By Daniel Floyd
Living the Dream: Uncover the Plan. Fulfill your Purpose, is based on the life of the Old Testament character, Joseph. It journeys with him from the moment he receives a God-given dream, to the challenges and injustice he suffers, ultimately to the point at which he lives his dream in an Egyptian palace. This isn’t a self-help book or a feel-good remedy. It’s a practical look at the process through which God allows us to go as He shapes our hearts so that we can not only dream great dreams, but actually live them. Throughout the pages of this book, you will:
• Push through uncertainty and move toward purpose
• Leverage your current struggles for accelerated progress
• Remove self-limitations to ignite your dreams
• Exchange fear and insecurity for bold confidence
• Find your part in a greater plan
You can pick up your copy today by visiting amazon.com, and if you purchase before April 13th, you will be eligible for a free audiobook edition by emailing your receipt to email@example.com. Visit insidelivingthedream.com for more information about the book.
Editor’s Note: Daniel Floyd is the Senior Pastor of Lifepoint, a multi-site church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Lifepoint has been recognized by Outreach Magazine as one of the top 100 fastest growing churches in America. Daniel is married to Tammie and they have two children.Read More
If you’ve been following the story out of Steubenville, OH, then you have been disturbed by the unthinkable acts and general lack of common decency displayed among an entire group of teenagers in this town. If you have a heart in your chest cavity, the testimony and narratives of sexual assault, alcohol poisoning, cover-up and abject cruelty will shake you to the core. It almost reads like a sadistic teen fiction novel.
There are many alarming and all too familiar themes here but the one that keeps jumping out is the primal disregard of human life exhibited by kids barely past the gateway of puberty. I cannot get used to this conduct becoming more prevalent and even accepted in youth culture. I think there are some stark warning signs that we must heed and respond to.
Parents, please pray over, talk to and teach your students and pre-teens about:
It seems rudimentary but apparently it is really difficult to do these days. Matthew 22:36-39 is a good place to start with your kids. The word “love” in both emphatic statements does not vary in degree, intensity and function. If we love God as we should, we will properly love others. It doesn’t mean that we are not going to fall short at times, but as parents, we can’t tolerate blatant disrespect, humiliation and foul treatment of others in our kids.
Fight for objectivity while seeing your children in a realistic light, pay attention to the way they talk to and about their friends and siblings and above all else, give them an example to follow. The cruelty and pitiless underpinnings of the Steubenville case takes bullying and marginalization among teenagers to a whole other level. Please do not be willfully passive in this area because you think it is normal for teenagers to mistreat each other.
Sin (singular) is obviously at the root of this and all of our societal ills, but sin of a sexual nature was on full display here. What’s alarming is the dichotomy that existed in the knowledge and lack of knowledge about sexual activity. On the one hand, these students had a high level of understanding when it came to acting out and being perversely deviant but a seemingly low understanding of what is appropriate and even humane. When questioned on the witness stand, one of the boys who saw some of these acts, said he didn’t know what it meant to be violated sexually. He couldn’t even define it therefore illuminating a troubling disconnect between his awareness of sexual activity and a baseline standard of appropriateness or legality.
We must step up and fill in this gap. It’s important to teach our kids about the sacredness of sex and the ramifications of sexual sin from a biblical worldview. When a student knows what sex is, then they can properly identify any harmful deviation from it and act accordingly. This also ensures an understanding of the necessity of purity at all levels. Rape is certainly egregious and evil but so is joking about it, mocking sexual sin and making light of physical and erotic issues.
Do not spare time or expense in educating your kids about God’s design for sex. If your student is already on the internet, chances are they are way ahead of you. Make up that ground. Reteach and retrain today no matter the discomfort level or cost.
