Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Different Kind of Integration




This afternoon, my parents and I had one of those great, deep discussions. I love it when that happens. It's an impromptu conversation (or an occasional debate) where we express our views on political or theological topics, discern the truth, and I pay absolutely no attention to the fact that I'm still a teenager.

You may have been surprised that a discussion between a teenager and their parents could follow all of the following:

1. The discussion includes the teenager (not just the parents).
2. The discussion is not a lecture.
3. The topic is deep, mature, and meaningful.
4. The teenager is actually interested (and participative)  in what is being discussed.

This is exactly the kind of integration and unity that I want to write about today.

Multi-generational unity is just as important as multi-ethnic unity. However, the topic is rarely discussed in the Church, despite the fact that the Bible teaches it (Titus 2:3-5, Luke 2:41-52)

Why is the subject or multi-generational unity ignored? Because it simply isn't expected.

This brings about another question: why don't teenagers listen to, participate in, and care about mature conversations? For exactly the same reason.

Many adults are apprehensive about including teenagers in adult classes and discussions. Perhaps I can address these concerns one by one.

Teenagers will be bored.

This is a common response to the idea of including teenagers in adult classes and discussions. In our culture, we often assume that everything needs to be age-segregated. This mindset suggests that teenagers should only spend time with other teenagers, and adults should only spend time with adults. Everything is within neat and orderly lines. Like with like.

To me, this seems awfully similar to the concept behind racism. White with white. Black with black. No mixing.

This is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible doesn't use the word 'teenager.' It uses 'Christian' and 'unbeliever.' 'Christian' is a blanket statement referring to all types of Christians, of all ages. The universal principles for children, teenagers, and adults are simple: read and study the Word, pray, fellowship, worship, witness, and become more like Jesus.

What happens when we constantly separate teens from adults is that we treat them like different types of Christians. One group passionately pursues God, while the other just stays out of trouble. One truly cares about the Gospel and studies solid theology, while the other is simply 'well-behaved.' The distinction is that adult classes tend to be more Christ-focused, while the other moral-focused. What youth really need is the same as what every other person in the world needs: the Gospel. Not watered-down. Not sugar-coated to make it sound better.

If someone (youth or otherwise) is truly saved, he or she will care about the Bible - no matter what comes with it.

They aren't mature enough.

Several years ago, two teenage boys from my church (one of which was my brother, Nathan) began attending a men's breakfast. They spent time in fellowship with people much older than them. They even taught at least one lesson there while they were still teenagers. Today, they are both in their early twenties. Each of them has preached at least one message for the congregation. Together, they've taught teenagers the Gospel through Sunday school, Bible studies, and Vacation Bible School. They continue to live lives devoted to God and set an example for those around them.

Personally, I've experienced first-hand the value of having conversed with adults from a young age. I engaged in (and continue to engage in) adult Bible study and I am immensely grateful for it.

If you are the parent of a teenager, you may be thinking, "But those are exceptions to the majority. My teenager isn't like them." While it is true that teenagers teaching a men's breakfast lesson is uncommon, I would venture to say that all teenagers have the potential to do such things. It is the expectations of them that make the difference. Great people aren't born that way, they become that way. The two men I mentioned didn't maturely converse with adults because they were 'above average'; they became above average because they spent time with adults. I can say the same for myself.  I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't deviated from the age-segregated track.

Your teenagers are mature enough. Even if they aren't, they can become that way through practice.

Those who are older may bring up inappropriate topics.

Lastly, this is another common response to the age-integrated mindset. I will admit, this one I partially agree with. If inappropriate topics are brought up that weaken one's spiritual growth, they shouldn't be in that class. However, I have learned that in a teenage and young adult class, it is often the younger teens who bring about inappropriate comments, and those in their twenties deviated from and discouraged the topics. It was the students in their twenties who brought maturity and wisdom into the class.

Conclusion 

For practical application, it's important to remember that a change in the church begins with a change in the home. Parents, please include your teenagers (and even your children) in deep theological topics. Ask them their opinions on moral issues. Discuss the Bible together. Your teenagers don't have to be 'above average' or 'top-of-the-class.' They can become those things  through the quality time that you have with them. Teenagers, forget the fact that you're teenagers. Forget your age, and see yourself as a Christian if you truly are one. Don't just strive to be 'good for your age' at something, but be good at it in general. At this point in your life, your physical, mental, and emotional energy is at it's peak - don't waste it. Also, feel free to use your tech-expertise for a good cause. Lastly, as first Timothy 4:12 states, set an example for the believers, regardless of your age.


