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Forum Summary: Finding Good News

Author: Ryan Price | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22


Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

Luke 21:36 tells us that we are to watch and pray always. 

To “watch”, in part, means we have to be keeping up with the news and learning about the affairs of our world. But are we learning about our world from a Biblical perspective, or are we letting other influences shape our understanding? For the forum this week the director of Living Education, Mr. Jonathan McNair, explained that while we live in an age full of news sources, an increase in information comes with an increase in misinformation. Mr. McNair explained that there is a three-fold challenge in determining the reliability of the news sources we listen to and provided four strategies for meeting it.

The Three-fold Challenge

The first aspect of this challenge is that every news source has its bias. To illustrate this point, Mr. McNair had the students look at a variety of current news headlines from various right and left-leaning news outlets. By comparing the phrasing of the headlines alone, the students could determine the political leanings of the outlet. Mr. McNair explained that all people have biases and buy into that which supports their point of view. We must be careful to not fall into this trap. 

Another aspect to consider is whether the news is accurate. With so many different sources of information out there, news networks must compete to grab your attention. Sometimes a network will embellish and exaggerate the news to generate more traffic to their website or channel. 

The final question to ask is “am I getting the whole picture?” A news outlet may leave out information to support their stance, or even just by mistake. It’s impossible to cover every aspect of an event as it unfolds. So, now that we know the challenge, how do we meet it?

Four Strategies for Navigating the News Media Maze

1. Understand the System

As was previously mentioned, our whole news system is geared toward getting attention. It’s all about getting the “scoop” first, even at the expense of accuracy. We need to be wary and take eye-catching headlines and attention-grabbing articles with a grain of salt.

2. Know the Source

So much news is duplicated from an original source and finding the source can give us a clearer picture. But even then, we must be watching for any biases that the source may have.

3. Know the Perspective of the Source

Everyone has their own biases and perspective. Even “fact-based” news has its leanings. No reporter or news analyst is completely objective, and their values often come through in tone if not in the words they use.

4. Know Yourself

Your age, background, country, and values will affect your worldview. We must understand that some outlets use these aspects to emotionally manipulate us onto their side. It’s a tactic used by both sides of the political spectrum.

Final Recommendations

Mr. McNair ended the forum with a couple of recommendations on how to apply this knowledge. He suggested that when watching or reading the news, don’t just stick to one outlet with one point of view. By using multiple news sources while acknowledging their biases, we can still get valuable information. As an example, Mr. McNair explained that while science magazines might be biased toward evolution, we can still gain valuable scientific information from them. Varying the type of news we take in can give us a more balanced view of world events. However, we need to be careful of getting too caught up in the biases and politics of the world. A vital point to remember is that as Christians, we are not to focus on being right or left-leaning, but unified in the body of Christ

Assembly Summary: Getting the Job—Three Keys to Getting Hired

Author: Yolanda Watt | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22


Estimated Reading Time: 4 min.

For his assembly, Mr. Michael DeSimone talked about the process of getting a job.  As we approach the end of this year of Living Education – Charlotte, Mr. DeSimone presented this lecture in hopes that the students would find it helpful as we plan ahead to apply for various positions and potential jobs in the near future. Referencing the book “48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal” by Dan Miller, Mr. DeSimone gave us some practical keys for the following three steps to successfully get hired. 

Step 1: Successfully get the interview. 

Send an introduction letter. The purpose of this letter is to build name recognition; it is very important to stand out from other applicants.

A week after sending the introduction letter, submit a cover letter and resumé. Both of these need to be addressed to a particular person and not to a department. If addressed to a general department, there is a high chance your submission will be overlooked; however, if it is sent to a particular person, that person will likely follow-up with the application.

Follow-up with a call 4-5 days after sending your resumé. Mr. DeSimone highlighted this as an extremely important step in the process—one which is followed by only 1-2% of job hunters.  Mr. DeSimone advised the students not to leave a voicemail, except perhaps for the opportunity of leaving your name. It is also not a good idea to leave anything in the voice message telling them to call you back, nor to leave too many messages.

Step 2: Prepare and practice for the interview.

