Guitar Hero vs. Guitar Praise

Have you ever played Guitar Hero? Are you interested in a Christian version?
I was excited to see that GuitarPraise made it into the national news this week.
I really enjoyed playing Guitar Hero (it is a lot of fun!) but felt convicted to get rid of it from our student ministry earlier this summer due to a combination of lyrics, outfits, a location set in hell, and a devil character option (as your ability improves, less desirable features become accessible).
GuitarPraise is a great alternative for Christians (SVBC Student Ministry has already preordered it w/2 guitars). It operates off of computers and includes a wireless guitar. The producers of this game, Digital Praise, also offer a Dance Dance Revolution alternative known as Dance Praise.
GuitarPraise has over 50 songs from bands such as: Caedmons Call, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, dc Talk, Flyleaf, Hawk Nelson, Jennifer Knapp, Jeremy Camp, Kutless, Lincoln Brewster, Newsboys, Reliant K, Skillet, Stellar Kart, Thousand Foot Krutch, tobyMac, Todd Agnew, & Whitecross.

Hell's Best Kept Secret

Have you given thought to why so many people who claim to be Christians are absent from the church, have no evidence of “spiritual fruit,” have no love of God’s Word, live amoral lifestyles, and have vague descriptions of their faith? Have you heard words or phrases such as “repent,” “God’s wrath,” “hell,” and “false converts” in a helpful and biblically-accurate way recently? “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” and “True vs. False Conversion” by Ray Comfort are two great sermons and resources to use for evaluating your own approach to and understanding of evangelism and salvation. Consider watching, listening, or reading these sermons and then dive into Scripture to evaluate these claims for yourself. Check out their website, http://www.livingwaters.com/ and see what you think. Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” I love the below quotes... "Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms." – C.S. Lewis “Some people do not like to hear much of repentance; but I think it is so necessary that if I should die in the pulpit, I would desire to die preaching repentance, and if out of the pulpit I would desire to die practicing it.” – Matthew Henry "God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination." – Augustine “Perhaps if there were more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of ­eternal things may be the true cause of our want of success.” – Hudson Taylor "Evangelism is not a professional job for a few trained men, but is instead the unrelenting responsibility of every person who belongs to the company of Jesus." - Elton Trueblood

Top 10 - Internet Filters

Here is a great comparison of the Top 10 Internet Filter softwares. http://www.internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com/ Their top rankings are:
  1. Net Nanny: Parental
  2. CYBERsitter
  3. Safe Eyes
  4. CyberPatrol
  5. MaxProtect
  6. FilterPak
  7. Netmop
  8. WiseChoicenet
  9. McAfee Parental
  10. Norton Parental

A previous blog I posted recommended SafeEyes and Eblaster (for monitoring).

Protect Your Children: Sex Offender Registries

Protect your children! Here are two resources for accessing sex offender registries: National Sex Offender Registry: http://www.nsopr.gov/ Kentucky Sex Offender Registry: http://kspsor.state.ky.us/

Reconstructing Hell & the Gospel?

What do you believe about Hell? Is it different from what the Bible teaches? A great article titled "Remodeling Hell -- Americans Redefine the Doctrine" by Dr. Albert Mohler was posted today on his blog.

Here are some notable points:

  • "In the Pew study, just 59 percent of those surveyed indicated belief in a concept of hell 'where people who have led bad lives, and die without being sorry, are eternally punished.' That figure, Honey reports, is down from 71 percent "who said they believed in hell" as recently as a 2001 Gallup poll."
  • "Reasoning from their own experience and emotions, rather than from the Bible, many who call themselves evangelicals are just deciding that a 'good' God would not send persons to hell -- at least not anyone they know."
  • "No doctrine stands alone. There is no way to modify belief in hell without modifying the Gospel itself, for hell is an essential part of the framework of the Gospel and of the preaching of Jesus. Hell cannot be remodeled without reconstructing the Gospel message."
  • "Here is a sobering thought: Hell may disappear from the modern mind, but it will not disappear in reality. God is not impressed by our surveys."

