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Posts from November 2011

Pastor Approved Apps

Over the last few days I've had some friends ask me about my iPad. As many of you know, I jumped into the Apple world a few months back with the purchase of an iPad2 and have been using it in meetings, sermon prep, on my vision trip to Wales and even using it for personal Bible study and preaching from it.

Now, I'm not advocating that other people buy iPads. In truth, I don't care if you have one or not. However, since I've been asked numerous times about it and what I use it for and what apps I have, I figured I'd give you a short list of some of the apps that I have downloaded and found useful. 

DISCLAIMER: I get nothing from the app developers (wish I did) and am not truly advocating you use these, but am just stating which ones I like and have found useful. Also, in many cases, there are Android versions of the same apps if you are not on an iPhone or iPad.

STUDY

Bible-app-icon-300x300
The YouVersion Bible app is one of the most downloaded in iTunes. It was developed by LifeChurch.tv and offers more than 100 versions of the Bible. Reading plans are available when online. Most versions are downloadable, so you may read the Bible on your smart phone or iPad regardless of 3G or internet connection. This is a free app. Don't pay for a Bible app.

 

PRODUCTIVITY

Pages-icon Keynoteicongn9 Numbers icon

I use the Apple software called Pages, Keynote and Numbers. Each is a separate download and costs around $10 each. Pages is a word processor and converts to and from Word seamlessly. Keynote is a presentation software and converts to PowerPoint easily. Numbers is a spreadsheet and works and converts well with Excel.

 

Quickoffice_icon175x175
Another good app for office productivity is QuickOffice. It's n0t free, but offers you the Microsoft Office type software in one package for the iPad.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 Facebook-app-icon-205x205

Facebook is still king of social media and they have recently released an iPad app that is pretty functional and easy to use. However, sometimes I still end up opening Safari and running Facebook from the web browser. I like the web browser version better (mainly because it's the same on all platforms.)

Mypad
Before the Facebook app came online, I used MyPad. I still like MyPad and use it often. It is basically a Facebook interface for the iPad.

Twitter-for-iPhone-App-Icon-Small
The Twitter app is simple and easy to use.

Linkedin-icon
The LinkedIn app works well.

Hootsuite_icon
Hootsuite is a great tool. It allows you to update Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as well as monitor multiple accounts. I have it on my PC and the app for iPad is good as well.

Icon_foursquare
Foursquare is addictive and fun. I love the commercial where the guy says "That's Mayor Dennis. . . of the watercooler." I admit, I'm a lot like that guy. I have unlocked numerous badges and am mayor of First Baptist Church (sometimes) and of Dave's Sofa, which just like the name states. . . is the sofa in my living room. By the way, I was really good at foursquare, the real game, back in sixth grade.

Instagram-app-icon-210
Instagram is a fun app that lets you post photos and track friends uploads. It's an iPhone app, but works on the iPad. Again - can be a royal waste of time, but since when has that stopped people from using an app.

G-whizz
G-Whizz! is an app for connecting your Google accounts on your iPad. Google+ and G-mail can be used through this app. 

 

TEXT MESSAGING

Textnow
I have the iPad with Wi-fi, but not 3G. So, if I want to text message someone from the iPad, I use TextNow. This app is pretty easy to use. The only thing is that it assigns a strange phone number to your iPad for use. I think mine has an Idaho area code.

 

STORAGE & CLOUD

Dropbox_4_iphone Sugarsync Evernote
Having a virtual hard drive in the cloud is nice. These apps all provide this. DropBox is my favorite, but SugarSync provides more space for free. The Evernote app allows me to take notes and save to the cloud. I have all these programs on my PC as well and can access my data anywhere.

 

NEWS

In addition to local news channel apps, I have downloaded news apps from major agencies such as CNN, Fox News, USA Today, CBS News, and BBC News.


Drudge

The Drudge Report app is interesting and links numerous headlines daily, just like the webpage. Tends to be conservative politically.

