Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Using Facebook to the Glory of God-From The Blazing Center Blog


Facebook Meets Wisdom

I’m on Facebook. You’re on Facebook. Your kids, mom, youth group, and dog hang out in Facebook world. The site can be a useful tool, allowing you to chat with friends, post pictures of your “Anakin Skywalker” themed birthday party, and send little notes to your pals like, “Haha, LOL, C U L8TR” (I’m being a bit sarcastic – I do like the site).

But Facebook (or Myspace, Twitter, etc.) also poses unique temptations, and we must think biblically about how we and our children use the site. Each of us needs to answer the question: How do I use Facebook for the glory of God?

Here are three major categories to think through in evaluating your use of Facebook:

Relationship with God

Facebook is a source of everlasting entertainment. It’s so easy to bounce from page to page, game to game, photo to photo. It’s mindless, distracting, and somewhat fun. Without self-control, a quick dip into Facebook can turn into a two-hour Internet safari.

Is it wrong to spend two hours on Facebook? Not necessarily. But it has the potential to drain the vitality out of our relationship with the Lord. Can you relate?

Try these questions on for size:

- Does using Facebook result in me spending less time with the Lord?

- Does it result in me being more distracted in my devotional times?

Relationships with Others

We were made for real, person-to-person relationships. Superpoking, chatting, and throwing snowballs at each other doesn’t constitute biblical fellowship. God created us to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2), “meet together” (Heb. 10:25), “rejoice with those who rejoice”, and “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15) This doesn’t usually happen in a meaningful way on Facebook.


- Do I invest more time in Facebook relationships than face-to-face relationships?

- Does using Facebook take me away from my family, friends, church, etc.?


Just like television, music, and movies, Facebook is a loaded gun when it comes to temptation. Flirting, sexually immoral applications, sensual sidebar ads, inappropriate pics uploaded by friends – it’s all possible. Can it be avoided? Sure. But the fact that it exists should put us on guard every time we log in.

And so we ask…

- Is using Facebook causing me to be sexually tempted?

- Am I taking the appropriate, biblical measures to fight against these temptations?

I don’t have this all figured out. I wrestle through these issues on a regular basis, and I would encourage you to wrestle through them as well. Parents, talk to your kids about these things. As you learn to use Facebook for the glory of God, teach your children to do the same.

Should we abandon Facebook because of these temptations? I don’t think so. But we need to think carefully and biblically every time we logon.

Here are a few articles that I found to be particularly helpful:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Flood Zone Weekly

I am really excited about what is coming up at the Flood Zone! Make sure to invite your friends as you will know, at least somewhat, what to expect each week...

Here's a reminder and a preview:

1st Sundays

We will answer the questions you put in the cup, or bring to me, or questions I run across in my own study. Please, if you have any question you would like answered, pass it along. Here are some possibilities: Where did Cain's wife come from? How Far can we take our God-given appetites before it becomes sinful? How do you witness to someone who says "God needs to find me" and doesn't seem interested in searching for Truth? What are Satan's favorite tactics? Can Christians be possessed by demons?
See how far reaching these questions can be? So, go ahead and ask the ones you have!

2nd Sundays

We will be talking about the cross, what it means, different aspects and debates about the cross through history, missionary stories and more. The Gospel is the focus of 2nd Sundays, so a great time to bring your lost friends!

3rd Sundays

You will be led by your friends! Mike is starting things off in April, then Ian in May and Evan in June. If you'd like to get on the list, then let me know! I will come talk to you if you don't come talk to me!

4th Sundays

These are nights for movies, videos, songs, lyric discussions, and whatever else comes around that is multi-media related. We may throw some video games on the big screen, play some group games like Scene it or YDKJ...You'll just have to wait and see what we do! Again, a great night to bring friends as it is low impact and non-threatening...and Truth will still be proclaimed!!!

5th Sundays will be Invite Nights Out (like bowling, lake day, un-birthday party type stuff!) Key...Invite Nights Out...so INVITE YOUR FRIENDS!

I'm so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Logos are copyright Michael Jancart and standstilldesigns (www.michaeljancart.com) Used by permission...PLEASE DON'T STEAL THEM!!!

Funny or Not? Vol. 17

Since the start of the baseball season is a little over a week away, I will honor opening day with some funny or not pics related to baseball. Leave a comment of which is your fav!

Do Hard Things Challenge 10

We were encouraged this week by stories of teenagers who recognized a ministry need and, instead of saying, "I wish someone would do something about that", they did something about it!

From feeding the homeless in Oregon to renovating affordable housing for the poor in Mississippi; running a national political campaign to raising money and awareness for the global fight of slavery. These students took the challenge to do the hard thing, and have been impacting their local community, and surely the Kingdom of God, as a result.

