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july 2009 // U.S.A. $2.95


July

09

ec magazine contents

volume 15 • number 4 / ecmagazine.blogspot.com

“The work of Jesus was not a new set of ideals

or principles for reforming or even revolutionizing society,

but the establishment of a new community,

a people that embodied forgiveness,

sharing and self-sacrificing love in its rituals and discipline.

In that sense, the visible church is not

to be the bearer of Christ’s message, but to be the message.”

—Stanley Hauerwas

6 famous trios

throughout

history

by ec staff

check out all the famous trios we

dug up just for you!

8 What’s the deal

with devotions?

by Mandy Crow

confused about ec’s devotions?

Here’s your guide!

16 finding God in

american History

by jerry Faught

Faith is part of the history and

traditions of America. Investigate

its impact in this story.

30 community Q&A

by Jennifer Denning

meet Nick, a teen in North Carolina

who’s striving to live according to

God’s idea of community.

40 Indescribable


by michael cummings

Confused about the concept of

God’s three parts? So were we

until we read this.

4 5 Summer Movie

Madness

by ec Staff

Want to wow your friends with your

movie knowledge? Here’s how.

4 6 Summer fun

by Hannah Wakefield

From roller coasters to beaches,

we’re here to help you beat

summer boredom.

56 Modesty for girls

AND guys

by jen mCcaman/will Snipes

this his-and-hers article will show

you that modesty is about more

than dressing like a grandma or

trying to keep your thoughts pure.

60 Second chances

by Amber mushegan

god forgives freely. Do you?

Read this article to find out why

forgiveness is so important.

26 Living in Community

by Jennifer Denning

We were created to live in community because it’s a reflection of the

character of God. Do you?

This month's student contributors:

A big thank you to Austin Simmons, Kendra Stahl, Laura Cole, Morgan Mikulencak, Aimee Osborn,

Hannah Kirchner, Will Johnston, Lerinda Baham, Lotti Bublitz, D.D. Smith, Chelsea Csuvilla, Jonathan

Cants, Chris Vasquez, Elias Hernandez, Abby Jones, Mallory Crayne, Lacie Lane, Rebekah Kissinger,

Abbie Garner, Maria Morslender, Zephaniah Pilcher, Kaitlyn Turvaville, Kelsey Powell, Kaylen O’Neal,

Paige Stout, Shiane Roten, Cordeija Carter, Danielle Fink, Lady Tatum, Justin Vogtsberger, Kayla Drew,

Kristi Phillips, and Chris Dupree. Thanks for making us your FUGE track time!

cover photo: Scott Greenwalt / makeup: Mary Elizabeth Long

ec magazine jul 2009 | 3


departments

volume 15 • number 4 / ecmagazine.blogspot.com

July

09

1 Contents

3 writer's block

4 Statements

you said it; we printed it.

4 Q u e s t i o n

of the Month

5 The connection

by Chansin bird

Intentional community is never

boring. Get Josh’s perspective on it.

9 Father

Devotions: Week of July 5

by Kaylan Christopher

god wants you to know Him as a

loving Father.

15 Life:Essentials

Take a break, then learn about

improving your soccer skills.

19 His Father’s Son

Devotions: Week of July 12

by David Burnette

He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Trust Him.

.

2 5 Fun:Miscellaneous

read this for everything random

and July-related you ever wanted to

know!

31 Counselor

Devotions: Week of July 19

by Amy Keys

you are not alone, no matter how

often you feel that way.

37 In Your own words

“Forever Friend,” a student poem

by Sheryl Pang

38 S n i p p e t s

& Soundbites

Goofy information to brighten your

day: doughnuts, the world’s longest

ear hair, and wedgies used to fight

crime!

43 Campus Connection

by Maria Nuguid

Use ec’s weekly devotion themes to

lead a Bible study on the Trinity with

these helpful tips.

48 f i n d i n g c o m m u n i t y

in CHile

by chansin bird

god is all about community among

His believers all over the world!

49 M y s t e r y

Devotions: Week of July 26

by Randy Fields

learn more about how God loves you

in three Persons.

55 Mk Corner

By Ashley Brents

ashley loves the Japanese in Jesus’

name.

62 Mandisa on Modesty

by Tifany Borgelt

Get Mandisa’s take on modesty in the

spotlight.

63 music connection

by Kevin Sparkman

Read reviews of a few recent

album releases you need to hear.

64 The Parting Shot

Don’t forget the final five!

essential connection

Production & Ministry Team

editorial Project Leader Mike Wakefield

content Editor Mandy Crow

production Editor Emily Cole

graphic designer Jen Showalter

Student Ministry Specialist

Sherry Spillman

National Student Ministry Leader

Paul Turner

Send questions or comments to:

Mandy Crow, Editor

One LifeWay Plaza

Nashville, TN 37234 0174

or ec@lifeway.com

Management Personnel

Senior Director,

Student Ministry Publishing Jimmy Hester

Director,

Student Ministry Scott Stevens

Director, Publishing,

LifeWay Church Resources Gary H. Hauk

Advertising

One Lifeway Plaza Msn 136 • Nashville, Tn 37234

phone (615) 251-2289 / fax (615) 251-2039

magazineadvertising@lifeway.com

media kits lifeway.com/magazines/media

director, magazine advertising & circulation

Rhonda Edge Buescher

advertising production Scott Hancock

Printed in the United States of America

essential connection, JULY 2009, (ISSN 1078-

2788; Item 005075081) is published monthly by

LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern

Baptist Convention, One LifeWay Plaza,

Nashville, TN 37234, Thom S. Rainer, President.

© 2009 LifeWay Christian Resources of the

Southern Baptist Convention. For inquiries,

visit www.lifeway.com, or write LifeWay Church

Resources Customer Service at the above

address. For subscriptions or subscription

address changes, visit www.lifeway.com/

magazines, fax (615) 251-5818, or write to the

above address. For bulk orders shipped to one

address, visit www.lifeway.com/magazines, fax

(615) 251-5933, or write to the above address.

Annual individual or gift subscription, $24.95.

Bulk orders shipped to one address when

ordered with other literature, $1.50 each per

month, plus shipping. Please allow six to eight

weeks for arrival of first issue.

To investigate the possibility of advertising in

essential connection, visit www.lifeway.com/

magazines.

Advertisement Disclaimer: This magazine includes

paid advertisements for some products

and services not affiliated with LifeWay. The

inclusion of the paid advertisements does not

constitute an endorsement by LifeWay Christian

Resources of the products or services.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the

Holman Christian Standard Bible ® , copyright

© 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible

Publishers. Used by permission.

Do you really KNOW God?

Take a look at the plan of salvation

Know God. To be sure you are going to

heaven, it is essential that you know God

in a personal relationship. Without this

relationship, you are completely separated

from Him (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).

Name jesus as your lord and

savior. You must believe that Jesus is who

He said He is—God’s Son. As the perfect, sinless

Son of God, only Jesus can forgive your

sin (Rom. 10:9-10).

Writer's Block

Community.

I grew up in a small town in a simple house with one brother.

I didn’t have to share a room with anyone. My brother and I shared a bathroom, but

it was big and had two sinks. If someone in the family was being overly annoying,

you could find solace and privacy in your room, in the basement, or somewhere else

where no one would bother you. That was my idea of perfect community. No one was

really messing up my stuff; I didn’t have to share, at least not all that much; and my

brother mostly kept his mess contained in his room.

Then, I went to college. Suddenly, I was sharing the world’s tiniest room with

a girl I’d never met who was even more shy than me. She was neat and a good

roommate, but living with her was an experience. I didn’t always get to watch what

I wanted on TV. I couldn’t invite my friends over whenever I wanted. I sometimes

had to be a friend when all I wanted to do was curl up on my bed and think about

my problems. I had to share a bathroom with girls who weren’t so great at cleaning

up after themselves, and the guys down the hall often woke me up in the wee hours

of the morning playing some crazy hallway game they’d dreamed up. It was crazy; it

was chaotic; it was community.

And you’ve probably noticed that community is the big theme of this month’s

issue of ec magazine. That’s because God Himself is community. He is God in

three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And if community is such

an integral part of who He is, shouldn’t it be a vital part of the way we live? The New

Testament is very clear: Jesus called us to be a community of believers who live life

completely differently from everyone else. Christ followers are to be known for their

crazy love, their radical forgiveness, and their desire to live lives that don’t blot out

His light. Jesus has called us to live as a community of believers, broken and needy as

we are, to display His love and His glory to the world.

You’ll learn more of what that means in Jennifer Denning’s story, “Living in

Community” on page 26 and the profiles on pages 30 and 48. Confused about the

Trinity? Read Michael Cummings’ story on page 40. Wondering why forgiveness is

such a big deal? Check out Amber Mushegan’s article, “Second Chances,” on page

60. Dig deep into the truths of God’s Word this month, learning to relate to Him as

Father, Son, and Spirit. Let go and understand that not understanding everything

is OK. God is big enough, good enough, and awesome enough to handle anything

we can throw at Him. Let go this month. Let Him show you what it means to live in

community with Him, with other believers, and with the world.

Own up to your sin. Take personal

responsibility for your sin and confess it to

God. He will hear your prayer and forgive

you of your sin. Forgiveness is a free gift

—all you have to do is ask (Rom. 6:23; Eph.

2:8-9; 1 John 1:9-10).

Walk a different direction. The Bible

calls this turning away from your sinful

choices repentance. To repent really just

means to go in a different direction. As a

Christian, you will want to live differently

(Luke 13:3; Eph. 5:8).

4 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 5


Statements

Have something to say? Send us an e-mail at ec@lifeway.com, write ec letters at One Lifeway

Plaza MSN 174, Nashville, TN 37234-0174, or stop by ecmagazine.blogspot.com.

Reader wants to share

her talent

I have a few poems that I would like

you to read, but I don’t know how to

message them to you. I just started

out on Facebook today. My dream

is to have a poem featured in the

magazine.

Lindsay on Facebook

(Lindsay, thanks for finding ec’s fan

page on Facebook and taking the

time to write on our wall. We would

love to read your poetry. Getting

it to us is actually pretty easy. You

can e-mail us at ec@lifeway.com

or godlifefun@gmail.com. If you’d

rather send us hard copies and use

the U.S. Postal Service, just send the

Overheard

poems to Mandy Crow, One LifeWay

Plaza, MSN 174,Nashville, TN 37234.

Include your contact info when you

send us the poems, including your

mailing address. If we like your work

and decide to use it in an issue of ec,

we’ll send you a letter and other information

in the mail. Keep writing, and

please, share your talents with us!)

Fan offers article ideas

I don’t want to sound like a wannabe,

but the blog you posted about my

problem [with anxiety] was so helpful.

My friends thought it was great,

and we were wondering if you would

do some article about that topic for

people who read the mag but don’t

have Facebook. I want everyone who

has this problem to have inspiration

to keep going with this wonderful

advice. Thanks so much!

Madison on Facebook

(ec: We are so humbled that you

turned to us for advice about dealing

with anxiety and that the post we

put on the blog featuring Scripture

passages spoke truth into your life.

It’s humbling to be used by God!

Your idea about doing an article in

an upcoming issue of ec is a good

one. We’re currently planning several

months in advance and always want

to include articles about stuff you’re

actually dealing with. So let us know

if you have more ideas for articles,

because we crave your input!)

just in from the Facebook fan page:


“I love your magazines! Our church orders them

every month, and they inspire me.” —Nikki


“Are you sure that’s the right address because

I would really like to know that Web site.”

—Michaela*

things we wonder about: “I love the new cover and

everything in it!” —Jennifer, on Facebook

*Michaela’s right, guys! On page 5 of the March issue, we printed a Web address that no

longer works. We’re trying to find out what happened to www.thirstnomore.org. Sorry!

Question of

the Month

What’s your favorite

way to serve other

people?

“I like just to be their friend and

then when they need someone

I am the first one to give them

some help. ”

Rebekah, on ec’s facebook

fan page

“My favorite ways to serve others

is just random acts of kindness!

They’re so much fun and people

don’t expect them, so I love

seeing their faces when I do a

random act [of kindness] for

them!”

Anna, on Ec’s Facebook Fan

Page

“By helping with anything I can

do.”

Clayton, on ec’s facebook

fan page

Read more answers at:

http://cli.gs/S5LShn

Next month’s question:

What’s the worst

assignment you’ve ever

gotten at school?

So just what are you thinking? Here at ec

magazine, we want to know. Each month

you’ll find a question we want your input

about. So check it out and e-mail us with

your thoughts! We can’t wait to hear from

you!

© istockphoto / Scott Griessel

Living

the Truth

God is Three. Three in One. The

Father loves the Son who loves the

Holy Spirit. There is a relationship

involved. We, created in God’s

image, have been made relational

beings as well. We were made to

connect not only with God, but with

other people.

Just the Facts

Josh Corlew cares a great deal about living in

rich, soul-satisfying community with others.

He isn’t famous, and he doesn’t have all the

answers. But he’s trying to take Jesus’ words seriously,

and he has experienced a different way

of living because of it. For one year Josh lived

with two families and two other single guys.

The nine of them shared the space of half of a

quad-plex. It wasn’t very roomy. They each came

Word study

Trinity. A word meaning

threefold; the way we

have chosen to refer to the

relationship between God

the Father, Jesus the Son,

and God the Spirit. The word

does not appear explicitly

in Scripture, but the concept

is clear. The Trinity is

difficult to understand, but

at its very core it helps us to

understand that God loves

community and wants to

relate to us through relationship

rather than religion.

god the connection

from wealthy backgrounds but chose to live as a

racial minority in a low-income neighborhood.

Why?

“I used to live according to what most people

consider the American dream. I aimed for a

high-paying career so I could have my own

place and complete control over my surroundings.

I spent all my time and money in ways

that were self-indulgent.”

Though that’s the way many people live,

Josh realized it wasn’t in line with his faith.

He’d been living a decent Christian life by most

standards, but when he examined himself, he

wasn’t pleased. Investing everything into himself

just left him empty.

So Josh and some other people decided to

find a house, move in together, and share everything,

similar to what the early Christians did

in the Book of Acts.

“Can you really put nine people together in

that small of a place and still love each other

and call yourself Christian at the end of it? The

answer was a resounding yes. Spiritually, I grew

the quickest and most I’d ever grown.”

They didn’t have to plan a worship service or

Bible study meetings. Around the dinner table,

conversation would naturally turn to Scripture

and how it related to life. Living with people

who cared about God, love, and their neighbors

motivated Josh to embrace a radical faith.

“I’m effective in my walk if I’m with people

doing the same thing. For me to really grow, I

have found that I need the constant interaction

with other people who are also trying to live out

their faith. Left to my own, I sit back and ignore

all the problems that are around me.”

What about you?

getting started • By chansin bird

◼ Are there people in your life with whom you can

be completely honest and who will be honest with

you? How might you foster such a relationship?

◼ Think of someone you admire who has a strong love

for others. How is that person living out his/her

faith, and what can you do to follow the example?

◼ Do you know what Jesus said about loving other

people? Look through the Gospels for examples.

◼ How have you watered down God’s Word with

excuses and rationalization? What changes will you

allow God to make in your life this week?

Read

The Irresistible

Revolution:

Living as an

Ordinary Radical

Shane Claiborne

(Zondervan, 2006)

“Seeing Claiborne’s

interpretation of

Scripture . . . and of

the current inclination

of Christianity

in America was

encouraging and

convicting.” Josh

Browse

⊲www.rebaplace

fellowship.org,

⊲www.thesimple

way.org, and

⊲www.churchofthe

sojourners.org

All of these are Web

sites of organized

intentional Christian

communities.

Listen

Mockingbird

Derek Webb (INO

Records, 2005)

“He is one of the most

prophetic musical

artists I’ve ever

heard. It is about

re envisioning the

Church.” Josh

Send us your answers! Find us on Facebook

6 | jul 2009 ec magazine

or visit ecmagazine.blogspot.com.

ec magazine jul 2009 | 7


8

famous trios

throughout history

by the ec staff

all illustrations © istockphoto

Three. It may not seem like

that important of a number, but

there sure are a lot of good (or

at least interesting) things that

come in threes. And since you’ll

be learning about the Trinity in

this month’s devos, we thought

we’d kick the month off with

a lighthearted look at some

famous trios.

The Jonas Brothers

(Kevin, Joe, and Nick)

Three Little Pigs

Three Stooges

(Larry, Moe, and Shemp—and sometimes Curly)

Three Wise Men

The Three Musketeers

(Athos, Porthos, & Aramis)

Three Blind Mice

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato

The Three Amigos

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Huey, Duey, and Luey

Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria

Past, Present, and Future

The Three Tenors

(Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, and Luciano Pavarotti)

8 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 9


ea h me Y ur wa s!

0 | j L 2 09 ec ma az n e

to b ne r t em?

ace o God nd i e?

JoHn 6 27 28

EpHE i nS 1 3 14

Hi i pi nS 3 1 - 1

pSA m 6 : -3

m ttH w 6 3 - 3

H brEwS 1 6

4 | j l 2 09 ec ma az n e

o k ow G d t e F t e in n

n i a e r l t ns p ou a e

o s en t me w h H m and

k ow w a ’ i po t n to im

O e wa to o ha i to e d

H s W rd O r s g e t o s

w l h l yo r ad h ou h he

B b e n a ear

• E ra 1 N hem ah 6

• A ts 1 7

What’s the deal

with devotions?

By Mandy Crow

Sometimes, honestly, it

irks the ec staff when we

hear ec referred to simply

as a devotional magazine.

Not because it isn’t, but

because we’ve worked very

hard to make it more—it’s

a magazine for your whole

life, we say. We make

sure ec includes articles

and information to guide

you along this journey of

faith, along with the daily

devotions.

But the point of ec magazine—if we

had to pick just one—is to help you start

and develop a deeper relationship with

Christ. If we put out an issue of the

magazine that didn’t encourage you to

dig into God’s Word and experience His

still, small voice for yourself, would we

be doing anything worthwhile?

Scripture is one of the ways God

has chosen to speak to us, urge us to

action, and show us what it means to

live holy lives. The Bible changes lives

because it is God’s Word. It is truth. And

we want our readers to dig deep into

Scripture—to read it for yourselves and

let it change your lives. We can’t do that

for you, but we can give you devotions

that guide you in that pursuit.

And if ec magazine can be a part of

helping just one of you have a deeper

relationship with God, we want to!

So, maybe you’re ready to dig into

Scripture and find out what God has to

say to you. Maybe you want to use ec to

help you do that. Well, then this is the

article for you!

First of all, we at ec urge you to

set aside some time each day that is

devoted solely to reading Scripture and

prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you

understand God’s Word. Let God speak

to you through the Bible and show you

how to take the truths you learn and put

them into practice in your life.

As someone who didn’t get the

importance of daily Scripture reading

until college, I can attest to you that this

is vital. Don’t depend on your student

minister, your pastor, your parents, or

anyone else to tell you what Scripture

says. Read it. Study it. Think about it.

The Bible has something to say about

your daily life. Let the truth of Scripture

take root in your heart now while you’re

young and let it guide your steps. That

way, you won’t look back on blessings

you missed because you didn’t take the

time to read God’s Word and hear what

He had to say.

Next let’s talk about the basics.

Understand that ec’s devos are

arranged by week and start on Sundays.

Therefore, the first week of devotions

begins on

the first


Sunday of

the month,

whether it

falls on the

first day

or not. The

previous

month’s issue will take care of the daily

devos for the first week of the month in

such cases.

