Book Review: Look Straight Ahead

Look Straight Ahead - A Call To Men For Moral Purity

People face many temptations, especially in the area of moral purity. One of the most appealing lures to the fallen flesh is sexual lust. Pornography has become increasingly brazen, readily visible to the unguarded eye of one who is not even seeking it. It has become one of the most successful weapons against the child of God. Our church families are plagued with failed marriages as the enemy has rushed in to ruin the testimony of the saints. There has been casualties among public leaders, the last to be suspected of such moral sin. This all-too-common tragedy has burdened my heart to exhort and encourage men, in particular, to echo the plea of the psalmist as he stood before his Lord and cried out, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” Psalm 51:10

This is a quote from the introduction to the book Look Straight Ahead – A Call To Men For Moral Purity written by Sam Thorpe, Jr. and published by Everyday Publications of Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. The book is a heart felt plea to the men of the church to intentionally live a life of moral purity. This is a timely book, dealing with a major issue in the church that few others are willing to address.

The author rightly recognizes the sin of pornography as a powerful

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5 Tips For Sharing Your Faith On Facebook

According to Facebook’s own statistics there are more than 800,000,000 active Facebook users! 50% of whom log on at least once a day. Furthermore, Facebook’s reach is truly global with more than 75% of active users from outside of the United States! Officially Facebook supports more than 70 different languages! Amazing! The mission field has come to YOUR living room!

How we can we use this unprecedented opportunity to spread the message of the gospel? Here are five quick tips for sharing your faith on Facebook:

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Tim Tebow and John 3:16

The power of the media coupled with the viral nature of the Internet is undeniable. A photograph or video from an obscure corner of the world can receive almost instant, global attention as people endlessly tweet it and share it on Facebook.

Yesterday, when Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos threw a pass for the winning touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers social media networks went crazy with status updates about Tim Tebow. On Twitter alone there were 9,420 tweets per second. Yes, that’s right 9,420 tweets per second about Tebow!

Tim Tebow is an outspoken Christian who uses every opportunity he is given to speak of his Savior the Lord Jesus Christ… and the world has noticed. One can hardly turn on the TV or surf the net without seeing some reference to Tebow and his faith. Even right now, more than 24 hours after his game winning pass, “tebow” is the 10th hottest search term on Google and “john 3 16” (that Tebow so prominently displays across his face on black eye paint) is the most searched for term on Google.

Absolutely amazing!

When I Google the term “John 3 16” the very first link that comes up is John 3:16 on Biblegateway.com.

Let this be a call to prayer and action. Prayer for Tim Tebow, that God would grant him the strength to maintain a strong Christian testimony. Prayer for the millions who are searching for the meaning of John 3:16. And finally, a call to action for each one of us to stand firmly and boldly for the Lord Jesus Christ.

No, we might never achieve 9,420 tweets per second, but each of us has a completely unique mission field. Wherever we go let us also make the most of every opportunity to speak of the glories of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Top photo: lynnsladky/AP

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Thinking Like A Digital Missionary

Motherboard

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Over the last 25 years the world we live in has radically changed. Back in 1987 most people had never heard of the Internet, sent an email, or even made a call from a mobile phone. People regularly used a phonebook, not Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, was only 2 years old on this date in 1987!). In fact, if you are old enough to vote, the world of today neither looks nor functions like the world you were born into. The world is radically different.

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The Times They Are A Changin’, But One Remains The Same

Time

Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, and thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from eternity to eternity thou art God. Psalm 90:1-2, J.N. Darby’s Translation (JND)

Another year is almost history. As 2012 dawns, the world is as uncertain and dangerous as ever. Economic turmoil, political upheaval, warfare, and natural disasters will remain with us into the new year. At this season, when time is on many people’s minds, it is good to remember that there is a timeless Creator: an eternal being – that is to say, He never had a beginning and shall never have an ending. He always was loving, wise, gracious, and holy, and He will continue to exhibit these glorious attributes as ages pile upon ages (Ephesians 2:7.) As Psalm 90:2 expresses it: “even from eternity to eternity thou art God.

 

The Sands Of Time

Moses was the human amanuensis that the Lord used to write the 90th Psalm. His bittersweet experience of shepherding God’s chosen nation, Israel, in the desert is described in this lovely prayer. Man’s frailty and transience is accentuated as Moses reflects on their disobedience and the divine judgment that it brought upon the generation that disbelieved the Almighty’s promises. Instead of prospering in the promised land, they were languishing in the wilderness until the last of that generation died off. How many funerals had he attended? How many grieving families did he console? He affirms that:

You carry them away like a flood; They are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up: In the morning it flourishes and grows up; In the evening it is cut down and withers. For we have been consumed by Your anger, And by Your wrath we are terrified. You have set our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance. For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; We finish our years like a sigh (Psalms 90:5-9.)

Seventy year life spans were the norm; if one saw his eightieth birthday it was remarkable. Yet even the longest life-spans are tinged by sadness, regret, weakness, and – from the human perspective – seeming futility. In the midst of this tale of time’s ravages upon humanity, how good it is to know that there is mercy available from the Almighty.

 

One Whose Goings Forth Have Been Of Old

Just as Israel brought their calamity upon themselves by their personal rebellion against the Creator; likewise, we moderns have forged our own chains and created our own catastrophes on planet earth. It is common for skeptics to lay the blame upon God, but in our hearts we know that we do and say things that compound the misery. All the while, time ebbs away, speeding us on towards eternity.