Politico
The Politico app offers the opposite perspective of The Drudge Report.

The following apps will link with your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to determine your location, likes, dislikes, etc. to push news stories on their app you may find interesting. Each one is formatted a little differently, but I check them all regularly.

Evri-Logo

Evri - Not my favorite of these multi-site apps, but good info. 

Editions-by-aol-app-icon-150x150

Editions - I like this one. It's by Aol, but after compiling news stories, it presents it on your screen in the form of a magazine. You turn pages and go to sections that are interesting.

Iconforflipboard
Flipboard - This one is likely to become my favorite. It's chock-full of information and news stories. I can get overloaded though, so I must be careful. Great app. 

 

SPORTS

I'm just going to list the sports apps that I use regularly. I have more downloaded, but these are the best ones I've found.

Yahoo-sportacular-app
Yahoo! Sportacular


Cbssports
CBS Sports

Espn-scorecenter-xl
ESPN ScoreCenterXL

 

CHURCHES, MINISTRIES & RELIGION

 Fbcop

The best church app is First Baptist Church of Orange Park. OK, maybe not the best, but it's ours. I think it offers some great information. Like most of the churches out there, this is designed by The Church App and offers many of the same features as others including sermons, calendars, Bible (with daily plans to read or have read to you) and links to pertinent church sites.

 Florida-baptist-witness

The Florida Baptist Witness - the newspaper of our state convention.

 

OTHER APPS THAT YOU REALLY "NEED"

Since this post is getting long and I know I cannot put every app I use on here, I thought I'd end with some of the "essential" ones. . .

 

Angry birds
Angry Birds

 

Scramble-iPhone-top-iphone-app
Scramble

 

 Words

Words With Friends

 

Hanging-With-Friends-Icon
Hanging With Friends

 

Jeopardy_icon
Jeopardy

 

 Movie challenge

Movie Challenge

 

Talking-tom-cat-icon

Talking Tom (He has friends like Talking Ben, Talking John, etc. All are worth the download. The Talking Justin Bieber one, however, is not.)

 

 Starbucks

Starbucks

 

 Shopkick_icon

ShopKick (like Foursquare for for shopping and you earn points for discounts)

 

Stumbleupon_app_icon
StumbleUpon

 

Google-app-icon
Google (this app lets you take a photo, it scans the photo and then searches the web for info on it.)

 

Kindle-1-2-3-Released-in-the-Mac-App-Store-2
Kindle (I like this better than iBooks that comes with the iPad)

 

Skype-App-Icon-293x300
Skype (Perfect video phone for when I'm on mission trips for calling back home and for meeting with church planters in other areas of the world.)

There are many other apps, and I'm sure you have downloaded and are using some that are really great. Leave comments with your recommendations. 


You Must Be Born Again. . .But It's More Than Reciting a Prayer

01 You Must Be Born Again

Yesterday's message took us to the famous encounter of the religious leader Nicodemus and Jesus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, but was also seeking to understand the miracles and message of Jesus. He came to Jesus at night with honest questions.

Jesus spoke what could be considered the most terrifying statement in Scripture.

John 3:5(ESV)
5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 

Cross2While this may not seem terrifying to us today, it should. Think about how it must have sounded to Nicodemus. Here he was, a religious leader, a Pharisee, a very good (by the world's standards) holy man and he has just been told that regardless how much Scripture he had memorized, how well he had obeyed the law and how often he had attended religious meetings, he was still missing the vital element required to enter the kingdom of God. 

Jesus used the term "born again" and this led to questions from the religious man.

In our culture today, it appears that the term "born again" has been muddied. It's used in the business world to describe resurgences in stock prices and business plans. People use the term to describe a new day in their life based on a job, marriage, children, house, car, etc. It's become the go to term meaning little more than "I now have a new lease on life."

No wonder over 45 percent of Americans claim to be "born again" religiously.

