Pastors and parents must be intentional about the formation of the young men in our homes and congregations. Lost boys don’t have to stay lost. They can be found, ultimately, by a Heavenly Father who loves them and can redeem their lives for His glory.
A recent poll by the Survey Center on American Life shows that, to the surprise of many, high school boys are trending conservative. Scholar Jean Twenge, author of the new book Generations, which examines the various instincts and trends among America’s generational cohorts, remarks, “Among liberals, the future is female and among conservatives, the future is male.”
For conservative Christians, the data about our young men seems encouraging. And it’s not surprising that high school boys, having surveyed the confusing messages about gender and sexuality they hear from pop culture and other influences, cast about for an alternative. At a time when over 18 million children, one out of every four, live in a fatherless home, too many boys lack for male role models.
This has resulted in a crisis of masculinity. Christine Emba writes about her own observations:
They struggled to relate to women. They didn’t have enough friends. They lacked long-term goals. Some guys—including ones I once knew—just quietly disappeared, subsumed into video games and porn.
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By Chris Gordon — 2 years ago
As saints who still sin, we regularly have need to be restored in the knowledge that we are forgiven and cleansed before the Lord. The Lord lifts us out of the guilt and defilement that we bring on ourselves. He assures us of his faithfulness to forgive and cleanse us once and for all, based on the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:9
When our lives are under a great amount of stress, it is easy to fall back into the mindset that our acceptance with God is performance-based. The best of saints struggle with this problem. Do you experience the sense of guilt that you are never doing enough to please God? Is there a lingering fear that maybe God does not love or accept you?
Stressful times can lead to the resurrection of old addictions and struggles of the past.
Most likely, those sentiments arise in connection with certain sins in our lives. Maybe it is that same sin you have struggled with for years without the deliverance you thought would be given by now. Maybe it is because you struggle with how little your devotion is to the Lord. Maybe the experience of constant failure has become overwhelming.
What may actually be happening to many believers in times of uncertainty is not stronger devotion to Christ but rather the resurrection of old addictions and struggles of the past. Stress and anxiety have a strange way of prompting us to reach for old idols. Those idols always have been and still are death to us, and yet we grab them for relief. Through it all we wonder, does the Lord still accept us?
In 1 John 1:9 God provides ongoing help for those who are already forgiven of all their sins.
At times like this, it is good to meditate on the promise of 1 John 1:9. The Holy Spirit inspired these words to reassure believers who are confused and struggling over the continued presence of sin in their lives. Here, God gives his prescription for how we can respond in faith when we find ourselves doing the things we do not want to do, or neglecting to do the things he wants us to do (see Romans 7).
In this remarkable promise, God provides ongoing help for those who are already forgiven of all their sins.
By admin — 2 years ago
We can face the disappointments of life with hope because we know that one day sin, sorrow, and disappointment will be no more. We can repent over our sin and feel freedom because we know Christ became sin for us. We can live without shame because we know God will never leave us or forsake us.
I don’t know about you, but my life hasn’t always turned out like I anticipated. I didn’t experience the bliss of motherhood that the baby shampoo commercials promised. My dream job wasn’t such a dream after all. The house that was supposed to be better than the last turned out to be just as imperfect and broken. And no matter how many how-to books I’ve read, I still struggle in relationships, in my role as a wife and mother, and in organizing my life.
The truth is, life is filled with failed expectations. We pursue dreams only to find that they weren’t what we thought they’d be. Relationships let us down. Our bodies let us down. We let ourselves down. That’s because life is not as it should be. We live in a broken and fallen world where life is disappointing. It often doesn’t “work” or go as planned. We sin and are sinned against.
When life is disappointing, I often ask myself, how should I respond? Do I make lemonade from my challenges and view life from Pollyanna-rimmed glasses, denying the harsh realities of life? Or do I fully taste the sourness of this fallen world and just accept it like it is? Do I demand life work my way, or do I lock myself in my house, fearful of the next disappointment and failure?
Or is there perhaps another way to view life altogether?
In many ways, our lives as Christians are like walking on a slackline.
Have you ever watched a tightrope walker? We once went on a vacation to the mountains of Northern California. While hiking in Yosemite, we came across a group of brave hikers. They hung a slackline across a deep crevasse and walked across it. One misstep and the hiker would fall thousands of feet to the ground below. I couldn’t even watch because just the thought of what they were doing made me nauseous.
Like someone walking across a rope, we live out a holy tension. We are called to live in the world without being of the world. Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins, we are dead to the power of sin, yet not completely free from its presence. We are called to be both dependent on Christ (John 15:5) and to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).
In fact, as long as we live on this earth and until Christ returns, we live in what theologians call the “already/not yet.” We are in an in-between time where life is not one-dimensional. It’s not as simple as making lemonade from the bitter experiences of life. Rather, life is an intertwined experience of joy and pain, tears and laughter, beauty and bitterness.
By Murray Campbell — 1 year ago
Parents, know what your children are being taught. When your children attend special seminars and lessons with outside groups, do your homework and find out what’s going on. Ask the school in advance for information about what will be taught. Debrief with your children afterwards. Listen to their questions with lots of patience and love. Remind them that God’s ways are good and show them how to persist with kindness and grace when our schoolmates disagree. Lest you think this is only an issue in Government schools, this is now widespread among private and independent schools.
A friend’s teenage son recently attended a high school excursion in the city. The day was focusing on empathy and learning skills to understand people who are different from ourselves. Sounds great! There we are discussions about homelessness and disabilities, which is great. Some of the day was about how to relate to LGBT people. It still sounds as though it may be useful. As part of the training, the presenter informed the kids that Christians are among the worst offenders in handing out bigotry. Christians are hateful people who cause all kinds of harm to LGBT people. Indeed, the school children were informed that parts of the Bible needs to be removed.
The boy spoke up in front of the class and explained that the trainer’s claims were untrue; that takes courage. One can imagine how his views were received. The poor kid went home having been essentially made to feel that he and his family were awful people on account of their Christian faith…and his entire class now know it!
Let’s leave aside the overdose of irony about an ‘empathy’ training event teaching kids that Christians are the worst and are bigots, and so are parts of the Bible, the claim is simply not true.
This presenter is simply repeating the popular lie which alleges disagreement equals hate. The correlation is both intellectually and morally insipid. Take Jesus for example. Jesus Christ disagreed with all manner of beliefs and behaviour (including sex outside marriage) and yet he is the most loving person ever to have lived. Indeed, it is his love that drives him to disprove ideas and actions that contradict God’s good purposes. Jesus even went to the cross and willingly gave his life for people who actively opposed him in every way imaginable. Activists, politicians and educators may repeat the mantra a thousand times, but disagreeing on important matters is not equivalent to bigotry and hatred.
And notice the gall of the presenter, who in the name of tolerance and acceptance, felt confident to tell a class of school children about all those hateful Christians and their hateful Bible. According to the group’s website, this organisation teaches 1000s of school children every year; imagine what other messages they have pushed onto children.
In a reasonable world, one might assume that defaming a religion directly to school children in this manner would be unacceptable. Surely inclusion includes Christians? Imagine the public outcry if a school program taught that Islam was evil or that Jews held abhorrent beliefs? Common sense ought to lead parents to trust that schools will object and never use the program again. But in today’s world, schools will probably shy away from doing the right thing because the fear of being outed by activists is tangible and the very long and judgemental arm of the Government is also quite real.