Trying To Grasp The Trinity: 3 Helpful Resources

One of the hardest, yet most necessary doctrines of the Church is the Trinity. God = 3 in 1. Yikes. Sometimes people shy away from difficult teachings simply for the sake of the effort required to understand. We’ve all heard it said, “anything worth doing is worth doing right”. And the same goes for sound theology!

Here are three easy and helpful resources while trying to grasp the tough doctrine of the trinity.

  1. a 4 minute video
  2. a cool info-graphic
  3. and a short article, “What is the Trinity?

I pray these help you not just know more about God, but also grow in love and worship of our awesome God!

Your fellow worker in the field, Adam

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This is one video of a series by the Resurgence called “On the Spot”.

Here is a great info-graphic from Tim Challies that is very helpful for the visual learner.

Free High-Res jpeg version – The Trinity

The Lifebook Movement

Here is a great FREE resource for student ministries everywhere! (and the price is right, eh?) The Lifebook Movement is an effort to get the bible in the hands of every High School Student in the nation. This is a product of Gideon’s International and contains:

  • An Old Testament Recap
  • The Gospel of John
  • Interactive Student Questions and Comments
  • A Challenge to Trust Jesus Christ

To receive a free packet of 1000 Lifebooks only requires an online registration and a (suggested no-mimimum) love offering. Our student ministry has organized and participated in a “saturation” in the past and I fully recommend yours doing the same. What is more effective than getting God’s Word in the hands of teenagers in your area? By handing out these compact little books, your students become “gift-givers” rather than preachers or intrusive as they learn to share their faith. Here is specific link for Youth Leaders with quick video describing how to get involved.

Isaiah 55:10-11 speaks of how God’s Word is always effective. What an awesome promise!

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
It is the same with My Word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

Check out the informative video below and see if you want to get plugged in! 

Go get ’em!

Your fellow worker in the field, Adam

My Heart Christ’s Home – Robert Boyd Munger

***note: free resource at the bottom of this article.

Today I am in packing mode. We are moving into our newly purchased home. If you have been there yourself, you understand what I am in the middle of. Therefore, I will keep it short.

Before all the packing began we bought our home and decided to fix a few things up before moving in. We have put in new countertops, floors, light fixtures, just to name a few. All this work on our home reminded me of a great little devotional book I read back when I was a teenager. My Heart, Christ’s Home.

This booklet was introduced to me at a time when I was growing by leaps and bounds in my spiritual life. Munger compares our heart to the layout of a home. He walks us through each “room” of our heart and discusses the implications of having Jesus taking up residence there. In the living room we prepare to meet Christ daily. In the dining room we examine together what appetites should and should not control us. We even explore the closets in our lives that Christ can help us clean out.

Munger’s practical yet profound booklet helps you give Christ control over all of your life. I did a little bit of internet hunting and found locations for this resource.

Download the PDF of this great booklet for free HERE, or buy printed copies in a 5 pack for cheap HERE. Everyone should take the time to read through this and perform some self examination.

Your fellow worker in the field, Adam

The Response That Was Left Unsaid: This Is How Hate Sounds

This powerful fictional letter written by David Murray, of HeadHeartHand.org and PRT Seminary, is one of the best examples of love communicated to a homosexual son I have seen. Unfortunately, the fictional letter was preceded by an actual letter of father disowning his son. Read all the way to the end and see the differences.

The best line, worthy of being quoted: “I hope you will not call this message hate. This is how love sounds.”

Check out the original article here.

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Five years ago, Redditor RegBarc ”came out” to his father. Shortly afterwards, his dad disowned him in a handwritten letter which RegBarc shared with the world on Tuesday, adding the comment: “This is how hate sounds.”

James:

This is a difficult but necessary letter to write.

I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past.

Don’t expect any further conversations with me. No communications at all.

I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house.

You’ve made your choice, though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle.

If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand.

Have a good birthday and good life.

No present exchanges will be accepted.