This leads to the hard questions for evangelical churches. Questions like "How come polling statistics tell us that there is virtually no difference regarding philosophy, life choices, morality, etc. between "born again" church attenders and those who do not claim Christ?"

The sad reality is that very likely many within the church who claim to be "born again" simply are not.

Why is this?

I believe that we, the church, are partially to blame for this. Somewhere along the line, we equated salvation with simply reciting a "sinner's prayer." 

Now, don't get me wrong, I firmly believe that a personal relationship with Christ is begun with an acknowledgment of God's greatness and our sin. Paul states clearly in Romans. . .

Romans 10:9(ESV)
9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

Yet, you will notice that Paul did not say "If you repeat the 'sinner's prayer' you will be saved."

Neither did Jesus tell Nicodemus that God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever repeates the "sinner's prayer" should not perish but have eternal life.

Here's the actual statement as written in John's gospel account. . .

John 3:16(ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 

Prayer is essential. It is the tool of verbally confessing to God, but the key word in both of these verses and others is "believe."

I know that's hard to grasp, but that's the depth of the passage. To believe is to fully acknowledge, not just mentally, but spiritually as well - to believe and know from the core of who you are that Jesus is the Son of God and through God's grace, He was offered as a perfect sacrifice. His death was real. His resurrection was real. It all occured to bring glory to the Father and yet, through this process God is most glorified when we acknowledge Him, repent of our sin and receive His free gift of life and salvation.

That's what it means to be "born again." It means to be regenerated. It means to have life coming from lifelessness. It means to put the old away and receive the new.

It's more than just getting a "new lease on life."

It's more than adding religion and even Christianity onto all the other things in life that define us. It's about total surrender.

So, is it possible that our churches are full of people who are banking on the fact they repeated a prayer years earlier? I find this the case at many funerals. I will be speaking to a family whose loved one has just passed away. The loved one is unknown to me. He hadn't been in church for years. His reputation was that of one who didn't love the Lord, His church or righteousness. Oh, he may have been a good guy in the community, but spiritually. . .there was no fruit. However, his name was on the church membership roll. Why? Because sometime, probably about fifty or sixty years earliers, he joined the church and was led through a recitation of the "sinner's prayer." He was even baptized. 

It's difficult. I'm not saying that person isn't a child of God. I hope with all my heart that he is. I even hold onto the fact that at some point in his life he was spiritually soft-hearted and apparently received God's gift of salvation. However, that's a thin string to hold onto.

So what do we do? Do we engage in another of the systematic confrontational evangelism strategies using gimmicks, toys, "evangelistic flying discs" or even tracts? Do we throw all that stuff out?

It's a challenging question.

The truth is that there are many who have truly come to Christ through the efforts of men and women seeking to share evangelistically. This cannot be discounted.

However, we must not slide into a "notch on our gun belt" mentality that seeks to get people to simply "pray a prayer" and think that we have been effective. We must remember that first, it is the Holy Spirit who draws people to the Father, not slick events or gimmicky tracts or even really cool bumper stickers and the like. We also must begin to see prayer not as something to do to "seal the deal" but as a truly authentic and effective evangelistic tool. In fact, it should be "step one" in any personal evangelism strategy. Most of the time prayer is an add on or simply a bumper.

Drive by evangelism is not biblical.

Relationships are. 

Perhaps if we begin to see God's strategy for reaching the world rather than man's, we will truly see more born again children of God in our churches and communities. Regenerated lives are the goal. That's what the gospel is. That's the good news.

Nicodemus was shocked at what Jesus said, but following the terrifying statement was the clear invitation. You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. The good news is. . .you can be.


Watering Plants

Church planting seems to be the trendy thing in American Christianity right now. A few years ago the Satellite Campus was teh big talk and now it's all about planting.

Church plantFor some who have been involved in a local church for decades, the term may be new, but the concept isn't. In the old days, we used to call it "starting a mission." It's basically the same thing, but with a more trendy title attached to it.

