Parental advice about FACEBOOK

Dr David Murray has made a 6 minute video packed with Christian counsel to parents on the use of social media (particularly FACEBOOK) entitled, “TRAINING OUR KIDS TO USE FACEBOOK FOR GOD’S GLORY.” I encourage you to view it, and glean lots of good advice (as I have). We must be intentional with our parenting and do better at overseeing the role social media plays in the lives of our kids.

~ pdb

Facebook Training for Kids from Puritan Reformed on Vimeo.

*If this video does not appear or run, try this direct link for Dr Murray’s blog.

‘tweeting’ truth….

I have a Twitter account (“dbissett”), and enjoy catching those little updates (only a sentence or two) from family and friends around the country. One fellow I follow is Paul David Tripp. His brief “tweets” are potent little messengers of truth! Let me share a few here, and (hopefully) in the future. You can follow him for yourself (“PaulTripp” on twitter).

You are in desperate need of help today. Grace guarantees you a Helper, who’s never unfaithful, weary, impatient, irritated, or hopeless.

In the face of inescapable sin, unrelenting grace is our only place of help, hope, courage, comfort, rest, and lasting peace.

Whenever you argue for your righteousness you deny both the diagnostic accuracy and curative potency of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For the guilt of sin, Jesus is the Lamb. For the inability of sin, Jesus in the Victor. For the foolishness of sin, Jesus is Wisdom.

Prayer calls me to abandon the present as my only lens on life and to commit to look at life from the perspective of eternity.

Timeless wisdom meets social media

Tim Challies brings Solomon like wisdom to bear (quoting Proverbs) on the modern use of social media in his post today. If you blog (or read lots of blogs), post comments, or use Facebook, et cetera, please take a prayerful read through these points. It’s so timely, I’ve quoted the whole thing below. ~ pdb

There are many who doubt or downplay the relevance of the Old Testament to our times. Those people have probably never taken the time to read the book of Proverbs. I read from Proverbs almost every day and I am continually amazed at just how relevant this book is. It seems that wisdom is timeless. The lessons David taught Solomon speak to myself and my children as much as they did to the men and women of ancient Israel. The wisdom of God given to Solomon continues to ring loud and clear in my heart.

If Solomon were alive today and we were to ask him how we are to relate to one another in this digital world, if we were to ask him how we can honor God in our use of all these social media available to us today, here is how he might respond.

Count to ten before posting, sharing, sending, submitting. “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him (29:20).” How many arguments could be avoided and how many relationships saved if people were only a little less hasty with their words? Before posting an article or before replying to a Facebook status, it is always (always!) a good idea to re-read what you have written and consider if your words accurately express your feelings and if expressing such feelings is necessary and edifying. And while I’m on the topic, a spell-check doesn’t hurt either.

Leave the fool to his folly. “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself (26:4).” There are times when it is best to leave a foolish person to his own devices rather than to try to change him. Sometimes it is best just to leave him alone rather than providing him more ammunition to work with. This means that it may be best to ignore the troll, to leave a rebuke unanswered, than to bait him and to suffer his wrath.

Expose folly. “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes (26:5).” Here it is—undeniable proof that the Bible contradicts itself! Are we to answer a fool according to his folly or not? Evidently this “contradiction” is deliberate and is in the Bible to show that there is no absolute law in this situation. There are times when folly must be exposed, either if the fool is one you believe is honestly seeking after wisdom, or if his folly will damage others. If a fool is impacting others, drawing them into his foolishness, he must be exposed for the sake of the church’s health.

Know when to walk away. “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet (29:9).” There are times when you need to walk away instead of carrying on an argument. Foolish people have no real desire to learn or to be wise. Instead, they only seek opportunities to loudly proclaim the folly. Walk away so you can have peace. Shut down, log off, erase—do what you need to.

Be careful what you read. “Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool (26:8).” Be careful whose words you read and whose wisdom you trust. Foolish men may seem wise, but they will still lead others astray. If you give honor to a foolish man by reading and soaking in his words, you are as foolish as a person who binds his stone in a sling, rendering the sling useless and leaving himself defenseless.

Avoid the gossiper. “The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body (29:22).” There are many web sites, blogs and Twitter accounts dedicated almost entirely to gossip, to sharing what is dishonorable rather than what is noble. Avoid these people and their gossip!

Be humble. “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips (27:2).”“One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor (29:23).” Let others praise you. If you never receive praise from anyone, especially from those who are wise, it may be a good time to examine your heart and examine if you are walking in the ways of wisdom. Those who are humble and lowly in spirit will receive honor while the arrogant will be brought low.

