Magazine Issue #88
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Lysa K. Finley-Morrow
If Only I Had...
Favorite Hymns of My Life
10 Greg Laurie
Keep Moving Forward
12 Luis Palau
Conversando Con Dios
13 Steve Marr
14 Classical Conversation Homeschooling info
16 James MacDonald Pointed Attack
18 Dave Ramsey - Dave Says -What Happens To The Debt? -Getting Rid Of the Car
19 Time with Our Creator
The Power of God’s Written Word
20 Barna Spotlight
Gen Z: You’re Questions Answered
22 Dr. Leslie Gonzales
Work: A Place of Refuge in Times of Crisis
23 Valley Christian Events! -Stryper in Concert -Classical Conversations Workshop
24 Raul “Rudy” Rodriguez The Redemption Story
22 “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
If Only I Had… By Lysa Terkeurst The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. — Psalm 19:7–8
There’s a simple, yet incredibly dangerous little script many of us play in our minds. It might even be one of the biggest things that holds us back from feeling fulfilled in our relationship with God. It’s a script tangled in a lie that typically goes something like this: I could really be happy and fulfilled if only I had . . .
. . . . a skinnier body . . . . more money . . . . a better personality . . . . a different job . . . . a better relationship.
I don’t know what your “If only I had” statements are, but I do know this: none of them will bring fulfillment. They might bring temporary moments of happiness, but not true fulfillment. Apart from a thriving relationship with God, even if we got everything on our list, there would still be a hollow gap in our soul.
So instead of saying, “If only I had” and filling in the blank with some person, possession, or position, we must make the choice to replace that statement with God’s truth. Psalm 19:7–8 confirms just how powerful and beneficial the truth of God’s Word is: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
Here are some examples that have helped me battle the temptation to let people, possessions, or positions take God’s place in my life.
People I no longer say, “If only I had a daddy who loved me.” Instead, I
say, “Psalm 68:5 promises God is a father to the fatherless.”
Maybe your gap isn’t left by an absent father but by a friend who hurt you. Or the children you’ve longed to have, and you still don’t. Whatever that gap is, God is the perfect fit for your emptiness.
Pray this paraphrase of Luke 1:78–79: “Because of the tender mercy of my God by which the rising sun will come to me from heaven—to shine on my darkness and in what feels like the shadow of death to me—I will find peace.”
Possessions I no longer say, “If only I had more possessions.” Instead, I recite Matthew 6:19–21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth and nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Any possession I ever long for, no matter how good it may seem, will only be good for a limited time. In light of eternity, every possession is in the process of breaking down, becoming devalued, and will eventually be taken from us. If I set my heart solely on acquiring more things, I’ll feel more vulnerable with the possibility of loss.
Possessions are meant to be appreciated and used to bless others. They were never meant to be identity markers. It’s not wrong to enjoy the possessions we have as long as we don’t depend on them for our heart’s security.
I don’t need a better position to get where I should go. I don’t have to figure out my path and strive to get ahead. I need God’s Word to guide me. As I follow Him and honor Him step-bystep, I can be assured that I’m right where He wants me, to be doing what He wants me to do.
Whatever “If only I had” statement you’re struggling with, you can replace it with solid truths from Scripture that will never leave you empty.
When God’s Word gets inside of us, it becomes the new way we process life. It rearranges our thoughts, our motives, our needs, and our desires. Our soul was tailor-made to be filled with God and His truth; therefore, it seeps into every part of us and fills us completely.
Dear Lord, I acknowledge only You can fill those empty places in my heart. Help me stop the “If only I had” cycle and instead be set free with Your truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If this blog post resonated with you, I’d love to invite you to find further biblical encouragement in my new devotional book: Embraced: 100 Devotions to Know God is Holding You Close.
With Embraced, you will be equipped to: -Find freedom from the struggles that have held you hostage by learning new ways to experience God’s love. -Surrender your deepest hurts by processing them in a godly way with Lysa, a friend who understands your pain. -Hear the Lord speak intimately to your heart by learning how to seek His direction. -Release the tension of wondering, “If God is near, why does He sometimes feel far away?” by spending intentional, guided time with Him each day.
Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times bestselling author and speaker who helps everyday women live an adventure of faith through following Jesus Christ. As president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa has led thousands to make their walk
I no longer say, “If only I had a better position.” Instead, I say the words of Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
with God an invigorating journey. In the midst of her busy schedule, Lysa simply seeks to glorify God through her life and family. She resides near Charlotte, N.C., with her five priority blessings named Jackson, Mark, Hope, Ashley and Brooke. Used by Permission. www.proverbs31.org
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
© 2018 by Proverbs 31 Ministries. All rights reserved.
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash
Favorite Hymns of My Life by: Lisa K. Finley-Morrow
It has been suggested that when the broken arms of the Venus de Milo are found in the rubble of excavation, the beautiful Greek statue’s famed arms and hands will be wearing boxing gloves! To appreciate the cloaked humor, we need only observe today’s percentage of broken marriages. We’ve become such combatants in our own homes! When disapproval is dished out like piles of dirt being dumped on us, the resultant debilitating feeling can suffocate a loving voice or cripple a life-giving embrace causing one to feel like an armless and cold marble statue. Nothing within our human spirit can fabricate feelings akin to warm love for people who reject us, who break us. One of my students shared that a coach had instructed her eleven-year-old brother and his physical education class to run backwards in some twisted judgement of sporting prowess. Ouch! Yes, you can imagine what happened. The really sad part was the doctor who needed to set the resultant broken arm of her brother was on vacation! So, an attending medic simply splinted it until a qualified surgeon could assess the damage. Couples long trapped in loveless marriages often simply splint their fractured emotions and struggle through life with a sense of helplessness as if their very hands and arms, though trained to embrace, feel numb at best, broken or missing at worst. Or they “simply” divorce and try again. When our human love or a way to give it is reduced or lost to life’s rubble, consider the most qualified doctor, the Author of Love. It is God alone who can fit us with His protheses for the broken arms of our hearts. Only then can we give that love to others with no expectation of return instead of continuing a course strewn with emotional “boxing” fights. Nothing happens instantly in an emotionally fractured life, but when we turn through faith in Christ and His redeeming love, we can begin to experience the joy of receiving God’s gracious, unmerited love as described in so many treasured hymns. Consider two of my favorites. Many a hymn is written proclaiming the attributes of God’s love. But one of the most magnificent proclaims the vastness of God’s love which is a concept our human minds cannot fathom. It is named simply “The Love of God.” A broken world, a broken heart, a broken family we all observe day after day. And while we think the doctor our family or heart needs is unavailable or we have to settle for a permanent loveless splint, God is able and available to repair our heart damage.
The third stanza of the lyrics to that beloved modern hymn proclaims the expansive love of our amazing God, and yet it was written in AD 1050 by a poet of Jewish origin, a rabbi. It is set to a contemporary hymn tune and the final editions of all the stanzas have been popularized by soloists and gospel choirs alike. Soloist Wintley Phipps’ version of “The Love of God” takes one in the opening sparkling measures to a place of understanding that nothing can separate us from God’s enduring love if we would but embrace it in our brokenness! A hymn sung by Steve Green, “People Need the Lord,” reminds us that in our brokenness, there is hope and healing for our hearts. Composers Greg Nelson and Phil McHugh of this hymn understand we cannot fabricate from a human heart the love we all need and crave. Nelson and McHugh wrote this hymn after observing the empty faces of diners in a modern Nashville restaurant. Both hymns speak of our need for God’s love and God’s ability to make us whole, loving people again. In the Bible of old, we learn in Psalm 147:3 that God heals the broken in heart and binds up our wounds. Why, he determines the very number of stars and even calls them by name. And he knows your name! Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding of our lives is infinite! Christ reminds me in Ephesians 4:32 to be kind and tender-hearted and to forgive others just like he forgives me. I’d say that He is a pretty good doctor for anything in my life that has been broken…especially my heart.
