Monthly Archives: June 2012

MetaMORFhosis! Delighting Grace Interviews MORF Magazine

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There are tons of Christian magazines out there waiting to be digested by Christians. Some are in print and some are in digital format. Some are paid and some are free. But as I check out Christian magazines on the internet I came to across to MORF magazine. MORF is not another graphically beautiful magazine but offers stories and lessons every Christian should read. We got a hold to Jenna De Witt, managing editor of MORF and we talk about the magazine.

Delighting Grace: How does MORF differ from other Christian magazines out there?

 

Jenna: MORF is a spiritual formation magazine for youth pastors, mentors and parents of teenage Christians published four times a year by Student Life. We are different than other youth ministry and parenting magazines in that we focus on stories of actual life transformation – spiritual formation happening in real life – rather than anecdotal ministry or programming tips. We believe focusing on the spiritual health of leaders will positively impact the students they guide. (We still know how to have fun too; check out our Twitter account @RealBibleTweets or Bizarre Bible Stories at www.MORFmagazine.com for proof!)

 

Delighting Grace:  Please tell us how MORF started and the process of making one issue? How do you choose what goes into print or not?

 

Jenna: Student Life has organized Christian summer camps for teens for almost 20 years. We saw teens making decisions for Christ and recommitting to their faith over the one week a year they came to camp, but as research proves, it’s really the parents, youth pastors and mentors who influence a teen’s life year-round. We started MORF to connect with and equip those adults for ministry to their teens. We examine how each article could impact our readers and their teenagers. Does it draw them into a deeper relationship with Christ and send a message consistent with our values? Will this article be relevant two, five, 10 years from now? If it’s just the latest trend in ministry, it’s probably not the right fit for MORF. We do publish a weekly blog and a biweekly newsletter for more current topics, but the quarterly magazine is more timeless.

 

The process starts with mapping out story ideas and where they would fit in relation to one another. As the writers turn in stories, we edit and design. When the issue is complete, we post the stories to the web and send out 10,000 print copies to youth ministry conferences and influencers in the youth ministry field.

 

Delighting Grace:  What do you think are the issues that matter to teens & how do they affect the church?

 

Jenna: Teens are going through a crucial season of transformation (or, metamorphosis, which is where our name comes from). In addition, we are all being transformed into Christlikeness “by the renewing of our minds” as Romans 12:2 says. Research shows us that only about 8 percent of teens are sticking with their faith into their young adult years. I think the biggest issues affecting these teens have to do with how everything they are taught in church, Sunday School or youth group relates to their everyday lives. That said, teenagers are such a diverse demographic. They struggle with acceptance, depression, gossip, self-harm, comparison, perfectionism, loneliness, apathy, addiction, rejection, anxiety, longing for independence, uncertain futures… everything we hear about in the news (and often experienced ourselves growing up), but Christian teens have the added complication of how their faith fits into all of this.

 

On a really basic level, these issues affect the Church because teens are the future of the Church. If we lose them, we aren’t just losing a demographic; we are losing the next generation of believers, leaders, parents and pastors. They are the Church itself. Not only that, but these teens are each God’s precious creation. He placed each one here to have a personal relationship with Him, to love Him and know Him. The call to use the gifts and talents He has given us doesn’t start sometime in adulthood. They are able to impact the Kingdom now at 13 or 15 or 18 – and we see examples of children and teens taking big stands for God in Scripture. It’s the call of the Church to equip them for that ministry and help them grow into maturity in Christ so that when they reach those hard times or struggles, they will land on a solid faith foundation.

 

Delighting Grace:  Christians can sway or Christians can be swayed by culture. What do you think Christian teens should do in either situation?

 

Jenna: We have to keep the end goal in mind: making disciples of all nations, including our own backyard, our own culture. Culture does influence us, no matter how often we say we are “in the world, not of it.” We can’t try to shut it out completely or we won’t be influencing it for the Gospel at all. On the flip side, we are called to be set apart and live contrary to the world’s standards and values. The key is to view each situation in light of our faith. We have to be intentional in asking ourselves how the media we consume, the technology we use, the words we speak, the people we surround ourselves with – and everything else in our “culture” – is influencing us. What message are they sending and does that message line up with God’s Word? That’s the test we have to use in influencing culture as well. What message are we sending the world? Is that message consistent with God’s character and will as revealed to us in the Bible?

