When Time Magazine Shows Us the Way

This came from the December 5, 2006 issue of PreachingNow, the newsletter of Preaching.com. If Christian leaders are reading this, and taking it seriously, do they realize that the same is true of adults? Clever video clips and Christian comics will not mature our people. God's Spirit has historically used Scripture to do that. There is no reason to think that our culture is so unique that we can jettison 2000 years of precedent and come up with a better idea.

Youth Ministry: More Substance, Please
Youth ministries are seeing a hunger for more Bible-based worship and teaching and less fun and games, according to an article in the Nov. 6 issue of Time magazine.

"Believing that a message wrapped in pop-culture packaging was the way to attract teens to their flocks, pastors watered down the religious content and boosted the entertainment," according to the Time article. "But in recent years churches have begun offering their young people a style of religious instruction grounded in Bible study and teachings about the doctrines of their denomination. Their conversion has been sparked by the recognition that sugar-coated Christianity, popular in the 1980s and early 90's, has caused growing numbers of kids to turn away not just from attending youth-fellowship activities but also from practicing their faith at all."

The move to more substantive programming is seeing results in growing numbers and changed lives. Time reports: "Bible-based youth ministries at churches around the country are enjoying a similar success. At Shoreline Christian Center in Austin, Texas, youth pastor Ben Calmer vetoed the purchase of a pool table because it didn't further his goal of increasing spiritual nourishment. Instead he started a class in which the young people wrestle with such difficult questions as, 'Why doesn't God answer all prayers?' No one seems to be suffering from the absence of the pool table. Youth membership has doubled, to 160, during the 18 months Calmer has been in charge. Similarly, teens at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md., are embracing the big doses of Bible study youth pastors now recommend. Teen ranks have tripled, to nearly 600, since the mid-1990s." (Click here to read the full article.)

Wrapping Up 2006, continued - software

Logos Bible Software has become a staple of mine in study. When they upgraded to version 3, I sprung for the Scholar's package, which while duplicating some of the resources I already had, made enough sense because of what it added.

GreatNews is my blog reader. It is free, easy to use, does not crash, has not choked on any feed that I give it, and did I mention it is free? Great program.

With the cost of storage so inexpensive, and having been bitten by not having backups of my data in the past, two programs have been useful in my own backup strategy. I have two internal hard drives in my PC - one for programs and data (divided into a couple of partitions so that data is on a different partition than my programs) and one for backup. Then I have an external backup drive as well. I use SyncbackSE, a shareware program from 2BrightSparks. They have a freeware version, but I paid for the full program and am glad that I did. When I run SyncBackSE, it notes any changes to my files and copies the newer versions to my backup drive. I use this daily. When I want to back up my main partition, which includes only my operating system and program files, I use Acronis TrueImage. Many people use Norton Ghost, but I have been using TrueImage (now in version 10) through 4 incarnations. If I try out some freeware that I don't like, it takes me 3 minutes to restore my main partition. I've also created some baseline installations of my operating system (just basic, with drivers, with programs, etc.) so that in the event of major program changes I can restore to what is essentially a fresh install of my system. A little obsessive? Maybe, but lose your data and you'll wish you had been more obsessive.