Tuesday, December 27, 2005
I just got off the phone with one of my deacons who went to Mexico with us this summer. He talked to one of the mexican-american brothers who live in Brownsville (where we did our mission this summer). It turns out that one of the members of that church just lost his wife to a failed pregnancy. She miscarried her baby on Sunday then died after the C-section. This guy whose wife died is an amazing man of God and was a great encouragement to us. I don't think that I ever met his wife but if she is anything like him, we have lost a great sister in the kingdom.
When I first heard the news I thought, "how could this happen in this day and age?" Seriously, I haven't heard of someone dying during birth in a long time. I thought that because of medical advances that this dosn't really happen anymore. When you hear this kind of news it really hurts, especially when it happens to great people. Also news like this makes you struggle with God a bit. It makes you appeciate the fragility of life. Things just happen here on this earth and we have no choice but to participate in them. Times like this make us re-evaluate our faith. Will we be able to stand up to that kind of attack on our faith if it ever happened to us? Is our faith really that strong? Right now I am not so sure. You just don't know until it happens to you.
Well for now put my ramblings aside and pray for Noey and his family. I don't know much about him because I spent a limited ammount of time around him but he is a child of the kingdom just like you and me. Pray that the people in Brownsville will rally behind him.
Pray for strength in these times.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
I will post some pictures of the system soon. Seriously I was giddy when I saw it. Ask my youth group guys. They were making uber-fun of me.
On another good note, I finished my 15 page grad paper last night. It was due today. I am so glad to see my great study habits from college staying true! It's a paper on the nature of elderships from early Judaism to first century Christianity. I might make some people mad with it. Hopefully it makes sense. I will see from my grade I guess.
I hope you guys all had a great turkey day. Talk to ya soon.
Monday, November 14, 2005
These days are good, yet full of teachable moments. I think that God sends you through times of life where you don't necessarily fail a lot, but aren't really successfully at a lot either. In other words, there isn't much to gripe about, yet my world doesn't seem to go as quickly as I would like to. I guess that is why they call it the fall.
But, I have been able to do some cool stuff lately. I was reading Karrisa's blog a while back and she mentioned missing the Nickel Creek concert that came through their area. Well, guess what? My sister and I saw them in Dallas two weeks ago. My goodness. I don't think that I have seen such talented musicians in my life. Who would have thought that Bluegrass could rock? Seriously, there was a guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and stand up bass. That was it. There were face-melting mandolin solos and fiddles-a-fire filling the cramped Gypsy Tea Room. We had a blast. Sometimes I forget the power of live music. There is a definitely some spiritual connection that is made in times like that. The music wasn't Christian. It wasn't bad, either. It was just good.
That brings me to a point. Does everything that is good have to have a Christian or Church label stamped on it? My sister and I were standing in a room full of drunk and broken people. Yet, it was one of the more spiritually uplifing times I have had lately. I was able to spend some much needed time with my sister. I was able to decompress. I can't really explain it. Maybe you guys can.
I hope to do this more. I miss hearing from yall. Peace out.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
As I asked them to open up their hearts for prayer requests, some deep stuff came out. A lot of our kids faiths are being attacked by their teachers and fellow students. Some of them felt like they wern't being faithful enough in their spiritual walk. They feel the pull of other churches. We aren't the most charasmatic church (not the youth group, the church) so when they see other churches with "bigger and better" worship services and facilities, they naturally feel the pull to go there. I just forget sometimes how tough it is to be a teenager. They need positive influence more and more in their lives.
I really appreciate Benny's BLOG about spiritual warfare. I am reminded of Elisha and the blinded Armenians. The servant of Elisha was scared to death that they had been surrounded by enemy forces. Yet, Elisha opened the eyes of his servant to see the spiritual battle that was being waged. Satans attacks seem to get stronger as we push harder to spread the kingdom. We just have to do our best to limit the casualties. God's gonna win. Thats why we are on his side. Yet, we have to keep these young ones from falling prey to the sway of the world. Pray for the youth of our churches. Let your voice be heard to God. Our kids are going to fight back against Satan if we equip them.