If you want you or your teenage children to grow beyond our society's expectations, I've included a list of resources below:

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex & Brett Harris

The Rebelution (blog)

Raising Motivated Kids (video series)

This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years by Jacquelle Crowe (this book is excellent for both teens and adults. It covers how Christianity affects each aspect of life).











Wednesday, May 16, 2018

More on Hymn Memorization



     In my last post, How to Memorize Hymns, I mentioned that I might do a hymn study on 'Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery." However, I feel God leading me in a different direction. The words speak for themselves, and I just wanted any excuse to share the lyrics.

So, I decided to just share the link for them and also a lyrical music video for the song. The reason I wanted to share the music video is because that is part of how I learned the words. Lyrics are much easier to memorize when you know the tune of the song. Also, it is a great song to get stuck in your head, because the lyrics can replay over and over in your mind.

Without further ado, here are the links:

Lyrics:
https://www.mattpapa.com/come-behold-the-wondrous-mystery-lyrics/

Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqWiIp_KLUc


Also, if you read last week's post and wanted to apply it, but didn't know what hymn to start with, I've provided a list below of some of my favorite hymns.

Hymns:


  • Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
  • Great is Thy Faithfulness
  • How Great Thou Art
  • Before the Throne of God Above
  • In Christ Alone
  • Holy, Holy, Holy
  • It is Well with My Soul
  • The Old Rugged Cross
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful

Of course, there are plenty of other great hymns (and other songs) that would be good to memorize. Choose the ones that you enjoy! Also, artists/bands such as Jimmy Needham, Newsboys, and Chris Rice have made modern adaptions of hymns - or even made their own -  that you can download on Spotify or listen to on YouTube. 

Even in the car or as your cleaning the house, you can rehearse songs that you're memorizing or listen to unfamiliar ones. No matter how busy you are, there are always pockets of time where you can memorize/listen to a 3-minute hymn or just one verse.

 Lastly, you don't have to limit it to just hymns! There are plenty of contemporary, rap, or other songs that have great lyrics. Simply memorizing Scripture is a great use of your time.

Well, I hope I've able to inspire you to learn hymns, songs, and Bible passages that you didn't already know. I've been applying what I've written and I'm really reaping the benefits! It's wonderful to have a song or Bible verse on hand that I can always think of to refocus my attention on God. Have a great week!









Monday, March 26, 2018

How to Memorize Hymns




One day, as I was sitting and reflecting (one of my favorite hobbies), I began to write down goals I wanted to achieve and things I wanted to do. Specifically, I wondered, "What things should I start doing (or doing more) that will grow me spiritually?"

A question came to mind that changed my perspective and flipped my priorities upside down. 

I asked myself, "If I were stuck in a prison cell for the rest of my life, with no personal possessions, what spiritual sustenance would I want to have stored up in my mind and heart?"

In other words, what would I want to have memorized?

I don't know about you, but when it comes to spiritual food, I'm not settling for fluff. If all the Christian growth material I had was the information stored up in my brain, feel-good, spiritual-cotton candy, it just isn't going to do it. Only the deep, thought-provoking meat of the Word would be able to sustain me for the years to come.

The early disciples didn't hide underground, endure torture and imprisonment, and risk their lives for blazing lights. They loved Jesus - not just the things that He gave - but Jesus Himself. He was their obsession. 

I want to have a heart that truly believes that when all else is stripped away, Jesus is enough. The truth of the Gospel is all that I need - no matter what comes.

With that, I decided, it was time to memorize Scripture and rich, truth-filled hymns. Growth material that will be worth the brain space.

Now, I'm not saying that hymns are the only songs that are good. There are some great contemporary songs, too. However, a majority of the truly meaningful, jam-packed-with-truth songs happen to be hymns. 

In January, my family and I went to a conference led by Dr. Voddie Baucham, a great theologian and pastor. I already knew that I wanted to memorize hymns, but Dr. Baucham said something enlightening. The conference was about family worship, and he suggested that families memorize hymns together - starting with one per month. If you memorize one hymn per month, you will have 12 hymns memorized each year. 

