Lifestyle Worth Living
NO FEAR? but plenty of Trust!
Howâ€™s Your Social Life?
The months just seem to fly past and I can’t believe that the summer is just around the corner already. Perhaps that idea isn’t quite so enticing if you know there are exams in the weeks ahead! Or maybe you’ve finished them all and there’s nothing stretching ahead of you apart from lazing in the garden and avoiding the inevitable summer rains? Well if you are stuck indoors then we’ve definitely got some interesting bits and pieces for you in this issue! We’ve got some thoughts about social networking, whether you’re a twit, a ‘booker or a bebite I am sure you will find it interesting! Who do you trust on social networks? Who do you trust in other areas of your life? is there anyone you trust implicitly? We think there is someone you need to know that you can always trust! The news can be scary, global warming, terrorist attacks and more are constantly fed to us by the box in the corner (or the flatscreen on the wall), but should we be afraid of this? Find out on the middle pages. If you’ve read all that and it’s still raining outside then don’t despair because we have a whole load more stuff on our website at www.soteriamag.co.uk! Have fun and don’t get too sunburnt!
Soteria is an independent Christian Youth Lifestyle magazine with two aims. If you are a Christian we want to help you understand the Bible by offering practical everyday Bible guided advice. If you haven’t made a decision about Jesus, we want you to see what being a Christian is all about!
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How’s Your Social Life?
The last time we did a magazine about computers and the internet was over 4 years ago and since then things have changed! Some of the same dangers and joys are there, but other new ones have crept in... So how has the ‘net changed? Physically it’s the same as ever, computers around the world sharing information etc. I could go into a long and very dull explanation of the physical side of computing and the internet... but suffice to say for a large part the structure of the internet is mainly the same. What has changed is the way that people are able to use it. The web used to be about companies and organisations building websites and putting information onto the internet and users being able to access that information. However in the last few years it has become easier and simpler to build a website and post your content on the net. This means that there is much more information available from different people from all walks of life. However more information isn’t always necessarily a good thing, especially if that information isn’t accurate, but is presented as factual.
Then there is the rise of what has been called Web 2.0. During the rise of the internet in the late 90’s many businesses came into being offering services accessible through the internet, this is what is referred to as the Dot Com Bubble. The trouble with bubble’s is that they burst, and in 2001 this one did with a massive impact on the internet. Web 2.0 are applications developed by people who have learnt from the mistakes made previously, allowing the free sharing of information without companies making huge profit from the distribution of that information itself. Examples of this include applications that allow you to do things in your internet browser where previously you would have had to buy specific software for the purpose. There is much more of an interactive experience which is mostly through people developing applications that can be interacted with by all.
The most common applications are things like Blogs and Social Networking. So that’s the ICT lesson over! One of the first of these sites was Friends Reunited. It was originally devised in 2000 so that people could find long-lost school friends. The newspapers loved this idea, but they also loved the scandal associated with it when some people claimed their lives had been ruined by Friends Reunited. The site survived these issues and was bought by ITV in 2005 and today has over19million users! In the last few years there have been a crop of different social networks. MySpace was the first of these sites to become popular with young people. It allowed you to express yourself in your profile, adding music and interests and hobbies. It wasn’t long before people were boasting about how many friends that they have. Unfortunately it also wasn’t
long before businesses started to get in on the act and some people were getting friend requests from many companies rather than individuals. MySpace which was the hot property has now settled down a little and a new media darling emerged. Facebook has taken MySpace’s crown receiving nearly double the amount of Unique Users every month. Both Facebook and MySpace allow people to express themselves through their favourite activities and hobbies, posting pictures and more. Facebook takes this one step further with a whole host of developers to add applications for Facebook users. These include games like Scrabble, personality tests and movie quizzes and allow people to compete with their friends. These are also often spread through your friend networks by asking your friends to join so that you can both use the application together. Many of the other social networks like Bebo and even UKChristians work on similar basis. In the last few months there has been something new and a little different that people have been talking about. This is a service called Twitter. Rather than entering loads of information into a profile, Twitter gives you 140 characters to sum yourself up. You can also add a web address, a name and a username to identify yourself. Then you add updates of up to 140 characters as you go through the day. This is called MicroBlogging. You don’t have friends, but you choose who you want to follow and other people can choose to follow you. It all takes a while to get the hang of, but actually it can be very interesting. With people like Barack Obama tweeting through his campaign trail or other people who are well known using Twitter such as Stephen Fry, Robert Llewellyn and many more. OK so updates about what you’re having for tea might not be interesting, but there are plenty of discussions and ideas out there. However which ever of these social networking systems you use (and 45% of the UK population are using them) there are plenty of dangers to watch out for!
