Integrity Online

I did it. I broke down. I joined the myspace revolution.

Why? Because we probably have about 150 of our students at Wooddale on the sight. Myspace can be a dark place. I’m blown away as I read the things that our students put on the internet for anyone to read. At our Student Ministries staff meeting on Monday we decided that all of the pastoral and program staff would enter the myspace world by April 5.

I can see why myspace world is so addicting to students. In the span of about 12 hours I’ve had 53 people add me as “friends.” Talk about affirmation! I found an old friend from college that I haven’t talked with in 15 years and got caught up on his life. It’s pretty cool. But, parts of myspace reek of inauthenticity. And the desire to continually go back and check your page to see who has added you as a friend, or who has left a comment, or who said something about your picture is a genuine trip down ego lane.

My wife and I talked before I entered myspace land, and agreed that there was something else that I’d better finally do too. If I was going to spend time in myspace world, I’d better have a better system of online accountability. So, today I signed up for Integrity Online. It’s a free program offered by http://www.xxxchurch.com. Now, while I’m searching online, Integrity Online is discretely recording every web site I visit. If there is any chance that a web site has objectionable content, that site is recorded in the computer’s program. Then about every two weeks, my wife will receive an e-mail. That e-mail tells her any potentially objectionable sites that my computer has gone to. Talk about accountability. I’m pretty excited. And, unlike many other similar programs, this program is free.

There is no excuse for men who want to live a life above reproach to not install this software on our computers. I hope you’ll give it a try.

Prayer Request

I rarely put a prayer request up to ask for healing, but our family has just been hammered over the past month. Everyone has been sick. Breanna, Cyndi, Chris and I have been throwing up this week. Zach has congestion that won’t go away. Jeremy has been our trooper — staying well for most of this time.

Would you please pray for healing for us. This illness is just dragging on and on. We are scheduled to go to Colorado next week for spring break, and it would be great to be feeling completely healed by then.

Thanks!

If God Is For Us

When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.

Deuteronomy 20:1

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:28-39

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20

I was reading a passage in the book of Deuteronomy the other day and came upon a verse that I had never noticed before. It is tucked away in the first verse of the twentieth chapter. God, speaking to Moses says, “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, will be with you.”

Can you imagine how encouraging those words must have been to Moses? God was guaranteeing victory for the army of Israel. It didn’t matter who the foe was — Israel was going to win. The army is bigger than yours? Don’t worry, I’ve got it handled. The army has more weapons than you do? No sweat! I’m God, remember. The army has more intelligent leaders than you do? Who’s really in charge in here anyway, Moses? Moses had nothing to fear, because God was with him.
Do you realize that God is with us too? If we are God’s children, we truly do have nothing to fear. Knowing our propensity to fear, God offered some reassurance to New Testament believers in Romans 8. It’s one of the most powerful statements of God’s love for those He has called to be a part of His family. The Apostle Paul, speaking through the inspiration of God, describes the predestined sons and daughters of God, and then asks, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Think your enemy is enough to separate you from God’s love? Think again. Think that hard time you’re going through is God’s rejection of you? Think again. Think God’s taking the devil’s accuasations against you sitting down? Think again. Think that if you lost everything you have in this life that God hasn’t blessed you? Think again. There is nothing that this world can throw at you that can separate you from God’s love. If God is for you, who can be against you?
A couple weeks ago, our Operation Central America team had their prep retreat. It’s something we do to help them prepare for what they will face this summer in Guatemala and Honduras. On Friday night, we told the students that in one hour they would be traveling to the heart of Minneapolis. They had two assignments. The first was to find a complete stranger, talk with them, and through their communication to find a practical need that they could meet in that stranger. I wish you could have seen the students’ faces! They were scared. Most of them didn’t make it a habit to talk with strangers, let alone find a way to meet their needs.
The second assignment was to find a stranger and have a spiritual conversation with them. Now they were really squirming! It’s one thing to meet a physical need, it’s quite another to have a spiritual conversation with someone.
When I finished giving them their assignments, I read them Jesus’ words from Matthew 28:18-20. It’s his admonition to His followers to make disciples. Do you remember God’s promise tucked away at the end of verse 20? He says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The students were a little hesitant about their assignments. They talked at their tables, and then on their bus about how they would accomplish their tasks. When we arrived in Minneapolis, something wonderful happened. God, Who is always there, showed His power. He was with a group that talked with an older woman and helped her with a purchase. He was with another group that shared Christ’s love with a Russian imigrant over a meal of tacos. He was with another group as they prayed with a man going through multiple issues.
So, here’s the deal. God has promised us that He is with us. We are His. Nothing in the world will ever separate us from His love. I find that Christians are more afraid of evangelism than just about anything else. We are afraid of offending. We are afraid that we’ll say the wrong thing. We are afraid that people will think we are pushy. We are afraid that we just won’t be effective. We think that we don’t deserve to share the good news of Jesus Christ because we are hypocritical. We think that we are too ignorant of our faith. We think that there is someone else who could do a better job than us. We think ourselves into spiritual lethargy!
There’s an old Nike slogan that said, “Just do it!” It’s time for us to start believing that God is who God says He is. That He is with us. It’s time to just do it! After all, “If God is for us, who can be against us?

Podcast Help

We’ve recorded the first two episodes of the Wooddale Senior High Podcast! They’re really good! We are so excited about how God is going to use this tool in our ministry. But, we’re having a little bit of trouble. How do we get this thing up on the net so that iTunes can read it? If you have any idea on how to do this please get in touch with me.

Pass the Salt Listed on The Ooze

The Ooze, one of the Internet’s leading blogs on the emerging church has just put Pass the Salt on their links of blogs. This is way cool!

You can find Pass the Salt on The Ooze Blog’s personal blog listings, right here: http://www.theooze.com/se/dir/Community/Blogs/Personal_Blogs/. There are a lot of voices in the emerging church dialogue, and I’m honored to be one of them. Pass the Salt can also now be linked to at www.zoecarnate.com. This is a really special honor as well. It’s a list of 4,000 eclectic, off the beaten track, Christian web sites.