You Are More

Have you ever felt like you failed at something, and it left you utterly crushed? I certainly have. And because of a false mindset it left me crushed for a very long time.

This week I’ve been reading Switch by the Heath brothers as a school assignment. In the seventh chapter I came across this passage that intrigued me.

Read the following four sentences, and write down whether you agree or disagree with each of them.

1. You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that.

2. No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially.

3. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed.

4. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.

If you agreed with items 1 and 3, you’re someone who has a “fixed mindset.” And if you agreed with items 2 and 4, you tend to have a “growth mindset.” (If you agreed with both 1 and 2, you’re confused.”) (Heath 163)

I knew that I agreed with item 3, and probably 1, though I was unwilling to admit it to myself. I kept reading, and all was well and good until I came across this line.

If you are someone with a fixed mindset, you tend to avoid challenges, because if you fail, you fear that others will see your failure as an indication of your true ability and see you as a loser. (Heath 163)

I felt like crying. This one line epitomized what I’ve been experiencing since my last tournament in high school speech and debate. That last tournament was an unparalleled disaster, going from winning records in debate at every tournament, only to win one out of six rounds Regionals. It was a devastating blow, and I took that failure onto myself as my identity, effectively crippling me for the next three years. It was my last chance to prove myself, and I’d failed. It didn’t help that my partner went on to get first place at the first tournament the following year with a new partner who’d only debated for one year previously. I was consumed with thoughts that I had been holding him back from success the last two years.

But this passage from Switch revealed to me the lie I’d been telling myself for so long. My failures don’t define me. In fact, used correctly they instead shape and grow me. What I need instead of a fixed mindset is a growth mindset. This allows me to see my brain and my abilities as muscles, with challenges as the means of strengthening those muscles. I will be able to accept criticism, because I know it will help me improve.

This reminded me of the passage in Romans.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Reformation Study Bible, Romans 8.29)

God did not create me to be stagnant. He created me to grow more and more into His likeness.

This train of thought put the song “You Are More” by Tenth Avenue North into a new perspective for me as well. I am more than my mistakes and my failures. Why?

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done
But what’s been done for you
This is not about where you’ve been
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel
But what He felt to forgive you
And what He felt to make you loved

In the end, it’s truly not about me and what I’ve done. It’s all about God.

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant. (2 Cor. 3.5, 6a)

Thus, with a correct mindset that God will continually grow me into the person He created me to be for His glory, I no longer have to be crippled by my past failures. Instead, I can learn from them and take those lessons into my future adventures.

And only with this mindset can I reach the full potential for which God designed me.

Works Cited

Heath, Chip and Dan. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. New York:

Broadway Books, 2010. Print.

Tenth Avenue North. You Are More. The Light Meets the Dark. Provident, 2010. MP3.

The Reformation Study Bible. English Standard Version. Ed. R.C. Sproul. Orlando. Ligonier

Ministries. 2005. Print.


Nuremberg revisited

My family and I recently watched a movie that was based on the Nuremberg trials, named “Judgement at Nuremberg.”  This particular movie followed the trials of the Nazi judges, and one in particular named, Dr. Ernst Janning (pronounced, yah-ning).  It was a very good movie, and was very captivating.  I found myself going back and forth in my judgement of the Nazi judges with every speech.   Throughout the whole movie, the defending lawyer was saying that Dr. Janning had only stayed a judge to keep things from getting worse.  That he shouldn’t be punished, because he was only doing what he was made to do.  On both sides, the speeches were so impassioned.  I was often moved to tears. But, my favorite part of the movie came in the last conversation at the end of the movie.  The American judge, named Judge Haywood, had a private conversation with Dr. Janning, in which Dr. Janning said, “Judge Haywood… the reason I asked you to come:  Those people, those millions of people… I never knew it would come to that.  You must believe it, You must believe it!”  Judge Haywood’s response was amazing.  He said, “Herr Janning, it came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death that you knew to be innocent.”