ABOUT LISA... Lisa and her musical husband, Jim, have served in music ministry across the state of Texas for nearly 40 years. They reside in McAllen, Texas and continue to share their love of hymns with a large number of his music students and with congregations when invited. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Keep Moving Forward by Greg Laurie
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. —Ephesians 6:10
During a call-in segment of a radio program I was doing, a man asked, “Does there come a point in the Christian life where somehow you just don’t get tempted to think evil thoughts anymore?” “Yes, it’s funny you should ask that,” I told him, “because I just reached that point yesterday. It’s great.” I was kidding, of course. In reality, this doesn’t ever happen in the life of a Christian. Some believers are surprised to discover that the Christian life is not a playground but a battleground. It isn’t easy being a Christian, because immediately we discover that we have an adversary, the Devil, who wants to bring us down. The spiritual battle is raging every single day. As I have often said, the Christian life is a constant process of moving forward. And the moment we stop moving forward, we will start moving backward. We need to put our spiritual armor on. We need to suit up. As we are told in Ephesians 6, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (verses 11–12 NLT). And you know what? This wrestling match won’t end until we are safe in the arms of Jesus. Wouldn’t it be great to think that as a Christian, you somehow could reach a plateau at a certain moment in your life where you would be above it all and no longer be vulnerable? This spiritual fight will rage on until the final day. So keep your armor on. Be aware and alert. And constantly move forward.
Greg Laurie is Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif. He began his pastoral ministry at 19 by leading a Bible study of 30 people. Since then, God has transformed the small group into a church of 15,000 plus, one of the largest churches in America. for more, visit www.greglaurie.com. used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000 Riverside, CA 92514 Copyright © 2018 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Conversando con Dios -Luis Palau
Un gran hombre de Dios a quien aprecio mucho declaró: “La oración es amistad con Dios.” Creo que hizo una importante observación. La oración es, sencillamente, dos amigos que conversan. La oración es una conversación entre Dios y nosotros. No es un monólogo de peticiones sino un diálogo. Dios nos habla a través de su Palabra y a través del testimonio interno del Espíritu Santo. Nosotros respondemos a Dios con adoración, confesión, petición, intercesión y acción de gracias. Sin estos cinco elementos, nuestras oraciones serían desequilibradas. Consideremos juntos estos cinco aspectos de la oración. El primer elemento de la oración agradable al Señor es la adoración. Al entrar a la presencia de Dios en oración, comenzamos expresando nuestra adoración y reverencia por El. El Talmud contiene esta sentencia: “El hombre ante todo siempre debe ofrecer alabanza, y luego entonces orar.” A través de las páginas de las Escrituras, también encontramos alabanzas y adoración a Dios por parte de generaciones pasadas. La confesión sigue a la alabanza. Cuando Isaías vio al Señor en toda Su gloria, exclamó: “¡Ay de mí! que soy hombre muerto; porque siendo hombre inmundo de labios, y habitando en medio de pueblo inmundo de labios, han visto mis ojos al Rey” (Isaías 6:5). En realidad no podemos alabar al Dios de toda santidad si no tenemos un profundo sentido de nuestra propia impureza. La Biblia también nos enseña que Dios es misericordioso y nos perdona cuando confesamos nuestros pecados (1 Juan 1:9). Sólo después de la adoración y la confesión, ofrecemos al Padre nuestras peticiones. La verdadera oración consiste en los pedidos de alguien que reconoce su extrema necesidad, y en las provisiones de Alguien que demuestra Su extrema bondad. Jesús nos promete: “Hasta ahora nada habéis pedido en mi nombre; pedid y recibiréis, para que vuestro gozo sea cumplido” (Juan 16:24). El nos alienta a pedir al Padre lo que necesitamos. Al orar, también debemos incluir la intercesión. Este puede ser un precioso ministerio en favor de otros ante el trono de la gracia. El profeta Samuel dijo al pueblo de Israel: “En cuanto a mí, lejos esté de mí el pecar contra Jehová dejando de orar por ustedes” (1 Samuel 12:23 BD). La intercesión es una importante responsabilidad espiritual que como cristianos no debemos descuidar. La acción de gracias debe inundar el resto de nuestra conversación con Dios. Preste oídos a estas exhortaciones del apóstol Pablo: “Estad siempre gozosos. Orad sin cesar. Dad gracias en todo, porque ésta es la voluntad de Dios para con vosotros en Cristo Jesús” (1 Tesalonicenses 5:16-18). Experimentamos el gozo del Señor cuando hablamos con El en oración y le agradecemos por Sus respuestas. Estoy convencido de que cuando Dios quiere bendecir a su pueblo, primero lo mueve a orar, a entablar un diálogo con El.