Now, people (including me) have the tendency to be all-or-nothing. When it comes to goals, if we fall off the wagon once, we say, "Well, I guess now that I messed up, I won't do it at all." Well, suppose life happened,  and you missed a month of hymn-memorization. The world hasn't ended. As long as you keep going, by the end of the year, you will have 11 hymns memorized that you didn't used to know. Even one more hymn that you didn't used to know is worth it. 

I decided to memorize one hymn per month. This is convenient because hymns tend to have 4 verses, and there are an average of 4 weeks per month. One verse per week. Not a problem.


Well, that didn't happen. But, I memorized most of "How Great Thou Art." Currently, I am memorizing "Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery." That hymn, is well, wondrous. In fact, I'm thinking that my next article will be a study of the lyrics.

If you want to start memorizing hymns, I would suggest this method:

1) Make a list of all the hymns that you want to memorize.

2) Pick one for the first month/2-3 months.

3) Focus on one verse at a time. It may take 1-2 weeks to memorize one verse.

4) Each day, repeat the verse (and the chorus) a couple of times. You may find it helpful to set a specific time to do this, such as during your personal Bible time.

You may be thinking, "Well, that's good idea, but I don't have time."

One of the things that I did to combat this excuse was to realize a certain margin of time that we all have: those mindless minutes in the shower.

Well, I at least hope we all have that margin of time.

Anyway, I have the tendency to sing in the shower (judge not, for you do it, too). This gave me an idea: if I'm singing in the shower anyway, why don't I use that time to worship through a hymn that I'm memorizing? After all, it doesn't take any more time away from my day. 

I tried it. I read the lyrics to the first verse, then rehearsed it in the shower.

I don't always do this - sometimes I sing the hymn (at least mentally) before I read the Bible or pray, while I'm doing tasks that don't require much brainpower, or in a free moment that I find myself bored.

We all have spare moments of time, whether it's in between tasks or in line at the grocery store. No matter how short, they add up if you use them wisely.

Another question that I thought of that day when I was writing down my goals was this: if I was in that same prison cell, and there was an unsaved inmate with me, what would I want to know?

Considering the amount of time that we would spend together, I would certainly want some scriptures that I could share about the basics of salvation and the Gospel. 

Now, I haven't exactly started memorizing scripture, but I hope to start doing that in the near future. 

What about you? Have you memorized hymns or Bible verses that you recommend? I'd love to hear from you!











Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Am I Worthy of Salvation?

Dear Reader, 

today I want to debunk a common myth among believers. Now, I don't judge anyone who holds this belief. Every one of us has questions about the faith and sometimes skewed answers. I know without a doubt that there are countless questions about the faith that I am unsure about. Even when listening to Christian (or nominally Christian) teachers, they still don't have all the answers. We can easily be swept into the wrong belief systems if we aren't careful. Today, I want to try and answer one question of the faith that people, possibly in the same denomination, have differing thoughts about:

Are we worthy of salvation?

In other words, do we deserve it?

We live in a world that prizes self-confidence above almost everything. Now, I am still a new Christian and the topics of identity and self-worth are probably among the most difficult for me to find Biblical answers to. As far as I have discovered, as long as we focus on God and His greatness, everything else will fall into place. I believe that our Biblical thought process should start with God, not ourselves. That will align everything else in the right way.

Back to the main question: are we worthy of salvation?

Well, I believe that many of the disagreements and ambiguity in our discussions today start with one simple thing: we don't have the right definition. Or, we all have different definitions of the same word. Here is how Webster's New World Dictionary defines "worthy":

"1) having worth, value, or merit 2) having enough worth or merit (for someone or something specified); meriting."

Let's take this one segment at a time: 1) having worth, value, or merit. We, as God's creation, are valued. How do I know this? Because Scripture specifies that God desires that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9). In Genesis 1, when God creates Humankind, He indicates them as different than the other creatures. We are created in God's image, to worship Him.

But we sinned. We were sinners. God was just. And what happens to convicted criminals? They are punished.

Here is a groundbreaking thought: on our own terms, we deserve wrath.


