Two Awards- Sunshine Blogger 3.0 and Mystery Blogger 2.0

Award Winner medal

Let’s take a break from throwbacks. Today’s the last day of February, so let’s have a bit of fun. I have recently received two award nominations, the Sunshine Blogger Award (my third) and the Mystery Blogger award. Now, usually, I don’t often participate in these awards, given that my posting schedule is fairly filled, but I decided that today was an exception. And so, without further ado, let’s jump right into our awards for the day and the questions they post.

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To Date or Not to Date?

Dating relationship high school christian dating

The last time I wrote on this subject, we learned the differences between two terms: “dating” and “courting”. At the end, I concluded two things- that the term doesn’t matter, and that they still need to focus on one thing- marriage.

It is now, several months later, that I realize the term does matter. The differences between dating and courting heavily seperate the two terms, and yet it is something many of us, including myself, do not fully understand.

Dating has become corrupted. Even the great Joshua Harris, glorified guru of the Christian dating industry, mis-defined dating. Actually, he didn’t define it at all. He simply said to “stop dating, start courting”. Yet again I find myself disagreeing with Mr. Harris, despite the fact that these words were uttered well over two decades ago.

Before we continue, let us define these terms in a more reasonable manner.

Dating: building a romantic relationship with a member of the opposite sex, operating under the cover of parents/parental figures and working towards the possibility of courtship.

Courting: building a romantic relationship with a member of the opposite sex, having already dated for a reasonable period of time, remaining under the covering of parents but including members of the church, and working towards the possibility of marriage.

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A Recap of Kobe Bryant’s Memorial

Kobe Bryant death memorial service

Kobe Bryant has been dead for almost exactly a month. With his death came some of the greatest gatherings of celebrities the world has ever seen, the largest of which took place three days ago at the Staples Center, where fans, celebrities, basketball players, rappers, and even a former president gathered to honor the legend named Kobe Bryant.

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What Does It Mean To Have True Hope?

Hope sunrise worship Christian

Hope is one of the most defining traits of Christianity. In fact, I have found that the biggest and most important difference between believers and non-believers is hope. This realization came to me as I debated with a man who denies the existence of God and seemed determined to destroy my beliefs and strip me of my convictions. In our “discussion”, I realized something- he had no hope. Every point he made was filled with hopelessness. To him, life was meaningless, and the only thing we could do was try to get as much pleasure as we could before we died. There was no life after death, only emptiness.

What a terrible mindset! If I believed that, I most certainly would go partially crazy. What is the point of life without hope?

“Oh, but I have hope,” says the deist in the back of the room. “I hope for my future, that I can get a good job and start making lots of money.”

No. That is not, by any means, true hope. The only definition of hope that matters is found within Christ; indeed, the only hope that matters is found within Him. Hope is, to shorten an extremely long definition, grounded on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and truth of the Gospel, complete contentment within Christ and His plan, having released our sorrows and stress to Him, which allows us to look forward to the future “with eager expectation.”

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Throwback Saturday: John MacArthur and the Positions of the Church

Remember this? Well, three months later, what are your thoughts on both Mr. MacArthur’s words and this post?

John MacArthur on Beth Moore

A few weeks ago, John MacArthur told Beth Moore to “go home”. Ok, wait. Slow down. What?

Yes. It’s true. John MacArthur did actually say “go home”. While at the Truth Matters Conference, meant to honor MacArthur and his fifty years of service in the Church, a small group of men, including MacArthur, were asked to play a word association game. As a warmup, the MC asked MacArthur what words he associated with the words “Beth Moore”. MacArthur’s prompt response was, “go home”.

He then followed that up by saying, “There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher – period, paragraph, end of discussion” (Koslosky 2019).

Pastor John MacArthur, world-renowned pastor and author, recipient of the Gold Medallion Book Award, says that Beth Moore needs to go home. And, just in case you were wondering, Pastor MacArthur was talking about this Beth Moore.

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The Benefits and Drawbacks of Christian Homeschooling

Homeschool Christian homeschooling mother and child

I have been homeschooled for eleven out of my twelve academic years. In fifth grade, I attended a Christian school in West Virginia for a year, showing me what an American school was like, but I haven’t attended a “real” school since, leaving me as a homeschooler for the last six years in a row. I have been taught by over 6 different teachers, taken over 5 different curriculums, and attended two different online schools, one of which I am still with.

I am, without a doubt, a homeschooler. Good luck trying to debate otherwise.