¿Lo ha movido a orar el Señor? Aparte un momento ahora mismo y hable con El. Alábelo por lo que El es. Confiese a El su pecado. Presente sus peticiones. Interceda por sus hermanos en la fe, y ofrézcale su gratitud por lo que El hará. Al hablar con Dios incluya estos cinco pasos, y verá que en su caso la oración también ha de ser “amistad con Dios”.
Su mensaje fue, y es escuchado por más de 800 millones de personas en 112 países a través de la radio y la televisión, y tiene el privilegio de haberle hablado a más de 22 millones de personas cara a cara en 80 países del mundo, organizando, junto a un selecto grupos de colaboradores internacionales y con el apoyo de invitaciones locales, congresos, seminarios, charlas informales, conferencias y recitales-conferencia llamados “Festivales”. Copyright 2018 Used by Permission.
Luis Palau ya entró en la historia moderna como uno de los contados hombres que le hablaron a más personas en el mundo.
Do you celebrate with colleagues’ victories, or are you resentful? Written by Steve Marr We need to join in the celebration of victories. When a salesmen lands a big account, give them a call of congratulations. Everybody wins with new business. If another suggests a new product idea, or improved work process, don’t be a stumbling block, celebrate the better idea and jump on board. Inquire how the account was landed, or how the better idea was conceived. Then learn to apply the same principles to your work. Join the celebrations for your business success.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Pointed Attack by james macdonald The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12, NKJV).
I’ve never been in a sword fight and I don’t expect to be. But if I ever were, I’d want my sword to be the sharpest one in the match, wouldn’t you? I mean, swords in battle are meant to be sharp. That’s basically the whole “point,” right? It’s also why this biblical “twoedged sword” metaphor works as well as it does, because God’s Word is so sharp that it never fails to cut to the heart of the matter. You’ve probably noticed that. Haven’t you had one of those experiences—whether you were sitting in a small group Bible study, or hearing the Scripture taught in a public setting—where you wondered how the messenger knew exactly what was going on
“God’s word is so
sharp that it never fails to cut to the heart of the matter” in your life? But here’s the reality: they didn’t know. That’s the living, active Word of God in operation, “piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow”—a physical analogy that illustrates a spiritual truth. And here’s why this quality of the Bible is so absolutely vital in our lives. Most of us are dealing with fruit problems rather than root problems. We don’t like digging deep down inside, where the real sources of our problems lie—exposing our true selves, being convicted of sin, receiving what’s truly needed to motivate us to change. So without the Word in action, we’re
left managing life unproductively on a fruit level instead of more effectively on a root level. And as long as we stay there on the surface, avoiding the “sword,” it just means another failing crop will always grow up to replace the one we picked off. Take substance abuse, for example, or any addictive behavior. That’s a fruit problem. The root problem is the emptiness that’s inevitably created by attempting to live without God at the center. Only the truth of God’s Word can help expose that. Or consider poor financial habits, such as maxed-out credit cards. That’s a fruit problem. The root problem is idolatry, thinking that something material or experiential can satisfy you in a way that only a surrendered life to the Lord actually can. Think about conflict, whether in your marriage, your workplace, or anywhere else. That’s a fruit problem. The root problem may reside in any number of underlying areas, such as anger, hurt, selfishness, bitterness, pride, unforgiveness, rebellion, etc.
j ou r na l
When was the last time you felt the work of the Sword, and how did you follow up on it? Think of one new way you can engage with the Word beyond what you’re already doing. Write it down, and prayerfully commit to it for thirty days.
P r ay
Father in heaven, run me through with the Sword. Leave nothing untouched. Open what needs to be opened; reveal what needs to be revealed. I want to be so immersed in Your Word that it affects me on every level. So speak to me through it and rebuild my root system as only You can, enabling me to bear fruit that blesses others and glorifies Your name. I pray this in the matchless name of Jesus, amen.
