Flipping Out About the iPad

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People are wigging (street talk meaning “getting excited about”) out about Apple’s new iPad. Tim Challies calls it the most disappointing thing since the Blue Jays lost the World Series in 1993. Josh Harris, on the other hand, thinks that it’s the greatest invention since slap bracelets and Reebok Pumps.

I think I side with Tim Challies, but for slightly different reasons. Here’s why I’m not so impressed with the iPad…

  • Zero capacity for time travel. After reading all the hype I was under the impression that I was going to be able to transport myself directly back to 1992 and watch brand new episodes of “Home Improvements”. Apparently Steve Jobs hasn’t heard of a flux capacitor (see Back to the Future).
  • No ability to be my personal bond-servant. I was envisioning something along the lines of “Hal” from 2001: A Space Odyssey, except that the iPad wouldn’t attempt to kill me or take over my life. It would just make my bed and be a true friend.
  • No shoulder support. It would appear that the iPad is really just an enormous, Shaq-sized iPod. With an iPod this large, I want to wear jam pants and carry it on my shoulder through the mall, pumping out the tunes, like an old boom box. But there’s no shoulder support. Come on Apple, looks aren’t everything.
  • No bulletproof anything. Okay can we be honest for a second? For what it does, the iPad is enormous. Almost like a police riot shield. If I’m going to carry it around, shouldn’t I at least be able to block a bullet with it as well? But I didn’t see one mention of bullet proof casing on the specs.
  • No built in celebrity voices. You can read books on the iPad. Not impressive. I can read books on paper too. I want something that is going to read books to me, preferably in pre-recorded celebrity voices. I want to have Sean Connery reading the book Desiring God to me.

Okay, I’m done wigging out about the iPad.

Your turn. Are you impressed with the iPad?

Are You Shocked At Sin?

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Question: Are you shocked by the sins of non-Christian?

Let me bring this home a little bit. When your non-Christian son, daughter, neighbor, or friend takes part in some wicked sin, are you shocked? Disgusted? Do you want to stay away from them?

We shouldn’t be shocked by the sins of those who don’t know Christ. Romans 1:28 says of those who don’t know Christ:

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Apart from Christ, our minds are debased. Darkened. Filled with wickedness. We can’t think correctly about spiritual things. The result of trying to live apart from God is a debased mind, which always leads to debased actions.

So how do you treat your homosexual neighbor? Your workaholic friend? Your arrogant coworker? Your rebellious son?

We shouldn’t expect them to be righteous people. We shouldn’t stay away from them. They’re debased and darkened. But they can be rescued, just like we were.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)

Two questions:

  • Are you ever turned off by other people’s sins?
  • How should we relate to non-Christians who are enslaved by sin?

The Prank That Didn’t Work

THE PRANK THAT DIDN’T WORK: They thought they could pull a prank on their high-school coach. Tell him that he’ll win a trip to the Final Four if he makes a blindfolded half-court shot. Instruct the crowd beforehand to cheer wildly when he air balls the shot, as if he made it. Laugh at the coach when he discovers the prank. Just one problem. He made the shot. READ IT HERE.

What You Are Excited About?

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“It is not just what you do, it is what you are excited about.  If I have learned anything in 35 or 40 years of teaching, it is that students don’t learn everything I teach them.  What they learn is what I am excited about, the kinds of things I emphasize again and again and again and again.  That had better be the Gospel.”

“Make sure that in your own practice and excitement what you talk about, what you think about, what you pray over, what you exude confidence over, joy over, what you are enthusiastic about all the time with your next generation of people whom you are influencing is Jesus, the gospel, the cross.” — D. A. Carson

Are we more excited about the benefits of the cross, or the cross itself?  Are we more excited about the blessings Jesus gives or Jesus himself?  Are we more excited about the gifts or the Giver?

I need to be more excited about Jesus.  How about you?

Your Failure, God’s Plan

How do you handle total failure?

I’m not talking about trying to fix your bathtub and instead setting it on fire. I’m not talking about a missed layup or forgetting an appointment. I mean big, life-altering failure.