First and foremost, it is illegal. Bottom line. I think we miss that under the guise that students will “sow their wild oats.” Just because it is inevitable that many will do it does not make it any less wrong or against the law. Teenagers are not physically, emotionally or psychologically equipped to handle alcohol in an appropriate way and most do not have the proper understanding of it. I counseled alcoholics and drug addicts for several years and most all of them began drinking and abusing alcohol at a very early age and were all unmonitored. Caution your kids with clarity of the pitfalls, know where they are going on the weekends and be aware of their affiliations.
Propriety & Social Media
During my last year in college, I worked for the Richland County Solicitor’s Office in Columbia, SC as a legal intern. Part of my time there was spent as an aid in Juvenile Court. I saw some inexplicable and awful things be committed by adolescents, yet none of them and their details went viral in real time on the internet or were glorified on a social media outlet. Some of the comments and hashtags about this 16 year-old girl while she was being abused will cause you to temporarily lose hope in all of humanity.
This poor girl will be victimized essentially for the rest of her life because there will always be a photo online of her limp, half-naked body being carried by the two perpetrators. This photo was tweeted, retweeted, posted on facebook and texted to countless people. There is no telling how many people have seen this haunting, graphic image.
We have to wake up about social media and cell phones. I hear parents all the time making light of their kid’s activities online and claiming ignorance of technology. Well, get yourself down to the local community college and enroll in a remedial computer class. Companies spend thousands of dollars every year to train and educate their employees on the propriety and use of the internet and social media because they understand the negative, permanent effects it has on people’s lives and business. Shouldn’t we be that much more vigilant about our kids avoiding life-altering mistakes and endangerment on social media and online?
I don’t care if some teenagers egg my house over this but parents, follow your kids on Twitter, be their friend on Facebook and be friends with and follow their friends. Pay attention to what they are saying to each other and address content that is inappropriate and unbecoming (Ex. #gokillyourself, #slut, etc. would be things to confront). Check their computers, examine their internet history and look for alternate identities and aliases on social media. The seeming inconvenience will be worth it for your kid’s lifetime. The internet trolls in the Steubenville case were parties to the abuse and it is amazing that they avoided prosecution.
There has to be a change in the trajectory of the next generation when it comes to ethical and social responsibility toward their fellow man (Jesus teaches extensively on this in Matthew 5 and illustrates it in Luke 10:25-37 if you are looking for a reference). Like a lot of adults, teenagers are overemotional, cause driven and not controlled by an objective truth that governs behavior. People get ramped up and passionate about causes that temporarily demonstrate social and ethical awareness in addition to virtuous action. However, an absence of a foundational moral compass leads to nothing more than situational ethics and social compartmentalization.
A superficial ascription to social and ethical responsibility often does not propel individuals to do the right thing in crucial and challenging moments. This is why people simply walk by while someone is getting beat up. This why a student takes out his phone and films a girl being violated in a drunken stupor instead of stopping it. This is why we’re a society that generally lacks empathy yet manages to have flashes of awareness.
Make sure your child has a clear understanding of right and wrong. Help them build a groundwork of objective truth from the Bible that will make them aware of things in their lives, what they are responsible for as a believer or human being and how to act when they are confronted with injustice of any kind. Dialogue with them and go through scenarios that might come up and help them apply truth in a practical way. Teach and model for them to be resolute and not morally temperamental. It’s easy to talk about what we would’ve done but without a well-defined moral framework, it’s an uncertain venture.Read More
- See how social media can contribute to family and marital problems.
- Learn some tips for raising your kids in a pornified culture.
- Are you a good listener?
- Check out the latest Springdale Church podcasts.
- Does God care about your timing?
- 6 things you don’t want to hear as a husband.
If you are a pastor, ministry director, lay leader or you simply have a desire to see your church awakened to the priorities of Acts 6:4 – prayer and the ministry of the word, then I recommend spending a few days in the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX area at the Rediscover Conference in April of 2013. Register here.Read More
I invite you to watch this brand new video from the 6:4 Fellowship. These testimonies are just a sampling of the hundreds of pastors being awakened to the priorities of Acts 6:4. We invite you to join this movement of Christian leaders that is having a global impact.Read More