Also know that all of ec’s devotions

are now dated and there are devotions

or application of Scripture for each

day of the

month. Our

reading

plan for

each

week is

simple. You

read the

Weekend

devotion

on Sunday

and read

and think

U

1

Weekend > 7/5

teach me

Your W a y s

Moses sa d to the Lord

Look You have to d me

Lead th s people up but

You have not l t me know

whom You w ll end wi h

me You sa d know you

by name and you have

a so found favor n My

ight —Exodus 33: 2

R ad ex dus 3 12 7

ve you e eR gone h ou h

a m z ? I s c nf s ng It

au es ou to sk W er do I o

n w? nd W o kn ws he way u ?

t s fu l f un xp c ed wi ts u ns

nd s r r se ar und v ry c r er

The l er we et he mo e

on u i g God way and fe s

o r ey b com s Our ea ch or w o

He i and w at He an s us o do an

som t mes eem i e a ma e We ave

qu s i ns so we m ke a d c s on nd

ch o e a pa h to o ow W f nd ho e

an we s a ou d t e co n r ut un

i to no h r f rk n t e pa h wh re

mo e qu s i ns a a t nd so n

n er od y s S r p ur pa sa e

E en wh n he d dn un er tand

G d s wa s M se s i l u re d ed

a d so gh God ut s y ng P e se

Th s s t e s me k nd o pr ye we

eed o p ay d i y E ch d y p es n s

a ew tw t or u n n un am l r

a h to o l w a ew de i on to

m ke Don you w nt o kn w th t

he er on w o knows t e way

th ou h t e maz is u d ng y ur

s ep ? F r H m o t a h you H s w ys

you ave o a t a ly now H m

Ma y pe p e don kn w od

be au e hey ren se k ng H m or

s en in t me w th H m ev ry ay

The ma e o seek ng H m may

s em ov rw e mi g at im s but e

s no un t a na le r u kno ab e

He es es o ha e a de p u he t c

re at o s ip w h you one n wh h

ou w l se k H m nd s y S ow me

our w ys a d I w l f l ow!

H

Monday > 7/6

God wants to know you.

T

k

h nk ba k to when y u w e a k d o you emem er he im s y ur

d d r nd a her a e ch r or ome o h r ma e f g re n y ur i e wa ed

n o a oom? l be some f hem c r i d a ce t in u ho i y a d p es nce i h

th m w ev r t ey w nt D d you a e re p ct or ho e p op e? id ou wa t

Re d th ou h ex dus 3 18 23 nd c re u l co s der e se 19

W at o yo th n Mos s me nt w en e a ked od o sh w H s g o y?

W y i i th t h co l n t ee he

He sa d w l cause l My

goodne s to pass n f ont of

o you v r d s re o eel t e

r se ce f F t er od mo e?

h nk ac on he men ou e

e p c ed o had c os bo d wi h

in fe Do ou h nk od d s r s o

ha e a c o e i t ma e e a i n h p

wi h u as H s h dr n?

M se wan ed o f l y k ow God nd pe t me n H s g o i us p e en e n

o ay s cr p u e pa s ge Mo es r l t on h p w th G d appea s v al nd

n ma e M ses e med o be v ry omf r ab e w th od so mu h t at e

s mp y as ed G d t e qu s i n he d b en d i g to ask to ee G d s g o y God

d dn t h de r m M s s or g ore i re ue t He a sw red M se and ho e to

ho or Mo es equ st b t n H s own w y and n H s own me

T e po nt? G d de i es o h ve an n ma e re a on h p w th you e wan s

to i p ay H s lo y as mu h as ou an h nd e and l ow y u to now mo e

and m re f H s c ar c er T i k ab ut t ke t i : G d ori i a ly r a ed he

r l t o sh p b tw en a at er nd h s h ld o be a eep on ec on Some

of ou ave he i d of ad t at ou n w x er e ce ha k nd o co ne t on

w th a d ot e s of ou d n t No ma t r wha k nd o dad ou h ve God he

F t er d s r s t sh w im e f c e r y o you He w nt to now y u i t ma e y

a d ha e t e k nd o r l t on h p w th ou t at a a he has w th h s n or

d ug t r But ou h ve o be w l ng

you nd w l proc a m the

name Yahweh efo e you

I wi l be g ac ous to whom

I wi l be g ac ous nd w l

have omp ss on on whom

I w l h ve comp ss on

—Exodus 3 19

about the Monday through Friday

devotions on their respective days.

How is

God like

a Father

in your

l i f e?

Then comes the journal page. This

is intentional. We’ve given you a lot to

consider during your weekly devotions,

and we don’t want to do anything that

encourages

journal Week of july 5

f a t h e r

Known > 7/11

n h s we k s de oti ns y u ve s u i d who G d i as at er t s t e way

He as cho en o r l te o us a d He c ls a h one f us n o a F t er

h ld e a i ns ip i h H m B t wh t do s hat m an And ow do s t

a f c yo r da y i e? et ta e t i week de o i ns a t le eepe :

h nk bou yo r G d as F t er nd wh t we e l ar ed bou H s

h a t r Do y u be eve e i l v ng mer fu and omp ss o ate?

W y or w y no ? W i e do n some m re ha a t r s i s hat ou now

o be ru of G d t e F th r Now ch o e to e i ve t a ou Him

A e th e t in s n yo r i e hat ou eed o c n es to our a he so

t at e can o g ve ou Are ou ea y to u r nd r yo r i e o H m n

ob d en e a d t us ? Som t mes h s s a d i y d c s on )

Mak a l st W at re ome s e i i way you an pur ue G d t day

th s w ek t is mon h nd h s y ar Star s mp e ra th s i ht ow:

God ea h me Y ur w ys

Going

Deeper

To ig ee er n o who G d

t e Fa h r i and ow to

pu su Hi ways ea :


Abba meansf at h e r ordaddy i n

Aramaic And it’s what God allows us

to call Him See Galatians 4 6


Personal Space

Prayers thoughts

& questions:

Read Through

the Bible

t

s

3

Wednesday > 7/8

It really did hurt him more

than it hurt you.

A

you to be

only hearers

of the Word.

Our plan at

ec is not to

ask you to

simply read

Scripture,

but to

engage in

it. We want

the truth of God’s Word to change

your attitudes, behaviors, and lives.

That’s why we included a journal page

when we redesigned the magazine. Our

plan is that you read and meditate on

the “Known” section of the journal page

as your Saturday devotion. The idea is

that you simply take some time out of

the week to look over the big themes

and truths of that week’s devos. We

want you to ponder those truths, apply

them to your life, and let God’s Word

and the Holy Spirit spur you to action.

Finally, you need to understand

why ec’s devotions are written the

way they are—with an intro, questions

about the Scripture passage, and a

final thought. The opening is designed

to help you start thinking about that

day’s topic; the questions make you dig

into the Bible for yourself; and the final

paragraph drives home the truth we

want you to understand when you close

the magazine and go about your life.

Our hope is that we’re giving you tools

that you can use,

both now and all

throughout your

journey

of faith. ec

s a chi d you pRobably expeR enced d sc p i e n some s nse r ght?

Mo t of us h ve—whe her hat was a pank ng be ng gro nded i t ng

n me out or ometh ng e se And orma ly when you we e di c p in d t was

be ause ou did ometh ng wr ng How do you emem er f el ng a t r you were

d s ip ned? D d you want o go and mess up a ai ? W re you s rry or y ur acti ns?

Then the Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed

“Yahweh—Yahweh is a compassionate and g acious

God slow o anger and rich in faithfu love and truth ”

—Exodus 34 6

today read th ough exodus 4:5 9 nd ake a car ful ook at ve se 6

Make a l st of he cha ac er s ics u ed in his pa sage o esc ibe God

What s ands out o you the mos ?

Have ou een God act n any of hese ways n your i e? How id th t m ke

y u ee ? Wha did t tea h you about H s cha ac er and His lan f r your i e?

What s God s at i ude towa d si ?

For you he w rd f ther may make y u r nge or t may br ng back w et

memor es of a c ose el t onsh p w h y ur dad i her way h s pass ge of

S r ptu e sc eams G d s our F the ! So w at does hat ac ua ly mean?

G d i st t ld Moses hat He was compa si nate gr ci us ai hf l ov ng

or iv ng nd me c ful But He went on o ay th t He wa ts our ho ness

wh ch means He won t i nore our in He s de in tely a fa her of or iv ness

and sec nd hanc s but He an t nd w n t ver ook when we choo e o l ve n

oppos ion to H s st ndar s

Does t at sound i e a d d o you? Su e it do s! We of en th nk of God as his

gra dfa he -f gu e w th a ong wh te be rd i t ng on a ock ng cha r n h aven

j st wa t ng o st i e s down f we m ss up B t that s n t the rue p ctu e of

God s cha ac er H s ch rac er s to l ve org ve and ble s us for ur obed ence

and f i hfu ness

week of july 5

Photos this section: © istockphoto / eileen groome, mike manzano, kristina castagnola, gene chutka & jamie carroll : p. 9, © david sacks / getty Images

father

Personal Space

You may have a lot of names for your dad. You may even use

different ones for different situations, like Father when he’s

trying your patience, Dad when you want to talk, and even

Daddy when you want something.

But those words aren’t just names; they’re also descriptions of the relationship

you have. Fathers are supposed to be the people who protect us, take care of us,

know all our faults and still love us, and encourage us to be the best people we

can be.

Some of us are lucky to have great relationships with our dads. Others of us

don’t—and not for any lack of trying. Earthly fathers mess up, forget, and make

mistakes, but that doesn’t change the fact of the relationship. Your dad is your

dad. Always.

So, why—in a world of messed-up father/child relationships—would God

choose to reveal Himself to us as Father? Because there’s an intimacy in that

relationship. Like the best earthly dads, God loves us in spite of our mistakes. He

wants to protect and guide us. He wants us to be the people He created us to be.

He sees the best in us and wants the best for us. He loves us in spite of all the

times we’ve failed and doesn’t hold those against us. God wants to know us as

His children—not just His followers. The Trinity may be confusing, but this fact

isn’t: God wants to know you, love you, take care of you, and dream dreams for

you. God wants to be your Father.

10 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 11


Weekend > 7/5

U 1

teach me

Your Ways

Moses said to the Lo r d ,

“Look, You have told me,

‘Lead this people up,’ but

You have not let me know

whom You will send with

me. You said, ‘I know you

by name, and you have

also found favor in My

sight.’” —Exodus 33:12

Read Exodus 33:12-17.

Have you ever gone through

a maze? It’s confusing! It

causes you to ask, “Where do I go

now?” and “Who knows the way out?”

It’s full of unexpected twists, turns,

and surprises around every corner.

The older we get, the more

confusing God’s ways and life’s

journey becomes. Our search for who

He is and what He wants us to do can

sometimes seem like a maze. We have

questions, so we make a decision and

choose a path to follow. We find those

answers around the corner, but run

into another fork in the path where

more questions await—and so on.

Enter today’s Scripture passage.

Even when he didn’t understand

God’s ways, Moses still surrendered

and sought God out, saying, “Please

teach me Your ways!”

This is the same kind of prayer we

need to pray daily. Each day presents

a new twist or turn, an unfamiliar

path to follow, a new decision to

make. Don’t you want to know that

the Person who knows the way

through the maze is guiding your

steps? For Him to teach you His ways,

you have to actually know Him.

Many people don’t know God

because they aren’t seeking Him or

spending time with Him every day.

The “maze” of seeking Him may

seem overwhelming at times, but He

is not unattainable or unknowable.

He desires to have a deep, authentic

relationship with you—one in which

you will seek Him and say, “Show me

Your ways, and I will follow!”

Monday > 7/6

God wants to know you.

Think back to when you were a kid. Do you remember kthe times your

dad, grandfather, a teacher, or some other male figure in your life walked

into a room? I’ll bet some of them carried a certain authority and presence with

them wherever they went. Did you have respect for those men? Did you want to

be near them?

Read through Exodus 33:18-23 and carefully consider verse 19.

What do you think Moses meant when he asked God to show His glory?

He said, “I will cause all My

goodness to pass in front of

you, and I will proclaim the

name Yahweh before you.

I will be gracious to whom

I will be gracious, and I will

have compassion on whom

I will have compassion.”

—Exodus 33:19

Why is it that he couldn’t see the

face of God and live?

Do you ever desire to feel the

presence of Father God more?

Think back on the men you’ve

respected or had a close bond with

in life. Do you think God desires to

have a close, intimate relationship

with us as His children?

Moses wanted to fully know God and spent time in His glorious presence. In

today’s Scripture passage, Moses’ relationship with God appears vital and

intimate. Moses seemed to be very comfortable with God, so much that he

simply asked God what he’d been dying to ask: to see God’s glory. God didn’t

hide from Moses or ignore his request. He answered Moses and chose to honor

Moses’ request, but in His own way and in His own time.

The point? God desires to have an intimate relationship with you. He wants

to display His glory, as much as you can handle, and allow you to know more

and more of His character. Think about it like this: God originally created the

relationship between a father and his child to be a deep connection. Some

of you have the kind of dad that you now experience that kind of connection

with, and others of you don’t. No matter what kind of dad you have, God the

Father desires to show Himself clearly to you. He wants to know you intimately

and have the kind of relationship with you that a Father has with his son or

daughter. But you have to be willing.

How is

God like

a Father

in your

life?

2

w

Tuesday > 7/7

Need a

second

chance?

Maybe it was a collectible,

expensive electronic, or

family heirloom. Think back to when

you broke something very valuable—

something that belonged to someone

else. How did the owner react? Was

he or she angry or upset with you?

How did you react? What would you

have done differently if you could do

it again?

The Lo r d said to Moses,

“Cut two stone tablets like

the first ones, and I will

write on them the words

that were on the first

tablets, which you broke.”

—Exodus 34:1

Read through Exodus 34:1-4 and

focus in on verse 1.

Do you recognize that these tablets

were the Ten Commandments?

Because you know this, how valuable

do you think they were to God? Why?

Why do you think God gave Moses

a second chance to redeem himself

after he broke the tablets in anger?

What does this teach you about

God’s forgiveness in your life today?

For what do you need forgiveness

and a second chance?

The tablets were important to God

because He made them as a physical

reminder of what it meant to live

according to His ways. He had an

important message for the Israelites,

but Moses broke the first set of

tablets in anger. God could have

cursed Moses, struck him dead, or

replaced him with another leader.

But, instead, He gave Moses a second

chance and asked him to create two

new stone tablets. This also says a lot

about how God the Father treats us as

His children when we mess up. We’re

going to mess up, but He doesn’t

reject us or give up on His plans

for our lives. He is a God of second

chances. Even for you.

3

Personal Space

How well

do you

obey?

Are you

abusing

His grace?

Wednesday > 7/8

It really did hurt him more

than it hurt you.

As a child, you probably experienced discipline in some sense, right?

Most of us have—whether that was a spanking, being grounded, sitting

in time-out, or something else. And, normally, when you were disciplined, it was

because you did something wrong. How do you remember feeling after you were

disciplined? Did you want to go and mess up again? Were you sorry for your actions?

Then the Lo r d passed in front of him and proclaimed:

“Yahweh—Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious

God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth.”

—Exodus 34:6

Today, read through Exodus 34:5-9 and take a careful look at verse 6.

Make a list of the characteristics used in this passage to describe God.

What stands out to you the most?

Have you seen God act in any of these ways in your life? How did that make

you feel? What did it teach you about His character and His plan for your life?

What is God’s attitude toward sin?

For you, the word “father” may make you cringe, or it may bring back sweet

memories of a close relationship with your dad. Either way, this passage of

Scripture screams, “God is our Father!” So, what does that actually mean?

God first told Moses that He was compassionate, gracious, faithful, loving,

forgiving, and merciful. But He went on to say that He wants our holiness,

which means He won’t ignore our sin. He is definitely a Father of forgiveness

and second chances, but He can’t and won’t overlook when we choose to live in

opposition to His standards.

Does that sound like a dad to you? Sure it does! We often think of God as this

grandfather-figure with a long, white beard, sitting on a rocking chair in heaven,

just waiting to strike us down if we mess up. But that’s not the true picture of

God’s character. His character is to love, forgive, and bless us for our obedience

and faithfulness.

12 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 13


Personal Space

“You will never know the joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates

in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son.”

—Kent Nerburn

You

are His

joy.

4

How authentic are you with God?

Thursday > 7/9

God wants it all.

5

Do we have any overachievers out there? You know who I’m talking

about. It’s the student who always waves her hand in class to answer

the teacher’s question as if she’s working air traffic control. It’s the guy who

goes above and beyond in his chores to please mom and dad—even tackling

the disgusting jobs no one else wants. You know exactly to whom I’m referring.

Think about every area of your life. Are you that person in any of those places?

“He has told you men

what is good and what it is

the Lo r d requires of you:

Only to act justly, to love

faithfulness, and to walk

humbly with your God.”

—Micah 6:8

Read Micah 6:6-8 and really pay

attention to verse 8.

According to these verses, what

does the Lord require of us?

Now pick these things apart and

match them to your life. Are you

fulfilling the requirements?

Where could you improve?

Look over the list of sacrifices and displays of devotion listed in this passage

as you consider verse 8. How does what God wants compare to these things?

What does God want from you?

God doesn’t require you to slaughter a lamb and prepare it as a burnt sacrifice

for your sins each week. He doesn’t ask you to shave your head and commit

your whole life to serving Him in a monastery in the remotest parts of Europe.

He won’t ever ask you to quote at least 100 verses of Scripture back to Him each

night before bed.

He doesn’t need your big, over-the-top displays of devotion. He just wants

you—ALL of you. Micah told us exactly what God wants from you. More than

anything else, He wants your holiness, obedience, loyalty, and love while

walking in a close, daily relationship with Him.

Friday > 7/10

Don’t be fake.

You go to church every

Sunday. You sit in the

uncomfortable chair or pew for at least

an hour. You sing the same hymns and

songs you did last week. You hear a

sermon. You leave and go home. Next

week, you come back to do it all again.

Does this sound like your worship

routine, or do you go deeper?

“God is spirit, and those

who worship Him must

worship in spirit and truth.”

—John 4:24

Take a look at John 4:21-24. Then, go

back and reread verse 24.

What does it mean to worship in

spirit and truth?

Is your worship rehearsed from week

to week? Why or why not?

How can you worship God intimately

in spirit and truth?

What steps will you take in order to

do so?

Jesus had this intense conversation at

high noon one day with a Samaritan

woman who was drawing water from

a well. He confronted her about her

worship style, saying, “You worship

guessing in the dark . . . It’s who you are

and the way you live that count before

God” (John 4:22-23, The Message).

Jesus said the Father wants

“those who are simply and honestly

themselves before Him in their worship

. . . [They] must do it out of their very

being, their spirits, their true selves,

in adoration” (John 4:23b-24, The

Message).

People get too caught up in worship

styles—what to do and what not to do,

what to sing or not to sing, and what to

wear. These minor things have actually

caused churches to split. God cares

about these trivial things—but more

than those, over everything, He simply

desires your pure, unfiltered praise and

adoration. He just wants the true you to

worship the true Him.

14 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 15


journal: Week of july 5

father

Known > 7/11

In this week’s devotions, you’ve studied who God is as Father. It is the way

He has chosen to relate to us, and He calls each one of us into a Fatherchild

relationship with Him. But what does that mean? And how does it

affect your daily life? Let’s take this week’s devotions a little deeper:

Think about your God as Father and what we’ve learned about His

character. Do you believe He is loving, merciful, and compassionate?

