as Darth Vader and run around the neighborhood with a plastic lightsaber?

Hot apple cider? I get it. Carving pumpkins? I get it. I get all of that.

What I don’t understand is why fully grown adults make such a big deal about it. Apparently, Halloween is second only to Christmas in the amount of money Americans spend for a holiday. Amazing.

Costumes designed to be as grotesque and evil appearing as possible– entire front yards are turned into pretend graveyards– fully grown adults trying to out do each other with lavish costumes. What exactly are people trying to celebrate?

As a Christian, what am I to do?

In our community there are a few ground rules for trick or treating: children 13 and under go door to door from 6p – 8p. Homes that are participating turn their lights on, homes that are not participating should turn their lights off.

This is my answer

  • You are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14
  • Hide it under a bushel? No! Matthew 5:15
  • Let your light shine! Matthew 5:16
  • Let the little children come to me. Matthew 19:14

Tonight, I’m going to leave the lights on – the light of our home and the light of the gospel. Each child that comes to our door will receive a nice piece of candy and a gospel tract. After all, it is the only time of the year when countless souls come to our door looking for a free gift… How can I possibly turn off the light?

Read More

Podcast: Long Vo Talks Accountability

Digital Sojourner recently featured a guest post written by my friend Long Vo. In the post, Long made a call for Christian leaders to “establish structures and relationships that hold them accountable.” For such structures to be successful, Long went on to explain, they must be voluntarily sought out and established.

Recently I sat down with Long to discuss how someone can establish accountability in their lives through an accountability group.

You can listen in here:

Have you established a godly accountability structure in your life? Let us know about it in the comments & reply section below.

As mentioned in the podcast, you can find additional information regarding accountability groups here.

 

Read More

The Information Super-Highway & The Renewed Mind

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

Unquestionably, this is the information age. Never before in history has so much data been accessible to so many people from every conceivable world region and demographic. If a question occurs to one, the answer is a few key strokes away. Want to know the GDP of Namibia, the population of Moneyreagh, Northern Ireland, or Adolf Hitler’s favorite composer? The answers are easily discoverable by means of the powerful search engines that comb the internet for facts and figures.

This abundance of accumulated knowledge works both positively and negatively in contemporary life. On the one hand, Bible translations and tools for studying them have proliferated on the web. Many out of print, public domain Christian books are now freely accessible thanks on websites like books.google.com and archive.org (these sites are searchable by author and title, so one needs to know which volumes one seeks.) A library that once was available only at much time and expense is now open to anyone with a computer and an internet connection.

The downside of this vast trove of information is that it can easily interfere with getting to know God through His Word.

Time that is better spent reading the Bible may be frittered away by endless and unrestrained surfing of the web. What is more, the essential discipline of meditation* on the Scriptures – mentally masticating them while prayerfully seeking the Lord’s mind and will – often is abandoned in favor of quick reading, skimming, and the short attention spans that are the negative byproduct of the information age. Joshua was told to meditate on the Word continually; this is something that characterized all of the great saints (e.g. the Psalms, which were the fruit of the meditations of the Shepherd-King David, as well as others – all by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, 2 Tim. 3:16.)

Pointing and clicking must not supplant pondering. The Word of God demands careful attention and reflection. It is to be hidden in believers’ hearts, and consulted in reference to every aspect of life. By all means, Christians must use modern technology to read, study, and proclaim the Word. But growth in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ will only come about through the time-consuming and somewhat painstaking discipline of meditatively considering the Scriptures.

——-

*Biblical meditation has nothing to do with the Eastern Mystical variety of meditation, which is actually its exact opposite. The Eastern variety – popular in Hinduism, Sufism, Buddhism, Transcendental Meditation, and New Age philosophy – tells one to empty his mind (sometimes by chanting a word like “Om.”) In contrast, the Bible’s use of “meditation” means to fill one’s mind with the words of Scripture and carefully consider them by prayerful and repeated thought.

Read More

An Ounce of Prevention

The catastrophe of King David underscores what can happen when leaders fail to create a structure in which they are answerable for how they spend both their private and professional time. Ultimately, as he did with David, God will hold everyone accountable (especially leaders). The Bible shows us the dangers of living our lives free of accountability.

Most leaders don’t experience a sudden blow-out in their lives. More often it’s a slow leak that leads to disaster.   A man can deceive himself into thinking that a small compromise will not matter. But small steps, taken consistently, add up to a great distance. Small compromise has a snowball effect; momentum develops, and before we realize what’s happening, life spins out of control.  Once that train is moving, it’s tough to just jump off for the purpose of self-preservation.  Believe me; I know this fact all too well!

David didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to trash his life by committing adultery with one of his mighty men’s wives and then having that man killed. David had already begun the descent into spiritual sloth by making small compromises. He began by taking an additional wife, then another and another and another. Eventually David had seven wives in all, but even that wasn’t enough. So, he stocked a harem. David had a slow leak of self-control. And he compounded that problem by not having anyone around who would tell him about the problem.

When another Christian falls into obvious sin, an admonition is imperative, because God’s Word demands it. The practice of discipline in the community of faith begins with friends who are close to one another. Words of admonition and reproach must be risked.  If we are not intentional about inviting someone like Nathan into our lives, God will provide a Nathan for us. But by then it may be too late to spare us from the consequences.