Many people wonder how people could come to do such horrible things, such as what occurred in Germany under Hitler.  But what they fail to realize is that most of those who were involved in the Holocaust didn’t start off that way.  In general, when we fall into great sin, we don’t do it in one giant leap.  It comes slowly, unassumingly at first.  It comes with the small compromises we make everyday.  We don’t even realize the full impact of those compromises, and eventually, as with the Nazis, we can become desensitized to the evil we are committing.  Before you know it, all of the little compromises, the little tiny steps, have led us to that place, the end where we fall into “great sin.”  But, in reality, there is no such thing as a “great sin.”  Each of those small compromises were just as wrong, and just as condemning.  Just as Judge Haywood said in the movie, “It came to that (the “great sin” or compromise) the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.”

We can see examples of such small compromises in all areas of life.  But, the major one that comes to mind is called the Holocaust of modern times.  It is… abortion.  But, this vastly committed sin didn’t not become legal all at once.  Before Roe v. Wade, there was another decision, or small compromise, that paved the way for the full legalization of this brutal form of murder.  In this law that was passed, abortion became legal in cases of rape and incest.  Thus, the proverbial camel’s nose came under the tent.  Many people rationalize these compromises to murder by saying that the baby is unwanted, it came about from a sin, etc.   In the cases of the life of the mother being in danger, they say that the unborn must be killed to save the mother’s life.  But, the fact is, that it is still murder of an innocent, unarmed human being.  Back in the old days, it was considered cowardly to kill someone who could not defend themselves.  Now, this same act is done in staggering numbers on a minute by minute basis.

Even a little compromise in this area is devastating.  It led to the over 50 million lives that have been snuffed out so far.  People can rationalize their compromises away however they want, but that doesn’t change the truth.  It is still murder, and it is still wrong.  Those who supported the first law being past might plead, “All those millions of children.  We didn’t know it would come to that.”  But the fact is, it came to that the first time, for any reason, an innocent baby was killed.

Here is a very good speech to watch on this subject.

A Wasted Vote

As November has been getting steadily nearer and nearer, many Evangelical Christians have been considering and deliberating over what to do when they reach the ballot box. Now, there are those who seriously do not know what to do with their vote. The thought of having Obama or McCain as president is not a lovely thought. There are also those who say the only choice is to vote for McCain, and attest that any vote otherwise will be a vote practically for Obama. They provide the evidence of how Bill Clinton came into the presidency by much needed votes going to a third party instead of the Republican candidate. These people plead, let’s not make that mistake again!

Before I continue, I’d like to make an important point. We did not, even indirectly, put Clinton into office. (Quite honestly, it seems rather conceited to claim that we were the ones responsible for the tragedy.) In Romans 13:1 Paul tells us “for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” God is completely sovereign over everything that happens. The outcome of past elections and this one were completely controlled by God.

Back to the choice before us. I believe most Evangelical Christians would agree that voting for Obama is not even conceivably an option. He is pro-abortion, for universal healthcare, and has actually said that he wants to make government bigger. If he actually did everything he promises, we’d see an increase in our taxes by at least 65%.

But then the only other “true” choice is McCain. However, John McCain is very liberal in his thoughts and ways. He is pro-abortion, and for open immigration and amnesty for the illegal immigrants within our borders. He realizes that we need something done about gas prices, but do you know what his idea of reform is? A small tax cut on gas sales between Memorial Day and Labor Day! He has changed his tune now that his vice president has come along with opposing views. But, honestly, who’s views do you think is going to determine what he does in office? The president’s or the vice president’s? Now he has added to his lack of qualifications, a woman vice presidential candidate. Christians are perplexed at the thought of voting for someone who goes against Biblical teaching. To just focus on Mrs. Palin for a second, she is obviously violating the Bible’s command for women to stay at home and train their children as it says in Titus 2 and other passages. She is instead leaving her children for “more important things.” (Just what the lie in the garden was. Don’t obey God. You can be as a god and be in charge of your own life.) Mrs. Palin may be a nice lady, with a good conservative view on some issues, but holding a public office and running our country is not her place.

But what else is there to do? Well, I suppose you could vote for a third party. “::gasp::!!! No, that wouldn’t work!” say many people. Americans have been presented with a false dichotomy. That is, we are being told there are only two options, when there are more.