Why or why not? Write down some more characteristics that you know

to be true of God the Father. Now, choose to believe it about Him.

Are there things in your life that you need to confess to your Father so

that He can forgive you? Are you ready to surrender your life to Him in

obedience and trust? (Sometimes this is a daily decision.)

Make a list. What are some specific ways you can pursue God today,

this week, this month, and this year? Start simple. Pray this right now:

“God, teach me Your ways.”


Personal Space

Prayers, thoughts,

& questions:

© istockphoto

Footwork

Frenzy

It’s summer and that means more time for

soccer for a lot of you. It’s no secret that foot

skills are important in the game of soccer.

As a middle school soccer coach, one of the first

things I look at during try-outs is a player’s foot

skills—how they handle the ball with their feet.

And you can bet that if I’m evaluating a player

on his or her footwork, so are other coaches

around the country. So maybe you want to take

your soccer game up a notch this summer? One

way to do so is to use your time off from school

to work on the fundamentals of footwork.

life essentials

around the ball to disguise the direction you plan

to go.” It could also be described as: “using the

different surfaces of your feet to control the ball.”

Being a good soccer player involves more than

just being able to kick the ball. Being able to control

the ball allows you and your team more time

to develop the perfect play.

unde rstand th e e le m e nt

of surpri se .

Your ability to disguise the direction you plan

to go is one of your greatest weapons in soccer.

It has everything to do with the development of

your foot skills. Players such as David Beckham

and Ronaldinho are fun to watch because of their

highly developed foot skills. Moves like the scissor

and step-over are deadly weapons on the soccer

field. They come from developing foot skills.

Work it out.

Set up two cones 10 yards apart.

5 mins: dribble between cones cutting with the

inside of your left foot

5 mins: dribble between cones cutting with the

inside of your right foot

5 mins: dribble between cones cutting with the

outside of your left foot

5 mins: dribble between cones cutting with the

outside of your right foot

w h o ’ s

playi ng?

Tournaments

leading up to the

2010 World Cup

include:

• FIFA U-20 World

Cup: Sept. 24–

Oct. 16 in Egypt

• FIFA U-17 World

Cup: Oct. 24–Nov.

15 in Nigeria

• FIFA Beach

soccer World

Cup: Nov. 16-22

in United Arab

Emirates

Going

Deeper

To dig deeper into who God

the Father is and how to

pursue His ways, read:

John 16:27-28

Ephesians 1:3-14

Philippians 3:12-21

Psalm 63:1-3

Matthew 6:32-33

Hebrews 11:6


Abba means father or daddy in

Aramaic. And it’s what God allows us

to call Him. See Galatians 4:6.

Read Through

the Bible

To know God the Father in an

intimate relationship, you have

to spend time with him and

know what’s important to Him.

One way to do that is to read

His Word. Our suggestions

will help you read through the

Bible in a year.

• Ezra 1–Nehemiah 6

• Acts 1–7

Know what it i s .

Tim Betts, a former assistant coach for Trevecca

Nazarene University and a current staff coach

for Brentwood Soccer Club in Brentwood, Tenn.,

defines foot skills as “movements of your feet

Sleep Study

Learning to let go, trust

God, and relax is something

you learn over a lifetime.

But you can do something

about getting a good night’s

sleep now. Like:

• Develop a bedtime

routine. Doing the same

things each night forms a

habit and tells your body

it’s time to wind down.

• Have a bedtime. Yes,

you’re almost grown, but

bedtime is still important.

Get up at the same time,

too. It helps!

• Exercise in the afternoon.

Exercise is always

good, but exercising in the

afternoon will help your

sleep patterns.

© istockphoto / jason stitt

The answer you need to hear:

How do I let go and relax?

Remember the Sabbath? The Fourth

Commandment requires us to take time

out of our week for a sabbath for rest. This

is an act of obedience on our part, but also

an acknowledgement on God’s part that

sometimes we just need to slow down and

Have fun.

Players with great foot skills stand out, but we

hope you’re playing because you love the sport

and enjoy the challenge.

by Greg Joiner

relax. So, He instructed us to take time to

enjoy Him and the blessings He’s given us.

But how do you put a little sabbath into every

day? Here’s how:

Spend time seeking God. Spending time

worshiping, praying, reading the Bible, and

listening for God’s wisdom and direction

gives a sense of peace and a clarity that can

be found nowhere else. Then, enjoy life.

God is glorified when we enjoy the world He

created and the relationships He’s given us.

Take time to rest and be realistic about

learning to let go. Take a few minutes every

day or set aside one evening per week to

simply rest. Once this habit has been

established, it will be hard to break. Our

bodies and souls were designed to need and

desire rest. Don’t let your life run you!

by Rachel Carrozziere

16 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 17


Finding God in

American History

By Jerry Faught

At of our country’s 44th president,

the beginning of the year, all of

America witnessed the inauguration

Barack Obama. As he took the oath of office, he

declared that he would execute faithfully the

duties of his office with God’s help.

© istockphoto / john kropewnicki

The last phrase of the oath—“so help me God”—reminded

me of my trip to New York City just a few weeks earlier. I had

traveled by bus to Ground Zero to see the work being done on

the new World Trade Center. I then walked across the street

to visit St. Paul’s Chapel. St. Paul’s, built in 1766, miraculously

survived the collapse of the twin towers on September 11,

2001. For eight months after the tragedy, this church served

as a place for volunteer relief workers to eat and rest. Inside

the chapel, I saw pictures of many who died in the terrorist

attack. A feeling of deep sadness came over me as I looked at

the pictures and other memorabilia.

That’s when I saw a sign indicating that George

Washington, our nation’s first president, had been inaugurated

in St. Paul’s in 1789. I walked over to a bench called

Washington’s Pew where he knelt to pray during his inaugural

service. As I exited the church, I surmised that the pew

and the chapel itself stood as a monument of hope in a confusing

and chaotic world.

That experience reminded me that God shows up in a big

way throughout the history of our nation. Let’s discover a

few of the significant ways that our nation has expressed its

dependence upon God.

Religious freedom doesn’t mean no religion

Virtually all the men involved in the founding of our nation

believed in God. Although some were Deists who believed that

God did not intervene directly in the world, most of the founding

fathers were Protestant Christians. These leaders realized,

however, that making Christianity or any other religion the

official or established religion of the nation would not be

healthy for religion or the

state. That is why Congress

passed the First Amendment

to the Constitution which

prohibits the government

from establishing or favoring

any religion and protects the

free exercise of religion in

our land.

Although we Americans

have prized religious freedom,

this has not prevented

us from making public

statements about our reliance

upon God. Take out a

coin from your pocket or

purse, and you will see the

motto “In God We Trust.”

These words were placed on

United States coins

America’s religious freedom

has not prevented us from

making public statements

about our reliance upon God.

during the terrible days of the Civil War. Religious fervor

among Americans had increased during the crisis of war.

Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many

appeals from pious persons throughout the country urging

the government to honor God on United States coins.

Congress passed an act on April 22, 1864 that allowed “In

God We Trust” to first appear on the 1864 two-cent coin. The

phrase later appeared on other coins.

The phrase “In God We Trust” does not only appear on

coins. In 1956 President Eisenhower approved a law passed

by Congress declaring “In God We Trust” to be our national

motto. A year later the phrase was found on paper money

for the first time when it appeared on the one-dollar silver

certificate.

Another famous American phrase mentioning God comes

from the pledge of allegiance and is recited daily by millions

of schoolchildren around the country. The pledge was originally

written in 1892 by a Baptist minister named Francis

Bellamy (1855-1931). In 1953, the Roman Catholic fraternal

service organization, the Knights of Columbus, mounted a

campaign to add the words “under God” to the Pledge. At the

© istockphoto / lee pettet

18 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 19


Personal Space

Trying to remove God

from American history is

a misrepresentation of our

nation’s history.

week of July 12

His Father’s Son

time the nation found itself opposing the spread of atheistic

communism in the world. The country was engaged in the

so-called Cold War with the Soviet Union. Partly in response

to these events, Congress passed a bill which was signed

into law by President Eisenhower in 1954 to add the words

“under God” to the pledge. President Eisenhower said at the

time: “From this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren

will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village

and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our

people to the Almighty.”

Our fervent dedication

How to pray

So you understand the

importance of praying for

our country’s leaders but

want some tips on how

to do so? We’ve got some

ideas:

• Take a look at today’s

political headlines. Pray

for President Obama to

approach these things

with wisdom.

• Pray for the First Lady,

Michelle Obama, and the

president’s family. Pray

that they will be godly

parents to their children

and teach them to rely on

God’s truth.

• Check out the White

House Web site

(www.whitehouse.gov) or

your state government’s

Web site and get a list

of government officials.

Pick a name and pray

over that leader for a

week. Pray for God’s

wisdom, guidance, and

peace to be a part of his

or her decision-making.

Thank God for seeing the

big picture we can’t see.

Ask Him to remind these

leaders of the things that

are important to Him and

close to His heart.

to God has been memorialized

repeatedly in our

nation’s capital. Take a tour

of Washington D.C. and

reflect in amazement at the

many references to God on

famous buildings and monuments

throughout the city.

Take the Capitol building

for example. In the House

chamber is the inscription,

“In God We Trust.” Above

the gallery door stands a

marble relief of the great

lawgiver Moses. At the east

entrance to the Senate

chamber are the words

Annuit Coeptis. This Latin

phrase, which also appears

on our paper currency,

roughly means that God has

favored our undertakings.

In the chapel, a beautiful

stained glass window

depicts George Washington

in prayer under the inscription

“In God We Trust.”

The Supreme Court building,

dedicated in 1935, has

a number of images of Moses with the Ten Commandments.

These can be found at the center of the sculpture over the

east portico of the Supreme Court building, inside the actual

courtroom, engraved over the chair of the Chief Justice, and

on the bronze doors of the Supreme Court itself.

Our treasure hunt could continue, but hopefully you

have discovered that God is our national treasure. In the

end, Americans should understand that while separation

of church and state is vital to protect our religious

freedom, trying to remove God from American history is a

misrepresentation of our nation’s history. ec

Praying for one nation under God

How much time do you spend praying for politicians? The Apostle Paul

instructed Christians to pray, “ . . . for everyone, for kings and all those

who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life”

(1 Tim. 2:1b-3a). Elected or appointed officials of our nation, whether

at the local, state, or national level, serve the people.

Besides the fact that we have a Christian responsibility to pray for

our leaders, we should desire to pray for those who serve us in the

political arena. We should pray for our president and his family to be

able to enjoy quality time together even though the demands of the

job are enormous. We should pray for him to have wisdom in making

decisions, especially ones that will have a profound impact on people

in our nation as well as individuals around the globe.

We should pray often for our Congressmen and women, our governor,

our mayor, and state legislators as well. Politicians pass laws that

often have a powerful bearing on our quality of life. The prayers we

send to God on their behalf carry significant weight.

© istockphoto / stephen finn

Photos this section © istockphoto /dori o’connell, nick schlax, andrzej burak, matthew hertel, and dmitriy tereschenko

She’s the spitting image of her dad. He’s his father’s son.

When someone looks like his or her dad, we love to pull

out every available cliché to describe the situation.

Sure, those phrases are trite and overused, but there’s a bit of truth

in them. You tend to take on the characteristics and mannerisms of

the important people in your life, dads included. You’re a testimony

to your father because your life and the way you live it say something

about Him.

God hasn’t left us to figure out what He’s like all on our own. He

sent His own testimony of Himself into the world in the form of

Jesus, His Son. Jesus, the Son of God and the second Person of the

Trinity, lived on this earth, facing the same fears, trials, and temptations

we face. And He lived to tell His Father’s story. Most of all, He

lived out His Father’s love.

Jesus is the eternal God. He is His Father’s Son, and therefore,

loves you even when you fail. He is the Messiah, the Son of the living

God, the One who makes an eternal difference. Does He make an

eternal difference in your life? Are you your Father’s child?

20 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 21


weekend > 7/12

Do you

know him?

He is the image of

the invisible God, the

firstborn over all creation.

—Colossians 1:15

Read Colossians 1:15-17.

when you hear someone

mention the name “Jesus,”

what comes to mind? A baby in a

manger? Or maybe just a religious

feeling? Regardless of who you are, it

is crucial that you figure out who this

Jesus is. Your forgiveness, joy, and

eternity are at stake. The good news

is that God’s Word gives us a clear

answer.

In Colossians 1:15 we learn that

Jesus Christ is the very image of God,

showing us exactly what God is like.

In fact, He is the divine Son of God

who came in the flesh. It may surprise

you to learn that everything in the

universe was created through Him

and for Him. Even now, the world

holds together because of the living

Lord Jesus. Mountains, oceans, and

all people were created for the glory

of Jesus Christ.

Some people claim to know God

and love Him while rejecting Jesus.

Our passage makes it clear that

this is not possible because God has

revealed Himself perfectly in the

person of His Son. The Father not

only created and sustains the world

through Jesus, but He also saves

sinners through Him. The Son of

God became a Man in order to save

people like us who deserve God’s

punishment.

Amazingly, Jesus Christ, the

Creator and Lord of the universe, died

for our sins on a cruel cross and rose

from the dead that we might have life.

This is the Jesus of the Bible. Do you

know Him?

You have to let

Jesus be Lord

of your life.

It’s a decision

YOU have to

make.

1

monday > 7/13

Is He at the center of your life?

whom do you look up to in our culture? Do you often wish that others

thought more highly of you? What do you think that says about your heart?

Read Colossians 1:18-23 and look closely at verse 18.

He is also the head of the

body, the church; He is the

beginning, the firstborn

from the dead, so that

He might come to have

first place in everything.

—Colossians 1:18

What does it mean that Jesus is to

have the “first place in everything”

(Col. 1:18)?

What does it mean that all of God’s

fullness dwells in Jesus?

What does it say about the

greatness and worth of Jesus’

sacrifice in light of the fact that He

is fully God?

Does He have first place in everything in your life? Why or why not?

Our culture tells us constantly that the way to happiness and meaning in life is

to have better self-esteem. After all, they say, you need to learn to love yourself

because it is all about you. This may sound appealing, but it completely goes

against God’s design. No wonder it leaves us so empty in the end.

God has designed creation so that His Son, Jesus Christ, would have first

place in all things. This makes sense, for Jesus is fully God. The simple truth:

God never intended for us to be the center of the universe. When we get a

glimpse of His glory, we begin to realize how unworthy and sinful we are. Yet, in

His grace, God has provided the way for us to be forgiven of our sins because of

Jesus’ great sacrifice on the cross. Everything we need in life is found in Him, for

He is Lord of all.

So what does that mean for your daily life? If Jesus is Lord of everything in

this world, He is Lord of your life—all the drama, decisions, dreams, fears, and

doubts. But you have to let Him be Lord of your life. Have you submitted to

Jesus as Lord?

2

tuesday > 7/14

Here’s how to get a life.

why do you think some students live to get a “rush” from things like

drugs, adventure, and relationships with the opposite sex? Do you think

these things will bring true and lasting pleasure? Where do you look in life for

true enjoyment and fulfillment?

Life was in Him, and that

life was the light of men.

—John 1:4

Read John 1:1-5. What does verse 4

mean to you?

Who is the Word in these verses?

How was He involved in creation

according to verse 3?

According to these verses, what is life? From where does it come?

Who gives it?

Does it surprise you that physical and spiritual life come from the Word

of God? Why or why not?

Where have you found yourself searching for life other than from Christ?

Do you love the latest thing in technology? You will soon discover that you are

fighting a losing battle. Just when you think an iPod ® could not possibly hold any

more songs, they come out with a new one that holds twice as many. Your iPod

then becomes an ancient artifact. Many people take this same approach to life.

Because of our sinful nature, we are always looking for something or

someone other than God to satisfy us. You’ve seen it in yourself and your

friends, in that constant search for meaning through money, sex, popularity,

whatever. But the One who created us offers true life.

Jesus is referred to as the Word of God in today’s passage, and it is through

Him that God created the world. Both our physical and spiritual lives depend on

Him. Other things may offer us a short-lived sense of security and excitement,

but eternal life comes only through Jesus Christ. Only He truly satisfies us

forever.

3

Personal Space

wednesday > 7/15

He’s Got

power.

when was the last time

you went to the doctor? Have

you ever felt like you needed more

than physical healing? Does it ever

seem like no one can handle all the

problems that overwhelm your life?

So that what was spoken

through the prophet

Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“He Himself took our

weaknesses and carried our

diseases.” —Matthew 8:17

Read Matthew 8:14-17. Reflect on

verse 17.

What does this passage teach you

about Jesus’ attitude toward those

who are physically sick? Toward

those who are spiritually sick?

What does this episode in Jesus’

ministry tell us about His mercy and

His power?

Is there a sin in your life that seems

too great for Jesus to overcome?

How does this passage speak to that?

It is rare that we see someone who is

both powerful and merciful. But this

is exactly what we see in Jesus Christ.

Matthew 8:17 refers to Isaiah 53:4, an

Old Testament prophecy about a man

to come who would take upon Himself

the sickness and sin of His people. This

prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 8:14-17, the situation

surely seemed grim. However, Jesus’

healing touch was more than just a

“hang-in-there” pat on the back. It was

a touch of divine mercy and power.

In fact, the woman was completely

and instantly healed! Jesus Christ

has power and authority over all of

creation, but His greatness does not

mean that we are insignificant to Him.

He cares for the weak and sinful. He

has the power to deal with sickness—

physical and spiritual. He can free us

from the spiritual effects of our sin.

True satisfaction is in Christ alone.

22 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 23


Personal Space

“Jesus is God spelling Himself out

in language

that men can understand.”

—S.d. Gordon

5

Friday > 7/17

Jesus did it

on purpose.

How would you answer if

someone asked you about your

purpose on earth? What about Jesus—

what was His purpose on earth? Does

it affect yours? How so?

“For the Son of Man has

come to seek and to save

the lost.” —Luke 19:10

Don’t you understand?

Jesus came for you!

4

Jesus came for you. Trust that.

Thursday > 7/16

It’s not a popularity contest.

when was the last time you visited a hospital? How would you describe

your emotions in light of what you saw? What do you think would lead

someone to work in such an environment?

When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Those who are

well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t

come to call the righteous, but sinners.” —Mark 2:17

Read Mark 2:13-17 and contemplate what Jesus said in verse 17.

Who were the people Jesus spent time with in these verses? Why is that

important? What does it say about His attitude toward us?

Who are the “sick” ones Jesus referred to in verse 17?

Why was it surprising that Jesus called on Levi to follow Him?

Do you see yourself as sick or well? Why is it better to admit our sickness?

Do you regularly confess your sins to God, asking for His mercy and

forgiveness and admitting your need for Him?

Those who are privileged to grow up with Christian parents in Christian

churches often forget the truth taught in today’s lesson. If we have received

salvation through Jesus Christ, we need to remember that we have done nothing

to deserve it. In fact, Jesus came to us because we were sick and sinful. He came

because we needed healing and forgiveness.

Every person on earth needs one thing from Jesus—mercy. Remembering

this should keep Christians humble and grateful. We should see non-Christians

with compassion, since we are dependent on the same mercy. Jesus did not only

come for people who are moral, popular, athletic, or smart, for there is no one

who is righteous (Rom. 3:10). He came to show His love and His mercy to sinners

like us, no matter what our background. He reaches out to the least deserving—

to the people like us, like you. He loves you. It doesn’t matter who you are or

what you’ve done.