We don't deserve grace. We weren't inherently worthy to have Jesus die for our sins. Christ did not take our place because it was "owed" to us. 

If it were, that would make us pretty amazing, wouldn't it? To think that we deserve the Creator and Sustainer of everything step down from His throne, become human, and give up His life to set us free would make us amazed, flabbergasted, and awe-filled by our own value.

Sometimes I believe we, as Christians, try to view God's love like this: it's as if we have waited years and years to see a great landmark - for example, the Grand Canyon. We finally arrive. We stand in front of the massive, majestic wonder. However, instead of stopping to stare in awe at it, we reach into our backpack, pull out a mirror, and put it in front of our face.

If Christ's great plan of salvation was owed to us, what's there to be amazed about God's love? God was just doing His part, simply paying His fair share to us. This reminds me  Romans 4:4-5:

Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

God's grace is a gift, not an obligation. If it were an obligation, that would imply that we earn it, either through 1) our good works or 2) our inherent worth.

Here is an interesting analogy about good works that my brother has used in the youth Sunday school class that he leads: 

The Bible describes our "good" works as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). How many filthy rags would it take to buy a mansion? An infinite number, right? Who would want filthy rags - even an infinite number of them? There could never be enough filthy rags to buy a mansion.

Heaven is much more valuable than that mansion. Heaven is eternal. 

Also, we were not just innocent house shoppers. We were convicts. Our scenario goes more like this:

A criminal is declared guilty. He is punished with an eternal sentence. The criminal pulls out some dirty rags and asks, "Can I please be let go? Look at all the good things I've done! Your Honor, I washed your car earlier! I helped an elderly woman cross the street! I went on a missions trip!" But to the judge, it is all just dirty rags. 

However, the judge had a different plan. He brought out an innocent man. The judge said, "This man will take your sentence. You may go. Not only may you go, but," he hands the criminal a key, "here is the key to a mansion." 

The criminal watched as the took the innocent man to fulfill his own sentence. "Stop! This isn't fair! You can't convict him with my punishment! He has done nothing, and is condemned, but I have done a horrible crime, and I go free!"

That is what salvation is. It is separated into two parts: mercy and grace. Mercy is already far more than we deserve - it is not getting the punishment that we do deserve. Added to that is grace, which is receiving what we don't deserve.

I'd like to close with a passage from Titus 3:

 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7








Friday, November 17, 2017

Loving like Jesus Does



Mercy, forgiveness, and grace.

These words are all related. How are they related, you might ask? To start off with, they are all:

1. Selfless attributes
2. Characteristics of Christ
3. Characteristics that Christ wants us to have

These characteristics all fall under the same category: love. Why would you have mercy on someone? Because of love. Why would you forgive someone? Because love covers over their faults and keeps no record of wrong (1 Cor. 13:5). Of course these are characteristics of God - because God is love.

Love should govern everything we do - first out of a love for God, and as a result, out of a love for others. 

Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Cor. 16:14)

Jesus wants us to love others as He has loved us (John 15:12). Possibly, one of the reasons that Jesus tells us to love - which is a self-sacrificing attribute - is so that we'll be more in awe of Him.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lays down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)


After all, self-sacrifice is not a natural attribute. Our sinful human nature only cares about three people - me, myself, and I. 

But now that we have been remade and born again, Christ is our motivation for loving others. So, to love others sacrificially, we must know the One Who loved them first. In spite of their flaws. I heard this quote that I am reminded of in moments of annoyance:

"The next time you're tempted to lose patience with someone, remember how patient God has been with you." (author unknown)

True, Christ's Love is three things: unconditional, undeserved, and unrequited.

Then again, there are many other words that describe it (mainly in 1 Cor. 13). Love means that consider God above all, then others, then self. That is the direct opposite of human nature, and even the culture as a whole. That's why, if you want to see how to live with love, you can't look for it in the world - you have to look for it in the Bible.

Love is faithful.

God loves us when we don't even stop to think about it. Can you recall a time when, in a moment of anger, God stopped the earth from turning? I can't.

Not even once.
In the 5, 681 days that I've been alive, God hasn't halted the earth's rotation. In none of those days has he not provided me with food, shelter, air, water or clothing. Each of those 5,681 days He's sustained me and provided for all of my needs - and almost all of those blessings unnoticed and un-thanked. He has given me far more than I deserve, and I often pass by these gifts every day - even the gift of life itself.

