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Father’s Day 2012 – What Not To Do

Don’t Do What Daddy Don’t Does!

To celebrate Father’s Day 2012, Glen & Antony made a short, light-hearted video demonstrating what NOT to do as a Dad.

Being a dad can be hard work… being a GREAT dad can be exhausting! While we both recognise areas where we really “messed up” as dads, we’re grateful to God for the opportunity to correct bad habits / behaviours, and develop those areas over time.

Some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way:

  • Be present with your kids – just because you’re in the same immediate vicinity as your children, doesn’t mean you’re “WITH” them. Smart phones, tablets, books, TV & other distractions simply telegraph to your kids that they’re not as important as the thing distracting you. In fact, the same applies with your wife & anybody else you’re trying to communicate with! Be present. Let the phone ring. Ignore the email notification. FOCUS on your kids
  • Consider the heart – it’s easy to “go off” at our kids when they do something wrong. But it takes patience (dare I say courage) to pause, and really consider the action. Did your child simply make a “childish mistake”? Were they trying to do the right thing, but simply lacked the wisdom in how to play it out? What was the intent of their actions? Often by asking questions & working through what happened, you’ll create a fantastic learning situation – for you and your child. As fathers we’re instructed to teach our children, so we need to understand (and expect) that we SHOULD have these situations arise – and see them as opportunities to help our children mature & develop
  • Don’t be the final authority – “father knows best” is a bit of a lost notion, but “our heavenly Father knows best” is as true today as it ever has been. By letting our kids know that we don’t have all the answers, we demonstrate our humanity – and our dependence upon God in our daily lives. Rather than putting rules in place simply because we’re the dad, we can point our kids to scripture to support the reasons for the rules. And the reason for following those rules becomes “because we love God & want to give glory to Him”, not simply “because I said so!”
  • Pray with your kids – similar to the previous point, we DON’T have all the answers. Sitting down with your kids to pray through their anxiety, their sadness, their concerns etc is a wonderful privilege – for teaching our kids to “cast our cares upon Him”, to “lean not on our own understanding” and “with prayer and supplication making our requests known to the Lord”. When we pray with our kids – in every-day situations – we are living out our faith, and teaching our kids specific ways to apply their belief in God… that it’s not just religious theory, but practical to our lives every day

There’s much more, but we’ll save that for another post…

Give us a few months to recover from our injuries (and late nights of editing the content) and we’ll make another video 🙂

Happy Father’s Day 2012!

 

 

5 Notes On Dating for Guys

 

5 NOTES ON DATING FOR THE GUYS

Brandon Andersen » Marriage Dating Worldviews Wisdom Planning Culture

I work in church operations, which I means spend an inordinate amount of time with young, single volunteers, many of whom are recent converts. When I first started, it quickly became clear that most young Christians have no idea what Christian dating looks like practically. Here are some insights to help Christian men date in a way that honors God.

1. A DEFINITION OF INTENTIONAL

“Intentional” is one of those words that sounds right, but no one really knows what if means. So I would like to clear that up. Here is my working definition for intentional and how it relates to how a Christian man should pursue a woman.

The intentional man repeatedly and constantly goes first and takes on all of the risk of rejection. He always lets the girl know where he stands so she feels secure and isn’t left guessing. (On the other hand, don’t weird her out by talking about marriage on the first date.)

Approaching her initially:

  • Intentional: “I’d like to take you out on a date.”
  • Unintentional: “Wanna hang out sometime? My roommates are all gone this weekend.”

Paying the bill:

  • Intentional: “I’ve got it.”
  • Unintentional: “Can you cover half the bill? I’m pretty broke right now.” (My wife believes this communicates, “You are worth about $20, but not quite $40.”)

Following up after a date:

  • Intentional: “I had a great time tonight, and would definitely want to do this again. I will give you a call this week.”
  • Unintentional: “I’ll call you sometime.”

Bringing other people in:

  • Intentional: “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you. Would you like to have dinner with my Community Group leader and his wife?” (This is a way to honor her by pursuing outside accountability from a godly couple.)
  • Unintentional: “I don’t know if you really wanna meet my friends yet . . .” I.e. “I don’t really want you to meet my friends yet,” and as Chris Rock says, “If you have not met his friends, you are not his girlfriend.” (In this case, there’s a disingenuousness where he’s not being fully open with his whole life with the woman and is cordonning off the relationship from other areas of his life and people who know him. This is a guy who’s only selfishly protecting himself and shielding himself from any accountability and consequences, and he cannot be trusted as the protector of someone else.)