Read Luke 19:1-10, stopping to think

about verse 10.

Why was it a big deal that Jesus

spent time with Zacchaeus,

a tax collector?

Do you know people who seem

unlikely to be saved? How would

you use this passage to counsel a

friend who feels too sinful to

follow Jesus?

What was Jesus’ purpose in coming

to earth?

Why is it important that Jesus

stayed focused on His purpose?

Jesus never ceases to amaze us in the

way He interacted with people. He

refused to let the world influence the

way He acted. In today’s passage, the

crowd complained when Jesus went

to stay with a sinful tax collector.

After all, why would Jesus associate

with someone who got his money by

cheating others?

The fact of the matter is that we

are just like Zacchaeus. While we

may not be rich or cheat people out

of money, we too have sin that needs

to be forgiven. As sinners, all of us

need the salvation that only Jesus

gives. He knows the particular sins in

our own lives, yet He extends grace.

After we receive this grace, we should

feel compelled to extend it to others.

The good news is that no matter how

sinful and lost a person may be, Jesus

came “to seek and to save the lost”

(Luke 19:10). And His purpose is now

our purpose.

24 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 25


Personal Space

fun miscellaneous

journal: Week of July 12

His Father’s Son

Going Deeper

Build on what you have learned

this week by reading the

following passages:

John 17:1-3

Isaiah 53:1-12

Philippians 2:5-11

1 Timothy 1:12-17

Prayers, thoughts,

& questions:

statue of andrew jackson in jackson square, new orleans © istockphoto

The War of 1812

actually ended

in 1815. Andrew

Jackson became

an American

hero during the

war when he led

troops to victory

in New Orleans.

© istockphoto / david h. lewis

Betsy Ross: Fact or Fiction?

Some historians doubt her role in creating the first

flag; others say it’s true. We may never know the full

story. Consider what we do know:

She did sew a flag. Betsy Ross was a

seamstress in Philadelphia. Legend and affidavits

from her family say that she was visited by a small

flag committee (including George Washington) in

June 1776 and asked to sew the nation’s flag. No

invoices or concrete proof exist, but we do know

from records that were maintained that Ross did

indeed sew flags during that time period.

Congress didn’t adopt a flag until

later. An official flag design wasn’t adopted until

July 1777, but the wording of that resolution is very

unspecific. It appears that Congress was adopting a

design already recognized as the national symbol.

For more info on the debate, visit http://www.

ushistory.org/betsy/index.html.

Known > 7/18

Jesus. For many of us, He may be the Person of the Trinity to whom we

find easiest to relate. He knows what it’s like to be human, to walk on this

earth and dream, hope, plan, and doubt. He is the only way to salvation

and, sometimes, we find ourselves believing our own misconceptions

about Christ. So, what misconceptions have this week’s devotions

revealed to you? How have this week’s lessons caused you to think

differently about Jesus?

How might your new understanding affect the way you share the gospel

with others? How will this affect the way you relate to Jesus?

What things in your life have you failed to submit to the Lordship of

Jesus Christ? What steps will you take to submit them this week?

How will you respond when others claim that Jesus was only a good

moral teacher? What passages from this week assure us that He is so

much more?

How have you allowed the idea that you must somehow earn Jesus’

love and affection to creep into your relationship with Him? What steps

will you take this week to rest in His grace and trust Him at His word?

?

To have a relationship with someone, you

have to spend time with him or her. How

much time do you spend with Jesus?

Read Through

the Bible

If you want a deeper

relationship with Christ, a good

way to start is by reading His

Word. Follow our suggestions

and you’ll read through the

Bible in a year.

• Nehemiah 7–Job 3

• Acts 7–10:48

Playlist facts about freedom songs

Song: “God Bless America”

Written: in 1918 by Irving Berlin and revised by him in 1938

Facts: Known as the unofficial national anthem, “God Bless America”

is a prayerful song often sung at sporting events and has gained in

popularity since the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Berlin, who was

Jewish, wrote the song while serving in the U.S. Army. He decided to

give royalties from the song to a fund called The God Bless America

Fund, which in turn distributed the money to the Boy Scouts and

Girl Scouts. The song was first performed by singer Kate Smith on

Armistice Day 1938, and quickly became her signature song. Berlin’s

song is sometimes preferred over the more musically complex “Star-Spangled Banner.”

Song: “The Star-Spangled Banner”

written: in 1814 (as a poem) by Francis Scott Key

Facts: Key wrote his poem during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814, a

key battle in the War of 1812. Key, a lawyer, had been working with the

British for the release of a prisoner. He was successful, but the British

feared Key had heard their battle plans, and forced him and others

to wait out the bombardment aboard a ship downstream from Fort

McHenry, where the battle raged. When he saw the American flag

flying proudly above the fort on the morning of September 14, 1814, he

knew that America had not surrendered. He wrote the poem on an envelope in his pocket!

Song: “America the Beautiful”

Written: in 1893 by Katharine Lee Bates

Facts: Bates was an English professor at Wellesley College. In 1893,

she took a train out to Colorado Springs, Colo., to teach a summer

school session. As she rode from the East Coast to Colorado, the

sights inspired her. She wrote a poem about everything she saw, and

it was first published in 1895. The preferred tune is one written by

Samuel Ward and published as a hymn called “Materna.” That tune

was first applied to Bates’ poem in 1904. Ward had passed away in

1903, though, so he never knew the renown his music would one day achieve. Many have

lobbied Congress to elevate the song to the status of national hymn or even to serve as the

national anthem, equal to or in place of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

If you’re a baseball

fan, you’re probably

gearing up for the

MLB’s All Star game.

This year, the 80th

All Star game will

be played at Busch

Stadium in St. Louis,

Mo., on July 14. This

will be the fifth time

the game has been

played in St. Louis,

though the last time

was in 1966 the

first season that the

Cardinals played in old

Busch Stadium. Will

your favorite baseball

player be among the

All Stars? Let’s hope!

26 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 27

© istockphoto / valerie loiseleux


photos by

Scott Greenwalt

Living in

Community

by Jennifer Denning

Go back in time to the year A.D. 420. A Syrian monk

at that time decided to live out his faith in God by

isolating himself from the rest of the world. Other people

have done this throughout history; we refer to them as

hermits. But Simeon—who became known as Saint

Simeon Stylites or Simeon the elder—took the idea of

isolation to what we might call the extreme.

He chose to live away from people, perched atop a

pillar, at first 6 feet tall, later extended to about 50 feet.

There he resided for 39 years, exposed to the weather,

sitting or standing in a small space where only a railing

prevented him from falling to his death. His only access

to the world around him was a ladder, which his followers

used to bring him just enough food to survive. 1

Reflecting on the way Simeon lived his life, you’ve

got to admire his discipline and self-denial. This guy

took his faith seriously and sacrificed radically to show

his dedication to God. Still, you have to wonder if his

extreme devotion was a little misguided. His example

raises the question, “Does God really intend for His

people to live unto themselves, all alone?” The words of

Scripture indicate otherwise.

28 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 29


uilding

community

in your life:

• Get involved in

a church. We’re

not talking about

getting your name

on the membership

list. We’re talking

about serving,

getting to know

people, and

getting involved

in ministry. You

cannot read the

New Testament and

come away with

the idea that being

an active part of a

church body is not

important. It is!

(continued on page 29.)

God’s Design

for Us:

Community

Nineteenth-century

poet John Donne

famously wrote, “No

man is an island.”

He went on to

describe people as

parts of a continent,

all interconnected.

Just as Europe

becomes smaller

when a mere clod of

its land washes out

to sea, so each of us

is diminished, he

said, by the death of

any individual. We

are part of the whole

and belong to each

other. 2

This analogy

accurately portrays

God’s intent for

His people. From

the moment God

created the first

man, He declared,

“It is not good

for the man to be

alone” (Gen. 2:18).

Even God

Himself is one in

three. The three Persons of the Trinity—

God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy

Spirit—exist in relationship with one another.

Made in His image, we too are meant to live

in relationship with others. Before His death,

Jesus prayed for His followers that they might

be one as He and the Father are one (John

17:11).

The Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes

echoes the idea that people need each other.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 says: “Two are better than

one because they have a good reward for their

efforts. For if either falls, his companion can

lift him up; but pity the one who falls without

another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down

together, they can keep warm; but how can

one person alone keep warm?”

This concept of living in community with

others, particularly with other believers, is

fleshed out in New Testament teachings about

how Christians make up the body of Christ.

Like the various parts of our physical bodies,

we are interdependent; we need each other

(1 Cor. 12:12-26). We are to be concerned for

each other. When one of us suffers, that suffering

should bring pain to the rest. When

one of us receives some honor, everyone in the

body should be glad about it.

Within the body, we all have different spiritual

gifts, like teaching, preaching, or serving,

to name a few. These are given by God so His

people can work together to build up the body

of Christ (Eph. 4:11-13). As members of Christ’s

body, we are instructed to love one another

deeply and to serve one another (1 Pet. 1:22;

4:8-10), to carry each others’ burdens and to

help those caught in sin (Gal. 6:1-2). God’s

design for the community of believers is that

we be a support network, an accountability

system, a team, and a family. His intention is

that we do life together, not alone.

What Community Looks Like:

Sharing

During the 1960s, a phenomenon of

American culture was the commune. In communes,

people (your grandparents call them

hippies) lived together in groups, sharing all

their resources. Their way of life was aimed

at rejecting materialism and getting back to

nature. 3

But communes neither originated nor

ended with hippies. They have been present

throughout history in different cultures, and

there was an element of communal life in the

early church. Acts 2:42-47 describes the early

church life as one in which members held

their possessions in common, sharing with

one another and selling what they owned to

help those among them in need. They met

together daily for meals, fellowship, teaching,

and prayer.

Living in community with other believers

today doesn’t necessarily mean sharing all

property. But it certainly does demand a

willingness to share with those among us in

need. It also involves hospitality—opening

not just our homes but our hearts and lives to

one another. That means being transparent,

or real, with others, sharing and caring about

what’s going on in our lives.

Living in community also means being

inclusive. Galatians 3:27-28 says, “For as many

of you as have been baptized into Christ have

put on Christ. There is no Jew or Greek, slave

or free, male or female; for you are all one in

Christ Jesus.” God welcomes all who receive

Christ into His family. No one is excluded,

and no one is inferior. The community of

God’s family is not a private club, and it is not

designed to be divided into cliques.

In an article for Brio magazine, Christian

singer/songwriter Brandon Heath talked,

among other things, about his own experience

of living in community with other Christians.

When seven guys moved next door to him,

Brandon and his new neighbors started a

community of sorts on their block by holding

a Wednesday night group. They started

working together to serve their neighborhood.

What began as a small group attracted others

and grew to the point that it became difficult

to find a parking spot on Brandon’s street.

Asked to describe what true community

is, Brandon replied: “True community is

being broken in front of each other and realizing

how equally we need Jesus. Hearing

what Jesus is doing in each other’s lives is

so encouraging. Real community is serving

together, being humble together, serving each

other, and being available. I think it’s providing

for the needs of others, period.” 4

Where Community Begins:

You

If you are a believer, you’re part of God’s

family and a member of the Christian community.

There’s more to doing life together

than just putting your name on the roll at your

local church. Meeting regularly with other

believers for worship and fellowship is part

of living in community. Hebrews 10:25 urges

Christians not to give up meeting together

but rather to encourage one another more and

more as the day of Jesus’ return approaches.

Living in community also means working

to build relationships with other Christians

outside of regular meeting times. Connecting

with others this way doesn’t just happen

by itself. You can’t always wait for others to

approach you to initiate relationships. The

person who lives out his or her faith in community

is one who reaches out to others. That

could mean asking someone new at church

to hang out with you or it could mean sharing

what’s hurting you with your Sunday School

class instead of trying to carry that burden

alone.

Living in community means you recognize

that you belong to a body that includes

all believers—those of different cultures,

races, denominations, and so forth. Your

community reaches across the globe to

believers in Africa and India and China;

Living in community

means you recognize that

you belong to a body that

includes all believers.

so should your concern. It means you

understand your connection to believers

of all ages in your own church and live in

relationship to them, treating all with respect

and compassion. That might mean you take

time to stop and speak to an elderly gentleman

sitting alone at church or volunteer to

help care for the kids in the nursery. Living

in community means you keep your circle of

friends open, rejecting cliques and inviting in

newcomers.

It’s been said that this life is just a dress rehearsal

for the main event, which is spending

eternity with God in heaven. Our time here on

earth is miniscule compared to the never-ending

existence we will enjoy after this life.

But consider this: heaven will not be a

lonely, isolated place. The Bible describes it

as a home where throngs of believers from

the whole world throughout human history

will live together united by our love for and

worship of God. It only makes sense then, if

we are going to spend all of eternity together

with other Christians, that we learn to live in

community with them here on earth. Once we

learn to give and receive encouragement, work

together for a common purpose, and share

our joys and sorrows by living in community,

we may feel that we’ve found a little bit of

heaven . . . right here on earth. ec

Sources:

1. “Saint Simeon Stylites,” Encyclopedia Britannica

[online], cited 6 February 2009. Available from the

Internet: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/

topic/545077/Saint-Simeon-Stylites.

2. John Donne, “XVII. Meditation,” The Literature

Network [online], cited 6 February 2009. Available

from the Internet: http://www.online-literature.com/

donne/409/.

3. Judy Keen, “Thriving communes no haven for

‘deadbeats,’” USA Today [online], 29 August 2007

[cited 6 February 2009]. Available from the Internet:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-08-28-

communes_N.htm.

4. Gina Rossing, “From Songwriter to Singer,” Brio

Magazine [online], 2006 [cited 6 February 2009].

Available from the Internet: http://www.briomag.

com/briomagazine/entertainment/a0007123.html.

• Find a community

group at church.

It may be your

Sunday School

class or a small

group sponsored

by the church. It

may be people who

speak God’s truth

into your life. Share

life together and

make an effort.

• Community

isn’t just a church

thing. God has left

us in the world

for a reason, and

often, the best

way for people to

come to faith in

Christ is through

relationships with

those of us who

profess Him as

Lord and Savior

and actually live

out our faith. Your

whole life, not just

one little part of

it, should be about

serving God and

bringing glory to

Him.

30 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 31


Community Q&A

by Jennifer Denning

week of July 19

Counselor

Personal Space

NICK: If I didn’t have those relationships,

I would probably get in trouble

a lot more at school. They provide an

example for me. Even if there are kids at

my school who don’t do the right thing,

the people at my church help me out

and show me what I should be doing.

They have a positive influence on me.

Nick is an eighth grader in Raleigh, N.C., who attends public school.

He knows very few professing Christians in his school but has found

community in connecting with other believers in his church. Nick

has attended church all his life. He became a Christian when he was

7 years old. Here’s what he said about what it means to him to live

in community when ec magazine writer Jennifer Denning recently

took the opportunity to talk with him.

JD: Nick, what are some ways you

connect with other believers?

NICK: My church is small, and so is

my youth group. Because our church

is small, I’ve gotten to know everyone

there pretty well. I have relationships

not only with other teenagers but also

with adults as well as kids younger than

me. I’ve gotten to know a lot of the

adults by going out to eat with them

after church and talking to them. I can

relate to them a lot because the things

they talk about I like to talk about, too.

With the kids younger than me, I have

already been where they are now, so I

can understand them.

JD: Why is it important to you to

have close relationships with other

Christians? How would your life be

different if you didn’t have those

relationships?

© istockphoto / jacob wackerhausen

JD: Give an example of how have other

believers have helped you.

NICK: When my grandfather died last

year, my youth leader encouraged me

and helped me get through it. He came

to visit me and attended the funeral. He

talked to me about it at youth group.

Also, another leader at my church took

some of us young people through a

video series about the creationist theory

of the earth’s origin and taught us about

apologetics [defending our faith]. It

really prepared me for all the teaching

of science material that conflicts with

my faith at school. It helped me stand

up for what I believe at school.

JD: How have you helped other

believers in your community? Can you

give an example?

NICK: A friend in my youth group also

lost one of her grandparents this past

year. When my friend’s grandmother

died, I tried to comfort her.

JD: What advice would you give to a

teen who wants to connect with other

believers but doesn’t know how? What

could that person do to build solid relationships

with fellow Christians?

NICK: Try to connect with people and

work to become friends with people at

your church. Just be yourself and don’t

try to be all good and different just

because you’re at church. If you do that,

people will grow to know you as someone

you aren’t really. ec

Photos this section: © istockphoto / juan estey, tania oloy, viorika prikhodko, gina addison, & brandon laufenberg

Guidance counselor. Career counselor. Substance

abuse counselor.

You live in a society that is always seeking counsel. When

we don’t know what to do, we turn to our “counselors”—

friends, family, and sometimes, professional therapists.

We want to know what to do or how to fix the problem. At times,

you just want someone who will listen and counsel—a guide, adviser,

mentor, that person who will help you figure out what to do and

discuss what the next step is.

A good counselor, though, doesn’t just tell you what to do. A good

counselor helps to shed light on the problem and guides you to

the right decision. The best counselors don’t leave you alone in the

situation, but they also don’t coddle you. They guide, but you have to

be willing to make the effort.

Life is hard. But God didn’t leave us alone in the middle of this

messy life. As believers, we have the Holy Spirit, our Guide and Counselor.

If you are a believer, God’s own Spirit lives within you, guiding

you, giving you wisdom and power, and lighting the steps of your life.

It’s the Holy Spirit that enables you to do God’s work. The Holy Spirit is

at work in your daily life as your Guide, your Friend, your Counselor.

30 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 31


Weekend > 7/19

Streams

of living

water

f

“The one who believes in

Me, as the Scripture has

said, will have streams

of living water flow from

deep within him.”

—John 7:38

Read John 7:37-39.

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy

searches the land of Oz tirelessly

for the wizard, whom she hopes will

help her get home. When the wizard

proves to be a phony, Dorothy sobs

desperately, fearing she will never get

home. Only then does she discover

that she has had the power to get

home all along.

However, it isn’t Dorothy who

has the power; it’s her red shoes.

Discovering this truth, she smiles

serenely and clicks her heels together,

uttering those famous words, “There’s

no place like home.”

Sometimes, we act just like Dorothy.

We search tirelessly for something to

take away the dry and empty feeling

inside, but we can’t find anything to

satisfy us. Good grades, a new car, or

going on our dream date don’t change

the way we feel. We may even begin

to feel desperate, thinking our soul’s

thirstiness will never be quenched.

If we’re Christians, we don’t

need to look any further than inside

ourselves for streams of living water

to quench our spiritual thirst. No, we

don’t possess these streams ourselves

any more than Dorothy possessed

the power to get herself home. The

Holy Spirit, who lives inside us, causes

streams of living water to flow from

deep within us. The living water we so

desperately crave has already been

given to us.

Jesus has sent the Helper, the

Counselor, the Holy Spirit Himself to

live within us and give us everything we

need. When we drink of His living water,

we never have to be thirsty again.

1

O

Monday > 7/20

Sometimes, you don’t

have to say anything.

have you ever had a conversation that left you speechless? Perhaps

someone said something so incredibly rude that you couldn’t believe

what you just heard. Maybe you received the terrible news that someone you

loved had just died. Whatever it was, you had no comeback. You might not have

even been able to think straight, let alone push intelligible words out of your

mouth.

