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I have to say, there is something that strikes me about the Social networking site of Facebook that gives me a bittersweet emotion

Being on facebook, you are once again connected to people from the past…and several things never ceases to suprise me even though I should know better…

1.) It makes me realize time has gone by so fast, and our life is shorter than I thought it can be…when the little girl you taught in VBS suddenly is old enough to have a facebook and requested you to be her friend, when you see pictures of the seven and eight year old boys you use to tutor and help with their homework are now high school graduates, when what was once a troubling young boy has been in the Marines for some time now…my, time is flying and I know it when I’m suprised at people growing up! Then there are other ways you know that time has been ticking away quickly…pictures of people you know, and they have changed physically…the wrinkles kicking in, the weight gained on their tummy and waist, the bald spot, the once young stud now unshaven and beaten down…the motherly stern expression of what was once a young smiling face…and I can’t help but to stop looking at the laptop for a little bit, go outside and help my dad bring in the cans he collected from work because his leg is ailing and I notice the incredible amount of white hair my once strong dad now has…the change is occuring in reality not just online and it’s sobering.  So I can’t help but to grieve and realize that it’s about people’s salvation which is the MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT MANNER…

2.)As I said, facebook also makes me realize so little in life really matter in the long run…or even within the lapse of a few year’s run.  There are some people in high school who was so above you, they were so cool, and now they requested you to be their friend…what happened all those years, I thought I didn’t exist in their book (but not for their facebook apparently)?  Suddenly you get a message of how r u doing? “Dude, your pics of you with the Marines are cool!” Since when did they find a Jesus Freak that they themselves were too cool for, now cool?  You find on facebook, the ones who were living the fast life in the World are now burned out…no more crisp clothes for the club, no more “Too Fast, Too Furious” status…burned out by the world.  You go on facebook and you chuckle at the pictures of guys fronting like their tough.  Some people never grow up.  Yet, where am I in life?  I also need to grow up in the LORD and in my character and living life as a GODLY MAN…

3.) Then facebook breaks your heart.  You learn that people has changed.  The info page now reveals the girl who use to go to your Christian club is now “Very Liberal”.  Apostasy.  He’s now an atheist.  She’s divorce, but the husband is still in Iraq. What happened, he was planning to go to the ministry and she seem like such a supporting wife??? Then there is the guy who become of all things, a Catholic and an OPUS DEI one.  The couple who you thought was going to marry…are no longer together.  Oh, and why is that other guy getting drunk? I’m sure readers can identify with the thoughts going through my head at times, “What was that status all about?”, or “Dude, this guy need to chill with the cussing on my friend’s page, what happen to him?”  And the things that really get to me is when you see people in a relationship that’s not healthy, right or godly…and those pictures needed to deleted…and the people who’s sin goes before them and you ended up having to remove them from facebook.  And I mean guy’s profiles too.

4.) Then there are those amazing facebook moments…the guy from WAY, WAY BACK is now your friend after so many years…people that have a hard time returning your calls, well, they respond faster now on facebook…then there’s the incredible unimaginable joy of encountering those guys you went to Iraq with…or the Marine whom you went through Boot Camp, Marine Combat Training and Radio School with…you wondered what happened to him, whether he’s dead or alive and how many times he might have went to Iraq and when was he in Iraq???  The joy of seeing some of those you use to interact with on Xanga…but now it’s no longer the same as on the heyday of Xanga…the kid whom you have invested in at one time or another, you get to know where they are at in life…the brother in Christ who grew up reading your xanga and is now in the military serving our country and determined to live out the FAITH and see you as a role model…some long lost youngster who use to go to your church, message you apologetics question…seeing the one whom you use to worry about subtle hostility against the faith, is now growing in Christ and concern for things biblical…the message from someone who should know better of how they ought to live, asking you for prayer…seeing young people excited about theology and growing in Christ…

Facebook has a way of reminding you that when people leave your life, that doesn’t mean they no longer exist…they continue on living…continue on walking and talking, tweeting, status updatting and commenting…either on the Wide Road of Destruction or the narrow Road that leads to eternal life…a glimpse of their precious life on the Wide Road of the World Wide Web…

You realize how little you know somebody when they present a front in your presence, or act shy…and you realize that people’s fruit is sometimes shockenly revealed so openly…on facebook.