In Matthew 9:1-8 we see Five essential characteristics of ministry that we need to make a part of our everyday as the Holy Spirit gives us eyes see opportunity to minister:

1. Jesus did not ignore his own city (v1)
2. Jesus was known for helping the sick (v2)
3. Jesus dealt with the heart, not just the body (v2)
4. Jesus was more concerned with Truth than everyone's comfort (v3-6)
5. Jesus pointed people to God. (v8)

What are you known for? Do you find it easier to minister to people outside of your "own city" of school, work, or home? Is the Word of God and the hope of Jesus a part of your ministry to the people around you? Do you speak Truth even if it makes people uncomfortable? Are you pointing people to glorify God with your words and actions?

Allow the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the needs in your “own city” this week and then act, according to what God wants you to do, to meet those needs both physically and spiritually. The greatest need any man has is eternal, but, like Brantley said, “It’s hard for someone to get serious about heaven if he’s starving.” (Page 205)

Joey Update Vol. 11

Sesegeh tarbema!

Greetings and peace to you all, my family. My last few days
have been busy and especially productive in terms of project goals. Let me
share what I've been up to and how I've been working with the Owner of the
harvest field.

We had an opportunity to go out to a village about 20km from our town. This
is a primarily Ar. Village but there are a few followers of the Way there
and they had some great news for us! They know some people from our group!
There were a few there even who spoke our language and I might add, a few
followers. We talked with them over much tea* and they were excited to help
us in our work. They shared some ideas of getting the News out to our people
in their own language. I am encouraged that they p'ay for us and are "ready
to go today and share the News." We would appreciate your p'ayers for wisdom
not to douse the zeal but to direct it in the best way so we can see these
groups they shared with us come into the Kingdom.

We also went back for a naming ceremony just yesterday. Naming ceremonies
take place a week after a baby is born- it is a critical time for newborns
as infant mortality is rather high here. All seems well for this baby
though, praise Him. There we also talked more about how to effectively reach
our people. There was some talk of getting a vehicle to travel in, either a
car or motorcycle. We need to p'ay some more about it because there are many
factors involving these vehicles. We do not want, for example, to be seen as
the white guys who have lots of money and will give money to anyone who
asks, as this detracts from our work. Please also p'ay for this opportunity.

Also we are planning today to go out to another nearby village where our
people are. I happened on one of those chance meetings our Father gives, to
have met the chief of this village back in Jan. I want to go visit him and
his village because we heard news that a fire ate some house in their
village, to use the N. expression. The contacts out in these villages are
key to getting an opportunity to visit them. It is not the best idea to just
walk into a village uninvited and without knowing anyone there. Fortunately,
I do know a few people now from there and I will take this opportunity to
visit them and see what I can do to help. I heard the fire also ate their
granaries with the village's whole food supply for the rest of the year.
Please lift this up too. Perhaps our Father will see fit to send another
Joseph to help in this time of their famine (Gen. 41:33-36).

Thank you all so much for your constant p'ayers for me and for this work. We
are seeing more openness to hear stories and things seem to moving smoothly
so far. We still have much work to do in these three weeks left here. I am
confidant that our Father hears our p'ayers and knows our needs and will
keep us on task. You see, He's had our people in His mind before we did and
the whole goal of this spread of the News through them is His work. He's a
big G'd so lets p'ay big p'ayers to Him. I have been p'aying that He would
even use our people to jump start this "dead heart of Africa"** that His
life may flow from our people to the rest of the nation and spread to other
nations. I've been p'aying that He would use even us in His work to
accomplish this. Please join me in this weighty work. Remember that He said,
"If you believe you will command this mountain and it will be cast into the
sea for you." It does sometimes seem that our task is just that, but He is a
power stronger than dynamite.


*Tea is terribly important here. They call it the "key to the mouth" and I
find it true in my case. It seems to help my language flow better. I will
even liken it to spinach for Popeye- though it is tastier than spinach.

**Before I ever came to this land I wanted to know all I could about it.
There was precious little info at that time (I did manage to see a picture
of a camel in a desert though, supposedly from this country). I found the
"dead heart" saying somewhere online and it has since stuck with me. It gave
me a good hope because I know One who steps into hopeless situations and
breathes new life into them. May the dead heart beat again!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Do Hard Things Challenge 9

In Matthew 5:13-16 we are challenge to be salt and light to this world. It is time for this generation to rise up to this challenge.

What does it mean to be salt?

-to be different/unique (salt is different from the food it is used on...it has a distinct flavor)
-to slow/stop decay (to be an antidote to the decay of sin in this world)

What does it meant to be light?

-Shine out into the darkness
-Reveal darkness-call sin, sin
-Lead others to the source of light, Jesus, and to glorify him

What causes the salt to lose it's saltiness?

-When we ignore our uniqueness in Christ and try to fit into the culture
-When we stop injecting ourselves into culture with the remedy of sin, Jesus

What causes the light to go out?

