Author: Josh Glymph

School Loans CRIPPLE the Great Commission

student-debt

The debt 18-year-olds get into today to attend their dream school or just “go away to college” – will keep them from living for the glory of God.

Today, the average 18-year-old will go into major debt to attend college away from home just to get “the college experience.” This “experience” could cost them more in the long-run than they ever imagined.

Let me share with you a common story of today’s 18-year-olds.  Today, an 18-year-old will get into a college that takes them away from home.  This young person will take out college loans for living expenses, food, books, and probably classes as well.  This will not include the credit card they carry that buys them Chick-fil-A and new shoes when they don’t have the cash they need to get it.

After year 1, they will be in debt to the tune of about $10,000.  That’s one year in, and one year of college courses under their belt.  Don’t forget that credit card they are carrying.

After year 2, (still no degree) they will be over $20,000 in debt with no job and no degree.  Oh yeah, that credit card they carry is almost maxed out and they are just paying the minimum balance.

After year 3, they have declared a major have an associate’s degree and are excited about the future they are planning towards.  At the end of year 3 they are $30,000 in debt.  They are on track to get a degree in communication (because truthfully they don’t know what they want to do). They also now have 2 credit cards.  The first one is now maxed out.

After year 4 they feel a call to the mission field.  They are excited about this calling, and need only one more semester to get their degree.  So after four-and-a-half years of college they have a degree in communications, over $45,000 in student loans, and 2 credit cards nearly maxed out.  Oh yeah, and they want to be a missionary.

5 years after high school, with a college degree and a calling to the mission field they are now stuck working a 9-to-5 job just pay off that school loan.  Now the plan is in 13 years to head to the mission field- because that is how long it will take to pay off the school loan.  They will then be 35 years old…

The point is, the decisions an 18-year-old makes about college now, is going to impact their future and the future plans the Lord has for them more than they will ever know.

The average school loan debt is $30,000, for an undergraduate degree.

The average school loan debt is $57,000 for a master’s degree.

1-in-4 students with a master’s degree have debt of more than $100,000.

1-in-10 students with a master’s degree have debt of more than $150,000.

Years ago Pastor John Piper claimed that the very thing that keeps young people from going to the mission field is the guilt that comes from sexual sin.   While this may still be true, there is now something else creeping in, preventing missionaries from heading to the mission field, student loan debt.

Parents, you will be held accountable along with your 18-year-old.

Josh Glymph is the Pastor to High School Students at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can reach him at josh@fruitcove.com.

150 Million Orphans

The Bible has much to say about adoption. 1 John 3 tells us to “see what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” Ephesians 1:5 says “he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.” Romans 8:15 says “you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba Father.” WE HAVE BEEN ADOPTED AS SONS AND DAUGHTER INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD. How then as Christ Followers could we not be about the same kind of ministry? If God has adopted us because of what Jesus did, we have an opportunity to do the same for others. To adopt children into our families that they may also know Jesus, and hear the gospel must be the aim of the church and a part of every Christian’s life. I have heard many say one of the greatest tools we have to share the gospel is through adoption.

The Bible also has much to say about orphans, one such verse is James 1:27. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Christ Followers have a Biblical obligation to do something about the amount of orphans in the world today. Now let me blow your mind and break your heart at the same time. Based on a simple google search there are roughly 150 MILLION ORPHANS IN THE WORLD TODAY. That’s millions, as in ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION. Allow me to help you fathom this number.

  • World Population = 7.125 Billion;
  • US population = 318.9 million;
  • Florida = 19.8 million;
  • Jacksonville, FL = 842,000;
  • Everbank Stadium capacity = 67,164;
  • and finally, Fruit Cove, FL = 16,000

Over 150 million orphans are ridiculous! Jesus made it very clear that he loves children. In Mark 9:36-37 Jesus talks about not overlooking the lowly child, but in our world today orphans have become the most marginalized people group. This happens because the church ignores the problem. The Christian believes, “that’s not for me.” As Christ Followers we must respond by adopting. This means taking care of the orphans and bringing them into our homes to hear the gospel. Many countries see adoption as a way to make money. And more than that, these orphans have no voice. A report by CNN in 2014 concluded that international adoptions are in decline. So as the number of orphans grow daily in our world, the number of international adoptions are declining.
~Ways you can respond to 150 million orphans…

  • Pray about how God wants you to be involved.
  • Come along side those feeling the call to adopt. Support and encourage them, help them financially, babysit, take meals, pray, etc..
  • Be a foster parent or house parent; volunteer your time and energy at Florida Baptist Children’s homes.
  • Get involved with a CHRISTIAN adoption agency, be a part of fund raisers, etc…
  • Bring awareness to your church, Sunday school class, small group, etc..
  • Adopt!