 

Delighting Grace:  For youth workers how do we address hard topics like politics etc., to teens?

 

Jenna: We actually hope to address topics like this in our magazine! The key, I think, is to just keep it consistent with the Gospel, always rooted from a place of love. Keep asking how addressing an issue draws teens into a deeper relationship with God. We can’t ignore the hard topics, but we also can’t get so caught up in the side issues that we miss the heart. Keeping a Kingdom focus can help us approach these topics in a Christ-like way.

 

Delighting Grace:  You started with Navpress publisher and now Student Life. With that background, are you obliged to set standards too since they produce awesome godly materials?

 

Jenna: Sure. We definitely have some guidelines when we decide what to publish, mainly that everything is spot-on theologically. Just like the questions above, we want to make sure that each issue is sending a message consistent with God’s Word and our mission. We want to produce the highest quality publication we can because God has called us to give our best for His glory. There are a lot of stereotypes about Christian media being lower quality or less creative than the mainstream, so we always aim to break that stereotype as children of the Creator.

 

Delighting Grace:  Your magazine is awesome as I check it out in its digital format. Are you in a way fearful that readers will settle on its free download rather than on its paid print subscription in the future?

 

Jenna: MORF is a bit different than many publications because we don’t have a paid print subscription in place at this time. All of our content is available as a free resource (yay, free stuff!). We do offer digital subscriptions that deliver MORF straight to your email inbox, including our exclusive subscribers-only newsletter, but they are free as well. We want to equip the church and we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible. We even encourage readers to give free subscriptions to their ministry teams and parents at www.MORFmagazine.com/share.

 

Delighting Grace: Please tell our readers why we should read MORF magazine and do invite them to come see the magazine.

 

Jenna: Why read MORF? Did I mention it’s free?!  Seriously though, MORF tells the story of how Christians are making the journey through the teen years, whether it’s as parents, youth pastors, mentors or teens themselves. Some of these brothers and sisters in Christ have endured personal tragedies, some are giving their lives on the mission field, some are making an impact on their world in unexpected ways… our hope is that all of them would be encouraging testimonies to our readers, letting them know they are not walking through this metamorphosis alone.

 

You can visit www.MORFmagazine.com for all of our (free!) articles and blogs. You can also connect with us at @MORFmag on Twitter and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/MORFmagazine.

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4 Essential Things to Do Without Going Online

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Unplug your laptops and tablets and go for an adventure outside cyberspace.

  1. Read-search, browse and bookmark are not just for websites. You can do it on a book. Go to your church or public libraries and indulge into a great read.
  2. Nature trip-go to the beach, trek to mountains, or hike down forest.
  3. Meet your real friends- set a fellowship with other believers in or out of your church.
  4. Do ministry- You have an internet or online ministry right but go out and do face to face ministry. Get involve. Inspire others to share Christ love.

What else can you do without going online?

5 Important Things to Remember for Christian Film Showing

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Another cool idea to get people know the gospel is through film showing. Here are 5 things to consider if you’re planning to have one:

  1. Place- Is it inside a campus, auditorium or a house? Where can you plug your device for the presentation?
  2. People- are they students, believers etc? Will they easily understand or relate with the film?
  3. Video- will it be evangelistic for the unsaved or will edify the Christian or both? Choose what film you will present. How about the language? Will they easily grasp the message?
  4. Gospel presentation- it will be a plus if we can present the gospel aside from the film’s own presentation of it. Be ready to preach the gospel or ask someone to do it.
  5. Equipment-check laptops, speakers, microphones and projectors. You must have backups too.

Love to hear some of your ideas. Please post in on the comments.

