Soak up the SON

Soak up the SON

I feel like I’ve been in recovery for the last nine days.  March 10th came and went like a SHINEtastic whirlwind of emotion, exhilaration and exhaustion.  Ministering to over 500 teen girls and their mamas is no easy task, but so very worth it.

Every time I invest myself in planning and executing an event, really of any scale, I always learn more than I’m privileged to teach.  This time was no exception.  While I could carry on for hours about all God taught me through the process, I just want to focus on one really important, foundational thing.  It was point number one in my second session, SERVE, and the one point I’ve been stuck on and stuck to ever since.

Soak up the SON. 

My goal was to challenge the girls to get serious about learning about Jesus and being willing to do whatever that takes.  Go to church.  Get in a Bible study.  Download resources.  Use those resources.  Find a mentor.  Whatever it takes, just soak up more of the Son of God.  Why?

Jesus is simply the one and only.  There are SO MANY topics, issues, struggles, choices, and voices our children face.  Our culture is dark in many ways, but truly Jesus is the answer.  Sounds so —cheesy—churchy, cliché, underwhelming, understated, underestimated, too simple; but nothing could be more profound and more true.   You may be asking, “the answer to what exactly?”  That’s just it.  That’s the crazy thing.  Jesus is the answer to whatever it is you need.  Fill in the blank.  Whatever “it” is, if you get Jesus involved you’ll figure it out.  What we need most, what our children need most, what I NEED MOST is to soak up some more Jesus.  I need His truth equally in my heart and mind.  I need to know better who He was, what He did, what He said, how He lived and what it all means.

Then, BAM!,  suddenly He becomes THE answer.  He just is.

I just need Him.  More of Him.

So do you.

Jesus being the answer is easy to claim, but hard to learn.  Hard to teach and often even harder to convince others of.  So, how do we begin?  Or if you are like me, begin AGAIN.

Well, why not start here.  Answer these questions:

1) Do I think I need Jesus?  Like, really need Jesus.  Or do I pretty much have things/life figured out on my own?

2) How desperate are you?  So long as life is easy, smooth, COMFORTABLE, you won’t really seek Him and therefore, you won’t really know Him and therefore, the answer to whatever it is you’re missing will always allude you.

3) Do your actions match your claims?  This one gets me.  If I say I really need Him, what do I actually do to back that up.  Do I study His word, His life, His story?  Do I surround myself with the influence of other Jesus followers or am I too busy “following” everyone else and seeking to be “followed” myself?  I mean, all those LIKES and SHARES matter.  Right?

4) When I do learn about Jesus, does it matter to me?  Do I change?  Anything?

I hope you’ll take some time just to ponder these questions.  Take a deep look inside.  How is your heart?  Who sits on the throne?   The answers will come.

Perhaps it is time to consider something new.  Make room and then there will be room for THE answer to come.

Soak Him up.

Shine On.


The World’s Gone Nuts!

“The World’s Gone Nuts! A Seminar on How to Engage a Post-Christian America” will be hosted by First Baptist Church in Potosi, MO on Sunday, August 2, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. in the church auditorium. Christian apologist and Potosi native, Klinton Silvey, will present this free seminar.

In this seminar, attendees can expect to learn:

  • how to avoid intellectual traps in the not-so-civil-movement
  • tips for discussing Biblical principles effectively
  • where we fit in the big picture
  • why we should be ENCOURAGED to be living NOW, in this generation.

The seminar will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and is appropriate for anyone ages 13 – senior adult. Childcare is available. Coffee and donuts will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the church lobby. All participants are welcome and invited to stay for the church service with Pastor Jim Ainley following the seminar at 10:00 a.m.

Please contact First Baptist Church at 573.438.2389 for more information or follow First Baptist Church of Potosi Missouri on facebook.

Klinton Silvey is a motocross-loving, fiddle-playing follower of Jesus. He holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.  His journalism background is greatly beneficial to his main pursuit in life — the truth. Klinton is an adjunct professor of journalism at Central Baptist College in Conway, AR.