Grab a friend and practice your interview. We were advised to get a family member or friend and practice having a job interview with them. This way, that person can offer critiques and insights that may help at the actual interview.

Mr. DeSimone advised that, in order to show proper etiquette, you should not arrive to the interview too early—arriving 30 minutes before the interview creates an inconvenience for the interviewer. Instead, you should aim at arriving 5-10 minutes early. We were advised to dress appropriately, which means dressing one or two notches above the requirements for the position you are being interviewed for. You can also show proper etiquette by not wearing too much perfume or jewelry, making regular and friendly eye contact, shaking hands firmly, and wearing a smile.

Know yourself enough to be able to sell yourself well. Mr. DeSimone explained that preparation for a job interview involves being intimately familiar with your skills, strengths, weaknesses, dreams, and values. Solidify your answers for the typical interview questions, such as, “Tell me a little bit about yourself,” or, “Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.” No answer should be more than two minutes in length.

Mr. DeSimone said to conduct your own research on the company that you are planning to apply to. It is essential to know what the company stands for before your interview—that way, you’ll be able to ask more appropriate questions.

Step 3: Negotiate compensation.

The salary that the company offers is based on the responsibilities of the job and not on your educational background or past experiences. When negotiating compensation, Mr. DeSimone advised, there is a right time to do it. Too often, job hunters will talk about compensation when it is not the correct time to do so. You should not be the first one to bring up the topic of benefits—unless the interviewer never brings it up at all. If the topic of compensation is brought too early by the interviewer, you should deflect it in order to first make sure that the job is a good fit for both the company and yourself. The arrow on the graph below shows the ideal time to discuss compensation during the interview.

Graph: The right time to negotiate compensation during an interview.

Mr. DeSimone hopes that these three steps will be helpful to the students as they prepare to shine God’s light in the workforce. 

Forum Summary: Do you think long-term?

Author: Ryan Price | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22


Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

For his forum, Mr. Michael Heykoop, a telecast presenter and the Media Director for the Work in Canada, provided four points for long-term thinking.

He explained that while we ought to take notice of world events, we don’t have the exact date for when Christ will return, so we need to take the long-term approach in planning for our lives. While there’s no way we can physically prepare for the things to come, prophecy is provided so that we can be spiritually ready.

1: Planning ahead does not show a lack of faith.

Sometimes, people take Christ’s words in Matthew 6:25-26 to mean that they should not plan ahead and instead take each day on faith. However, Mr. Heykoop explained that Christ isn’t saying to never make any plans, but to make sure that our planning doesn’t come between us and God. As James 4:13-15 tells us, we must plan with humility, recognizing that while we plan, it is according to God’s will that our plans come to fruition. Mr. Heykoop used the story of Joseph’s preparation for the famine in Egypt as an example of planning being rewarded.

2: God’s promises do not allow for unnecessary risk.

There is a misconception that if God is protecting us, we can take any risks we want to. However, Mr. Heykoop showed the students through Matthew 4:5-7 that we are not to tempt God. He explained that we must be mindful and determine whether we are taking undue risks in our endeavors. Our body is the temple of God’s Spirit, so we must be vigilant in protecting it.

3: Mistakes of youth can cause lasting harm.

While we are forgiven of our sins, we may still have to suffer their consequences. Mr. Heykoop encouraged the students to picture where we want to be in ten years and to identify roadblocks that would keep us from getting there. We must ask ourselves whether we are making our decisions with God in mind. What could take us from His truth? Mr. Heykoop stressed that we must recognize and weed those things out of our lives. Mr. Heykoop illustrated this point with the example of Jacob. One lie separated him from his family for more than twenty years—God had promised to bless him, but he still took matters into his own hands and deceived his father. Whether good or bad, our actions have consequences that can last a lifetime.

4: The effect of good decisions made over time is extraordinary.

Mr. Heykoop used the principle of compound interest to illustrate this point. When you invest in developing good habits and making good decisions, the return compounds over time. For instance, if you were to make the decision to study for thirty minutes a day over a period of five years, you would have studied a total of 912 hours. Imagine all the things you could learn in that time—and that’s just five years! Mr. Heykoop encouraged the students to take advantage of the unique opportunity we have to start building these habits early as we begin our adult lives.