See the difference? If you wonder why you keep going round and round with the same struggles but rarely see any lasting change—if you wonder why you keep having the same frustrating conversations with the same people, over and over—the reason could come from the difference between fruit and root. But the answer comes from embracing your need for the Word—“living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword”—penetrating deeply enough inside until corrupted roots can be pulled up and replanted, and a steady crop of new fruit can be produced. Take up this gift of the Sword, and let it do its powerful work in you.
James MacDonald is founding and Senior Pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in northwest Chicago. James’ teachings can be heard on Walk in the Word, a daily radio program reaching more than 3 million people across North America. Our Journey devotionals are brought to you by Change Partners of Walk in the Word. Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.
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“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
What happens to the debt? Dear Dave, I’ve started your personal finance course in high school, so I’m asking this for the entire class. What happens to your debt if you pass away with no relatives or heirs to take responsibility for what you owed? Elizabeth Dear Elizabeth, In many cases it simply does not get paid. Relatives or heirs of the deceased are not responsible for a friend or family member’s debt, except in cases where they have been a co-signer on that debt.
Let’s say someone’s parents died, and at the time of their death they had $100,000 in debt in their names only. The only way that debt will be paid is if they owned enough stuff — if they had enough in the way of assets — to pay the debt. If they owned a $200,000 home, the house would have to be sold in order to pay the debts. Their estate would be the only thing standing good for the debt. If they owned nothing, and had no co-signers on any of the debt, the creditor would not get paid. The bank lost that money.
Elizabeth, I hope that helped. Please tell your teacher I said thank you for leading the class! —Dave
Getting rid of the car Dear Dave, How do you sell a vehicle with a lien amount that’s higher than the actual value of the car? Michael Dear Michael, First, you need to find a way to cover the difference between the amount of the lien and what you can get for the car. Let’s say the car is worth $12,000, and you owe $15,000. That would leave you $3,000 short. The bank holds the title, so unless you give them the payoff amount of $15,000 you’re not getting the title. The easiest and simplest way would be if someone buys the car for $12,000, and you had $3,000 on hand to make up the difference. If you don’t have the money to make up the difference, you could go to a local bank or credit union and borrow the remaining $3,000. I really hate debt, but being $3,000 in the hole is a lot better than being $15,000 in the hole. Then, you could turn around and quickly pay back the $3,000 you borrowed.
* Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 8.5 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations. Dave’s latest project, EveryDollar, provides a free online budget tool. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.
You’d give the total amount owed to the bank, they would give you the title, and you would sign it over to the new owner. Hope this helps! —Dave
The Power Of God’s Written Word Author: Elton Streyle, Contributor: Noah, Photography and Editing: Ali
All-powerful Heavenly Father, I approach You in Jesus’ Name to thank you for giving me Your written Word and for the privilege to read and understand how it works in shaping my life. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” Hebrews 4:12. We are living in a society where we are constantly encouraged to look at and do things that tempt us to live impure lives. I ask You to direct me to be sensitive to the answers You have laid out in Your Word and live according to them. Give me the desire for the wisdom in Psalm 119:11. “Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.“ When I am tempted, show me how to practice the same Scripture defense Jesus did in Matthew 4 when He was tempted by Satan. Three times while in the wilderness, He came back at the Enemy with the power of God’s Word. Jesus said the first time in verse 4, ‘”It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.‘” The second time in verse 7, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.‘” The third time in verse 10, “‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” I praise You that there is nothing in this world that can come against me that the power of Your Word can’t overcome. I bring these thoughts in Jesus’ Name, Amen. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Gen Z: Your Questions Answered Recently, Barna released a landmark study of Gen Z, in partnership with Impact 360 Institute, providing a snapshot of the ways Gen Z sees the world, their faith (or lack thereof) and our culture.
