"Christian Service Brigade is the men of the local church reaching out to the boys in their neighbourhood for Christ."

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Dealing with DEVICES

By David Gregg, 
CSB Regional Director
The mesmerizing reality of modern technology especially in the lives of our boys is impossible to ignore. But before we rip those glowing devices out of their grasping little hands; before chucking it down the garbage disposal listening with frustrated satisfaction as it grinds its way into the plumbing, we must remember an important truth about discipleship: Problems should be viewed not as an obstacle to endure but as an opportunity to be used. A God honoring, moderated and self-controlled use of technology should drive our technology decisions. Below we have chosen what we believe to be some really helpful truths and tools to help you guide the many conversations you will undoubtedly need to have as you guide your son in his use of electronic devices.
Pray often for wisdom
Effective discipleship is saturated in prayer. The decisions that we must make on behalf of our children are rarely easy: Do I give him a device, take one away, or limit his use? How can I keep him safe and protect his purity? How do I deal with his anger if I say no? And how do I keep myself from throwing his device against the wall?! The answers to these questions always require wisdom, and that only comes from God. The good news is that when we ask for it God promises to give it to us, and in abundance. So parents must be praying, specifically for wisdom.

A question to ask: “Am I relying on God’s strength or my own wisdom?”

Tools are as good as the purpose for which we use them
A hammer can be used to repair a structure or to damage a sibling. The problem is not the tool but the wisdom of the hands wielding it. Saying “no” is often easier, and “no” is often the right answer, especially when our boys are really young. But our goal in discipleship is to build our boys into godly men. So we must teach them how to use technology as a tool for honoring God, and this will require a gradual series of “yesses” as our boys earn the right to greater access to technology.

A question to ask: “Is technology leading my son away from maturity or toward it?”

An opportunity to teach self-denial
Our culture glorifies immediate gratification, but Jesus calls us to a life that is characterized by giving up ourselves. Technology offers a really powerful opportunity to teach our sons to say no to some of their desires. This may mean simply learning to moderate their use of a phone, saying no to certain types of apps or games, or giving up their devices for a period of time as a “technology fast,” But this process of learning self-denial is something that parents must be explicitly teaching our sons. Show them patiently where they may be abusing the use of a good device or game. Show them how God considers our limited time valuable and how we need to be careful to use our time in a way that will glorify Him.

A question to ask: How can I use technology to teach self-control and self-denial?”

An audience of one
Peer pressure is a reality. The tech culture our boys find themselves in is toxic but is everywhere. And because it is everywhere, our boys can start to think that it is “normal.” But God determines what is normal, not adolescent excess, no matter how pervasive it may be. It is vital that we as parents explain gently but firmly that we live according to God’s standards not according to the world’s standards. It doesn’t matter how many of his friends are playing a game or have a phone. If those things are not going to help him grow in his love for God and others, we need to help him set those things aside. We live for an audience of one; it is God whose happiness we should crave rather than prizing the acceptance of our peers.

A question to ask: “Who am I more concerned about pleasing, God or my friends?”

“I’ll do it in a minute”
I remember saying this same thing to my mother when asked to do a chore while in the middle of what seemed a very important level of Pac Man. The sophistication of the games boys play have certainly changed, but the response “I’ll do it in a minute” is as lame as ever. There are lots of lessons to be taught here. Honoring one’s parents, work before play, not lying to get what we want, the elasticity of time (what seems like 5 minutes can actually be two hours), not procrastinating, and the fact that maturity does not accept the “but I forgot” excuse especially if we know that waiting usually produces forgetfulness. You can’t deal with all of these at one time but don’t miss the chance to disciple your son through this.

A question to ask: “Am I allowing my boy’s use of technology to simply produce frustration in me rather than seeing it as a great opportunity to disciple my son?”