Mr. Heykoop stressed that we need to bring God into our plans and seek His help and guidance in setting them, eliminating undue risks, avoiding sin, and setting up good habits. God will make it clear when the end is near, but until then, it’s our responsibility to move forward and plan. However, in our planning, we must always remember that it is only according to God’s will that our plans succeed.

Forum Assembly: The Chief Propagandist

Author: Ryan Price | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22


Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

Mr. Paul Kearns, LCG’s area pastor for New Zealand and Vanuatu, is a university graduate who majored in World War II history and early Christian history.

For his forum, he told the students that there is a crisis that affects almost every issue today: We don’t know who to trust anymore. Truth is scarce since everyone has their own agenda. Mr. Kearns explained that Satan is responsible for this confusion and showed the students that this has been a strategy of his since the very beginning.

The Greatest Deception

The beginning of this crisis can be found in Genesis 3:1-5. Mr. Kearns broke down this account and showed the cunning methods Satan used and still uses to deceive mankind. Satan started by sowing the seed of doubt in Eve’s mind (v. 1). Then, he used a half-truth—Satan knew that Adam and Eve would not die instantly upon taking the fruit, yet neglected to mention the eternal death penalty that comes with sin (vv. 2-4). Finally, he slandered the source of the truth, God Himself (v. 5).

All of this is very familiar to us; we can see it occur daily amongst our politicians, news outlets, and nations. However, this muddling of the truth is not where Satan stops.

Propaganda: One of the Devil’s Greatest Tools

The Bible and history are full of examples of Satan’s use of propaganda. He doesn’t want just to obscure the truth, but to replace it with his false narrative. Today, propaganda is everywhere, and it can affect us. So, how can we recognize propaganda? 

Mr. Kearns explained that to recognize a source of information as propaganda, we must look at the agenda of that source. Why is it giving out that information? He then pointed to the story of Absalom’s rebellion recorded in 2 Samuel 15:1-6, explaining that Absalom believed he was justified in his actions and that his agenda reflected that. He went to the city gates—the social and informational hub of the day—and befriended the people. Then, he sold the people his idea. Absalom also planted the seeds of doubt in Israel by slandering David and elevating himself. Mr. Kearns explained that this was Satan-influenced and pointed out the parallels between this account and the account in Genesis 3. In Matthew 11:19, we find that the Pharisees spread propaganda against Jesus Christ. What was their agenda? They saw that Christ was performing many signs and wonders and sought to destroy and discredit Him to preserve their own prestige.

The Power of Propaganda

Mr. Kearns turned the students’ attention to Nazi Germany for an example of how powerful propaganda can be. Joseph Goebbels was Germany’s minister of “public enlightenment.” He promoted the agenda that the Aryan people were the master race. However, the Jews were considered enemies to the Aryans. Therefore, the Nazi agenda was to destroy the Jews. Goebbels utilized many half-truths to paint the Jews in political office and other positions as trying to destroy German society. He used this narrative to dehumanize them, and his efforts resulted in the Holocaust.

From Matthew 24:9, we can see that we will be hated by all nations for Christ’s sake. Mr. Kearns explained that this will likely happen through propaganda, just as it did in Nazi Germany. Matthew 24 also warns us that many false christs will arise in the end times, and these will even try to deceive the elect (vv. 23-24). Mr. Kearns warned the students that we all need to be alert, recognizing Satan’s propaganda and holding fast to God’s word as the one source of untainted truth.

Assembly Summary: The What and Why of Your Choices

Author: Yolanda Watt | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22


Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

Mr. Strain began his Assembly lecture by taking a trip down memory lane to when he was in grade school.

When he was taught reading comprehension, he learned about the “five Ws and an H”—what, why, who, where, when, and how. If we are able to answer those questions, he said, then we understand what we have read. Mr. Strain proposed that these questions are of value when we are analyzing our life choices as well. For the purpose of his lecture, he only discussed two out of the six: what and why.