-Hiding from the darkness instead of shining into it
-focusing on man, which only reflects the light (ex. moon is not a source of light)

We need to be salt and light in practical ways to the people around us on a daily basis. Here are a few ideas of how to be salt and light at home, at school and at work:

1. Serving others (By taking their trash to the cans for them at lunch. By helping at the grocery store by returning people's carts for them).

2. Praying for your friends when they are struggling...right then...right there!

3. Take those jobs that other people don't want and do it without complaining

4. Simple respect

5. Give simple help to your neighbors, even without being asked (take their trash can back, feed their dog, clean their yard, etc.)

6. When you hear about a local ministry that needs help, find out how you can pitch in and then do it!

7. Love the "unlovely" people you see every day

8. Make your Facebook and Myspace page a place that penetrates the darkness with light, not a place that adds to the darkness

9. Stand up for the little guy

10. Ask for forgiveness when you have wronged someone

This week look to intentionally be salt and light to your parents, friends, teachers, co-workers, and that lady at the cash register at food lion.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Joey Update Vol. 10

Sesigeh! My first week back in the town of A. has been a good one. My day
begins with p'ayer (my partner and I have been meeting together regularly at
a wee early hour to seek His will for our day) and recently, I've been
longing to see Him more and more throughout our day. Well, He promises that
those who seek Him will find Him, but mainly because He seeks those who seek
Him first! Let me tell you a bit about our first days back.

We committed our plane flight (with necessary bumpy landing) to His hand and
He guided us smoothly through the sky. The dust was really kicking up and so
it was hard to see the ground or get a decent picture, sorry folks. After we
landed, we began almost immediately in meeting and reconnecting with those
people we left a month and a half ago. For the most part all has been well,
though it is a bit sad that some of the people we knew have moved to other
places for work.

On one day, we plucked up the courage to boldly enter people's houses. It is
almost expected in this culture and even greatly honors those in the houses
we enter, just to know that they are sought. So one day, hovering at the
entrance of the door of one of our friends, my friend Col. Encouraged me
with the words, "just go in Joey." So, against my Western inhibitions, on I
went. This particular visit we did not see the person we were looking for,
but news travels well here. He later met us and almost apologized at being

We heard another bit of news, just to give you all the nature of how things
travel here. It is not newspapers that spread the news but networks. It is
my theory that everyone here knows most everyone else, or so it seems, and
so news travels fast and beyond our imaginings.

One of our guards, who lives in a village 30k away from A., said one day his
moto broke down. This is not so uncommon and neither was what he found out
in the tiny village he went to for help. He said the people there mentioned
us, the two crazy white guys who are learning the N. language! Ok, they
didn't call us crazy, but they were surprised that we would want to learn
their language. Having never visited this particular place, just think what
the news will be when His word is introduced into the N. language! If these
networks travel farther and faster than we ever can, then perhaps an entire
people group in the heartland of C. will be reached for His name! That's the

P'ayerwalking continues and we lift up our neighbours by name frequently.
One of our visits to the souk, the local market here, was a great success.
We usually cause a stir of some kind wherever we go (we're the crazy white
guys learning N. remember?) but the market is especially intensive in our
stirrings. Just yesterday, Col. happened to tell a story from His word in N.
It was amazing to me how closely our audience followed the story and this
without any interruptions! That is a big thing to ask for but perhaps our
Father knows we're serious about the work. With this subtle change I see in
some of the people we've met again, coupled with the new boldness to enter
people's house and their welcoming this boldness, I have a great hope as I
see the Father working and as I see His hand in our activities.

Please lift us up today and this next week especially. We are planning to
visit outside villages, our first visits to these particular places this
next week, as well as share the recorded story we have so far. Travel and
grace with the people would be especially high on the List.

Man shekarkisigeh wa man shekarki Bubzig bu!
-I thank you all and I thank our great Father (for you)!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Funny or Not? Vol. 16

Google Reader

Hey everyone

I was thinking the other day that there is a lot of good and great stuff out there on the internet from Christian writers through blogs. As you know, we have our blog (www.h2ostudents.blogspot.com) but there are so many others. The rebelution blog, andy gullahorn, council for biblical manhood and womanhood, girl talk, etc., etc., etc.

Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to have to cruise around the internet to find all of these. I am interested in making it easier for your students to have access to this great biblical material.

Google has a feature called google reader. If you've never checked it out, it is worth your time. Basically it is a one stop location to access all your blogs of interest through subscriptions. Google reader then grabs all the new updates and send them to one web page. If you go to google, you will find the reader button in the upper corner. Basically you sign in with an e-mail address and password, subscribe to a couple of blogs of interest, and off you go.