Monday, September 26, 2005
There are two words that strike fear into the hearts of even the most "tried-and-true" youth minister. Lock in. As you shriek back in fear, understand that I do the same. I HATE lock ins! Yet, I am a softy and let my kiddos talk me into doing one. Our last lock in was okay. We planned for 20 and we had 40. That was a big adjustment because I planned for 20. When you double your number, you double your stress. My group is pretty laid back and you don't have to plan much to keep them entertained. But we made it through the last one. But that was last time.
Early Friday morning (the day of) I started hearing rumblings that this lock in was to be a huge one. Aparently kids who weren't even friends of our kids were planning on coming. I had concerned parents calling and wondering how we were going to handle this load. I didn't think much of it. I am a pretty even-keeled guy and I don't like to get too flustered about anything. Maybe I should have. As the lock in was starting, kids were coming 15-20 at a time. We ended up with 100-120! I had to send some home! We weren't equiped to handle that many. A lot of kids thought it was a fifth quarter after the football game. They didn't know it was an all nighter. So I got rid of about 15 or so. But I still had 100 to deal with. My kids from my church were freaking out! We had a lot of kids there from the "wrong side of the tracks". A lot of those kids cussed and were mean. That is all they knew. Once we set ground rules, they were all okay. The coolest part of the night was the worship at 1:30 in the morning. 100 kids worshiped God and learned about Jesus. That was the best part to me. They came to us. We preached the gospel. I hope they were affected in some way.
The rest of the night went okay and we had a really good time. I got to meet a ton of kids I have never seen before. As a matter of fact I saw a bunch of them today at the middle school. I hope God can use it. I am sure he will.
The biggest thing that struck me was our apparent inability to minister to those who were not like us. Our kids were truly scared about spending 8 hours with a lot of these kids. But, once we got to know them, they were really cool. It is amazing how we will only minister to someone if they look like us or talk like us. So for our kids, middle class whites are the name of the game. I am probably being hard on these kids(and myself) but we have to be willing to go to the rough areas of town and minister to the sick. I really talked to my kids frankly about it. They learned a lot, I think. Now we have to see what comes of it.
Anyways it was a crazy one. Just thought you should know about it.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
I guess that is good way to start a post. Last week was stinkin stressful! I was trying to juggle a graduate college class with a youth ministry and I wasn't doing too well. Since I have started this class it has been tough to keep my focus. I am finding out the older I get that I can't focus on more than one thing at a time. Maybe that's because I am a guy. I really don't know. I have heard the vicious rumor that only girls can multitask, but I am not sure if it is true. Well, at least for me I know that I am not too good at doing more than one thing at a time. Yet, I am getting better about it this week. I am keeping up with my reading for once. I got behind last week. Man, this blog is boring.
Anyways, I have a couple of my kiddos that I am studying with right now. One named Barbara (I think I mentioned her in a previous post) and another named Bryce. They are both awesome kids who are coming to know Christ. One of the two of them is feeling pressure from their grandparents to get baptized. Let me lay out a couple of thoughts about this:
I am really frustrated with the "baptism=salvation" crowd. Let me explain myself. This kid told me that he felt like he needed to get baptized. I asked him why. He had no clue. Basically, his grandparents talked to him only about baptism, not Jesus. As we were studying the other night, that because increasingly obvious. He was scared that he was going to hell, not falling in love with Christ. I believe that if you are getting baptized out of fear, yet not falling in love with your saviour, you aren't getting a lot done. What is the point? What have you accomplished? Where is the "cut to the heart" moment in Acts? So, we backtracked completely and started from scratch. I believe with all of my heart that he will come to salvation. He will be immersed. A true encounter with Christ can yeild no other result. It will break a man and bring him to his knees. I hope to bring him to that point of realization that he cannot go on without Christ. Pray for me as I continue to study with both of these precious souls. I pray that I not totally off base here.
