Monday, April 30, 2012

Y is for Yeah

I'll take this time to post my Thank Yous, things that make me go, "yeah!"

I'm thankful for Trinity EPC, my church.

I'm thankful that God allows me to teach the students there.

I'm thankful for the Reformed Presbyterian Church I found in Covington.  I'm also thankful that they sing a lot of hymns and have a lot of children.

I'm thankful that I found a volunteer position so soon after I resigned from my internship in Atlanta.

I'm thankful for the extra gas I will have.

I thank the Lord that I will finally be Tabletalking on Skype Wednesday night.

Thankful that this is exam week.

Thankful for a supportive father and grandfather.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

X is for X-tra W is for Women

Yes, I'm cheating.  But I'm not really in the contest in the first place.  This comes from a conversation from an extremist.  As you know, I'm not egalitarian anymore, but I still cling to the idea that women can be leaders in the church if not ordained pastors.  I need something liberal to cling to.  But seriously, Paul's words in 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians give me the impression that if women are approved by godly men to teach, who are not feminists, who really are theological goldmines, and there is a man leading them, then they can serve as elders and deacons and teach Sunday School.

So, I'm talking to this extreme Calvinist and mention that I'm a youth pastor.  He asks, "pastor or leader?"  I said, I'm a Christian education director and all my men are under 18, and there are only two of them.  He was like, "Good, women can't be pastors."  I didn't argue it.  I changed the subject.  But even those who agree that women should not be ordained can see that women can serve in many capacities in church.  The PCA denom says they can be pastors, just nor ordained.  John Piper says the only thing they can't be is ordained.  The ARP denom lets them be deacons but not elders.

And I know children's ministry is as important as pastoral ministry.  It's an extension of it.  I teach Bible lessons to kids during the pastor's sermon.  But I'm not ordained, don't seek ordination, nor do I have an M. Div.  I just have a seminary degree in Christian education and really remember when God called me to youth ministry.  I wanted someone in it who wasn't in it for pizza parties and beach trips but really did teach theology.  I knew I would do it right.

So I'm female, I'm a youth pastor, and I'm totally fine with that.  I'll be a paralegal soon, and if I ever get married and pregnant, my goal is to be a stay-at-home mom and if possible work online, perform the role God gave me as a woman.

Friday, April 27, 2012

W is for Wake Up!

In the past two weeks, I've posted on Facebook the phrase, "Wake up and go to sleep!"  I got that line from the Three Stooges, which I have loved my whole life.  And yes, I'm female. 

Then, Kevin DeYoung posts an article about how all-nighter study sessions actually do not give you more intelligence.  The lack of sleep makes you more tired.  It's one of those articles that makes me at least glad I can budget my time for some sleep.

Also I think of Paul saying to the Ephesians, "Wake up O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." 

V is for Volunteer

Yesterday, I just ended my Atlanta internship with that lawyer.  It was a good internship in a nice part of Atlanta, but I'm just where I can't just drive two hours every day.  Now, this will be one less hour.

Week after next, I'm going to start volunteering with Project Renewal.  They are advocates for victims of domestic violence.  This is also a non-profit organization, and dad keeps telling me I need to find a paying job.

I agree, but I've only had 5 months of experience, and a paying job will not happen at least until next year.  He's forgetting that it will be pay enough to drive one less hour every week.  Plus, I'm kind of excited about being involved with a charity that helps people and gets involved in legal matters.  I feel like this is a great idea.

And I went to college in Tennessee.  I'm a UGA fan, but I still am forever a super volunteer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

U is for Uh-oh

For the first time since 1999, or ever, I finally listened to the document The Lost Kids of Rockdale County.  This PBS special hit the fan when I was a freshman in high school in Rockdale County at the time, and at that time, the super-perverted happenings were a fringe of the town's elite teenagers. 

I listened to these people who were teens in 1999 talking about their misadventures from 1996 when a syphilis epidemic struck the town's health department.  These kids come from squeaky-clean upper middle class homes.  They have everything they ever wanted, no boundaries, and parents who are never home.  These kids are basically feral with nobody to talk to.  When they get to puberty and are figuring out who they are, they run to the next best thing: their crazy peers who are also curious and starved for true love.  These kids ranged from some parental involvement in life to no parental involvement in life to having everything on a silver platter, but still starved for love.

