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Standing Firm in Your Faith Despite Opposition

I’m super excited to introduce my special guest today—Chelsea Crockett. You may not be familiar with Chelsea Crockett, but your daughter may be! She is a YouTube superstar. She has over 1.5 million fans on YouTube. That is spectacular, and she is a big-time Christian influencer. I am so excited about her new book, Your Own Beautiful. In fact, Sadie Robertson, who has a line at Dayspring, wrote the forward!

Standing Firm in Your Faith Despite Opposition with Chelsea CrockettChelsea was such a delight to talk to! Talk about a new generation of Christian women standing up for their faith! I don’t know if you are familiar with social media, but YouTube does not have great filters, and there are horrible comments that come up. Chelsea has done a remarkable job dealing with opposition as she shares her faith very publically on YouTube. We get into that more in the podcast.

We’ve had guests on the show in the past who have talked about raising strong men, but I wanted to make sure we also talk about raising strong women. I know you are going to enjoy her fresh perspective.

Your Own Beautiful is a book that if you have a young woman in your life—daughter, niece, or even just a close friend’s daughter—you’ll want to get it in their hands. It is such a great encouragement for them, and Chelsea is a great role model! I was even encouraged by the book! I hope you will check it out!

It was so much fun chatting with Chelsea—I hope you’ll share this episode with your friends who are raising daughters! I hope you (and they) will be so encouraged!

On a “Simply” & “Joyful” side note…

Chelsea says she loves to make lists. She makes a list every day, and then she prioritizes her list. She also uses Siri on her iPhone for reminders. Be sure to listen in to hear more on this.

Make a list, and then prioritize! Get more tips from YouTube sensation Chelsea Crockett on this week’s Simply Joyful Podcast! (CLICK TO TWEET)

Highlights from This Show…

  • Chelsea shares how she has grown up on YouTube, publishing videos since she was thirteen. She also talks about how involved her family is with her channel—and the ins-and-outs of having a YouTube channel.Standing Firm in Your Faith Despite Opposition with Chelsea Crockett
  • Being online, Chelsea deals with a lot of negativity. Chelsea chats about when she started sharing more about her faith on her channel, the negativity seemed to be pop up more often.

Why do people take the time out of their day to be negative? —Chelsea Crockett

  • I ask Chelsea what advice she would give to parents who have kids that are dealing with rejection.

Be there. Don’t avoid the situation. —Chelsea Crockett

  • I asked Chelsea to share about how growing up online has affected her.

I had a normal life. —Chelsea Crockett

  • Chelsea shares about how writing Your Own Beautiful came about.Standing Firm in Your Faith Despite Opposition with Chelsea Crockett

We’re all trying to convey a message to the world. —Chelsea Crockett

It’s a beauty, faith, and confidence guide for young people. —Chelsea Crockett (CLICK TO TWEET)

  • Chelsea explains a little more about the chapter in her book that talks about “living for something bigger”

Outward beauty has it’s place, but beauty that emanates from within makes a lasting impression on others. — Your Own Beautiful

  • Chelsea gives her advice for women to let their natural beauty shine through from the inside out.

Let go of the grip of comparison. —Chelsea Crockett (CLICK TO TWEET)

  • Chelsea chats on her stance on modesty.
  • Chelsea shares how parents can encourage their young girls with guidelines and boundaries to protect their daughters and help them stay true to what the Bible talks about regarding purity.

Anytime you can get friends involved, even if you don’t want to, get them involved. —Chelsea Crockett

  • Chelsea tells about other women in her generation, such as Sadie Robertson and Natasha Bure, who she’s friends with and how they encourage one another.

Please Note…

  • Be sure to grab your FREE copy of my bookSanity Savers for Moms, by joining our Simply Joyful community. It’s a great way to keep in touch…and get subscriber only freebies like my book. Click HERE to get the book and join!

Connect with Chelsea Crockett…

Social media sensation Chelsea Crockett made her debut on YouTube as BeautyLiciousInsider in 2011, and has since gone on to become a role model for millions of teens around the globe. Her channel features makeup tutorials, life advice videos, and everything in between, including messages about Chelsea’s faith. Chelsea has appeared in SeventeenTeen Vogue, and Trend Magazine, among others, and her website, ChelseaCrockett.com, is home to thousands of beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and advice posts. Chelsea’s greatest passion is connecting with her fans and subscribers and using her voice to make a positive impact on viewers across the world.

You can check out Chelsea’s book HERE on Amazon! Be sure to visit her site as well at ChelseaCrockett.com.

(This podcast is by Kristi Clover. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Justin Dean, Former Communications Director of Mars Hill Church

Communications and PR Guru Justin Dean shares his story, truths he has learned, and what he is doing today

It is a true privilege to have had the chance to spend an hour chatting with Justin Dean. I have known about Justin for a while now having benefited from his ministry work at Mars Hill Church and now today as he works diligently to equip church leaders and churches to effectively communicate their message in a digital age.

