Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Should We Consider Culture In Ministry?

Random Thoughts of The Impact of Culture On Ministry
(Written by Kevin Hall  09.16.17)

Consider the impact of the culture on the way we conduct Youth Ministry and for that matter, overall edification. In his book “This Way To Youth Ministry”, Robbins states that as a person experiences individuation they come to terms with three main questions: (1) Who am I? (2) Where am I going? and (3) How do I relate to other people?” (227). I believe, the answers to these questions are shaped in part by “culture”. This is why ministry workers should invest time, effort and resources into understanding the culture.

 I like the way Robbins use the analogy of “fishing”: Jesus called us to be fishers of men “But if we are to be successful at fishing, we must give careful thought to the way we fish, the fish’ habits and where they swim” (247). In other words, if youth ministry is like fishing, then we must invest in learning “fishery”. Jesus was just as concerned for His people and the world – this is why he was incarnated. He was made a little lower, came to earth, took on flesh, lived among His people, experienced the culture, gave up His life for the people and the world, made provision for their redemption. “God became flesh” (John 1:14). This is getting to know one’s world as best as anyone could, and this is the ministry to which we are called.

The Challenges of The Ministry

The Challenges of The Ministry
 (Written by Kevin Hall   09.01.17)

Burnout related to the work of ministry is a reality one can avoid. The stats related to the issue say that over 57% of respondents would leave the ministry if they could; 71% struggle with depression; 80% leave within 5 years; 70% feel they have no close friends and 75% feel unqualified (lecture. Pape). These numbers do not bode very well for those considering entering the ministry, not to mention the fact that compensation may not be at the top of Glassdoor’s salary rank. Therefore, the work of ministry must be a calling. 

One must be sure of divine guidance to work the field.  The good news is that there are numerous steps one can take to reduce or prevent burnout – these include taking care of my health; having a hobby; making time for family and friends; keep the learning wheels turning (a leader must constantly learn new things) and having adult friends.
Now, one thing we should not do both personally and professionally is to “neglect the inner man” (96).

Monday, September 18, 2017

Free Will - Why It Matters

The Issue of Free Will
(Written by Kevin Hall  09.11.17)

If you peel away the layers of these worldviews outside of Christianity, one will find evidence of one main strategy – Explain away Creator God. They wish to “deny the Creator and to expropriate His divine power’ (174), many making this their life’s goal. Men like Francis Crick stated forcefully that “his goal was to explain away the origin of life and consciousness by reducing them into physical -chemical causes” (174). 

You see, if God is discredited as “first cause” or a “personal God”, then free will becomes a false idea
 which is denied, discredited, suppressed and is incoherent.
 With the Creator God and His truth denied, then mankind is free to live according to his own truth. Truth becomes relative – men become reduced to states lower than the creator intended. They become labeled as robots and machines who cannot be held accountable for their actions. The Apostle Paul said, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21).
Notice there is a definite strategy to deny God and to do so for selfish reasons. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Reductionism At Work In Christianity

Along The Way – Reductionism and its effects on human nature?
(Written by Kevin A. Hall    08.25.17)

Whenever we try to explain away something that is true by dismissing or diminishing its existence, we are practicing Reductionism. Reductionism is defined as a means of “reducing a phenomenon from a higher or more complex level of reality to a lower, simpler, less complex level” (45). A main strategy of pushing this idea is to discredit that phenomenon. Reductionism happens every day all around us. 

We may be practicing it in some form and not realize it. When people cannot explain something, they use the “debunk or discredit strategy”. We “put things in a box and dismiss it” (45), when things are difficult or we are opposed to it.
I will go as far as to say this plays out every day in the battle of God against the liberals. First, God is dismissed (there is no God [ultimate reality]; hence no one to give account to). Now that we no longer have the highest form of deity, we must replace Him with something else. We cannot make another God; therefore, we move to create other gods. The first one is the idea that man is his own god (a lower reality). Next, we make up gods, as many as we can imagine, we worship them, we create religions around these god, we create philosophies to support our beliefs, our media and institutions are filled with people who can support and create stories to support these positions, and before you know it our lies become truths. Don’t forget, we have also made it clear “there is no such thing as absolute truth”.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Postmodernism and the Church

Along the Way – Is Postmodernism Affecting Us?
(Written by Kevin A. Hall   08.25.17)

Most of Western society has been affected by the Postmodern Bug. In fact, much of what we see going on right now and is being played out in the media is a direct result of Post-modern influence. Look at our colleges and universities. Listen to the language on the streets. Watch the attitudes in protests. Look at the trend in our churches. Listen to the songs being played in our time. Away with the old! There is no God! There is no absolute truth! Truth is whatever I say it is! 

Everything is moral! There are no rules! We have no real value! You have the right to believe what you believe! There is no heaven nor hell! We will all have a chance to live life over again when we are reincarnated!  Everything is relative!
These are just some of the beliefs of the postmodern generation. God has been thrown out, so there is no absolute source of truth. We order our own destiny, they say. We are our own gods. As a result, the postmodern “frames reality by naming aspects at his or her whim” (R. Zacharias; page 20). Nothing is sacred any longer and everything is viewed from the lens of the sensual. This would seem like Postmoderns are not interested in the gospel at all. I used to think that way. But after becoming exposed to what Postmodernism is and how it affects our lives, I truly believe that behind all the fa├žade is a hurting generation that is seeking an answer to life is dying for a new “metanarrative” as Mr. Zacharias would say (Chapter 1). Christianity is the only solution, but we must frame this story into a manner in which they can receive it. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Consider A Few Attributes Of God

Getting To Know God In Light Of Scripture
(Written by Kevin a. Hall    01.19.2017)

How can an understanding of God’s attributes help us to know God better?
I think of this one in relation to my marriage – I had better make every effort to know my wife or there’s a price to pay. Thankfully we are at a place where we often say the same things (together). I often mimic her words and she does mine. So it is with my relationship with God – I must seek to understand Him more and more to fully experience Him and His blessings. And he encourages us to imitate Him. Thankfully, we can learn about His nature through Scripture. We know that He is personal, indestructible, self-sufficient, immortal and because of this I am so happy “Those who trust in him do not trust in vain” (69).

 It is essential that we know Him so we can love, worship and confidently serve Him. Again, it is essential that we understand our God so that we can be in alignment with His will
Just imagine serving a real God who is creator of everything –
  • Infinite (unrestricted, unbounded with His attributes the same – unlimited love, unlimited mercy, unlimited grace)
  • Righteous (Consistent and true to Himself – always faithful, so we can trust that He will respond)
  • Immutable (unchanging in His essence and character – He acts, is acted upon and reacts [79])
Many other attributes but you get the point… He is a living, breathing, holy, sovereign and good God. This is the only God I wish to serve.