Amazingly, the Creator Himself entered into time to liberate us from our hopeless fate (Micah 5:2.) The Son of God became a man that He might die on the cross for our sins; thus identifying with our fleeting lives. The eternal one was “cut off from the land of living” that He might reconcile us to God by removing the rebellious deeds and hearts that separated us from Him (Isaaiah 53:8.) He did nothing to contribute to the world’s ills, yet He suffered for them nonetheless.

 

Time To Reflect

Moses ends the psalm with a plea for divine mercy, asking the Lord to “…teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12.) This would be a helpful prayer for anyone to pray in the new year. For the unbeliever, it is a call to recognize the brevity of life and their need of a Savior for a blessed eternity. Time is short, so repent and receive Christ while there is still time (John 3:16.)

For the believer, it is no less important to remember that our days are numbered. We only have a certain amount of time to serve the Lord in this present scene. As the old poem expresses it: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past/Only what’s done for Christ will last.” To see our lives count for eternity we must follow the Scriptural instruction: “…redeeming the time because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16.) Each day ought to be lived with the Master’s interests in view. We must ask, what does the Lord want me to do with my time? How much will I surf the net? What will I read, watch, or listen to? How will I grow in my relationship with the Lord, with His people, and equip myself for eternity? All of these things must be borne in mind as we face a new year. The eternal God will be the same in 2012, and wants us to know, enjoy, and serve Him.

Written by: Keith R. Keyser
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Photo: flickr/englishsnow

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How To Have An Effective Church Prayer Chain

Our good friends over at the mySonlight Blog have an excellent post today regarding the effective use of prayer chains. While technology has greatly impacted the way prayer requests are disseminated, we shouldn’t lose sight of the basic concepts that make a prayer chain effective.

In her post, Sherri Jason gives us six key principles of an effective Prayer Chain:

  1. Have one key contact person.
  2. Keep the chain for important and imminent requests.
  3. Try to keep it to items involving known people.
  4. If it’s something very serious make sure the message has a personal touch.
  5. Make sure to give timely updates.
  6. Be encouraging.

Sherri also reminds us that every church is unique, depending on the dynamics of those in fellowship. Therefore it is important to keep the system as simple and efficient as possible.

You can read the entire post here.

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photo: Flickr/pratanti

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A Legacy Of Thanksgiving

Here in the United States we celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday. For most Americans Thanksgiving means gathering with family and friends to watch football, overeat, and enjoy a day off of work. While most know that the intended purpose of the day has something to do with being thankful (the day IS called Thanksgiving after all), it’s obvious that most spend the day oblivious of the countless reasons we have to be thankful.

When I woke up yesterday morning I was like most Americans… oblivious of the countless reasons to be thankful. My mind was filled with thoughts of turkey, sweet potatoes, and all berry pie. I was thinking of my father’s brand new iPad and helping him set up Facebook and Gmail… I was thinking about playing Legos with the kids.

While my mind was thinking about these things… I never thought to stop and give thanks to God for these things. Yes, the food, iPad, Facebook, Gmail, and Legos are all things to be thankful for.

But, what about those who I enjoy the food with? What about my wife who prepared the meal? What about my mother & father? the kids? Infinitely more important than the “things” are the people who we enjoy the things with.

Then late in the afternoon the phone rang. My reminder to be truly thankful came in the most dreadful of ways.

One of my cousins, only 42 years old, had died unexpectedly sometime during the night. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing… I had only seen him a month earlier. We had spent the afternoon together at Niagara Falls, and enjoyed dinner together at TGI Friday’s. Never did I realize that would be the last time we would be together.

Yes, I am thankful for the “things” in my life… the “things” that make life easier, like iPads & Gmail, and the “things” that make life enjoyable like all berry pie, Legos, and Facebook.

However, I was reminded that the people in my life are infinitely more important than the “things” in my life. I was reminded to be most thankful for the people in my life…. Like my wife and children, my in-laws, my cousins, my friends, my neighbors, and the saints at my local assembly. iPads can be replaced, people can not.

Life, at best, is brief. Yes, we know this to be true in an academic sense, but do we really believe it to be true? Do you live each day in the reality of this truth? Do I?

Are we mending broken relationships? Are we telling our loved ones that we love them? Are we sharing the Good News of the Gospel… that life is not pointless, there is a purpose greater than ourselves.

Life is too short for me not to share with you the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That God, the creator of Heaven and Earth loves you, even despite the fact that you have sinned and offended Him. How do I know that God loves you? Because He sent His only die to die in your place, to pay the penalty of your sin.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

My prayer is that this Thanksgiving, and its lessons, will never be forgotten.

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The Neutrality of Technology Questioned

There is an excellent post today on The Gospel Coalition’s blog regarding the intersection of technology and the Christian faith.

In the post, Mike Cosper explores the question “is technology neutral?” Even if you disagree with his answer I’m sure you will find his reasoning to be both thought provoking and challenging.

You can read his post here.

What do you think? Is technology neutral?

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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?

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What Facebook Can’t Do

FacebookHere at the Digital Sojourner we are all about living a God honoring life in our modern, computerized world. We must use technology to aid us in serving the Greatest of all Masters. Yet, there is an inherent danger. When we allow our relationship with technology to overshadow our relationship with the Lord, it becomes an adulterous affair. We have left our first love. We must ever be on guard to keep the tools we use in proper perspective.

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