Things are going well:

  • Intentional: “I think you are a godly, beautiful woman, and I have great time with you. I would like to pursue a relationship with you.”
  • Unintentional: “Soooooo, what do you think about us?” Or, “I am not sure where I stand. What about you?”

Things look like they could go well for a long time:

  • Intentional: “I don’t date for the sake of dating, and marriage is a long ways away, but I couldn’t be happier with how things are going. I think you’re amazing.”
  • Unintentional: “Things are going OK I guess, we’ll see.”

Recognizing the end of the relationship:

  • Intentional: “I am sorry, I don’t see this progressing past friendship.”
  • Unintentional: (Time passing . . . cold shoulder . . . you stop calling . . .)

Ultimately, the unintentional guy’s responses are selfish because they put his interests before the woman’s, and they’re moreover cowardly because he avoids addressing where the relationship is, leaving the woman marooned in relationship limbo.

The man in the relationship should always have an answer for three questions:

  1. WHAT IS THIS RELATIONSHIP?

  2. WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS?

  3. HOW ARE YOU DEMONSTRATING THOSE INTENTIONS RIGHT NOW?

The big idea is this, men: Don’t keep her guessing. Let her know exactly where you are at all of the time. It is a risk of course, but better on you than her. Own it.

2. CLEAN YOUR ACT UP TODAY, NOT ‘WHEN’

You’ve probably heard some guy say this: “I will clean my act up when I find the right girl.” It’s not true. The lie is that once you find the right girl, all your problems will go away—you just need the right motivation, right? Wrong! If Jesus isn’t motivation enough to grow in maturity and pursue godliness, then you are not ready to pursue a woman.

The truth is that when you’re in a relationship, you get their crap on top of your crap. That’s double crap. It is hard to start a healthy relationship with two immature people drowning in crap. Men, get your life together first, know where you are going, then invite a girl to come along (Prov. 16:1–9).

3. PLAN AHEAD

Don’t spend time with your girlfriend without a plan. Decide ahead of time the prudent time to say goodnight and where you should go. If a frat boy goes to a party with the attitude, “I’ll just see what happens” he will end up drunk and who knows what else. The same goes with dating: your judgment will be impaired when you are together (the opposite sex has that effect). Also, you are not fooling anyone. Every girl knows what “Do you want to go to my place and watch a movie?” means. The battle is won by not putting yourself in that position. And if you do find yourself in the bad position, flee. Literally, get out. Not joking. Make sure she can get home safe of course, but seriously, get out of there. (1 Cor. 6:18).

Don’t be prideful. Spend time in prayer, think it through, soberly acknowledge your weak and sinful state, and don’t set yourself back (James 1:15).

4. GUARD HER HEART

I went to a Christian college and I can’t tell you how many times these “good Christian guys” started dating by using the faith as a tool for manipulation. They would start a daily Bible study with a girl they just met, and position themselves as the ultimate confidant and authority in the girl’s life and leaving her heart completely exposed to a immature boy. A mature man knows that the person that can do the most damage to a woman’s heart is him, and he takes that very seriously. This is very difficult line to walk, and takes a lot of wisdom and discernment, but here are some indicators that you may be crossing the line:

  • You just started dating, and you are sharing “heart” things with each other that you haven’t shared with closest friends and/or mentors that you have known for years.
  • You are isolating yourselves as a couple and not listening to people whose opinion you used to value (Prov. 15:22), saying things like, “They just don’t understand what we have.”
  • Your individual Christian walks become intertwined, and you end up pursuing and becoming closer with each other more than becoming closer with God.

5. PHYSICAL TOUCH

The Bible only outlines two categories for Christian women in relation to Christian men: either she is a sister in Christ or she is your wife. There isn’t a middle ground. The lie is, “We’re halfway married, so we can do 50% of the married things.” That is not true at all. You need to put physical touch in two categories: acts of affection or acts of desire.

Acts of affection are ways that you show that you like, appreciate, and cherish  the women that you are dating. Think of it as a affectionate father with his daughter. He hugs her, snuggles her, kisses her on the forehead, holds her hand, stopping at any type of sexual satisfaction whatsoever. He just wants to make sure his daughter knows that he loves her.