 

A New Year Prayer

At the beginning of December I began a personal study of the book of Psalms. I expected it to be awesome and super encouraging. The idea was to read through the book of Psalms in a month for my devotion time. First of all I didn’t finish, I have a few chapters to go but am hoping to finish by the end of this week. Fingers crossed. As I have read through the Psalms, I have started to take notice of the different prayers that David prayed and how different they look than mine.

Take for instance Psalm 110

1 The Lord says to my Lord:
Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
2 The Lord sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
3 Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,
in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.
4 The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.”
5 The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
6 He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.
7 He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

My prayers so often are about me, my needs and my wants; sometimes speaking of God’s greatness but more about me. David though, a man who loved God deeply and personally talks about God’s holiness and Him being just as a way of prayer and worship. David in this Psalm describes a battle that needs to be fought; a battle against evil, for God, for good and for God’s glory. I also want to be a part of this battle fighting for the Kingdom of God. Which leads me to a new kind of prayer, one that is less about me and more about HIM.

My prayer: “Lord, with your Spirit overcome my lack of generosity and my obsession with my own needs and security, so that I can truly be part of your work in the world.”

Your Family and Communion

Your child understands technology but not Communion…

This Sunday as a church we worship Christ through the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.  Do your children understand why we do these?

As a child I remember the Sundays that we had the Lord’s Supper. They were exciting to me because I got to eat a cracker and drink juice… in church; and I knew the sermon would be a bit briefer.  As for baptism, that made little sense to me. I was baptized because I was promised Krispy Kreme if I did.  For a 7 year old that was the greatest deal ever offered.   But do our children know what is happening?  Here is what I know without reservation: it is the parent’s role to explain/teach/disciple our children in church.

  • Does your child understand the blood of Jesus?
  • Does your teenager understand what it means to eat the broken body of Jesus?
  • Does your 8 year old understand why people are dunked in a hot tub above the choir or at the beach?
  • Does your 13 year old know why they are drinking grape juice in church?
  • Does your family understand the sacredness, reverence and importance of communion?
  • What about the gospel?  Does your child/teen understand the gospel?

If your child does not understand the gospel and cannot articulate the gospel they are not ready, and should NOT to take communion.  If we allow them to, we make them liars and frauds, before they can do so themselves.

We, the church, for far too long have made the assumption that everyone watching understands.  To make this assumption without knowing for sure is sinful and lazy.  Both of which I have been guilty of as a father and a minister.  My plea is this, just as much as communion and baptism should be forms of worship, they should also be used as opportunities to share the gospel.  Here’s how:

COMMUNION/LORD’S SUPPER:

Sit with your child/family/teenager and quietly share with them why your are eating the “body” and drinking the “blood.”  You may have no better opportunity to share the gospel with them.  That Christ’s body was broken for you and them and that his blood was spilled for you and for them, and that Christ died as a free gift for us it is not something we can earn.  Explain we do this to remember what Christ has done for us.  Explain the gospel.  Remind/Share with them that they ARE sinful and need their sin to be pardoned or forgiven, and Jesus offers forgiveness by the blood he shed on the cross.

Refer to these points of scripture: Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53, 1 Corinthians 11: 17-34

BAPTISM:

As baptism occurs (whether at the beach or at the church) talk to your child/teen before and after this occurs.  Explain before that baptism is simply the way that a Christian makes their faith public.  That is, this is their announcement to both the church and the world that they are Christians; and that Jesus is Lord of their life.   This is also a great time to share with our families what new life in Christ means.  We also must remind our children/teens that baptism is not what saves or changes anyone, it is simply obedience.  Nothing more.

Refer to these points of scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:17, Luke 3:16, Romans 6:3-6, 1 Corinthians 12:13

Church services that include communion and baptism are unique services.  Both communion and baptism are what make a church a church.  These are called church ordinances and without them based on scripture, there is no church.  Baptism and communion are two of the most important things that will ever occur in a church.  They serve to remind the church of the gospel of Christ.  To lead the church to worship Christ as Lord.  Baptism and communion help the church to continue to align its focus on Christ and the cross.  As great as communion and baptism are, when parents do not actively teach what these mean, by default they are sending their kids to Hell.