Running for the Constitution Party is a man by the name of Chuck Baldwin. He is a strong Christian, is pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-second amendment, is for less government, and for abolishing some of the many taxes that oppress our citizens. (To learn more about him, visit his website, or The Constitution Party’s website.) He is the only one on the ballot who is Biblically qualified, and he would make a great leader. But, he has received very little publicity. Would voting for Baldwin be a vote for Obama? It would take a vote away from McCain.

People might say that, yeah McCain isn’t the best, but at least he’s better than Obama! Doesn’t it seem strange that Christians who wouldn’t vote for McCain if circumstances were different, feel that they now have to vote for him to avoid someone who is more evil? I’ve been asked, “Would you rather vote for someone who won’t get elected because you agree with him in most aspects, or are you going to take that vote and make a difference by voting for someone who might get elected and is better than the other choice?” So the real issue is, whether or not a vote for Baldwin is a wasted vote

However, I would argue that voting on principle or conscience is not a wasted vote. We are told by the world that we need to vote strategically. But what about voting Biblically? God tells us that His word is sufficient for every situation. You see, when you vote for a candidate, you are supporting that person. You are saying that this person is Biblically qualified to represent you in office. Do you truly believe that McCain and Palin, a liberal man and a woman who is going against God’s order, are representatives of your beliefs and convictions?

So how is not voting for McCain not wasting your vote? It depends on what you view as a wasted vote. If you believe that voting un-strategically is a wasted vote, then a vote for conscience most certainly is wasted in this instance. I agree that there is a way you can waste your vote in this election, but it’s not in the way that most people believe.

If you were to go to the ballot box, and cast your vote for someone you don’t trust, someone you do not believe in, who doesn’t hold the same Biblical convictions as you, and who is going against the commands of God to get more votes by having a woman VP candidate, then I would consider that a wasted vote. You are in essence lying about your allegiance. You’re supporting a candidate you don’t believe in. All this to just hopefully keep Obama out of office.

Now this gets into the sovereignty of God and also touches on just how much you trust Him. In Proverbs 3:5-7 it says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.” Perhaps I’m just young and naive, but it seems that God told us, and expected us to obey Him and trust Him with the results!

But if God is sovereign, and is going to do whatever He wants anyways, why does how I vote matter? It’s true, God can do whatever He wants, with, without and despite you. However, are you going to trust Him, and possibly be a part of a Biblically qualified candidate becoming the leader of our country?

Without a doubt, this election will go down in history. The outcome will result in either our first black president, our first lady vice president, or the first time a third party won the presidency. But what choice are you going to make at the ballot box? Are you going to vote for someone you think should actually be president? Or are you going to follow “worldly wisdom,” and vote for the “safe” answer? I urge, hope and pray that you do not choose the latter. Remember, voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.

More on woman VP

Mr. Phillips over at The Vision Forum has been posting a lot of really good articles on Sarah Palin running for Vice President.  He also included a video of Mr. Baucham being interviewed on CNN concerning a woman running for VP.  It was really good!  I hope you go and check it out!  Also read the other articles on there too!

Someone wrote a comment on the interview that I thought was interesting.  Part of it said, “The decision we make this election year will cut to the core of our worldview.  How we vote will show who we fear.”  Another comment spoke about how we vote will reveal whether we fear God or man.  Before ending this I would like to include a verse that Mr. Baucham mentioned on the interview.

Isaiah 3:12

“Youths oppress my people, women rule over them.  O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.”

I pray that all of you will seriously think and pray over who you will vote for next month.


Cool quotes

I was looking around and saw a Charles Spurgeon quote.  I thought it was really good, so I looked for some more on the Internet.  I’d like to share a few of the ones I found.

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”

“Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of.”

“You might not always get what you want, but you always get what you expect.”

Now for two that I believe are quite relevant to the upcoming elections.

“We have come to a turning point in the road. If we turn to the right mayhap our children and our children’s children will go that way; but if we turn to the left, generations yet unborn will curse our names for having been unfaithful to God and to His Word.”

“Of two evils, choose neither.”

Have a blessed day!


A Woman VP?

Last week there was an announcement that, I believe, shocked the U.S.  It was the proclamation that Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska and mother of 5 young children, was going to be John McCain’s running mate for the upcoming Presidential elections.  The reason it was so shocking was because, first of all, no one really thought that McCain was considering her, and second that she is much more conservative then the liberal McCain.