Klinton has recently been accepted to Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas to pursue a master’s in philosophy. He and his wife, Hannah, will be relocating from Conway, AR. to Houston, TX. this fall. His goal is to achieve a doctorate in philosophy and continue growing in the field of Christian apologetics. He is currently available to speak to your group about “how to think” and is particularly devoted to teaching high school and college age students. For more information about Klinton Silvey, visit www.lifeinprogressministries.com or at Life in Progress Ministries on facebook and @LIPministries on twitter.


When Naaman Went Home

*Disclaimer: My featured image for this post has nothing whatsoever to do with my content.

If you’ve ever heard a sermon on the story of Naaman (found in II Kings 5) then you’ve probably come away with a great lesson on humility, trusting God’s command or avoiding greed — unlike Elisha’s servant, Gehazi. If all of this is unfamiliar to you, please read the passage. It’s great.

Naaman was a commander in the army of the king of Aram (Syria). Moreover, Naaman was at the head of the Aramean army when they defeated Israel. He was a mighty man, but he was also a leper.

Through the testimony of a captive Israeli servant-girl, Naaman learned that he might be able to be healed by Israel’s prophet, Elisha.  After a journey to see Elisha, some quibbling over the method of healing and having to eat a plate-full of humble pie, Naaman was healed of his leprosy. But that is not my favorite part of the story. 

While listening to a sermon by Tim Keller, my attention was pointed to two verses I had never noticed nor remember being emphasized. After Elisha refuses to be paid for the miracle the Lord performed, Naaman says this, “…please let your servant at least be given two mules’ load of earth; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering nor will he sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord. In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon your servant in this matter” (II Kings 5:17-18 NASB).

After experiencing the work of the living God, Naaman knew he could never go back and continue his old life as if nothing had happened. However, as a high-ranking official in the Aramean kingdom, he knew that he still had to go back to a world that did not know God.

Is this not the same paradox that Christians in the 21st century face?  After conversion to belief, a decision to complete surrender or simply living as a disciple from day-to-day, those who follow Jesus do so in a world that is mostly hostile to his message. As I see it, in America there are two major temptations that we, as disciples of Christ, must avoid:

1. The temptation to privatize our relationship with Christ. In a multicultural society that has largely embraced the idea that “what’s true for you is good for you and what’s true for me is good for me,” we are told that people ought to keep “religion” to themselves. Your religious beliefs should remain private because no one can possibly know what is true and so it is offensive to share your faith openly.

To privatize your faith is to live in the world, and perhaps not participate in certain immoral activities, but never speak of your faith nor for its validity in the world. Privatization often leads to compromising or neglecting values set forth by God in order to avoid conflict.

This is not an option for the Christian because if you are a believer then your entire life in every aspect — your very identity — is Christ.

When Paul went to Athens, he went to the marketplace to talk with people about the gospel. Athens was the cultural center of the world at that time, and the marketplace wasn’t just for physical goods, it was where you had to go to learn about religion, philosophy and other ideas. There was no mass media back then, and so the “marketplace of ideas” was literally the marketplace. Paul essentially took the gospel straight to the equivalent of what would be Wall Street, Harvard and Hollywood all rolled into one place. He did not set a good example from a distance and hope people would be curious enough to come ask him “what’s so different about you?”

2. The temptation to withdraw from the “world.” It is tempting, for the sake of living a “righteous” life, to try to avoid all non-believers and secular culture as much as possible. This might mean quitting a job where you have an unbelieving boss or wild coworkers. For some, it means unconditional avoidance of the secular education system. For others, it means never associating with non-believers unless it is in a purely “outreach” context.

This approach, too, causes problems. It is hard to be the light of the world when you’re doing your best to avoid any contact with the world. Jesus prayed not that his followers would be removed from the world, (by God) but that they would be “kept from the evil one” (by God).

Naaman set a great example of how to be “in the world but not of it.” As a symbol of the truth he had learned about God, he took dirt from Israel back with him to Aram to create a place of memory where he would sacrifice to the true God only. He went back to his old job, but he would never do his job the same way again. Naaman knew that his boss, the king, would not convert, but that did not stop Naaman from being an example. Naaman did not disassociate with the people in his life nor demand that the unbelievers convert immediately or he was out. 

