I was saddened to hear the news yesterday of the passing of Nelson Mandela, however I know he lived a full life and life of significance and impact. Well done.
Let me say up front that I’m not a true “gamer.” I play video games with my kids, but I have friends that stay up until 2 or 3 am playing games and are true gamers – that’s not me. With that being said, I want to offer some pastoral counsel and advice to church leaders and parents: Be careful what games you let your kids buy and play.
I recently had a friend purchase “Grand Theft Auto V.” He got to the third scene and had to take it back to the store because it was so bad and vulgar. He described people having sex in a van, two going at in the street and one scene where the paparazzi pay you to take pictures of a teen star having sex. Of course in the game, you can still pick up a prostitute. Read this review of the game to truly know what goes on.
Some of you may be shocked. Some of you may be yawning and thinking what’s the big deal? The big deal is what our kids are seeing behind closed doors in their rooms when we think they’re playing a simple racecar game and they are acting out sex, crime (remember it’s called “Grand Theft Auto”), and violence (there are a lot of fights and car-jackings).
When parents don’t get involved in details like this in their kids’ lives, it leads to trouble down the road. Kids are growing up today with a taste and thirst for violence (think “Halo” and “Call of Duty”) and when you mix that with a negative view of women and thinking of them as sex objects, it makes you think what the next generation of leaders, pastors, teachers and businessmen and women will be like.
I don’t want to preach or come down too heavy. I just want to raise awareness of a problem and strongly encourage you to check into what your kids are playing. If a thirty-three year old friend of mine had to return the video game because it made him blush and feel dirty, what business does a teenager or child have playing it?
So, like the title says: Be careful little eyes what you see. My kids play games like Madden (football) and Indiana Jones and Star Wars. We are intentional not to buy them games with graphic content or violence. I encourage you as leaders in the church to be careful what you look at (on computers, tablets and gaming consoles) and be a present parent to your children. They look to you for guidance and today’s kids need all they can get. So as the Christmas season approaches, take a careful look at what games and movies you buy your kids. Okay - I’m stepping down off my soap box!
Let me starting out by saying “Happy Thanksgiving!” and encouraging you to give thanks this holiday season. This will be my last post this week. I’m taking off this afternoon through the weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, in-laws and friends.
I know many would ask what I’m thankful for after losing my job and the breaking of my heart over leaving a congregation that I dearly love, but God is great and God is good and I’m very blessed.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! God bless you, my friends.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
In the last two weeks, I’ve consulted with three different churches that are going multisite. I’m consulting with a fourth in December and booking more for 2014. Maybe you’re a church that has at least considered branching out into multisite. Maybe your busting at the seams, out of room at your church or have several people driving in from 20 minutes away. I can help you and I want to. See below for my new offerings for coaching and consulting.
MULTISITE CHURCH CONSULTING
Having been a student and coach of multisite for a decade and having been a Campus Pastor at a multisite church, I get frequent invites to work with churches that are considering going multisite and want to work through next steps and the process of all that must be considered before launching a campus. I also coach and work with Campus Pastors and leaders at existing multisite churches. Contact me today if you’d like to start a discussion about working with your organization.
*** I met yesterday with a church about general consulting and love helping churches of all sizes and denominations get to the next level. If you’re interested in another type of consulting, go HERE for more details.
The following is a guest post from Bo Lane of ExPastors.com. Bo is a writer and filmmaker. I am working through forgiveness in my own life right now and have at various times over the years. As Bo says, “Forgiveness is a process.” I’m in that process right now. Maybe you are, too. Read on:
Forgiveness is a funny thing. Because once you choose to forgive someone, you’ll find that what it brings to you, some strange divine phenomenon – if you will, is far greater than the forgiveness you handed out. If that were not the case, millions of Pinterest extremists would not have pinned Alexander Pope’s famous quote on their wall: To err is human; to forgive, divine.
Forgiveness is divine. Or is it?
Some might argue that forgiveness is more a paradox or an impossibility altogether. Because forgiveness, they’d say, that’s granted to the unrepentant, is actually condonement. So, if you were to forgive someone, who has no desire to be forgiven, you’d actually be condoning the very thing you were forgiving them for.
I can’t say I agree. Why? Because, as a believer in Jesus, we forgive by faith and out of an obedience to God and his commands to forgive, not based on an individual’s repentant or unrepentant status. We forgive because we have been forgiven. Forgiveness has more to do with the position of our heart and less to do with the one who has offended us.
But how do we forgive someone who has done something to us that’s nearly unforgivable? It’s easier said than done, I know, but the benefits will eventually, but probably not immediately, outweigh all else.
Take, for instance, a Santaesque man named Robert Rule. His daughter, only 16 years old, was taken from the streets and murdered by Gary Ridgway, Seattle’s notorious Green River killer. She became one of his many, nearly fifty, victims.
Rule took the stand at Ridgway’s sentencing trial and, with what appeared to be sincere humility, made a statement that stood out among all the rest. “Mr. Ridgway,” he said, “there are people here who hate you. I’m not one of them. I forgive you for what you have done. You’ve made it difficult to live up to what I believe, and what God says to do, and that is to forgive. And he doesn’t say to forgive certain people, he says to forgive all. So you are forgiven, sir.”
As you’re thinking through the areas of forgiveness that you’ve experienced in your own life, both given and received, consider these few points:
1. Forgiveness is a process. Often times, a very slow process.
For Robert Rule and his wife, it took more than 20 years before they were able to confront the person that stole such a large part of their lives. He had a long time to process his hurt and anger and chose, above all else, to forgive.
2. Forgiveness is mostly about you.
Lewis B. Smedes, the author of Forgive and Forget, wrote that “When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumor out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself.” Forgiveness is more about freedom than forgiveness; a divine process that is felt more than it is understood.
As I write this, I’m reminded of specific times when the actions of certain people caused a lot of hurt in my life. The forgiveness process, on many occasions, took several years and much healing was needed to overcome the hurt. If there is something that you are holding on to, now might be a great time to embrace forgiveness.
Because, ultimately, that’s where we find freedom.
How have you handled forgiveness in your own life?