1. Who counts as Gen Z? Are the youngest of Gen Z in the study? Barna has been studying generations for three decades, beginning with Boomers (born 1946 to 1964), then focusing on Gen X (born 1965 to 1983) and Millennials (born 1984 to 1998). We’re now turning our attention to the next generation: Gen Z. Barna defines this new generation as those born between 1999 to 2015, but for the purpose of this study only teenagers (those between the ages of 13 and 18) were included. Because of that, the results are reflective only of the leading edge of Gen Z. As a whole, their views may shift as younger members of the generation come of age, but for now, this study represents the views of Gen Z teenagers in America.
adulthood, with retirement and leisure often becoming central at an older age. So, some of the trends we are seeing may simply be a result of Gen Z’s early life stage. However, this is the first picture of this new generation—and we are surprised by how fast things are changing. The world in which Gen Z are coming of age is vastly different from that of, say, Boomers. Technological advancements, demographic changes, an increasingly post-Christian environment and political realities have contributed to radical cultural shifts in the last 50 years, and the findings reflect that. 2. What were the main ethnic differences among Gen Z? Gen Z is the most diverse generation we’ve observed in American history. Given this, a few key differences are evident between and among ethnic groups. For instance, Gen Z racial minorities are substantially more likely than white teens to consider their race or ethnicity important to their sense of self. When it comes to perceptions of the church, African American and Hispanic teens are more likely to choose (from a number of options) church-themed activities or icons that have a more communal feel and greater diversity as opposed to white teens. Also, white teens—who tend to benefit from households of greater wealth and comfort, on average—are more likely than black and Hispanic young people to say they are not excited to grow up (32% vs. 15% black teens, 26% Hispanic teens). White and black teens are more likely than Hispanic young people to report often interacting with people who are different from them (43% white, 38% black vs. 29% Hispanic teens), which black teenagers especially enjoy (28% vs. 15% white, 21% Hispanic teens strongly agree they enjoy spending time with people who are different from them). Gen Z is the most diverse generation we’ve observed in American history.
Another common question we’ve received is how to distinguish between generational and life-stage differences when interpreting broader trends. The truth is that the research will reveal both. Priorities change as one advances through life. For instance, education and friendships tend to be more important at a younger age, and career and family become more important as Americans head into
3. What were the differences between Christian and non-Christian Gen Z? One of the main findings from the study is that the problem of evil is a major barrier to faith for non-Christian teens (29%). Other reasons nonbelievers provide as common barriers to faith include “Christians are hypocrites” (23%), “I believe science refutes too much of the Bible” (20%), “I don’t believe in fairy tales” (19%), “there are too many injustices in the history of Christianity” (15%), “I used to go to church but it’s just not important to me anymore” (12%) “I had a bad experience at church / with a Christian” (6%). Interestingly though, the perceived conflict between science and Christianity is also a factor for Christian teens. More than one third of engaged Christian teens (37%) and more than half of churchgoing teens (53%) say that the church seems to reject much of what
science tells us about the world. When it comes to church specifically, non-Christians and selfidentified Christians have different reasons for why they believe it is unimportant. Among those who say attending church is not important to them, three out of five Christian teens say “I find God elsewhere” (61%), while about the same proportion of nonChristians says “church is not relevant to me personally” (64%). The non-Christians’ most popular answer makes sense (they’re not Christians, after all), but Christians’ reasoning is an indicator that at least some churches are not helping to facilitate teens’ transformative connection with God.
an opportunity to reach this next generation of teenagers through integrating career, work and calling into their discipleship efforts. Gen Z’s emphasis on career presents an opportunity for vocational discipleship. Comment on this research and follow our work: Twitter: @davidkinnaman | @roxyleestone | @brookehempell | @ barnagroup Facebook: Barna Group
Meet the Next, Next Generation
4. It appears that Gen Z are de-prioritizing family. Why is this the case? One of the biggest and most surprising shifts is that family is not a major priority for Gen Z. For instance, personal achievement, whether educational or professional (43%), and hobbies and pastimes (42%) are more central to Gen Z’s identity than family background / upbringing (34%). By comparison, all other generations rank family at the top. Religious belief is also less influential, having dropped down the rankings compared to other generations. Another interesting finding is that two-thirds of Gen Z want to finish their education (66%), start a career (66%) and become financially independent (65%) by age 30, while only one in five wants to get married by then (20%). However, they do still seem to value their family’s authority or insight: When asked who they most look up to as a role model, half say their parents and one in seven says another family member. Also, the current life-stage of teenagers must be taken into account, which means that marriage and children are likely a distant thought. That said, it is a diminished priority for Gen Z, even compared to Millennials. It’s not yet clear if this refocusing of identity away from family is the continuation of a descending generational trend, or if Gen Z will gain a deeper appreciation for the influence of their family of origin as they leave the nest. Time will tell. Gen Z says educational or professional achievement are more central to their identity than family. 