– Josh

 

Josh Glymph is the Youth Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can reach him at josh@fruitcove.com

How Netflix Keeps Me from Sharing the Gospel with My Children at Home

Actually, Netflix is not the only thing.  I have created a list, in an attempt to repent of the things that keep me from preaching the gospel at home.  I am sharing this list in the hope that it will encourage you and lead you to repentance in areas that keep you from sharing the gospel at home.

  1. The Big Fat TV. Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, ESPN, HGTV, NFL network, Monday Night Football, College Gameday, Movies, The Office, Breaking Bad until I finished it.  How pathetic is it that I can allow the above devices and programs keep me from sharing the gospel at home. How pathetic is it that the list is so long.  How pathetic is it that in the end none of that will truly matter.  Lord, forgive me for making things that do not matter, matter.
  2. Football. Games, fantasy, college, pro, a different favorite group of teams at each level;  Friday night, Saturday and Sunday after church;  checking scores, checking standings, checking statistics;  watching pre-game, post-game and mid-week reports.  If I am not careful I can allow it to consume me.  Lord, forgive me when I make football and idol and allow it to blur my focus.  Lord, remind me daily that sharing the gospel is greater that any football game could ever be.
  3. Tired. I carry these titles: Husband, Father, Pastor, Employee, Student, Preacher, Guest Preacher, Bill Payer, Yardman, Coach, Teacher, etc.… I am not alone and I know more people who wear more hats.  But the hat I should wear first and foremost is Herald.  A Herald of the gospel.  And I must herald that gospel at home first!  Lord, forgive me when I fall short of this.
  4. Selfishness. I just want to sit there, read the paper, watch CNN, read a book, and go fishing by myself.  There are times I do not want to be “bothered” by others.  There are times I want to be left alone.  Lord, forgive me for the times that my own selfishness takes precedence over your gospel.
  5. Laziness. Sometimes I would rather do nothing, literally nothing.  Just be, just breathe, just exist, and just be quiet.  Lord, help me in times of laziness to know that I do not have time to be lazy.
  6. I get flat out busy. Much of my business is keeping my children busy.  From soccer practice, to basketball practice, to church the constant shuffle of kids along with feeding, cleaning and laundry.  Most of this my wife doing… When I am too busy I begin to believe the lie that I will make time tomorrow to do what is most important.  Share the gospel with my kids.  Lord help me to not get lost in my business.  Lord help me to place priority on sharing your gospel with my children even in the midst of business.
  7. “They do that at church.” It is not the church’s role to share the gospel with my children, it is my role as their father.  Salvation, discipleship and worship should all at the very least begin at home and very often occur at home.  Taking my kids to church should be the reinforcement of what is taking place at home, NOT where the only conversations about the gospel take place.  In my experience most children do not hear the gospel at church enough anyway.  Lord, help me to see that sharing the gospel at home, not expecting the church to do it, is what you have called me to.
  8. It is easier to place emphasis on ministering to others. I have family members that need the gospel.  I have neighbors that need the gospel.   I have friends I have met, and people at church that I serve that need the gospel.  Lord, help me to see that my first ministry is to my family. Lord, help me not be so hypocritical that I only focus outside my home.
  9. Sin. My sin makes me lazy, selfish and complacent.  My sin causes me to value things differently.  My sin causes me to place importance on the wrong things.  My sin tells me lies that I believe.  Lord, help me not to be blinded my own sin.
  10. Some days I don’t believe the gospel. Some days I wake up and don’t believe the gospel and do not take the time to remind myself of the gospel. Lord, on the days I do not believe you are better and do not believe your gospel, remind me of Romans 5:8.  Lord, remind me that you took my place.

 

Lord, forgive me for any instance in which I place any activity, any sin, any device before sharing the gospel with anyone.  Lord, help me to embrace my first ministry: to share the gospel often in my home.

– Josh

Josh Glymph is the Youth Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can reach him at josh@fruitcove.com

Your Child and Baptism

This past Sunday our family arrived late the 9:30am worship service. We caught the last baptism but missed all that transpired before this. I have 3 kids, one who loves Jesus and has been baptized and 2 younger ones that are just coming of age to understand these things. We share the gospel at home but I know for my child to know and understand the gospel I must get them around the gospel. One visible place we can see the gospel is baptism.