We have choices to make

Mr. Strain used the example of a man who was working for a company and decided that he no longer wanted to work there anymore, but instead to start his own business. If he was to do so, this man had to know what he wanted to do and why he wanted to do it. Mr. Strain then asked the students why they had chosen to attend Living Education. He mentioned that we had made a choice to devote this year to learning and immersing ourselves into God’s way of life. Mr. Strain challenged the students to think about what we do as Living Education students and why we do these things. He acknowledged that some things are decided for us, like participating in activities and living at the dorms with other students. These things are by design, for the students to learn and build stronger bonds. However, we also have choices that we make, for which we will have to give an account. Mr. Strain contrasted Living Education and Ambassador College with secular colleges, which often do not care about what students do with their time. Like Ambassador College, Living Education has been designed to teach its students principles that will guide us for the rest of our lives.

Dangerous comfort?

Mr. Strain encouraged the students to get out of the “danger zone” of our comfort zone. He gave the example of when he was a student at Ambassador College and was advised to join the chorale. He learned something new in the process of getting out of his comfort zone, and it helped him to become a more balanced person. 

Mr. Strain advised the students to think about what we are doing and why we are doing it whenever we make decisions. We need to tie our decisions to our overall purpose of being in God’s Kingdom. An example of that would be doing the Work of God. In order to accomplish the Work, we have to consider what we are doing and why we are doing it, keeping our minds on the overall purpose of getting the Work done. There are some things that are beyond our control—for example, when we are hired for a job, we could expect that we would have a supervisor determining what time the work begins and when it ends. But life should not only happen because someone else schedules it for us. 

Know why you’re doing what your doing

Mr. Strain added that not everything we do needs to have a deep spiritual meaning to it. We may choose to relax and watch television for a while, or listen to music—however, we need to balance our lives. In whatever we strive to do, we must understand what is being done and the purpose of doing such a task, especially if we are to make it into God’s Family.

Forum Summary: Thinking about History

Author: Ryan Price | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22


Estimated Reading Time: 4 min.

Mr. Mark Sandor, pastor and former social studies teacher, began his forum address by asking the LivingEd students a question—why is history important?

His goal was to answer that question and to show the students how they can properly navigate the complexities of history.

Why Is History Important?

One of the reasons the topic of history is important to us in God’s Church is because it contains numerous examples of God’s hand in world affairs. Mr. Sandor made this point by referring to the book Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose. The book covers the adventures of Lewis and Clark in their expedition across the western territory of the United States after the Louisiana Purchase. Many times, the expedition would have ended in disaster if not for what secular scholars deem “coincidences.” However, we in God’s Church can see that these seeming coincidences were God’s hand using imperfect human beings to guide a nation.

History also provides case studies in human behavior, showing us the cause and effect of the actions and choices made by those who came before us. Observing the lives of others can reinforce what we know and teach us examples of both what we should and what we should not do. Mr. Sandor used Abraham Lincoln as an example, who, despite not being called, understood the basic teachings of the Bible and used them to lead America through the Civil War.

Things to Keep in Mind

However, there are a few questions we should keep in mind while reading history. First, we should determine the author’s background and point of view. Mr. Sandor brought up Herodotus, “the Father of History,” as an example. He often wrote about the wars between the Greeks and the Persians. Being Greek, he portrayed the Greeks as stalwart heroes and the Persians as despicable villains. Every historian has their biases, and as we read history, we should remain aware of this.

Another thing to consider, although this applies more to ancient historians, is who the historian was sponsored by. A sponsor was often necessary to be able to afford the time it took to write in ancient times. This sponsor held much influence on what was recorded and often ensured that they would be portrayed in a positive light.

A third thing to consider is the author’s source. Mr. Sandor used the example of George McClellan, a general in the Union Army who was a bitter rival of Abraham Lincoln. He served under Lincoln in the Civil War and after a serious military blunder was replaced by a different general. McClellan went on to run against Lincoln for office and publicly insulted his appearance and name. However, Mr. Sandor read a book painting McClellan as a “God-fearing, good man.” Checking the source, he found that it was exclusively what McClellan wrote about himself! Often the subject of a story is painted as a hero, but the facts of history may not show them in such a noble light. It is nearly impossible to record every aspect of one’s life. In writing history, you have to choose a place to start and a place to end. So, whether by choice or necessity, things are often left out of historical accounts.

How Does God Tell History?

