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Friday, February 19, 2016

Reaching the nations

"Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a journey.

At other times, it is allowing another to take yours."~Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Reaching others for Christ is another area that is changing rapidly.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, ...baptizing, …teaching.”

Have you noticed the fact that there is a rather different understanding between discipling and converting.

Discipling is an ongoing state without a completion goal, the converting has a limited perspective of getting people to make some decision and often lacks the focus of being alongside and mentoring. The modern youth understand these specific nuanced differences in meaning and often find that their elders seem to have failed to internalize or act upon this difference.

The modern church places too much emphasis on salvation without doing what Jesus asked us and discipling, baptizing, and teaching.

How was discipling done by Jesus?

Let’s consider the starting point for those super Christians of the past. Those people we now almost deify (despite that being idolatry) and consider the fathers of the church. Consider those 1st century men, Simon (Peter), Andrew, James and John, as Jesus called them to be disciples. He strolled along the beaches of the Galilean sea to find them. When he did, did Jesus insist they understand he was the only way to God and that they understand the message of salvation, or did he ask a bunch of guys to come along with him and learn about how to live a type of life of extreme meaning? From what I can read the most he implied was a rather abstract promise that they could improve themselves and influence others in a way that (should they have understood the implications) would someday make a difference for the Jewish nation of the time.

I think if we consider this, we will find it was a vague promise to help them be part of something bigger than themselves, and a good thing it was! It took those guys years to even start to understand what Christianity was about, and they lived with Christ.

I suggest that if we think we have abilities to communicate the depth of Christian living in one or two hours, we are being rather silly aren’t we? I think many young people understand that as well. It’s almost being dishonest. Like baiting a hook to catch a fish. It smacks of meeting the needs of the person fishing, rather than the one being fished.

While it may rarely achieve the purpose, I think many of the fish escape and refuse to ever come near our churches again. I don’t blame them!

Discipling on the other hand is a process towards deeper learning, not just a few minutes or hours of consideration and then leaving people to carry on with a hope that they will learn something of value thereafter. Discipling is long term caring, compassion, and mentoring.

Jesus also did not force the current theological tenants of life on his new followers but instead challenged them continually to find truth, to do it with sincerity of mind, and to apply their lives to the task. He showed rather than told. He permitted failure to enable education.

The commission is to disciple, not only convert.

Having someone reach a point of decision about Jesus and who he is, is part of the process, it is not the directed activity at the start, nor the end of the discipling.

 It is the mentoring of people about Jesus and leading them onwards towards the point where they can dedicate their lives to searching for His truths and follow His ways. The evidence of this being successful is that baptism is finally requested by the atheistic apostate when they start to immerse themselves in the truth and value of following a living God.

The modern youth understands and respects the concept of mentorship towards an ultimate goal.

Consider the time they devote to training themselves on games where they want to be the superhero. They know that it takes time, effort, and dedication to achieving excellence. They have no problem with that concept. They would be willing to follow and serve if they know there was unadulterated truth and value in the end goal. That’s the vision we need to provide.

This is where the current church is again failing. Firstly, the church as mentors they often lack understanding of the true world. They lack grounding with truth. They lack coordinated vision.

The church shows stupid dichotomies arising in messages about healing, marriage and sexual orientations that show no clarity but again rather a confusion of ideas and half baked compromise.

 If truth is truth, then truth should stand out as a lighthouse and be willing to weather a storm of discontent and abuse, remaining solid to show that the path is safe. It takes time and discipleship in more than just biblical information to show a person the truth in life. Jesus had to live with people to show them. How do we think we can do less?

To disciple correctly one must point to truth.

The churches waver on truth like reeds in a gusting wind, every now and then getting thoroughly dunked by the passing gusts of wavering world views into worldly waters. This is not mentoring, but vacillating.

For example the churches are allowing governments to dictate their regulations, monetary policies, and social norms instead of standing free and true. To be true is to stand on truths that are unpleasant but basic.

One aspect of this is the redefinitions of marriage by governments that is an impending pressure on the church.

Young people will think fairness towards alternative sexual lifestyles is the correct course, but they also know the church does not agree with this. They are watching us bend our rules to fit our governmental dictates, and despise us for it. The linking of legal and church marriages is allowing the government to dictate what it thinks is morally valid instead of what needs to be religious truth. Pastors, preachers and leaders of the church perhaps need to break ties with the governmental institutions where necessary, and stay on course to teaching truths, no matter how unpleasant the world perspectives of it are.

Will the youth respect this?

Only if they also see us completely accepting and helping those who are embroiled in these lifestyles with an unbiased love.

Only if we totally accept those sinners without telling them their sins are worse than others.

