To Glorify Christ – Christ is the true head of the church and we seek to glorify Him and worship Him. (Jude 1:25)
To Reach the lost with the true gospel of Jesus by sharing our story of salvation and the story of Christ’s sacrifice. (Mark 8:35)
To Imitate Christ in every aspect of life and share with him in his sufferings. (Phil 3:10)
To Pursue a life of spiritual discipline and obedience to God’s written word. (Heb 12:8)

(Formerly Gateway International Student Ministries)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

7 deadly: SLOTH

Sloth. What the heck is sloth? Isn't that some kind of animal with 3 toes?

Sloth can be defined as a couple of things - laziness, depression, slowness, procrastination, refusing to act or obey, the "I don't care" attitude... those are just a few. Some other ideas we discussed related to sloth - doubt, hopelessness, despair, suicide, God doesn't care, the suspicious feeling that Jesus was lying when He said "your sins are forgiven."

But what we need to think of when we hear the term "sloth" is death. Death of the soul. Death of our faith. That mind-numbing, couch potato state of existence where we don't feel, don't think, don't act. It means there is something terribly wrong on the inside!

Even in little doses, sloth can kill. You guys brought up the outbreaks of staph infection in American schools. Why is this happening? Because people are too lazy to wash their hands after they use the bathroom. Yuck! They are lazy and are giving you poo germs when they shake your hands because they couldn't take 30 seconds to wash their hands. 30 seconds of laziness causes massive outbreaks of nasty and very deadly disease all over the place.

A clue that sloth is knocking at your door:
Any time you think, "I should..." and you don't, that is sloth creeping in. Anything from getting out of bed, to helping your mom with the dishes, to giving that homeless guy $50. If you think, even for one second, that you should have done something, then you should have done it! If you don't, you are allowing sloth to enter into your heart and you risk death!

How do you prevent sloth? Easy, well, sort of... you practice the spiritual disciplines. The what? The spiritual disciplines. These things all by themselves are a sort of Christian busy work. But unlike your busy work at school, these activities keep your mind focused on the things of God and help to transform you into the character of Christ. What are they? I thought you would ask so I listed a few here:

Scripture Reading & Study
Scripture Meditation
Stewardship of Time and Money
Scripture Application
Silence & Solitude

A guy named Donald Whitney wrote a book & study guide/workbook on these disciplines. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life is pictured above.
Check it out here: (scroll down a bit, the 4th & 5th books listed)
You can also get some cool resources he's made for his seminary classes here:

Remember one more important thing about sloth and what makes it so dangerous. Because we have decided not to be in the word or we have decided not to follow God, we often have doubt creep into our spiritual lives. We aren't renewing our mind like we should (with the BIBLE) so we forget that God is all knowing, all powerful, and truly in charge of everything around us. When we forget this we are tempted to look to the common "gospel" of our culture - the idea that we can command God to do whatever we want. (remember the true gospel = Christ on the cross NOT God gimme this or gimme that) We know in our head and in our heart that God is everything and Christ died so we could have access to God, but if we start to let sloth sneak in, we can doubt that God cares about us and may even doubt our salvation. That's crazy! I don't know about you, but I don't EVER want to doubt the sin-covering sacrifice that Jesus made for me and my horrible sins.

I know we talked about a whole lot of other things, but we just couldn't fit it in to this post.

Here's a link to the article I read about the atheist goal to destroy your faith. Remember the author, Dinesh D'Souza, is a former atheist and is quoting other atheists. (The Atheist Indoctrination Project)
I hope this kicks you into righteous anger that causes you to read scripture and learn to defend your faith.

Avoid Sloth with everything in you - your life depends on it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

7 deadly: ANGER

Ang-grrrr. Anger is violent. Ugly. Sinful. Well, what the heck do we do with our anger?

Jesus got angry. We know this from Matthew 21. But if anger is a sin and Jesus was sinless, why is our anger a sin but not his? Simply put, it depends on our anger. Why are we angry? Is it because someone did something to us or because we see injustice to others?

Jesus tore through the temple with what we call "righteous anger." He had a whip in his hand and kicked tail. He chucked the sermons for sale and the popular band Cd's right out the window. (Hmm. That makes you think, doesn't it?) He destroyed the merchandise tables and beat the people selling trinkets in the temple. He was angry, you think?

Righteous anger is natural. You see Jesus' anger when He saw the injustice against God in the temple. The merchants were making a mockery of God. They were selling the latest, greatest junk in the temple. Hopefully we get angry like this when we see bullying, abuse, cruelty, abortion, people twisting scripture, and many other things. Don't you think God gets angry about these sins? So we too can be angry about sin.