Good bye, Dad

As I find it hard to believe that a true Christian would ever write such a letter, I’ve drafted a letter that I hope a Christian father would write (although I’m sure we all hope we’ll never have to write it).

My dear James,

I’d rather say this man-to-man and face-to face, and I hope I will have a chance to do so soon. However, to avoid misunderstanding, and to ensure that you have something in black and white you can keep and refer to, I want to make sure you know one thing: I love you, and I always will. I do not hate you, and I never will.

Our relationship will probably change a bit as a result of your chosen lifestyle, but my love for you will never change. I will continue to seek your very best, as I have always done. In fact, I will probably, by prayer and other practical means, seek your good as I’ve never done before.

Maybe you’ve been afraid that I will reject you and throw you out of my life. I want you to know that you will always be welcome in our family home. Text, email, phone regularly. I certainly will. We’d especially love you to come home for birthdays and for other special occasions. I hope we can continue to go fishing together and to share other areas of our lives.

Your male friend may also visit our home with you, but we will need to discuss certain boundaries. For example, I can’t allow you to share a room or a bed together when you are here, and I will not allow open displays of affection for one another, especially in front of the other children. If you stay with us, you will attend family devotions, and if you are with us on a Sunday, you will come to church with us to hear the Gospel.

Perhaps these boundaries are not going to be easy for you to accept, but please try to understand that I have a duty to God to lead my home in a God-glorifying manner. Psalm 101 commands me to prevent sinful behavior in my home. While extremely anxious to preserve a relationship with you, I am especially concerned that your siblings are not influenced into thinking your lifestyle is fine with God or us.

I know that you don’t like me calling your lifestyle and sexual practices a sin. However, remember I’ve always told you that I myself am a great sinner, but I have an even greater Savior. I hope the day will come when you will seek that great Savior for yourself. He can wash us snow-white clean. He is also able to deliver us from the bondage of our lusts and from everlasting damnation.

I will not bring up your sin and the Gospel every time we meet, but I do want you to know where I stand right up front, and also that I’m willing to speak with you about the Gospel of Christ anytime you wish.

I hope you will not call this message hate. This is how love sounds.

I will always be your Dad. And you will always be my son.

As I will never stop loving you, I will never stop praying for you.

With all my love,

Dad (Ps. 103:13).

 

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

Last week I had the privilege of touring the Creation Museum in Petersburg KY. A highlight of that tour was the planetarium show describing the immense size of our universe. Watch the video below to see the high level of quality at which the Creation Museum functions. Dr. Jason Lisle describes how this planetarium is using the best technology available to teach that the biblical worldview has the best answers for how our universe got here and why it is the way is.

Check out this interactive site that lets you scroll through the size of various objects in relation to each other. It helps us get a grasp on the intricacies of this world and beyond. We can zoom in to see the tiniest of matter and zoom out to see galaxies and beyond.  http://scaleofuniverse.com  Check it out, it is cool.

All of this boils down to one point in my perspective. If this world and beyond is all about us, it is a colossal waste of space. But if this universe is all about the Creator, it is just about the right the right size. If the universe around us is a parable for the awesomeness, the power, the grandeur of God, then it is speaking clearly to us about who He is.

Here is Tim Challies article on the subject. How Big is the Universe? I love the use of scripture to help us understand the world around us.

Psalms 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.[a]
Their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

Worshiping Through “Beautiful Things” by Gungor

I just returned home from Cincinnati, OH where I took a mission team of teenagers and chaperones to assist a brand new church plant. Velocity Church, led by Pastor Steve Staton, held their very first service last weekend. I was blown away by God’s presence when his people meet together in His name. As the Velocity band played, this song led me to the throne room and reminded me again what an awesome God I serve. I hope as you watch and listen, you to will take a moment to let your heart worship even while sitting at your computer!

Beautiful Things –  Gungor

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way?
I wonder if my life could really change at all?
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come up from this ground at all?