5. How can the church effectively disciple this generation? As we saw above, Gen Z are incredibly career-driven and successoriented. Achievement is big for Gen Z, both to their sense of self and for their ultimate goals, particularly their education, career and achieving financial independence. Barna believes this emphasis on career presents an opportunity for the church to engage in what could be called “vocational discipleship.” This means teaching young people about the integration of faith and occupation, helping them to better understand the concept of calling and emphasizing the meaning and theological significance of work (not just their potential for professional or financial success). Not every church member has children, but almost every church has a children’s ministry. Almost every church member has a job, but very few churches have a faith and work ministry. The church has
About the Research Qualitative Barna conducted a total of four focus groups in August 2016 with U.S. teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17. Two focus groups were conducted in Atlanta, Georgia, on August 11, and two sessions were conducted in Los Angeles, California, on August 17. Quantitative Two nationally representative studies of teens were conducted. The first was conducted using an online consumer panel November 4–16, 2016, and included 1,490 U.S. teenagers 13 to 18 years old. The second was conducted July 7–18, 2017, and also used an online consumer panel, which included 507 U.S. teenagers 13 to 18 years old. The data from both surveys were minimally weighted to known U.S. Census data in order to be representative of ethnicity, gender, age and region. Three hundred thirty-five U.S. Protestant youth pastors were also interviewed. Members of Barna’s pastor panel who identify as the person who has direct responsibility for the church’s ministry to middle- or high-school students were invited to participate in an online survey, conducted November 16, 2016–January 17, 2017.’ Four hundred and three engaged Christian parents were also surveyed. To qualify for participation, parents had to 1) identify as Christian, 2) be the parent of a child ages 13 to 19, 3) have attended a church service in the past month and 4) qualify as an “engaged Christian” under the definition designed for this study (see below). The survey was conducted using an online consumer panel November 8–16, 2016. One nationally representative study of 1,517 U.S. adults ages 19 and older was conducted using an online panel November 4–16, 2016. The data were minimally weighted to known U.S. Census data in order to be representative of ethnicity, gender, age and region. GEN Z were born 1999 to 2015. (Only teens 13 to 18 are included in this study.) MILLENNIALS were born 1984 to 1998. GEN X were born 1965 to 1983. BOOMERS were born 1946 to 1964. ELDERS were born before 1946. CHURCHED CHRISTIANS identify as Christian and have attended church within the past six months, but do not qualify as engaged under the definition below. ENGAGED CHRISTIANS identify as Christian, have attended church within the past six months and strongly agree with the each of the following: •The Bible is the inspired word of God and contains truth about the world. •I have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in my life today. •I engage with my church in more ways than just attending services. •I believe that Jesus Christ was crucified and raised from the dead to conquer sin and death. NO FAITH identify as agnostic, atheist or “none of the above.” Photo by Cole Hutson on Unsplash About Barna Barna Group is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies. Located in Ventura, California, Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984. Permission granted © Barna Group, 2018 www.Barna.com
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Work: A Place of Refuge in Times of Crisis By Rev. Dr. Leslie Gonzales
It’s 7 am Wednesday morning, you’re in the middle of your typical morning ritual, and you receive a terrible phone call. It’s a relative. You’ve just been informed that your mother has been taken to the hospital by ambulance and is in critical condition from an unexpected medical emergency. She does not live nearby so you can’t go visit her. In fact, you have no family nearby. But you need comfort, you need someone to talk to, and you need it now. What do you do? Where do you go to receive the comfort, encouragement, and companionship that you require during this time of tragedy? The answer: work. Under normal circumstances, work may not be the ideal answer to that particular situation. After all, there are local churches you could go visit, there are grief counselors you could go see, and the thought of working right now is not something you look forward to. But maybe you’re not a regular churchgoer and you don’t quite feel comfortable going to one right now. Or maybe you don’t have the time or the money to go see a counselor. Or maybe all the counselors in town have full schedules and can’t fit you in until next week. Thankfully, these aren’t your only options. As you sit there contemplating the news you’ve just received, you suddenly remember that your work recently started a new program called a “chaplaincy assistance program” for times just like this one. A chaplaincy assistance program, also known as a “workplace chaplaincy” program, is a benefit provided for the express purpose of coming alongside employees as they experience the various seasons of their
