Sunday, September 23, 2007

And the point is...?

Among the many advertisements that are being flung at us from every direction, there is one particular category of them that stirs my thoughts the most. The Christian witnessing billboards. Particularly, the one you see below. Take a look. Afterwards, you can either come up with your own "what's the point?", or read mine.

Alright, what thoughts did that billboard produce in your mind? Let me be brutally honest with you. We have around three of those advertisements in approximately a 20 mile radius of our house. The first time that I saw one, my thoughts were pretty close to this: " Ummmm...what?" After this thought occurred, questions began to arise in my mind. "Who is this appealing to?", "What about people who have never heard the name of Christ?", and "Why put a billboard up with the name of our Lord and Savior...and that's it?". Please do not take me wrong here brothers and sisters. In our darkening culture, I am glad that they allow this advertisement...but I do wish that they would use their form of spreading the gospel (if that is what the point was...) in a clearer form. This can also be compared to the way that we talk about Christ to someone. We must make sure that we are clear. Jesus makes everything clear (and even uses stories to help us understand it!), whereas this type of witnessing is very indirect. So...unless they were just trying to get the God-fearing people to be more conscious of their speed, and lower road rage (this is possible...), I find that the money it takes to rent a billboard would be better spent elsewhere supporting something that would bring our country closer to God and His laws. But I'll spare you another nine paragraph post and let you decide for yourselves. =) Is this effective? Think on it.

In Christ,


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Standing Up for Standing Out

I have almost always felt that I should write according to my convictions. That I should write according to the recent happenings in my life. I felt this would be the most truthful, and perhaps the best writing I could provide in the short time I have for blogging. So here I sat in our somewhat bare "computer nook" (we have yet to hang the pictures) wondering what exactly I should write about that would be of interest to the reader, and hopefully be able to bless someone in some way. That is a hard thing to think about sometimes. After much consideration, I decided what I could offer right now, more than much else, is encouragement. You see, lately I have been struggling with fitting in, finding kindred spirits who are my age, and an over all positive attitude about all of this. I figured that the best way to deal with this humbly (I truly wrestled with even posting about this) was to build up my siblings in Christ who are going through this as well. Let me share some things that have helped me. Chances are you have heard all of this before...but bear with me. Hearing the same encouragement for a second time is usually as good as the first.

Family. Ok, so I know the culture and most of the people your age say that having a close relationship with your little and big siblings and your parents is not "cool" (oooh...I have tried to dismiss that word from my vocabulary) but truly, this is where so much encouragement lies. I have spent countless hours talking to my parents about everything, and they are always able to encourage me. I have also found refuge in my siblings numerous times. Chances are being with your siblings might cause you to stick out a little more...but the fruits that can be gained from those relationships in the long run are so much better than turning them down now for a social standing. Please believe me here. You are not alone. Talking to your parents and siblings helps to teach good communication skills now, that will carry over into life later.

Self-examination. Ouch. Okay, so not all of this is encouragement, but this is something that really helped me. First of all, let me make myself clear that I am not in any way telling you that you are doing something wrong just because you are standing out. I know from everyday life that this is not true. Moving on. I used to have really this bad habit of withdrawing whenever I felt like I stuck out and felt the results of the sticking out process. By examining myself, I realized that I was partially alienating myself from everyone else, so I couldn't just blame other people anymore. That may not be so with everyone, but sometimes examining your own actions can save you some emotional pain. Glad to get that one over with. Now onto some more encouragement...

Comparing yourself with other people generally ALWAYS leads to trouble. You either end up feeling really depressed because they are way better than you (whatever "better" might be to all depends) or, more commonly, one might get a prideful and "holier than thou" attitude. So instead of looking outward, look in God's laws and truth, and hold yourself to those. Hear this:

Philippians 2:3 (NIV) "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."

Well that should kill the "holier than thou" attitude pretty quick. The Bible is packed with verses on humility. If we are in Christ, we should strive to prevent our pride from taking over. Imitate Christ. What then do we say to those who bringing themselves down? Again, look to the word. Know that there is joy in humility and purity of the heart. Compare yourself to God's truths, just as any Christian. Know where you are in your Christian walk, and take joy in the fact that you have a faith in Christ.

People get lonely. I have struggled with feeling a little alone in my beliefs and standing point on things. Now, I know some people have an easier time not having many kindred spirits than others, so this may not apply to everyone. Skip it if you please. For those of you who are like on. You are not alone. I was talking to another Christian sister of mine this evening, discussing the frustrations of being alone on certain things. But she was not alone in her position, because I share the same one. Here me out: there are people all over struggling with these things. They do seem to be a bit more widespread, but they are there. Also, take joy in the friends that you have! I have yet to find another sister in Christ who completely agrees with me on EVERYTHING I believe, but cherish the friends that I have. We aren't supposed to be a puzzle piece that fits perfectly into the cultural trendy mold, we are to be fashioned by God's hand, fitting into his Kingdom. Never forget this.

Romans 12:2 (NIV) "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will."

I hope that I have been able to build someone up somehow with this. Remember it's not social networking, always fitting in, popularity, dating, having the right friends, pleasing the crowd, or whatever else this culture is screaming at you that is important. It is staying on God's good and perfect path, walking in his boundaries, and loving Him and His law that really matter. Remember obedience. Remember Love. This is one of my favorite verses. Our troubles now seem a bit small compared to those that were dealt with when Paul and Timothy walked the earth, but this verse can be applied today just as well.

2 Corinthians 5:16-18 (NIV) "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Have a blessed weekend.

In Christ,