Speak or be silent?

This past Friday, April 15th was the National Day of Silence for the safety and support of LGBT students across the country. The DOS has spread wide since it’s inaugural year (1996 at University of Virginia) to receive support in all 50 states (as well as the District of Columbia). The event is now led by the GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) with the goal of being…

“a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.”

The event has drawn a lot of attention across the country from different communities, some in support of and others in opposition to the DOS. The visible mark of the DOS supporter is a piece of tape across the mouth, often with words written on it, as a symbol of the fact that many LGBT students feel harassed and bullied into silence on a daily basis.

In the Christian community, it is very clear that there are many who are STRONGLY opposed to this movement as it is perceived as “a way for schools to force the LGBT agenda on everyone.” Many have called for believers to stand up and boycott the day by keeping their children home from school, while others have taken to social media to make known their stance of opposition. I think it would be safe to assume that there even more of those in the Christian community who rather choose to ignore what is going on, or simply don’t know how to respond.

We assume that also includes some of you, and your kids, and the students that come to our ministry on Wednesday nights…. So how SHOULD we respond? Or yet a better question….

HOW WOULD JESUS RESPOND TO THE DAY OF SILENCE?

The simple answer….. in LOVE!

When I read scripture, it’s hard to find a time when Jesus wasn’t motivated and driven by love. Actually, let me rephrase that… When you read scripture, YOU WON’T find a time when Jesus wasn’t motivated and driven by love. In fact, 1 John 4:8 says that if you don’t know love you can’t know God because “GOD IS LOVE“!!! So if God is love, and as Christians our goal in life is to be a worthy reflection of God’s image…. then that means we have to strive to actually BE LOVE! But in case we miss that particular point, Jesus lays it out for us again in John 13:34 when he says…

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Because Christ loves us WE MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER!!!! Ephesians 4:15 says that as we speak truth into people’s lives it must be done in a way that is fueled by LOVE. Do you as a Christian LOVE your neighbors? your co-workers? your classmates? those in the LGBT community? I can tell you Jesus would. He would have dinner with them, hang out with them, wash their feet, serve them food, heal their wounds, and tell them why someday he would die on the cross for their sins.

In our world today we have events like the Day of Silence because LOVE is absent in our schools. Or it is reserved for those who are “normal” or who aren’t involved in different lifestyles.  What if as Christians we saw that for what it is and said “Yeah that’s our fault. We are supposed to be the ones who model that love. We haven’t done a good job of that lately, but let me start doing a better job of that today.”

In our culture we tend to lean toward two extremes, one of truth and one of love. A lot of people want to stand on the street corner and shout or march in a parade and hold a sign that speaks the truth, while others preach the need to lay aside our differences and beliefs because love is all that really matters. And yet the teachings of Jesus fall right in the middle, not sacrificing the truth but also never forgetting to love the people. Let’s pray today for the Holy Spirit of God to move in our hearts to restore the balance the Christ so beautifully portrayed.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

-John 13:35-

Cats and Dogs: a picture of parenting teenagers

“I just realized that while children are dogs—loyal and affectionate—teenagers are cats.

It’s so easy to be a dog owner. You feed it, train it, boss it around.  It puts its head on your knee and gazes at you as if you were a Rembrandt painting. It bounds indoors with enthusiasm when you call it.

Then, around age 13, your adoring puppy turns into a big old cat. When you tell it to come inside, it looks amazed, as if wondering who died and made you emperor. Instead of dogging your footsteps, it disappears. You won’t see it again until it gets hungry…then it pauses on its sprint through the kitchen long enough to turn up its nose at whatever you’re serving, swishing its tail and giving you an aggrieved look until you break out the tuna again.When you reach out to ruffle its head in that old affectionate gesture, it twists away from you, then gives you a blank stare as if it is trying to remember where it has seen you before.