Love is a series of second chances, regardless of how many past failures. Love cares for enemies. Before we were saved, we were enemies of God. Yet He loved His enemies - enough to die for them. Love does not envy - the joy in another's victory is untainted by their own "unfair" loss.

 Love happens when we take our eyes off of ourselves. 

We place them instead on Jesus and the love that He has. Then we turn to others, and think of their needs. God, then others, then self.

Love is not always pleasant - because it's sacrificial. Sometimes it's humiliating. It meant the Maker and Sustainer of the whole universe assuming the lowest position, then being mocked and hated by the same people He was dying for. It meant being forsaken by the Father so that unworthy sinners could be forgiven. He had full power to save Himself from every one of those sufferings, but He didn't.

This puts minor annoyances into much-needed perspective. We need to put on this mindset every single day.

One last thing: I would encourage you to study 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, and, aloud, replace the word "love" with your name. See how it lines up. Although you may have some of these qualities, ask God where you need to grow in each of them. There are moments when we slip in all of these areas. However, take a look at the passage and admire how God has kept this definition of love - towards you, and towards even those you don't get along with. Then, replace the word "love" in the passage with "God."

Let us encourage each other as we challenge ourselves daily:

Do we love like Jesus does?



Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Power of Thoughts



Today I want to write to you about the building blocks who we are, the words we say, and the lives we lead:

Our thoughts.

Why do I say that thoughts are the building blocks of life? After all, no one knows about them other than us, so why does it matter so much what we think?

Well, we often forget one vital truth - one enlightening and freeing truth - 

God knows EVERYTHING - and that includes our most private thoughts!

Each and every second of every day, God is aware of what we are thinking. And believe it or not, we can sin even in our own, "innocent" little minds - through hatred, judgement, jealousy, lust, and idolatry. Even thoughts that distract you from following Christ.(Sidepoint: our minds are not innocent. The sin nature still stains our thought-life, even if we're saved).

The Bible addresses thoughts frequently, and it addresses the importance of them. Where our thoughts go, our desires follow. As Proverbs 4:23 says,

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.


And Proverbs 23:7,

As a man thinks, so he is.

I don't know about you, but I find psychology to be pretty fascinating. Currently I'm taking a Christian high school course in introductory psychology, which I'm hoping will help me in a possible life coaching career someday. I'm also reading a book called, Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf, a Christian psychologist. Both of these sources are saying the same thing: 

You are not a victim of your thoughts.

In Switch on Your Brain, the author offers an eye-opening fact that gives hope for those feeling powerless over their thoughts. It turns out that every morning, you wake up with a set of new baby brain cells. In other words, you don't have to think what you've always thought! It brings a whole new meaning to the verse, "[God's mercies] are new every morning.." (Lamentations 3:23) It's what you do with those brain cells that makes all the difference. They can be used to either add to your wisdom and draw you closer to God, or to further solidify your old habits. The choice is yours.

Psychologists have estimated that we think, on average, 60,000 thoughts a day. Out of those 60,000 thoughts, it is estimated that 75-80% of them are repeated thoughts.

However, even if you've had a negative habitual thought pattern since childhood, there is still hope. The grip may be strong, but God is so much stronger. Christ didn't just die to forgive our sins, but also to give us the power to overcome those sinful thought patterns (Philippians 4:13). We just have to rely on His Strength.

As Christians, we have the responsibility to give each thought to God and ask if it is right. (2 Cor. 10:5) We can be completely honest with Him - as I said before, He knows every detail already. Begin today: confess (even throughout the day) wrongful thoughts. Now, begin to weed out the bad and replace it with the good. You will find yourself thinking whatever your environment feeds (media, reading, TV, other people - whatever you spend most of your time doing). You can turn that around by spending more time digging in the Word, meditating on scripture, etc. (Psalm 1:1-2). Allow God to have free reign over your thoughts, even if they sound crazy or too picky. (Gal. 2:20 - not I that lives, but Christ lives in me). This is the renewing of your mind as mentioned in Romans 12:2.

What should we think about? Well, Philippians 4:8 provides a pretty good guideline:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - think about these things.