For years, Justin led the communications department at Mars Hill Church, through an unprecedented season of growth in the Pacific Northwest. Justin leveraged social media and video to increase the impact of Mars Hill – that was what got me hooked. For years I listened to Pastor Mark Driscoll and other leaders in the Seattle megachurch. I even signed up for a year of studies through their leadership training program known as Re:Train. I am a better husband, father, man, pastor and leader because of this program.

As many of us know, Mars Hill Church closed its doors a few years back after much controversy and the resignation of the founding pastor, Mark Driscoll. Justin was on the front lines of this most difficult season. He shares his story at length with the pain, challenges but also some of the redemption stories that emerged out of this church.

Today, Justin has emerged with a strong voice in the church communication world, particularly in the PR and Social media department. You will not want to miss some of the insights he shares about working hard before a crisis hits to prepare for the inevitable one that is coming your way.

Also, at the end, we discuss some social media strategy that is timely for those who want to leverage their influence and advance the mission of their organization or business. 

Justin is a fantastic man of God and a true servant of us church leaders. I wholeheartedly endorse everything that he is offering and would encourage you to support him in any way you feel led.

Here are some links we talked about:

(This podcast is by Jon Morrison. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Improving Your Observation Skills

Improving Your Observation SkillsWe live in a world of screens that compete for our attention. Though it’s easy to be attracted to the things competing for our attention on our phone, television, or computer screen, it takes a little more work to really notice things that are going on all around us. The same can be said for the way we approach the Bible. We often have a superficial understanding of a given passage because we rarely take the time to really observe what the text is saying.

On this program, Michael Horton discusses this issue with Jim Gilmore, author of Look: A Practical Guide to Improving Your Observation Skills. Join us for this special edition of the White Horse Inn.

Host Quote:

“If we consider reflection, I think at one level, the difference between, let’s say, watching a video and reading a book is you seldom stop the film to say I’m going to think about this scene right now. You’ll do that with a book but there’s even a further step away as to not have anything that’s in between and observing your surroundings. I think we’re losing our sense of reflection.

“We’re losing a sense of quietness. Sometimes you put those ear buds on because it’s noisy, so you’d rather listen to your own music than the street noise, not a bad decision. So part of it is a call not just for more reflection but for more quietness. I think what’s happening with social media particularly is just making the world increasingly noisy, noisy being the lowest form of intelligence that exists. It’s not even data or information. It’s just this random stream of just blah, blah, blah. It all to me sounds like what the adult sounds like to the kids on Peanuts. It’s the getaway from that world.” – Jim Gilmore

Term to Learn:

“Therapeutic Culture”

The move to the therapeutic in society has been induced by several cultural developments. The intense psychologization of men’s attitudes and feelings as the primary subconscious level of “who we are,” the altering definitions of justice as primarily the accommodation of society to remove all barriers from self-expression and empowering fulfillment of the self, and the movement to the individual subject as the arbiter of that freedom to happiness apart from external structures and forces. The good life of justice, freedom, happiness have been internalized to such a degree that boredom and the external forces which upset that interior life are now seen as the greatest of evils. Justice has been re-defined in the last century as the removal of external barriers and the material empowerment of the individual towards the good life perceived to be desirable.

Men’s attitudes and feelings have come to arbitrate justice and goodness in the late modern society. Safety and security have been held out as the primary good of Western culture above what previous generations saw as essential to promoting the good life, namely liberty, self-reliance, and responsibility. Conventional ideals of moral responsibility have gradually become subordinated to state interpreted therapeutic ideals. “Modern culture is unique in having given birth to such elaborately argued anti-religions, all aiming to confirm us in our devastating illusions of individuality and freedom,” writes Philip Rieff in his magisterial, The Triumph of the Therapeutic. Jacques Ellul argued in the mid-century that whenever a culture’s ethical outlook could not keep a pace with its technological developments, propaganda was the fated result – the subconscious alteration of men’s attitudes and feelings through technological means of domination. Modern cultural production has moved into the business and technique of manipulating a sense of well­being under what Jürgen Habermas has called a “therapeutocracy.” (Timothy W. Massaro, “Therapeutic Culture,” WHI [blog], October 05, 2015)

(This podcast is by White Horse Inn. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Reaching Millennials In the Church

This episode is the second part in Jon’s look at Millennials in the church. Jon gives ten characteristics of millennial-friendly churches.

What does the Bible say about Millennials?