Don’t be a
Do you know who you’re talking to online? With some of the Social Networks it’s likely that you do. Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and others require you to accept friend requests. You should only accept requests from people you know, otherwise you could be giving strangers access to private information! However your profile could also being shown to anyone who uses Google if you don’t have the right security choices on your profile! Twitter, of course, works differently. You can follow those people who allow user requests (which is most people, because otherwise what’s the point?) and anyone can follow you, and indeed your posts will show up in search engines. With Twitter it is absolutely vital that you don’t give too much information away about yourself. Beware people can use your posts against you! For any social networking accounts you need a password, but most of us aren’t very good at remembering different passwords, so we use the same password for all our accounts. Don’t do it! If one account gets compromised then all your accounts would be easily accessed. You may think, “So what? There’s nothing there to be seen” and that may be true, but with a compromised account every one of your friends can become a target! How? Your friends trust you, if you send them a link, or forward an application, then they will know that it’s fairly safe to click on it. However if it’s someone else using your account then they could send links to phishing websites (websites that collect bank account details) or recommend applications that will install viruses, malware or other nasty stuff on their computer. Here are a few simple tips to keep safe online generally and Social Networking sites particularly. • Do not share any personal contact details in messages, on profiles or in chat rooms. • Never share a password for a social network site, and if you log into e-mails or a social network from a public computer make sure you clear all form data before leaving. • Be careful what avatars or images you post online. Some may give away more information than you realise. • Never meet with anyone you have only ever spoken to online.
Show A Little Compassion Compassion is a Christian organisation working with children in some of the poorest parts of the world. Compassion, together with local churches in these areas, sets up projects that provide for their emotional, physical and spiritual needs. The children learn about Jesus, not just from Bible stories, but by the love and actions that they are shown at the project. The vocational skills they learn allow them to get better jobs as adults and support themselves and their families. This means that Compassion not only helps the children in the projects, but can raise entire communities out of poverty. South Korea was the first country where Compassion worked and, having come full circle, is now one of the funding partners that support children in other parts of the world. Compassion raises money by enabling people in wealthier countries to support children in the projects, building a relationship through one-to-one sponsorship, letter-writing and prayer. It costs ÂŁ21 a month to sponsor a child and you could consider sponsoring a child with a group of friends or family. You could also support the ministry of Compassion through general prayer or by visiting the website and praying for one of the children waiting for sponsorship. It can be very easy to watch the news and think that we cannot make a significant impact. You might not be able to change the world, but you can change the world for one child. For more information about Compassion visit www. compassionuk.org or call 01932 836490.
Gullible Have you ever received an e-mail telling you that your e-mail address has won you $24,000,000? All you have to do is reply to that e-mail with bank transfer details and pay a processing fee and the money will be yours. Many people have been caught out by this type of scam, finding their bank accounts emptied and no trace of the millions that they thought that they had won. Perhaps you aren’t THAT gullible, but it’s something that we have to be careful of. Whether it’s just day to day life, or in our walk with God. With a little common sense and careful thought about things we should be able to avoid many of these things that attempt to suck us in. Of course what some people would call gullible others would call trusting! Yes Christians are meant to trust, but that doesn’t mean we have to completely remove our brains and take out our common sense gland! In our world there are people trying to sell us things and sometimes they work. I’m not sure how many teenage boys believe that using Lynx will make them a magnet for ladies, but certainly many people believe that certain brands are better than others because of advertising. It’s sometimes the same in churches and Christian circles too. A preacher who acts in a certain way, or ‘miracles’ seem to happen in certain places or sometimes they just seem younger and trendier than our church - none of these necessarily means that this is from God, or that it isn’t. We however must be careful not to get caught up in a Christian trend, but really check that what is being said, how people are acting and make sure they fit with the Bible. Paul commends a group of people called the Bereans that he preached to because they checked out what was being said, we must do the same. The true message of Christ is rarely popular, it always causes division with those who don’t believe and should be a source of unity for those who do!