Acts of desire are acts that are reserved for marriage. Foreplay is designed for one purpose: to build the desire to have sex, which it does well. Think of foreplay like and freeway on-ramp: it’s purpose is to transition you to full speed. You don’t see cars hanging out on on-ramps, never intending to get on the freeway. Physical touch is designed to progress, and it is naive to think you will always be able to keep your desires in check. Failure and sin is all but inevitable.

In short, you know what you are doing. If you stop for a moment and think about it, you know which category the physical touch you are doing falls into. It is different for everyone. It is not helpful for me to tell you where the line is so that your conscience will allow to you run up to that line and hang out there for a while (Titus 2:6). If you are asking the question “How far can we go and still be in the clear?” your heart is in the wrong place to begin with.

I would encourage any couple who is focused on the physical to change their focus to friendship (Song of Sol. 2:7). Building a friendship will set you up for a strong marriage far more than a physical connection. The physical connection will come later, you don’t have to worry about that. But you have freedom, in the midst of gospel community, to pursue friendship and have fun.

HE’S CALLED US TO HOLINESS

There is a right way, there is a best way, and it is the same way: God’s way (1 Thess. 4:3–8). God did not give us rules just to steal all of our fun; he’s called us to holiness, and the rules are for our joy and protection. The process of dating is an exercise in putting Christ on the throne in all things. So embrace it, and don’t just endure it.

7 Dangers Of The Internet For Kids

7 Dangers of the Internet for Kids

7 Dangers of the Internet for Kids

The World Wide Web is the greatest invention since the printing press. Nothing else has so radically shaped culture, media, commerce, entertainment, and communication. But with these benefits come great dangers all parents should know about.

1. Pornography – Warping the minds of youth

Repeatedly viewing pornography, especially from a young age, can radically shape one’s sexual attitudes and beliefs. Frequent exposures to sexually explicit material is closely linked to more permissive attitudes about sex, such as having multiple sexual partners, “one night stands,” cynicism about the need for affection between sexual partners, casual sexual relations with friends, and even mimicking behaviors seen in pornography.

2. Sexting – The unsafe ‘safe sex’

Sexting is sending or receiving nude or partially nude photos or videos through the Internet or cell phones. When teens engage in this risky behavior, many things can go wrong. These images are easy to forward on to others. At times, these images can be considered “child pornography,” and some teens have already been given felony charges.

  • Nearly 1 in 5 teens who receive a sext share it with someone else.
  • 20% of teens have sent or posted a nude or semi-nude image of themselves.
  • Of those who have sent sexts, 76% of girls and 57% of guys sent it to get someone else to like them.

3. Cyberbullying – The mean way kids treat each other online

Bullying happens on both the playground and in the digital world. Hurtful words are exchanged. Rumors start easily and spread quickly. Profiles and e-mails are hacked. And these types of activities are common today:

4. Predators – Those seeking to ensnare our children

The Internet is a perfect forum to meet new people, but some with malicious intent can use it to “befriend” your child. Internet predators are expert manipulators, able to foster a relationship of dependence with a teenager. Most prey on a teen’s desire to be liked, their desire for romance, or their sexual curiosity. Often a predator “grooms” a child through flattery, sympathy, and by investing time in their online relationship. These can then turn into offline relationships or, in extreme cases, opportunities for kidnapping or abduction.

  • 76% of predators are 26 or older.
  • 47% of offenders are 20 years old than their victims.
  • 83% of victims who met their offender face-to-face willingly went somewhere with them.

5. Gaming – More risks of exposure to sexual media and interactions

While online and console games can be very fun, educational, and interactive, there are also hidden dangers. Much of the content of some games include sexual content, violence, and crude language. Plus, Internet-connected games enable kids to interact with strangers, some of which can be bad influences or mean your kids harm.

  • 82% of children say they are current gamers.[MoC comment: with the proliferation of iPods, iPads and gaming-ready smartphones, this is not a surprising stat. The question is what kinds of games, with what maturity rating, for how long, and with whom are they playing (if they’re multiplayer games). If you’ve got internet for kids’ usage at home, it’s worth considering these points.]
  • One-third of teen gamers (ages 15-17) report playing games with people they first met online.[MoC comment: this one’s a little bit of an odd statistic, since all online games involve meeting people online. Depending on the game, playing with or against an unknown person is not a concern in and of itself. If that online game leads to ingame chat (text chat or ingame voice chat), then yes it could potentially go down an unsafe path. I wouldn’t consider it a major danger of the internet for kids, but again depending on the game, parents may wish to restrict ingame chat / voice options to reduce / eliminate an onslaught of bad language or sexual comments. Parental discretion advised here.]
  • 13% of underage teenagers were able to buy Mature-rated games between November 2010 and January 2011.