What I would like to do is set up a google reader account for each student, add some blogs that I think they would like, or that I would like them to read, and then pass the info on to everyone of how to sign in. All you would have to do is go to google reader, enter your e-mail address and the password i set up and, viola!

So, keep your eye out for e-mails detailing your google reader account information! Parents, you will be able to access these accounts too with the same email/password combo to see what your kids are reading!

Using the Internet for HIS glory!



Thursday, March 12, 2009

Funny or Not? Vol. 15

Take a Stand!

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Do Hard Things Challenge 8

What's the craziest debate you've ever had with someone? Was it about putting the toiled seat down, or whether you should drive while talking on your cell phone, or whether lettuce is required for something to be considered a salad? Maybe you have had a debate over Batman being the greatest superhero or if daily bathing should be required by law?

These topics are obviously silly to debate over in the grand scheme of life, but, unfortunately, these are the types of things we often are willing to have the most passionate debates about. Why is this? Probably because they don’t matter and we know we are not going to greatly offend the other person or lose their friendship. When it comes to the big issues (abortion, sex, heaven/hell, creation, respect) we often shy away from them because of a variety of fears, but those are the conversations we need to have because those are the conversations that lead to eternal life. Let's talk about why we should take a stand, what our message should be and how to prepare to take a stand for Christ in this “sinful generation”.

In John 17 we see what is referred to as the “High Priestly Prayer”. Jesus was praying for you and for me. He was praying for us because he knew we would need to stand for Truth in this world that is not our home.

In this prayer we see at least 5 Truths about why we should take a stand.

Security-We are secure in Christ so there is no fear in standing (v12)
Joy-Christ’s desire is our joy in Him through dwelling on and living in his Word (v13)
Truth-We have all the resources we need to stand...the Word (v14-17)
Commission-Christ has commissioned us to stand for Him in the world (v18)
Success-Our stand for Christ will produce results (v20)

When you stand, what should be in the message? Is it enough to just disagree or should there be something more intentional about our conversations?

In March 8:34-38 we see 3 topics that should always be a part of the stands we take.

The Cross-Bearing the message of the cross is an essential characteristic of a Christ follower. (v34)
The Temporal Nature of this World-The perceived benefits of this world are eternally worthless (v35-37)
The Word and Character of God-We need to clearly communicate the Word and character of God as a part of our stand for Truth...after all, that is the source of truth. (v38)

The Harris brothers encourage us with 6 things to remember when we consider taking a stand:

Start with the Bible

Examine Yourself

Listen to your conscience

Seek godly counsel

Be humble, loving and bold

Be part of the solution

Is there a stand you know you should be taking but haven’t?
Is there something in your life you know is wrong but continue to do?

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Intentional Ministry

Alright...here is a new feature. I want you to comment to this post and share your intentional ministry moments throughout the week. I have been really encouraged by the stories I have been hearing as God has led you to minister to your families and friends. Keep listening to the call of the Spirit and let us know how He is leading you to intentionally minister!

Please keep names private (not yours, but the people you minister to) as this is a public forum and we don't want to embarrass anyone.

Looking forward to hearing what God is doing!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Do Hard Things Challenge 7

Here we come to the hardest part of do hard things: the small, everyday, hard things. Everything from this activity represents the small hard things. The small hard things are those things that seem to never go away, that never get us much recognition or praise, that have to be done everyday and become quickly repetitive and tedious. They are the ones that need more motivation to accomplish and can easily be pushed aside for the “more important” things.

Small hard things include: homework, staying awake in church, studying, put away your clothes, prayer, be selfless, get up on time/be on time, drive speed limit, read bible, cleaning your room and more!

We know we need to do the small hard things, but why?

Here are 6 Truths about Small hard things from a couple of familiar bible stories in Genesis 6 and Numbers 13-14

1. Small hard things find favor in God’s eyes (Genesis 6:8)

2. Small hard things teach us understanding for obedience (Genesis 6:13-14, 22)

3. Small hard things build confidence (Numbers 13:30)

4. Small hard things build trust (Numbers 14:7-8)

5. Small hard things build real success (Numbers 14:30)

6. Small hard things prepare for big hard things (Joshua 1:1-9)

Knowing that God uses the small hard things to train us for the big hard things he wants us to do we need to identify and defeat what keeps us from doing the small hard things.

5 Ways we Fail to do Hard Thnigs (Refer to pages 136-137 of Do Hard Things)

1. Procrastination
2. Inconsistency
3. Compromise
4. Begrudging
5. Cheating

How do we avoid this 5 level trap?

Read Colossians 3:23-whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men
Read 1 Corinthians 10:31-so, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Read Galatians 6:7-Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

“If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweet streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music...sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.” (Martin Luther King Jr.-p144)

Calendar Update

Check down the right hand side of this page for the H2O Calendar. Also, stay tuned for a hard copy to be placed in your hands in the near future!