Mind your own business. “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears (26:17).” If you have ever grabbed a dog by the ears you know it will inevitably bring trouble. Grabbing a strange dog by the ears will bring even more trouble. Stay out of other people’s fights rather than wading into them as if they are your own. There may be times to wade into a theological dispute or to try to mediate a disagreement in the blogosphere, but wisdom would usually tell you to mind your own business.

Don’t be a troublemaker. “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling (26:27).” Those who exist only to bring trouble to others will pay a price. And unfortunately, on the Internet there are many of these people. Don’t be one!

Examine why you write. “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike (27:14).” The proverb speaks of a quarrelsome wife, but it could as easily apply to anyone. If you are writing merely to be quarrelsome or because you enjoy an argument, perhaps it is best to find something else to do. “As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.” Do not be the kind of person who kindles strife for his own enjoyment.

Be careful what you teach. “Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit, and the blameless will have a godly inheritance (28:10).” Those who choose to teach others accept a grave responsibility; if they mislead others, they must expect that there will be consequences. Be careful what you teach, what you share, what beliefs you express. Remember that your words are public and that they may remain available forever. [I take this to heart, along with JAMES 3:1]

Walk with the Lord. “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered (28:26).” And here is the key to everything else. Trust in the Lord rather than in yourself. Walk with the Lord and in the ways of wisdom taught in the pages of the Bible. Be a wise man or woman of the Word, rather than a fool who trusts in his own wisdom (or lack thereof). Arm yourself with spiritual maturity, with true wisdom, before venturing into the world of social media.

(by Tim Challies)

Cutting edge Christianity?

Modern day evangelicals have little appetite for sound doctrine, but have a hankering for “cutting edge” stuff. Dr Guy Waters, recently made this observation about the the evangelical church in our day:

Biblical doctrine and the Bible’s teaching on the Christian life is, at one level, quite boring. It is simply, lacking in gadgetry and spectacle, and unchanging. Whether it is the latest theological ‘hand-me-down’ from the academy, or the most recent technique or movement for living the Christian life, the church seems to have an unwholesome longing for what is promoted as ‘new, fresh and relevant.’ Of course, in reality there is nothing new under the sun. ‘Fresh’ and ‘cutting edge’ are terms that often mask our ignorance of church history. If we did enough digging, we would find that the church has long ago weighed, tried and discarded most of what is being presented to us as the ‘latest thing.’ God’s admonition is especially timely in our present age:

Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.”
(Jeremiah 6;16)

Dr Guy Waters, Assoc. Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, MS; quoted on page 102 in Marin Downes’ book RISKING THE TRUTH

Stop Email Insanity

How email intervals can save you from insanity

Email is unre lent ing, and when you tend to your inbox—people just reply back to you more quickly. Email will take over your life if you let it. Here’s how I fought back.

Solution: Email Intervals
Step 1: At the beginning of the day decide when you’ll check email. I suggest that you pick a time in morning and at the end of the day, and stick to only opening your inbox at those times. We’ve been trained like lab rats to keep hitting the refresh bar, but it’s silly and makes us unproductive.

Step 2: Get a timer. Email inter vals will require you to sprint through your email for a set period of time. Grab a timer…..

Step 3: Work like a crazy person for 10 minutes. Open your inbox like a horse leaving the gate — hustle. You will be surprised how much email you can get done in the first interval. In the first 10 minutes try to use what ever processing system you use to tell what is important, what is trash, and what is good to just file away.

Step 4: Take a two minute break and read a few pages. I find that I clear my mind by reading a few pages of a book. It takes me out of the suffering torment of email for just long enough to remind myself that if I hurry I can get through my entire inbox and get back to meaningful work — creating things, meeting with people, planning, building, thinking, discovering, investing in relationships…

Step 5: Repeat and then shut down your email program. When you finish your short break, get back to another 10 minutes of hustling through your email. and repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’ve done what you need to.

My findings
Most people rely on email way too much — it’s a good communica­tion tool, but it lacks emotion, can go on rabbit trails, and gives peo­ple a sense that they need to include every one in their conversation (death by cc:).

People learn quickly that if they need you immediately, they should pick up the phone. A 3 minute phone call or face to face conversa­tion can clear up a 20 email conversation, and has the added bonus of build ing a trust relationship with that person.

A quiet soul… (updated)

Cell PhoneAll too often, when I am waiting for something, or doing a simple task, I try to add another activity (reading something, or making notes, etc.). Multitasking may seem to be a virtue in today’s culture, but it cannot profit you spiritually. To properly approach God, requires a right attitude and sense of need, as seen in Psalm 131….

131:1 O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord from this
time forth and forevermore. esv

We need to grasp what David here grasps: humility and a sense of need before the Almighty, as well as a turning from anxiousness and the need for control. Calmness of spirit is the sign of one who knows the gracious qualities of the Lord he approaches, as well as child-like trust in His love.

O friends, hope in the Lord in this way….

