Why study the Old Testament?
I mean, it even has the word “old” in it. Why would should we study something that’s old when we have the New Testament? True, the New itself is around 2,000 years old, but it’s newer than the Old Testament; therefore, isn’t it better? So why then should we study the Old one?
The New Testament is better, for it contains within it the story of Jesus–his life, death, and resurrection. However, there’s a reason why the Old Testament makes up 60% of the Protestant canon. Actually, there’s many reasons, which I’d like to bring to your attention to consider, for I believe there are many Protestants who give too little attention to these 39 books, and believe they are of less importance than what they truly are. (Perhaps, because our Catholic brethren put too much emphasis upon the Old Testament; therefore, we swung too far on the pendulum to create our Protestant identity, while the truth rests in the middle–balance.) After all, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (And if the New Testament wasn’t fully written yet, what books of Scripture do you think he was referring to?) Continue reading
I had the privilege last night, to see the opening performance of our community theatre’s presentation, of “Fiddler on the Roof.” The performance was tremendous! filled with the amazing talents of many skilled Rolla actors and singers. It was also cool getting to see one of the teens in our youth group dance while balancing a bottle on his head, and another had some mad skills with a spotlight.
The play also stirred up fond memories as I watched and sung to it, for “Fiddler” was the first play I had participated in while I was in high school. . . . The story centers around the Jewish father Tevye, who struggles to keep his traditions in 1905 Russia, as his three oldest daughters pursue marriages for love. Each marriage bending Tevye further and further from his customs. The play ending with an edict forcing Tevye, his family, and the other Jews to leave their village of Anatevka. Continue reading
“If you have a group of twelve kids who don’t understand your illustrations and one of them wants to kill you, you have a youth group like Jesus.” –Mark Yaconelli
If you just think of this quote on the surface level, for it quickly gets dark if you dive deeper, it’s a funny analogy. I came upon this quote while reading Sustainable Youth Ministry: Why Most Youth Ministry Doesn’t Last and What Your Church Can Do About It by Mark DeVries. At first, it made me chuckle, for I have one teen who jokes about using nukes against me whenever I challenge him to a wrestling match . . . and win. And another who has watched way too many crime shows and claims to know how to get away with hiding a dead body. . . .
But after my chuckling, I began to think about Jesus and his disciples, how he may have been the first youth minister and what his youth group would have been like. Continue reading
Last weekend, I got to see Black Panther with a group of friends–and it was well worth the wait! The story was solid, the sites were stunning, and the action was awesome! I also enjoyed how there was representation with many women and black characters; however, they represented without making the white men look dumb–Agent Ross still had a very important part to play at the end. Nevertheless, my biggest complaint, is that there were no elephants. I mean, we were in Africa, and I didn’t see a glimpse of my favorite animal, which makes this movie a nine out of ten in my book. (The sandy elephant you see in the intro story doesn’t, doesn’t count–it’s not a real elephant.)
Like I said, it was another good movie produced by Marvel. Other than the popcorn and getting to share this experience with a group of good friends, my favorite part of the movie, was the wisdom that King T’Chaka shared with his son, “You are a good man, with a good heart. And it’s hard for a good man to be a king.” Continue reading
Unlike my favorite book and my favorite movies, my favorite song does not stay consistent. But one thing which is consistent about it, is that it usually changes every three months. Two reasons for this, is because one, I usually listen and listen and listen to it, until I burn myself out. And two, because my life changes; therefore, different lyrics tend to speak louder at different times, depending on my mood and what I’m going through.
At the moment, my favorite song is Ashes Remain’s “All of Me.” A song that spoke loudly to me when I heard it on the radio. A song that has become an anthem for my life. And a song that I’d like to share with you:
It has almost been eight months since I graduated from Harding University and dove into full-time youth ministry. It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed so quickly. But looking back, I feel this is truly my calling. However, though I have greatly enjoyed what I do, that doesn’t mean it’s been an easy ride. . . . I mean, I’ve been to three funerals since I’ve started . . .
A lot has happened during my time serving. I can easily write a book about all these experiences, such as a mission trip to Texas, the time spent at Little Prarie Bible Camp, fasting for thirty hours, and cheering at numerous sports events. . . . But one thing that does stick out which I can write a blog about, is that I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked, “So, what do you do all day?” I even have a teen in the youth group, let’s call him Michelangelo, who teases that he works harder than me since he goes to school five days a week, while I only work two [Sunday and Wednesday]. I know Michelangelo says this out of good fun, but there are people who believe this–that youth ministry is one of the easiest jobs in the world. That youth ministers don’t need to work too hard, that they’re just big kids who get to hang with the teens. Or that youth ministry is just a stepping stone into pulpit ministry–that’s where the real work begins.
There’s a lot of crazy ideas out there, but hopefully I can shed some light on what it’s like being a youth minister, by sharing some of my own thoughts and experiences. (Though I won’t share all of them; I can’t give away all of my trade secrets.)
Does Hell exist?
Yes, I believe it does, because that is what the Bible teaches. Though I don’t believe it’ll be what a lot of people imagaine when they think of Hell, such as no red devils with horns or pitchforks. Yet strangely, the Scriptures are very vague when it comes to describing what this place is like, leaving room for much speculation. (It’s actually Jesus who gives us the most insight about this topic, just as he does about Heaven). But perhaps this is for our own good, so that we won’t spend too much time studying this dark topic, or elevating ourselves as judges who can determine who belongs in this place and who doesn’t. The Lord merely providing us a warning of its existence, and letting us know just what we need to know of the topic, nothing more.
Hell is described as a place of fire and a second death for those who do not repent of their sins (Revelation 21:8), a place of eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46), a place of destruction and absence of God’s presence for those after the Day of Judgement, those who do not know God and who did not obey His Word (2 Thessalonians 1:5-12), a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50), a place where the worm never dies and the fire never ceases (Mark 9:42-49), a place that his been prepared for Satan and his followers (Matthew 25:41), and a place where Satan will not rule, but be punished like all who will dwell in this place– for he too will be thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur and be tormented both day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10).
I believe Hell is a place that exists, but I want to ask you–do you believe that Hell is real? If you said, “Yes,” then why? Do you believe that Hell is a place because you have read and studied the Bible for yourself? Or just because someone else told you that there is such a place? Continue reading