Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Worth a Look [2014, 04, 15]

Here's a collection of links I've found helpful reading / watching over the past week:

The Problem of Palm Sunday [Series on Holy Week at Desiring God]
  • “Jesus doesn’t stop them, though. He says, instead, that if the people weren’t saying it then the rocks themselves would cry out. Of course, Jesus is the Messiah. He has come to Jerusalem to save his people.”
  • No Turning Back (Monday of Holy Week) 
  • The Escalating Conflict (Tuesday of Holy Week) 
  • Spy Wednesday
Animated Video of Jesus Crucifixion
  • “The Jesus Film Project has released a short animated film titled “My Last Day.” It’s the story of Christ’s crucifixion through the eyes of one of the criminals who died beside him on that day. I wouldn’t show this to younger children. It reminds me of a miniature cartoon “Passion of the Christ.” You might use this to get the attention of mature preteens or older students.” 
Holy Week Bible Plans, Bible App for Kids Stories, and Shareable Art
  • “With Easter only a week away, now is a great time for a short Plan that can help you align your heart and mind toward Christ with the Bible. The Bible App has several great Easter Plans, each designed to help you make the most of your time in God’s Word this week."
Making Resurrection Eggs to Tell the Easter Story
  • “Resurrection eggs have been around for years as a way to teach children the meaning of Easter. While there are many Christian stores that sell resurrection egg kits, I’ve found that making them on your own is fairly easy if you have the time and resources. Resurrection eggs are like an advent calendar for Easter, counting down the days to Easter and retelling the story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.”
Animated Easter Video (Kid-Friendly)
  • “They tell the story of Jesus death and resurrection. Despite the subject, the cartoon style animations here present the story in a child appropriate way.”
Teaching Preschoolers about Easter
  • “Easter is the most significant Holy Day Christians celebrate each year. Easter offers the opportunity to reflect on God's fulfillment of His covenant through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But for preschoolers, this day can be confusing as they are confronted with well-meaning traditional celebrations and the biblical accounts of the Easter story.”
9 Things You Should Know About The Chronicles of Narnia
  • “The end of March marked the sixty-fifth anniversary of C.S. Lewis completing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. Here are nine things you should know about the Lewis' beloved novels.”
My Kids Are Looking at Porn!
  • “I have dedicated a lot of attention over the past several years to the battle against pornography and would like to offer a two-part answer. Today I will address the immediate response and tomorrow I want to help you put together a plan that will protect your family in the future, both preventing those who want to look at porn and protecting those who don’t yet know that it exists.”
The Porn-Free Family Plan
  • “I want to protect my children in a world like this, but I want to do more than that. I want to disciple my children to live virtuously, to use these new technologies for good purposes instead of bad ones. I believe this is a crucial part of my calling as a parent. To address this great need, I have put together what I call The Porn-Free Family Plan. It is a plan designed to protect my children from online dangers so that I can train them to use their devices and technologies well.” 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Barns, Legacy and Role Models

At the end of my life I want to look back and see a legacy left behind me, for the glory of God and the Kingdom of God. Lately I've had cause to reflect on this...

Recently I had the privilege of teaching and preaching Jesus' Parable of the Rich Fool. I preached from this passage at New Minas Baptist Church as a part of our Transformation series [audio / video] and I wrote material and taught from it as a part of One Big Story [material]. 

In this parable we are introduced to a man who was wealthy - at least by the world's standards. He was a land owner, and business man, and a successful one. Some farmers plant and feel like their time and energy is wasted on small harvests. Not this man, his land "produced plentifully." (Luke 12:16) looking at his gain in produce the man chose to tear down his barns, build bigger ones, and store his produce. (Luke 12:18) His goal? To eat, drink and be merry! (Luke 12:19) By the standards of our culture today (and always!) these are excellent goals. Putting ourselves, our satisfaction, and our pleasure first has been our sinful goal since Eden. 

Unfortunately for the man in the parable, his life was at its end, his last breath on its way into his lungs. Where will his produce go? What value will his silos have? What legacy has he left in his wake? Jesus concludes his parable saying: "So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21 ESV)

I want my life to count for something. I want to make an impact, to leave a legacy. I don't want the value of my time to be seen in the value of my bank account or the size of my house. I want to bring Glory to God and want to have a Kingdom impact on the world. 

So, this blog post is an introduction to a series. There are many people who I consider to be role models, who's lives have or are spent making Jesus known. This series will be about some of these people, less for others to read, and more for me to reflect and be re-inspired by their lives lived for the purpose of God's Glory and the Kingdom's Advance.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Filtering the Internet [Part 1]

In the past week I've had several conversations around filtering the internet for families.

As I've reflected on this over the years, I think there are two key issues to the conversation. The first part is how do we prevent children, students, adults, ourselves... from seeing what we do not want to see online. The reality to this part of the conversation is that we can all see what we want to see if we circumvent the filters, which is really not that hard to do. However filters provide a form of safety and offer a level of accountability.

Filters are like a locked door in some ways - a locked door tells an honest person that you're not home, but doesn't prevent a dishonest person from gaining entry to your home.  Make sense?

As a starting point to read this article from Google.  Google and Google Images is where a lot of children / adults might start to search for porn online:

In terms of filtering options, here are some:
This is a Christian organization which provides both accountability and filtering. There is a monthly / annual fee for each and a package which includes both. The software has apps for both Mac / Windows as well as all mobile devices. The upside of this option is that your decices are filtered inside and outside of your home.
X3 offers both paid and free versions of its software. The free version falls only into the category of accountability / monitoring and is not a filter. The paid version offers both. The software has apps for both Mac / Windows as well as all mobile devices.
For those who struggle with online additions, this is a training course offered by the same folks as X3Watch.
Unlike the device based software, Open DNS filters the internet at the router rather than the device. This is different in two ways - one positive and one negative. The positive is that Open DNS filters all devices on your network and there is not software to install per device. This makes it harder to tamper with. The negative is that once a device leaves your network and goes to another internet connection [a phone taken to work or school] the filtering is no longer in place.  Open DNS is Free.
Kido'z is a different option, it is not a filter, it's a whole new internet access option targeted at roughly 0-7 year olds. Kido'z is a alternative browser which provides pre-screened content. Instead of giving children access to the whole internet, this browser gives children access in a fun way to pre-selected content. One of the highlights of this is a pre-screened video collection instead of YouTube.

At our house we use the free version of x3watch. We use Open DNS and have Google Images added to our black list of website addresses. We also use Kido'z as a browser for our younger children. We choose to block Google Images.

Remember this part 1 of this article. Part 2 will be a few days from now; in that I'll talk about how to parent our children towards discernment.