Have you allowed your emotions, experiences, and society to form your understanding of Hell? Or have you allowed God to define it through His Word alone?

Scripture is very clear on the issue of Hell:

  • Jesus in Matthew 10:28 "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
  • Psalm 21:9 "At the time of your appearing you will make them like a fiery furnace. In his wrath the LORD will swallow them up, and his fire will consume them."
  • Luke 16:23-24 "In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' "
  • Matthew 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'"
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:9 "These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power"
  • Revelation 21:8 "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
  • Matthew 13:42 "They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
  • Revelation 20:15 "If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."
  • Matthew 3:12 "His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

"The lost enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded..." C.S. Lewis

"Disbelieve hell, and you unscrew, unsettle, and unpin everything in Scripture." J.C. Ryle

A proper understanding of Hell should convict us of the serious situation of the lost around us. This image of our unbelieveing friends and family burning in Hell should be one aspect of our motivation to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with a spirit of boldness and courage.

It is my hope and prayer that I more consistently view and interact with the world around me through a more eternal and spiritual perspective as described by God.

Taking Up His Cross & Renouncing Islam

If you are a Christian, what sacrafice have you had to make to become one? What persecution have you endured? What denial of self have you made? I think many Western Christians (myself included) often take for granted and are unaware of the persecution and suffering that many Christians around the world endure similar to what the New Testament church of the 1st Century endured under Roman rule. A very publicized Islamic convert to Christianity has been recently found in Mosab Hassan Yousef. His name may not sound familiar, but his father is one the main leaders of Hamas, a terrorist organization in Palestine. The transcript and a partial video of his interview are available on Foxnews.com HERE. Below are some of his quotes:

  • “I'd say about more than 95 percent of Muslims don't understand their own religion.”
  • (on Muslims) “they don't understand anything about other religions. Christian communities live between Muslims and they're minority and they (would) rather not to go speak out and tell people about Jesus because it's dangerous for them.”
  • (on his sacrafice in converting) “You're saying goodbye to culture, civilization, traditions, society, family, religion, God — what you thought was God for so many years! So it's not easy. It's very complicated. People think it's that easy, like it doesn't matter. Now I'm here in the U.S. and I got my freedom and it's great, but at the same time, nothing is like family, you know.”
  • (on why he is speaking out) “But for me it was a duty from God to announce his name and praise him (around) the world because my reward is going to be that he's going to do the same for me. So I did it, basically, as a duty. I (wonder) how many people can do what I can do today?”
  • “People are suffering every day because of wrong ideas. I can help them get out of this endless circle ... the track the devil (laid) for them.”
  • “The problem is not Hamas, the problem is not people. The root of the problem is Islam itself as an idea, as an idea.”
  • (on the potential for his harm for speaking out) “They can kill my body, but they can't kill my soul.”
  • “They're not dealing with a regular Muslim. They know that I'm educated, they know that I studied, they know that I studied Islam and Christianity. When I made my decision, I didn't make it because someone did magic on me or convinced me. It was completely my decision.”

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30 “Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.'” Luke 9:23-26 Want to better understand Islam and how to reach out to Muslims with Jesus Christ? Check out the articles and resources on 4Truth.net!

Daily Devotional

Are you irregular or weak in how you spend time daily with God? Do you want to begin to change that aspect of your life?
Lots of great devotional guides exist, but a great place to start is with "Our Daily Bread." It is a devotional guide I used quite often during my college years and enjoyed greatly.
It is accessible in a variety of ways:
  • Website
  • Email
  • RSS (Really Simple Syndication, Web Aggregator...updates you on website changes)
  • Purchase (they will send you a sample)

Lots of other great daily devotionals are available through crosswalk.com HERE.

Music Choices

Should a Christian listen to secular music?
That is the question of the week posed by gotquestions.org.
In answering that question, they advocate looking at three aspects of the music:
  1. The purpose of music.
  2. The style of music.
  3. The content of the lyrics.