Sometimes, you might feel like that when you pray. During those times, the

Holy Spirit is faithfully bringing your deepest pains before the Father. And He

isn’t using words, either.

In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our

weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as

we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with

unspoken groanings. —Romans 8:26

Read Romans 8:12-27 and spend extra time considering verse 26.

What does the author, Paul, think about our present sufferings?

Do you agree with him? Why or why not?

What do you think is the weakness Paul refers to in verse 26?

Do you ever lack the words to pray? When?

How does it make you feel to know that even when you don’t know how to

approach God, you are still being prayed for by God Himself?

You don’t have to get it all together to come to God. You don’t have to sound

spiritual or use big words. You don’t even have to use words at all. It is perfectly

fine to just sit before God and sob or simply utter that amazingly powerful

word—help. In those moments, the Holy Spirit brings our painful, hopeless

situation before the Father, praying in ways deeper than we can imagine, always

perfectly aligned with God’s will. Our God is completely faithful, not only to hear

our prayers, but to actually voice them for us in our times of need.

When you

can’t say

the words, the

Holy Spirit

can. Let Him.

Personal Space

“I believe in the surprises of the Holy Spirit.”

—L.J. Suenens

Be

surprised.

32 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 33


2

Tuesday > 7/21

You are

not alone.

It had been an amazing ride for

the disciples, spending every day

with Jesus. They’d hung out together,

witnessed amazing miracles, and

reveled in the pleasure of asking

Jesus anything they wanted to know.

Then, Jesus told them He was going

back to the Father. This was actually

going to be a good thing, though,

because the Holy Spirit was coming.

The Holy Spirit, whom they couldn’t

see or touch. The disciples had to be

longing to keep Jesus with them, but

it wouldn’t happen. But it would be

for their benefit, or so Jesus said.

Read John 16:5-11. Ponder verse 8.

Why will the Counselor convict

the world about sin? About

righteousness? Judgment?

How have you experienced each of

these convictions in your life?

How would Jesus’ absence benefit

the disciples?

Why do you think Jesus considers

having the Spirit a benefit?

Has God ever allowed a blessing to

be taken from you, only to replace

it with something better? How did

it affect your relationship with

Him?

“When He comes, He will

convict the world about

sin, righteousness, and

judgment.” —John 16:8

When the Holy Spirit lives within us,

we get to have a one-on-one running

conversation with God. No one else’s

prayers ever interrupt ours. We have

a personal mentor to explain God’s

Word to us, and when we step out

of His will, He immediately lets us

know. He continues to keep us in

check, not because He’s out to get us,

but because He loves us and wants a

healthy, growing relationship with us.

3

The Holy Spirit wants to talk to

you. Are you listening?

Wednesday > 7/22

You can hear him now.

Remember playing “GOSSIP” when you were a kid? Usually, the end

result was so different from the original message that it was barely

recognizable because someone paraphrased, couldn’t remember what they’d

been told, or just made up another message to be funny.

The Holy Spirit passes messages from God the Father to us, but He never gets

them wrong or changes them around just to mess with us. When He speaks to

our hearts, we can be sure we’re hearing exactly what the Father intends to say

to us.

“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into

all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He

will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to

you what is to come.” —John 16:13

Read John 16:12-15 and focus on verse 13.

What will the Spirit of truth do when He comes?

How do you think this happens?

How will the Spirit glorify the Father?

What truth has the Holy Spirit given you from the Father recently?

The next time you open God’s Word, sit through a sermon at church, or even

listen to your favorite music, ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand God’s

truth. He never intended for you to have to figure it out on your own. You have

your own personal tutor available every moment of the day, but you can choose

whether or not to call for His help or pay attention to His voice.

It can be frustrating and confusing trying to recognize the Holy’s Spirit’s

voice, but don’t give up. Ask Him to help you hear Him better. And keep

practicing. The closer you pay attention and the longer you listen, the better

you will become at identifying His voice. He wants you to recognize it. He wants

to talk with you.

4

How can you use your gifts for God?

Thursday > 7/23

You have gifts. Use them.

What are you really good at? You’ve probably heard that God gave

you that talent or ability, but if you are a Christian, there’s more. God has

given you at least one special gift for the purpose of benefiting the church. Just

like how only your fingers know exactly where to scratch that itch on your head

or how your nose is vital to breathing in the air your body needs to survive, the

gift(s) given to you help out the church, the body of Christ, in a unique way.

Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, stopping to read verse 7 aloud a few times.

From where do believers’ gifts come? Are there any exceptions?

For what purpose does God give

A manifestation of the

Spirit is given to each

person to produce what

is beneficial.

—1 Corinthians 12:7

What special ability has God given you?

How can you use that ability to benefit the church?

gifts to believers?

How do you honestly feel about

believers who are really different

from you? What might need to

change about your attitude toward

others?

What does God say about these

people and their gifts?

Do you know how God has gifted you? The same Holy Spirit who prays for you

with groaning too deep for words, the Spirit who knows you better than you know

yourself, has personally placed something in you. It’s alright if you haven’t figured

out what that is yet, but it’s not too early to begin trying. Check out some different

places to serve in your church. Make a list of things you’re good at and like to do.

Ask people who know you well what gifts they see in you. Above all, pray. Ask God

to help you discover what special gifts He has placed within you for the benefit of

the church.

5

Personal Space

Friday > 7/24

Speak up!

If you were invited to a Bible

study where you thought the Holy

Spirit would show up in a powerful

way, would you go? Some people

wouldn’t want to miss it, while others

would stay away at all costs. Perhaps

they’re afraid, or they doubt that the

Holy Spirit’s power is alive and active.

What do you think? What happens

when He shows up?

When they had prayed,

the place where they were

assembled was shaken,

and they were all filled

with the Holy Spirit and

began to speak God’s

message with boldness.

—Acts 4:31

Read Acts 4:29-31. Consider how

you would have felt had you been

present in verse 31.

What were the threats these

Christians faced? Look over Acts 4

if you’re not sure.

What threats, either real or

imagined, keep you from speaking

about Jesus boldly?

How did these Christians respond

to the threats they faced (v. 29)?

Why do you think they didn’t ask

God to remove the threats?

How do you think they knew the

Holy Spirit had come upon them?

Does this sound scary to you? Why

or why not?

Perhaps you’re in a difficult situation

at home or school. You might be

tempted to ask God to take you out

of it. Sometimes, that does need to

happen, but perhaps God wants to

give you strength, through His Spirit,

to speak about Jesus boldly in the

midst of difficulty. He just might

change the lives of those around you

through the bold words He empowers

you to speak. Next time you find

your faith threatened, ask Him for

boldness to speak His truth.

34 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 35


journal: Week of July 19

Counselor


Personal Space

life in your own words

Known> 7/25

you’ve spent this week learning about the third Person of the Trinity,

the Holy Spirit. Frankly, the Holy Spirit is often the most ignored member

of the Trinity, since He is by nature mysterious and difficult for us to

understand. But the Holy Spirit is real and a daily part of your life if you

are a Christian. So how do you become more attentive to His leading in

your life? How can this week’s truths about the Holy Spirit affect your life?

Think about your response to the Holy Spirit. Do you ignore Him? Do

you appreciate Him? Do you understand Him? Do you obey Him? Do you

know Him?

What is something that still doesn’t make sense to you about the Holy

Spirit? Do you have to understand every last thing to believe?

Make a list of times when you personally experienced the Holy Spirit’s

presence. Perhaps He comforted you, caused God’s Word to come alive,

or gave you boldness to speak God’s message in a difficult situation.

Write out a prayer thanking the Holy Spirit for His intimate presence in

your life.

Going

Deeper

To learn more about

the Holy Spirit, read the

following:

Luke 12:11-12

John 14:25-26

Acts 1:8

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Ephesians 1:13-14

Ephesians 4:29-32


The Holy Spirit isn’t just your

conscience. He is God in you.

Pay attention when He speaks.

Prayers, thoughts,

& questions:

Read Through

the Bible

One of the ways the Holy

Spirit helps us grow in faith

is to open our understanding

of Scripture. Let Him work

in your life as you read

God’s Word. Follow our

suggestions, and you’ll read

through the Bible in one year.

• Job 4–28

• Acts 11–16:15

Jesus died for you and me;

Jesus died so we could be free.

© istockphoto / jill fromer

Forever

Friend

By Sheryl Pang• via e-mail

Best friends come and go,

but Jesus stays, this I know.

He is there when you don't

understand.

Put Him down and blame Him;

Firm will He stand.

He loves you beyond all compare,

even when you are unfair.

Jesus will never leave nor

forsake;

His love for you will never shake.

Jesus died for you and me;

Jesus died so we could be free.

I don't deserve Him, no one does.

He will always love all of us.

Never let the Devil break you

down.

Just remember who wore that

crown.

Lay your crown at His feet.

Jesus is strong and can't be beat.

36 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 37


Snippets &

Soundbites

By the quirky and über-talented ec team

Fun run or Yum run?

Ever get Hungry during your run? Just

try the Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh, N.C.

During this race, more than 5,000 runners jog 2 miles to the

local Krispy Kreme, eat 12 doughnuts each, and then jog back

to North Carolina State University, where the race begins.

And they all do it in less than an hour. Back in 2004, the event

started as dare among some college friends. This year, the

event raised more than $35,000 for charity. Unfortunately, the

participants consumed more calories than they burned in this

race. Twelve Krispy Kreme doughnuts contain 2,400 calories

and 144 grams of fat. And running 4 miles only burns about

400 calories. Oh, but who cares? These folks got in a run, a

meal, and raised money for a good cause. Not a bad deal.

Wedgies:crimefighting

secret?

Yes, they’re

uncomfortable, and we

don’t advocate you giving

them to your little brother

or sister. But a wedgie was

the only thing that stopped

a man who’d tried to break

into a car in Salt Lake

City, Utah. A woman saw

him attempting to break

into her coworker’s car

and chased the guy. She

caught up to him, but he

was a squirmer who kept

nearly getting away from

her. That is, until she gave

him a forceful wedgie and

put him in a headlock.

Needless to say, he stayed

very still until the cops

were able to get there and

arrest him. We bet he’s

regretting ever thinking

about stealing THAT car!

Featuring: doughnut runs, ridiculously long

ear hair, kissing bans, crime-stopping wedgies,

and hand-knit sweaters for balding chickens!

5 things

to

remember

this 4th of

July:

Don’t jump

over lit

fireworks

As fun as it may

look, it’s not smart.

Watch the

Mayo

You wouldn’t want

to get sick, so

ask yourself (or

your host) how

long something’s

been without

refrigeration.

Lather up

Don’t forget the

sunscreen!

be Patriotic

Fly a flag, wear red,

white, and blue,

paint your face,

or whatever. Let

people know you’re

proud to be an

American!

be grateful

You’re fortunate

to live in the USA.

Thank a veteran for

his or her service

to our country.

You have a lot of

freedom as an

American citizen,

but even more as a

child of God! Thank

Him for it.

160

The most miles

ever run in

24 hours on

a treadmill.

(Record set by

Arulanantham

Suresh Joachim

in Canada.)

As men get older, the hair on

their heads slows its growth.

Meanwhile, the hair in their ears

and noses continues to grow.

Turtle gets fake flippers

After a shark attack left “Lu”

the loggerhead turtle with severe

injuries to her forelimbs, Japanese

scientists have fitted her with new

prosthetic ones.

While her swimming capabilities

are only up to 60 percent of a healthy

turtle her size, researchers are hopeful

about her recovery.

Erika Akai, a researcher at the nonprofit

Sea Turtle Association of Japan

said, “She should eventually be able

to lay eggs on a beach.” They’re trying

to get her strong enough to actually

climb up to the beach after swimming

there.

Mind the lip

Kissing banned in British

train station

In an Effort to speed up commute

times, couples are no longer allowed to kiss

at the train station in Warrington, UK (about

3.5 hours northwest of London). While the

public thinks the new “no kissing” signs are

a little silly, city officials say the ordinance is

more of a reminder to not hold up the lines.

Cut your hair!

Radhakant Baijpai claims his 10-inch

ear hair has brought him luck and prosperity.

The 58-year-old Indian grocer has been

growing out the hair in his ears since age

18, and he has never taken scissors to the

bushy masses protruding from his ears.

Baijpai takes special care of his ear

hair, washing it with a specially formulated

herbal shampoo (aren’t we glad to hear

that he washes it!) and making sure to not

If you’re in England,

don’t bother

referring to that

warm shirt of yours

as a “sweater.” They

call it a “jumper.”

Interview?

You?

Yep, you read that correctly.

We want to interview YOU!

Here’s the deal: we love to hear

from our readers. When we get

to hang out with you at focus

groups, you make us laugh, help

us to see this world through

your eyes, and give us reason to

celebrate that God didn’t make

us all with the same personalities

and talents.

So, we’re trying to find out more

about our readers with the ec

Reader Five-Minute Interview.

We ask a few simple questions;

you answer them. Then, we print

them here. Look for the Reader

Five-Minute Interview thread

on our page on Facebook or

check out the link on the blog at

http://ecmagazine.blogspot.com.

Stop by soon!

Take your ec somewhere

that makes you happy

and take a picture. Then,

send it our way. Use the

link on our blog!

wear rings so that he doesn’t accidentally

catch and rip out some of the hair.

His wife has asked him to cut the ear

hair, but he never has. And now that he’s

the Guinness World Record holder for

longest ear hair, she’s quit asking him

about it. She said she knows it’s a source of

pride for him. But the sheer amount of hair

protruding from this guy’s ears makes one

wonder if he ever heard her ask him to cut

it in the first place.

People Are Talking

You live in a world that tells you a lot of lies—

about yourself, what matters, and how you should

look or act. See what some celebs had to say about

that recently.

“People say, ‘It’s

part of being

famous,’ but I

didn’t want that.

I wanted to be a

singer. I’m probably

lying when I say that. I did want to be famous,

but I didn’t realize what famous was. I thought

fame just meant ‘Everyone will love me.’”

—Lily Allen, Spin, February 2009, pg. 46.

“I definitely took my hits, and I definitely got

punished for the bad things I did. And you

know what? Some of those I deserved. Having

been given a second, third, whatever chance,

I don’t think that’s being a magician. Maybe

it’s about having an absolute blind faith in a

higher power. Maybe there’s something I’m

supposed to do that I haven’t done, and that’s

why I keep getting chances.”

—Actress Shannen Doherty, Radar, October/

November 2008, p. 64.

Featherless chickens get

hand-knitted sweaters

Rescuer calls on community to knit

for 1500 rescued fowl

Lucky hens end up at the Little Hen Rescue

Centre in Norwich, UK, where Jo Eglin takes in

hens deemed poor egg layers by the farms where

they lived and layed. Saving them from certain

death, Jo noticed that many of the hens were so

stressed out by the large farms where they had

lived that they lost their feathers. So Eglin called on

anyone who knew how to knit to start making

sweaters for the 1500-member brood. The

chickens are naked no more!

fun random notes

The Buzz

Dates you don’t want to

miss in July:

July 1: Creative Ice Cream Flavors

Day

July 4: Independence Day

July 7: Chocolate Day (as if Feb. 14

wasn’t enough for this food!)

July 11: Cheer Up the Lonely Day

July 17: On this day in 1790,

Washington D.C. was

established as our nation’s

capital.

July 22: Hammock Day

July 27: Take Your Pants for a Walk

Day (Hmm. OK?!)

July 30: National Cheesecake Day

(yes, please!)

Overheard:

• Former dcTalk member Michael

Tait joined the newsboys, replacing

Peter Furler as

their lead singer.

He performed

with the group for

the first time on

March 7, 2009.

• Remedy Drive

will be playing the

Cornerstone Festival this month in

Bushnell, Ill. For more info, check out

page 46 or visit

www.cornerstonefestival.com.

• Talk of BarlowGirl and Everyday

Sunday releasing new albums sometime

this summer.

Next month in ec:

Articles on living with purpose this

school year, pursuing God’s will, an

interview with Henry Blackaby about

hearing God, time management

and organization tips, DVD reviews,

and five weeks of devotions about

pursuing God and His will.

38 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 39


Indescribable:

The Trinity

by Michael Cummings

Trinity. You won’t hear a great deal of

conversation about that word in the school cafeteria, but it is

a very important component of Christianity. Webster defines

Trinity as “the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three

persons in one Godhead according to Christian dogma.” 1 The

term “Godhead” refers to the nature of God, while a “dogma” is

a belief held to be true by a certain group of people.

© istockphoto / matthew hertel

If you’re confused about the Trinity, then you are in good

company. The early Christian fathers struggled with this

concept for hundreds of years before they drew the conclusion

that Yahweh was the three-in-one God.

The Trinity is one of the great mysteries of our faith. It

is hard to wrap our three-and-a-half-pound brain around

this concept. One of the reasons it is difficult is that no

solid examples of this can be found in the natural world.

However, this has not stopped us from trying to understand

God’s nature.

I have heard examples all of my life, such as the one

that compares the Trinity to water. Water can have three

forms—liquid, gas, and solid, yet all of these forms come

from the same substance. This is a really good effort, but it

falls short. God the Father had a relationship with the Son

and the Spirit, and this is where things get tricky with the

water example. First of all, water cannot have a relationship

with anything because it is an inanimate object. Second,

the human form is a bit more complicated than even water,

not to mention how infinitely more complicated the nature

of God as Father and Spirit is. Third, all three forms of

water cannot co-exist for a sustained amount of time. If

you don’t believe me, try putting ice into boiling water to

see how long they co-exist. It is best not to try to explain

the indescribable God we serve using this or any other

analogy.

The God we serve chose to reveal Himself to humanity

throughout history as three distinct Persons, and yet He is

One. We do not worship three gods. God tells us so when

He gave Moses these words to speak: “Listen, Israel: The

Lord our God, the Lord is One” (Deut. 6:4).

How can this be? The answer is simple: we don’t know

how it can be true, but we know that it is true because the

Word of God is true.

The Scripture provides

much evidence which

confirms that, throughout

time, the three Persons of

the Trinity have co-existed

(Gen. 1:26, Gen. 3:22, Gen.

11:7, Isa. 6:8, Matt. 3:16-17,

Luke 4:14, John 1:1-2, and

1 Cor. 2:10-11). These are

just a few of the Scriptures

in which the different

Persons of the Trinity are

interacting and co-existing.

Some people might debate

this topic, but even though

the Bible is God’s Word

and is true, not everyone

holds to this view.

The Trinity is one of the great

mysteries of our faith. It’s hard

to wrap our three-and-a-half

pound brain around it.

So what evidence do we have that it is true? The evidence

is in you! Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep

My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He

will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He

is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him

because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know

Him, because He remains with you and will be in you”

(John 14:15-17).

In our world, people are constantly searching for heroes

with supernatural abilities like Wolverine and Harry Potter.

However, we have the Hero the world really needs. He

is the One and only true Hero. He is the Triune God who

lives in each and every one of us who call ourselves Christians.

If you want to prove to the world that God exists and

that His Word is true, then simply let the God who resides

within you out into the world. Show His love, mercy, and

grace to a world that is desperate for a real hero.

If you do this, you will give the world a small glimpse of

the indescribable God we serve. ec

1. “Trinity,” Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed.

(Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).

© istockphoto / tim mccaig

40 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 41


Understanding the Trinity

by Michael Cummings

The Trinity is by no means an

easy concept to understand.