Win DOCTOR WHO Books There are only going to be the ‘specials’ of Doctor Who this year. So if you are wanting time travelling adventure with the good Doctor the only way you can get it is through BBC Books. They released The Slitheen Excursion, Judgement of the Judoon and Prisoner of the Daleks earlier this year. All of these books see the Doctor without a regular companion, facing well known enemies from the Whoniverse. Thanks to BBC Books we have 3 prize packs, containing copies of each of these books and a copy of Companions and Allies, a guide to the Doctor’s assistants, worth over £26 each! We also have 3 copies of Quick Reads Revenge of the Judoon for 3 runner’s up. Win one of these excellent prizes you need to head to www.soteriamag.co.uk and answer this question; What is the name of the Doctor’s companion with her own spin-off series? (multiple choice answers are on the website) Standard Soteria Competition terms and conditions apply and can be found online. Entries must be received by 24th July 2009 at 23:59pm.
Climate change, rising sea levels, the build up of greenhouse gases, loss of habitats, ever increasing areas of desert… The list is almost endless of the things that should concern us. It can sometimes seem very difficult to put them into perspective. How fearful should we be? When does genuine concern cross over into blind panic?
LS IRRE E U Q S U RED H UNIQ E WIT TIC COD E AT GEN HR4E/09 T R E 1/ UNTDelegraph 2 CLIMATE CHANGE DISPLACEMENT HAS BEGUN - BUT HARDLY ANYONE We need to remember that “the earth is the Lord’s and HAS NOTICED everything in it”. Yes, we are in The Guardian 8/5/09
WILD FRUIT TREES FACE CTION EXTCIN News 8/5/09 BB
KEN BEIN YAN LION G PO S ISON BY P E D ES The Inde TIC I pen D E den t 3/4 S’ / 09
one sense custodians of our planet who, generally speaking, are not too good at protecting our environment. But, God is sovereign and is still fulfilling promises he made many generations ago. We are still enjoying the Biblical promises of day and night, summer and winter, spring time and harvest. However we are also becoming more and more aware of extremes of weather. Even in the UK we cannot get away from reality of things like coastal erosion. It is unreasonable to suggest that scientists who have observed changes in our environment (even on a global scale) are always scare-mongering or using pseudo-statistics to prove a point. For the Christian, it is important to do ‘our bit’ for the environment. To consider what
resources we use and what we throw away. How can we lessen our carbon footprint, recycle our waste, and cut our energy and water consumption? It is important to determine why we do the things we do… Are we reacting in response to media hysteria for fear of the planet earth going into meltdown and the seas rising to a point where everyone in the civilised world will be drowned? If this is the case it is important to note that “today’s news is tomorrow’s chip papers”. The very nature of journalism is to drum up support on particular issues, until the next major story comes along. The media is shaped to play on our fears, as this is what makes newspapers sell, increases news television viewing figures and hits on the Internet. Whatever the medium, there is always a bias in reporting. It is not wrong to take on board what journalists tell us, particularly when there is credible scientific research and evidence to back this. Journalism is very often the conveyor belt that researchers and scientists use to put across their message. This is certainly true of new and ground breaking research. As the recipient of this, we do need to be able to separate the headlines from the facts. It is very easy to feel bombarded, if
not threatened, by an overriding message of doom and gloom. It is therefore helpful to gain a little perspective on such issues by reading the Bible, and learning what God has in store not only in our personal lives, but for the world as well! The Bible in Revelation 21 is keen to point out that one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth. This should change our perspective on climate change! We may not know where the new heaven and earth will be, or what it will be like but the point is, that God does have a plan for mankind beyond the limited life span of planet earth and the finite nature of our earthly lives. We need to be right with God, by putting our trust in Jesus and trusting our future and our fears to him. While this may give us a fresh hope - that we do not need to live in fear of climate change and the greenhouse effect - we are not absolved of our responsibilities. Whilst there are many man made theories being circulated and the future of life itself is questioned, we do not have an excuse to be complacent or reckless! We should be concerned about the depletion of rain forests, the loss of marine wildlife, food
shortages arising from the inability to grow crops, and so on… As mentioned before, the earth is the lords and everything in it. Just like we should show respect for the things of God, our friends and family, and for our neighbour, we also need to show respect for our immediate environment, and show consideration for the environment on a global scale.
