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Miranda Writes: Not Content With the Content!




by Omar Miranda



I’m really excited about all the different things we’ll soon be doing in the magazine, and I wanted to share some of them with you. When I first started writing for Insight magazine, a little more than three years ago, I began having ideas for changes I wanted to make to the magazine. The amount we’ll be changing won’t be big, but the changes themselves will be. First things first, in 2014 our new mission statement—“Know Jesus, love Jesus, live Jesus!”—will be added to our logo and our magazine, so you’ll be seeing that around more. Because of the increased focus on Jesus, we will be partnering with the great people at The One Project (http://the1project.org) to have a new column called J2: Just Jesus. The entire purpose of this column is to help you to . . . you guessed it: “Know Jesus, love Jesus, live Jesus!” The only topic that will be discussed is Jesus. Questions relating to getting to know, love, and live Him will be answered. I know; I’m excited, too!

Also, the actual content of the magazine will be changing as well—for the better, I think. I hope you think so, too. Why am I telling you all this? Well, let me tell you a story. (When people get older, they tell a lot of stories. The best thing you can hope for is that at least some of them have some bearing upon what’s being discussed. So here goes).

My second sophomore year (I’ll let you figure that one out) I left home for college and went to Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. It was a wonderful experience, but when I returned home—just three short months later—for Thanksgiving break, my parents had totally remodeled the house. It’s as if they didn’t sleep at all during that time! Picture ants or bees doing their ant-y or bee-y thing just working, working, working nonstop. Seriously, it’s as if my parents secretly met with an interior designer, architect, and engineer and had a “countdown” till I left home, and once I got in my car, they sprang into action!

OK, maybe I’m exaggerating—but only a little bit. Needless to say, I was shocked. And the worst part of all was that they had turned my bedroom into an exercise room. In order to reach my bed, I had to run some kind of crazy obstacle course made up of exercise equipment. It was nuts!

I tell you this story because I don’t want you to feel the way I did. This is your magazine. Sure, you don’t own it, but it’s for you. We work really hard at finding the right authors with the right stories, and we give it a lot of thought. So naturally we want you to feel comfortable and know what’s happening. If you like the changes we’re making—or even if you don’t—drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

Without further ado, let me jump right in to the main changes we’re making in less than two weeks. First and foremost, the content needs to be driven from both ends. What I mean to say is this: it needs to be proactive (before a problem happens) and reactive (responding to a problem). I find that a lot of problems teenagers struggle with, such as depression, cutting, sex before marriage, porn, suicide attempts, anxiety, etc., happen because they’re looking for a connection with Jesus—something to fill that void that we’re all created with. So it’s not enough for me to give you Jesus (proactive part). I also need to deal with the problems (reactive part).

The actual content of the magazine is built on four simple foundations:
1. WHO // Practical Theology/Spiritual Development: How to know Christ, and how to live day by day in power, peace, and purpose as a Christian.
2. WHAT // Doctrine: What to believe.
3. WHY // Worldview/Apologetics: Why to believe, why you believe, how to think effectively, process information biblically, and defend your faith.
4. HOW // Evangelism: How to share effectively what you believe and make disciples for Jesus.

In addition, I also subscribe to Pastor Andy Stanley’s principles as listed in his book The Seven Checkpoints for Student Leaders.* In the book he states that there are seven superimportant principles that you should be taught that will not only allow you to live happy, long, productive lives, but will also maximize your usefulness and effectiveness for God, in this world and the next. They are:

1. Authentic Faith: Putting Your Trust in God
2. Spiritual Disciplines: Seeing With God’s Eyes
3. Moral Boundaries: Paving the Way for Intimacy
4. Meaningful Friendships: Choosing Friends for Life. Determining the Quality and Direction of Our Lives.
5. Wise Choices: Walking Wisely in a Fool’s World
6. Ultimate Authority: Finding Freedom Under God. Maximum Freedom Comes When We Submit to the Ultimate Authority.
7. Others First: Considering Others Before Yourself

These changes are broad enough for us to publish a lot of stuff, but also specific enough that if material comes in that doesn’t meet any of these guidelines, I won’t publish it. I am picky, picky, picky, because I care about you and only want to give you the best. Remember Ellen G. White’s goal that we talked about last week? To make you an army for God, rightly trained? Imagine if your teachers and parents didn’t really care what you were taught or what you ate? You would be uneducated, ignorant, and unhealthy. You couldn’t be effective as a student or a teenager. How much more important is it that I be careful choosing the material that will be your spiritual food? I don’t think I really need to answer that question, do I? I want you to be the most effective representative for Jesus possible. And that means I have to say no to the “good” to give you the “best.”

Next week we’ll finish up our time together this year by talking about the bigger changes Insight is making in terms of its larger ministry. We’re growing by leaps and bounds, and we’re soon going to be more than just a magazine! Interested? Intrigued? I hope so. But you’ll have to wait until next week to learn more.

In the meantime, have a great Christmas and Christmas break, and don’t forget to serve somebody this Christmas with the gift of love. Jesus did it for you, and He wants you to pay it forward! See you next week.
Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omiranda@rhpa.org; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, editor, Insight Magazine

*Andy Stanley and Stuart Hall, The Seven Checkpoints for Student Leaders: Seven Principles Every Teenager Needs to Know (New York: Howard Books, 2011).

Omar Miranda is the editor/director of Insight Ministries and a Christian counselor and with more than 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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