Saturday, February 14, 2009

Why I Deleted My Facebook Account

About a year ago I was introduced to myspace through listening to others talk. I went to go check it out and was greatly disturbed by the pictures and advertisements and language and filth found on myspace. Thus, I never bothered with it and even preached against it.
A few months later I was told about facebook. I was told that it didn't have the trash on it, and that it was where most "our stripe" was tech socializing. I checked it out and found that the trashy advertisements were not there, the music was not there, and I didn't see any pictures that were morally challenging either. Thus, with the help of my brother in law, I joined.
My first clue should have been the fact that the day I joined, many of our young people and college age and adults "changed their information". It was humorous, and gave me more reason to stay on...every city block needs a policeman!
I have greatly enjoyed catching up with family and friends and school/college peers. It has been refreshing to hear how many are doing and what the Lord is doing with them. I have enjoyed being able to let my parents and sisters and church friends be able to see and share pictures of what all is going on in our lives and how our families are growing up so quickly. I have enjoyed having another avenue to remind people that I am praying for them, to give counsel, and tell them I love them and thank the Lord for them. I have enjoyed getting to know other sound in the faith Christians. I could go on...and my point is (don't miss this) I do not think it is a sin to be a member of facebook. That said....
For me, I deleted my account. Here are my reasons and perhaps the Lord will use them to speak to you as He did me. My counsel for every reader is "Do what the Lord tells YOU to do."
1. Romans 14:20-22, I do not want to be a stumbling block to anyone.
Recently, I had a close friend who mysteriously removed myself and many others from their friend list. It brought great concern amongst us...what had we done to offend them? Come to find out, that person was seeking to remove themselves slowly from facebook due to many reasons...of which I stand behind them. Because of the myriad of emails and contacts asking that person what we had done, they added us again as friend so not to offend. I do not wish to be a stumbling block, and what if, there are others too struggling with things that I am being a stumbling block to? Thus, based upon Romans 14, I deleted my account.
2. Psalm 101:3, I must not set wicked things before my eyes. As I stated above, when I first "joined facebook," there was not the trashy advertisements I saw in 30 seconds of myspace. But slowly, and increasingly, they have crept in. Advertisements of immodestly dressed women have become more and more frequent the last month. Finally, two days ago, on a Google Ad, that was it. I "must not set wicked things before my eyes." I can't, I must not, I will not allow my self to be tempted in such ways. Why? Simple: I don't trust me. I am wicked...and so are you. I challenge you to prayerfully consider this. Thus, I deleted my facebook account.
3. 1 Cor. 10:10 We are not to murmur and complain. We are saved...we are a child of God...we are not to be murmurers or complainers. God dealt seriously with murmuring. Where is the murmuring on facebook? Have you read a status lately? I decided to peek, while writing this at current status' of my friends:
_____ is soooo borred

Why is life so hard

Doctors are a pain in the rear

I have nothing to do today

_____ is depressed and discouraged

______ is wishing she had a real friend

______ hates this month

____________ is sick of being sick

_________ can't stand hypocrites

I could go on and on with others I have read in the last few months. You get the point. Facebook sets the stage for murmuring. I came home a few weeks ago after a rough day. I went into the living room and my wife changed my status to "Travis is :-(" After a sharp rebuke and a new status, my wife was reminded about the sin of murmuring. Thus, I deleted my facebook account.
4. Ephesians 5:16 We are to redeem our time. I am not saying that facebook is a total waste of time...but I did find myself checking on everyone else and updating everyone else on me numerous times a day. There are much more important things to be done. My "Travis is studying for history class" never led a soul to Christ; nor did my "Travis is :-(" show a lost person how great God is. Reality is, most with a facebook account check or update it nearly 10 times a day if not more. For me, I began to compare how many times I thought of a verse of Scripture compared to how many facebook checks I made....thus, I deleted my facebook account.
5. 1 Cor. 15:33 I must be careful who my friends are. On facebook, I have "friends" I've never met or talked to. When I first joined, I was so happy to get friends. Then requests started coming in that I ignored...I could tell from the image that I couldn't be friends with them. Then, people whose lifestyles a word...wicked, requested me as a friend. I offended a few by not accepting this friendship, but I cannot let their pictures of boozing, dancing, and immodesty in my home. That evil communication will corrupt good manners. Then I began to notice as others removed me as their friend after they posted pictures or notes they didn't want me to read...all situations that can be avoided by deleting my facebook account.
6. Hebrews 10:25-26 We are to be encouraging one another with our faithfulness, not discouraging one another with willful sin. Those "changes of information" when I first joined are not so these days. How it discourages my heart to see our young people flauning their wicked music...when they know it is wrong. How it is discouraging to read the criticisms by others of yourself and your church. How it breaks your hearts to see those who you loved and invested in drinking their beers and cursing our God. How it breaks hearts to read or see pictures of those you love, flaunting adultery and sin. Thus, I deleted my facebook account.
I could give you more reasons as to why the Lord led me to do so, but just one will suffice.....
7. God told me to. John 14:15.
I love you all hope you stay in touch via this blog and email.