  1. The are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27)
  2. They are sinful (Romans 3:23)
  3. They are loved by Jesus (Romans 5:8)
  4. We are called to make disciples of them (Matthew 28:18-19)
  5. They can be gifted by Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12)
  6. They are our present and future (Psalm 78:4)

10 Characteristics of Millennial-friendly churches: Reaching Millennials In the Church

  1. The Gospel
  2. Be Authentic
  3. Create Connections
  4. Create experiences
  5. Provide mentors, not maestros.
  6. Talk about Jesus instead of God
  7. Call people to be a part of something bigger
  8. Embrace social media
  9. Giveaway leadership in all areas of the church to Millennials
  10. Use Apologetics in every ministry

(This podcast is by Jon Morrison. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central

and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

 

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Welcome back to a new week on the Ask Pastor John podcast. Pastor John, what do you want to be as your final words on Twitter, in 140 characters? Brittany writes in to ask it: “Dear Pastor John, if you could say one last thing to this world, what would your message to us be? In other words, what is the one-sentence message, the one last tweet, that is the most important thing we need to hear from you, and why?”Jesus died and rose so that we may have joy

I took Brittany seriously when she suggested it be one last tweet, so here’s my exactly 140-character (exactly), final tweet — the most important thing I think the world needs to hear, tweet-sized. It goes like this, and I had to drop a comma, frankly, but you can’t see that, so it doesn’t really matter. This is 140 characters including one comma and one period:

Jesus, God’s Son died in the place of sinners and rose so that all who love him supremely might be forgiven all and have eternal joy in God.

Now, I thought about saying, instead, “Read your Bibles and pray for insight,” because there is so much that needs to be known about God that cannot be put into one sentence.

The only reliable source for all that needs to be known is the Bible, so maybe the most important thing to do is not to try to sum up the Bible in 140 characters, but to cry out to the world, Go read! Pray as you read so that you see everything that’s there! Maybe that’s the most important thing to say.

But then on second thought, there are millions and millions of people who don’t have access to the Bible, so that the last thing I should say to them is probably more specific than, “Go read your Bible,” and I think the Bible itself would want me to talk not mainly about the Bible, but about what the Bible talks about.

So, that’s why I wrote what I wrote. And the reason I chose to focus the way I did was because the apostle Paul already wrote that tweet in 1 Corinthians 15:3–4. I didn’t count his characters. It’s close. He said, “I delivered to you as of first importance” — and I presume that would mean last importance also — “what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” So, Paul says that of first importance is that Christ died for our sins and rose again. Now, if that’s of first importance for Paul, then I’m standing on firm ground in making it my last tweet, my most important thing that I say finally.

Here it is again. I’ll read it again and then just say a couple of comments about why I structured it the way I did.

Jesus, God’s Son died in the place of sinners and rose so that all who love him supremely might be forgiven all and have eternal joy in God.

It seemed good and needful in our day to identify who Jesus is, so I said Jesus, the Son of God, or God’s Son and, instead of saying, “died for sinners,” I said, “died in the place of sinners” to make explicit what I think Paul means; namely, that this is an act of substitution — not just an exemplary act or an act of advocacy, but that he really took the place of sinners when he died. I included “and rose,” not just “died,” but “and rose” because Paul did in his summary and because if Christ is not raised from the dead, we’re still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17). There’s no victory over death or wrath or the devil. There’s no gospel without the resurrection.

The most controversial thing in my sentence, I think, is that I said the beneficiaries of this death are “all who love him supremely” rather than saying, “all who trust him” or, “all who believe in him.” And I certainly don’t mean to set this up as a way everybody should always present the gospel. I might be wrong in choosing to emphasize loving Christ supremely instead of believing Christ.

I certainly don’t want to diminish the importance of trusting him and all he promises to be for us, but in view of two-thousand years of church history and millions and millions of nominal Christians who would say they believe in him and have not experienced the slightest heart change, or the slightest change in their lives and are lost, I wanted to stress the necessity of the kind of faith that really transforms people at the level of our deepest affection so that Christ is our supreme treasure, not just a belief ticked out of hell, which he is for so many people who think they’re believing.

Paul says everything works together for the good of those who love God — love God, not just believe things about God (Romans 8:28). He says at the end of 1 Corinthians, the very last verse of 1 Corinthians, “If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed” (1 Corinthians 16:22). And James says “the crown of life” will be given “to those who love him” (James 1:12). Jesus himself said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). So, I wanted to capture that.

And then I summed up the benefits of Jesus in saying, “forgiven all.” I didn’t say, “forgiven all sins” just because I couldn’t fit it in the 140 characters. “ . . . forgiven all, and have eternal joy in God.” I wanted to say the negative side: all your problems, all your sins, all your failures are going to be cancelled because Jesus died for them. And then I wanted to capture the positive side; namely, that once our sins are forgiven, we’re not left in limbo. We’re given eternal joy. That’s not merely an extension of worldly happiness, but something far, far greater; namely, joy in the all-satisfying God.

