Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tagline for Acts of the Apostles Bible study

At the FOCUS Student Leader Summit in Baltimore, we started a contest to name the next FOCUS Bible Study on the Acts of the Apostles.

Each FOCUS Equip Bible study has a title and then a tagline. For instance, The Crux: To Preach Christ Crucified or 1 Corinthians: In the World, But Not of It.

Yesterday students and missionaries submitted taglines for the Acts of the Apostles Bible study via Twitter.

Here are the four finalists:

Make disciples of all nations
The men who turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6)
Set the world on fire
Witnesses to the ends of the earth

Three ways to vote:

1. Share your vote on Twitter. Post to the handle @FOCUSEquip, state the tagline you like, and put the hashtag #actstagline

2. Post your vote to our Facebook wall

3. Put your vote in the comments of this blog.

One vote per person. Voting ends Monday morning at 9am.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Catholic Video Responses to I Love Jesus But Hate Religion

First, there were written Catholic blog responses to the video below:

Over the weekend, a number of Catholic video responses were created including one from FOCUS' own Miko Sy. His is the first one below.

What did you think?

What did you think they did well?

What could they have been done better?

Friday, January 13, 2012

FOCUS Missionaries Tebowing

FOCUS' national office is in Denver, Colorado and we are pretty excited about the Broncos game this weekend.

We decided to wear orange today and then do some Tebowing.

Go Broncos!

Catholic Summary: Does Jesus Hate Religion?

Have you seen this video?

This video has received over 6 million hits since January 3rd and over 5 million in the last 24 hours.

Catholics have reacted quickly and intelligently to this video.

Here are a few blogs and commentaries:

Audrey Assad - Catholic musician and convert

Marcel LeJeune on AggieCatholic

Mary from the Young and Catholic Blog

Taylor Marshall - Canterbury Tales

The Bad Catholic Blog

Lifeteen said it should release something shortly. Meanwhile, Mark Hart said on Twitter: How blessedly shocked & dismayed many of the 3 mil YouTube viewers would be to hear that "religion" comes from the word for "relationship".


3 quick takes:

1. The video has truth, but not the whole truth.
We need to understand that just going through the motions of the faith and relying on pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps isn't true Christianity. We do need to rely on God's grace and redemption more than ourselves. Even though this isn't what Catholicism teaches, this is something that we (and other Christians) have practiced in the past. Although it isn't what we teach, it should cause us to reflect.

2. Religion is Biblical
The video argues that Jesus and Scripture are against religion. At the same time, James talks about practicing religion (James 1:27) and Jesus gives over authority to men to act on His behalf (Matthew 16:16-18).

3. Can't we have both?
The Catholic argument on this (and so many other topics) is both/and. Rather than either Jesus or religion, why can't we have Jesus and religion?

Final thought: In the end, rather than getting mad at this video, I believe this video is a call to action for Catholics.

We need to:
1. Know how to articulate to evangelicals how Catholics have an authentic personal relationship with Jesus.
2. Live out our Catholic faith in a dynamic way.
3. Continually help renew the Catholic Church through evangelization.

The video below was cited by numerous bloggers. I think it is a great example, but we also need to keep renewing our efforts to live it out.

What are your thoughts?

Have you seen any other Catholic commentary out there?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mark Wahlberg -- on Film, Family, and Faith

Great interview with Mark Wahlberg on CBS news:

What did you think?

What stood out to you?

Monday, January 9, 2012

On Angry Birds and Sainthood

What's the most valuable resource that you have?

The money in your bank account? Your car? Your computer?

If you are under the age of 30, the answer is easily your time. Time is far more valuable than money. Why? Because time, even more than money, is a limited resource. We can always make more money and even multiply money. But, we can’t do this with time.

So, as New Year’s resolutions are upon us, I wanted to take a moment to look at what we do with our time. In Luke 12:34, Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If time is our greatest treasure, what we do with it tells us a lot about our hearts.

Our Culture
Never in the history of the world have we had so much free time. Modern machinery has cut down on the time it takes to eat, clean, travel, stay warm and with so many other daily tasks that used to consume most of the common person’s time 100 years ago.

But, what do we do with our time? It is no coincidence that never before have we had so many opportunities to waste our time. This has increased more and more in the past decade with streaming TV shows online, Facebook, YouTube videos, the Internet, videos games, etc. Mobile phones have allowed all of these things to be carried in our pockets and be used at any spare moment in the day.

We can waste so much of our time that we fail to accomplish even the simplest of priorities: our relationship with God, our relationships with others, and our priorities with work and school.

If we are looking for resolutions to make this year or habits to form, we probably could look no farther than what we do with our time.

Here are three ways to protect your most valuable asset:

1. Scheduling
Do you have a schedule? Some people are great at scheduling every hour of the week. Others struggle with scheduling anything more than their greatest priorities. The key is to find a system that works for you and stick to it. Take time to evaluate it each month to see where you are and if you need to make any adjustments to your schedule or lifestyle.