Of course, life as a homeschooler has had its highs and lows. Sometimes, you feel on top of the world, but then life comes and smacks you on the back of the head. One of the most common misconceptions (yeah, we’re good at dealing with those, aren’t we) about homeschoolers is that we have it easy. This is so untrue it almost becomes humorous. I have several friends within the same online school that I attend, except they are “diploma” students, meaning that they work very hard for high grades and do extra work. Many of them average between 3-6 hours of sleep a night, only taking breaks from school on the weekend. They play no sports and have little free time, yet they are some of the smartest people I know. This level of schooling and pressure turns many “normal” kids into the brightest students in the country.

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Three Takeaways From Truett McKeehan’s Death

Truett McKeehan and Toby Mac

On October 23, 2019, Truett McKeehan, better known by stage name “Tru”, died of an accidental drug overdose in a Nashville home. The son of famous Christian singer TobyMac, Tru had achieved moderate success in his music career, collaborating with his father on several songs, including the hit “Backseat Driver”, feat. Hollyn. His death shook the Christian community, moving many to grief.

But you probably already know all of this. This was an event that took place nearly 4 months ago, predating the deaths of Juice Wrld and Kobe Bryant. Why is it important?

Tru’s death was the first of two events within recent memory to make me cry. While I do not, like some men, keep myself from crying as a show of strength, I simply do not cry easily. However, the deaths of both Tru and Kobe pushed me over the edge, and I mourned deeply for both of them. My post on Kobe’s life and death, found by clicking here, showed the emotion that I found within his death. Indeed, it seemed as if a piece of me had vanished, leaving just a hole in my heart.

Tru’s death, on the other hand, was something different. While I admired Kobe as an athlete and father, Tru had a much larger influence on me through his influence, testimony, family background, and personality. His death not only grieved me, but it shook me. As I mourned, I remained acutely aware of one fact- this could be anybody, including me.

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The Four Hardest Things About Intercontinental Travel

Travel Airplane Sunset Lake

Intercontinental travel is part of being a missionary kid. Sure, businessmen and rich people all travel abroad, but missionaries and missionary kids alike travel, it seems, as often as we breathe. When discussions about the military arise, I always joke, “I’ll join the army; I would get seasick with the navy and I’ve had enough planes for a lifetime, so that just leaves one option.” Jokes aside, this is true. I can’t even count the amount of times I have been on an airplane, let alone the thousands of hours driving to particular destinations.

Despite being a “veteran” within traveling, there are still several changes that affect me greatly when changing countries or even continents. Indeed, the latter proves to be far more difficult, as country changes usually stay within continents, reducing the cultural change therein. Driving from Uganda to Kenya will prove far easier then flying from Uganda to the United States. The differences between Uganda and Kenya, while existent, are minimal compared to the differences between Uganda and the USA. These changes are massive, and despite the experience I have in “continent hopping”, they still hit me like a punch in the gut. Some, such as jet lag, can be reduced with experience, but there are four others that seem particularly difficult to avoid.

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Throwback Saturday: Spirituality In Hollywood

Hollywood and Spirituality

Uganda is home to thousands of witch-doctors. In fact, one of these used to live across the road from my ministry. Although long gone, his memory presents an important reality- witchcraft is alive and well in Uganda.

When New Hope first started, a local witchdoctor approached the leaders and claimed that the Ministry wouldn’t last long. Basically, he gave the Ugandan equivalent of “This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.”

Now, in the present-day, I live five minutes from a small town named Kiwoko. Kiwoko, according to some, is the “witchcraft center” for the entire district. This makes it a hub for witchdoctors and their patients. The hospital, Kiwoko Hospital, treats thousands of patients a week. Because of this influx of sick and needy people, witchdoctors often attempt to lure people away from the hospital and into their homes, where they can offer darker practices for a cheaper price.

Because of witchcraft’s deep hold in Uganda, we even see examples of it here, in New Hope. The first time that I, in recent memory, can remember being exposed to works of witchcraft was when I was about seven years old. It was a Friday night and, as per our tradition, my family was eating pizza and watching a movie. Coincidentally, the movie we watched was Bednobs and Broomsticks, a 1971 Fantasy/Comedy about witchcraft.

51kjdFqs9tL._SY445_.jpg

The movie, starring Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson, was filmed by the creators of Mary Poppins and actually resembled its sister movie in many ways. However, one piece of the movie remains apart from this comparison- witchcraft. The entire plotline revolves around three children that, during the London Blitz, go to live with a witch. She is a member of a witchcraft correspondence school, capable of flying on brooms and casting spells. The movie would basically state that witchcraft was not only normal, but it was also good.