Is it possible that we, as Christians, need to stop overthinking every detail about how much of the world to be “in” and just be Christians where we are? If we will be Christ-focused and trust and listen to the Holy Spirit, He will guide us and we won’t have to put so much human effort into determining exactly what our life should look like. 


The Reality of Grammy Idols

I was so utterly discouraged Wednesday after my talk to nearly 150 teen girls, I couldn’t even write this article.  I couldn’t look at their evaluations of my program and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t overcome my despair.  I was spent.

See, mid-day on Monday I began preparing for my speech to this group.   Since I am now in my thirties — can’t believe I’m saying that —I thought it might be a good idea to do a little research and figure out what’s hot and trending in pop culture to get a better grip on where most teenage minds reside.  So, I checked my DVR for the Grammy’s.  Now before you stop reading because you are thinking, “here we go, again” I hope you’ll hear me out.

I’ll admit, I primarily began watching because I really do need to understand teen culture and music is a good indicator, but if I’m honest, I also wanted to see Taylor Swift perform.  I don’t know why.  So, after a quick view of what I’m guessing was one-third of Beyonce’ and JayZ’s earth-shattering performance, I skimmed through in search of Taylor.  On my fast-forward journey I grew more and more irritated with the outfits, or lack-there-of, the extremely sexual choreography and the very dark and down right weird stuff.  I watched all of Taylor.  Her dress was gorgeous.  Her performance was what I expected and I truly wanted to jump through the TV and give her a hug when she was done.  She looked so hurt by that guy.  Seriously.  After that, I skimmed through a couple more morally disgusting jokes and performances and called it a day.  I didn’t watch most of it.

I had seen enough.

As I thought about the “show” I started to feel my reaction coming on strong.  This is MESSED UP.  I was mad.  Why are we so eager to support, applaud and give credit to these people?  Because they are famous, talented, beautiful and rich?  I guess so.  Are people really this enthralled by raunchy sex appeal?  Do we not see vulgarity as wrong anymore?  As quickly as I’m asking the questions, the answer came — yes.  Morality has no place in our culture.  Right is relative.  Tolerance and acceptance are our only beliefs and Yonce’ (as the girls I spoke to lovingly call her), JayZ, Katy Perry and the like are our nation’s most popular preachers.  Hollywood elite craft and deliver the message.  We accept. They set the standard.  We give them a golden statue and keep the cash flow goin’ so they can build their empires.  It’s crazy.  Ironically, many of their own children probably aren’t allowed to watch!

I thought about it all day Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday as I was driving to St. Louis.  I prayed and prayed, “Lord, what would you have me do?”  As I arrived at the school, I felt compelled to share with the girls how Christian Grammy nominee, Natalie Grant, left the Grammys early because it was so ridiculous.  After all, my presentation was on personal branding, image and character.  I thought the story would be a great way to conclude.

Here’s the thing; the girls totally did not get it.  It may because I didn’t communicate it well.  But, I have nine years of experience speaking to crowds just like this one.  I don’t think, in this case, I was the issue.  They cheered at my first mention of the Grammys.  Clearly, they LOVE Beyoncé.  They’ve never heard of Natalie Grant, not surprising, but you should know this was a private, Christian school.  I have spoken to over 80,000 teenagers and I’m telling you, these girls turned on me when I merely alluded to the idea that Yonce’ had been inappropriate.  They were absolutely dumbfounded at the thought of a Grammy nominee walking out.  Why?  They could not, in any way, wrap their minds around the notion that ANYTHING had been wrong at, with, or surrounding the Grammys.  They thought it was awesome.  I kept looking for faces that might show a glimpse of agreement with me.  None.

The bell rang, they handed in their evaluations and they were gone.  I was devastated.