UPDATE: Check out an excellent essay related to this post, by Dr Al Mohler entitled Where Do All the Colors Go at Night?” — Children and the Need for Silence. Here is an excerpt…

One of the most lamentable aspects of modern life is the disappearance of silence. Throughout most of human history, silence has been a part of life. Many individuals lived a significant portion of their lives in silence, working in solitude and untroubled by the intrusion of constant noise.

Historians often point to the Industrial Revolution as a great turning point in the human experience of environmental sound and constant noise. The arrival of the factory and the concentration of human populations in cities bought a transformation that was accompanied by increased noise and the displaced silence. Today, the problem of noise pollution is a matter of concern to many of us, who find our lives frequently interrupted by unwanted sounds and constant noise.

Our culture now assumes noise and the constant availability of music, electronic chatter, and entertainment. In many homes, there is virtually no silence — at least during waking hours. In some homes, family members live in isolated environments of independent sound, with iPods, televisions, radios, and any number of other technologies providing a customized experience of noise.

All this takes a toll upon the soul…. READ THE WHOLE THING

Watch the Ligonier Conference

7391Watch the Conference – Live for Free

Ligonier Ministries offers a free, live webcast of the conference, available in both English and Spanish. This ministry outreach helps fulfill their desire to “awaken as many people as possible to the holiness of God by proclaiming, teaching, and defending His holiness in all its fullness.”

Click HERE to sign up for the webcasts. (The archived messages will also be available for viewing up to 30 days after the conference ends.)

Look for me in the audience!!


Idle words weighed by God

In our day as a plethora of words fly through airwaves, TV cables, the internet and emails, we do well to hear and heed the following warning from Puritan Thomas Manton.

Idle words weigh heavy in God’s balance. God, that hath given a law to the heart, hath also given a law to the lips: “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Mt 12:36). Words will come to be judged; either we are to give an account of them here, or hereafter; either to condemn ourselves for them, and seek pardon, or to be condemned hereafter before GOD. A loose and ungoverned tongue will be one evidence brought against men, as a sign of their unrenewed hearts, in the day of judgment.

PSALM 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (esv)


What is “News” to you?

I just had to convey the following thoughts to you. A fine young blogger named Tony Reinke digested a sermon on this topic, and wrote an article entitled, Cross-Centered News Consumption. Here are several good paragraphs….

What constitutes true news is, for the Christian, no easy question to answer. But neither is this a new question. Long before the “information age,” an obscure Puritan preacher named Henry Hurst (1629-1690) delivered a sermon to answer the question: “How may we inquire after news, not as Athenians, but as Christians, for the better management of our prayers and praises for the Church of God?” His text was Acts 17:21—“Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.”

Hurst understood the attraction we all have to the latest news, not because of its intrinsic importance, but due to our Athenian-like insatiable inquiry to feed on a stream of fresh tidbits. And I don’t claim innocence here. Often my news consumption habits are as defendable as the Athenians.

In Hurst’s sermon he begins by breaks news into three categories:

A. Trifling reports. These reports are, “below the gravity and prudence of a man to receive from a reporter, or to communicate to any hearer.” Think petty rumors spread in gossip columns, blogs, or in conversations at Starbucks, the fascination into who Michael Jackson is dating, the National Inquirer, much daytime television, etc.

B. Personal and private matters. These reports are “of no more concern to a judge or magistrate or the public than a scuffle of boys in their sports to a general and his army.” These are stories with very little consequence, that should have remained a private issue, but have become public only because of the Athenian attraction within us.

C. Public news that concerning the state and Church. The final category includes news reports that communicate “threatening danger, or some smiling providence” as it relates to the Church or state. There is every reason to be aware of what threatens the health and safety of our country. Genuine worldwide threats should concern us, and especially those in position to provide strength in light of the dangers.

But infatuation with so much inconsequential “news” (#1+2), Hurst argues, led the Athenians to wasting time, neglecting duties, a loss of trade and employment, and bred further false stories of others and provoking contention among those we should be offering peace. Hurst writes, “I could wish there were a redress of all the inconveniences and vices that spring up in coffee houses [the blogosphere of the 17th century]; but I believe that every man who frequents them must mend his own faults herein.” I’m writing this at Starbucks, and as I look around to the tables of conversation I see that this temptation to Athenian rumor milling is just as relevant here as a 17th century coffee house. We should be just as concerned with the news we communicate over coffee, as the commercial news we read, hear, and watch.

Be careful little eyes what you see; Be careful little ears what you hear — for the Father up above is looking down in love….

Watch what you watch!

In the Westminster Seminary of California website there is another VERY helpful article by Rev. George Scipione, a tremendously effective equipper of church leaders. The article is about pornography, and it is something I urge you to read — especially you men!

You can find the article HERE.