Sinful anger is also natural. We often get angry right away when someone hurts us or makes us feel small. This kind of anger is not focused on injustice. It is often a self-centered anger. I'm not saying you can't get angry if someone abuses you, that is injustice, sin, and you should be angry because God is angry about sin against you! What I'm saying is that our anger is sin when it isn't based on injustice. Keeping a grudge, constant annoyance with other people just walking around, freaking out when your little sister smacks her food at every single meal, self-loathing because you can't do something - these are all sinful anger!

We must deal with our anger, both kinds, the sinful anger and the righteous anger.

Here's how you start to deal:
1. Accept that you have chosen to be angry, no one made you angry.
2. Understand why you are angry, look for the real reason.
3. Express your anger in nondestructive, non-sinful ways.

Tackle any and all sinful anger head on:
1. Stop hanging on to it - look at it and decide to let go of it.
2. Stop making lists of reasons to be angry - that only keeps you angry.
3. Tell someone about it - let someone help you work through your anger.
4. Forgive - look at how Christ forgave you for your sins against God and use His example to forgive those that hurt you.

Start now...
Why have you been angry?
Was it righteous anger or sinful anger?
Do you need to talk it out?
Do you need to forgive someone involved?
Do you need to remember how Christ forgave you first so that you could forgive others?

Destroy your sinful anger before it destroys you!

Don't forget about your righteous anger. What do you do about that? Usually you ACT ON IT. When we are angry at injustice, that is our clue to act. Sometimes we need to confront it immediately, sometimes we need to get help. But remember to use the same steps above. Double check your motive, talk it out with someone you trust, and consider forgiveness. This is the anger that you don't let go. This is the anger that caused Jesus to ravage the merchants in the temple.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

7 deadly: ENVY

Is there a difference between jealousy and envy?

Your comments...

jealous - want what others have, personal between people, an action or speaking

envy - jealous with hatred, wanting others' stuff, the secret desire in your head

Hmm. Hard to tell the difference!

Envy is the secret sin that makes us sad. It's secret because no one will know unless you act on it or talk about it. It's the sin that makes us sad because we can't just be thankful for what we already have. Envy makes us always want more!

So we looked at the parable of the vineyard workers in Matthew 20 and we see that the guys all got the same reward. The same payment. How does that compare with our salvation in Christ? You guys said it looks like whether we are born again for 50 years or just a few days, we all have the same reward. That is cool! That is some kind of grace! God has the same reward for newbies as for the experts. There's no toiling away trying to "get it right" or saving up credits of good deeds. We just get the prize.

Sooooo, when we look back at the envy the vineyard workers had, we can see some similarities in us as we live each day. We want the talent of some other guy, or the looks of some other girl. We start getting all caught up in wishing we were something that God didn't create. We are saying to God, "You made a mistake!" Yeah, right, God making a mistake!

Here's the video we watched of Dave Busby. Have another look. I hope you will remember him for a long time. I hope you will remember his message until the day you die.

"God doesn't make a mistakes. I have these diseases and God didn't make a mistake. I have been healed of the need to be healed. Even if I die the most painful death, sucking air through a straw, it wouldn't change the goodness and greatness of God, not even one molecule."

Please remember, envy says God makes mistakes. Get rid of it, avoid it. Stomp it out in your daily life and replace it with gratitude for what God has given you! Replace envy by remembering that Jesus died for our sin of envy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

7 deadly: PRIDE

Is pride a "Christian sin"?

It is, not only because Christians are regularly guilty of this sin, but because we would not even know that pride is a sin without the example of daily living from Jesus.

Pride used to be a sin. But sometime in the past, Pride took a trip to rehab, perhaps with Brittany, and all of the sudden, Pride is now a virtue. We are taught to have pride and display our pride. We are taught today that pride is attractive.

Here are some of your thoughts...
pride is good - if it's in your family, yourself, in God, in your work ethic, etc.
pride is not good only if it gets to be too much.

self-worth kind of pride is ok
arrogance kind of pride is bad

What we forget is that we are overlooking the sin of pride (arrogance, vanity, egotism) because we now mask it as self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Woah. You mean that having self-confidence is a sin? Yep. Could be. Jesus said we should love our neighbor as ourselves. If we are putting ourselves above or before others, then we commit sin. Yikes!

The reason our silly pride is such a big sin is because it is the first step to idolatry, that is, making something else more important than God, more important than the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. That's how bad pride is. When we have pride, we are thinking too highly of whatever we have pride in and not highly enough of our Creator.

We really can't think of anything wrong with healthy pride, we gave a lot of examples tonight. But Jesus was against it. Period. We look at Jesus in the desert and see that pride could have been an easy sin for Jesus to commit. But this wasn't just a silly thing that Jesus was going to let be a quick fix for food and water, Jesus was being challenged by Satan to act all-powerful like God is supposed to do. But what did Jesus do? He remained humble. He, the all-powerful one that could do anything in his own strength dicided to remain humble and NOT show his power.