6. Social Networks – Redefining privacy

Social networks like Facebook are very popular online activities. But parents should be aware of the image their teens are projecting as well as the influences they are absorbing online.

7. YouTube – ‘Broadcast yourself’ culture means anything goes

YouTube is the world’s largest video sharing website. But because anyone can upload anything to YouTube, often videos can break the Community Guidelines for YouTube, and even those that do not can still be full of sexual innuendo, provocative content, and foul language.

  • 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute (about 8 years of content uploaded every day).
  • Over 3 billion videos are viewed every day on YouTube.
  • Users upload the equivalent of 240,000 full length films every week.

 

More Information About Internet For Kids

The above is Part Two in a four-part BCC Grace & Truth blog mini-series in partnership with Covenant Eyes. Read Part One. Part Two was originally posted at Covenant Eyes here.

Now, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the negatives of the internet. What’s important is that as parents, we keep open communication so that we can keep things safe on the internet for kids so they can enjoy all the benefits it offer without getting snared by the risks.

4 Reasons Men Like Porn

 

4 Reasons Men Like Porn

BCC Staff Note: You’re reading Part Four in a four-part BCC Grace & Truthblog mini-series in partnership with Covenant Eyes. Read Part OnePart Two, and Part Three. Part Four was originally posted at Covenant Eyes here.

A Conversation Guide for Accountability Partners

One of the tasks of a good friend or accountability partner to someone who is entrenched in pornography is to help them understand their own heart.Why do they run to porn again and again? Solomon reminds us that “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water” (we often can’t see our own motivations) “but a man of understanding will draw it out” (Proverbs 20:5, parenthesis added). A wise friend helps to draw out of others the deeper motivations they are unable or unwilling to see in themselves.

As an accountability partner, it is important to understand the allure of pornography: What deeper motivations keep men coming back to it again and again? What are good accountability questions we can ask to get to the root of the problem?

1. Porn is easy, but relationships are hard.

Relationships, especially our closest relationships, involve work. Every day we are required to care what’s going on in others’ lives. We must put up with sour moods, offensive behavior, and selfishness—both in ourselves and in others.

In contrast, porn offers men a feeling of risk-free intimacy. Pornography offers men a fantasy world where they are required to know nobody, require no romance, and no self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. And for many men the payoff is great: not only can they avoid the messiness of real relationships, they can also feel the delight of a million virtual women catering to their every whim.

Good Accountability Question: Has there been a relationship in your life recently that has been unusually difficult?

2. Porn is comfortable, but life is stressful.

In life things go wrong. Expectations are frustrated. People let us down. Tragedies happen. We get sick. We get tired. We get into sharp disagreements. Life is stressful.

Porn, by contrast, offers a very comfortable world where nothing goes wrong. Porn offers a ready-made setting where we know we will get exactly what we want.

Of course, we know it’s fake. It’s like professional wrestling or “reality” TV. As Chris Hedges says in his book Empire of Illusion, the success of these forms of entertainment lies not in fooling us that these stories are real. “Rather, it succeeds because we ask to be fooled. We happily pay for the chance to suspend reality.”

Good Accountability Question: Have there been any stresses in your life recently which have brought on a feeling of pressure or strain?

3. Porn is exciting, but life is boring.

The word “boredom” first started being used by French authors when they wrote about that feeling of discontentment when life gets tedious. While the feeling of boredom has probably always been around, it is only in the last 300 years we have seen it become a social epidemic. Blaise Pascal said boredom is the plight of a modern man when “he lacks distraction and has no absorbing passion or pastime.”

Boredom is one of the fruit of a leisure culture. As wealth and free time increase, so does our hunger for distraction. As we come to expect constant stimulation and excitement, the day-to-day can seem dull by comparison. With Google at our fingertips, information is everywhere, but we easily become detached, anonymous spectators, rarely taking risks of vulnerable involvement or passionate commitment—rarely acting on what we know. Culturally we are guilty of what Dorothy Sayers calls the sin of tolerance, “the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”

Porn offers a world of sexual excitement to our bored minds. Porn is a highly sexualized form of the image-based culture in which we live, a world where billions of pictures are painting a thousand words at break-neck speeds. Porn offers a fantasy of pure sexual stimulation.