The girl you were so interested in isn’t so interested in you. The ministry you lead and love gets shut down due to lack of participation. The promotion you wanted vaporizes. Your financial stability is turned upside down. Then what?

In his upcoming book Rescuing Ambition, Dave Harvey makes the following, helpful statement:

The divine perspective on human failure is this: Failure is ambition refused for a better plan.

At times God refuses our ambitions for marriage or ministry or kids or missions so that He can carry out His better plan. God allows us to fail so that He can put us on a better path. God redirects us onto a path that will bring Him more glory and us more joy than our little ambitions ever could.

I’m going to fail in my life. I want to remember that there is a better plan than my own.

Questions for discussion:

  • What is one way that you’ve seen God use your failure for His good?
  • What does it look like to honor God in the midst of failure?

Irrefutable Proof

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One truth that sets Christianity apart from all other religions is the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

No other religion claims its founder rose physically from the dead.  And no other religion has proof that its version of what happens when we die is true.  Has anyone any proof of reincarnation?  Has anyone ever conclusively demonstrated they had been reincarnated from an earlier life?

Jesus gave his disciples “many proofs” that he was alive, so they would have no doubt.

AC 1.3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Jesus appeared to his disciples numerous times over a 40-day period after he rose from the dead and before he ascended to heaven, and gave them “many proofs” that he was alive.

He appeared to 2 women at the tomb, to Mary Magdalene at the tomb, to 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus, to Peter in Jerusalem, to ten disciples in the upper room (Thomas not with them), then to 11 disciples in the upper room (Thomas there), to 7 disciples fishing in Galilee, to 11 disciples in Galilee, to 500 disciples at once, and to James, the Lord’s brother.

Jesus appeared to both individuals and groups.  He appeared indoors and outdoors.  He appeared to both men and women.  He appeared at different times of the day.  Jesus’ appearances were not grief-inspired hallucinations or  phantasms created by people’s hyper-active imaginations  conjuring a spirit when a floorboard creaked, like ghost hunter TV shows.  There’s no account of Peter saying, “James!  Did you feel that?  I just felt something brush past me.  I think it was Jesus!”

Jesus spoke to his disciples.  He ate in their presence.  He invited Thomas to put his finger in the nail marks and the wound in his side.  The apostles saw him, heard him, touched him.

Jesus is alive!  And because he is, we who have believed in him will also be raised to life.  When believers die, we don’t grieve as those who have no hope.  We grieve, yet know they are alive with Christ and we’ll see them again.  We know because Jesus gave us irrefutable proof that he rose from the dead.

D.L. Moody expressed our confidence when he said, “Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now.”

May Christ’s resurrection give you great hope today!

photo by hoyasmeg

Avatar and Homesick for Heaven

I’m one of three people left in the world who hasn’t seen the movie Avatar. The other two are Himalayan cave dwellers and have more important things to do, like climb Mount Everest and raise llamas.

From everything I hear, the movie is incredible. The special effects are absolutely mind-blowing. People say it’s like being transported into another world. And William Shatner does an incredible job as commander of the “U.S.S. Titanic”. Or something like that.

But the movie is also having a strange effect on thousands of viewers: depression.

CNN recently released an article stating that after seeing the movie, many viewers have become seriously depressed. After seeing the beauty and stunning majesty of the world in Avatar, people feel disillusioned with this life.

After seeing the movie, one young man said:

When I woke up this morning after watching Avatar for the first time yesterday, the world seemed … gray. It was like my whole life, everything I’ve done and worked for, lost its meaning. It just seems so … meaningless. I still don’t really see any reason to keep … doing things at all. I live in a dying world.

When I read the article and saw the above quote, I couldn’t help but think of these words by Randy Alcorn:

Nothing is more often misdiagnosed than our homesickness for Heaven. We think that what we want is sex, drugs, alcohol, a new job, a raise, a doctorate, a spouse, a large-screen television, a new car, a cabin in the woods, a condo in Hawaii. What we really want is the person we were made for, Jesus, and the place we were made for, Heaven. Nothing less can satisfy.

I haven’t seen Avatar, but if I did I think it would make me homesick for Heaven.

Have you seen Avatar?