Satan told us in the begining that we could disobey God and we would be like God (pride), he again asked Jesus to make bread for himself to show that he was God (pride). Hmm. It's begining to look like pride is a good start for a ton of sins.

OK, so here's the part that's going to get you thinking or mad or whatever. We have this idea that we should have self-love, or self-esteem. But when we have self-love, we are denying God of the love that is only for him. We were created to love God. We were created to love the Creator. We the created being are to love the uncreated God. Our pride denies God and lifts up ourself.

How to avoid pride...
Remember you are not God and all that you do should uplift God, not yourself.
In other words, there is a God, and you're not Him.
That is, do things for God, not to be noticed. (dress in a way pleasing to God, not a way pleasing to your friend. serve the homeless for God, not because someone said you were great for serving the homeless.)

Remember this - pride is self-deception - it is lying about our real situation. We sometimes use pride to cover up our own insecurity.

And finally, my own take on pride...
What do we really have to take pride in? When we compare it to Christ's sacrifice on the cross, what can possibly compare? We should seek after being nothing. Not the greatest whatever, but nothing. Because in our nothing, God is made great. ONLY in our being nothing can God really receive the total honor that He deserves.

Fast your pride. Rather than thinking highly of yourself, think highly of God and of others first.

Prisde is when you think what you have to say is more important that what is being said.
Pride is when you think your idea is more important that another's idea.
Pride is when you won't listen - not only to others, but most inportantly to God's word.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The forbidden fruit.

I am at war. I am aggressively searching out ways to defeat my enemy. I am ruthless in my assault. I am asking you to join me.

What am I fighting? Sin. Sin in my own life. Sin in the lives of those around me that I love. Sin all around me. I am fighting it all! I am sick of an apathetic approach to tolerating pet sins that have been around for years. I want them gone and I want it now.

What has created this fierce and zealous destruction mentality? Fear. I am afraid of what will happen if Idont pursue holiness.

I am waging my own war on several fronts. Within the boundaries of my own life I have released the powerful warrior of Truth. I am studying Scripture to uncover patterns of temptation and promises of righteousness and I am prayerfully applying these beacons of truth to my darkest areas. Externally, I have invited allies to join me in my assault. I have humbly and openly shared my vulnerabilities with a trusted few who stand watch over my life. I hold nothing from them. They can ask me anything and I am committed to honestly answer them even if the light is cast on rotting garbage.

The third division of my army works internally and externally, like a spy. It is prayer, my secret weapon. I am praying and have others praying for my victory. I know that prayer is powerful, but its force will most clearly be seen at the end of the way.

Adapted from a letter by Julie Norton White,


Well, here it is. Our favorite subject. Sin. Well, not quite our favorite subject to talk about, but our favorite thing to do!

I have come to a very sad realization. The church has forgot about sin. We do not address it. We do not speak against it. Instead, we accept it. We hide it. We live with it. We dress it up like a pet and carry it around with us everywhere we go. As adults, we say, "silly little teenagers, they just don't know better" and we laugh at sin. But you, as the teen, wake up as an adult one day with a "cute little sin" that has turned into a raging addiction that controls your every thought.

This can not be!

Someone asked why the 7 deadly sins are "deadly". These 7 sins don't actually cause death. They are called deadly because the are the mother of all other sins. Out of these 7 sins come the terrifying sins that horror movies are made of. These 7 sins birth, produce all sorts of vile, evil, and disgusting acts. These 7 sins destroy lives, rip apart families, and completely sever our communion with God.

How do I stop sin?
1. Stop putting others down for their sin.
2. Read the word of God!
3. Identify your own sin.
4. Name it.
5. Admit to it.
6. Turn away from it with your mind, your heart, your speech, your eyes, your actions, your everything! (Dude, that's the definition for repent.)

Fasting social networking for 40 days. That means Myspace, Facebook, IM, TXT, email, and SMS. Ooh. Now that we've thought about all the ways we "network" we aren't so sure we can to this.

Confession for 40 days. Pick a parent and confess to that parent your sins on a daily basis. Practice confessing. Watch your behavior change and your parents heart change towards you. (And don't worry, we'll be letting the parents know about this challenge on Sunday morning.)

Fast all entertainment that is not God-exalting for 40 days. Wow. All entertainment? Yep. All of it. TV, music, movies, video games, sporting events, shopping, eating out. Whoa! That's every stinkin' thing I do! But you need to go back to the challenge - all that is *not God exalting* means anything that god doesnt get glory. Change up your music to be Christian music, find websites that help you grow in your faith and knowledge of Christ (like the ones listed to the right).

I know these sound tough, and they are! They are tough because sin is serious and we have to kill it, eliminate it from our daily actions. This is more than a little struggle, an all out war and we have to prepare for the battle!