And you realize that you have no control over it, but you wish for a change, for it to be different and you realize even more what having a Sovereign God means…that you ought to Pray, to the one who can change people’s heart and mind…and you have to live for Jesus,

Even on Facebook.

It surely has made me more compassionate, more loving, more kind to people…even the guy you purchase water from…and perhaps share the GOSPEL WITH…

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How to Commit Suicide?

This piece of article is written by SlimJim and especially in light of his message at the UCLA Bible Study. If you want to kill your-self because of life’s challenges and sufferings, let SlimJim’s article help you to die to your-flesh and be alive in Christ.

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How to Commit the Most Successful Suicide?

Attention to all those who wants to commit suicide. If you’re not one of them, read this in case you ever need it. Then pass this along to friends and family member. Especially towards those who might be flirting with the thoughts of suicide. May this tip offer successful suggestions for those in their endeavor.

Problems right now in your life?

Even as the author writes this, the thoughts of the situation with his potential audience floods his mind. Who are you and what is the circumstance you are going through right now? Is there family problem? Daddy’s leaving…mom’s getting a divorce…older brother dies…sister’s pregnant…the list could go on. Other relationship problem? Your boy friend turns out to be cheating…girl friend wants to go out with another guy…stuck in an ugly relationship…breakups…you name it, many of you claimed it!!!

The writer here is no psychologist, hence there’s no answer from psychology here. Missing in this message is also any One-eight-hundred numbers for you to get a hold of any counselor to speak to. The solution of going to court to sue someone for damaging your mental state is foreign to the author. He’s no lawyer to give you any legal consulting.

How Eager are You?

Again may you be asked: how eager are you to commit suicide? Enough to pull out a gun and hold the trigger firmly? Driven to the point of such despair as to stand at the edge of a cliff and stare below soberly? Enough to commit suicide for real? Maybe the concept of suicide is not something you flirt with but is all too possible. Perhaps you are not held hostage by the idea of fear. Of fear of pain. Of fear of death. Of fear of the unknown. Or maybe you need some more bad news to spur you on towards suicide. You need to have more bad news of the awful state you are in. In such a case, this author would be much obliged to assist.

Lie to Yourself… Go ahead

Look inside yourself and examine yourself openly and honestly.

Of course, you don’t have to if you just want to deceive yourself.

How wretched are you? Your baggage of issues…how many of them have been the product of SIN? Or even inter-mingled with evil or wrong desires? Your issues…have they gave birth to illicit and malicious thoughts or actions? Perhaps revenge you have taken. Perhaps you have carried for quite some time a nearly unforgivable grudge against someone for something in the past.

You only choke yourself miserably and make your inner self all vile with the ugly reality of what you really are: A wretched sinner. Of course, some would accuse that this message as absurd and mean-spirited, that you are not wrong for this and that problems in your life…but what of those issues that you have wronged in?

Don’t think this message is to stop you from death. Its opening purpose has been very clear. DEATH.

If you want a reason to be miserable to commit suicide, here’s one:

As a sinner, you are going to hell for your wrongdoings.

Legally, (except in Oregon and the Netherlands) and to avoid the possibility of being sued, this author can’t go over how to use theoretical Euthanasia technique with a rifle. Nor should this author warn that in slitting one’s veins in the arm, slicing perpendicular to one’s finger rarely works.

If you are so eager, so desperate and out to do anything in your state of suicidal thoughts meditate on this verse:

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” (Romans 6:8)

What does it mean to die with Christ? “To die to your sinner self” (cf. Romans 6:6).

This death is with Jesus Christ. You die to him, just as He died for your sins. Here lies the method of the most successful suicide: You die to your old self and unlike sitting in a garage with a running car, there is something good to your death: You will live again and forever (cf. John 3:16)!!! To die to your old sinner self is to repent from your sins, not pulling the trigger. It is to acknowledge your sins and that God should have punished you in Hell but now spared you when you “died? to your sins by accepting Jesus Christ.

The ironic truth of the matter is, just as Jesus Christ died physically and raised physically from the dead, it is not impossible that you can die spiritually to your sins and be raised again to really live a spiritual life with God and Christ. Only then would you really begin to live. To commit the most successful suicide (to repent from your sins) go to the “How to accept Jesus Christ? page.

Important Note.

It is important that you seek help. Call the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation for resources. Jeffrey Black’s book is one of the many books that will provide help and intervention.