As a youngish father who grew up in a very old and traditional church, seeing Sunday night services as a part of life then disappear, music change from organ and piano to the addition of drums and guitar, from Sunday school to small groups (which in my opinion is the same thing with a different name), through of all the changes made, baptism was sort of pushed back. I grew up in a church where baptism happened once per year. It was an odd, yet sort of cool tradition. In serving in a few different churches I saw baptism on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, after service, before service, at camp, and everywhere in between. With all the cultural changes in the church, this has left baptism sometimes in “inconvenient” time slots.

If we are going to see baptism for what it is, the celebration of new life in Christ, we MUST participate. Baptism is not just for the believer being baptized, rather for the whole church. It is the outward expression of looking at what Jesus did and can do. Baptism is just as much for me to celebrate with the new believers as it is for my own children to witness. It is imperative that my children see, participate, and later ask questions about baptism. My responsibility as a father is to get them around baptism, and it is also yours. A couple of questions we should ask:

  • Do our children see others being baptized?
  • Do our children frequently see others being baptized?
  • Have my children ever seen anyone baptized?
  • Do my children need to see me being baptized?
  • Do I have open dialogue with my children about baptism?
  • Is baptism important to our family?

One of the greatest things we can do as parents for young believing and un-believing children is to bring them around the gospel and those who have responded to the gospel. At some point, your child will be held accountable for their life and faith, and no longer you as a parent. My role as a parent is to present the gospel so often that my children can see and hear that Jesus is better. One way I can do that is getting my children in front of baptisms. If I can make a point to teach them about football and get them in front of that, I have no excuse.

– Josh

Josh Glymph is the Youth Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can reach him at josh@fruitcove.com

The Evils of Social Media… Part 2

social-media-image

Each week, I try to do a blog post on various topics. This week is on Social Media and its effects on our students. After doing a series with our high school students, of which social media being a part, I thought I would share some of my findings and how we can respond with you. You can see my other related blog post at fruitcove.com/how-social-media-can-ruin-your-teens/. I hope this encourages you to be aware of how it can effect your teen and what steps you can take to prevent some of the negative effects.

The Evils of Social Media… Part 2

 2 Weeks ago, I wrote a post about what I believe can be a trap and disaster for many teens:  Social Media.  Teens who operate social media unfiltered, inexperienced, and unaccountable is a disaster that will happen (not waiting to happen).  I would like to offer a short follow-up to that.  In the last post, we identified the problem.  Now we must answer how we as parents can help our teens honor God FIRST and be safe on social media second.  Here it goes…

  1. Follow them.  There is no good reason for a teen NOT to be followed by their parents on social media.  See what they post, see what they share.  This will do 2 things, 1- hold them to a standard of what to share and 2- help you to see what they their peers are talking about. Also don’t like or comment on their posts. Trust me when I say its just better this way.
  2. Monitor them.  Have a weekly or bi-weekly unannounced time where you go through their phones and computers.  Tell them you are doing it, and have them sit with you when this occurs.  I believe there is great value in doing this when they are around, not in secret.
  3. Talk with them about what is appropriate and not appropriate as it comes up and as you see it.  A win is your teen coming to you and asking what you think about post.  Another great way to talk with them is when a friend of theirs, that you know, posts some crude or shady and talks about it.  Ask your teens thoughts and discuss it.
  4. Offer Grace.  As we say ALL THE TIME at r12 Parent Worship – TEENS ARE SINFUL.  As parents we MUST be able to discern between when to bring the hammer and when to just correct.  There are times you need to look at your teen and say that was silly/dumb, take that down AND there are times when you need to take the phone/computer away and lock them in a dungeon for a few years.  If we want them to grow up, give them freedom but allow them to make mistakes.  Just be ready to offer grace.
  5. Look at what they follow, favorite, retweet and post. Go deeper than what you see them post; see what they value.  Who and what they follow and who and what they favorite call tell you a lot about that they care about.  If your teen is always tweeting about pizza, that means they love pizza.  If your teen is always posting about dating/sex/relationships/boys/girls that means they are into something else.
  6. DON’T stalk (follow) their friends… but DO frequently look at their pages/posts and see what they are putting out.  Not stalking their friends will get you some credit with your teen.  But doing research is what a smart parent does. So do your research, know who you want your teens around and who need to be shut out.
  7. Snapchat is weird.  Plain and simple, Snapchat is an app that lets them take pics that others can view for 1-10 seconds and then they are “deleted.”  I would have a healthy discussion with your teen about the ramifications of an app like this.  How, what can be sent and what they can send can impact for eternity.
  8. Honor God.  The goal must be in all this to honor God.  Social media is fun and can be useful and it is yet another tool that we as parents can use to teach out children about honoring God.  One of the greatest lessons we can teach our children is that we are not worried about what others do/have done.  We honor God even if we are standing alone.
  9. Read: “SCREEN AND TEENS” by Kathy Koch. It is $10 on Amazon and $4 for Kindle/paperless.  Dr. Koch was recently on Focus on the Family discussing social media and teens.  She has incredible insight and VLOG’s quite frequently.  Check her out here: www.drkathykoch.com
  10. Don’t be a hypocrite.  As parents we must be faithful to practice what we preach.  If your teen sees you/catches you viewing thing online that do not honor God (porn/violence/etc…) then all you have to say about what they look at goes out the window.  We CANNOT be parents who say “do as I say, not as I do”.  Jesus said follow me.  Parents should respond in the same way, “follow my example.”

