Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What are you doing for Easter?

Every year, our student ministry has a special service that focuses on the Easter story. Last year we explored the meaning of the Jewish Seder by eating a mock Passover meal together (I can still taste the Charoset).

Often times, Christian focus (and rightly so) on the death and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. While there is a time to be somber and remember the seriousness of the cross, we as Christians need to focus just as much of our time if not more on the resurrection. This year, instead of "Journey to the Cross," our student ministry will have "Journey to the Resurrection" instead. I eagerly await spending time with our teens focusing on the joy of the resurrection. It promises to be quite the worship party (yes, those two words can go together).

So... what are you doing for Easter? Is your church or family doing anything special?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Doubt Night

For the second year in a row, our student ministry is going to have "doubt night." We strongly believe that a part of being a question is dealing with questions and doubts about our faith.

Everyone has doubts and questions about their faith and the Bible. All too often churches dodge talking about certain tough issues because they do not want to wrestle with them or they are afraid that they might loose people. We think that the opposite is true. If we don't honestly approach our faith and the Bible we fail to engage the very tough issues I believe that God meant for us to explore. I think God wants us to struggle. I have faith that God will honor our honest questions and doubts. Doubting is a form of worship.

So with that said, I invite those of you reading this blog to submit questions about your faith, God and the Bible. Simply leave a comment with your question(s) and I may answer them on this blog or next Wednesday night (March 21) at our Doubt Night.

Jesus and Second Life

Big props go to LifeChurch.tv for making their way into the massive online game "Second Life." They have created an island (not sure if I like the idea of creating a Christian "bubble" of sorts) where people can go and check out videos, resources, and a Christian post secret glass house of sorts.

They have also partnered with xxxchurch.com to bring awareness to the growing "virtual sex" and pornography in the game.

It's a very interesting concept and I'm sure that more Christian groups will join them in the months to come. If you want to read LifeChruch's blog post explaining the project in more detail, click here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Some wise advise for those who blog and use myspace/facebook

Recently, a friend of mine has had some pretty disastrous rumors being spread about him. Where did they come from? Supposedly, from his "private" Myspace. This isn't an isolated incident either. For the last few years many internet users have utilized social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook and creating and posting to online blogs (like this one).

What many internet users don't realize is that people actually read their blogs and personal profiles. In fact, some schools and police departments actively search the internet for information about people. Users of blogs, Mypace, etc. need to realize that if they post any personal information, it has the potential to be read by anyone. That's right. In an age of identity theft and hackers, your information is not private even when a website claims that it is. If you can access your page from any computer, your info is fair game.

I have noticed another bad trend. Most of my students no longer use email, their only source of online contact is through instant messaging and Myspace. While email is a much safer option when it comes to your personal information, many teens are trading security for convenience.

Here are a few tips for protecting your privacy while using the internet:

1. Never give out your personal information (address, phone number, name, social security number, etc). If a website requires some personal info, make sure that it will not be shared with anyone...ever. Do not post your phone number or address on Myspace or other social networking site.

2. Do not put any information in your myspace or on your blog that you don't want everyone in your life (and the world) to know. Do not trust the "private" features of Myspace...they have been cracked before. If you leave yourself signed in to Myspace for instance, anyone can gain access to your account through your computer. This leads us to #3

3. Unless you are the only one that uses your computer, and you have a password - NEVER STAY LOGGED IN, SAVE YOUR PASSWORD TO THE COMPUTER, OR CHECK "REMEMBER ME" IN ANY WEB SERVICE. This is the most common way for others to gain access to your accounts. The second most common way...

4. Never, NEVER, NEVER, give your passwords to anyone, period. Just like gossip, you cannot control the spread of your password to others. Even if your friend never shares your password, they might by mistake allow someone else to access your account.

5. Use email for personal, private communication with other people. Email is much safer than putting your private communication up online for everyone to view. Just make sure you follow #3 and #4.

Blogs and Myspace are great to keep in touch with your friends and family...just don't be stupid with them. Use common sense and be careful what you let the world know about you. One last tip...don't depend on other's lack of computer savvy. Your parents/friends can ask someone else to log on and view your profile. Be warned ;)