On girl in the video did have an involved father.  I'm not sure why she started participating in the orgies, but the trigger was when she lost her best friend.  This is just proof that losing best friends in very traumatizing and true tragedy in growing up.  This can be more painful than boy/girl relationships breaking up.  I realize how easily this could have been me.  In 1999, I was in the middle of a crumbling best friendship that occurred simply because my friend cared more about the band geek culture and I wanted to stay faithful to the Lord.  I was very lonely throughout high school.  Living in Conyers again, I'm still lonely, but I know the difference between me and the kids in the video.  I had parents in my life.  My mother and father always talked theology with me at the table, in the car, mom talked with me every night about God and life, and I don't think I'd even know as much Bible if it was not for my mother influencing me to start reading devotional books.  I'd probably not be involved in youth ministry had my parents not been super-involved in my church life.  So, although I have an ache from broken friendships and introverted loneliness that continued even into college, I still had the backbone of my parents and their teaching to hold me together.

And I have friends now, although they are all in other states or really busy.  I have one I see weekly, and I even have to work to make that one consistent, but even if I should lose them, I know that my heavenly Father will never leave me, nor forsake me, and by his grace I'm still a virgin, have stayed away from drugs, and only time will tell if I learn to depend on him alone for all my emotional needs.

T is for Tabletalk

The other amazing resource besides Tim Challies is Ligonier Ministries.  I have thoroughly enjoyed Tabletalk magazine this year as my daily devotional.  I have another friend who recently subscribed and we resolved to talk Tabletalk once he gets the magazine.  So exciting.  So last Thursday, I made a video of how I would like to talk: Read the weekly article, comment on it, then pick highlights from the devotionals.  I thoroughly enjoyed it but I still have no feedback.  But soon I'll find other Tabletalkers.

Monday, April 23, 2012

S is for Switchfoot

I started blogging about all the songs by this band then stopped after Beautiful Letdown.  I'm going to get back again.  Just not today.  I still love Switchfoot.  I've loved them since I was 12, started hating them when they crossed over to secular radio, and then started liking them again when Oh! Gravity came out. 

I'm so glad I discovered Jon Foreman's solo songs.  They're actually better than his Switchfoot stuff and are more openly Christian like the first three Switchfoot albums. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

R is for Religion

I've been thinking about that saying, "I hate religion but love Jesus."  I used to say it a lot.  Then, some guy took the cliche and made a popular YouTube video out of it.  Then Challies and all the other commentators disagreed.  I think I disagree now, too. 

Rituals and rules should not be the focus of our faith, but religion is simply how we relate to Jesus.  To say you hate religion is like saying, "I love my husband, but I don't care for this marriage thing."  You should love your bridegroom more than your marriage, but marriage is simply how you relate.  Religion is not a bad thing.  It's the means and not the end.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

O is for One-Way Love

I read this article just now, and I finally got something to post for the letter O.  Tullian is Billy Graham's grandson and reformed.  Or at least John Piper let him speak at a conference.  So he at least says he's reformed.

I thought this was good because so many people love each other because of what they can get out of each other.  There is no altruism, and I can't even fathom God being altruistic although he is.  God is the only one who loves people for no reason and without expecting in return.

Here is where Tullian gets lost though.  Once God does love you by sending Jesus for your penal substitution, it creates a love in us that will return God's love, something that the unsaved will never know, at least not in a way that matters. 

However, this article is still good advice for me as I should love people just because I can.  Even if they hate me one week, I still must actively love them.  Not with fuzzy feelings in my heart or wishes of good will, but actively seek to do good to them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

N is for Not White

This comes from two situations this week.  The happier one is where my friend made me read aloud to her Huckleberry Finn.  It's one of my favorite books.  It's so non-racist in a still-racist mentality.  So annoying however, is the use of the n-word.  I know it was an okay word when Mark Twain lived, but it's like I read the word and I'm stabbed in the heart.

Also, on facebook, I'm in a Calvinist discussion group.  The question was, "Is interracial marriage a sin?"  Why would anyone ask this?  How do supposed Christians think that this is addressed in the Bible?  The Bible is clear that from one man, God created all the people groups.  Ergo, there is no such thing as race.  We are all brown people and nobody is white.

This prejudice just comes from the Darwin era when Christians rejected the Bible's teachings to be relevant, and people were sacrificed in the process for centuries to come.

