Rise [Book Review]

“Enjoy yourself while you can.”
“Don’t grow up too fast.”
“You’re too young to make a difference.”

If you’re like me, you’ve heard one of these phrases at some point in your life. Not much is expected of young people, especially in today’s culture of extended adolescence. This is reinforced by peers, parents, media, universities, and cultural in general. Just a few generations ago, many of our grandfathers were fighting wars on foreign soils while today it’s a challenge for young people to get to class or work on time, much less stand up for something they believe in.

Because of the convergence of these two factors, low expectations from others and low motivation for young people, there is a general stereotype that Millennials are apathetic. Of course, the reluctance of young people to make a difference isn’t a new problem. Almost two thousand years ago, Paul wrote to his young friend and mentee Timothy: “let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). 

To address this persistent problem, Trip Lee wrote Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story, a companion book to his latest album by the same name. This book is aimed right at young people, challenging them to live a holy life now, instead of waiting until later in life to “get serious about their faith.” Trip writes: “There are great benefits to living for Jesus in the present. Now is the time when we have the most strength. Now is the time when we have the most energy. Now is the time when we can give it everything we have. Now is the time to get up and live.”  Read more of this post

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The Post-Church Christian [Book Review]

I am one of the 80 million millennials born between 1982 and 2000. We are known to be tech-savvy agents of change who treasure flexibility, relationships, authenticity, and individual expression. Because of these and other unique qualities of my generation, we experience friction with other generations from time to time. Often, the friction is healthy and leads to mutual understanding, growth, and stronger bonds between generations. However, the friction sometimes results in hurt, misunderstanding, and separation.

As the College Ministry Director at a church in a Southern town that is also home to a Christian college, I deal with the results of the friction between baby boomers, millennials, and the church on a frequent basis. I have met many of my fellow millennials who have been “hurt/burned/disillusioned” by the church, so much so that they have given up on it completely. Some of the stories are heartbreaking and valid, but many have withdrawn as the result of generational differences of opinion on what the church should be and do. To them, the church doesn’t feel like home anymore. They still love Jesus, but have become dissatisfied with the church. So the question arises: “Do you need to be a part of the church to follow Jesus?”  Read more of this post

The Need for Critical Thinking

blindfolded ... On Reclaiming "News" (February 28, 2014) ...item 2.. REMAKING THE UNIVERSITY (Wednesday, March 5, 2014) ...item 3.. Tips to spring forward (Mar. 19, 2014) ...

In a world of message overabundance, group-thinking emphasis, and easy social media sharing, is critical thinking slowly becoming less important? Or is it a skill that needs to be reemphasized in classrooms and workplaces?

Definition

Let’s begin by defining the term: critical thinking is “disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence.” Critical thinking has been around as long as human beings have, but began to take shape as a formal process in Ancient Greece with the development of the Socratic method.

It has become an essential part of the education process (especially in higher education) and many professions. Critical thinking involves the five components in the diagram to the right: reasoning, evaluating, problem solving, decision making, and analyzing.

The Trend Away from Critical Thinking?       Read more of this post

Listen Series, Part 2: The Importance of Listening

I'm listening

This is the second of three lessons in the “Listen Series” about listening to God that I put together for the Harvard Avenue College Ministry Fall Retreat a few weekends ago. 

Listening is an important part of any relationship, especially our relationship with God. Often we come to Him with a list of wants and demands, but don’t take time to sit silently before Him. Imagine if your friends did that to you…

Why can listening be so powerful? What is important about disciplining yourself to listen to God on a regular basis? The writer of Ecclesiastes offers some insight in Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 (ESV):  Read more of this post

Listen Series, Part 1: Slow Down and Listen

Listening devices

This is the first of three lessons in the “Listen Series” about listening to God that I put together for the Harvard Avenue College Ministry Fall Retreat a few weekends ago. 

“I’m busy.” 

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say this to me when I’ve asked them if they wanted to play disc golf, watch a movie, or come to an event (I’m even guilty of using it myself often).

Let’s face it. We live in a very busy culture, especially as young 20-somethings (aka “Millennials“). We have friends, classes, jobs, family, sports, and organizations pulling us in all different directions. Our days are usually busy from the time the alarm goes off in the morning until our head hits the pillow (if it even does) at night. Rarely do we take time to slow down and listen to God (not listen to music, the TV, white noise, or birdies chirping). Let’s take a look at a common biblical example of this principle found in Luke 10:38-42 (ESV):  Read more of this post

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