That’s why believers have

employed various analogies

throughout the years as they

attempt to wrap their brains

around the concept of a God

who is Three-in-One. So let’s

take some time to consider a

few of those analogies and discuss

their limitations.

The one-person analogy:

One person takes on many different

roles throughout their lifetime such as

father, son, and husband.

Problem: Although the different

roles are covered here, the interaction

between the three could not happen

unless the individual liked talking to

himself.

Three-leaf clover analogy:

A three-leaf clover has three parts,

but it is only one clover.

Problem: Each leaf is only part of the

clover, and, if taken apart, each part

does not represent the whole clover.

Also, the clover is impersonal and does

not have the complex personality interaction

found in the Trinity.

The three interlacing circles

analogy:

We have all seen this symbol for the

trinity.

© istockphoto / Denise Bentley

Problem: This analogy breaks down

from the beginning, because each circle

is never really in the whole. Also, if they

are taken apart, they are separate and

have nothing that connects them back

to the original symbol.

The arm analogy:

This analogy emphasizes three parts

of the arm: the shoulder, the elbow,

and the hand. All of these different

parts function as a part of the whole

arm, but each has different task to

complete.

Problem: If you take an elbow out of

the arm, the function of the arm is hampered.

Also, the elbow in and of itself

is not an arm; it is simply a part from

the arm. And once again, there is not

interpersonal relationship between the

different parts of the arm.

The tree analogy:

This analogy emphasizes three parts

of the tree: the roots, the trunk, and

the branches. All of these parts are

said to make up the whole tree, and

all have different functions within the

tree.

Problem: These different parts have

a similar problem with all of the previous

examples. They are only a part of

the tree, and, when separated from the

tree, they are not considered a tree.

And yet again, we see the lack of the

interpersonal and complex personality

relationship contained in the Trinity.

Conclusion:

There are no perfect analogies that

can be used to represent the complex,

amazing, and indescribable God we

serve. The analogies we’ve listed are all

imperfect because we can’t describe a

God we can’t fully understand. To me

this isn’t a disappointment. If we could

explain the great God we serve with

words found through human wisdom,

just how big of a God would He be? ec

1

Father

Read and study Micah

6:6-8.

The gist:

How can people tell you’re

related to someone? By the obvious

resemblance. More than your

words, people will know you are

God’s child if you act like Him.

Face Time:

• Read Micah 6:6a. Do you ever

get confused over what God

wants of you? Why?

• Micah reminds us of what God

requires in verse 8. List the

things he said God requires.

• What does it mean to act justly?

What does that look like today?

• What are some examples of

loving faithfulness?

• What does it mean to “walk

humbly” with God? How can we

strive to do that today?

• We dream of achieving big

things for God. Micah’s list, however,

is very practical. Which is

harder to fulfill: big things or

the day-to-day practical things?

• God wants a heart response

from us—not just a material

offering. Why?

Making it personal:

When we truly know God, our

hearts are changed to be like His.

The evidence will be there: we

spend time in His Word; we value

what He values; we act accordingly.

It’s important to note that Micah’s

list is concerned with our daily

walk with God.

In your small group, list everyday

ways you can apply Micah’s list.

Pray together for opportunities to

do these. Realize that God honors

the obedience that prompts your

actions, and He will continue to

provide you with ways to glorify

Him.

2

god campus connection

Bible Studies You Can Use • By Maria Nuguid

The Trinity. Personal Bible study should be a part of your Christian life, no

doubt. But there’s also something to be said for talking about God’s Word with

other believers. Maybe you’re part of a small group Bible study at your church,

meet with a few Christian friends before school, or are involved in a Christian

club at school. Think about using this month’s devotion themes to guide your

study and discussion. We’ve provided some talking points and questions to

guide your discussion or help you lead a devotion time.

His Father’s

Son

Read and study Colossians 1:13-23;

Matthew 16:15-16.

The gist:

Why has Jesus’ reputation taken

such a beating? Is He actually just

a prophet or a good man from long

ago? The Bible says Jesus is the

exalted Son of God, and the only

One who can make an eternal

difference in our lives.

Face Time:

• Colossians 1:13 sums up what

Christ did. Are you one of those

who has been rescued and

transferred? Explain.

• Why is it important that Christ

was involved in creation?

• What does the passage in Colossians

teach you about Christ’s

divinity?

• Colossians 1:15-20 lays out who

Jesus is and what He did. Which

action means the most to you?

• Read Matthew 16:15-16. If you

were Peter, how would you

answer? Why?

• In Colossians 1:21-23, we see the

need to continue in the faith.

What does this entail?

Making it personal:

Peter’s admission of long ago still

rings true today. Jesus is ultimately

more than who the world thinks He

is. He isn’t just a good teacher or a

prophet who taught some worthwhile

truths. He is the Christ, the

Messiah, God in the flesh who calls

us to a new way of life. We will know

the awesome reality of His glorious

presence when He returns. For now,

He wants us to get busy introducing

Him to our friends. He wants to

touch their lives the same way He

touched yours.

Encourage your small group to

share Jesus with a friend this week.

Discuss ways you can do this.

Remind yourselves of how Jesus

called you into relationship with

Him and discuss how God is working

in your life today. Pray together,

thanking Jesus for His sacrifice and

continued presence in your lives.

42 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 43


campus connection god

Bible Studies You Can Use • By Maria Nuguid

Too often, we

make our faith

about how we

feel. The truth:

faith really isn’t

about you. It’s

about God’s

unchanging love;

Jesus’ salvation

through grace;

the Holy Spirit’s

presence.

3

Counselor

Read and study Galatians 5:22-25.

The gist:

The Holy Spirit is the third person

of the Trinity. He is fully God, and

your body is His temple. And it’s true,

to live by the Spirit is to bear fruit in

the Spirit.

Face Time:

• Read Galatians 5:22. The word

“fruit” is singular, yet Paul

listed several. Did Paul make a

grammatical error? Explain.

• Are the fruit of the Spirit Paul

listed interconnected? How?

• Do you think there is such a thing

as a defeated Christian? Why?

• How do you sometimes allow yourself

to live as a defeated Christian?

• What do these verses teach you

about the Holy Spirit’s role in the

Christian’s life?

• Do you see any of these qualities in

your life? Where?

• How have you experienced the

Holy Spirit developing these

qualities in your life?

• What qualities do you think the

Holy Spirit is trying to grow and

develop in you today? Why? How?

• Acts 7:51 describes those who

resist the Holy Spirit as stiffnecked

and uncircumcised in heart

and ears. What do you think this

means?

• When have you resisted the Holy

Spirit’s leading in your life? What

happened?

• In verse 25, we are instructed to

live by the Spirit. What does that

mean?

• Why is it important that God has

given us the Holy Spirit as a guide?

Making it personal:

The Holy Spirit is available 24/7. He

convicts us of sin and gifts us to do

our part in God’s church. He is our

comfort, encouragement, and faithful

Friend.

So think about it. Are you overwhelmed?

Sound the alarm! Plug into

the power that is waiting. The Holy

Spirit will never turn you away.

Spend some time in reflection. As

a small group, discuss ways you allow

the enemy to make you lose sight of

the hope that is yours. Encourage

each other through prayer.

God loves you because He is love. It’s a mystery of mercy

and grace that He wants a relationship with each one of us!

4

Mystery

Read Genesis 1:26; Luke 3:21-22.

The gist:

Face it. The Triune God is a

mystery we’ll never resolve. But

that doesn’t stop us from getting

to know Him. Although unable

to fully comprehend, we can be

certain that all three Persons of

the Trinity are lovingly involved in

our lives.

Face Time:

• Read Genesis 1:26. Was God

speaking to the same Persons

present at the baptism in Luke

3:21-22? Explain.

• Do these passages help you

understand the Trinity? Explain.

• Does it bother you that the

Trinity is a mystery? Why or

why not?

• What role does faith play in believing

the truth of the Trinity?

• How does this affect how you

relate with God?

Making it personal:

What’s one more thing that unites

the Triune God? You. Each Person

of the Trinity loves you and longs to

fulfill His part in your life.

Reflect together in your small

group. Do you really know God as

Father? How is Jesus truly your

Savior and Lord? Is the Holy Spirit

actively at work in your life?

We may not fully understand

how the Trinity works. We may

have more questions than answers,

sometimes. But one thing is for

sure. God loves us, and we need

never question that. Pray together,

understanding that you don’t have

to have everything figured out to

be a person of faith loved by God.

ec

says:

Summer Movie Madness

by ec’s staff

July is here and the summer movie season is in full swing. Harry Potter and the

Half-Blood Prince is expected to release this month. And without a High School

Musical release on the horizon this summer, Ashley Tisdale will take on aliens in this

month’s They Came from Upstairs. So before you head out to the theater to see

whatever summer movies have piqued your interest, we thought it would be fun to

take a look at some interesting stats about the silver screen and summer releases.

Top 10

ec

says: ec

says:

ec

says:

ec

says:

This movie is a

classic, but it’s long.

Make watching it

an event!

While rated PG,

this film is violent

and includes

questionable

content and

profanity. We don’t

recommend you

watch it.

This movie

perennially tops

lists of good movies.

Know that it is

very long and deals

with adultery.

This movie is

based on a true

story. It is intense

and full of peril,

along with repeated

misuse of God’s

name.

highest grossing movies

ever: *

Top 10 movies

with best July 4

opening:

Gone with the Wind (1939)

Star Wars (1977)

The Sound of Music (1965)

4 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

5 The Ten Commandments (1956)

6 Titanic (1997)

7 Jaws (1975)

8 Doctor Zhivago (1965)

9 The Exorcist (1973)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

(1937)

*

Stats are for movies released domestically

and adjusted for ticket price inflation.

1 Spider-Man 2 (2004)

2 War of the Worlds (2005)

3 Superman Returns (2006)

4 Men in Black II (2002)

5 Men in Black (1997)

6 Independence Day (1996)

7 Terminator 3: Rise of the

Machines (2003)

8 The Perfect Storm (2000)

9 Armageddon (1998)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

(1991)

ec

says:

ec

says:

ec

says:

This is an

emotional,

fictional account

of the doomed

luxury liner. For a

more historical look

that’s less focused

on sex, try A Night

to Remember or

Titanic: Death of a

Dream.

This movie is very

dark, offers little

hope, and portrays

flawed heroes in a

world that is falling

apart at the seams.

Don’t mistake us

mentioning it here

as endorsing the

movie or its content!

This movie is full

of ungodly content

and themes. We

do not recommend

you watch it.

This movie is

darker and more

intense than its

predecessors. It

pushes the truth

that all people are

valuable, but it is

less clear on what

tolerance and/or

acceptance should

look like. We’d

suggest turning to

Scripture for a more

informed idea.

Top 10 movies

with the best summer

opening:

1 The Dark Knight (2008)

2 Spider-Man 3 (2007)

3 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead

ec

says:

Man’s Chest (2006)

4 Shrek the Third (2007)

5 Spider-Man (2002)

6 Pirates of the Caribbean: At

World’s End (2007)

7 Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of

the Sith (2005)

Summer wouldn’t be the

same if we didn’t include

some sports movies.

Here are a few of the

American Film Institute’s

favorite sports movies:

• Hoosiers

• The Pride of the Yankees

• National Velvet

8 Shrek 2 (2004)

9 X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of

the Crystal Skull (2008)

10. Mandy and Emily of the ec team

were left wondering why they spent

their money on a ticket after seeing

this one in the theater.

44 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 45


Top 10 Beaches

1 Caladesi Island

State Park,

Dunedin/Clearwater,

Florida

2 Hanalei Beach,

Kauai, Hawaii

3 Siesta Beach,

Sarasota, Florida

4 Coopers Beach,

Southampton, New York

5 Coronado Beach,

San Diego, California

6 Main Beach,

East Hampton, New York

7 Hamoa Beach,

Maui, Hawaii

8 Cape Hatteras,

Outer Banks, North

Carolina

9 Cape Florida State

Park,

Key Biscayne, Florida

Beachwalker Park,

Kiawah Island, South

Carolina

Whale Watch

Cruise, San Juan

Island near Seattle,

Washington

Watch for orca,

humpback, and gray

whales in Friday Harbor

near Seattle. Don’t miss

the opportunity to get a

close up of these giant

sea mammals!

Top 10 Ballparks

1 Wrigley Field

Chicago Cubs

2 Fenway Park

Boston Red Sox

3 Old Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees (new

stadium opened in 2009)

4 Oriole Park at

Camden Yards

Baltimore Orioles

5 Coors Field

Colorado Rockies

6 Jacobs Field

Cleveland Indians

7 Turner Field

Atlanta Braves

8 Ballpark

at Arlington

Texas Rangers

9 Dodgers Stadium

Los Angeles Dodgers

Safeco Stadium

Seattle Mariners

http://americasbestonline.

net/baseball.htm

Broadway in

Bryant Park,

New York City, NY

Can’t afford to see a

Broadway show while

in New York? Well, on

Thursdays in Bryant

Park, cast members

perform snippets of

Broadway shows. It

is a free event! You

can even pack a picnic

lunch for these outdoor

shows.

New England

Carousel Museum,

Bristol, Connecticut

Remember the days

when you begged to

ride the carousel?

Well, now you can see

a collection of 300

antique carousels in

one spot! It’s much

better than spending

five bucks on one ride

at the mall.

http://www.drbeach.

org/drbeach/best beach

list 2008.htm



Top 10 Most

Visited National

Parks

1 Great Smoky

Mountains National

Park, North Carolina/

Tennessee

2 Grand Canyon

National Park, Arizona

3 Yosemite National

Park, California

4 Olympic National

Park, Washington

5 Yellowstone

National Park

Wyoming

6 Cuyahoga Valley,

Ohio

7 Rocky Mountain

National Park, Colorado

8 Zion National Park,

Utah

9 Grand Teton

National Park,

Wyoming

Acadia National

Park, Maine

http://www.nps.gov/pub aff/

refdesk/10MVUNP.pdf


Carlsbad Caverns,

Carlsbad, New Mexico

Tour a cave the size

of 6.2 football fields,

stand in a Hall of

Giants, view an 89 foot

rock column, watch bat

flights in the evening.

Carlsbad Caverns

provides family fun.

Tickets are cheap,

and tours can be easy

(for younger siblings)

or difficult (for the

adventuresome). Just

make sure you don’t fall

in the Bottomless Pit!

Cornerstone Festival,

June 29 July 4 • Bushnell, Illinois

Cornerstone is a five day event

attended by over 20,000 people to

celebrate Christianity in culture. This

year’s festival features renowned

artists Anberlin, Hawk Nelson, Relient

K, and many more. But it is not just

a concert. Cornerstone also offers

classes and workshops, seminars,

and many outdoor activities as well.

St. Louis Zoo,

St. Louis, Missouri

This is an impressive

free zoo! It houses

5,000 animals including

bears, penguins, big

cats, antelope, and

many more.

Schlitterbahn

Water Park,

New Braunfels, Texas

Schlitterbahn

showcases 17 slides, a

sandless shore, surfing

simulation, and more

stunning slippery sites!

One of the best water

parks anywhere.

Louisville Slugger

Museum,

Louisville, Kentucky

Visit the birthplace of

bats used by sluggers

from Ty Cobb and Hank

Aaron to Ken Griffey Jr.

and Derek Jeter. Tour

the factory and get your

own legitimate (though

miniature) Louisville

slugger bat at the end!


Zorb Smoky

Mountains, Pigeon

Forge, Tennessee

Because who wouldn’t

want to bounce down

a hill inside a giant

inflated ball?

Summer

Fun

by Hannah Wakefield

Top 10 Roller

Coasters

Superman

Ride of Steel

Six Flags, New England

Agawam, Massachusetts

Millenium Force

Cedar Point

Sandusky, Ohio

3 Nitro

Six Flags Great Adventure

Jackson, New Jersey

4 Montu

Busch Gardens

Tampa, Florida

5 SheiKra

Busch Gardens

Tampa, Florida

6 Fahrenheit

Hersheypark

Hershey, Pennsylvania

7 The Incredible Hulk

Universal Studios

Orlando, Florida

8 Apollo’s Chariot

Busch Gardens

Williamsburg, Virginia

9 Superman

Ride of Steel

Six Flags America

Largo, Maryland

Kingda Ka

Six Flags Great Adventure

Jackson, New Jersey

http://themeparks.about.

com/cs/coasterbooks/a/

bestcoasters.htm

http://americasbestonline.

net/index.php/pages/

rollercoasters.html

46 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 47


Finding community in Chile

By Chansin Bird

Caidon George knew the

people in her church loved her.

At 18 years old, she’d grown

up surrounded with the support of the

members of Lakeside Baptist Church

in Texas. Even without her asking, they

helped her find the money to go on a

mission trip to South America. What

Caidon didn’t know was that she’d find

a community of love and acceptance in

Chile as well.

“It was such an open and loving

culture. I’d like to go back.”

She was the youngest of 150 missionaries

from all over the world who

met in Chile to serve for two weeks. The

only person she knew on the trip was

her pastor. All the missionaries were

divided amongst 30 local churches.

From house visits to conducting a mini-

Vacation Bible School to visiting a prison,

Caidon’s job was to socialize and get

involved with the youth and children’s

activities. The missionaries’ goal was to

encourage the small group of Christians

there and share Jesus with the church’s

neighborhood.

Though she was scared on the plane

ride and didn’t know what to expect,

it didn’t take long for her to fit right in

with the Chileans.

“The pastor of the [local] church was

intimidating to me at first,” Caidon said.

“He seemed strict. But by the fourth

day we were already joking around. He

had a daughter my age, and they would

invite me to hang out. They called me

their hija—that’s ‘daughter’ in Spanish. It

© istockphoto / jan rihak

was one big family for me. In a random

city in a random country—to be connected

in that way was really touching.”

They not only welcomed Caidon in

their group, but the small church of

about 100 people had its own special

relationship.

“In that one church, everyone took

care of everyone. I would walk with

Carlos, the 17-year-old translator, and

we would go to someone’s home from

the church. He didn’t know the person

well, but they opened their homes to

each other because they had a bond

between church members.”

Caidon liked the Chilean’s focus on

family time. At 4 p.m., no matter what

the person was doing, everyone would

go home for once time. They drink tea

or coffee, have a snack, and visit with

their family.

“I’d be at a different house every day

during that time. It was neat to be a part

of each family. We’d stop and relax and

ask how their day was.”

The Chileans were also open to

accepting tracts.

“We all had tracts that had our personal

testimony translated on them.

Throughout the day we’d pass them

out. Here in America if you pass out

tracts, people ignore you or grab it and

throw it away. In Chile, I was afraid I’d be

rejected a lot.”

But she wasn’t. The passersby would

come up to her and ask what she was

passing out. They often immediately sat

on a bench and read the tract.

“Even if they weren’t interested or

if they were from a different religion,

they’d still stop and listen to whatever

you had to say.”

At the end of the week, the church

threw a farewell party for the missionaries.

After the barbecue, Caidon’s new

friends stayed up until 5 a.m. dancing,

goofing off, and enjoying each other’s

company. Even the pastor came over

late in the night.

“Coming back, I was in tears. It was

the hardest good-bye I ever had to do,

and I was just there two weeks.” ec

Week of July 26

photos this section: © istockphoto / shelly perry, jason stitt, ron hohenhaus.

Mystery

Personal Space

Movie thrillers, murder mystery novels, and crime shows have

made the word mystery commonplace.