– Josh

How Social Media Can Ruin Your Teens

 

Satan’s newest weapon aimed at teens: Social Media.

 

  • 81% of teens (ages 12-17) are on social media.
  • Only 3% of boys and 17% of teen girls have NEVER seen internet pornography.

 

Recently at r12 (our high school worship service) we discussed the impact of social media/technology on Christian teens.  We talked about the dangers of social media for teens; the problems with selfies, and the drama the “likes” create.  The most disturbing part was the amount of sexual activity and pornography that takes place in social media.

 

I hope to scare you as a parent about some FACTS with social media:

  1. Your teen DOES NOT need a smart phone or to be on social media. By definition they are NOT an adult and you pay the bills. I’ve said it forever, it is better to have a sober, out of jail, under my roof teen who “hates” me; than to have a sexually active, needle in the arm, porn addict, pot head that is on a different couch each night.

 

  1. If adults make poor decisions with social media, and often times do not handle it properly (I have been guilty,) then what kind of fool are we if we give it to a 13 or 14 year old.

 

  1. If you allow your daughter to post pictures of herself in a bikini on social media, grown and even married men will look at these pictures as a form of pornography. So will many, many of their teenage friends, both male and female.  The truth is, too many of our young ladies are not mature enough yet to make a decision of what they should or should not post on social media yet.  Just as bad is the self-worth and value they find in themselves based on what is said on social media about their body.  The parent who lets their 15 year old daughter post pictures of their “body” online, will have to answer to the Lord one day for leading their CHILD into sin.

 

  1. Social Media will lead your kid to pornography. PERIOD. There is not a tool or app out there that can 100% protect your teen from seeing pornography when they spend a good bit of time on social media.  A parent can however help them deal with this and run from this.

 

  1. Social Media can lead your teen to find their identity in a number. A number of likes, comments, or shares rather than how God knit them together in their mother’s womb can define them. The parent’s job is to teach them they are more valuable than a like.

 

  1. Your teen WILL BELIEVE what they read on social media, true or not. Social media is just as real to teenager as going to school. It is not a virtual world, but part of their world.  Therefore Twitter accounts that describe what is romantic (rather than the scriptures) will be believed.

 

  1. Your teen will witness, be part of, or be the victim of bullying as a result of them being on social media.

 

  1. Social media handicaps a teen’s social skills. Things like looking people in the eyes, shaking hands, holding a conversation without texting. And bigger things like speaking truth or when reconciliation needs to be pursued, these type conversations are much easier and less meaningful and fruitful over social media. Recently a “friend” of my wife made assumptions about my wife based on what she perceived on social media. She then sent her a ridiculous inbox message about the issue, filled with things that she would have never said to my wife’s face. This is what social media has the power to do relationally.  Fracture.

 

  1. It’s evident that you don’t follow your teen on social media by the language they use… Teens will say things and re-post things on social media that they would never say in front of their parents.  Do you know what they are saying?  Ask them to show you…

 

  1. If your teen is not responsible enough to drive a car, they are not responsible enough to handle social media properly. Currently there is an age “suggestion” on social media, but nothing preventing a 13 year old from getting on Twitter.  As parents, we need to help our kids discern when they are ready for different things in life.  Dating, staying home alone, getting a job, driving, for example.  Social Media needs to be viewed through the same lenses.  We must guide them in this process.