 The church has a much worse sin they need to eradicate, that of pride. Until we repent and seek truth and stand for it, those in the world will never respect us. The churches definition of marriage need not align with the governments.  There must be a direction on spiritual leadership, directed towards helping others with their problems and having clear spiritual affirmations in certain areas such as marriage. Everyone should be accepted and accommodated in the church, but only the spiritually mature should guide its direction (independent of their age).

Yes, the world’s youth will not agree on the churches stand on marriage, but it will be a differentiator that would stand as a mark of true Christianity and we need to point to truth independent of popular viewpoints. Deep inside people know the church is correct and I think they are appalled at the vacillation that is occurring. Their view is “disagree but be solid in your disagreement, don’t be a wimp” and our churches are being wimps.

No matter how critical the young person is of the values espoused, they are never going to be willing to follow wavering confusion. They need clear guidance and know this.

When Jesus said to make disciples he was not wanting us to be taking the easy way out. It was a 100% commitment to those who were following to take them through the hell of life into the rewards of eternity.

Does our church feel the same way towards the youth of today?

How do we reach into their world?

Christianity is the one religion that never asks the follower to move out of the mainstream of life. It wants the person right in the middle of life’s events. The terminology is to be “in but not of the world”.

The church is to face oppression and praise, and treat both of those imposters without fear or pride, but with the truths of Christ.

How do we reach the nations today?
Fri, February 19, 2016 | link          Comments

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Education Failure!
To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.~Theodore Roosevelt

Why do we educate our children? Isn’t it to give them the skills and abilities to live their future lives with success? I would assume this to be a true premise that most people would agree with. If it is, then we need to have a view of the future and how to be successful in it in order to educate effectively. Without this we are not leading the younger generations into the right paths.

What is the future? 

The future isn’t something many of us can predict with great certainty. One thing we can say about it is that it will be nothing like the past.

Let’s review a little of what the past was like.

In the past, we educated our youth so that they memorized quantities of information and techniques for later use. We trained people in similar ways using classroom techniques, in order to get them to work in teams that listened to the eloquent instruction of leaders, who it was assumed knew more about the work and subjects at hand than their sub-ordinates.

We need to realize that young people had to respect those older than themselves for one basic reason. These older people were in possession of the truths, wisdom and knowledge that would help those that were younger move more accurately into the future.

If we go back even fifty years, the careers at the time didn’t change significantly over a person’s lifetime. Typically farming, teaching, medicine, law, engineering etc. had strong histories and with them came strong protection of the specific field of knowledge and skills. Apprenticeships in trades were often used to keep the young submissive to their elders, while they were fed small tidbits of the required skills as the younger apprentice complied to traditional rules and regulations. The extent of compliance was proportional to the reward the apprentice received, or at least that was the objective. So compliance was an unspoken assumption of that system.

The learning was also tuned to make sure that it would turn out people for the workforce in a predictable and known manner. Forecasts of what the next twenty years would be requiring were common. It was expected the next twenty would not be significantly different in needs to the last twenty, perhaps the quantities would be greater but the skills and knowledge required to meet them was assumed to be known. Countries established systems that built work forces that were focused on industrial tasks that were considered critical for the success of the nations.

This progression of learning was to a large extent made possible by two key aspects. Firstly the progressing of learning and its direction was due to the inability of the young to access information held within the domain of their elders, without their consent. Secondly, the progressing of learning and its direction was possible due to relatively good predictability of the future needs. If the strain of post war years and economic challenges were added to this, learning was firmly tracking within a well formed rut that had directed it for many years.

Then things changed!

Three key aspects changed learning. The first was accessibility of information and speed with which it could be processed. The second was that the average young person no longer had to listen to their elders and could independently decide on paths and direction of learning, that were outside of the skill levels of their elders. The third is that the future became incredibly complex, fast moving, and difficult to predict.

In this flip flop world, it is often the elders who are asking the younger generation to assist with technology and knowledge of advancements. An older person’s advice is checked within minutes by the youth with access to technology like smartphones, tablets, and computers. Communication is fast and ubiquitous. Advice can be asked within seconds of needs arising, and distance and time are no longer limiting factors.

Now to survive, one no longer relies on retention of knowledge, but instead on the ability to find out what is required when it is required. We have moved into a world that approves of knowledge received just in time to do the task at hand. The quantity of knowledge has grown exponentially until no person can retain even a part of it. Instead, the world has built this repository of knowledge into cyberspace, accessible by those with skills at unveiling it when required.