So, Tony, I give you hereby formal permission that if I die before we get too many more of these recordings made, you may say John Piper said this should be his last tweet.

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

(By Desiring God. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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The Bible did not fall down from heaven as a sourcebook for spirituality, personal life-lessons, or even as a collection of doctrines. Rather, it should primarily be understood as a report of an unfolding drama that took place in real space and time history that culminates in the life of a particular Jew born in Bethlehem in the days of Caesar Augustus.

If this story isn’t true, it should be completely rejected and set aside. But if it is true, then we will find ourselves caught up in the greatest story ever told. “Finding Yourself in God’s Story” is our theme on this episode of the White Horse Inn.

“The Christian faith is not only true, but it’s also beautiful and good. That’s the thing about a drama that a doctrine by itself cannot manifest. A doctrine can be proved as true but you separate it from the drama, it doesn’t grip you as beautiful and good. There are good stories and bad stories. There are even — sometimes I’ll read a story or see a movie where it’s kind of a horrific drama that’s unfolding. But it’s true to reality. There’s something about it that grips me because it’s actually true to reality. That’s different from saying the cat is on the mat.The Bible is an unfolding drama

“There’s something in the drama of redemption that’s compelling to me, that’s persuasive. I think part of why a lot of people can’t connect with Christianity, though they’ve been raised in churches their whole life, is because it may have been presented as doctrine. It may have been presented as eight-hour praise services, praise-athons. It may have been 18,000 hours of homeroom where you’re doing discipleship courses. But the one thing it wasn’t was — here’s the greatest story ever told unfolding from Genesis to Revelation. And so, they don’t think Christianity is good. They don’t think it’s beautiful. They don’t care whether it’s true, then they begin to look for another story to ground their lives.” – Michael Horton

Term to Learn:

“Popular Postmodernism as Most-Modernism”

Most often postmodernism is simply a code word for something new, a supposed break with the past (modernity) and the dawn of a radically new era. Of course, a more modern description of an era could hardly be found, as academic postmodernists will be the first to point out. On a host of points (notions of tradition, language, the critique of autonomy, progress, presence and absence, and so on), thinkers actually classed as postmodern have a lot to teach us about what popularizers of postmodernism fail to recognize is little more than “most-modernism.”

There is just too much of the modern in the post­modern to be able to speak in sweeping terms of a major paradigm shift in culture. Postmodernism, or whatever one wishes to designate our brief moment in history, is the culture in which Sesame Street is considered educational; sexy is the term of approbation for everything from jeans to doctoral theses; watching sitcoms together at dinner is called family time; abortion is considered choice; films sell products; and a barrage of images and sound bites selected for their entertainment and commercial value is called news. This general trend in culture translates into hipper-than-thou clubs passing for youth ministry, informal chats passing for sermons, and brazen marketing passing for evangelism, where busyness equals holiness, and expository preaching is considered too intellectual. This trend can account in part for homes in which disciplined habits both of domestic culture and instruction in Christian faith and practice give way to niche marketing and churches becoming theaters of the absurd.

This take on postmodernism is hardly new. Marxist intellectual Alex Callinicos’ illuminating analysis of postmodernism concludes that it is little more than the result of the self-obsessed “flower children” of the revolutionary ’60s now taking their place in the professional “new middle class.” In other words, postmodernism and boomer go hand in hand. Fellow Marxist Terry Eagleton adds, “Radicals, for example, are traditionalists, just as conservatives are; it is simply that they adhere to different traditions.” This appraisal fits perfectly with what I see in my experience of contemporary evangelicalism. Postmodernism is the new code word for mission, a new way of enforcing not just change but particular changes that have particular ideological assumptions. One can even detect a note of fatalism in challenges that verge on bullying: “Get with it or get left behind.” This is just the way things are now, so we had better adapt. Sweeping endorsements or sweeping denouncements make for light work.

(Adapted from Michael Horton, “Better Homes & Gardens,” The Church in Emerging Culture, pp.105–111)

(This podcast is by White Horse Inn. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not emedia network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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With a New Year comes a lot of new resolve and new goals and renewed life purpose — all a good thing.

In the vein of this discussion, we have an email question over social media platforms and the pursuit of Christian fame (if we can call it that). Daniel writes in to ask this:

“Pastor John, is it a sin to desire to be famous? In this day of blogging, Instagram stories, and all the social media outlets out there, I feel like I’m seeing this growing desire to be famous, even ‘Christian famous’ — to be well known, and well liked, and ‘shared,’ and to have something on the side that gives you purpose. I see this especially in mothers with little children. What are some red flags in this digital age for Christians who might desire to be well known for their books, or blogs, or podcasts, or sermons, or images, or anything they produce?”