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

Oh, you make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new
Making me new

You make beautiful things
(You make me new)
You make beautiful things out of us
(You are making me new, making me new)

Oh, you make beautiful things
(You make me new)
You make beautiful things out of the dust
(You are making me new, making me new)

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

Saturdays with C.S. Lewis: Forgiveness Applied > Forgiveness Understood

The central Christian belief is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. Theories as to how it did this are another matter. A good many different theories have been held as to how it works; what all Christians are agreed on is that it does work. I will tell you what I think it is like…. A man can eat his dinner without understanding exactly how food nourishes him. A man can accept what Christ has done without knowing how it works: indeed, he certainly would not know how it works until he has accepted it.

We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed. Any theories we build up as to how Christ’s death did all this are, in my view, quite secondary: mere plans or diagrams to be left alone if they do not help us, and, even if they do help us, not to be confused with the thing itself. All the same, some of these theories are worth looking at.

Quotes from Mere Christianity, Part 21
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 54-56.

How Teens View Social Media

Interesting lessons within this graphic…from my perspective:

  • Even after the admission of most teens being “addicted” to thier social media devices teens still prefer face to face contact. This tells me that no matter how many texts or FB messages I send, that personal contact is the only way to build deep meaningful relationships. The texts and other stuff can supplement that or be convenient, but without face to face time you will never get to really know a teenager.
  • Facebook is dominate. I think this is because of the combination of messages, photos/video uploads, status updates, and the infamous “like” button. Facebook has it all. But be warned, what you put on FB will be seen. No matter how deep in some obscure album that picture is, someone will comment on your behavior or associates. People do read into status updates and know what you have been saying on FB. Just as in all of life we must guard our integrity on FB and live in a way not to bring shame to ourselves and our God!
  • Teens (really, all of us) need a break from social media sometimes! We need to encourage teenagers (and ourselves) to unplug once in a while and spend some undistracted time alone. Preferably with God. Remember that verse, “be still and know that I am God”. It is getting harder and harder to be still in our media driven culture. Take some time everyday to reflect and unplug and allow yourself not to be a slave to social media, and encourage this in teens in your lives.
  • Social Media highlights the insecurities of some girls and adds pressure to be perfect. 57% of girls feel left out after seeing photos of friends without them, 45% of girls worry about others posting “ugly” pictures of them online, 28% of girls have edited photos of themselves before posting it online. These stats reinforce the truth that we need to guard our daughters hearts! While it is also true for the guys, it is crucial for the girls. We need to train them that they will only truly be satisfied in Jesus Christ and His love for them, everything else will fall short. We need to constantly be saying and living the fact that true beauty comes from within. We need to remind them that Psalms 139 says we were “fearfully and wonderfully made” in exactly the way God intended, and God doesn’t make mistakes! The Gospel tells girls (and everyone) that God loves us despite our imperfections and has made a way for us to have the one relationship that will truly satisfy us. The Gospel proves that we are priceless in the eyes of God! He sent His perfect Son as a sacrifice for us. And because of Jesus’ victory over death we can overcome all things!

These are the times we live in. We need to see our culture through the lens of the Gospel of Jesus, and social media is no exception. Social media is a great tool, but like any tool, it can be used to build up or tear down. I strive to be biblical in all that I do, even in how I interact with social media.

Your fellow worker in the field, Adam

Student Ministry Road Trips: 5 Underestimated Benefits!

Today I am loading up the vans and cars and taking a group of teenagers and chaperones to an amusement park. Yes, it’s a lot of work to organize the rental vehicles, contact group sales for the discount, plan our meals, find chaperones…yada yada yada. Is it worth it?