The true valuable person is now no longer those that comply, but those that break down traditional barriers and access information with ease. Those able to access information required to meet the tasks at hand. Concepts traditionally considered sacred (e.g. like only governments issuing currency) are flipped on their heads (e.g. people started to trade in bitcoins, a cryptographic invisible electronic currency that has true value and is nationless).

I am sad to say that it is not only the Christian church that is failing our youth, it’s the world’s educational systems as well.

Our schools are outdated, and currently instead of facilitating this new mode of knowledge acquisition or teaching us how to do it more effectively, we continually hear silly comments like we need to keep technology out the classroom. Who does that serve? Who does it serve more? The outdated traditionalist, or the upcoming generation?

I suggest the outdated traditionalists are hampering the growth of the new generation by being unable to adapt fast enough to the changes the world is presenting. Those in charge need to step out the way and let the young determine their own future, or actively look to ways of collaborating with the youth to determine the future.

The better of these paths is collaboration between youth and their elders, not the direction of the youth by the elders.

The brightest youth should be identified and used to structure the future of learning so as to enable their peers and those coming immediately behind them to gain where they were impeded. If we do this, then the rate of educational growth may just manage to keep pace with the future demand. Anything less and the stress of the discord will cause national programs to fail. This path will require courage, but without it the future of our first world youth is at risk.

Of educations, Christian education is probably one of the worst impacted. Our youth are forced to face great improvements of science and technology but with the advice and oversight of outdated preachers and teachers. Preachers are poorly informed even about new biblical discoveries, never mind having very little ability to guide these bright young people in the worldly understanding of new scientific and engineered directions that need to be considered in relation to biblical texts. Traditional Christian education as dealt out in the customary few minutes on a Sunday morning is probably the least effective. Here younger children are generally educated using the old techniques of flannel boards, story books and picture bibles. While none of these are wrong, they are not effective.

This same child will be using gaming machines, watching online video’s and playing interactive games if they are progressive. The church is almost useless at providing this level of stimulation. The Christian fear of technology and science has moved it into the doldrums of education where the wind of change rarely reaches and those attending stagnate.

No wonder when they get to choose their direction and attendance, many Christian youth decline the advances of the church leaving their parents in the pews concerned and hurt.

·         Where are the Christian game makers?
·         What church groups are sponsoring online gaming with Christian principles and morals?
·         How many online video’s and social interaction groups are promoted by the formal church? Why not?
·         Where is the free education for everyone provided by church organizations?
·         Why have we not taken up national educational objectives with Christian values and made it available to everyone in the world?

It’s not that difficult to do. Take a little of that mission thrust and push it into the new world. Physical geography is not the only frontier, is it?

Then let’s discuss biblical discussion mechanisms. How often do I see preachers totally inadequately trying to explain that Genesis 1 cannot be supported by science? Often! Yet there is the discourse that allows these discussions to be honest and free. Where are the people who understand the facts? The 40year olds and up in most churches don’t! The major facts in these areas are younger than they are! If our bible is truth, it can deal with the changes being thrust upon it. We need to have true faith! Faith that God is in control and that we will be able to gain understanding of how these diverse areas relate to the powerful all-knowing and loving God.

Yet I want to posit it is not faith, but fear that motivates most discussions. Not truth, but rigid traditional thinking. Not investigation of the bible, science and debate, but rather a myopic re-iteration of past knowledge that is no longer current.

A real Christian does not fear honest discussion and wants to be open to truth in all its variations. How often do we find that understandings of yesteryear are wrong? Just look at our nativity scene. Today with modern understanding we know the wise men had travelled for a long time and Jesus was no longer a baby when they arrived. The star arrives two years later than the birth. Yet what do our nativity scenes depict? Even after pastors, ministers, bishops and priests come to know this fact they don’t correct this. Why? Is not that which is not true … a lie? Our young people know this! They see our churches as propounding lies. When will our church respect this realization?

Why are church leaders so scared of upsetting the constituents that they no longer educate in truth, simply because it’s uncomfortable? Where are our true leaders who stand up and tell the traditionalists to change when they are wrong? Today the politics and legal compliance is more important than the truth of the messages, isn’t it?

Do we think our youth are stupid? They see this! They vote with their feet and leave when they get the chance. Not because Jesus is not God, and his message untrue. They leave simply because they cannot deal with the lack of respect for truth and the hypocrisy of the leaders.

Christian education is not education in the eyes of the youth. It is indoctrination and teaching half-truths. Let us also remember perception is reality in this case.

The challenge is this, what are we doing to change the perceptions?

Wed, February 17, 2016 | link          Comments

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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse.

you can email me at Author@KenXBriggs.com

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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?



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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?



Click here to order Rift in Evil (ebook or Paper available)
  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse. Chapters

you can email me at Author@KenXBriggs.com
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