Monday, April 16, 2012

M is for Monastery

Yep, I'm talking about the place in Conyers where I love to walk.  I even love to meditate there.  It's a place I go to and forget that I'm in Conyers.  It's so peaceful and the Lord really does move there. 

I've seen the monks do vespers from time to time.  Last time I even crawled into the nave and sang with them.  The thing I really love about Catholics is their art and their meditation techniques.  I do disagree that monastic living should be 24/7.  It should be once a week.  That's why God created the Sabbath.  However, I do like that they allow the public to come and retreat, that there is always a place to go for free and just work on homework or read or pray.  I'm so thankful for the monastery.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

L is for Longing

This is just from a week of missing old friends from old colleges and wanting to see them.  This is also for the friends I see now but still want something more.  I want to stay at Trinity EPC forever but I also want to move when I finish at Clayton.  But I don't want to leave my youth group, and I'd have nowhere to go anyway.  But for now, I'm more content than I've been in the past two years. 

It just goes to show you that this world will never give me anything that satisfies me more than God.  God created nothing nor can there be anything more satisfying than him.  And I won't be satisfied until Christ finally comes.  But I still await what he has to bring me in the next year or two.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

J is for Joy

Every time I leave Shepherd's Staff on Thursday nights, I feel like praising the Lord.  This week, Hope Community Fellowship, our neighbors-to-be, led the Bible study.  There were more young people.  There was lasagna and cheesecake.  Some hipster guy led the devotion.

And when I got there I mentioned to the other Megan that I can't figure out where to go to get a local internship so I don't have to keep driving to Atlanta.  She gave me a brilliant idea that I hope to try out tomorrow.  If it goes anywhere I'll elaborate.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I is for India

Another post inspired by Challies.  He wrote about Gandhi's line about how Gandhi likes Jesus, just not Christians because we are not like Jesus.  Liberals love this line and even more naive believers.  I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking that we need to stop using this phrase.

I'll be the first to tell you, the church is full of hypocrites and I'm one of them.  If you say you aren't a hypocrite, then you are even more hypocritical.  Every Christian is a sinner, and every Christian is going to do something that embarrasses Christ, who's name we carry.  That doesn't make it alright.  That's just the way it is.

Equally, Gandhi must have had some kind of ego to believe that he was above this problem.  Has he never lied or used anybody?  Has he never gone against what he believed?  Gandhi lived under the delusion that all men had something good in them and that Jesus was just another man.  Nobody was ever kind enough to tell him that we are woefully sinful and have no hope outside of Jesus who must wash our sins for us to even want to follow his teachings.  But either way, please stop quoting him.  I love Jesus, therefore, how dare I not live his Christians who he died to save?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

H is for Heresies

Yep, my favorite topic.  I love polemicism.  This one started as I was reading this book by Larry Crabb called "Connections."  It's a must read.  It's about how ministers can connect with people on deeper levels than just hi-how-are-you, or try to understand the person without trying to have the right answers.  I might have to read this book a few times.

I was sitting next to my friend who said, "That kind of looks like Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People."  Then I started running my mouth about how I have that book but couldn't finish it because it was so positive and I need Jesus.  Then I started talking about Joel Osteen.  Then I started talking about Oprah.

If you can say you have no problem with Oprah then you have to do some soul checking.  She is like the number one New Age guru these days.  Turns out that Osteen is teaming up with her.  But this is why you need people like me who will find a booger in every bush.  If you tolerate small heresies, then you won't notice the big ones when Oprah shows up.  You'll be totally blinded by the blatant blasphemies of Rob Bell that should be obvious.  This is why we need picky polemicists like me. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

G is for Golden Calf

Now that Lent is over, I'm still very much aware of the idols in my life.  All denominations suffer from bowing to some graven image, some more obviously, but we all worship something without realizing it.  I think the Presbyterians worship their theology as much as God.  We idolize saints like Calvin, Luther, Augustine, and all of these guys would be appalled at such hero worship as they loved Christ so much. 

But like Calvin said, our hearts are idol factories, and even redeemed people struggle with idolatry as we cannot see God and are often starved for love in this technological society.

