Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friends 10/26/2012

We have done something new and are splitting the junior high and high school every other week.  The incredible thing is that tonight we had almost identical questions asked about friendships in both groups.  Maybe God is trying to tell us something.  So the question bascially dealt with a friend who doesn't like my friends.  What do I do.  We also talked about what if I don't like my friends friends.  Or what if they are a bad influence?

My Friend Doesn't Like My Other Friends.

You have the right to hang out with whoever you want to.  No one can tell you who to be friends with.  If someone is putting conditions on their friendship then they are not truly a friend.  You shouldn't change your standards just to make someone else happy.  The Bible tells us not to conform to the world (Rom 12:1-2).  You shouldn't have to change what you believe just to satisfy someone else.  If that means someone may not like your friends because they are too "churchy" well that's just their problem and not yours.  You don't need a friend who is only your friend if you do what they say.  That's never worth it.

A Friend Who is a Bad Influence.

You need to be careful when choosing the people you hang out with the most and allow to influence your life.  The Bible says that we should sharpen each other like iron sharpens iron (Pr 27:17).  We should choose friends that will help us to grow in Christ.  Does that mean we shouldn't be friends with anyone who isn't a Christian?  No, not at all.  It just means that our close friends, the ones who influence us should be those who are helping us to grow in God.  We need to be careful to not let bad company corrupt us (1 Cor 15:33).


Finally someone asked about a situation they are dealing with.  How do I comfort my little brother or sister when they see our parents fighting and on the road to divorce?  It's sad to say, but you don't have to look far to see a family affected by divorce these days.  For kids it's a rough road to travel.  As a group we talked and it was cool to hear some of the stories of a brother or sister who helped in a time like this.  Probably the best thing you can do is just be there to listen and let them know you love them.  Spend time with them.  Let them know they are important.  Let them know they are loved.  And never underestimate the power of prayer.  Pray for your brothers and sisters.  Pray for your parents.  God's power is big enough to save marriages.  It may not always go the way we want it to, but God can do miracles.  His love is also big enough to carry us through difficult times like this.

In all of these situations for friends, enemies, friends of friends, parents, brothers and sisters we need to be acting like Jesus.  We may be the only example of Jesus that some people ever see.  Wouldn't it be cool if a terrible situation turned into an awesome opportunity to lead someone to faith in Jesus.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Abortion, Birth Control and Dating 10/5/2011

That title alone is enough to scare off anyone who is talking to teens, but we gave it a shot and had a great discussion about it.  It all started from an emailed question about abortion.  What does God and the Bible say about Abortion?

This actually didn't take very much discussion because we were sitting in a room full of people that agree that abortion is murder.  I'm sure there are people out there that would differ greatly on this matter.  I don't think there is anyone that would condone murder, so the real debate comes down to the question of when life begins.  Unfortunately the Bible doesn't give a simple statement saying that life begins at conception.  However there are several scriptures that deal with God knowing and loving us while we were still in the womb.  Genesis 25 gives an account of Jacob and Esau struggling with each other in the womb (Gen 25:21-23).  If something doesn't even have life I'm not sure how one could struggle with another.  Job asks God why didn't he die at birth (Job 3:11)  He didn't ask why he was never born.  He asks why he didn't die when he came from the womb.  This presupposes that he was already alive while in the womb.  Psalm 51:6 says that God can teach us in the womb.  Jeremiah says that God knew him in the womb (1:5).  Jeremiah also makes the same mention of "dying" in the womb as Job did (Jer 20:17).  You see in Luke 1 that John responded to the sound or Mary's voice while he was in the womb (Lk 1:43-45).  Even science has proven that baby's can respond to stimulus while still in the womb.  I don't think we can deny that life begins at conception if we are really honest with ourselves.  The natural conclusion then is that taking a life is murder.  Therefore abortion is murder.  In case there is still any doubt I think the law is very clear on this one.  "You must not murder." (Ex 20:13).

Birth Control:
The whole discussion on abortion led us into the topic of birth control.  Let's get one thing clear from the start.  I am addressing the use of birth control for a married couple.  Any sex outside of marriage is clearly sin.  So, is birth control playing God or on the same level as abortion when it comes to ending a life?  We're dealing with a different situation here.  We are talking about preventing life from starting and not terminating it once it has begun.  Those pills that terminate a pregnancy are not birth control.  They are just an abortion in a pill.  So that is not what we are talking about here.  The Bible does tell us to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 9:7).  The Bible also says that children are a blessing (Ps 127:3).  However there is no specific command regarding birth control.  God has intended for married couples to have children and raise them in a Godly home.  But there are no specifics on numbers and whether we are free to make those decisions.  This becomes a matter of personal conscience as godly spouses prayerfully covenant with God about the growth of their families.  We need to be careful that our motives are pure and we are trusting in God to lead us.

We had a lot of good discussion on this topic.  I think I'm going to ask a lot of questions here in the blog rather than give a bunch of answers.  Follow me on this for a bit.  What is the purpose of dating?  I asked that in our discussion and the group said it was to find the person you are to marry.  Why does dating make it easier to find that one rather than just being friends?  Can you have deep conversations with a friend?  Can you go places with a friend?  Can you hang out with a friend?  Can you marry your friend?  I hope you do.  To be clear here I am talking of a friend of the opposite sex.  We had some confusion in my use of the term "friend" on Wednesday night.  What kind of committment is involved in dating?  What does it take to break that committment?  So what does dating prepare you for?  Let me answer those last three questions.  The committment I guess is however deep you make it.  All it takes to break that committment is a decision.  There are no terms connected to it.  So dating teaches us that committments are temporary and easily broken.  Dating better prepares you for divorce than for marriage.  I have yet to find a teen who can convince me that dating is necessary.  If they are honest I think it has more to do with the physical side of the relationship and their hormones than they care to admit.  Focus on friendships.  Focus on getting to know people for who they are.  Focus on the great things that God has in store for your life.  Maybe you'll see there really is no need for dating.