Is it a sin to desire to be famous? Yes, it is — though it may not be a sin to desire to be influential. And the problem arises when the pleasure sought in being made much of is greater than the pleasure sought in being of service. So, there is the rub. It is not a sin to desire that those who know us think well of us, provided that our hope and our prayer and our effort is that they will see the grace of God in us and give glory to God and, in that sense, make much of us or think rightly or well of us.

Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). That is a great challenge. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor” — favor with other people — “is better than silver or gold.” So, no one should desire to be known as a fool or a thief or a braggart or a glutton or a loafer or lustful. None of this would adorn the doctrine of God with our behavior, which is what behavior is for in God’s economy. We should want our lives to commend the truth that we profess. So, the good name that is rather to be chosen is to be known as a person who has found God all-satisfying. That is what makes a human name a good name: to be known as a person who has found God’s promises completely trustworthy — the person whose joy is overflowing, even in suffering, in the pursuit of other people’s joy in God. That is what a good name is in the fullest biblical sense.

John Piper: Is It Sinful to Seek Fame Online?

Image: Barnabas Piper

So, I say: Yes, it is a sin to want to be famous; that is, to want to be known by more and more people who will make much of us and praise us. It is a deadly craving of the fallen human ego to want to be made much of — even for the good that we do, let alone the evil that we do. You might think this is contrary to the teaching of Galatians 4:18 that says in the ESV it is good to be made much of (see “Galatians 4:18 and ‘Being Made Much Of’”). I am not going to talk about that again here, but it is not a contradiction, and you can see why. Jesus seems to be more concerned about this than many other things. He said, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1).

Now, I think that is about as clear as you can make it. Don’t do what you do in order to get the reward of human fame, because then you won’t have the reward of God. He explicitly indicted the Pharisees in Matthew 23:5, “They do all their deeds to be seen by others.” And in Matthew 6, of course, Jesus gives three examples of how not to do this — or how to avoid that kind of pharisaic mistake.

1) He says, “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others.” Now, they may be famous. “Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward” (Matthew 6:2).

2) Or again, “When you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:5–6).

3) And then, again, a third time, “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward” (Matthew 6:16).

So, all those warnings, it seems to me, are meant to give us tests to see if God is our true reward. All of them say: If you seek satisfaction in man’s praise, you will not have your Father’s reward. The whole focus is on: Where is your heart? Where is your treasure? Is it in fame, or is it in God? And remember, Jesus said to his disciples after a remarkably impactful ministry, an influential ministry of triumph over the devil, “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). In other words: Is God your reward? Or is successful ministry your god?

But let’s end where we began. Yes, it is a sin to want to be famous. However, it may not be a sin to want to be influential. In fact, it may be a sin not to want to be influential. We should want to win more and more people to Christ. It is a sin not to want our lives to count for winning more and more people to Christ. We should want to do more and more good to relieve suffering, especially eternal suffering. I love the quote of John Wesley — at least, he is credited with saying this. I haven’t tracked it down to the actual source, but here is what lots of people say he says. He said:

“Do all the good you can by all the means you can in all the ways you can in all the places you can at all the times you can to all the people you can as long as you can.” – John Wesley

I love it. Yes.

In other words, have a great impact in doing good for people. Paul saw his ministry as God’s instrument of blessing in the lives of an ever-increasing number of people. He said, “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf” — in other words, owing to our ministry and influence — “for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:11).

But let’s all admit how deadly difficult this distinction is. Wanting to be a blessing to more and more people on the one hand, whether through social media or however, while wanting to be known and made much of and more and more people, is deadly difficult. But that is precisely where the battle must be fought: in our own hearts. It is the difference between the mind of the flesh and the mind of the spirit (Romans 8:5–7). And this is precisely where we need to do battle. Do we find satisfaction in the praise of men, or do we find satisfaction in God himself and an ever-increasing number of people finding that same satisfaction in God?

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

(By Desiring God. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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What are the stories we tell ourselves, and how do these stories shape what we believe and how we live? When we discover ourselves in God’s story, we come to understand that God is with us through pain and pleasure, confusion and confidence, doubt and dependence. God is the one who is at work in the world to save it. God is the one who has promised to gather a people from all over the world, from every tribe, tongue, and nation to know him and be known, to love him and be loved, and to worship him forever.

Finding Yourself in God’s Story

Image: Becky Dietz

On this program, we begin a new series, taking a look at four D’s: drama, doctrine, doxology, and discipleship. As we unpack these key concepts, we’ll help us to see that every belief system is rooted in some kind of narrative or story that ends up forming a person’s core values, goals, and habits. That’s our focus as we begin our new series “Finding Yourself in God’s Story” on the White Horse Inn.