The issue of pornography deserves a whole article of it’s own, so let me simply say this. It doesn’t matter how innocent you think your son is or how well you believe you have protected him, if you are not proactively setting up technology fences and discussing sex, lust, and how to guard his heart, mind, and eyes, he will find porn and he will struggle alone. As with all uses of technology, healthy conversations about sex, starting at an early age, but in an age appropriate manner, is a necessary tool for helping our sons to navigate these dangerous waters. I can’t keep track of the number of dads who have been surprised to find out that their innocent little boys had been struggling for years in secret and alone.

Some questions to ask: “Am I being na├»ve regarding my boy and his exposure to pornography or other unhealthy influences? Am I doing my job protecting my son?”


Helpful Technology:
“Covenant Eyes”
Accountability and filtering software that allows you to see and filter what your boys can view on all your devices at one low price.

A timer you attach to the power cord of a TV or gaming console allowing you to set times and limits on device use.

Tools and Tips:
  • Parents should have all passwords. Your sons should not have technological privacy.
  • The device does not belong to the boy, even if he purchased it.
  • Know to what apps and games he has access.
  • Limit what he can access. Be familiar with and use parental controls.
  • Limit the amount of time and encourage real interaction.
  • Use technology as a reward, it is not a right.
  • Recognize growth and reward it.
  • Do not assume. Be vigilant. 

Friday, 11 December 2015

A Tribute to Jay Douglas Keddy

January 13, 1962 - December 2, 2015
As the result of an accident in Hamilton Ontario on Wednesday, December 2, 2015, Jay Keddy went home to be with his Lord and Saviour in his 54th year. He was the beloved husband of Ingrid and loved father of Allastair, Katharina and Robert. Jay was a well-loved teacher and a faithful member of West Highland Baptist Church, serving in his local and global communities.

Jay grew up at Wortley Baptist Church in London. He was part of their Stockade and Battalion program. He was on the Service Team of Camp Kakeka in 1978 and served in several other positions on staff including Program Director.  He participated in CSB’s 50th anniversary celebrations held at Camp Gardiner near Calgary in 1987. In the late 1980s he served as Camp Director at Kakeka for three years. Although he was not linked to a local CSB group, he continued to serve as a leader for CSB Adventure Week at Kakeka until 2007. After that, Jay served as a cabin leader or camp shepherd each summer for the past decade at CSB’s Camp Hickory Hill in Upper New York State. For several years he was a missionary in Chad in central Africa and was involved in Flambeau, their version of CSB started many years earlier by a Canadian missionary. 

He was a great ambassador for CSB and an example of the kind of godly man this ministry produces. Jay had a major impact on many young men who worked with him at camp. He will be missed by all of us who served with him in CSB, particularly in our camping ministry, for his enthusiasm, energy and his servant heart.  We will miss you dear brother.

