Archives For October 2013

Molten earth z2324482253_4f9e2baa7b

By Lisa Cherry

"Please God, don't let the world end before I get married and have babies!" 

That was my teenage prayer whenever anyone mentioned Jesus coming back.  Did anyone else out there have that same reaction?

A strange mixture of fear and anger would cause me to want to run from all end times discussions. So I figured it best to just ignore the concept and surely the world would go on without interruption.

Parents, what do we say to our kids about this most unsettling topic? Is the world as we know it about to end?

Well, I am not wise enough to know for sure. But if you look at Barna's poll on the subject this past summer, apparently 77% of evangelical believers believe that we are now living “in the biblical end times.”

Billy Graham says that the Biblical signs “are converging now for the first time since Jesus made those predictions.”

Bestselling books like The Harbinger and the upcoming remake of the big ticket movie series Left Behind proves the topic has moved to the forefront of our collective minds.

So how do we respond as parents? We know that many of our young ones could be fascinated with the adventure, drama and excitement of apocalyptic discussions.

But many of them could also be overwhelmed with fear, dread, and anxiety if we do not assist them to build a healthy biblical perspective.

Last Sunday at our local church we began a study on this issue. I believe it is one of the most important things we have done in a long time.

No, we did not settle all the hot button controversies related to pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib. And we do not have the experience to sort through the meaning of the upcoming blood moons.

But here is what we do know.

Jesus Himself said He is coming back. Not once but many times. (See Matthew 16:27,  Luke 12:40, Luke 21:27, and John 14:3)

Angels talked about the second coming just after Jesus ascended. (See Acts 1:11)

The apostle Paul called the return of Jesus a "blessed hope" (See Titus 2:11-14) and told us to encourage one another with words about it. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:18)

So the way I figure it, the 21st-century believer has the opportunity to face the reality of end times discussions in faith and in peace.

Parents, I encourage you to get out in the lead with your kids on this topic. They're hearing doomsday talk. They're feeling the pressures of the ages just as you are. Together you can go to God's word and find hope and comfort in times of increased drama.

Matthew 24-25 is a great place to start. Even as Jesus described many of the dramatic features of what it will look like before His return, He leaves us with the comforting exhortation to stand ready as the wise virgins. (See Matthew 25:1-13)

Comforting? Yes, because we are His precious bride awaiting our Dear One's return.  We can stand firm for Him by His grace.

I am very encouraged with the worship music I hear my teenagers most attracted to today. Sounds of passion to the Lord are pouring out through the Body of Christ, wooing young hearts toward an intimate relationship with Him.

Is your family tapped into that intimate place of personal worship where all end times worries can melt in the presence of the King?

Each of us who read this blog may come from different church expressions. That is quite exciting to me! But I'm confident that no matter what your family's style of worship, our Heavenly Father is drawing His children—both young and old—close to His side as we ponder together His soon return.

Dare to talk about His return in your home. Dare to dream of the incredible honor it would be to stand as one of His end times saints. 

And let this timely and precious passage soak into your hearts:

1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:6

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

5 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,

for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.

 Please let me know your thoughts.  Click here and scroll down to comment.

Image source:  Brent Nelson “Molten Earth” via Flickr Creative Commons

License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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Missional Women

Laptop  open 7670156696_0dbf5274ea
By Lisa Cherry

Our friends at Covenant Eyes hit a home run with this one!  Click here to read 5 Mistakes Parents Make When It Comes to Talking About Porn.

As we travel and speak with parents…good Christian parents… We find the challenge of pornography to be a common nightmare.

This is an excellent article to help us all in the battle to protect our kids.

If you are facing some sort of tough struggle with your teen and need a new strategy, I would suggest our book called...

Unmasking-Cover-LRG

 

Image source: Guilherme Pavan, Untitled – Flickr Creative Commons
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 locker room 5399600012_e53843b5f3

By Lisa Cherry

Every person in America has a right to his/her own views and beliefs. But what do we do when someone's expression of their free choice infringes on the rights, safety, or privacy of other people?

 Our local community is faced with such a controversy.

A man is permitted in our women's locker room at our local university.  And as we understand it, he is not a man pursuing a sex change surgery, but rather a man who considers himself gender exploring and therefore protected by anti-gender orientation discrimination laws.

Several of us in our area want to make an appropriate Godly response to this situation, but this is very difficult for the following reasons:

1. In this case, minors were traumatized which is totally inappropriate and unacceptable, and potentially illegal. It has been suggested by some who are knowledgeable about this case that if we challenge the rule on the basis of it involving minors, the university will likely ban minors from the facility. Further, they claim college-age students are adults and "should be able to handle it." But our point is that no one should be handling this!

2. Many people I have talked with are outraged and genuinely alarmed but they are afraid to speak up.

3. If we make a big deal about it now, it will likely hit the news which could cause more people to attempt to claim the law and enter the bathrooms. Right now, I think it is fairly unknown. Could knowing there is protection for all those who claim gender as a first amendment right cause sex offenders to try a new access method? How are the police protecting us from this? 

4. But if we don't somehow rally for changes, this law interpretation appears to apply even to our churches and community buildings. (Any lawyers out there to clarify this? I know of one church that was sued on this type claim.)

5. Transsexual used to mean sex change therapy and hormones. Now it appears, to have morphed into new terms that are not well understood by the public. Transgender and Queer and Questioning. Check out these definitions from GLAAD Media Reference Guide:

Transgender An umbrella term (adj.) for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term may include but is not limited to: transsexuals, cross-dressers and other gender-variant people. Transgender people may identify as female-to-male (FTM) or male-to-female (MTF). Use the descriptive term (transgender, transsexual, cross-dresser, FTM or MTF) preferred by the individual. Transgender people may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.