I sat down to think about that very thing. My conclusion was… yes. While we are not engaging in deep bible study or conducting service project I believe there is value in the fun times. God created us for fellowship, both with Him and with each other. So what are some of the benefits of a well run, smoothly executed day trip off somewhere with a group of teenagers? Here are my thoughts:

  1. Building Group Unity – A very real aspect of living the christian life is to live it within community of other believers. This is no different with teenagers. They need each other. In fact, teenagers seek out and and hunger for that social side of life more than adults! As a ministry we need to provide opportunities for our participants to really get to know one another and begin to love one another. By this love unbelievers will know that we are for real in our faith. As a group shares experiences together they bond in special ways. They develop an identity. I’ve heard a hard nosed football coach say “the team that pukes together stays together”. I believe the principle of that is the same for positive experiences. You want a cohesive student ministry that gels and sticks together through the years, provide ample opportunities for shared experiences. Build unity through action: Do stuff together!
  2. Earning Respect of Parents – With each trip you take, parents will begin to see that you are a responsible leader. (…assuming things go smooth and you really are responsible.) They will also see that you really love those kids. With every trip you will build respect and trust with the parents. All student ministers need to remember that we are working with the most precious things in these parents lives! Prove that you take that responsibility seriously. Behind every successful student ministry are parents that really buy into what is happening.
  3. Individual Relationship Building – When you go on a trip together, not only does your whole group bond, you have opportunity to deepen those relationships with individuals. Students need to know you care for them. When you sit down next to a teenager and relive “that time you lost your phone on the roller coaster” or “when GPS got possessed by the Devil and…” your relationships will soar to that next level. They know you and trust you. Only then will they be willing to come to you when the hard times hit. Create environments to really get to know students. That can’t happen from a pulpit.
  4. Antidote to Apathy – When the stats for hours per day spent on gaming or internet browsing are staggering, going on a trip together is just the thing we need to spark some interest! Show the teens in your area that you are up to SOMETHING! Most of the time teenagers will get into trouble simply because they had nothing better to do. Fight the apathy in those teenagers you have influence on, go on some trips!
  5. The Front Door of our Ministry – Lets face it. Most friends get invited to an activity before they come to a bible study or the small group setting. These activities are open doors to meet the other teenagers in the group, meet the adult leader, all in a neutral setting. If you INTENTIONALLY use your events as a way to gain prospects for your regular programming you can gather some good intel! Take it for what its worth.

So I plan regular trips to get out of the normal routine and just be together. We are living life together. When we share the good times it makes it easier to get real and share the bad time too.

Pray that I don’t lose my cookies on the coaster. 🙂

Your fellow worker in the field, Adam

Worldly Values Flipped Upside-down: The Beatitudes

Have you ever read through Matthew 5 and saw the completely opposite way in which Jesus describes what it means to be a Kingdom citizen as opposed to a citizen of this world!?! It is truly striking when you dwell on these words. What our culture tells us to pursue, Jesus flips it totally on its head! It is no wonder unbelievers consider us fools. Look at the subjects of each sentence. The worldly man has no desire to be characterized by such words, it would be an insult and an embarrassment.

  • “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
  • “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
  • “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
  • “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
  • “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.
  • 10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Josh Harris, the senior pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, is preaching on this very topic and let his creative energy flow. He wondered what it would look like if these were rewritten from the worlds perspective. Here is his artistic interpretation.

  1. Blessed are the self-confident because they rule the world.
  2. Blessed are positive-thinkers because they don’t need anybody’s comfort.
  3. Blessed are the cocky and assertive because they get what they want.
  4. Blessed are those who hunger for fame because they get reality TV shows.
  5. Blessed are the vengeful because they get respect.
  6. Blessed are the impure, pleasure-seekers because they see a good time.
  7. Blessed are those who beat their opponents because the victors write the history books.
  8. Blessed are the popular because everybody loves them.

As you read these, note how they correspond with the way we really see people living in our schools, jobs, homes, and society. Note also how they are the inverse of the biblical text as quoted above. It is scary to see how our culture values the exact opposite of what God says is truly valuable. The world, and our own sin natures, push us to live in these anti-biblical ways. It is hard to go against the flow. But when we allow God’s words to fill us up we find His strength to live out His plan.

Be counter-cultural today!

Your fellow worker in the field, Adam