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http://ctlibrary.com/6351

An interesting article about Jonathan Edwards younger years and his facination with the delight of God from His Creation

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You might be suprise…

http://www.citizenlink.org/CLtopstories/A000005317.cfm

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Many of you know that our blog is from a Reformed Theological Perspective and Presuppositional in our Apologetics (VAN TILLIAN)

Much of our apologetics would not have been what it was if it was not for Bahnsen who popularized the teaching of Van Til and illusted its application

And much of what we get from Bahnsen over at Covenant Media Foundation in writing and audio would not have been possible if his mother, Virginia Bahnsen, was not involved with saving his works after his death.

Indeed, its a display of the Soverignty of God.

She just recently passed away last week,

So here’s a link to her by Greg Bahnsen’s son, David Bahnsen:

http://www.dlbthoughts.com/Articles.aspx?IDCol=180

She has done a tremendous good for the Body of Christ

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WARNING: EMOTIONAL CONTENT.

Memorial Day morning…

Lest we forget, with our church retreats, picnics, the beach or sleeping in,

Take a time this morning or evening to remember those who have fallen in during times of war…

Out of all the pictures I’ve seen, I think this has got to be the most riveting for me of all the pictures concerning Iraq…

The picture of a Marine’s casket (a 2nd. Lt. Cathey, who left behind his pregnant wife) as contrast to the plane and the people looking out of the window…the contrast is beautifully captured and is almost surreal.

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Enough with my words. THis picture was part of a series that won the pulizter prize…reading the 19 pages, you would know why.  Have tissues nearby, it is very emotional.

SOURCE:(Beware, its 10MB PDF FILE) 

The picture in its context:

The American Airlines 757 couldn’t have landed much farther from the war.  The plane arrived in Reno on a Friday evening, the beginning of the 2005 “Hot August Nights” festival — one of the city’s biggest—filled with flashing lights, fireworks,care free music and plenty of gambling.  When a young Marine in dress uniform had boarded the plane to Reno, the passengers smiled and nodded politely. None knew he had just come from the plane’s cargo hold, after watching his best friend’s casket loaded on board.

At 24 years old, Sgt. Gavin Conley was only seven days younger than the man in the coffin.The two had met as 17-year-olds on another plane — the one to boot camp in California. They had slept in adjoining top bunks,the two youngest recruitsin the barracks.

All Marines call each other brother. Conley and Jim Cathey could have been.They finished each other’s

sentences, had matching infantry tattoo setched on their shoulders, and cracked on each other as if they had grown up together— which, in some ways, they had.

When the airline crew found out about Conley’s mission, they bumped him to first-class.  He had never flown there before.  Neither had Jim Cathey.  On the flight, the woman sitting next to him nodded toward his uniform and asked if he was coming or going. To the war,she meant.

He fell back on the words the military had told him to say: “I’m escorting a fallen Marine home to his family from the situationin Iraq.”

The woman quietly said she was sorry, Conley said.  Then she began to cry.

When the plane landed in Nevada, the pilot asked the passengers to remain seated while Conley disembarked alone.

Then the pilot told them why.

The passengers pressed their faces against the windows.

Outside, a procession walked toward the plane. Passengers in window seats leaned back to give others a better view. One held a child up to watch.

From their seats in the plane, they saw a hearse and a Marine extending a white-gloved hand into a limousine,helping a pregnant woman out of the car.

On the tarmac, Katherine Cathey wrapped her arm around the major’s, steadying herself. Then her eyes locked on the cargohold and the flag-draped casket.

Inside the plane, they couldn’t hear the screams.

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Online dating has become a lifestyle for many singles. A friend that I know got married through “online dating.” Most singles today have met someone online. So, how do we addressed the current trend?

Pastor Isaac Hydoski from Covenant Life Church wrote on this new trend.

Online Dating: A Pastoral Perspective by Isaac Hydoski

Don’t you wish it was as easy for you as it was for Adam and Eve? Online dating services have been around for just over 10 years, but the idea of finding a spouse goes back to the Garden of Eden. The world looks very different now in some respects, but in other ways it hasn’t changed. We still desire to get married and God is still bringing husbands and wives together in marriage.

But how does the $500 million industry of online dating fit in to the grand scheme of God’s plan for marriage? Does the Bible have anything to say about online dating? Can we learn anything from others’ experiences with online dating?

These are some of the questions we hope to bring clarity to through this paper. This perspective paper is the fruit of the application and study of Scripture, pastoral experience with counseling others and an interview with some from our community who have participated in online dating. We believe this paper is timely. We hope it serves you as you seek to obey and honor our Lord Jesus Christ.

