Monday, April 22, 2013


Have you ever wondered about the sensationalism in our world? If you have, you'll enjoy today's post. 

Please join me in welcoming Jon Stolpe, a fellow writer and guest blogger. His take on this topic will enlighten you. You can find out more about Jon at the bottom of the page.

It's a pleasure to have you, Jon!



   By Jon Stolpe 
The events of the last week had many of us glued to our televisions, radios, newspapers, and news websites. Every twist and turn in the Boston Marathon Bombing was broadcast through the news and amplified through social media until Friday night when the second bombing suspect was captured. I’ll admit it. I was sucked into the story.
The story was sensational. The Boston Marathon Bombing caused great public interest and excitement.
What other events come to mind when you think of the word sensational?
I think of the Space Shuttle accidents, September 11th, the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, the death of Princess Diana, the wedding of Prince William and Catherine, the Super Bowl, natural disasters, and presidential elections.
In our media saturated world, it’s easy to quickly sensationalize an event. Within moments, people around the world know about events happening on the other side of the planet. It’s a natural human response to place our attention on these types of events.
I wonder how the world would respond today if Jesus came to earth in our present age. Would we have noticed the baby born in a manger? Would an Amber Alert go viral when Jesus went missing after his family visited Jerusalem? And how about the miracles that he performed? Do you think he would have had the paparazzi chasing him through the streets of Jerusalem and the Israeli countryside? How would his trial, crucifixion, and resurrection have been portrayed?
It’s hard to know these answers for sure, but I would speculate that the story of Jesus would probably be misunderstood and misconstrued today just as it was two thousand years ago.
If you read the gospels, you would think that Jesus’ story is worthy of sensationalism (great public interest and excitement). But here’s the reality. Jesus seemed to skirt away from the center stage. Instead, he was intent on spreading his message through a relatively small group of men and women. And he led through humility—with a servant’s heart.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2: 3-11 NIV).
This is not the kind of person or event that is considered sensational in the world today. Sure, we occasionally hear stories of people doing good things, but the news is typically filled with violence, tragedy, or a pursuit for stardom.
But I would argue that the story of Jesus deserves great public interest and excitement. As followers of Christ, it’s our privilege and responsibility to share this excitement with others.
So here’s my question: Do you think the story of Jesus should be considered sensational? What can you and I do to share this excitement with others?
More About Jon: Jon Stolpe is passionate about small groups, missions, family, marriage, parenting, and Philadelphia sports. Jon is also a writer and blogs daily at Jon Stolpe Stretched. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wonderful wife, Leanne, and their two kids. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or his blog.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Leaping Back to Simpler Times

I decided to post one of my most popular stories for you today. I hope you enjoy.

I watched my brother as he lay in the hospital bed. A faint smile creased his face. After all the chemo he’d endured, I marveled as to how he could smile at all.

My mind wandered back to when we were kids, when the center of our universe revolved around innocence, laughter, and the love of family and friends.

Me, and my three amigos.

We played in reckless abandon, without fear of someone snatching us away, without worrying that bullets would fly at us from a random shooter. We hung out with our friends, yes, but we jumped rope, played kickball, softball, and more. During those times, we only stopped our activities for two reasons, one of them when a car approached.

The driver, usually a nearby neighbor, honked the horn as he came close. Like good soldiers, we cleared the deck, ran to the side of the road, and stood at attention. He slowed the car to a crawl. The only thing fired at us was a friendly smile, then the wave of his hand as he passed down the street.

The second reason for aborting our mission was when our mother called us home for supper. Mothers stayed home with their children in those days, and families gathered around the kitchen table for a home-cooked meal. There weren’t any drive-thru restaurants. In fact, we considered going out for a hamburger a treat, not a dinnertime ritual.

Things sure have changed. Everyone seems to be in such a hurry these days.

But we’ve advanced, haven’t we?

In addition to fast food, we’ve taken great strides in the electronics industry, not to mention other areas, too numerous to list here, each step intended to make life easier, more efficient. But these modern conveniences have also taken away from our time, especially when it comes to children.

Social Media, designed to "connect" with others, is lacking some vital aspects—the sound of a voice, a shared laugh, a tender touch. Kids are even texting on their cell phones to each other as they sit in the same room. As a result, some of them have become disconnected, unable to socialize in a public setting. And it’s not just the children. The same thing is happening with adults.

Thank God for for modern medicine though. Without it, my brother might not be here.

My brother. Would our relationship have been the same if we had grown up in this new society?

I turned to my sibling and smiled, thankful for memories of simpler times in the past. Although we’ve taken giant leaps, many of them a blessing, our time spent together can never be replaced.