“The Christian faith is grounded in an unfolding drama. It’s God’s story and yet it also includes us. We’re accustomed in our narcissistic and consumeristic society to think that we’re the stars in our own life movie. Even God can have a supporting role as long as he keeps to the lines we’ve given him. This is God’s story. It includes us but it is not about us. It’s about the faithfulness of the Father in his Son through the Holy Spirit from the creation to the consummation.

“It’s not just the greatest story ever told. It’s also true. It gives rise to certain doctrines. The drama tells us that God has acted in history to rescue his people, time and time again, even from their own sin and rebellion. Then, the same script tells us what this means. God is loving, compassionate, merciful, all-powerful, and all-wise. He tells us who we are as created in God’s image and yet fallen sinners, rebels for no good reason against a good Father. He tells us what God has done to rescue us from our treason and to make us his own justified and adopted children in his Son. From this unfolding drama and doctrines, we enter into doxology – rituals of lament, confession, praise, and thanksgiving. At this point, we are no longer spectators or fans. We are on the field, joining the other players as the great cloud of witnesses – those saints who have gone before us – are cheering from the stands. And now living in this story, we take on the character of those who are no longer enemies of God but his friends and coheirs with Christ to a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Drama, doctrine, doxology and discipleship – these all shape our lives.” – Michael Horton

Term to Learn:

“Turning Your Gaze Away From Yourself”

If you want health for your souls, and if you want to be the instruments of bringing health to others, do not turn your gaze forever within, as though you could find Christ there. Nay, turn your gaze away from your own miserable experiences, away from your own sin, to the Lord Jesus Christ as He is offered to us in the gospel. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Only when we turn away from ourselves to that uplifted Savior shall we have healing for our deadly hurt.

It is the same old story, my friends—the same old story of the natural man. Men are trying today, as they have always been trying, to save themselves—to save themselves by their own act of surrender, by the excellence of their own faith, by mystic experiences of their own lives. But it is all in vain. Not that way is peace with God to be obtained. It is to be obtained only in the old, old way—by attention to something that was done once for all long ago, and by acceptance of the living Savior who there, once for all, brought redemption for our sin. Oh, that men would turn for salvation from their own experience to the Cross of Christ; oh, that they would turn from the phenomena of religion to the living God!

That that may be done, there is but one way. It is not found in a study of the psychology of religion; it is not found in “religious education”; it is not found in an analysis of one’s own spiritual status. Oh, no. It is found only in the blessed written Word. There are the words of life. There God speaks. Let us attend to His voice. Let us above all things know the Word. Let us study it with all our minds; let us cherish it with all our hearts. Then let us try, very humbly, to bring it to the unsaved. Let us pray that God may honor not the messengers but the message, that despite our unworthiness He may make His Word upon our unworthy lips to be a message of life.

(J. Graham Machen, “The Importance of Christian Scholarship,” What Is Christianity? [Eerdmans, 1951])

(This podcast is by White Horse Inn. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not emedia network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Daren Streblow

As a blessing to us all, “Aunt Jolene” calls in this week from a pay phone in New York. She is in the Big Apple for the Gift Shop Retailers Convention, working to get her legendary baklava sold in gift shops around the country. While there, she is taking in the sights, including Trump Tower. She’s hoping to bump into the Don and offer her home for a place for him and his family to come and stay. She actually has supported Trump since the beginning of his presidential run, despite the mass of criticism she has received, especially from her family. Her son-in-law, Jesse DoNuthin’, has been the worst culprit of criticism. Of course, he is voting for you-know-who, and the relationship between the two of them has become quite volatile.

For instance, not long ago, Aunt Jolene asked Jesse for a ride and he handed her a broom!

This from a guy who is trying to get a job as an Expert Witness for Slip-and-Fall cases. He used to be a Disk Jockey, but that didn’t pay well enough, so now he is analyzing footsteps. To do this, he listens to audio recordings of footsteps and tries to determine whether or not the people walking are wearing socks.

Image: James Schlarmann

Image: James Schlarmann

He really upsets her.

But, actually, a lot in this world upsets her. For instance, she got really bothered by the security guard at Trump Towers. He insisted on checking inside her bag – despite her stern warnings to stay away from her purse. To no-one-who-knows-Aunt-Jolene’s surprise, the guard ended up tazing himself as he rifled through her bag. He fell to the ground and then everyone around snapped their heads to look at her as if she was a terrorist. All she could say was, “Are you going to let me in, or does somebody else want to go through my bag again?”

Next up, I am at the Hearts at Home Conference, which aims to connect moms with great speakers. One of those amazing people is speaker, author, mother, and embracer of emotion and sanctified sarcasm, Julie Barnhill!

Julie is great at bringing out into the open the emotions and hidden thoughts that most people don’t reveal to the public.