AFGHANS FACE ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER
News International 23/2/0
We are reminded in Matthew, ESH than God ‘feeds the birds’ and if LAD SEAS G N G one sparrow falls to the ground, BA ISIN R S G’ God knows about it. Admittedly, FEAR AT4I/N09 T S A / Jesus was emphasising the point ‘DERVeuters 29 of how valuable people are in CLIMATE CHANGE relation to sparrows! This does HITTING ENTIRE ARTIC remind us that God places value ECOSYSTEM, SAYS even on what we might deem as being small and insignificant. REPORT If God really does value a tiny The Guardian 28/4/09 bird, by our actions we should ATER CE W also show that we care for God’s : A S FA IVI creation, and for the Earth that BOL F ANDE EO N9 was created in the beginning as OPL TIO E /0 C 4 P / N 4 I described in Genesis. EXT ian 2 The
So let us show responsibility towards what God has createdWORLD’S MA JOR RIVERS in the natural world, and put our ‘DRYING UP’ trust in Jesus for our salvation. BBC News 22/4/09 Remember, God is sovereign - He directs, reserves, and maintains His created order. The only thing we have to fear is God Himself, because that is the beginning of wisdom!
• • • •
Each of the clues (below) leads to one of the answers in the box above. In the numbered answer grid below, put the corresponding letters in the correct spaces. Each answer is only used once The final answer spells out a related vocation.
4. Like a train perhaps? 5. Type of pole 1. 5___5 equals 25 6. Solar 2. On its own 7. Like a parent 3. Postman delivers this 8. Reflective Clues:
E 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
OK, the same again only this time the clues and answers are people who have recently been in charts with a collaborative song or duet. The answer this time is someone who thinks that Britain’s Got Talent! COLBY O’DONIS (E) JUSTIN LIL WAYNE TIMBER(L) LAKE (I) RIHANNA (W)
Clues: 1. James Morrison 2. Ciara
TINCHY STRIDER (N) TIMBALAND (M)
3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
NELLY PUSSYCAT FURTADO DOLLS (S) (C) KESHA (O)
Ken Hilson Flo Rida N.Dubz A.R. Raliman Kylie Minogue
THE WIGGLES (O)
8. T.I. 9. Lady Gaga 10. Kevin Rudolf 11. Daniel Merriweather
9 10 11
Fill in the missing words to complete the phrases. e.g. ONE TWO THREE HOP__________JUMP BRIDGET__________DIARY FAITH_________CHARITY HIGH___________MUSICAL HER _______HIGHNESS AMY_____________HOUSE THE__________HULK MONA____________SMILE BRITAINS_________TALENT THREE ____________ MICE EVER________CIRCLES A ______________ORANGE BEST__________BRITISH THE ____________SON ROCK_________SCISSORS
So which Social Networks do you use? Perhaps you consider yourself sensible and use none. Some are more useful than others and for me, at the moment, Twitter is one that has already provided me with many contacts, not only that, but with a tweak or 2 my tweets are also posted to my Facebook status! 2 for the price of 1! However that time saver doesn’t quite make up for the time wasting! As I started writing this I suddenly remembered I hadn’t caught up with Twitter today, so I loaded up tweetdeck (a great app for anyone using twitter on a PC). I got so engrossed in reading what Stephen Fry and others are up to I forgot I had just started this! 20 minutes later I have come back to it and now I have inspiration for what I was going to say! Twitter is not evil, but it can dominate the time that you spend on the computer, especially with an application like Tweetdeck which even now is whistling and telling me someone else has posted something - I’ll just go and check, it might be important. Wait here for a second...OK it was nothing serious, just a link to Jenson Button’s blog from a Brawn GP fan... on with the rant. Oh yeah, you have to be self-controlled (another tweet - must not read, must finish...) because Social Networking is apparently costing British Business an estimated £6.5 billion a year in lost production time! You must be in control of Twitter, not the other way around. I have used Twitter to promote Soteria, find new contacts and even get information on upcoming events locally and nationally. So it’s not all bad. If you are on Twitter you can follow updates from me, my username is @soteriamag. Now lets check those tweets! Ooh Jenson’s doing the London Triathlon...
