Monday, February 27, 2017

Christians Should Make a Difference

Here you and I are, just starting our day with a bowl of Cap'n Crunch, and people are out there making changes in the way we are governed. And there are other people out there studying the impact it makes on people. 

So what changes and what impact are we talking about today? The impact made on high school students when states change the policies about same-sex marriages. You can read the article here for yourself, but here is a summary of their findings;
This difference-in-differences analysis of representative data from 47 states found that same-sex marriage policies were associated with a 7% reduction in the proportion of all high school students reporting a suicide attempt within the past year. The effect was concentrated among adolescents who were sexual minorities.
Translation: They asked adolescents who would identify as something other than heterosexual if they had attempted suicide before and after the legalization of same-sex marriages. 

Please note, that while I regularly look to use snark in my writing, this isn't one of those times. Suicide is the second leading cause of adolescent death. Is the research limited? Yes, but isn't all research? Do they acknowledge that there are many reasons adolescents attempt suicide? Yes. 

The research isn't what bothers me, nor are the findings. I'm not surprised to hear that adolescents who believe they can attain what they see as a normal life, including the possibility of marriage, would be less likely to want to end their lives. 

Check out part of their analysis on the findings;
Legalization of same-sex marriage is also often accompanied by media attention and increased visibility of sexual minorities, which is associated with increased social support for the rights of sexual minorities. This increased social support could translate into improved familial and peer acceptance of sexual minorities, which has been shown to be associated with improved mental health.
What does it say about the church and our society that teens who identify as homosexual need the government to step in and tell them they are acceptable as a part of society.

We can argue all day about what is right and what is wrong, but I believe the church, that is, the people that make up the church, should be the difference makers in statistics such as these. We should be the ones that people point to and say, 'They really made a difference in my life. They showed me that life was worth living.'

I fear that we, as Christians, would instead be labeled as those who made others feel judged and insignificant. If we, who know the Creator, can't pass along to others a sense of purpose and belonging, then what exactly are we spending our time on?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Changes Are Coming

Abraham. Moses. They would be great examples. Joseph, Gideon, Daniel and even Job would be good examples.

Although I wouldn't want to compare what I'm going through to Job. Especially when it comes to wives. My wife has never encouraged me to curse God and die. She has threatened to cause me harm, but I'm fairly certain that was because I was acting like one of the kids.

I digress. The point is I can direct your attention to plenty of people from history who have heard a command from God and obeyed. What made their obedience impressive was they often had no idea where they were going and what exactly would happen when they got there.

Abraham, especially, has been a man of faith I have been thinking about a lot lately. The dude is just living his life, for a long time in one place, just doing his thing. Then he gets a call from God to move. He's given a promise and told to trust. And Abraham does.

Now I'm not attempting to put myself on the level of Abraham, but....

After almost 15 years at our church in Winona Lake, Jen and I have heard God calling us to step out in faith and look for the next stop. This has not been an easy process, especially for a couple of people who have planted themselves firmly and done our best to meet the needs of those around us.

And at least Abraham was told what land to go to and what was going to happen. We are not yet sure where God is taking our family. A family with 3 children, by the way, only know Winona Lake, IN as their home.

Is there still work to be done here? Absolutely. But we are trusting in God's still small voice that when He says it is time to go, then it is time to go. Even Jesus understood that there would still be work left undone when it was time to go somewhere else. (See for yourself in Mark 1:35-39.)

Though this may be the biggest move, and the biggest change, our family goes through, we would ask for your prayers. Our plan is to search for youth ministry positions far and wide while we finish the school year here in Winona Lake.

Oh, and if you hear of any place in need of a youth pastor and his crazy awesome family, would you let me know?