According to Julie, one of the biggest struggles moms around the world face comes in those early years of parenthood. Frustration turns to irritation, which turns into anger. This anger is the emotion that very few moms will ever cop to. Sure, they will easily talk about being irritated or miffed… even so mad they want to spit. But anger? Not so much.

Julie has been through many of these storms, raising three children of her own. In hindsight, as she looks back on how she raised her now adult children, the key for her was to lower her expectations.

She, like many moms, had hopes for her first child that they would soar through school with straight A’s. When she had her second child, she realized that B’s were good grades and quite acceptable. By the time her third kid entered school, she realized that C’s get degrees, so that’s good enough for her.

And, today’s moms have it even rougher than Julie did. With Google, Facebook and Pinterest, any mom is two clicks away from seeing what she is doing wrong in all aspects of her life. As hard as it is to do, though, when we lower our expectations, we find ourselves being much more content with where we are at.

Now, some parents reply, “Well, if I don’t have high expectations for my kid, then they aren’t going to do well for themselves in life.”

To this, Julie offers this bit of advice, “The truth is that they are just going to continue on the path that they are on. If they don’t do well for themselves, sooner or later, they will run smack into that hard wall of reality and change their course.” Every kid’s wall is different, but it is one that should cause them to pause and realize the direction they are headed in and contrast it to where they could be headed toward. As parents, we need to be careful not to overburden them with our impossible expectations.

In her book, She’s Gonna Blow, Julie offers real help for moms dealing with anger. As she puts it, so long as there are kids living on this planet, this book should sell!

The first key to dealing and overcoming this anger is to name it and own it. Look yourself in the mirror and say, “I am angry”. Then, take the time to look introspectively and see what it is, exactly, that you are struggling with. The more specific the better… the harder, but the better.

Image: Debbie Swanson

Image: Debbie Swanson

Another key for moms (and dads for that matter) is to be proactive in your parenting and speak truth to your children. For instance, there have been times when Julie did not feel like she was glad to be her kids’ mom. Yet, she would compel herself to tell them often, “I am so glad I have you”… regardless of what she was feeling. Some might say that she wasn’t being honest and truthful with her kids. But, she actually was being incredibly truthful. Truth supersedes emotions.

To help with realizing these truths, Julie recommends what she calls “Top-to-Toe-Truths”. Start with the top of their head, and pray, “Thank you, God for his dark hair that curls like his dad’s.” It may be a struggle to come up with something you are thankful for, but it is imperative that you do this for each of your children. It’s especially difficult to do this when you are frustrated with that child… but it’s in those moments when it is even more necessary. Almost always, as moms do this and work from their kid’s hair downward, they won’t get past their shoulders before mom’s heart starts to soften.

It’s not only refreshing and assuring for the kids, but for the moms as well. Too often, moms think to themselves, “How can I love my child and yet be angry like this?” Yet, Julie offers this test – one that she performed on herself – even in the worst of moments, she would ask herself, “If I woke in the middle of the night and smelled fire in the house, what would be the first thing I would do?” It seems overly simple, but it exposes truth. Her answer was always – even when she was furious with her daughter – I would run to save my girl! This exposed the truth that even when she didn’t feel very loving, the truth is that she loved and still loves her kids!

The truth is that, while moms may not always like their children (because, let’s face it, they often behave like their father’s side of the family), moms nevertheless do always love their kids! Moms just need to be reminded of this every now and then.

You see, our emotions are a great servant, but they are horrible masters. We can’t undervalue them, but we can’t let them control or identify us. You can learn more from Julie at JulieBarnhill.com.

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Im Waiting Slider2

This is the eighth and final installment of our amazing interview with Matt Clinton of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Parents – you are more of a model for your kids than you’ll ever know! Matt gives some great practical advice on how to help them set boundaries by actually setting boundaries for yourself.

Matt Clinton, Fellowship of Christian Athletes: My daughter, who is only 18-months-old, can already work an iPhone. She already knows how to swipe through the pictures on her favorite app and scroll to what she wants to see. So, I’ve never been more aware of how much time I spend on my phone until I saw my own child just doing what I always do. I’m not saying that what I do on my phone is wrong – most of the time, I’m simply scrolling through the news or a book or something. But, when my son comes along and grabs my phone out of my hand because he wants to hang out with me, it’s a sign that my “news-scrolling” is taking up too much time.

Then, when you watch your own kids model your behavior back to you, it’s very revealing.

When they see dad working twelve hours a day, they think that is how normal parenting is done. When they see mom on social media all the time, they think that being on social media all the time is what older people do, and they set their own lives in that direction.

Now, I know that I’m stereotyping with both of these examples, but you can insert whatever behavior you want in there, and then think, “What message am I sending to my kids and do I want them to model this behavior?”