Do I believe in baptism. You betcha. With all of my heart. But, grace comes first. The bible is completly clear about that. Jesus has to win your heart first. Then the good stuff comes.
Did the blog get more interesting?
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Also I had a birthday yesterday. I am not posting that information for any other reason than to show you a picture of what some of my youth did to my office.
Now, to the untrained eye, you would assume that my office is no diffrent than usual. Yet, don't let the messy desk destract you. They broke in my office yesterday and vandalized it! Those hosers! Yet, they put these notes on my desk that made it all better.....
And, who is gonna argue with that? Love you guys......
Sunday, August 21, 2005
We had a devo over here tonight, which was really cool. Devos tend to be a family affair around here, so I am thankful for that. Not only do the kiddos come, but they bring their folks. So, I had around 40 people going in and out of my house tonight. We had burgers and hot dogs and good times. Our devo time was blessed as well. We had four visitors tonight and I think they were really blessed to be here.
We had one girl show up this morning as a friend of another girl in the church. She comes from a very poor family (so I am told) and has a ton of health problems. She came in this morning and just took our group by suprise(in a really good way). She just talked and talked and fell in love with our kids. Then she came forward during the invitation (remember, it was her first time to be at our church) to ask for prayers for her and her family. That took a ton of courage to do, I think. I really admired that. Then she came tonight to our devo. She couldn't stop talking about how much she appreciated the love that she was shown from our group.
This might happen in everyone's youth group, but for me it was a reminder about how much people really need Jesus. It really reminds me about how much I need him. She came seeking the Father this morning and found him. I pray for follow through with this girl. I want her to become a part of who we are. She was a huge encouragement to us. If you can think about it. Pray for her. Email me if you want specifics.
Needing Jesus more than ever......
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
That is my rant for the day. Hope you enjoyed! Have a blessed one.
Monday, August 15, 2005
1. I am looking to start grad school at Oklahoma Christian this fall. This is really a last minuite deal that came up out of nowhere, but that tends to be how God works. I will probably only take 3 hrs to start with, but I need to start either way. Pray about that. I am not sure if God has it in store.
2. I am looking to do some changes with our youth program. The only problem is, I don't know what yet. I know my kids have grown to the point where I can push them a bit. I want to add some new elements to the ministry and become more focused. The thing is, I will have to be more focused as well. God has more to reveal about that.
3. I am looking to buy a Jeep. Ok, that might not sound big to you, but I am lookning to buy it as a second car, just one to play around with. If I can find the right deal, I am definitly gonna do it. I just have to keep looking. It has always been a dream of mine to have one and I can finally aford it. Let's just see what happens.
Anywho, the fall has a lot of things in store. I have more to write about it, but I have been traveling all day and I am tired.
Before I go, mad props to Benny and Niki for hanging in there and letting God work to get their financial suppourt raised. Praise Him! I am proud of you guys!
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
It is amazing how something like this completly drains you when you are not expecting it. Hopefully I will get some rest tonight. I am supposed to go golfing tomorrow and if I am pulled away from that, I might just quit youth ministry all together. Just kidding. Have a good one.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
I guess that what this time reminds me of is that my life should be about doing these things more often. When I go golfing or skiing or playing sports with some of my youth I am investing myself in their lives. I know that some of you reading this probably think that I live a life to have fun on the churches dime. But I ask this question: will a teenager remember some bible lesson that I taught on a random Sunday morning or will they remember the time that I got really mad and threw my golf clubs into the pond(I really didn't do that, but I can see it happening some day). I believe that Jesus was about the lives of his followers. I need to do the same. If I am held up in my office 24\7 I cannot truly know what my kids are going through. For example, last night I had a great converstation about relationships with two of my guys while we were swimming in the middle of the lake. How cool is that? I hope to be about the buisness of these things more and more in my life.
Ok, that wasn't short at all! Maybe I AM built for this blog thing. God help me! Peace out.