Important Toronto Team Forms

Here are some VERY important forms for Toronto Team members.  Please download these and pay close attention to the packing list.

Packing List for Toronto Team

Here is a form I need the information of for EVERY team member ASAP.  I apologize for how last-minute this is, but please download the form and either email/message me your answers or fill out the form and bring it by the church office by 3:00pm on Wed. July 28th.  Thanks!

Somali Tutoring form

Are You an Addict?

“When you hear the word ‘addiction,’ what comes to mind? Perhaps you immediately think about the horrible consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. But health care professionals are adding a new type of addiction to the list. Technology addiction among young people is on the rise, and it’s having a disruptive effect on their ability to concentrate and learn. The study of 267 British students ages eleven to eighteen found that 63 percent feel they are addicted to the Internet, and 53 percent feel addicted to their mobile phones. It appears that early access to these devices might be partially to blame. 62 percent first used or owned a computer before the age of eight, and 80 percent first used the Internet between the ages of five and ten. 58 percent first used a mobile phone between the ages of eight and ten. The message for parents is obvious. Teach your kids to use technology by setting clear limits and rules, thereby preventing addiction.” (Directly quoted from CPYU)

Here’s a great article on Psychology Today entitled “Techno Addicts,” all about the power and reality of addiction to technology.  If you want to learn and study more about this as a legitimate addiction-diagnosis, read this article.

Here are a few basic questions (compiled & edited from a few different sites) to ask yourself to determine whether or not you might have a problem:

  1. Do you sometimes bring your laptop when you sit on the toilet?
  2. Do you eat most of your meals in front of the computer or television?
  3. Do you have 3 or more social media accounts?
  4. When something exciting (or depressing) happens to you, is your first thought “I need to share this online!”
  5. Do you check your email or Facebook account more than once an hour?
  6. If your house was on fire, would you run in to save your laptop or cell phone?
  7. Can you text faster than you can write with a pen?
  8. Do you forget how to address an envelope?
  9. Are there more than two portable devices within reach right now?
  10. Do you have more than five tabs on your browser open right now?
  11. Do your online-only friends know personal things about you that your real-life friends don’t know?
  12. Do you spend more time online than you actually spend with people?
  13. Have you ever left events early so you can go online?
  14. Is the idea of a weekend without your cell phone an internet completely terrifying?
  15. Do you stay up past 2am at least once a week because you’re online or playing video games or watching television?
  16. Are there more computers in your house than there are people?
  17. Have you ever wished people would stop talking to you so you could text more or go online?
  18. If you left your house without your cell phone, would you turn around to get it even if you were only going to be out for an hour?

If It’s Not Fun, Why Do It?

As my family and I were driving home last night from a short vacation I saw a bumper sticker that caught my attention.  I’ve basically had this blog post written in my head since then.  Here’s the bumper sticker that got me thinking:

This bumper sticker made me think of the Cheryl Crow song “If It Makes You Happy” that was popular when I was a teenager.  I just looked it up on YouTube and saw that Miley Cyrus recently sang it with Cheryl Crow… somehow that just seems very fitting.  The chorus of the song says, “If it makes you happy it can’t be that bad; If it makes you happy then why the hell are you so sad.”

This type of thinking sounds good: Do fun stuff and avoid what you don’t like.  The only problem comes when the police sirens chase you down for breaking traffic rules (“But officer, I don’t like stopping a lights, I have places to go!”) and the electricity in your house goes out because you don’t like paying bills.  Again, something that sounds good just doesn’t work.

Life isn’t all fun all the time… even if you’re a Christian and have the joy of the Holy Spirit.  The times we experience the deepest joy from God are often the times when we’re the most uncomfortable, while the times we crave joy are the times when we’re totally “secure” and “safe.”  So if you want to live with a “All fun all the time” lifestyle, then be prepared for very little joy… because God gives it to those who are willing to live bold, sometimes risky, always faith-filled lives.

Having “The Talk”

Yeah… that one.

Parents, have you talked to your son or daughter about sex?  Who do you want to be the one to teach him/her, because if you aren’t then I can guarantee you someone is.  By the time your son or daughter is in Junior High there’s a lot of talk about sex in those hallways and locker rooms.  Even if your kid is pretty sheltered and doesn’t figure it out from someone else, he’s going to be really confused (but too embarrassed to talk to you about it).

Here is a series entitled “Talking About Sex,” which is filled with good, short, biblical, practical articles on Focus on the Family’s website.  I strongly recommend them to help you navigate the challenging waters of “The Talk.”  Of course, if there are other resources you think would be helpful, please feel free to share the link or name of the resource as a comment below.

Sermon Summary: Marks of a Godly People

“Marks of a Godly People”
Matthew 5:1-12
Rev. Mike McGarry
Emmanuel Baptist Church, July 4 2010

As we celebrate our country’s independence, we hear many references to “God Bless America” and prayers for us to become a “Christian nation.”  But what would a “Christian nation” look like?  The Beatitudes were given by Jesus to his disciples as a description of what He wants his followers to look like, and I believe they continue to serve as excellent “Marks of a Godly People.”

Jesus said “Blessed are:”

  1. The Poor in Spirit: Do you consider yourself in need of the grace of Christ to pay the debt of sin you owe to God, or are you relying on your own “goodness” and righteousness to pay that debt yourself?
  2. Those who Mourn: Have you received the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, through faith in Jesus Christ?  Are you relying on Him for your comfort?
  3. The Meek: Are you the center of your world?  Are you teachable and humble, or are you always right?  Remember that no one enters the Kingdom of Heaven as a King, only as a servant.
  4. Those who Hunger and Thirst After Righteousness:  Are you living on spiritual junk food, or on the Word of God?  Do you regularly and honestly pray “Thy will be done?”
  5. The Merciful:  We hear a lot about love and grace and mercy, but are you willing to truly and at great sacrifice to your own personal comfort and possessions identify with the miserable in their misery?
  6. The Pure in Heart:  Are you relying on “clean hands” (seeming Christlike) to give you a “pure heart” (actually being Christlike)?  Who are you when no one’s looking?
  7. The Peacemakers:  Does peace or conflict follow you around?  Do you live as if other people’s actions against you are more serious than your actions against God (if you won’t forgive them, then you are!)?
  8. Those who are Persecuted Because of Righteousness:  Have you fallen into the trap of compromise or an unhealthy desire to be relevant?  Do you look more like the world or like Christ?

As you hold these “Marks of a Godly People” up to yourself, how do you measure up?  How do we, as a country, measure up?  If we want to talk about America as a Christian nation but the Church in America isn’t even accurately described by the Beatitudes, then maybe we need to spend more time hungering and thirsting after righteousness ourselves rather than blasting politicians and the media.

Where Your Treasure Is…

Here’s a link to a great article on the importance of tithing entitled “Giving My Dinosaurs.”  In the article, Suzanne Gosselin cites a 2008 Barna Study on Tithing which says, “Several groups stood out as highly unlikely to tithe: people under the age of 25, atheists and agnostics, single adults who have never been married…. One percent or less of the people in each of those segments tithed in 2007.”

Only 1% of people under the age 25 tithe… the same percentage as atheists and agnostics.  It’s not that I’m completely surprised by this, but in some ways I am.

Parents, teach your children about tithing now, while they’re young. If they receive a weekly allowance, teach them to give 10% in the offering tray each week (we can even get your son/daughter their very own tithing envelope if you request one!).  I wish my parents taught me to be a giver when I was young, it sure would’ve made it a lot less painful to start tithing when I had a “real” job.

Jesus was right (shocking, I know!), “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).  Let’s start teaching the next generation to store up treasure in heaven from a young age!