Listen Christians; we have got to stop being gray.  We have got to stop being lukewarm.  We have got to stop allowing our children and the teens in our lives to go day-to-day thinking it is perfectly acceptable to act like a sex object, witch or whatever.  It is NOT okay.  You can call it art, you can call it performance, you can call it creativity, you can call it entertainment, you can even call it freedom of expression.  But, you, Christian, cannot call it right and you cannot act like it is no big deal.  It is profane.  It is a slap in the face of your creator.  It is WRONG.  WRONG.  Say the word.  Things that are profane are not beautiful.  Profanity is not to be celebrated, but exposed.  The church has been quiet or found ignorant while our culture has adopted, promoted and established profane idols of worship.  We’ve allowed our enemy to silence us and now I feel like an ancient prophet screaming,  “Stop the madness!  Turn back.  Destroy these idols or they will destroy us.”

This is nothing new.  This is what the enemy does.  He takes things, people, that were designed to be beautiful, created for eternal purpose and he destroys them.  The enemy perverts them.  What you saw — or hopefully didn’t see — was perversion.  Is Beyoncé talented and beautiful?  Of course!  But what God designed for His glory has been debauched.  The same formula could be said for nearly every artist that took the stage.  How does it happen?  Simple.  They — we — are born absolutely depraved.

The same formula would be said of me if Satan had his way.

God is love AND God is holy.  Everyone wants to talk about His love, but scarcely — especially in our pop culture and mainstream media — can you find anyone who wants to discuss His holiness.  The media push young people to believe that God loves everyone and therefore accepts everyone no matter what they do.  They push that since God made our emotions; whatever we feel must be okay.  OR, since there is no God, we can decide what’s good, bad, right and wrong.  Either way, we are in control.  They insist when you try to debate, discuss, reason or disagree with them, you’re an idiotic fool.  Get this: their god is not the God of the Bible.  Their god is one they have fabricated for their own comfort, ultimately resulting in the god of self.  They live to build their own kingdoms and to glorify themselves.  They DO NOT care about, nor do they know the God Christianity proclaims.

The God of the Bible, the only One who has revealed and proven Himself for thousands of years has not and will not tolerate sin. Nor does He casually overlook sin.  He never will.  God does not accept people the way they are!  Hello!?  There would have been NO REASON for Christ and the cross if that statement were true.  All people are not acceptable in the eyes of God.  Think about it.  We are only acceptable in the eyes of God through faith in Jesus Christ.  That’s it.  Unless we have been “born again” by faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, we are not acceptable.  He takes what is corrupt, does away with it and replaces it with something better, His righteousness.  He redeems.  We praise Him for His grace because we have done NOTHING to deserve that chance.  That was ALL Him.  He chose us.  While we were still sinners, messed up, Christ died for us — all of us.

Jesus came to free us from sin and the death trap that it is.  He came to give us life.  He did that.  We did nothing.  Some choose to reject Him.  They don’t want what He offers.  They prefer their sin to His righteousness.  They don’t want to surrender their life to a God they can’t see.  They don’t want to be told what is right and what is wrong by a divine creator.  It is their right to make that choice (only because God created us with a free will to do so, ironically) but the REALITY is every knee is going to bow.  Every tongue that is making money mocking the holy God of the Bible now will someday confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  Mark His words, it will happen.

But in the meantime, I don’t want a whole generation of people to be deceived by the enemy because I’m too afraid to speak out and proclaim the truth.

It is time we stand together and stand up for truth.  The human body is not a sex object and sexuality is sacred.  There is right and wrong.  Our Creator defines it.  We can prove morality.  If you claim Christianity, you must stop supporting and watching things that are profane in the eyes of your maker.  STOP.  Christ lives in you and is with you.  You must grasp what it means that your body is a temple of the living God.  You must stop putting trash in your mind.  You must believe God when he says those who sow to the flesh will reap corruption.  And stop justifying it.  Stop allowing your kids to bathe in this trash.  If you think your daughter is fine, I dare you to look at her iTunes account.  Check her list of artists and songs.  Google some lyrics.   This is what she’s listening to when you’re trying to get her attention. Parents, stand in the gap for your kids!  Get your own mind right.  Teach that there is in fact a line.  It is well past crossed and we cannot sit back and act like all is well.  All is not well.  I know because I saw it on the faces of 150 girls who have no idea why they matter or if their life has value.  They have no idea who they are or who they are supposed to be.  They have no idea that their body is a precious gift.  They have no clue despair and destruction wait for them at the hand of their enemy.  He is deceiving a generation and we are letting him.