 

God created us as relational beings, in His image to be in relationship with Him.  This is a good thing.  Social media was created to a relational end but it is much more than that now.  I use social media and believe, managed properly it is a great tool, as well as a way to stay connected. I have been greatly encouraged through it as well as humbled at times.  Wisdom and discernment are needed though for anyone who chooses to use these devices.  And two areas teens really need help in are the areas of wisdom and discernment. Guide them well.

 

– Josh

 This blog post was written by Joshua Glymph, High School Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can contact him at josh@fruitcove.com.

Observations From A NON-Christian Wedding…

 

Recently, I was given the opportunity to perform the wedding ceremony of my neighbors (who are not Christians).  It was one of the coolest things I have done in a while.  The best part was being able to share the gospel with them.  I had some observations from the wedding:

1- Everyone understands love it is not solely a Christian thing.  The Bible tells us that God is love, this I do know.  I also know that love is shared among those who are not Christians.  I do not totally understand the theology behind it all, but to belittle their love is to belittle their entire being as a person.

2- NON-Christians don’t want to only hear the gospel, they want to see it.  We share the gospel with words, we show the gospel with grace.  A Southern Baptist preacher sharing the gospel and performing a ceremony in front a crowd of drunk people may not be ideal, but it makes a point. The point: you matter, I care about you.

3- Other people have convictions.  They have a system of rights and wrongs that matter to them.  Having life experiences and being raised a certain way helped create these convictions.  To frown upon their personal convictions does not make you more Godly or them more open to hear the gospel.

4- EVERYONE has a story.  The bride and groom cared very little for the fact that I went to church; they cared greatly about the fact that I had a story.  They cared about my story because they have story to tell as well.  Their story, at least to this point, just hasn’t been changed by the gospel… yet.

5- The Bible has value in the lives of Non-Christians.  Reading 1 Corinthians 13, Genesis 2 and Romans 5 at a wedding in front a group of people without visible faith was incredible.  Having the bride and groom like, and then get excited about hearing the Bible read was even better.

6- You don’t have to drink champagne to fit in, sweet tea works fine (and tastes better).  Non-Christians with their “devil’s juice” do not expect you to be someone you are not, nor change your convictions for them (see #3.)  Not once was I viewed through some sort of narrow lenses as to why I wasn’t drinking alcohol.

7- Christians are awkward.  When the Bible says Jesus hung out with and ate with sinners, it doesn’t say he stood in the back while everyone drank wine awkwardly.  It alludes to him being there in the middle of it.  We will never be taken seriously if we stand against the back wall with judgmental eyes.  Rather, we must step out, sit at the table with “sinners,” and join them in conversation.  Maybe even get on the dance floor with them.

8- No one cares that you are a Christian, or for me a Pastor, until you care that they are a person.  Christians must remember we aren’t selling something.  Jesus isn’t Arbonne.

9- Hearing Tom Petty & the Heart Breakers at the ceremony was surprising and fun.  Hearing Journey made me laugh.  Hearing Savage Garden made me cover my ears.  Hearing Switchfoot reminded me why I was there.

10- Non-Christians do not understand our Christian vernacular and way of speaking.  It is almost a different language to someone who doesn’t go to church.  Christians sound goofiest when they speak in Christian jargon.  Please stop.

11- My faith mattered to them, and I was respected for it.

12- When others know you care about them, and you choose to serve them first, they might be more willing to hear you out.  And potentially more acceptable to the gospel.

13- Non-Christians have friends who are also non-Christians.  Non-Christians have family who are also non-Christians.  Non-Christians have co-workers who are also non-Christians.

– Josh

 

This blog post was written by Joshua Glymph, High School Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can contact him at josh@fruitcove.com.