On another note, the Lord confirmed this in my heart...He had been speaking to me about it, and just now I saw this posted on facebook. Thank you Lord for confirming Your will:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Inspect what you Expect

Thus far we have seen that our young people are, for the most part, faithful to church. They are hearing the right message, they are taught the doctrine, they are loved, and they have great opportunity to serve the Lord. We were suprised to find that most of our young people come either from homes where their parents were lost as a "teen ager" or they have no idea what their parent was like, spiritually speaking as a young person. Parents, we MUST take the responsibility of rearing our young people in the nurture of the Lord. It is NOT the pastor or youth pastor's responsibility to rear young is the parents.
I have spent the last two days organizing thoughts and penning rough drafts for this post, but all I have gained is a heart that hurts for our young people. I feel I need to stop and remind myself and others that it is worth the struggle. I thank God for my 6 years working with our young people as their youth pastor. There are, at this very moment, two in the ministry, 4 Godly wives to great men, 6 in Bible college training for the Lord's will in their lives, and two others serving faithfully in their churches waiting for the Lord's direction. How I praise God for this. I do not want to give the impression that I threw away 6 years of my life and theirs, there are victories. I praise God for you all!
Some, would probably accept that ratio as great success and write off the others as unfortunate loss. My problem is, I hate losing. I hate losing especially in an area such as this. These are souls, lives, and potential. And the icing on the cake....God PROMISED we could train them up in the way they should go and they would not depart from it.
Believe me, I have heard every excuse concerning that promise including "It 's the training they will not depart from, not that they won't go into rebellion; but that they will, while in rebellion be constantly reminded of their training." My problem with that thinking is this: If it all comes down to chance-whether they will 'turn out right' or not-what is the point of putting all the work into it like the Lord commanded us to do? Now I know that man was created with a free will, and so were our children; but I also know that God promised me that if I train up my child in the way he/she should go, they will not depart from it...not that it won't depart from them. I kinda like claiming promises. If I can't do that...what do I have?
I believe we as parents-in the typical IFB church-have the mentality that "I will keep my child in church and all activities, send them to the Christian school, and let the pastors do their job." That will not work. We expect our young people to be fine if we do those simple things. That won't work. We expect our young people to have a love for the Lord and a desire to serve Him, without us instilling it. That won't work. Even our young people EXPECT each other to turn out right. The next question on the questionnaire was
I expect most of my peers in my youth class to grow up and...
A. Serve the Lord
B. Go away from God but come back later
C. Serve in Full time ministry
D. Get out of church and make money

The results show that our young people, like our parents, expect a good turn out. ("Like our parents"--we are teaching them and training them). Here are the results:
A. Serve the Lord: 68%
B. Go away from God but come back later 17%
C. Serve in Full time ministry 6%
D. Get out of church and make money 9%

Great expectations! Someone once said, "Inspect what you expect." May I challenge parents not to just "send your kids to a good school and take them to a good church," but get involved in their lives. I inspected and found young people that filled out these questionnaires rebelling in many music, dress, and dating. What chapter of the Bible did your young person read today? What did the Lord speak to them about durring the sermon Sunday? When was the last time you prayed with them and they prayed in your presence? Who are their friends? What are they saying? Who are they praying for to be saved? Who was that last text message to?
Now the other side screams "You will overprotect them?" Is that possible? My children are a most sacred gift from God to my wife and I, and I have been giving a Biblical mandate to protect them and nurture them and train them in the way they should go. In my life's experience, everyone that has been afraid of overprotecting their child was not protecting them enough.
We have great expectations, but we had best inspect what we expect!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I am my father's son

Continuing the principle of sowing and reaping, we dealt next with the parents of youth and how they fared in passing on the truths they had learned to their children. The result showed that about half of those young people were given next to nothing in terms of a spiritual example. For the 31% who didn't know about their parent's spiritual state as youth, the question came to mind, "How do you not know?" Could it be, that we as adults, ashamed of our past, pretend that it never happened and hope that since our kids are in church, it won't happen to them? That is a hopeful perspective, but not a very realistic one. Those young people are going to struggle with the same problems as their parents, and those in their life best equipped to teach them how to overcome those struggles, because of pride, fear of others opinion, or because they never overcame the struggles themselves, refuse to give the instruction so desparately needed. Do what I say, not what I do(or did), isn't a very effective parenting principle. I John 1:8, 10 - "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us" - both approach this line of thought. We deceive ourselves by ignoring the sin in our life, as well as ignoring the fact that our young people are not fooled by our hypocrisy. Rather than getting things right, we go on living a lie, covering instead of confessing our sin. Proverbs 28:13 shows clearly the end of this life - "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but he that confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." We want our youth to prosper, yet we ignore teaching that simple thing that enables them to. In our attempt to portray the perfect parent, the only thing we accomplish is to successfully drive a wedge in the relationship. We must show them, not how to be perfect, but how to be perfecting; that is, growing, maturing. We only do that when we humbly confess our faults, and make them right. This is the example our youth need. Three of the hardest words to say in the English language are really very simple - I was wrong. What a great promise we have in I John 1:9. Forgiveness is readily available, and we hear much talk about it in modern Christianity. What we hear less of is that which must always precede forgiveness - repentance. A wonderful example of this is in Luke 15:11-32, the parable of the prodigal son. Far more important than the son , however, is the forgiveness which the father so freely and earnestly gives - after the son repents. When was the last time, we went to our Father and humbled ourselves, and repented of the wrong we had done Him, or perhaps a spouse, or even one of our children? Forgiveness and restoration are waiting - will we heed the call?