There is something a bit unique about the church planting movement versus its "start a mission" predecessor.

In many cases, the church plant is led by a pastor following a call to "plant a church" in an area to reach a certain people group. The "start a mission" strategy most often started with a church voting to call a mission pastor and then send some members (for a season) to another area in the same region to get the new mission started.

There are other differences, mostly doing with funding, support and strategy, but by and large, it's the same concept. The intent is to see God's Kingdom expand by having church fellowships in regions where no evangelical witness is present. Sometimes, the church plants are uniquely designed to reach a specific type of person who may not feel comfortable attending other local fellowships. This has led to birth of Biker Churches, Cowboy Churches, Contemporary-Style Worship Churches, etc.

Our history here at First Baptist has taken us down the "plant a mission" road. Island View Baptist Church and The Church at Argyle are two local fellowships that began many years ago as "missions" of First.

Over the years, we have supported new starts and even had our own satellite campus for a while.

Recently, we have been challenged to see beyond our own walls and seek to join God where He is at work in the area of church planting. While we have not yet planted a church on our own (I do believe God will lead us to do this) we have been invited to join in supporting a number of church plants. The church plants (or new starts, as they're sometimes called) need pretty much the same things: prayer, finances, resources and people.

In most of these cases we have promised a "100+" gift. Basically, we send $100 each month to the church planter. I know, that's not much, but it's a start. At least it will fill up a gas tank once. However, that is not all. The "+" represents what we feel God leading us to do in addition to the token financial gift.

In some cames, the "+" respresents a mission team going to join the planter for a week or so to offer help and support. This could be providing volunteers for an outreach event or maybe just serving in the preschool and children's area for a Sunday so other adult volunteers get the chance to worship with their families.

It sometimes represents an additional financial gift. In two cases this year, we were able to bless church planters with gifts of over $11,000 each. In the future, we most likely will have a "Church Plant Sunday" where a special offering is collected to be given to our sponsored church planters.

The "+" also can respresent resources. This may be curriculum material, books, Bibles, chairs, etc. The list here is pretty much endless.

Most importantly, the "+" respresents our prayers. Prayer is vital and key for any church plant. We must understand that no programming or creative idea coming from a church planters mind will last or be eternally significant apart from prayer. Also, these church planters and their families often sacrifice much. The Enemy attacks and there are many days where the planters think "This isn't worth it!" and are on the verge of giving up. Our prayers, along with those of others, offers the strength, power and encouragement these men and their families need.

So, while some plant the seeds, others water and still others may reap the harvest. It's a team effort. I'm proud God has invited us into the story. May we be found faithful.

Currently, we are supporting the following church plants in America:

River City Church - Dubuque, Iowa

This church is being planted by Josh Dryer and his wife Darlene. Josh previously served on pastoral staff at Ancient City Baptist Church in St. Augustine and was our Community Missions Pastor here at First Bapitst. 

Legacy Church - Tucson, Arizona

It started with what seemed to be a random phone call from a man I had never met. It became obvious that God had set up this partnership. We have been supportuing Chase Delperdang and his wife Jennie and the people of Legacy Church for about a year now. Here's a video from Chase showing how God is moving at Legacy.

Mercy Hill Church - Greensboro, North Carolina

This new church plant will be launched in 2012. Led by Pastor Andrew Hopper and his wife Anna and a two other couples (Bobby & Allison Herrington and Jeremy and Julianne Gager) and primarily sponsored by Summit Church, this church seeks to reach the many in the greater Greensboro area (more than half the population) who claim no religious affiliation.

Mission Church - Orange Park, Florida

It may seem strange to sponsor a church in our own city, but that's what we're doing. In the case of Mission Church, pastored by Herb Young, our sponsorship comes in the donation of our facilities. That's right, we're sponsoring a church plant in our own city and letting them use our buildings. If this were another era, it would appear to be a conflict of interest. It's so much easier to recognize that it's God's Kingdom we're seeking to increase, not our own. That frees us up to sponsor a church plant in our own building. Here's Herb describing the mission of Mission. . .