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lives. It involves an onsite chaplain making visits around the office providing personalized encounters with employees and staff in a way that does not interfere with their work schedules or productivity. The substance of workplace chaplaincy is multi-faceted. It is scientific rooted in psychological and sociological disciplines. It is holistic – addressing the spiritual, emotional, and relational needs of individuals. It is also professional – maintaining strict respect for each individual’s personal, cultural, religious, and spiritual values. For those who are spiritual, the onsite chaplain points the person to Scripture and offers prayer. For those who are not spiritual, the chaplain offers secular wisdom based upon his or her training. Most importantly, the chaplain offers empathy, compassion, and active listening. Romans 12:15 says we are to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep,” (ESV), and this is what a chaplain does. Chaplains believe healing occurs in the midst of a person’s shared struggle. Workplace chaplaincy is not just for dealing with crisis events. It is also aimed at helping employees deal with everyday stresses. Companies who have utilized the service have reported reduced workplace conflict and increased employee morale. Statistics show that people spend an average of 30% of their lives at work. Workplace chaplaincy is an opportunity to shine the peace and light of Christ in this ever-important mission field.
The Reverend Dr. Leslie Gonzales is lead chaplain of Kairos Chaplaincy Services, LLC, an entity he founded out of a desire to merge his streams of experience from both the ministry and business worlds in order to care for the spiritual, emotional, and relational needs of people in the marketplace. As a minister, his greatest desire is to see to the care and building up of the individual’s soul; as a businessman, his vision is to see to the care and building up of the corporate climate in which the individual is placed. Dr. Gonzales is an ordained minister and certified life coach. He has been married 14 years and has three sons. His passion is to serve God and to glorify Him through his work in the church and in the marketplace. He and his wife are actively involved in ministry at Logos Community Church Harlingen. Further information regarding his services can be found at www.kairoschaplains.com.
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Get Your Event Here! Call 956-314-0161 “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Raul “Rudy” Rodriguez attorney at law
Some historians may argue that among the greatest restoration stories of mankind are the European Renaissance or perhaps the post-World War II era. The cultural movement known as the European Renaissance roughly took place during the 14th through 17th centuries. This moment in history saw the face of Europe evolve with respect to its arts, architecture and long held science tenets. It also saw a rediscovery of the Greco-Roman classical knowledge and a rebirth of the study of Latin and vernacular languages. It served as a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Modern Era. Closer to home, America saw its restoration take place in the years that followed World War II. During this era, couples who could not afford families during the Great Depression made up for lost time. The mood in America suddenly became optimistic. At that time, the unemployment rate of the Great Depression dropped dramatically and the economy improved substantially. The G.I. Bill empowered many honorable service members to finish high school and attend college. As their skills were improved, so was the financial well-being of their families. But, without a doubt the greatest restoration that can take place is when a person does as Romans 10:9 instructs us to do. Romans 10:9 says: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” The message is simple: invite Christ into your heart and make him your personal Lord and Savior. At that time, your restoration will be complete. Next He will do as Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” As you seek and strive to honor God with your life, He will reward you by allowing you to take on His characteristics. Hosea 14:4 says, “I will bring my people back to me. I will love them with all my heart; No longer am I angry with them.” I pray that you will invite Christ into your heart and allow Him to restore you! At my office, I also want to be part of your restoration plan, albeit in a different way. I pray that God will use me for His honor and glory in helping me address your needs. If you have been involved in an auto accident and/or other serious injury or if you have lost a loved one as a result of someone’s negligence, I will do my best to restore some sense of normality to your life. I will also help you in matters involving family law, criminal law and real estate and will issues. As always, I bear in mind that in honoring God with the way I handle my business relationships I will be honoring you my esteemed client.
Raul “Rudy” Rodriguez
www.raulrudyrodriguezlaw.com Phone: 956.380.1421 / Toll Free: 877.480.1421 Fax: 956.380.2920 / Mobile: 956.655.5455
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