Mr. Phillips brought up an excellent point on his blog.  He said that now “Christians must consider whether to encourage a mother of infant children to de-prioritize her duties and obligations as wife and mother in order to possibly become the chief executive of America.”  (To read the whole article, follow this link. )  The Bible clearly teaches against female magistrates.  Mr. Phillips included in his post five points from a speech by Pastor Bill Einwechter.

(1). The biblical doctrine of male headship applies to each governing institution.

(2). The biblical qualifications for civil rulers forbids female magistrates.

(3). The biblical role of the woman is against female magistrates.

(4). The biblical lament of women ruling over men is against female magistrates.

(5). The biblical example of Deborah is not an endorsement of female magistrates.

Now Christians will have to choose if they are going to support a candidate who not only does not hold to Christian ethics and political platforms, but now has chosen a mother of very young children (the youngest being only around four months old) as his running mate.

I’m curious to see what they will decide.  To go with the “safe” answer and vote for someone who is clearly out of line with the Bible, and is willing to give up her responsibilities to her family to wrestle with Washington.  Or, are they going to go with a less popular, but Biblical approach when going to the polls this November?  I sincerely pray for the latter!

For further reading on the subject, here is an excellent article by Jasmine Baucham.  It is entitled “Ten Reasons Why I Don’t Want to be VP When I “Grow Up.”  I strongly urge you to check it out.


Return from Glorieta

My family and I got back late Friday night from the Family Camp in Glorieta, New Mexico.  It was a blast!  The schedule was very laid back, and we got to sleep in each morning! (Till 7 or 7:30!)  Personally, I liked how I had to walk everywhere.  At home it’s hard for me to get motivated to get up and move, so the necessity of it was nice. ; )  Of course, I also got to see my good friend Savannah for the first time in nearly eight months!  It was wonderful to see her again.  It was just like old times.

I also got to talk to some of the girls I know from Reformation Church.  They are such an inspiration to me.  Since we are the first generation in our family with a reformed vision for family and such, it is very instructive for me to be able to learn from the young ladies older than me.  I get to see a virtuous life in action!  (This is also a big reason why I enjoy the Father/Son retreat so much!)  Unfortunately, from differing schedules, I didn’t get to talk with as many people or as long as I would have liked, but I’m thankful for the time I had.

The topic this year was worship.  Mr. Swanson’s talk the first night was excellent and convicting.  He spoke on wimpy worship and how it is an abomination to the Lord.  This is something that I’ve been recently convicted of in my own life.  You see, I have been blessed, so people say, with a nice singing voice.  This poses a stumbling block during the singing time of our worship service.  I enjoy singing, so I tend to think more of what fun I’m having then on praising and falling on my face before my creator.  To be perfectly honest, I also think of how nice I am to be blessing others with a chance to listen to my lovely voice.  Isn’t that awful?!  So Mr. Swanson’s sermon really spoke to me.  I shouldn’t be coming to Sunday service thinking how I can bring glory to my talent.  I need to come in with humility and trembling to meet my creator.  I need to seek His face.  The worship service is not for me, it’s to bring glory to the only one who deserves glory.  I fall so short of this, which is really not all that surprising when you think about it.  I, as a fallen creature, can do nothing in my own power.  It is only Christ through me that allows me to truly worship God.

I was also convicted in other areas this past week, not necessarily because of the sessions.  I was convicted that I’m wasting the body (by not taking good care of it), the talents (by not developing them and giving praise to the One who gave them to me), and the life (by not living it completely for God’s glory) God has given me.  I’m such a sickeningly slothful person.  In the evenings, while lying in bed, I make such good resolutions to be better, sometimes even with tears in my eyes.  But when the morning comes, and it’s hard to get up on time and carry through with my resolutions, I almost always choose the easy route.  I’m much like the song by Casting Crowns entitled “The Altar and the Door.”  I suppose I’m just further proof of the fact that we are nothing without Christ working through us.  I literally can do nothing apart from Him.  I pray that He will cause me to love Him will all my heart, mind, soul and strength.

I am the vine: you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Well, I’ll leave you with my downer confession. ; )  I might write more on Family Camp another day. ; )