They especially spend some time evaluating the content aspect to the music we choose to listen to, referring to two particular verses:

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 "take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ."

Our decision process in choosing music is similar to how we should go about evaluating all entertainment that we expose ourselves and others to. Are we too conformed to the pattern of this world? If we are, we may find ourselves unable to test and approve what God's will is...

Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Computer Resources for Parents

Parents, here are two good resources for protecting your children from the hazards and dangers of the Internet:
Eblaster - (quoted from site below) - "eBlaster is the most dependable, full-featured remote surveillance product available from the worldwide leader in Internet monitoring software."

Safe Eyes - (quoted from site below)- "Safe Eyes is the # 1 rated Internet parental control software that allows parents to determine how their children use the Internet."

I found these resources from Vicki Courtney's website. Don't know who she is? She is a well-known Christian author who specifically targets teenage girls and their parents through her resources. At church we are starting a study for High School girls titled "His Girl" and in the Spring the women's ministry is bringing her to Severns Valley BC on April 18th, 2009.

Do you currently use a filtering or monitoring software for your home or work computer? Email me to share it with others...

Do You Hate Evil? Do You Fear God?

Have you grown numb to the evilness of this world? Do you find yourself tolerating or rationalizing behaviors that you know are wrong? Solomon concludes the book of Ecclesiastes by summing up the purpose of life revolving around two aspects of a relationship with God: (Ecc 12:13-14)
  1. Fear God
  2. Keep His Commandments

He further states that this applies to "every person. For God will bring every act to judgment."

How do you define the "fear of God?" I used to think fearing God meant to be scared of Him but as I grew older I better understood it to mean having a respect for who He is.

If you turn back a few pages to Proverbs 8:13 you will find Solomon state that the "fear of the Lord is to hate evil." Go back to chapter 6 and see what the Lord hates..."haughty eyes," a "lying tongue," "hands that shed innocent blood," a "heart that devises wicked plans," "feet that run rapidly to evil," "a false witness," and "one who spreads strife." Across Scripture you can find many, many instances and examples of what the Lord hates (sin!).

What do you think the Lord's reaction would be to the things He sees here on earth today...our music, our lifestyles, our TV, our movies, our stewardship of our time and money, and our world and "newsworthy" events? Do you think He hates the sin that permeates our world?

Do you hate the sin that permeates this world? Or are you numb to it? Do you tolerate it? Are you passive?

Do you really "Fear God?"

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." Romans 12:9

Rebelution - Rebels for Christ

Alex & Brett Harris have started something awesome in seeking to create a "teenage rebellion against low expectations" as a "refusal to be defined by our ungodly, rebellious, and apathetic culture" and instead focus on "choosing to 'do hard things' for the glory of God."
They have written a book, update a blog, speak at conferences, and share their favorite books on their website. Check out their interview here.

Parallel Bibles

Struggle with picking a Bible translation? Try one of these types of parallel bibles (multiple translations read side-by-side):

Also, if you have ever wanted to read through the Gospels side by side, here are two great ways to do it, either in the NIV or HCSB translations. This is an awesome way to read through the Gospels!

Where does the Bible come from?

Have you ever wondered how the copy of the Bible you have today was discovered, put together, and translated?
An important manuscript (ancient copy of the Bible) connected with your Bible at home is called Codex Sinaiticus. It is described as "a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century" that is "the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament."
A historical occasion is occurring as it is being scanned and released to the public progressively over the next year or so...want to see it? Check it out HERE!
If you want a short explanation for the documentary evidence of the Bible, chapter three of The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel is a great place to start.
If you want a more in-depth explanation, to include references, photos, and a detailed history of discoveries, you should check out Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible by Paul Wegner.
Several great pamphlets are also available (from Rose Publishing, an awesome producer of Church-quality charts and pamphlets) called "The Bible Translations Comparison," "How We Got the Bible," and "Why Trust the Bible?"
Good Bible-related questions are available at gotquestions.org as well....

The American Holocaust

Most Viewed Blog Posts