Before getting into the details it is vital to establish that Scripture nowhere forbids online dating and therefore neither should we. It is a denial of the sufficiency of Scripture to add ‘laws’ that God in his wisdom decided not to include in Holy Scripture. Let’s all commit to not load each other’s consciences with ‘sins’ that are not in Scripture. This was the mistake of the Pharisees. But we do want to help inform your thinking and practice related to on-line dating that is shaped by biblical principles.

As we studied on-line dating sites some of the benefits we were able to identify are:

• Online dating allows for interaction with a much larger group of singles.
• If used wisely, it can provide a context to evaluate a potential date before meeting face-to-face.
• In addition, many singles who invest the amount of time and energy into online dating are generally interested in a serious relationship.
• Finally, there are positive examples of couples who have met and got engaged/married through these services.

These are good benefits. But with any decision we make, it is important to weigh the benefits and the risks before we proceed. Having said this we, as pastors, do have significant concerns about on-line dating services and the unwise use of them, which we will detail in this paper.

Concerns to consider (not in order of significance):

Expensive A few of these sites are free, but most average $30 a month and some are as high as $50 per month.Time-consuming

Filling out lengthy questionnaires, sorting through potential “matches”, and contacting matches can be a very time consuming and slow process that can distract from other priorities.

False hope
Advertising campaigns for these sites such as “finding your soul mate” or “the love of your life” border on being disingenuous. Most sites report that only 1-2% of participant’s relationships end in marriage. But the advertisements show couple after couple finding true love, which creates an impression not in keeping with reality.

Safety
• Most online dating sites have lengthy disclaimers and warnings regarding personal safety when meeting people online.
• Disclosing highly personal information to someone you don’t know at all is unwise at best and dangerous at worst.
• Best foot forward syndrome: It is quite easy to become a different person online or to not represent oneself truthfully. Often a person will communicate what they would like to be true of themselves rather than their actual lives in practice.
• Consumer complaint sites list stories of predators, liars, con-men/women who are actively trolling online dating sites for victims.

Compromise
• Values: Many find that their potential matches answer value questions in a similar way (sexual purity, fellowship, church involvement, etc.) but how they define and practice these values is much different and leads to the immediate need to either end the relationship or deal with the temptation to compromise.
• Lowering standards: Maintaining God-glorifying standards for relationships is much more difficult after you’re already involved with someone and as a result it is easy to drift into casual dating relationships and compromise on the significant values of a committed, intentional relationship.
• Doctrinal beliefs: Excitement of meeting new people interested in you can lessen the importance of significant doctrinal differences that will seriously affect any long-term relationship. Consider a marriage where husband and wife cannot agree on how the sovereignty of God is expressed in salvation, or how the role of husband and wife differ, or how they ought to raise and discipline their children.
• Priority of local church: Getting connected with other believers from different areas immediately adds the pressure of the potential of relocation and can affect commitment to their particular local church.

Can reinforce self-focused view of relationships
• Matches are generally based on what you want in a spouse or how well someone is compatible with you instead of biblical criteria.
• Decisions to contact a match can be based on superficial preferences or how well they measure up to what you want/prefer.
• This encourages sowing towards a selfish view of finding someone who will love you rather than the other way around. (Read Ephesians 5:22-32 for God’s perspective.)

Loss of protection from church community
• Many singles in our community are not involving family or friends in this process due the “stigma” associated with online dating.
• You lose the benefit of dating someone known by others you trust.
• You do not have the benefit of seeing the fruit of their life lived out in a local church context.
• Your impressions of the potential match are almost entirely dependent on their self-disclosure and are subject to their honesty or lack thereof.

New temptations
• Deception: It is easy to conceal from others involved in your life what you are doing and easy to conceal the truth about yourself to others online.
• Hopelessness: Many singles approach online dating after experiencing disappointment within their church context and can even see this as their “last chance” for a meaningful relationship. Given that only 1-2% of those participating in online dating services find a spouse this can be a significant discouragement if marriage doesn’t occur.
• Laziness: Some see online sites as an easier approach to relationships, which hinders a cultivation of a trust and faith in God.
• Discouragement: Many singles find that after a few months of online searching, nothing meaningful comes from the hard work. Some are never contacted at all.
• Distortion of biblical roles: These services can place women in the difficult position of having to lead if paired with a man who is unwilling to lead.