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What The Holiness of God Taught Us About Speech

Holiness of God Christianity

In R.C Sproul’s book The Holiness of God, God’s Holiness is described in detail. We learn of holy fear, holy love, and holy anger, all attributes that are found either within him or us, as creatures made in his image. However, holiness is not something that can be literally defined. While the Greek word for holy can be translated to “set apart”, even this does not describe the word effectively. Holiness is a term that can’t be described nor fully understood, comparable to eternity- we partially understand it, and know enough to define it, but we can’t really wrap our minds around its concept. The reason for this is found within the Fall; when Adam sinned, he created within us Original Sin, a doctrinal belief that all children are born with sin. This doctrine is one of the few that is rarely contested by Bible scholars or evolutionists alike. Original Sin creates within us a fully natural sinful state. We, as humans, do not know what it means to not sin, since we can’t imagine a world without sin. Sin’s evil has so fully penetrated us and, through us, the world, it has become a part of humanity.

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400 Followers Celebration!

Celebration Party Balloons Pineapple

And we are back yet again with another massive milestone- 400 followers. Guys, you are crazy awesome. Hardly over a month ago, we hit our 300 follower milestone after two months of publishing. While this was a rewarding experience, I couldn’t help but notice the fact that it only took two months to reach 300. Previously, it had taken 3 or even 4 months to garner an additional 100 followers. Last time, it was a new record. And here, yet again, we have set a record of 100 more followers in just over a month.

What on earth is next? Are we going to get 100 in a week? I feel so honored to even know that there are 400 people who enjoy reading my post. You guys are fantastic. Give yourselves a handclap.

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The Blessings of Being A Missionary Kid- A Guest Post by Grace Nelson

In Ghana, where I (Grace) have lived as a missionary kid since 2015, my family is working with the Rafiki Foundation, a non-profit organization, helping Africans: “know God and raise their standard of living” in 10 of the poorest English-speaking countries in Africa.

As a missionary kid, I see and experience a lot of things an average American teen might not experience. Some things are difficult about being an MK, but I want to highlight some blessings from this past year.

I am very thankful that God has blessed me with another year of life. We take life for granted so much of the time, but since I have been in Ghana, the fragility of life has never been clearer. I have, in fact, been to more funerals in Ghana than in the U.S. Funeral announcements for men and women in their 20s and 30s are everywhere. Headlines proclaim: “Gone too Soon” or the heartbreaking “What a Shock.” So many young influencers of the next generation die too young here in Ghana. Life is fleeting, and it is not to be taken for granted. James 4:14 reminds us: “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time, and then vanishes.” This is a reminder of how temporary life is. Thankfully, for God’s children, heaven is waiting.

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Throwback Saturday: The Benefits of Classical Literature

Library Literature Books Reading

Across the United States, an epidemic is spreading. Widespread famine has occurred, leaving thousands empty and seeking answers. This famine is brought about by a lack of love for literature and reading, and it has affected nearly every single student in the United States of America. Libraries, once filled with throngs of adoring readers, now sit empty and still, unused and unloved. Book stores close down and file for bankruptcy since many of the books they once sold can now be found on Kindle. Kids, instead of spending their time reading healthy books, play video games or text friends, choosing a digital world over a created one. If children do not put down their devices and read, America’s future generation will crumble into ruin, for the consequences of not reading are dire indeed. If, however, students learn to read again, America’s youth will thrive, for reading not only promotes healthy imagination and learning, but also creativity and studiousness.

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A Recap on the 2019 NFL Season-Collaborated With Levine Lowdown

NFL

Well, the 2019-2020 NFL season is over. And if you, like me, are a fan of the National Football League, you probably had some expectations when the season began. You thought the Patriots were unbeatable, the Bears would make the Super Bowl, and the Browns would destroy everyone in their division.

Little did we know, this season was more unpredictable than any other before it.

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3 Mistakes I Made When I First Started Blogging

Frustrated blogging mistakes

When I first started blogging in 2017, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. At first, I blogged on my dad’s website, writing about random things ranging from Fantasy Football scores to a weird dream. I believed my only readers to be my grandparents, and that was true.

After about eight months of this, I decided that blogging under my dad’s name seemed rather stifling. I created my own website using the free platform Blogspot. The website, elishamcfarland.blogspot.com, has since been deleted, but the lessons it taught me remain.

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