These are just the church plants in America that we sponsor at this time. Our sponsorships and support of missionaries and international churches is in addition to this. Also, we anticipate increasing our church plant sponsorships and prayerfully will plant a church through First Baptist soon.


Clearing the Temple

2-01 Clearing the Temple

Jesus_templeJohn's account of Jesus' clearing the Temple is different than in the other Gospels. Even the chronology is different. This is, I believe, because the Temple incidents are not the same. John's account takes place during Jesus' first year of ministry while the other accounts take place in the third. 

Nevertheless, the story is given to us and we must ask "Why?"

One thing's for certain. This story and the message of Temple activity is not about how we as 21st century Christians are to behave in our church facilities. In fact, it has nothing to do with church buildings at all.

It does have everything to do with Temple activity. 

As Paul reminded us in his letter to the church at Corinth - our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

That being said, I love this account. It's just something about Jesus fashioning a whip over in the corner then running through driving the people and animals out of the Temple with it. 


Water or Wine?

01 Water or Wine_

Cana water into wineIn John 2, Jesus performs His first public miracle. At a wedding in Cana, he turns six large jars full of water into six large jars full of wine.

There's much to be learned from this story, especially regarding the servants' response to Jesus' instructions. 

How much do we offer Jesus when asked to serve?


Veterans & Active Duty Military - Take Advantage of These Specials. . .and Thank You So Much for Your Service

Veterans Day is coming up. It's November 11 (just like every other year.) 

Yesterday I saw a commercial for Golden Corral advertising their Veteran's Meal on November  14 (why, not the 11th, I don't know) in honor of Veterans Day. A friend of mine sent me a list of restaurants and stores who honor our vets and offer special discounts. Thought I'd pass it on to you. Oh, you'd better double-check these, because some may be "participating venues only." In most cases, you will need to provide a military ID, a photo of yourself in uniform or some form of proof you served.  Here is the list. . .

Veterans_bench_dedication098a_webRESTAURANTS

  • Applebee's - All veterans and active duty military eat free from a limited men on Veteran's Day.
  • Chili's - Veterans and active duty military dine for free from a special, limited six item menu on Veteran's Day.
  • Golden Corral - Military Appreciation Monday on November 14 features a free dinner from 5pm - 9pm for all military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reservists.
  • Kripsy Kreme - All active-duty, retirees and veterans get a free doughnut on Veterans Day.
  • McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant - Complimentary entree to veterans from a special menu on a space available basis. Online reservations are highly recommended.
  • Outback Steakhouse - Veterans and active duty military get a complimentary Bloomin' Onion and non-alcoholic beverage on Veterans Day.
  • UNO Chicago Grill - UNO is offering a "Buy One - Get One Free" offer to veterans and active duty military on Veterans Day. The Veterans Day BOGO offer includes a free entree or individual pizza with the purpose of an entree or pizza of equal or greater value.
  • Texas Roadhouse - Free meal from opening until 4pm on Veterans Day.
  • T.G.I. Friday's - Veterans and active duty military "Buy One - Get One Free" from November 11 - 14. 