Transsexual (also Transexual) An older term which originated in the medical and psychological communities. While some transsexual people still prefer to use the term to describe themselves, many transgender people prefer the term transgender to transsexual. Unlike transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term, as many transgender people do not identify as transsexual. It is best to ask which term an indi­vidual prefers.

6. The LGBTQ has threatened small business owners in other parts of the country who have opposed their "rights." Click here and here. Who among us wants their name on the frontline of an organized effort?

7. College students and even many adults have now been brainwashed to believe it is their right under the First Amendment, to question the gender that  is "assigned" to them at birth, and to express their preferred “gender identity.”  So waiting for the young girls or the guys on campus to speak out and complain is pointless because it is probably not going to happen.

8. This is a serious issue for us all. The issue is not limited to one man in our university bathroom. And the efforts we use now to clarify the issues may determine our future.

9.  How do we know that sexually perverted people will not hide behind this law and approach our children in bathrooms and changing areas all over our nation? With the loose definition of transgender and queer, why couldn't any student try entering the facility on a dare? Or maybe a predator could get in to take a peep?

10. At least the Olympics and other sporting associations have put some definitions on this, but what about us in the general public? We are being pressed further every day. Is there any sort of regulating system in place to "certify" one's gender? Yes. It's called a birth certificate. But apparently we don't use them anymore! Who is going to decide this? The mentally ill? The sexually deviant? The predators?

11. Are we now as parents okay with Queer grade school teachers?   Or Transgender day care workers?   Or Cross-dressing nurses?  Or Gender transitioning youth workers?

Parents, this issue is laced with many confusing concepts. Our kids will need help understanding as they are being taught terms like "gender assignment" and "sexual orientation discovery." I was meeting with a mom in Canada last weekend whose young teen had been confused and hurt by those who came to her middle school to teach her such things.

Our gender is to be celebrated as a gift from God. 

Gender expression is not a "first amendment right" as our world wants to term it.

I will continue to seek the Lord's direction for how to respond here in my hometown. And please send your suggestions for me if you would!

My heart hurts for the confusion and pain unleashed in this issue. But I am confident our God will give us the grace, love and strength to lead our children.

Image source: Jenni C “Empty Locker Room 2” Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

locker room 5399600012_e53843b5f3 

By Lisa Cherry

The transgender bathroom debate landed in my lap in a way that has me extremely uncomfortable.

A few weeks ago, I received a troubling message from a fellow frontline mom friend of mine. It seems our local university rec center has made a major policy shift.  They had announced to the public in August that they were building transgender changing rooms to accommodate our very vocal LGBTQ population. But last week we found out there was more changes in the air.

A group of high school girls from the local swim team made a shocking discovery as they exited the showers one evening. A male was sharing their private space!

The swim team girls involved wasted no time in expressing to the university staff their feelings of embarrassment and violation. And the staff's initial response was one of concern. But that mood rapidly changed.

Come to find out this man had been given permission by the university to be in the shower area. He, as a frequent visitor to the rec center, claimed to be uncomfortable using the men's locker room since he does not personally believe he has a gender.  He says he is “exploring his gender.” Even though he clearly has male body parts, he prefers to wear makeup and dress like a woman. And even after the university provided a new transgender locker room and shower facility, he felt discriminated against by not being allowed to enter the women's locker room.

The parents complained about the incident and a meeting was called with the university staff.   The rec center personnel said that there was nothing they would be able to do about the situation. The parents would need to "recognize the change in the times" and make the adjustment. And if they did not like the policy, the university would refund their rec center fee if the children quit the team.

My friend who told me the story knew I too would be concerned. Not only have I written the book Unmask the Predators, I have young athletes who use the building also.

This event has shaken me. For honestly, I do not know what we can now do!

The university claims there is a new federal law that makes this gender queer/questioning within this man’s legal rights. They say a new regulation went into effect in July of this year. 

I am no legal expert, but from what I have found, this is not a new law, but a new interpretation of  older laws.  Laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex are now being interpreted as also protecting “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”   Please see the following links:

United States Reaches Agreement with Arcadia, California, School District to Resolve Sex Discrimination Allegations

Know Your Rights - Transgender People and the Law

INTERIM GUIDANCE REGARDING TRANSGENDER STUDENTS, PRIVACY, AND FACILITIES

Federal Officials Protect Transgender Student Against Discrimination

When my son Lucas competed in the athletic department of this same university, he was advised in his required Diversity in Sports class that he could compete as a woman! ....if he had a sex change and two years of hormone therapy!  So I know this belief system has permeated deeply within our university and even into our community.

Tomorrow we're going to talk about seven reasons why it's hard to figure out what to do.

Image source: Jenni C “Empty Locker Room 2” Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

 

 

 

Bible study 1206462482_4ef3a2b363

By Lisa Cherry

My kids can run circles around me with scripture memorization. (You don't suppose that is a symptom of middle age, do you?)  

But even I can handle these two verses.

Be joyful always. 1 Thes. 5:16

Pray continuously. 1 Thes. 5:17

I ran across those verses doing my Bible reading a few weeks ago and I cannot tell you what they are doing in my life!!! Five simple words. But five words filled with the life of God.

My daily thoughts are changing.

My attitude is changing.

My ability to commune with God on a moment by moment basis is increasing.

And my parenting is improving!!!!

I dare you. Memorize these five words written in the command form. They are in the book for our benefit. Meditate on them. Mutter them under your breath. Think about them as you go to sleep.

And then watch the Lord pour out His grace in your life as you DO THEM and LIVE THEM!

 

Image source: Mark Grapengater  “Coffee Shop Study”  via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

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