There’s hope.  Christ asks us to be that hope.  He asks us to be salt and to be light, to push back the darkness and to share the TRUTH.   Smash the idols.  I believe if we are faithful to do our part, to be obedient to His commands, He will be faithful to do His.

I’m in.  Are you?


Truth, tolerance, logic

Why Bother With Apologetics?

If you believe in Jesus, then apologetics is for you; it is not just for “intellectuals.” The clearest definition I’ve heard is that apologetics is the communication and defense of the Christian gospel. I have heard some speakers say that “God does not need His people to defend Him.” Of course that is true in a literal sense, as if God is in danger. But God certainly uses people to speak for Him. God certainly does not accept blasphemy. And God does engage people intellectually. “Come now, let us reason together says the Lord…” (Isa. 1:18 ESV) So, if you’re thinking, “our faith doesn’t need defending,” I would challenge that assumption.

Consider I Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”

The word translated to “defense” in this word is the Greek word apologia, from which the word “apologetics” comes. The word is used seven other times in the New Testament (Acts 22:1; 25:16; I Cor. 9:3; II Cor. 10:5-6; Phil. 1:7; II Tim. 4:16). Apologia was a word used to describe the defense that a lawyer would make for a client in a court of law. It does not imply a clever “one-liner” response.

I can’t remember who it was, but I once heard someone compare the need for teaching apologetics to teaching a missionary the language of the nation he is evangelizing. That’s a great illustration because that is what apologetics is all about – speaking the language of our culture. And the language of our culture is skepticism.

Christianity Today recently ran an article titled “Watch Out, Pastors, Millennials are Fact-Checking Your Sermons,” which revealed a Barna Group survey showing that about 40% of church-going Millennials will research and fact-check truth claims made by their pastor. Millennials are those born between the 1980’s and 2000s. They are the now teenagers through age 33.

They have good reason for this. Millennial Christians cannot afford to be uneducated in their beliefs. We live in a time where the Christian faith is put on trial daily. If Christians, especially those in high school and college, do not know how to defend their faith with truth and logic, or if they make any false claims, they will be intellectually chewed up and spit out.

For years, Christians have thought that sensual temptation is the biggest danger for the college-goer, but that is secondary. The biggest problem for the Christian in college is that they are made to feel stupid for believing in Jesus. Church, we must prepare our young people to face the intellectual challenges that the world is bringing upon them. Christianity is for the heart and mind.

Non-believers have legitimate questions to ask us such as, “If God exists, and is all loving and all powerful, why is there so much suffering and evil,” or “Why do you believe the Bible is the word of God other than because it says it’s the word of God?” or “What evidence is there that Jesus actually rose from the dead?” A lack of reasonable, logical answers to these and other questions are barriers to belief.

But there are good answers to be had, and I have personally witnessed people come to faith in Christ shortly after meeting a Christian who could dialogue with them and answer some of these questions. It was like the spiritual and intellectual walls of Jericho came crashing down and the Holy Spirit flooded the city!

For so long, we have been taught that we should believe that what the Bible says is true because the Bible is the Word of God because the Bible says it is the Word of God. This does no good unless we realize that we ought to believe the Bible is the Word of God because what the Bible says is true! The truths of the Bible do not need to be taken on “blind faith.” God’s word can stand up to any challenge, and that’s what apologetics is for. We have a most reasonable faith.

However, we must always remember the second half of I Peter 3:15: “…do it with gentleness and respect…” The art of apologetics is not a weapon. It must always be associated with evangelism. Winning an argument is not the goal. Winning a soul to Christ, is. Our world is searching for answers, and it is our duty as Christians to do our absolute best to show them that answer. There are many resources available to help you and your church delve into this wonderful, rich world of apologetics. Check out the “ASK” program at RZIM.org or visit sites such as apologetics315.com or bethinking.org to get started.