RETAIL

  • Amazon.com - Free Veterans Day Honor MP3 album download. Album includes 12 songs by The Bands and Ensembles of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Build-a-Bear Workshop - Members of the armed forces including Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Reserve Officer Training Corps will receive a 20 percent discount November 11-15 on any one transaction at the store.
  • Cabela's Outdoor Store - Offers their employee discount to all veterans, active duty military and Reservists, police, fire and EMS personnel on November 11 and 12. Discounts vary from 5 percent to 50 percent, depending on the item.
  • Dollar General - Veterans, active duty, National Guard, Reservists, and their immediate families will receive a 10 percent discount with a Veterans Day coupon. The coupon may be found in store circular ads or by asking a sales associate.
  • Fashion Bug - 20 percent off all plus-size and misses clothing purchases with copy of military ID or spouse's military ID.
  • Foot Locker - Veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reservists and their immediate families with a Foot Locker Veterans Advantage Card receive a 20 percent discount every day of the year. This offer is good online and at any store location (including Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Footaction, and Champs Sports.) This discount is good even on sale items.
  • The Home Depot - 10 percent discount to all veterans on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day
  • Lowe's - 10 percent discount to all veterans on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day. Offer available in stores only and limited to in-stock and special order purchases of up to $5,000.
  • Sam's Club - Give away 36,000 collapsible Hugo Canes on Veterans Day to military veterans in need of mobility assistance. Sam's Club membership required.

Again, double-check with these restaurants and retailers. Some sites may not be offering the specials. I'm sure there are others not listed here, who offer specials as well. Feel free to comment with add-ons.


You Never Know Who's Watching

On long bus trips with students, we used to play games to bide the time. A few years ago we were playing "Six Degrees of Separation." It's a game that is built on the idea that everyone is on average connected to everyone else in only six steps. The game revolves around actors and movie roles and as most know, Kevin Bacon is connected to every actor or actress ever to be in a film within only six steps. Don't believe me, click here to go to the Oracle of Bacon.

In generations past, we would have discounted this as a ridiculous concept, but in today's small world connected via internet and social media, it is truly conceivable that we are all just a few steps away from each other.

Just check out this map showing where my Facebook friends are located:

Friend map
Apparently, I need to make some friends in Australia. This is a strange graphic. It reminds me of "thermo nuclear war" from WarGames.

As I think of the connectivity we have on this planet, it leads to the question of how this impacts our (Christians') evangelism strategy. 

The wonderful thing is that God has an incredible strategy already in place. It's the same one used during the first century. You can read of it in the book of Acts and the following letters in the New Testament. A friend tells a friend. . .and so on. 

This 3 minute clip called "Strangers" makes it so very clear.

 


The Cultural Slide Continues - Girl Scouts & Transgendered Children

Earlier I read a news report about young Bobby Montoya's desire to join the local Girl Scouts group. Bobby lives with his mother Felisha Archuleta in Colorado. Now, it's not normally newsworthy when a child desires to join scouting, but in this case Bobby was rejected.

This made it a news item. I imagine his mother contacted the local news station.

The issue is that Bobby is not a girl. Yep, he's a boy. 

This 7-year-old boy enjoys playing with Barbie dolls, My Little Pony and other toys targeted to young ladies. That, in and of itself, is not a really big deal. Most little boys who have older sisters have been convinced to participate in tea parties and play with Barbie dolls. It's the same with little girls who grow up with older brothers. They tend to have to play with Hot Wheels or G.I. Joe at times. Sometimes there's a compromise and G.I. Joe and Barbie hang out together. Poor Ken. But, I digress.

Bobby's story was featured on a local Denver station and carried nationwide on CNN and other news agencies earlier this week. Here's the story. . .

After this aired, the Girl Scouts of Colorado changed their stance, or at least clarified their official stance and are planned to welcome Bobby into their ranks. According to the official statement from the Girl Scouts of Colorado:

"We accept all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child identifies as a girl and the child's family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout."

It's a seemingly inclusive statement. In a pluralistic society that honors political correctness, it even appears to be loving and tolerant. The problem is that this story is deeper than just Bobby's desire to play with Barbies and enjoy girl-oriented toys. 

It's hard to get a clear picture of what is truly happening. The news report is short and, as always, designed and edited to be brief and sensational at some level.

It definitely has people talking. 

Girl scouts logoI feel for Bobby because he seems to be caught in the middle of all this. It seems now that after Girl Scouts of Colorado made their decision, Bobby's mother is not comfortable with putting him in the troop. It begs the question "Then, why did you go to the media and put your child on national television?"