Good Accountability Question: Have you found yourself bored or itching for excitement? Do you feel like your life is mundane?

4. Porn makes men feel powerful, but real life makes them feel powerless.

It is easy to feel small in the world. We intuitively know the world does not revolve around us, but this doesn’t stop us from wishing it did. We want others to pay attention to us, to treat us as important, to put us first. This desire can be so strong at times we can actually begin to feel entitled to it: we want a little corner of the world where we are kings.

Porn offers men a deluge of power. In a man’s porn-fed fantasy, the girls never say no. In pornography there are no social barriers between a man and the woman of his dreams. Pornography sells the idea that beautiful women are trophies–collectibles that show the watching world what a real man really is. Pornography also sexualizes male dominance, allowing men to fantasize about a world where women enjoy being treated as objects.

Good Accountability Question: Have you been in any situations recently that made you feel belittled, unimportant, or disrespected?

The Biblical Goal of Accountability Questions

The reason accountability partners should ask these pointed questions is not to “psychologize” sins away. Rather, the goal of good accountability questions is to use them as a springboard to focus our thoughts on benefits of the gospel of Christ more than the pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:24-26).

Each question opens a door to living out Hebrews 10:24, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”

  • When we ask the question, “Has there been a relationship in your life recently that has been unusually difficult?” the goal is to help others see how they are looking to a particular relationship to make them feel pleasure or fulfillment (thus, a relationship that is always letting them down). We can then point them to the fullness of joy and satisfaction that comes from Christ (John 15:1-1116:16-24Romans 15:13).
  • When we ask the question, “Have there been any stresses in your life recently which have brought on a feeling of pressure or strain?” the goal is to help them see that they are using porn as an escape from life. We can then point them to the psalmists who saw God as their refuge (Psalms 46; 59:16-17; 61:1-3; 62:5-8; 91; 142). Instead of escapingfrom reality, we can escape into divine reality.
  • When we ask the questions, “Have you found yourself bored or itching for excitement? Do you feel like your life is mundane?” to goal is to help others see if they have been settling for a life of amusement over a life ofamazement. We can then point them to the excitement of knowing God and obeying him (Matthew 13:442 Corinthians 8:1-2Philippians 1:3-4;Colossians 1:9-141 Peter 1:3-93 John 1:3-4).
  • When we ask the question, “Have you been in any situations recently that made you feel belittled, unimportant, or disrespected?” to goal is to help them see they crave power, importance, and esteem from men more than they crave the favor of God. Jesus asked, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44). We can point them to the eternal glory the Father gives to Christ, and that as Christians we share Christ’s glory because He lives in us (John 17:20-24Romans 2:6-10Colossians 1:24-29).

The Real Jesus And Me

The Real Jesus And Me

Back in September 2009 I started my journey investigating Lukes Gosple, I was convicted that I needed to get to know the “Real”Man that Jesus is. The series can be watched at the link bellow.

http://marshill.com/media/luke

Luke_2134_itunes_feed_image

It was not till working through this 100 part sermon series about 1 hour each (and some extensive study myself), that I Understood who Jesus really was and how much true grit and Love he has for me and his Church. Through this series I grew in my understanding of Jesus, I guess you could say previously my view of Jesus was “Black and White” and this series transformed it to “Full Colour”. The series shows historical locations and places which helped me get a feel for the time and place Jesus lived on earth. The time I spent working through the book of Luke really helped me to understand how I can follow Jesus as a true disiple and what calling Jesus has on my life.

I would simply like to encourage you all that time spent getting to know your King is an investment that will be of great proffit to you. Perhaps you may like to use your commute to listen to it or as I did whilst riding my push bike training or perhaps whilst mowing the lawn.

Currently Im listening to this series called Jesus Love His Church

http://marshill.com/media/jesus-loves-his-church

Jesus-loves-his-church_20661_itunes_feed_image

Which is a series from the book of ACTS

Note: both Luke and Acts where written by Luke who was a Doctor sponsored by Theopholis to write an accurate account of Jesus life and the Church.

This series has already been a big challange to me in how much Jesus loves his church and how I am to allow God to work through me to love his Church too. So if you desire to have a life that is connected to Jesus and one that can be unleashed from Sin through repentance and faith  the book of Luke and Acts are a great place to start.

Hapy travelling

Ant

 

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