blog.soteriamag.co.uk It must be the year for recreating something old. So far we have had new Red Dwarf on Dave, a show that ended in 1999! This one is rare in the recreations because it brought back the original cast, just all looking a little bit older (which can be a problem for a hologram!) Another franchise ‘reboot’ this year was, of course, the visually stunning and action packed Star Trek. A franchise that was meant to be about morality rather than counting the number of toilets on the Enterprise! Unfortunately it was the ardent fans that saved it from cancellation and wanted it brought back. Regardless the franchise was run into a dead-end. However with just a jump to the left JJ Abrams has used a ‘timewarp’ to regenerate a new generation! Another classic series is back on our screens too. Knight Rider, ignoring the rubbish that was TKR one man can still make a difference! Only this time he’s making a difference with a Mustang rather than a black Trans-Am. This series is being shown on the Sci-Fi channel on Tuesdays at 9pm Have you seen any of these series / shows? What did you think? Let me know through the contact form on the website, facebook or twitter!
The Gadget The NEC in Birmingham played host to all sorts of weird and wonderful creations over the weekend of 17th - 19th April including Jason Bradbury, Ortis Deley, Suzi Perry and John Bentley, otherwise known as the presenters of The Gadget Show. The presenters were all on autograph signing duty, as well as performing a stage version of the Channel 5 programme! There were also many items to look at and test as well, including a few product launches of various items including a High-Definition Blu-Ray recorder from Panasonic and a mobile phone that can also work as a projector! All the big boys were there, including Sony, Blackberry, LG, even the Highways Agency had a large stand! Here are a few exhibitors that caught our eye... KAKKOI No this is not some new-fangled breed of Japanese fish...unless they’re remote controlled fish. Kakkoi specialise in RC gadgets. Helicopters, cars, boats, tanks and more all available from www.kakkoi. co.uk. With prices starting from £9.99 the value isn’t bad either. ROCKIT SCIENCE While on the subject of Remote Control vehicles what about this? It’s the Boom Borda 2 Chainsaw electric off road skateboard. You have a hand control, like a remote that controls the motor and you can climb on board. Takes all the effort out of skateboarding, and allows you to travel off-road! Only £499.99! MBT It wasn’t all RC skateboards and wafer thin tellies though. One company was selling their anti-shoes - which to me look a lot like shoes! But there is
Show Live something different about them. They have a rounded bottom, which doesn’t seem terribly practical until you look at the science behind the idea. I can’t go into it all here but it improves posture and spreads the impact of walking around your body. Check out the website at www.swissmassai.co.uk. MAD (My Audio Design) How do you listen to your music? Headphones, through a surround sound system, how about having customised speakers built to the highest quality? Well that is what MAD boast about their unique looking speakers (pictured). They look great and sound great, but they don’t come cheap! www.madengland.com sWaP WATCH What person who grew up in the eighties hasn’t wanted a communicator of some sort built into a watch? Inspired by Knight Rider I have always wanted one, although I am not sure this is what I dreamed of, it’s a little too complicated for that dream! A Smart Watch and Phone combined. It is Sim Free and does everything a mobile phone does, yet it’s only a little bigger than a standard wrist-watch. It even tells the time! How great is that? The price? Around £250, as far as I know no-one is offering these on contract yet! www.s-w-a-p.co.uk ROBOSTEEL This fabulous Predator figure is, like all RoboSteel’s products, made out of old car, motorcycle and aeroplane steel. This 2.2 metre bad guy costs €4,000. There are also hand-welded versions of aliens, Optimus Prime, Star Wars characters and there are much smaller sizes available. Prices start from €20 making these affordable! Check out www.robosteel.com for more images and to purchase. You can also follow Robosteel on Twitter!