Wise leaders don’t wait for a crisis to establish accountability. Accountability relationships cannot be imposed; they must be invited. The onus is on leaders to establish structures and relationships that hold them accountable for their sin and unleash their God given potential. We must seek out godly people of mature character and give them permission to ask us the tough questions. This requires risk on our part. It requires honesty and vulnerability – risky things that leaders are often skittish about. However, as anyone who has suffered the consequences of a fall will tell you, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

More to come about why I began being accountable…

———–

Digital Sojourner would like to thank Long Vo for writing this guest post.

Read More

Jottings – The Bucket of Your Speech

That which lies in the well of your thought will come up in the bucket of your speech.

This was written by Dwight L. Moody on the flyleaf of his Bible. I came across this gem while reading the book “Notes From My Bible” which was originally published in 1895 by the Fleming H. Revell Company. The book is a collection of notes, anecdotes, and illustrations that D. L. Moody recorded on the margins of his Bible.

Read More

Tools – A Regular Feature

Another feature you can expect to find here at the Digital Sojourner is Tools.

There are many tools available to assist the Christian as he or she sojourns through the modern world. There are power tools, such as Logos Bible Software, that are highly sophisticated and relatively new. Other tools, such as a spiral bound notebook and pencil, are neither new nor sophisticated and yet are highly useful in their own right.

The key is to use the appropriate tool, at the appropriate time for its intended purpose. A surgeon might use a chainsaw to take down a tree in her backyard, yet she would never even think of bringing such a tool into the operating room. Tools, when used appropriately, will never become a distraction or a hindrance.

We will attempt to regularly share with you insightful articles about the tools we use in our sojourning.

Read More

A Modern Day Paradox

No other generation has had access to as many tools and resources as believers do today. This is especially true in the English language.

Many Christian homes have more Bibles than people. Concordances, lexicons, dictionaries, atlases, and commentaries fill our bookshelves. Many of these tools have been digitalized and made available as computer programs or over the internet.

With the advent of mobile “smartphones” wirelessly connected to the internet there is an inconceivable amount of information that can be accessed at anytime and anywhere. One can even fact-check a preacher in real time without ever leaving the pew!

An Alarming Paradox.

Unfortunately no other generation of believers have been as unacquainted with the scriptures as ours. Walk up to the average Christian at the average church and ask a few mildly challenging questions. Who is the first man? Who is the second man? 1 Cor. 15:45-48. Or, what is meant by the term justification? More often than not you will be met with a blank stare and a quick change of subjects.

How Can This Be?

Have we become more fascinated with the tools than we are with the purpose of the tools? Are we more fascinated with technology than with the Author of the scriptures? This should not be, and yet I know that I have been guilty of this all too often.

God’s Word must be paramount, not the technology. Such tools exist to help us. May we always be mindful of their proper place; otherwise the very tools that were meant to help will become the greatest of hindrances.

Read More

E-Pilgrims & E-Sojourners

“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1Pet.2:1.)*

In navigating the brave new world of the Internet, Christians must remember their identity before God. The Scripture above describes them as “sojourners and pilgrims”: two terms that set them apart from the rest of humanity, as well as placing significant responsibilities on them.

Believers are sojourners in the sense that this world is not their permanent home. The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross to purchase them and so their lives are no longer their own (1 Cor. 6:20.) Instead, they have been called out from the world to live differently from the masses all around who are time-bound and earth-bound with no hope of eternal life with God.

The term “pilgrims” emphasizes that they are going to another land. Like Abraham who left the establishment of the fertile crescent for the strict nomadic existence of dwelling in an impermanent structure. The symbols of the patriarch’s life were the tent and the altar. A tent declared that this was not their final dwelling. While the altar demonstrated their focus upon the eternal God who called them to share His life – beginning in this world but also extending into the age to come (Heb. 11:8-10; 13-16.)

The onset of the information age, with its flagship the world-wide-web, does not change the character and calling of believers. They cannot settle down into this new digital world and be entirely comfortable, as if this is their home. They must use email, social networks, blogs, websites, and other exciting technological advances in a way that glorifies God.

Someday people will power down their e-devices for the final time and enter eternity. These modern tools ought to be used to bear witness to Christ’s gospel, as well as for the edification of His people. As in the real world, Christians must steer clear of that which defiles on the web; instead using the easily accessible information to think on things that are pure (Phil. 4:8.) They must also use mass communication tools to propagate the good news that Christ died on the cross for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He was raised from the dead according to those same Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4.)

Believers must approach the web with stewardship in mind. E-commerce ought not to become an excuse for covetousness and materialistic indulgence. What is more, they must be responsible stewards of the time that God has given them. As Ephesians 5:16 says: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. A well-timed email can brighten a fellow-Christian’s day. Likewise, a timely Scripture posted on one’s Facebook page can turn another’s thoughts toward eternity.

The numerous Bible study websites and pages with millions of public domain volumes can be carefully used to augment our personal Bible study, while also gleaning excellent illustrations of God’s truth from different resources on the web. In short, the web is what you make of it: be an e-sojourner and an e-pilgrim!

 


 *Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are cited from the New King James Version.

Read More
p 6 of 6««...23456