We can determine how to properly study history by looking at how God records it. One of the aspects of history revealed by the Bible is that there is more than one way to accurately tell a story. Mr. Sandor referenced the four gospels as an example of this.

Another thing we can see is that sometimes God leaves things out to get a point across. He tells us what we need to know, but doesn’t necessarily give us everything. Mr. Sandor used the dispute between the Archangel Michael and the devil about the body of Moses in Jude 1:8-9 as an example of this. This event is recorded nowhere else in Scripture, and while it would be very interesting to learn more about it, the spiritual lesson is what’s important in this account.

A third lesson we learn is that God focuses on the big picture and the legacies people leave behind. We can see this throughout the Bible. For instance, Mr. Sandor compared King David and King Ahab. Both men coveted something belonging to their servant, leading to the death of that servant, and repented. But, while they both went through a similar situation, one wouldn’t consider these men as equals based on their greater legacy. This same principle applies to historical figures outside the Bible. Focusing on the big picture gives us a greater view of the impact people and events have had on history.

This is the challenge of history: We must seek multiple sources on a subject, note the differences between them, and consider how the sources may reveal the full picture when examined together. By meeting this challenge, we can get the most out of studying history.

Assembly Summary: Let no man despise your youth

Author: Yolanda Watt | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22


Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

Mr. Frank opened the assembly by showing us an old photo from his time in Ambassador College when he traveled to Israel to participate in an archaeological dig.

He made the connection that a person’s youth passes by quite quickly and the older generation must pass their wisdom to the younger. The lecture was geared towards biblical instructions guiding the youth of Living Education and was largely based on 1 Timothy 4:12.

            Mr. Frank mentioned that the letters of 1 Timothy and Titus were written during the time of Paul’s evangelistic work while under house arrest in Rome. Paul placed Timothy as pastor of the church in Ephesus and Titus in Crete. During his final imprisonment, Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy, requesting a visit from his young protégé. Paul wrote both letters to help Timothy in his pastoral duties. 

            Mr. Frank explained Paul’s admonition to Timothy to not let anyone despise his youth, in word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith, and purity. Paul also charged the church that they should not despise Timothy (1 Corinthians 16:10-11). As Mr. Frank described, at the time of the early Church it was culturally unusual for someone under the age of thirty to be considered a leader, and certainly many of the other leaders at that time would have been older than Timothy. Paul charged Timothy to live an exemplary life so that no one could find fault in him. Mr. Frank stated that this does not imply that Timothy was careless in his prior behavior, but rather that Paul was encouraging him to continue being the good model that he already was. A young leader should take care not to commit youthful foolishness or sinfulness which would give reason for people to discredit him. 

            Youth should not be a time for sowing wild oats, for this is not the Christian way. Mr. Frank admonished us to flee youthful lusts and to remember to seek the Creator while we are still young. Once we graduate, no matter where we go, the brethren will view us as graduates of the Living Education program and we will be expected to behave accordingly. There are six areas Paul tells Timothy to consider—Mr. Frank expounded on these areas, which we too can think about in order to set a good example to other people in the Church, both young and old. 

Let no one despise you in… 

  • Word – The Greek word logos, which means “divine word,” in this context can be translated as “correct doctrine.” It is essentially a warning against idle talk. We need to be extremely mindful of what we say, especially among Church members.
  • Conversation – The definition of the Greek word translated “conversation” includes behavior, general conduct, and how we speak with others. 
  • Charity – This word is translated from the Greek word agape, meaning “love,” “brotherly love,” or “benevolence.” We are to have godly love for others, whether they treat us well or ill. 
  • Spirit – Translated from the Greek pnévma, this relates to governing one’s passions, as by the Holy Spirit, and being of a mild, meek, forgiving disposition. 
  • Faith – The Greek word pistis describes a state of trust, conviction, fidelity, and unshaken confidence in God, in both good times and bad. The word is also used to describe faithfulness, implying that we should be faithful to our families, our Church, our work, the general public, and—most importantly—God.
  • Purity – Paul cautioned Timothy that his interactions with others should be with purity, not giving into youthful lust. Mr. Frank used this opportunity to issue the same caution to the students and warned us not to engage in such behaviors that could tarnish our reputation. This type of purity is not limited to rejecting the sins of the flesh, but also includes rejecting wrong motives and thoughts.