I’ve noticed this to the point where I’ll turn my ringer off at home and place it face down in a different room, and try to BE with my family. Of course, there are times when I’m practically getting the detox shakes by not having my phone on me, but it’s a lesson I’m willing to learn in order to teach it to my kids – we need to be with the people we are with.

Parents – here’s a fun game when you go out to dinner: Everyone puts their phones in the middle of the table and set them all to silently vibrate, so that every time a text comes in or someone gets a notification, the pile of phones buzzes. The first person to grab their phone because they can’t handle it anymore pays for the meal!

Image: Ryan Blundell

Image: Ryan Blundell

It’s a fun game and it absolutely freaks out high school kids! Notifications make them twitch. It makes you wonder: Are you ok with not knowing what is going on with everyone everywhere all the time?

I remember a time when I was in grad school. Class got out and a bunch of us were walking out together toward the parking lot. There was almost a couple dozen of us together, but we all instantly started checking our phones as we walked… all of us except one of my friends. Instead, he got all of our attention:

“Here we are surrounded by people and we want to talk to people who we are not surrounded by.”

Yeah… in one sentence he pretty much summed up our culture. And that’s the pressure teens are under all day, every day. They feel like they can’t miss a single post. If they take longer than a few minutes to respond to a text, they must be angry at the other person. Denying someone their instant gratification is a foreign thought to kids today.

Leslie Salazar Carrillo, Im Waiting: Gut check! Just now, when we first started this interview, my phone was buzzing and I had to check the incoming texts… even while you were speaking to me! I’m so sorry.

As we wrap up, how can people help you and the team at Fellowship of Christian Athletes?

Matt: Every ministry has too many needs. For starters, just check out what we do. Go to our website and click around. Learn about us. Pray for wisdom. We know that often our time is very short when we are on high school campuses, so we need to spend our time wisely.

Then, if you’re up for it, come and spend some time with us on campus. I promise, it’ll be an impactful 30 minutes. And, bring pizza! It’s amazing how teens will simply follow anyone with free pizza.

Kids will hear about Jesus… and with pizza, even more kids will come and hear!

You see, we’re no different than any other ministry out there. Going to high schoolers in their own environment is our lane and we love doing it.

We use the influence of coaches and athletes to share the Gospel. This can look differently on different days at different schools. It could be a Bible study, or an outreach event, or a partnership event like the ones we have with Pregnancy Resource Center. But, if you can make the time to come and see a lunch meeting, you’ll see the reality of where and how today’s kids live.

I’ve regularly seen high-powered adults who broker million-dollar deals on a weekly basis get the sweats when they step foot on a high school campus. Just walking the halls takes them right back to when they were 16, along with all the insecurities and anxieties they felt back then. It’s a great moment when you realize what your teens face every day.

Leslie: Not everybody is called to work with kids. In fact, most of us who do are simply crazy. Because teenagers are brutally honest. But we are called to prayer.

So, pray for those of us who are working to reach the next generation with God’s word.

We’ve heard so many heart-wrenching stories, and there are days where we wonder if we can continue on any more.

But, the truth is that we love these kids with a love that surpasses all understanding.

We want a revival to start here in America, and I think that today’s teens will be the ones to obediently bring it on. It may not look like what we expect because the times change. But, while times change, people don’t.

We need to encourage our kids to be faithful, brave and strong and walk hard after the Lord. They are the 1 Peter 2:9 generation:

you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

Matt: I’m reminded every day that I pray a certain way and I expect certain things. That’s just how so many of us are wired. But, I also pray that God will show up in ways that I don’t expect.

2,000 years ago, so many people missed Jesus because He didn’t match their expectations. I don’t want to miss being a part of this generation and the revival that may come because of my own expectations.

One small example is when God shows me time after time a kid who I wouldn’t naturally pick as a great leader, yet they go on to make a huge impact for God’s kingdom on their campus. Each time I see this, God humbles me again, reminding me that it’s not my plan, but His at work.

We simply need to stand alongside today’s teens and encourage them.

Leslie: Leave a legacy of how you disciple and impact kids. Walk with them, cry with them, and then dust them off and send them off again.

Working with kids costs a lot. It does come at a certain sacrifice, whether it be in your income, your family, or your social life.

So, count the cost. And know that, if you are obediently serving God, the devil knows that if he can’t get to you then he’ll go after your family.

Pray for Matt, his family and the guys at FCA because they are doing a mighty work for God!

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this interview with Matt Clinton. We are always blessed when we hear about what he is doing with the next generation through Fellowship of Christian Athletes. His wisdom and compassion pour through his words. If you’d like more information about what Matt and the team at FCA are doing, simply check out SanDiegoFCA.org.

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