In these days when mistrust in people is rife, the norm is to always assume that everyone is only out for themselves. How do we know that we can trust God with our lives? We look around at the world, other people and, indeed, other Christians. How do we know that we can trust God’s Word to be the accurate guide to daily life in the modern age?
Trusting The Big Cheese. Cooking for Dummies - These are the key ingredients of a cheese and pickle sandwich! But do you trust it’s maker?
Right now as I’m writing this article, I’m eating a cheese sandwich which I did not have a hand in making. I didn’t milk the cow or turn it into cheese, I didn’t mix up the pickle, I didn’t even put it together with bread that I didn’t bake. So with all these unknowns how can I just sit here, eat the sandwich, and know that I’ll still be OK after I’ve finished eating it? Well, in this case, I
do happen to know the kitchen staff, their suppliers and, of course, I’ve eaten cheese sandwiches from them before. I’ve “tasted and seen” that their sandwiches are perfectly OK, if a bit overdone with the pickle. Moreover though, I know and trust my God. I know that my life is in His care and therefore I frequently trust in the saying of Jesus where if I put the things of God first in my life, the incidentals of life like eating, clothing etc. can be provided by Him (Matthew 6:33). So I’m calm and relaxed about my sandwich. “Ah”, I hear you say, “but how did you know you could trust God in the first place?” I’m not about to give you some cliché here like “the Bible says I can”. If you can trust God merely on just the Bible saying that you can, that is a great level of faith and I wish my faith
was that strong. However most of us are instinctively sceptical and want God to show us that we can trust Him. Most of the time God doesn’t mind that ‘first stage’ of getting to trust in Him. However, once this stage of your relationship with Him has passed, then He requires that we trust Him completely, no matter what the circumstances seem to be. Let me give you an example with this chap called Gideon (Judges ch6).
Gideon’s Woolly Thinking. Gideon was the lowest ranked person in his family, yet God chose him to free his people from a mighty oppressing army. Gideon was threshing wheat when God called him to do this work. Yet despite this message being delivered by an angel and hearing the voice of God he still couldn’t bring himself to believe it. He asks for a sign and brings the angel some meat and bread and the angel caused it to go up in flames. That was enough to convince Gideon to get an army of men ready but not enough to go to battle. Gideon pleads with God for more signs to convince
him with; he lays a fleece out on the floor and asks God to only cause dew to fall on the fleece and not the surrounding floor. God is patient with him and causes this. Gideon is still not convinced and asks for one more, the reverse of the last one; that dew be on the ground and not on the fleece. Again God obliges him and causes this to happen.
you too. Sometimes He’ll do this quite quickly like He did with Gideon, other times He’ll take a little longer than just those few days Gideon spent laying his fleece. Ask God to do this now. Find what would be convincing for you in your life, ‘a fleece’ so to speak, and from a genuine heart ask Him to reveal to you that He is the almighty and trustworthy God.
Gideon leads the most bizarre assault charge of any army, and God gives them victory. Gideon follows God unquestioningly from that point on.
Can you really trust the maker of a cheese and pickle sandwich more than you can trust your own maker?
In his book “The Sacred Diary Your Own of Adrian Plass Revelation. (aged 37¾)” the main character The plain fact of the has been asked matter is that God made to go carol us, God has made a way singing with the to deliver us from sin church, but there’s a and grant us eternal life, good film on... so if I were Him I’d think that the people should “Laid a ‘fleece’. If a midget in trust me. Fortunately a Japanese admiral’s uniform God is a lot more came to the door at 9.04 understanding of people precisely, I would know that than me! God will go God wanted me to sing carols. so far as to personally 9.05: A miracle! No-one convince each one of us, came!” in a way that will be very real to us, that He is God When we ‘lay a fleece’ it must and we can trust Him. come from a genuine desire to He did this for Gideon, for Moses, for Joshua, and many others, so He can personally convince
seek God’s will, we must not make it an excuse to get out of something you don’t want to do!
“How shall we escape if we neglect so great Salvation?” - Hebrews “Jesus’ sacrifice (the Gospel) is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes” - Romans