As Mr. Frank discussed, these are not requirements for pastors only; rather they are meant for all of God’s people. We should consider the lesson given to Timothy and strive to build good habits in our lives, that we may be above reproach and give no man a reason to despise us in our youth.

Forum Summary: Have you fallen in love?

Author: Ryan Price | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22


Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

Dr. Richard Franz began this week’s forum by asking the Living Education students a question: “Have you fallen in love with learning?”

His goal was to convince the students to enter a lifelong love relationship with education and exercise, which, when combined, can help us all to achieve our full potential.

Why should we love learning?

Through learning, we open up experiences and opportunities. The problem is that there is an ocean of information available to us. It is up to us to choose what to learn, and if we choose wisely, we will increase in knowledge that will help us in life. Life is busy and it seems we don’t have time for anything. However, Dr. Franz noted that according to statistics, Americans spend between 12-13 hours engaging in digital entertainment. Such excessive use of digital media shortens our attention spans, which makes it harder to focus on learning anything. The reality is that we have time to learn if we only spend a little less time having our minds saturated by electronic media.

One of the best ways to learn is to read. Yet attaining knowledge is not the only benefit of reading. Six minutes of reading can reduce our stress levels by 68 percent, which is far more than the stress decrease we experience by listening to music or walking. Dr. Franz challenged the students to read twelve books in a year. He explained that, depending on the size of the books, the students could get through them by reading for just fifteen minutes a day.

While the word education doesn’t appear in our English Bible, that Bible still has a lot to say about education. Solomon wrote that true knowledge—true education—comes from the fear of the Eternal. Jesus Christ taught us that true freedom comes from being educated in God’s truth.

Why should we love exercise?

God told Adam and Eve to tend the Garden of Eden. Even in paradise, there was work to be done! God created us to work. But today we measure our quality of life in terms of comfort and leisure. Sitting is our dominant posture. This has led to the numerous health problems of our society.

However, exercise brings with it many benefits. The body is often recharged after systematic, purposeful exercise. Dr. Franz recommends taking moderate walks often, as walking and hiking are excellent forms of exercise.

But how do exercise and education relate? Dr. Franz explained that through exercising, even if we don’t see the physical results we want, we enhance our ability to learn. Exercise stimulates the production of a neurotransmitter called BDNF, which increases the connectivity of our brains, leading to a clearer head. As Dr. Franz put it, “Exercise creates an environment where the brain is both ready and able to learn.” Aerobic exercise is a vital and fundamental tool for those who wish to reach their full potential. It combats cognitive decline and can improve our brain’s capacity. Dr. Franz compared this with the parable of the talents. While we don’t know how much brainpower God has given us, He has given us the knowledge to be able to increase it.

These all seem like a pretty good reward for a little exercise. However, exercise benefits only for a little while. If we stop exercising, the benefits cease. Consistency is key.

Be a life-long learner

Dr. Franz closed the forum with the hope that he has encouraged the LE students to become “life-long learners, as well as exercise enthusiasts” so that they may live up to the potential that God has given them.

Assembly Summary: Interpersonal Communication

Author: Yolanda Watt | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22


Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

For his recent assembly message, Mr. Richard Ames talked about the topic of communication.

He informed the students that, in 1978, he started pursuing a master’s degree in communication. He took a class called “Interpersonal Communication,” where he was assigned to improve his interpersonal relationship with one other person. Mr. Ames decided to improve his communication with his wife, to whom he had been married for fourteen years at the time. 

Keys to Improve Interpersonal Communication

Mr. Ames told us to practice biblical principles for loving communication. Ephesians 4:15 admonishes us to speak the truth in love, but too many speak the truth in hate. We should want to edify—build up—the person we are talking to. The entirety of James 3 contrasts biblical communication with what is normal for man. Mr. Ames advised us to pray that God will give us the things that we need to say in love, and he also recommended that we do a word study of Scripture’s use of the words mouth, tongue, lips, and words.