To us, a mystery is simply something to be figured out—unraveled, taken

apart, and wholly understood. But the word means so much more than that. At

its very essence, the word mystery describes something that isn’t just difficult

to figure out, but may be entirely impossible for us to wrap our brains around.

A true mystery is difficult to explain, puzzling, and sometimes beyond human

understanding.

There’s a quality of mystery when it comes to God. You can absolutely know

Him and live in relationship with Him because of Jesus. You can take on His

characteristics and become more like Him. You can walk in daily counsel with

the Holy Spirit and seek guidance from Scripture. You can know God, but

knowing Him doesn’t mean you understand every last thing about Him or

His ways.

Some of that mystery has to do with the concept of the Trinity, God in three

Persons. No explanation or comparison we come up with actually does the

Trinity justice or encompasses the concept in its entirety. God isn’t entirely

comprehensible. We can’t understand Him completely or explain all His ways

through human reasoning. But we can live in relationship with Him—God

the Father who loves us without measure, Jesus the Son who has first-hand

knowledge of our sorrows and joys and gave Himself up for us, and the Holy

Spirit who guides and counsels. He is God in three Persons.

And that’s a true mystery of mercy and grace in every sense of the word.

48 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 49


weekend > 7/26

Three in one

After Jesus was baptized, He

went up immediately from the

water. The heavens suddenly

opened for Him, and He saw the

Spirit of God descending like a

dove and coming down on Him.

And there came a voice from

heaven: “This is My beloved

Son. I take delight in Him!”

—Matthew 3:16-17

Read Matthew 3:13-17.

It’s one of the most important

days of your life. It could be your

graduation, an awards banquet during

which you are receiving an award, a

game in which you are starting, or a

concert in which you are performing.

Chances are pretty good that you want

all of your family and friends there to

help you celebrate that special day.

Jesus was no different. It was the

day of His baptism. He didn’t send

out any formal invitations, post it on

Facebook, or tell everybody He knew

about it, but it was still a very special

day for Him.

The example of baptism that Jesus

gave us that day was significant,

but what was even more significant

was the fact that the Trinity—God

the Father, the Son, and the Holy

Spirit—was present for this day. How,

you ask? Jesus was baptized, God the

Father spoke, and the Holy Spirit was

present in the form of a dove.

This week’s devotions are all about

the Trinity. While we won’t find the

word Trinity in the Bible, we do find

examples again and again of how God

exists in three Persons. He is God the

Father, God the Son, and God the Holy

Spirit. While these are three distinct

Persons, they are still one.

While we try and explain how it’s

possible for God to be three in one,

sometimes we just need to accept that

we will not understand everything

about Him. It is only when we begin

living in a relationship with God the

Father through Jesus Christ the Son

with the Holy Spirit as our counselor,

guide, and empowerment that we

begin to understand this concept

called the Trinity.

1

monday > 7/27

Listening isn’t the same

thing as hearing.

Ever noticed how we want to understand how everything works and

why it works the way it does? We have a unique quest to discover behind-thescenes

information on how and why things work. How does a fax really work? How

is it possible to send a picture from your phone to somebody else? Why do your

friends do the things they do? Go ahead, take a minute and ask yourself what it is

that you really want to know. How would knowing it make an impact in your life?

The spiritual person, however,

can evaluate everything, yet he

himself cannot be evaluated by

anyone. For: who has known

the Lord’s mind, that he may

instruct Him? But we have the

mind of Christ.

—1 Corinthians 2:15 16

Read 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, paying

close attention to verses 15 and 16.

Up to this point, where have you

received your knowledge of how God

does things?

What is it that you would like to

know about why God does things the

way He does?

How does God say we are given information about His ways?

To what degree in your life is the Spirit of God giving you knowledge?

If you are not gaining an understanding of God and His ways, what ultimately

keeps that from happening?

What do you think about the statement, “we have the mind of Christ”?

Understanding the depth of God comes down to whether or not we are willing to

take the steps to be spiritually alive and grow spiritually. Paul told it straight to

the Corinthians: when we are alive in Christ, we have access to everything that

God’s Spirit is doing around us. God’s Spirit was given to us to help us gain a better

understanding of who God is and what He is doing. God is not something we have to

wish we could figure out; He gives us what we need to help us understand. But we

have to be willing and ready to listen.

God gives us what we need. We don’t

have to understand it all.

2

How much do you look like God?

tuesday > 7/28

Don’t you know

how much you’re loved?

Want to buy a house or a car sometime in the future? These two items

are major investments and big purchases in life. Each of them requires

that we discipline ourselves to save and come up with a down payment to prove

that we really want those things. Have you ever had to save up for something you

really wanted it? What was it? For how long did you save? What other resources

did you use to get it?

In Him you also, when you heard

the word of truth, the gospel of

your salvation—in Him when

you believed—were sealed

with the promised Holy Spirit.

He is the down payment of our

inheritance, for the redemption

of the possession, to the praise of

His glory. —Ephesians 1:13 14

Read Ephesians 1:3-14. Reread verses

13-14.

According to these verses, when did

God start planning for you?

What was the down payment that

God provided?

What did Christ do for the down

payment?

What did the Holy Spirit do for the

down payment?

What is significant about the three portions of the down payment provided for you?

What does this tell you about God’s plan and love for you?

Your down payment was started long before you were ever born. From the very

beginning of time, God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit have been planning for you and

investing in your life. God, before all creation, knew that He wanted to have a relationship

with you and was making plans to make that possible. Paul reminded us

in this passage that only in Christ can we discover just how much was given on our

behalf. Do you understand? Jesus sacrificed the glory and honor He deserved to

come to earth where He was mocked, ignored, and crucified. He gave Himself up

for you. And there’s more! God gave us the Holy Spirit to seal you and to remind

you of what was planned for us. God—in three Persons—loves you.

3

Personal Space

wednesday > 7/29

Whom do you

look like?

He looks like his dad. No, he

looks like his mom. Come on,

he really has the look of his granddad.

Ever heard these words before? Every

new baby is put through this ritual.

For years to come there is the annual

squeezing of the cheeks followed by

the words, “Oh she looks just like . . .”

Whom do you look like?

Then God said, “Let Us

make man in Our image,

according to Our likeness.

They will rule the fish of the

sea, the birds of the sky, the

animals, all the earth, and

the creatures that crawl on

the earth.” —Genesis 1:26

Take a look at Genesis 1:26-31. Think

about what God did in verse 26.

Whom do these verses say you look

like?

What does it mean to be made in

God’s image?

Who is the “Our” in verse 26?

Do you look more like God the

Father? The Son? The Spirit?

Why is it important that all three

Persons of the Trinity were present

and involved in creation?

While your earthly parents will

argue for years over whom you most

resemble, the truth of the matter is

you were created in the image of God.

While your physical attributes may call

to mind your parents or grandparents,

God created you in His image. But God

wasn’t talking about physical things,

like your face or the shape of your

hands. You were made in God’s image,

in a spiritual sense. Everything about

you was created with God’s nature and

character in mind. That includes the

Father’s attributes, the Son’s attributes,

and the attributes of the Spirit of God.

Nobody has more bragging rights than

God of whom you look like.

50 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 51


Personal Space

“The important point is not whether we can understand the Trinity, even with

the help of illustrations, but whether we will believe what the Bible has to say

about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and about their relationship to each other.”

—James Montgomery Boice

You don’t have to

understand.

You do have to

trust.

4

Acknowledge God as three in one.

Thursday> 7/30

God is three in one.

5

Eggs are unique. They’re made up of the yolk, the white, and the shell.

All three are different, but it is still only one egg. Water can take on three

different forms—liquid, gas, or solid, but it is still always water. Can you identify

other things that contain three different parts but are still one? Go ahead, see

how many you can name.

Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Memorize verse 4.

“Listen, Israel: The Lo r d

our God, the Lo r d is One.”

—Deuteronomy 6:4

What is God the Son’s role?

What is God the Holy Spirit’s role?

Why did God choose to show Himself in this way?

Who is the “One” in “the Lord is

One”?

How would you explain the three

distinct Persons of God?

What is God the Father’s role?

There are several things in life that we have a hard time explaining. Trying to

understand that God is three Persons but still only one God is one of those

things. However, when we break it down like the egg or water, it is much easier

to understand. Each Person in the Trinity has a distinct function. They function

independently but together are still only one God.

Throughout history, theologians and deep thinkers have spent countless

hours coming up with analogies to help us understand the concept of the

Trinity. In the end, they all break down because there’s always going to be some

mystery about how these three distinct Persons are interrelated. Each One is

different and relates to us differently, but they aren’t three gods. This is God the

Father who created us and loves us without limit, yet can’t look upon our sin;

Jesus the Son who died so that we could have a relationship with God; and the

Holy Spirit who is our Guide, Comforter, and Friend. You’ve seen the Trinity at

work in your life. You can’t explain it, but you know it’s true. Trust God.

Friday > 7/31

In His Name.

Have you ever given or recited

a pledge to something or

someone? I’m sure you have. How about

the Pledge of Allegiance? If you have

obtained a passport, you had to affirm

a pledge regarding your citizenship to

this country. Can you think of any other

things that you pledge? What does it

mean when we pledge allegiance to

something? It means that we endorse

not just the pledge but what the pledge

stands for as well.

“Go, therefore, and make

disciples of all nations,

baptizing them in the name

of the Father and of the

Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

—Matthew 28:19

Read Matthew 28:16-20. What do

you need to be doing, in light of

verse 19?

What does baptism represent?

How is God the Father represented

in baptism?

How is God the Son represented in

baptism?

What about the Holy Spirit is

represented in baptism?

Why do we baptize in the name of

the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

What are we saying when we do

this?

Why is this important?

We know and understand that

baptism is a testimony and a symbol

of what has already taken place in

us when we accept Christ into our

lives as Lord and Savior. When we

baptize somebody in the name of the

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are

recognizing and acknowledging that

God is three in one. We are displaying

and indicating an oath to the Triune

God when we follow in obedience in

baptism. We acknowledge that God

is our Creator and Jesus’ Father; that

Jesus is our salvation; and that the

Holy Spirit is our Comforter, Guide,

and Teacher.

52 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 53


journal: Week of July 26

MYstery

Known> 8/1

So how do you put the truths of this week’s devotions into motion in

your life?

Think about what each member of the Trinity means to you. What does

God the Father mean to you? What does God the Son mean to you?

What does God the Holy Spirit mean to you?

How are you allowing each representative of the Trinity to make

Himself real to you on a daily basis?

How can you explain the Trinity to those who don’t understand it?

How deep is your understanding of why God chose to show Himself in

this way to us?

What do you need to do in order to gain a better understanding of the

Trinity? What steps will you take this week to better understand?

What is one way you can live out the qualities of each Person of the

Trinity today?

?

Faith isn’t understanding every facet of

God’s character. It’s believing He is who He

says He is and can do what He promised.

Personal Space

Going Deeper

To go deeper into the idea of the

Trinity we studied this week, read:

1 Corinthians 12:3-7

2 Corinthians 13:13

Ephesians 4:1-16

Hebrews 9:11-14

1 Peter 1:3-12

Jude 20-21

Prayers, thoughts,

& questions:

Read Through

the Bible

Want to know more about God

in three Persons? Read His

Word! Follow our plan and read

the whole Bible in a year.

• Job 29–Psalms 12

• Acts 16:16–20:16

Sharing

Jesus

in Japan

MK uses 5-minute English

lessons, park evangelism

M

y name is Ashley

Brents. I’m 13, and I

live in Tokyo, Japan. My

parents and I moved to Japan when

I was 8 weeks old, and my brother,

Adam (12), and sister, Avery (7), were

born here. My parents serve as project

coordinators/volunteer mobilizers

for the International Mission Board’s

Tokyo team.

I love the Japanese people, the

culture, everything! But I love America

a lot, too. My mom and I joke about

where my home really is. We decided

that it probably is on the airplane

between the two countries.

Two ministries I really enjoy are

Five-Minute English and park evangelism.

Five-Minute English is a tool

we use to start conversations with the

Japanese so we can share the gospel.

We hold up signs advertising it at train

stations and call out, “Five-Minute

English!,” and people come up to us.

We use a workbook with questions

such as, “Are you a spiritually

minded person and why?”

Park evangelism is going to

the big parks in Tokyo and trying

to make friends. When people are

playing games, we ask if we can play,

too. We hang out with them and try

to share Christ. One time I walked

up to someone who was sitting on a

blanket, and he asked me to tell him

about Christ!

Sometimes our team dresses up as

clowns and gives out Bible tracts as we

talk to people who are watching us. I

make balloons and give them to the

little kids. It can be hard because the

kids speak Japanese better than I do—

and I don’t know what animal they are

asking me to make!

I help with park evangelism in the

summer and Five-Minute English

year-round. I usually work with other

missionaries and volunteers who

come from the U.S. on mission trips.

It is pretty exciting. Last summer 439

volunteers came and talked to 12,201

people, mostly using Five-Minute

English and park evangelism. More

than 1,200 Japanese heard the plan

of salvation, and 88 people got saved.

Isn’t that awesome? God works in

totally cool ways.

I believe God has a plan for the

Japanese. Three summers ago,

the Tokyoites seemed closed to the

gospel. But today they are open and

love talking to Americans. One of my

missionary friends said, “The spiritual

climate of Japan is changing.”

We would love to have you come to

Japan on a mission trip! I love volunteers

and think it would be so cool if

you would come! If you’re interested in

learning more about work among the

Japanese or how you can be involved

in missions, go to http://thetask.org or

http://going.imb.org.

Life mk corner

photos courtesy IMB

fast facts

Japan

Mk STories • By Ashley Brents

Climate: varies from tropical in south to

cool temperate in north

Terrain: mostly rugged and

mountainous

Area: 145,882 sq. miles (slightly smaller

than California)

Natural Resources: negligible

mineral resources, fish (With virtually

no energy natural resources, Japan is

the world’s largest importer of coal and

liquefied natural gas as well as the second

largest importer of oil.)

Population: 127,288,416 (July 2008 est.)

Literacy: 99% of people in Japan age 15

and over can read and write

Ethnic Groups: Japanese—98.5%,

Korean—0.5%, Chinese—0.4%, other—

0.6%

Religions: observe both Shinto and Buddhist

84%, other 16% (including Christian

0.7%)

Fact List Source: The CIA Factbook, https://www.cia.

gov/library/publications/the world factbook/geos/

ja.html

Pray

• That the people we meet using Five-

Minute English and park evangelism will

have a hunger to know Christ.

• That the pop culture in Asia will shift

toward God’s truth, the only thing that

can free the Japanese from sin and

death.

• For members of the IMB Tokyo team as

they work to see house churches started

in West Tokyo.

54 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 55


By Jennifer McCaman • illustration by Angela Martini

Extreme Mod esty Makeover

Hairnets and Stockings

She greets you every day with a

cheesy grin and a hearty scoop of

green beans. She’s the lunch lady,

and we love her. But think for a

moment about her, well, outfit.

Picture the hair net, shapeless

dress, apron that falls just above

her gray stockings, and black,

flat shoes.

What words would you use to

describe this fashion style? Odds are

“sexy,” “hot,” and “cute” didn’t make the list.

As Christian girls, we’ve heard the word

“modesty” preached at us until it starts to

conjure up a cafeteria lady in our minds. For

most of us, “modesty” is a list of things we’re

not allowed to wear, including the scandalous

spaghetti-strap shirts, two-piece bathing

suits, and sweatpants with “hottie” printed

across the seat. Admit it: modesty often

seems like your less-than-fashionable

mom’s main weapon in her plot to

take away everything cute in your

wardrobe.

Actually this concept of modesty

is far from the truth. Modesty goes

beyond clothes to the core of who

we are. The world teaches us that

our waist, bust size, and flirty

personality give us value as

females. Psalm 139:13-15 speaks

another message:

For it was You who created

my inward parts; You knit

me together in my mother’s

womb. I will praise You,

because I have been

remarkably and wonderfully

made. Your

works are wonderful,

and I

know this very

well. My bones

were not hidden

from You when I was

made in secret, when I was

formed in the depths of the earth.

We have value because

we belong to God.

God made us exactly

as He wanted, and He

loves us.

First Corinthians

6:20b (The Message)

says, “ . . . let

people see God in and

through your body.”

Like this verse says,

modesty is letting

people see God in and

through your body.

Modesty does not

mean joining a convent

or never wearing

makeup. Instead, it’s

Modesty Test

As girls, clothes are

woven into our DNA.

From shoes and

purses to tops and

jeans—every choice is

deliberate. Even girls

who “don’t care”

about their clothes

intentionally don’t

care, meaning they

intentionally select

quirky T-shirts,

shoelaces, and

jeans to pull off the

“I-don’t-care” look.

As lovers of fashion,

how can we tell if our

choices honor God?

dressing and acting in a way that honors Christ.

Modesty can be defined as “freedom from

vanity.” 1 We all know people at school who are

obsessed with flaunting their image. Modesty

is freedom from the pressure to conform to

the world’s standard of beauty. Along with the

cafeteria-lady lie, the world spews other false

information about modesty.

Myth Modesty is restricting.

Truth Modesty is freedom.

Google certain girl celebrities, and you’ll see a

slew of photos that would probably embarrass

their moms. Hollywood teaches that fashion is

freedom. They argue that a truly independent,

uninhibited girl isn’t afraid to show what she

has. The media equates sexiness with selfexpression.

In reality, freedom is only found in Christ.

When you honor God with your life, you

understand freedom at a level the world can’t

imagine. This freedom empowers you to

become the woman God made you to be.

The world’s idea of beauty is imprisoning.

Many girls become depressed, anorexic, cutters,

or at the least, insecure with the way they

look. Talk about prison.

Modesty in Christ gives freedom. You are

free to feel good about who God made you to

be. You don’t have to draw attention to your

body or throw yourself at a guy. You never have

to worry about embarrassing pictures popping

up on Myspace. Sure, you can still dress cute,

wear make-up, and fix your hair, but your

worth is not found in your appearance or your

wardrobe. That is freedom.

Myth Modesty is insecure.

Truth Modesty is confidence.

More than clothes, modesty is an attitude.

The world teaches girls that confidence is

found in looking sexy. Actually, true security

is learning to see yourself the way God sees

you. Psalm 45:11 says “the king will desire

your beauty.” Psalm 139:13 teaches us that God

knit us together in our mother’s womb. We

are beautiful because we are made by God.

We don’t have to draw attention to our bodies

by wearing revealing clothing or flirting

provocatively. Running after the world’s idea of

beauty only leaves us empty and insecure.

Myth Modesty is boring.

Truth Modesty is mystery.

Perhaps the most powerful word to describe

spiritual modesty is “mystery.” Modesty is

keeping yourself mysterious to guys and to the

world. Instead of flaunting your body, wear

cute clothes, but cover up. Instead of throwing

yourself at a guy by calling, texting, and flirting

all the time, hold back. Be mysterious. Let God

cultivate an inner beauty that is captivating to

the guy he wants to bring your way. Don’t get me

wrong. Modesty doesn’t mean being quiet or shy

necessarily. It’s great to have a bubbly, passionate

personality if that’s who God’s made you to be.

Just don’t let a desire for attention cause you to

make bad decisions. If

Mini-checklist

Does this outfit

reflect who I am in

Christ?

Can I move

around in this outfit

(standing, sitting,

leaning, bending

over) without

anything showing?