The Gay/Lesbian/Transgender groups in our nation are using the story to bring more attention to their cause and agenda of wide-spread acceptance of the lifestyle. They applaud Girl Scouts of Colorado for being open to Bobby. 

This is not a new issue for Girl Scouts. I was reading of a "transitioned" woman who wholeheartedly supports Girl Scouts. Her article was written back in June. She shares of her support based on her history by saying:

I was in the wrong body at the time to join Girl Scouts, but I do wholeheartedly support it and their mission statement as a one time very short term member of the Boy Scouts. 

Her blog continues about the hatred of "right wingers" and their "war on women" and for the foolheartedness of the Boy Scouts of America who have stuck to their original tenets of requiring Scout masters to be heterosexual, have a belief in God, and non-inclusive when it comes to gender.

However, not even all who consider themselves homosexual or transgender agree that Bobby should be a Girl Scout. 

A blog commenter named Kris states this:

I'm gay and I have a problem with this one. . .Mom is making big mistake pigeon holing her son so young. Let him be himself. Long hair and Girl Scouts is both Mom's isses not the kid's!

On the other side of the coin are those who are greatly disappointed in the Girl Scouts of Colorado's stance and believe they should be steadfast in their policies of being open to girls only.

Judith A. Reisman, a visiting professor of law at Liberty University School of Law states, the obvious "If he has male parts, he is a male."

That should be enough to determine if he's eligible to be a Girl Scout.

Reisman continues, "The children in a given society always reflect its belief systems. Until the 1950s the Western world was built and run by adults largely clear about their sexuality and beliefs. People used to ask which is stronger, nature or nurture. Now we are so 'smart' we don't even know we have a nature."

I'm sure those quotes will draw the ire of those who feel this is a tolerance issue or perhaps just another item to showcase angry Christians.

I'm not angry. I am frustrated.

Christian and non-Christian counselors and psychiatrists have even called this a form of "child abuse." 

Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist featured at times on Fox News, states. . .

"We're conducting social, cultural, sexual experiments on the fly, using our own kids as guinea pigs, without the necessary research to guide us."

As stated in a previous blog posting, I do not believe the homosexual or transgender lifestyle is acceptable. I do, however, believe the church must step into the conversation to help families with children (and adults as well) who struggle with gender identity. What the Girl Scouts have done is wrong. I believe Bobby's mother has made a dire mistake as well. I am sure she deeply loves her son, but these decisions, despite intent are not helping Bobby but harming him.

What should a Christian's response be? What should a church do? Click here to read my posting titled "Can a Church Minister to Homosexuals Without Condoning Homosexuality?"

As for hosting a Girl Scouts troop, we do not. We have not for a number of years. We do host a Boy Scout troop. Unless Girl Scouts changes their stand on inclusiveness regarding gender, we will not host Girl Scouts here at the church. I'm sure some will view that as intolerant and mean. That's not the intent. The reality is that I do not agree with the stance of the Girl Scouts of Colorado (and consequently, the Girl Scouts of America) regarding the inclusive nature for boys to join the troops. In truth, this compromise cuts at the core of who we are as created by God in His image. I believe the Bible clearly teaches that gender is bestowed by God. Men are made to be men. Women are made to be women. Both in His image. Both created on purpose, with value. 

Both man and woman, however, lack the purity of heart and sinlessness required to enter the presence of God and therefore, all people (boys, girls, men, women, heterosexual, homosexual, transgendered, etc.) need a Savior. That Savior is Jesus Christ. 

So, while I am not angry about this story, I am burdened for the lostness of all involved and the blindness of a world that cannot see the truth. 

I believe some heard this story and immediately saw it as a tool for their agendas. Somewhere in the midst of the news reports remains a little boy named Bobby Montoya and his mother Felisha. Join me in praying for this family. Pray that God will draw them to Himself. Pray for healing. Pray for a clear understanding of identity.