Mr. Ames also said that we should analyze our transactions. Transactional analysis is a psychoanalysis theory and a method of therapy developed by psychiatrist Eric Berne. Some of these transactions are labeled as parent, adult, and child. The parent role is considered an instructional role of communication, the adult role is considered informational, and the child role is considered emotional. 

Eric Berne also wrote about cross-transactional communication. An example of this occurs if you are asked, “What time is it?,” and, instead of giving the time, you respond with, “What are you asking me for?” In this scenario, the question is informational, but the response is emotional. Communicating on an informational level helps to eliminate judgmentalism.

Mr. Ames also addressed the need to practice positive reinforcement. Everyone likes to produce behaviors that reinforce positive rewards and to stay away from behaviors that bring negative consequences. If someone is trying to do something nice and the other party complains, then whoever did the action was not rewarded and would not likely do that action again. This key gets to the matter of encouragement. 

Share your life,” Mr. Ames said. We need to share some of our activities and thoughts with others to deepen our relationships with them. Sometimes we are so busy with life that this step gets ignored, but following it enhances the interpersonal relationship between us and other people. Mr. Ames also mentioned that there is an approach called accurate empathy, with which you are able to discern another person’s view of the world as if it were your own. 

Another aspect of this is called non-possessive warmth. This is a demonstration of unconditional positive regard, involving caring about another person without imposing conditions on them. Mr. Ames tied this in with Philippians 2:3.Mr. Ames admonished us to use these keys to improve our interpersonal communication, reminding us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:29–31).

Forum Summary: Dealing with Distractions

Author: Ryan Price | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22


Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

For his recent Forum message, Mr. Bob Rodzaj talked about distractions.

He explained that “one of the greatest difficulties facing many of us today are distractions of all sorts.” Mr. Rodzaj broke this difficulty down into three challenges we must overcome.

The First Challenge: Ourselves

As Mr. Rodzaj illustrated, Romans 8:7 shows us that our very human nature strives against what God wants us to do. Our Father wants us to be productive in doing His Work, but effort is not always fun. And fun is something we crave; we can’t seem to get enough of it. 

However, we can overcome our human nature and exercise self-control through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit, we can “put to death the deeds of the body, [and] live” (Romans 8:13).

The Second Challenge: The Adversary

Satan, our adversary, does everything in his power to distract us from what we should be doing. Mr. Rodzaj showed the students through Ephesians 2:2 that Satan’s influence floods the world with distractions, negativity, and insubordination. 1 Peter 5:8 describes Satan as a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 

The word “devour” is synonymous with “consume.” Satan uses distractions to consume our attention and energy. He wants us to foolishly associate sex, entertainment, status, possessions, and even food and drink with satisfaction and happiness. But we can ask God to strengthen us and eliminate any vulnerabilities we may have. As James 4:7 puts it, if we submit to God, we can resist the devil and he will flee from us.

The Third Challenge: The Distractions Themselves

To be distracted is a choice. We choose what we allow to distract us. With smartphones and social media, people can no longer settle their minds. These provide a constant influx of information, and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Multitasking has become the norm, yet it’s wreaking havoc on our attention spans. We’re training our brains to focus on many things at once, and as a result, we are losing our ability to focus on one thing at a time.

Mr. Rodzaj quoted from The Distracted Mind by neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley: “We act as if we are no longer interested in or able to stay idle and simply do nothing,” and “where we used to read, we now skim.” Mr. Rodzaj asked the students, “Could we be doing this with the Bible?”

When we are baptized, we make a commitment to God that we’ll let Christ live His life in us. This includes how we use our time. All our time should belong to God, as we only have so much time to use to fulfill God’s will and become like Him.

Mr. Rodzaj referenced Dr. Richard Swenson’s book Margin, which explains that setting limits in life—learning to say no, turning off the television, selecting which activities we give time to, focusing on getting the right things done, and taking time to assess our decisions before we make them—will help us keep focused.We must simplify our lives until we can see clearly what we are doing with our time. Mr. Rodzaj asked the students how far they were willing to go to resist and reject distractions as prescribed in Matthew 5:29-30. Ultimately, every word of God is about how we interact with our Creator, each other, and creation. And while distractions can ruin our relationships, we can overcome these challenges by exercising the power to choose how we spend our time and by relying on God to provide the help we need.