Will guys respect

me wearing this?

a guy isn’t interested

in you, let him walk

away. If the loud, less

clothed girl in your

class seems to attract

all the guys, don’t

worry. You will never

regret your choice to

pursue modesty and

mystery.

Myth Guys only like sexy outfits and

flirty girls.

Truth Guys long for a girl who doesn’t

make them struggle.

Generally, guys are visual creatures who are

easily tempted to lust. Your choice to pursue

modesty hugely impacts their purity. You seriously

have the power to help your guy friends

pursue Christ. Simply by wearing a shirt

that’s not low-cut under a plunging neckline,

you help guys keep their thoughts pure. Also

by intentionally not sitting in a guy’s lap and

avoiding sexually flirtatious contact, you help

them grow in Christ. Sure it’s difficult. Many

girls think guys should just control themselves,

but it’s just not that easy. As girls, we

connect emotionally. Guys connect physically.

Help your guy friends—and all guys—stay

pure when they’re around you. By honoring

God with your body, you also respect the guys

around you. It might seem like guys don’t

notice your effort, but (trust me) they do, and

more importantly, so does God.

Myth Modesty is easy.

Truth Modesty is sacrifice.

Pursuing Christ-centered modesty is totally

rewarding, but it is also a sacrifice. As you set

higher standards for your wardrobe, you’ll

have fewer choices at stores. You might have to

go to two or three stores to find a bathing suit

that doesn’t show everything. Maybe you’ll

completely ignore a style many of your friends

wear because it doesn’t reflect who you are in

Christ. Modesty also means that certain guys

are totally off limits. (You don’t really want

these guys anyway.)

Don’t be discouraged. Your choice to honor

God with your body will always be worth it.

Modesty doesn’t just happen. You have to

choose to go against the world and be different.

Intentionally decide to dress and act in

a way that glorifies God. Don’t let anything

come between you and your commitment. ec

1. “modesty,” Dictionary.com [online], cited 6 February

2009. Available from the Internet: http://dictionary.

reference.com/browse/modesty.

Warning:

Confronting

Immodesty

Girls who do not

have Christ have no

reason to dress like

Christians. We have

a different standard.

Do not freak out

over their clothes

until you freak out

over their lives.

Your first goal is to

lead them to Christ,

not to dress them

up like a Christian.

Many non-Christian

girls think Christians

judge them and

look down on them

because of how they

dress and act. Choose

to show these girls

kindness and love,

without conforming

to their choices.

As Christ changes

their hearts, He’ll

eventually change

their wardrobe and

attitudes.

Check out

ecmagazine.blogspot.com

this month for some

modesty quizzes just

for the girls!

56 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 57


Modesty: Not just a girl thing!

By Will Snipes • illustration by Angela Martini

Let’s be honest for a minute—the truth is

that writers often draw a blank when beginning

an assignment. Most of you have probably

experienced this firsthand when given a

writing task by an English teacher. Where do

I begin? What will I say? What will be my main

points?

It was no different for me with this task.

So I did what many of you would do—I did an

Internet search for the word modesty.

I found a good definition: moderation in

speech, dress, or behavior. The word itself

is linked to the Latin word modestus, which

means “keeping within measure.” I read about

styles of dress throughout history and how

they have changed.

I even discovered cultural information about

appropriate behaviors, such as the fact that

the Australian Aborigines appear indifferent to

nakedness, but are deeply embarrassed if they

are seen eating. Although I was beginning to get

some ideas, I still didn’t have the focus I needed

to write this article. How do I explain to teenage

guys why modesty is important? Because, really,

we only ever talk about that in the context of

what some girl is wearing, right?

I found my inspiration buried deep on an

informational Internet page, under a heading

titled “Antonyms.” There was the one word

that was all I needed to get the ball rolling.

So guess what’s an antonym for modesty.

Pride.

Pride is all about focusing attention on

ourselves. It’s about saying: “Hey everybody—

look at me!” It’s about being the loudest, the

funniest, the strongest, the craziest, the most

watched person in the room.

When you think about it, there really is

a reason people use that phrase “proud as

a peacock.” Pride can be compared to the

male peacock’s behavior. He displays his brilliant

plumage in order to gain attention from

females. Loud, funny, crazy, and trying to

gain the attention of girls . . . does that sound

like some of the guys you know? Maybe—just

maybe—does it sound a little like you?

Modesty is all about self-control. It’s about

not drawing attention to ourselves, but rather

letting our lives direct all glory to God. It’s

about offering our bodies—our very lives—

as living sacrifices that point others to the

redemptive work of Christ in our hearts (Rom.

12:1).

Girls often struggle with modesty in terms

of how they present themselves to the world.

They use their style of dress and the body

God has blessed them with to gain attention.

Because we are wired differently from girls,

modesty for guys takes a different slant, but it

is still an important component in the overall

makeup of who we are in Christ.

Guys, ask yourself these questions as you

begin to examine the level of modesty in your

own life:

• Do you tend to brag about your accomplishments

in areas like athletics or

achievements?

• Do you play the “one-up” game, where

you always have to make yourself look a

little better than others?

• Do you tell inappropriate jokes or use

inappropriate language to gain attention

or laughs?

• Have you taken a picture of your

muscles and displayed it for all the world

to see on Myspace or Facebook ® ? We

all know you’ve been hitting the weight

room, but is that really necessary? Is God

glorified in those pictures?

• Are you searching for any opportunity

to draw peoples’ attention to you, your

physique, or your accomplishments?

Why are you parading around like that

peacock?

As you honestly search your heart for

answers to these questions, maybe God is

showing you that your life is not displaying

much modestus, as our ancient Latin friends

termed it. Maybe you’re not keeping things

“within measure.” Maybe you’re proudly soaking

up the attention of the world while leaving

the glorifying of God out of the picture.

Consider the words of the psalmist: Search

me, God, and know my heart; test me and know

my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in

me; lead me in the everlasting way (Ps. 139:23-

24).

Let’s make it clear that there’s nothing

inherently wrong with being concerned about

your appearance or taking some pride in your

accomplishments. It’s all about things being

done within measure. And about God receiving

glory in the end.

Oh, and one last thing from my Internet

search? Recent scientific research has shown

that it’s not the bright tail feathers of the male

peacock that draw the most attention from

the females. Instead, it’s his vocalization—his

words, so to speak. Although the parallel may

not be direct, perhaps the best way to gain

some positive attention in this world might

be through the kindness, gentleness, and sensitivity

of your words, through encouragement

and exhortation of others rather than showing

off. Maybe focusing more on God and less on

yourself is truly attractive to the world.

And that’s a definition of modesty that I can

take to heart. ec

Modesty for

guys?

Modesty is a big

deal, right? For girls

that is.

At least that’s the

idea all our Christian

talk about what girls

should and shouldn’t

wear seems to say.

But modesty is about

more than clothes!

It’s a way of life. It’s

part of pursuing

purity. We’ve boiled

modesty down to

what we can and

can’t wear, then

made it all about

girls. It’s more than

that.

Scripture commands

you to pursue a life of

purity. Check out

1 Timothy 4:12;

2 Timothy 2:22; and

1 Peter 1:15-16; 2:9.

Your lives—every

part of them—are

supposed to be

characterized by the

pursuit of holiness,

purity, humility, and,

yes, modesty.

That should affect

every part of your

life, from what you

wear to what you

say, where you go,

and who you think

is most important in

your life.

And when you truly

understand modesty,

humility, and

holiness, the most

important person

in your life won’t be

you.

58 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 59


Second

Chances

By Amber Mushegan

For being a people who have been so freely forgiven, it sure is

difficult for us to forgive, isn’t it? Our nature is to become angry

and hope that others get what they deserve after they have hurt

or wronged us in some way. But God gave His only Son to die

in order to cover our sins in forgiveness. We certainly didn’t get what we

deserved! Our God is the Giver of second chances! We all know that we

need second chances, but do you give them as well as take them?

© istockphoto / simon oxley

Over and over again in Scripture, God stresses the

importance of forgiveness. Being a person who forgives is

vital to having a right relationship with God and others.

Christ even said that we must forgive others in order to be

forgiven. (See Matt. 6:14-16.) So, how do we do it? How do

we actively pursue forgiveness in our lives?

The first key is accepting God’s forgiveness yourself.

Jesus said that “the one who is forgiven little, loves little”

(Luke 7:47). In other words, if you haven’t accepted God’s

forgiveness and live in that

Famous second

chances

Lucille Ball. In 1927,

the actress was dismissed

from drama school

by teachers who said

she had no future as a

performer. Later, she won

four Emmy Awards for

her performance in

“I Love Lucy.”

Michael Jordan. As a

high school sophomore,

Jordan was cut from the

varsity basketball team.

He made the team the

next year and went on

to make history in the

sport both in college and

the NBA.

Jonah. In the Old

Testament, God

instructed the prophet

Jonah to go to Ninevah

and deliver God’s

message. Jonah ran

the other way. When

rescued by God, he was

obedient—even if it was

with the wrong attitude.

Kurt Warner. In 1999,

the quarterback led the

St. Louis Rams to a Super

Bowl victory. By 2004

he’d been dismissed from

the Rams and lost the

starting QB position for

the New York Giants. In

2009, he led the Arizona

Cardinals to their first

Super Bowl appearance

and threw for 377 yards

despite the team’s loss.

You. God loves you—too

much to leave you lost

without purpose, trapped

by sin. He gave you a

second chance in Christ.

Trust Him in all things,

with all your heart.

freedom yourself, there

is no way you will be able

to truly forgive others

and love as Christ loves.

The ability to forgive is an

outpouring of Christ in

us and is impossible apart

from Him.

So, you are living in

God’s forgiveness and

want to forgive others,

but how? Peter asked that

question of Christ, and the

answer probably surprised

all who were listening.

Peter wanted to know if he

should forgive his brother 7

times, and Christ said not

just 7, but 70 times 7. (See

Matt. 18:21-22.)

The point? Forgiveness

is a constant process, not

an instant one. Christ

wasn’t saying that we

must only forgive a certain

number of times. He was

demonstrating that we

must continue forgiving

again and again, giving the

matter over to God in obedience

until it is settled in

our hearts. He knows it’s

not easy for us, but He calls

us to be obedient and allow

Him to work through us.

Unforgiveness is like

a disease that will spread

through your body like

wildfire. It will cause you

to wallow in anger and to

grow bitter and resentful,

missing out on the joy

that the Lord brings. The

picture of unforgiveness in

the Bible is that of the un-

forgiven person being roped

to the back of the person who

refuses to forgive. When you

refuse to forgive another,

you are truly carrying them

around on your back, bearing

the weight of that burden

day after day. It hurts you

so much more than it hurts

them! When you choose to forgive, you release your burden

to the Lord and allow the person who has wronged you

to be free. Remember that love does not keep a record of

wrongs. When you forgive someone, you can release them

and give them a clean slate.

What do you do if you just don’t feel like you can possibly

forgive someone? One of the best ways to align your

heart with the heart of God is to simply pray for them.

Ask God to help you see them from His point of view, as a

person who is dearly loved and bought at a great price, just

as you are. Pray for God to give you a love for the person

who has wronged you.

Forgiving those you love is easier because you generally

know that they most likely didn’t intend to hurt you. Forgiving

those who seem unlovable is much more difficult

because it’s easier to stay angry with them. Pray for God to

help you love them in humility, recognizing that God loves

them as much as He loves you.

Remember that love does not

keep a record of wrongs.

Now, what happens after you forgive? I truly believe

that obedience brings joy, and being obedient to God by

forgiving others is a great reward in and of itself. But I

have also found that sometimes the results of forgiveness

are far-reaching—beyond what we can even imagine. For

example, in high school I had some friends who constantly

ridiculed my faith. Their comments were often harsh and

hard to swallow, but I made a conscious effort to forgive

them and to show them that I loved them no matter what

they said. A few years after high school, one of those

friends called me at college and apologized for how she had

treated me back then. She said she had accepted Christ and

couldn’t wait to tell me because I had shown her the love of

Christ when she seemed unlovable.

You never know what the impact of your choices will

be. The way you choose to live your life and your faith now

can make an eternal difference. Just choose—every day,

every moment, if need be—to live for God and be obedient

to His Word. Walk in the freedom that forgiveness brings,

because you’ve been given a gift you can’t earn by a God

who will never love you any more or any less. You won’t

regret living in the power of that love. Ever! ec

© istockphoto

60 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 61


Mandisa on Modesty

Music reviews fresh from ec • by Kevin Sparkman

fun music connection

By Tifany Borgelt

Nowhere is appearance

more highly valued than in

the entertainment industry.

Whether you’re a singer, actor,

model, or whatever, physical

beauty and the display of it

seems to be what makes or

breaks a person’s career.

For those of us who live in

the real world—where camera

crews and microphones don’t

follow our every move—we

fortunately don’t have to worry

about our looks making or

breaking us. But what happens

when you are a Christian whom

God has given a platform upon

which millions of people look?

Are the standards different

then?

Simon Cowell blasted

Mandisa Hundley several times

during the audition process

during season 5 of “American

Idol.” He later apologized, and

Mandisa ended up as a top 10

finalist that season. Her first

album, “True Beauty,” released

in 2007 and garnered both

Grammy and Dove Award

nominations. “Freedom”

released in March 2009.

Find Mandisa online:

mandisa.sparrowrecords.com

myspace.com/mandisa

Read more thoughts about

modesty on our blog:

(ecmagazine.blogspot.com).

In your world, modesty is probably

a synonym for unfashionable and

lame. That’s not quite the truth,

though. ec recently caught up

with Mandisa, singer and former

“American Idol” contestant to

chat about modesty and why it

matters—onstage and off.

ec: Modesty. What do you think of when you

hear that word?

Mandisa: To me, modesty is humility. I believe

humility can be seen in one’s attitude, speech,

and appearance.

ec: Because you have been very outspoken

about your Christian faith both on “American

Idol” and beyond, do you think that the world

holds you to a different standard in how you

present yourself, in how you look and what you

say?

Mandisa: On “American Idol” I learned that

there is always someone watching you. That is

especially true in a world where living by biblical

values is not the norm. This is true for me,

because of the fame I was given by being on the

most popular television show in America. But

this is also true for every Christian who chooses

to live their lives in a way that would be pleasing

to God. Some people refer to me as a “star.”

Philippians 2:14-15 says that you are a star, too!

ec: Given that there is a certain level of self

promotion in the entertainment world, how does

modesty play into how you present yourself?

Mandisa: I have learned that just as

Philippians 2 says, God will promote those who

wa k in humility. Certainly if Jesus, being in very

nature God, could humble Himself to serve

humanity by His death, [then] I can present

myself in humility and allow God to promote me.

I am fully aware that everything good I am, have,

and have done is because of the Holy Spirit’s

work in me and God’s favor on me.

ec: Is modesty just an attitude of the heart? In

other words, if your heart is right before God,

does it really matter what you wear?

Mandisa: I believe that if your heart truly is the

Lord’s, it will affect what you do. If my heart is

right with the Lord, I won’t want to say certain

things, wear certain things, or act in certain

ways. I would want to live my life in a way that

reflects well on Him.

Joy Lippard

Joy Lippard

(independent artist)

In a world of

pop princesses,

Joy Lippard

shines because

of her depth

and originality.

iPod Picks:

“Dishes”

& “Such a

Time”

iPod Picks:

“Get Up” &

“Elementary”

iPod Picks:

“Take

Everything” &

“Carry Me”

iPod Picks:

“When It Feels

Right” &

“One World”

iPod Picks:

“Hole in my pocket” may

be the best female vocal

performance of 2009!

“I Will Write You Letters”

is a feel-good song that

proves Lippard’s maturity

beyond her years.

Weeding through the

mediocre artistry of today’s

reality show contests and

everyday home-grown

talents, we find a shining

star in singer/songwriter Joy

Lippard. The self-titled debut

release showcases a fully

armed performer as she

delivers with pen, piano, and

power-pop vocals that rise

above anything you would

expect from a mic-wielding

18-year-old. But she has been

songwriting since the tender

age of 11. Check out Joy

online at www.joylippard.com.

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Flynn Adam Such a Time (Gotee Records)

Flynn adam’s sound

is part party music,

part thoughtful

Visit ecmagazine.blogspot.com

and find us on Facebook!

Signature:

if you like Gnarls Barkley, you’ll love Flynn Adam. Adam, a

member of LA Symphony, a Christian hip hop group, has created a

release that honors his hip hop background, but also establishes a

more alternative sound. Adam counts the new album as an important

lyrics.

milestone in his journey of faith: “I have a better picture of who God is by just being honest and

upright with Him through this journey.” Learn more at www.myspace.com/flynnadam.

Robert Pierre Identity (thinkaboutit Records)

Robert Pierre

doesn’t let the world

define his identity or

his sound.

this album is a true reflection of an ordinary 16-year-old

Florida boy finding an extraordinary identity through Jesus Christ.

There is, however, nothing ordinary about Robert Pierre’s talent.

Pierre delivers the ballads flawlessly (“I Will Love You” and “I’ll Be

There”) while turning a 180 with a slate of edgy pop/rock tunes to

round out this project. Coming from the heart of a teenager, there’s no question where Robert’s

“Identity” lies. For more, see Robert online: www.robertpierre.com.

Seventh Day Slumber Take Everything (BEC)

Bottom line: This Not only does this album feature a new spin on worship

album invites us to standards known the world over, but when you consider the life

deeper relationships Seventh Day Slumber frontman Joseph Rojas has been delivered

with Christ, even in from as a daily cocaine addict, it will put an entirely new

hard times.

perspective on this worship experience. On “Carry Me,” you hear

the soul of this hard rocker crying out to Jesus and offering an

anthem for people suffering from hard stuff. More online: wwwseventhdayslumber.com.

Various Artists Hip Hope Hits 2009 (Gotee Records)

This compilation is

full of the best of

the best.

For the fifth time, Gotee Records releases one of the most

anticipated hip hop records of the year. In the vein of popular

compilation formats, Gotee comes strong with its ‘09 version

featuring favorites tobyMac, KJ-52, GRITS, Verbs, and Pettidee.

The compilation’s cohesive sound is a testament to the mutualr espect between artists like

these in the tight-knit Christian hip hop community.

62 | jul 2009 ec magazine ec magazine jul 2009 | 63


1

parting shot life

The Final 5

(things ec wants you to remember):

You can’t do it all alone. You were never supposed to.

At His very core, God is all about community. He’s Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And that’s exactly why He

never meant for you to live your faith in a vacuum. See pages 26, 30, and 48.

photo: © istockphoto / denys sevriukov. illustrations: angela martini.

2

Truth that

will never

go out of

style: modesty is

about more than

just clothes.


Modesty is about more than

what you do or don’t wear—and

it’s not just an issue for girls.

Modesty is about living your life

in such a way that it brings glory

to God. It’s shouldn’t be a fad.

3

Summer

shouldn’t be

boring. Celebrate

each day!

Each day is a gift from God.

Strive to see them as such.

Take some time to enjoy the

ways God has blessed you.

See pages 16 and 45.

4

Your country

needs you!

You may think you can’t

do much to help our country and our

leaders, but you can. Just pray for

them. Check out page 18 for ideas

about what to say.

5

Faith isn’t about understanding

everything. It’s about trusting.

God doesn’t think exactly like you do, and no matter how hard you

try, you can’t wrap your brain around every facet of His character.

But He is good; He is love; and He has made a way for you. See pages 40 and 60

to see what we mean.

64 | jul 2009 ec magazine

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