The solution: never go a day without reading Scripture or praying that God will captivate your heart in such a way that you desire no one else more.  Realize how great and omnipotent our God is, how he is the only one who created, the only one who sustains, the only one who can save us and not we or any action we can do.  Christ has already paid for our sins; we won't have to pay for any subsequent sins via rituals.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

F is for Fishing

Jesus called his disciples fishers of men.  I consider myself a disciple.  So, I'm in charge of going out and telling the world about Jesus.

We should also be greatly sad that there are still people who don't believe in God, follow Christ, or if they do, have no Christian education.  This is why I went into that field.  So that someone will lead the youth correctly without resorting to some food fight. 

So, when I listened to the late Keith Green this week on YouTube, I couldn't help being embarrassed about his screaming to his audience about how they aren't reaching enough people for Christ.  Then I remembered, while Keith was certainly no heretic and one of my favorite singers of all time, somehow, he was influenced by Charles Finney who didn't believe in the Holy Spirit at all.  To Finney, a revival was a result of a contrived means.  Whatever it took to get people to commit to Christ, he would do it.  This philosophy lives on in true believers who are not aware of Finney's Pelagianism.  For the example of Keith Green, it's like he believed that if a Christian was not spending 24 hours doing what he or she can to rescue people from hell, then he's not really a Christian.  Or if there's still people out there unreached for Christ, then it's our job to singlehandedly reach them. 

This is not what Christ commands in the Great Commission.  When the disciples were met with rejection, they were told to simply move on to the next folks, not plead with them beyond all reason.  Christ's Word is enough to save someone despite its deliverer, and if they are elect, God will lead them to him.  We just have to proclaim his name to all nations and influence them to come to Christ.  Yes we should try our hardest to reach the lost people.  It's why I'm thankful for people like Wycliffe International who translate the Bible for tribes who still don't have it in their language.  The Word of Christ is what saves, not me.  I would despair if I really was tasked with saving every single person in the ocean of sin.  Just like we are not expected to catch every fish in the lake, we are only charged with reaching as many people as possible.  Let God take care of the rest if he wants the whole lake saved.

Friday, April 6, 2012

E is for Eglon

This is a Judges story.  It's in the Bible, and one day I'll teach it to my teens.  However, this video features the story told twice by Joel Hanson, lead singer of PFR, and feeds my PFR kick from last week.  Warning: this video is bizarre.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

D is for David Murray

I mentioned Challies yesterday.  Because of Challies, I also love David Murray.  He makes these amazing videos about the Old Testament a la Rob Bell but with good theology, and his blog has daily articles about how church leaders can stay sane with practical psychological advice.  He's big on counseling and holistic health as well as good theology.  Again go over to his blog and have fun!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

C is for Challies

Tim Challies has the best blog for resources any Reformed youth minister could need.  It was on Tim Challies that I found out about David Murray's video series about the Angel of the Lord in the OT.  It is there that I get good discernment news and articles concerning other preachers without feeling angry with said people.  I even get good pro-life articles there. 

Here is a wonderful article piggy-backing off of R.C. Sproul's sermon this week on Renewing your mind.

And here's an amazing infographic about the tabernacle, a topic that always fascinates me.

Go have fun on his site!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

B is for Burrito

As people should know, the Spanish word for "donkey" is "burro." That would make a little donkey a "burrito." 

This is inspired by R.C. Sproul's book, the Donkey Who Carried a King.  It's a cute, apocryphal story about the little donkey that rode Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  He was the littlest donkey who was still not old enough to do any tasks.  His brothers and sisters did many things, and he just sat and ate.  He thought of his ancestor who carried Balaam, who spoke to Balaam.  He also had an older relative who carried Mary to Bethlehem as she bore Jesus.  His day would come.

Then Jesus came by and asked to ride the donkey who's name was Davy.  He felt so proud that he got to carry the king into Jerusalem.  Then Davy's owners began making him do chores.  He felt so humiliated after having such an honor.  Then on Friday, he saw the same king getting beaten and crucified.  Jesus took on all that pain and humility for our redemption.  The least Davy could do was do his chores and not envy people. 

R.C. reads the book on Ligonier this week.  You should either listen to it or buy it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A is for April

A is for April.  It's the month I was born (in fact today is the day I was born), spring is here, and Easter is usually nearby. 

It is a wonderful time to praise God for creating me, sustaining me, and providing for me all that I need.  It's also great to praise the Lord for giving his life for me and for coming back to life.  I praise the Lord for always existing so that we could exist and always loving so that we could still exist.