Students, Families and Porn – A Message from JoshG

At least once a week (usually more) I hear from parents or students that sexual sin has made its way into their lives, homes or relationships. Whether its pornography, sexual impurity in a relationship or something else, a parent or a student will come broken-hearted over this issue. For a man who struggled greatly with pornography in high school and college, this always leaves me hurt and disturbed. Statistics show that 85% of young males frequently observe pornography and over 50% of young women do. This is crazy. Think about it; on a typical Wednesday night we have 100 high school students join us for worship. If these statistics are correct then only 5 or 6 men and 20 or so women DO NOT REGULARLY view pornography. As parents and leaders, we should be shocked by this and see this for what it is, an epidemic! This sort of lifestyle; one filled with sexual impurity will destroy a relationship with God, end Godly marriages before they begin, give a false sense of sexual identity, and ruin worship. The shame of all this sexual sin will keep this generation of teens from hearing and heeding the call of ministry and missions. Make no mistake: SATAN is using sexual immorality, sexual curiosity, lust and sensual desire (that teenagers are not ready to act upon) to prevent having a healthy relationship with God. We MUST discuss it… and it starts at home. It WILL be disused in our church. So what can we do??

1- REMEMBER teens are sinful (As are you and me. We all are. Don’t forget that as you read the following.) They need grace, mercy, forgiveness, tenderness and a place to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12) As a parent or leader in a teen’s life we need to provide that atmosphere. You can freak out on your own, alone, in your closet… but remind them that they are just sinful and that is why Jesus died on the cross – for sin is a big deal. Also, you as parents didn’t fail them, nor the church, their youth minister, friends, etc… they are just sinful. Just as God forgave us, we must also do the same (Romans 5:8 & 2 Corinthians 5:21) This does not mean we use “they are sinful” as an excuse, it is just a truth.

2- KNOW we live in a culture where pornography is more accessible than a cup of coffee. Coffee is easy to get and popular. Pornography is more popular and accessible. In less than 30 seconds with a few swipes of certain apps, you can find porn. That is quicker than it takes for Keurig coffee makers to make a cup of java. That’s how accessible porn is. The simple truth is any teenager with a smartphone is bound to stumble across pornography. I am not sure why but for some reason this does not shake us as parents as it did a generation ago. Know too we live in a culture where sex outside of marriage is celebrated and lust is seen as a normal, almost as if it were a human emotion.

3- EMBRACE difficult and awkward conversations. One of the most difficult things is to have a conversation with a teenager who has engaged in sexual immorality. It is awkward, unexpected, and as a parent we just can’t imagine our “baby” doing that. It’s heartbreaking. But we must embrace the awkward and difficult to help our teen. Don’t expect the conversation to EVER BE PLEASANT. Instead dive in and start talking. If you embrace the awkward and difficult they likely will as well. From my experience a good healthy Christ-centered relationship will always involve conversation of personal sin and struggle.

4- REFRAIN from being a hypocrite. If you are a parent or leader who struggles with sexual immorality or impurity – GET HELP! The only thing worse than finding out your teen is struggling, is being caught by your teen (and don’t think you won’t get caught.) The teen will feel mislead and lied to. If a teenage girl catches her parents, her idea of sexuality, her self-identity, and her view of her authority will be tainted forever. For a teen male, discovering a parents’ struggle is equivalent as granting permission to that teen.

5- ADDRESS it. This subject must be talked about at home. We need to pray for purity in our children, talk about purity, discuss the evil of impurity and how to protect yourself/your home. This subject cannot be TOO taboo to discuss. This sin will lead teens on a road of destruction. A home where sexual immorality is not addressed is a home where it may run rampant. Listen, your teens have hormones and they need help in dealing with those. And they will get their answers from someone. Who do you want them turning to?

6- CREATE an atmosphere that encourages PURITY in your home. What are you doing to foster a home that keeps everyone under your roof pointed towards godly purity? Are there safeguards on the TV? DVD’s? Computer? Is there scripture available that speaks to what is good, healthy and important in the home? Do Dad and Mom watch things that might lead their teen to struggle if they are around? Or worse do Mom and Dad watch things that if the teen knew would cause them to question their parents? How does your home create an atmosphere of purity?

7- SMARTPHONE. Knowledge is key. Smartphones are nothing more than sex & porn devices for so so so many. They get a smartphone solely to have access to that which they want to hide. If your teen has a smartphone, how are they protected on it? Do you check it? Do you understand and know where to look? For the record, it’s not an invasion of privacy if they are paying for it, just saying… A teenager given a smartphone with NO accountability is the same as handing them a stick of dynamite. They are not equipped, educated or mature enough to handle it yet. Smartphones can be awesome and helpful or destructive. For most teenagers that decision MUST be made by parents.

Want more information? Give me a call and plan to attend the next r12 Parent Worship on February 8. You can also keep in touch on our r12 Student Ministry page

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” – Ephesians 5:3

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