You, not realizing your dog is now a cat, think something must be desperately wrong with it. It seems so antisocial, so distant, sort of depressed. It won’t go on family outings. Since you’re the one who raised it, taught it to fetch, stay and sit on command, you assume you did something wrong. Flooded with guilt and fear, you redouble your efforts to make your pet behave.

Only now you’re dealing with a cat, so everything that worked before now has the opposite result. Call it, and it runs away. Tell it to sit, and it jumps on the counter. The more you go toward it, wringing your hands, the more it moves away. Instead of continuing to act like a dog owner, you must learn to behave like a cat owner. Put a dish of food near the door and let it come to you. But remember that a cat needs your help and affection too. Sit still and it will come, seeking that warm, comforting lap it has not entirely forgotten. Be there to open the door for it.

One day your grown up child will walk into the kitchen, give you a big kiss and say, “You’ve been on your feet all day. Let me get those dishes for you.”

Then, you’ll realize your cat is a dog again.”

Original author unknown

 

*Coming to Providence Church….. Starting Sunday May 1st we are starting a new Adult Sunday School class on “Parenting Teens” based on a study by Mark Gregston. You WON’T want to miss this!!!

**Check out the Parent Cue Live podcast for some additional great parenting tips and resources

What we’ve been talking about…. Sr. High

Wednesday Nights (3/16-4/06)

music retro Music is everywhere! It’s on TV, movies, advertisements, radio, sporting events, church, school, etc. Hardly a week goes by that we don’t see at least one student come to Sunday School or youth group with a pair of earbuds in their ear listening to music. When we interviewed our  High School students asking “what does music mean to you”, we heard recurring responses like “music is my life” and “music is everything to me” as well as “music could help save a life!” These responses, combined with multiple scientific studies about music and how it affects us, had us asking the question…”Why are we not talking about this more?!?!” Through our discussion on music at BRISK our goal is to challenge students to think about music from a new perspective as we explore God’s original design, what God’s word says, and how all of it applies to our choices when it comes to music.

Sunday Mornings (4/10-7/10)

The Book of Acts (chapters 1-12)

So what happens after Easter? Jesus didn’t overthrow the government or restore God’s kingdom on Earth as expected, in fact, he actually hands off his earthly ministry to his disciples and ascends to heaven to be with his Father. The book of Acts picks up the story after Jesus leaves, following the apostles as they continue preaching, teaching, and performing miracles for the sake of the Kingdom. As we study through this book we will look at the lives of the apostles, how the Holy Spirit guided them, and how the early church was started and see how these things apply to us as Christians in the 21st century.

What we’ve been talking about… Jr. High

Wednesday Nights (4/06-4/20)

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Have you ever been part of two very different groups? Maybe you go to a different school or you’re in different classes than the people in your neighborhood. So you’re a part of both groups. Or maybe you play on a different sports team than all of your friends. So after practice you hang out with the team but on the weekends, you hang out with completely different people. When that happens, we feel like we’re from one world and living in another. We’re torn. And if we’re honest, sometimes going to church or being a Christian can make us feel that way too. We go to church and what we hear makes sense. We see people living out their faith and it looks perfectly normal, maybe even fun. But what looks good on Sunday doesn’t always feel comfortable on Monday. Back in the everyday world, living as followers of Jesus can make us feel like we’re from another planet. But does it have to be that way? And what does it look like to live for God in a culture that doesn’t necessarily think the same way? >>>Read More

Click here to download the PARENT CUE for this series.

Sunday Mornings (4/10-7/10)

The Book of Acts (chapters 1-12)

So what happens after Easter? Jesus didn’t overthrow the government or restore God’s kingdom on Earth as expected, in fact, he actually hands off his earthly ministry to his disciples and ascends to heaven to be with his Father. The book of Acts picks up the story after Jesus leaves, following the apostles as they continue preaching, teaching, and performing miracles for the sake of the Kingdom. As we study through this book we will look at the lives of the apostles, how the Holy Spirit guided them, and how the early church was started and see how these things apply to us as Christians in the 21st century.