From our perspective these are significant concerns/risks that you need to prayerfully consider if you are thinking about participating in one of these services. Please do so with the help of the spiritual community God has given you, because “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).

Pastoral Counsel to Those Using Online Dating Services

For those who are currently participating in online dating, we want to counsel you so that you are best equipped to navigate these concerns & risks.

1. Discern your motives (Jeremiah 17:9; Luke 6:43-45; James 1:14)
Our motives are constantly driving us to do things–whether good or bad. When it comes to online dating, there is a range of possible motivations one might have. One common motive seems to be a hopelessness in God’s provision and timing of a spouse. You might ask yourself this question to discern this, “Is this a means to take the possibility of marriage into my own hands instead of trusting God?” We are not saying that you shouldn’t be taking action and specific steps towards pursuing good things like marriage, but if this is your motive you might be setting yourself up for an even greater temptation and struggle because the reality is that the vast majority of those using services like this are not finding a spouse. If you discern this is your motive, then repent of unbelief and start believing in God’s sovereign goodness and provision for you in particular. Please also consider if continuing in this service is going to further tempt you to doubt God’s goodness for you by trusting in yourself to find a spouse. If the temptation is too strong, it may be wise to discontinue using it and start sowing to trusting in God to provide.

2. Involve your community (Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 20:18, 24:6; Hebrews 3:12,13, 10:24,25)
The biggest concern we have about online dating is that it seems to go under the radar. People aren’t talking to their friends or their care groups or their pastors about the people they are meeting online. We realize that you might be wary of sharing this with others because of a perceived “stigma” that on-line dating has, but you need to be seeking wisdom from others to help you honor God more than you need to maintain a reputation. It is unwise to not invite your friends who care for you and know you well to help you evaluate the type of people you are meeting online. The reality is that no matter how often you re-read their profiles, talk to them through email or phone, you still do not really know this person. What we would suggest is that you invite family or a trusted friend into your correspondence with the people you are meeting. We know this sounds very personal, but consider letting them read the emails, profiles, etc. to get their perspective on these individuals. We are aware of some examples of humble people who have done just this as they sought to apply biblical principles to online dating. Finally, bring the people you are meeting into your community so your family and friends and pastors can begin to get to know them face-to-face. This will bring much needed grace, protection, and wisdom to you as you evaluate this relationship.

3. Know your values and convictions (Ephesians 5:10)
What are the non-negotiables in a potential spouse for you? If you haven’t spent time considering this in light of Scripture you will likely default to what feels right instead of determining what is most important for you in a spouse. Compromise really is right around the corner when we don’t determine what our convictions are. We have seen this time and again with Christians who aren’t clear on Biblical criteria and priorities for a spouse.

4. Communicate your values and convictions (Zechariah 8:16; Ephesians 4:15, 25)
Feelings of attraction and a desire for the opposite sex are powerful realities in our lives. If these are not anchored by your values about the Christian life (e.g. sexual purity, local church, fellowship) they will pull you towards either conflict or compromise. Please do not allow a relationship to remain in an undefined territory where what you believe and hold to is not communicated by you or the other person. This will inevitably lead to either you tempting the person who is becoming emotionally attached to you or it will tempt you to simply jettison important convictions you have because of your emotional attachment.

5. Ask about their values and convictions (Ephesians 5:6,7; Proverbs 24:21; 1 Corinthians 15:33)
Don’t get entangled with someone who doesn’t love what you love, value what you value, desire what you desire–especially as it relates to your relationship with God. Ask detailed, specific questions about their faith and how it functions for them in day-to-day life BEFORE a relationship begins. We’d also like to suggest that you try to talk to this person’s pastor or significant leader in their church. Ask them the same questions that you’ve been asking the person through email/phone and compare notes. They will likely offer a much more balanced perspective on this person. This will be really helpful if the person has spoken much more idealistically about themselves than the pastor’s or leader’s perspective.

In summary, if you are participating in online dating, please know that we love you and we support you. Our concerns are just that: concerns. We want to see you experience God’s grace in Christ Jesus and we want to be faithful to show you some of the significant pitfalls as we see them, so you can be protected from discouragement and danger.

If you are considering participating in online dating, please weigh our concerns and make your decision carefully and with much prayer and counsel.

Written by Isaac Hydoski. Copyright: Covenant Life Church, 2007.

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