SERVICE Module - Serving with Humility - Hudson Taylor

Bump! Bump! Thump!
    Fourteen-year old Amelia Taylor ran to the stairs to see what was causing all the commotion. “Hudson! What in the world are you doing with your feather bed?”
    Amelia’s seventeen-year-old brother looked down the stairs with a smile. “I’m getting rid of it--they don’t have comfortable mattresses in China, you know!”
    “Getting rid of it? Mother is not going to like this!”
    “Oh, she’ll come ‘round. Remember, China was Mother and Father’s idea in the first place! People there don’t have it as good as we do--sleeping on hard boards ought to toughen me up.”
Amelia jumped aside as the heavy mattress landed on the kitchen floor. “I’ll help you drag it outside,” she said. “Let’s store it in the shed in case you change your mind. Those hard boards are going to be awfully uncomfortable!”
    When he was born, Hudson Taylor’s parents had dedicated him to serve God in China. At age eighteen, Hudson felt the call to China and began getting ready. Now that Hudson was doing all he could to get ready for China, Mrs. Taylor grew concerned. Getting up extra early every day to study was one thing, but going out into the cold for rigorous exercise was another matter.
    “Hudson, you’ll catch your death of pneumonia! Come in and sit by the fire,” she begged. Hudson had been a sickly and weak child, so Mrs. Taylor had pampered him for many years.
    “Now Mother, don’t worry,” Hudson replied. “I’m feeling stronger already! The outdoor air and hard work are just what I need.”
    Reluctantly, Mrs. Taylor allowed Hudson to follow his plans. He rose early to study languages; he exercised outside; and he learned to live with few comforts. God even provided Hudson with a way to learn medicine so he’d be better able to serve people in China. But there were some lessons that only life’s trials could teach the young man. Hudson wanted to learn to trust God and follow His voice before heading to China. This would take some practice.
    One day young Hudson walked through a dirty, crowded street in the town of Hull, England. Reaching into his pocket, he felt his last coin. “Lord, please remind Dr. Hardey to pay me. My rent is due soon and I’ve only a bit of food. This coin won’t last but a few days. Help me to trust in you, Lord.”
    Hudson walked on when a man who recognized him as the doctor’s assistant grabbed his arm. “My wife’s in there an’ she needs help.” Hudson was quick to respond. His heart went out to people in need, and this man’s need was obvious.
    When they came to the grimy door, a boy opened it a crack, his hollow eyes staring into Hudson’s. He’d seen that hopeless look far too many times before. “Yes, sir?”
    “I’m studying to be a doctor,” he said. “Your father brought me to see your mother.” The boy swung the door open and stepped back to let Hudson and his dad pass.
    The smells of unwashed bodies and tobacco smoke rose to meet him. Hudson walked across the single room to a cot on which the mother lay. Four other children huddled in the shadows, dressed in tattered clothes, too hungry to move. A newborn baby lay next to the poor mother. It didn’t take Hudson long to realize there was no hope for the woman. He hung his head, knowing there was nothing medicine could do.
    “Please, won’t you pray for her?” The husband’s voice came from the doorway.
    “Yes, of course,” Hudson replied. Even as he asked the Lord to send them food and heal the mother, he became aware of the coin in his pocket. He knew he should give it to her so that she could get something to eat, but it was his very last money and he would soon be hungry, too! Hudson knew that he should give them some of his clothes and money, but then where would he be? Could he trust God to take care of his needs if he gave his belongings to others? He felt no peace until he stopped arguing with himself, took off his coat and sweater, and handed them over to the mother, along with the coin.
    “God bless you,” she whispered, eyes filling with tears. And He did. Hudson left with only a song in his heart to keep him warm.
    The next day the mailman handed him a letter. When he opened it, the envelope contained four times as much money as he had given that family! He learned a lesson that would help him again and again in his work in China--as he cared for others in Christ’s name, he could trust God’s provision! Hudson would trust in this principle during the years to come.
    The town of Hangzhou, China was bustling for the Chinese New Year in 1867. A new missionary family was just arriving to serve with the China Inland Mission. As they made their way among the noisy street vendors, they saw a strange sight ahead. An Englishman, wearing Chinese clothing and a long Chinese pigtail, stood on a table outside the mission clinic. It was Hudson Taylor preaching to a gathering of Chinese people.
    Hudson had first arrived in China 13 years before, in 1854. He had surprised other missionaries with his decision to dress like the Chinese, but he had caused an even bigger uproar when he decided to give up the comfort of living in the cities in order to reach the poorest people in the middle of China.
    Hudson paused from his preaching just long enough to wave and smile at the new missionaries. He’d been expecting them, for he had prayed for 24 new workers, and he knew God answers prayer! These new recruits would be joining the others in making great personal sacrifice to further the Gospel. Yet as Hudson Taylor continued to pray over the years, more and more missionaries came to serve.
    Hudson served in China for over 50 years, and eventually there were enough missionaries to realize his goal of reaching all 18 provinces of China. Now that’s the result of living as a humble follower of Christ! He was willing to give up his privileges and comforts, demonstrating humility. He once said, “Let us in everything not sinful become like the Chinese that by all means we may save some.”
    China today needs missionaries who can demonstrate humility and serve the Chinese people. Over one billion people live in China’s cities. Who will go and serve them with love of Christ?

How was Hudson Taylor humble in his approach to missions? (Did not consider himself or his culture (England) more important than the people that he ministered to.) How can we serve our family and friends with this same attitude?