Basically, we should think about God's goodness, praying without ceasing, and thanking Him for all the blessings He's given us (1 Thess. 5:16-18) Here's another thought: is there anything that you find yourself distracted with during Bible time? Maybe it isn't inherently bad, but it may be worth taking a look at. Perhaps it's an idol, which the Bible tells us to crush. Ask God, specifically, if that particular thought is something that needs to change. You have the choice to entertain the thought or not. Why should we allow something to hinder us from running the full race we were meant to run (Hebrews 12:1)? We are warned to be vigilant. (1 Peter 5:8)

"Christian, beware of thinking lightly of sin. Take heed in case you fall little by little." - Charles Spurgeon



Monday, September 4, 2017

6 Things to do in these end times


Hatred. Shootings. Fires. Political strife. Rumors of war.

Why is the world suddenly teeming with terror? Why is it that every time we turn on the news, something horrible is happening.

We are living in the end times. The end times described in Revelation.

  As Timothy 3:1-4 says,

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God."

The culture depicts this image more and more every day. You can see a glimpse of this through the catastrophes around the world and the politically correct lies on social media. People are becoming continually more immoral. The lines between right and wrong are blurring. And you know what that means - it is easier for the Church to get swept in little by little.

These are frightening times...at least for those who fear death.

However, for the Christian, these are not times to be fearful or depressed, but to be rooted and steadfast in our faith.  Each event that takes place means that we're a little bit closer to the rapture, when the believers who are still in the world will ascend to be with Christ. However, on this earth, things will get much worse. We will not be present, but our co-workers and loved ones may. This is not the time for the Church to become complacent, but to cling to Christ more than ever.

In light of all this, how should we live? What should we do to prepare?

1. Grow in our faith

As in any other time in history, we are to build our foundation on Christ alone. We are to love God with all our heart, surrender all to Him daily, and follow the Spirit's leading. It will become harder and harder to sustain our spiritual lives, and many may simply give up the fight. It is in these last days that we should prepare for spiritual warfare, filling our minds with scripture and digging deep in the world. If Jesus is your #1 priority, everything else will fall into place. It is in the times of blurred moral standards that we must solidify our beliefs and values.


“Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” - Charles Spurgeon

Wrong disguises itself as right, like a wolf in sheep's clothing. We must constantly remember that we are seeking after Christ, not happiness.

2. Memorize Scripture


Yes, you can. Why? Well, how many songs do you know?

Despite what many think, it is vital to hide God's Word in our hearts. The day may come when Bibles are banned. What will hold the Church together in these times? With all the other voices around us, will we still hear God's the most?

3. Unite as a church

In these times, one minor disagreement can spark an explosion of hatred and division. But the church is not just another social group. It is the Kingdom of God. We cannot allow a small quarrel to ignite a full-fledged outrage.We are called to be peacemakers, unified as one Body. How can we nurture one another if we are tearing each other apart? If we are to be the light of the world, that includes showing ourselves to be different from the world. Our love is our witness (John 13:35).  Our witness can be that while the world is blowing up over a mild disagreement, the church is uniting in love.


The question is, are we seeking to be heard, or are we seeking for Christ to be heard? 

4. Share the Gospel


Sharing Christ with others should not be a feared duty, but a delight. And, as with all the other points: If we are not faithful now, how will we be faithful when it becomes even more difficult?


Witnessing will certainly not be any easier. Currently in the United States, most of the persecution is verbal and social. However, in some places it is physical - and even fatal. Are we willing to risk our lives for the Gospel? How about just our convenience and comfort?

 Soon, there will be no time left to step out of your comfort zone just a little bit.

5. Show God's love through our actions

We see all kinds of natural disasters, abuse, and sickness. Surprisingly, it is often the non-Christians who are reaching out to help those in need.


 God calls us to reach out for the needy, widows and orphans. However, He doesn't call us to do it to be seen. He calls us to do it so that Christ can be seen through us.

6. Raise godly children

If you're a parent, then teaching your children God's Word is crucial. If the Lord delays His coming, your children are the next generation of leaders, teachers, and citizens. It is critical for them to be grounded in the Word if their faith is to survive the harsh conditions of this world. 



  • Pray for their salvation. 
  • Pray for them to be lights in this dark world. 
  • Pray for them to stand firm in their faith, loving to do God's Will.