Here are some resources on scheduling your time:
Classic Franklin Covey video on priorities
Michael Hyatt on planning your ideal week

2. Purging useless habits
I played a lot of videos games growing up and still enjoy playing them today. I had an extended break over Christmas with some extra time, so I downloaded Angry Birds on my phone. But, as I returned from the holiday, I had to ask myself, does Angry Birds really help me to become a saint? Or, will it just distract me from my priorities? I know myself, so I just deleted it. Sometimes I can find moderation with certain distractions, other times I have to know when to simply cut something out of my life. What’s your Angry Birds? What can you handle in moderation and what has become an addiction that you just can’t handle?

3. Prayer
Our relationship with God is our most important priority. Are we taking time each day to have a conversation with the person who knows us best? Are we reviewing our lives and seeing how to make them better? Prayer is the best way to make sure we have our priorities straight and our time is used wisely.

Check out some resources on prayer:
FOCUSequip’s Dare to Pray
How to make a daily examination of conscience

What are some ways you can use your time more effectively?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Facing obstacles to your New Year's resolutions

Have a New Year's Resolution?

What are you journeying towards?

How are you going to get there this year and what is going to help when you face obstacles?

Check out this video by Matthew Kelly on Confession:

What helps you the most when you face obstacles to your resolutions, dreams, or goals?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reflecting on Jesus’ Mission During the First 30 Years of His Life

This article is written by guest blogger Dr. Brian McAdam, FOCUS Missionary in the National Formation Department

Jesus’ mission is disclosed in his very name. “Jesus means in Hebrew: ‘God saves.’ At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as his proper name, which expresses both his identity and his mission” (CCC #430).

As Christians we often focus on Jesus’ salvific mission as lived out during his public ministry, i.e. the last three or so years of his life, from his baptism by John in the Jordan to his resurrection and ascension. In so doing we are in good company, since that’s what the Evangelists focus on, too. About 95% of the Gospels is devoted to the final years of Jesus’ life; only about 5% deals with the first 30 years.

But Jesus was carrying out his earthly mission during the first 30 years of his life, too. These years are referred to as the hidden life of Jesus. “Jesus’ words and actions during his hidden life ... were already salvific” (CCC # 115).

As Christians, our mission is to fulfill the Great Commission, to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19). We can learn a lot about our mission by reflecting on how Jesus carried out his mission during his hidden life, during the ordinary day-to-day progression of his first 30 years.

As just one example of what reflecting on Jesus’ hidden life can teach us about mission, consider what his first 30 years shows us about the importance of spiritual multiplication through relational evangelization. We already know how important that principle is for evangelization through how Jesus modeled it in his public ministry. During the final few years of his life Jesus did preach to large crowds, true, but most of his time was spent investing in the 12 apostles, and even within that group he invested in a special way in the lives of three—Peter, James, and John. It was then primarily through the apostles that the Gospel spread.

Similarly, and even more dramatically, his hidden life also reveals the importance of spiritual multiplication through relational evangelization. For during 30 whole years Jesus profoundly shared his life not with the masses, and not even with 12 others, but primarily with two other individuals: Mary and Joseph. And consider the tremendous, multiplied impact that Mary and Joseph have had in the life of the Church from their day up to ours!

During this Christmas season, when as a Church we are already reflecting on the early years of Jesus, I invite you to pray over the hidden years of his life. In particular, you can ask Jesus to teach you how the way in which he lived his mission during the first 30 years of his life can better equip you to live your mission now. Here are some suggestions to guide your prayer:

1. Read the few Gospel texts that do reference the first 30 years of Jesus’ life: Lk 1–2; Mt 1–2; Mk 6:3; Jn 6:42 and 7:15.

2. Pray over those texts, but also “pray the gaps” in those texts. That is, enter imaginatively into what Jesus’ life was like during the first 30 years of his life in all those circumstances that aren’t discussed in Scripture. What was his family life like on a day-to-day basis? Who were his friends, how did he interact with them, and how did he share his saving message with them? What was he learning? How did he pray? What was his job as a carpenter like?

3. Jesus lived out his mission not only in the extraordinary moments of his life, but also in the ordinary ones. Ask God to show you how, by following the example of Jesus, you can better live out your mission in life’s ordinary moments.

You can follow Brian on Twitter @BrianMcAdam

You can follow FOCUSequip on Facebook or Twitter at @FOCUSequip. You can also subscribe to this blog by typing in your email address on the top right of this page.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Need some help in making a New Year's resolution

New Year's resolutions are an American tradition.

Maybe you need some help on dreaming up some new resolutions and some help on accomplishing them.

Don't worry...we're here to help.

Check out the video below by Matthew Kelly on Dream Sessions.

What resolutions are you making this year?