J.B. Phillips on God for a “Privileged Class”

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J.B. Phillips, the Anglican minister best known as a Bible translator, writes in his famous book “Your God is Too Small” a misconception about God:

 

It is characteristic of human beings to create and revere a ‘privileged class,” and some modern Christians regard the mystic as being somehow spiritually a cut above his fellows. Ordinary forms of worship and prayer may suffice for the ordinary man, but for the one who has direct apprehension of God—he is literally in a class by himself. You cannot expect a man to attend Evensong in his parish church when there are visions waiting for him in his study!

 

                The New Testament does not subscribe to this flattering view of those with a gift for mystic vision. It is always downright and practical. It is by their fruits that men shall be known: God is no respecter of persons: true religion is expressed by such humdrum things as visiting those in trouble and steadfastly maintaining faith despite exterior circumstances. It is not, of course, that the New Testament considers it a bad thing for a man to have a vision of God, but there is a wholesome insistence on such a vision being worked out in love and service.

 

                It should be noted, at least by those who accept Christ claim to be God that he by no means fits into the picture of the “mystic saint.” Those who are fascinated by the supposed superiority of the mystic soul might profitably compile a list of its characteristics and place them side by side with those of Christ. The result would probably expose a surprising conclusion.

 

                There is, in fact, no provision for a “privileged class” in genuine Christianity. “It shall not be so among you,” said Christ to his early followers,” all ye are brethren.”

 

(Your God is Too Small by J.B. Phillips, pp.56-57, Macmillan Paperback Edition 1961)

 

What are some misconceptions of God you have in mind? Please share it in the comment.

The Right Response to an Answered Prayer (Part 2)

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(I preached this message during our Prayer Meeting last February 29, 2012. This is part 2 of it. Our text is Acts 12:10-17. I hope and pray you’ll be blessed!!!)

Last week we got hold of the two right responses to an answered prayer. They are expect it and don’t doubt it. Here are the rest:

  1. Accept it. Verse 16 we read that instead of letting pastor Peter in, Rhoda didn’t let him in. the members of the church in Jerusalem didn’t believe that Peter was outside. They wouldn’t accept it at first. As we pray to God we must accept the answer to our prayers. As I have said the two important thoughts on prayer it may not be gain or we may not be dependent on the outcome that’s why  we don’t accept God’s reply. How many times did God gave you answers? How did you react upon it? how many times did we overlook it for something else? Remember this: we are letting opportunity pass by when we don’t accept it. we are letting the blessings of God slip away. As Peter knocks on the door so is our answered prayer that keeps knocking to us. So my beloved, open the door for that answered prayer to fill your life.
  2. Tell it to others (verse 17). Answered prayers are blessings filled with joy and gladness to the soul. We should proclaim our God’s goodness in His response to our prayers. Why? Here are two reasons:

 aTestimony– the living proof that despite of who we are there is a living God that answers our prayers. Also it is an evidence of our strong faith in Him. It will reinforce others to earnestly pray too.

b. Praise– telling others is a form of thank you note towards our Creator. Do you want to praise God for His loving kindness to you? Then tell it to others.

Now as we close, how’s your prayer life? Any answered prayer lately? Or isn’t about time to expect, have faith, accept and tell others your answered prayer? May God move you to have the right response to your answered prayer!

5 Essential Things to Remember When Going Online in a Computer Shop

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For those who don’t have an internet connection at home it’s a hassle going out to use a public computer. So to make it a little bit of heaven for your internet fix, here are the 5 things you need to remember when going online at your neighborhood internet shop.

  1. Your Password-Do you know your password?  Better know your password for your e-mail, social media site, blogs, file sharing site etc., before logging in.
  2. What to Search-write a list of things (in an index card or notebook) you’ll be look for. This is best for those students who are doing research and homework. Don’t waste your time remembering it when you’re online.
  3. Your USB or flash drive-Don’t forget to carry it for uploading or downloading some digital files.
  4. The Time- Since you’re in an internet café (here in the Philippines), you have a per hour charge of use, you have to be time conscious so that you don’t misuse it for unnecessary stuff.
  5. Your Stuff- Have you seen those CCTV clips on some thief in a public computer shop stealing valuables from customers who are busy in their surfing?  Listen! You might be the next! So keep an eye to your personal belongings.

Anything you like to add? Please post it on the comment.