Friday, January 13, 2012

Friends with Gay People, Bullies & Hearing from God???? (High School 1/11/12)

Is it a sin to be friends with someone who is gay?
I found this on our Assemblies of God web site and I think it sums up nicely what we discussed.  Go here to read the full article.

“Friendship is the selfless, mutual sharing between two persons. It typically grows out of participating or cooperating in common activities or endeavors, or simply through acceptance of others as equals. Friendship is also fostered through shared views or possessions. The highest form of human friendship is based in acceptance and mutual respect for who and what each friend is as a person. This includes their actions, ideals, and commitments.

Recognizing the important and powerful influence friends have in one’s life, the Assemblies of God encourages Christians to be concerned about the influence and relational level of their closest friends. Ultimately, all close friendships affect one’s character either for good or bad. For this reason it is essential that Christians discern the spiritual impact of their friendships.

Generally it is risky for Christians to build deep friendships with those who do not share a spiritual bond in Christ. If the friendship has no deep spiritual unity, it is then based on secular values, material interests, and views of the world. In such instances the negative spiritual toll on the Christian is significant as one’s spirit is constantly dulled through repeated exposure to worldviews and ideas. Few Christians are able to live consistent holy lives when unequally yoked in deep friendships with unbelievers. Proverbs says, "A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray" (12:26).

Christian friendships have an added ingredient. Both individuals have friendship with Jesus—a friendship that enriches and strengthens human friendship. When two friends also enjoy friendship with God, they add permanence and beauty to their human friendship. They understand and share standards and priorities for their lives. Christian friendships are often closer than family and blood relationships because of this strong spiritual bond (Proverbs 17:17). Therefore our closest friends should be other Christians (Proverb 13:20).

God's plan for reaching the world with the message of salvation requires a level of friendship with non-Christians. Jesus said we are to be salt and light to our world (Matthew 5:13-16). In other words we are to be shining examples before our communities of God’s grace and goodness. This is not accomplished from a distance, but rather through loving friendships. While such friendships must be genuine, the level of closeness should be guarded. The direction of the friendship should ultimately lead toward God and His ways. As the Christian spends time with, talks at some depth with, and is somewhat open and vulnerable with non-Christian friends, the opportunity to lead a friend to Christ can become a reality. Almost everyone who has become a Christian did so because a Christian friend directed him or her to Christ. If a Christian has no non-Christian friends, the opportunity for effective witnessing is very limited. But in those situations of mixed friendships including believers and non-believers, the Christian must be the leader (the one who sets the moral course), not the one led. Only then do we fulfill the scriptural instruction of being salt and light.

God is love (1 John 4:16), and as such He is mankind's greatest Friend. He is a Friend of sinners as well as of Christians. "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son" (John 3:16). The Old Testament patriarch Abraham believed God, "and he was called God's friend" (James 2:23). The Bible says "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" (James 4:4). From these scriptures it becomes apparent that our friendship with God is a matter of spiritual life or death.”

Is it okay to bully people?
This was not actually a question; but, it is a topic that came out of the first question.  We talked about that it is not okay to bully people EVER!  We even discussed that you can be a bully by remaining silent when someone is being bullied by another.  It is time for all of us to realize that we are all created by God and we should never put down a person no matter who they are or what they do.  God wants us to treat others as we would want to be treated. 

Matthew 7:12 “The Golden Rule”

12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

Mark 12:30-31

30 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

If you are being bullied…get help!  It will never get better if you just ignore it…it will only get worse.  If you get help it may get worse and then get better….but it will get better.   Stand up for yourself, you are worth it!!!!  Always remember that the only person who's opinion that truly matters is ......God's!!

How do I know when God is talking to me?
I think most of us would like to have God speak to us in a very loud voice!
“Hey, you….Yeah, you!!!!.....I’m talking to you…..Yeah, it is me God and I am talking to you…. so listen up!!!!” 
Most of us would love it if God talked to us like that on a regular basis.  Well, maybe some of us.  Hahahahaha   But God does not speak to us normally in an audible booming voice from heaven that sounds like James Earl Jones….nope that would be Mufasa from the Lion King. 

I love the story of Elijah and how God speaks to him in a very unexpected way.  We find that story in I Kings 19: 9-13.  Elijah probably expected God to speak to him in the wind, the earthquake, or in the fire; but, it was in the still quiet voice that God reminded Elijah that He was in control. 

I found a great article written by Alton Garrison “Hearing from God”.  Go check it out! 
Here are his 4 common ways God can speak to us:
  1. Through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16, Ps. 119:105)
  1. Through His Church (Eph. 3:10, Rom. 12:6)
  2. Through the Holy Spirit (John 14:26 just like that still small voice in I Kings 19)
  3. Through various circumstances (Ps. 119:67, 71-72)

Attention Disclaimer:  Do not forget that God WILL NOT contradict His word.  So, whatever you feel God is saying to you it should match up with what the Bible says.  If it does not….it is not from God! 

Remember this week that it is God alone who helps us....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Where do We Draw the Line? 1/4/2012

Happy New Year!  We were back to our discussions on Wednesday night.  This post will be quite different.  I've come across another blog that addresses the issues we discussed on Wednesday, so I'm just going to post the link.  We talked about what kind of standards we need to have for our entertainment as followers of Christ (TV, movies, books, music, etc.).  This blog addresses the issue perfectly.  It's not from a teenage perspective, but I think you'll get the point.  Check it out:

Do you love Jesus more than your own entertainment?