Tuesday, December 27, 2005

struggles to trust

Sometimes I really struggle to know that God is in control. I think that deep in my being I know that he is, but my human nature struggles to grasp it completly. When things are going well, you don't need to think about God's control on your life, it is just assumed. Yet when things go south in your life you really start to question things. There is a good reason that I am bringing this up.

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'm such a techno-geek

Seriously. I was a giddy kid last night. We just installed a new projection system in our youth room. Now, mind you, our youth room isn't that big. It will seat about 20-25 kiddos comfortably. But, we have been wanting some kind of system that we can play slides and movie clips on for class. Well, we had a recent widow donate a sizeable chunk of money to the youth program to buy a new laptop and projector. Very nice, indeed. We have been spending the last month trying to get it installed. Well, last night we got it done. The awesome part is that the only good screen we could find in our church was over 8 feet wide and 8 feet long. Thats pretty huge for a room that isn't made to hold any more that 25 kids. So, we have this huge-honkin' screen that is blasting out an HD quaility video feed for our eager eyes to see. Soon, I am going to gather up some old stereo equipment from the casa and hook up a sound system. I am gonna make so many old people mad at my church. We won't play any AC\DC or anything. We might bust some christian rap or something like that.

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

I'm a bad, bad, blogger

The title explains it all. It's not that I have been too busy. I have been quite busy in fact. The issue is that you spend your time doing the things you like to do. I like to blog. But I think that my desire to write fades in and out, month to month. So, hopefully I can get back on track.

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

My youth never cease to amaze me. Tonight, I felt a strong need for prayer within our group. I needed prayer. This is a time of year that can be tough. School has been in for a while. The day to day life has set in. Tests and homework are starting to pile up. The kids are getting older, so they are facing more challenges to their faiths. Times are just a bit heavy for some of them.
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

Oh, what a night.

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

It has been a pretty good week.

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

Well, sorry that is has been so long since my last post. I have been running around like crazy for the last few weeks. For those of you that don't know (and that is probably all of you four people who might look at this BLOG) I started grad school at OC this semester. I finally took the plunge! I have been thinking about it for the last couple of years and it finally worked out to where I can do it. The head of the graduate program turns out to be someone that I know from a previous job interview. So he really bent over backwards to get me into the program. I started out with six hours but had to drop to three just because of my schedule. There is no way (at least this semester) that I can get all of my work done for school and maintain a healthy ministry at the same time. So, I am only taking "Intro to New Testament". I am really enjoying that class. It reminds me about how misinformed I am about the bible. I believe that context and background are so important to understand when studying the bible. I am looking forward to being better informed on what I am teaching and learning from scripture.
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 pretty awesome day today. First of all, it was good to worship at home again. I have been gone way too much from Vernon. My travels have taken me far and wide, seeing some amazing things, yet my bed has been awesome to be in for these last few nights. It is also good to see my church family. I can't believe that I missed them as much as I did. Maybe these ol' Vernon folk are getting to me after all! Anyways, I had a bunch of my high school guys over at my house all afternoon to do a Fantasy Football draft. For those of you who don't know about fantasy football, tough luck cause I am not going to describe it here. It would take 15 years to describe it. Just ask your local sports junkie and I am sure they will be glad to help you out. Anywho, I had 8 guys over at my house to do the draft. We had a blast, even though we had some snags with the draft. We played a bunch of ping-pong, video games, and guitar. Good times at Casa de Robey.
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

Tonight during our youth time we discussed Jer 29 and 31. We are about to go into a season of reflection and planning in regards to our youth ministry. I have an amazing group of kids, especially for a town this small (about 11,000). I truly believe that I have some future leaders of the church (guys and girls). When I took over this youth ministry a year and a half ago, there were no visible leaders. Now that the kids are a little older and more mature, I want them to take the reigns and be more responsible for the ministry that they are a part of. I feel like I teach them too much and don't let them serve or lead anything themselves. So, next Wednesday night, we are going to go through our strengths and weaknesses as a group and lay it all on the table. We will proccess who we are right now and try to see if that lines up where God wants us to be. We saw in Jeremiah that God has definite plans for His people. Now we want to see what he has in store for us. After we see who we are, we will then set some goals for ourselves for the next year. We want to have some kind of direction, not wandering aimlessly. Hopefully they will see some areas that they will take a hold of and own for themselves. The truth is, I am incapable of serving all of them the way they need to. We need to be a youth ministry, not a youth group. There is a huge difference between the two. I believe that our brotherhood is full of youth groups that don't know how to minister to those around them. I believe that a youth ministry should positively affect anyone it comes in contact with, not only other youth. I want my group to be in the buisiness of ministry, not just being a group. If they want a group they can join one at school. It is a hard thing to sell and even harder to implement, but if we stick to it, I think that our local church will be changed. We will have to see and be patient.

That is my rant for the day. Hope you enjoyed! Have a blessed one.


Monday, August 15, 2005

I'm finally back from my world travels. I have been gone all summer on youth trips and what do I do when I finally get back? I leave again! I have been in South Carolina for the last week on my vacation. I didn't take a vacation last year after my summer and I almost burned myself out. I am thankful that I did now. I spent the week with my two best friends and their wives. It was exactly what I needed. We spent our time doing a whole lot of nothing. That was what I needed to begin with! We spent some time on the beach, hung out at their house and ate a ton of food. That is the good stuff right there! Now, I am back in west Texas ready to start up again. I am really ready for this fall and all that it will offer. I have some cool stuff on the horizion:

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

I am pretty tired right now. I wrote yesterday about the greatness of my "freedom week" yet that didn't last very long. It seems that in ministry, you had better enjoy your good times, cause they won't last very long. I was on my way out to the lake with some of my kids yesterday when I got a call from a mom in Vernon concerning one of my kids who has gotten into a ton of trouble. I really can't go into detail because of confidentiality, but just know that this is really serious stuff. So I had to drop the kids off (and my dog.....apparently he had a great day swimming) and head back to Vernon to deal with the situation. It took about six hours to really get a grasp on things and to formulate a game-plan as to what I was going to do. Tonight, I have to go to my elders for some advice concerning what to do. So, be praying for my youth kid and my elders as we are figuring out how to deal with this.

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

Well, I created a blog about two weeks ago thinking it would be cool to post things daily and to let everyone know what is going on in my life. Well, guess what? I left town for two weeks! I am really gonna try to get going with this whole "Blog" thing. But, today it will be a short first post. I am in the middle of my "freedom week" right now. That means that I am working really hard at relaxing really hard. Yesterday, I went out to one of my families lake house and went swimming. This afternoon I am going back there to go water skiing. Then, on Thursday morning I am going golfing with a couple of my kiddos at the country club. Later on in the week I am going fishing with one of my buddies here in Vernon. As if that isn't enough, next week I am flying out to South Carolina to hang out with a buddy of mine for a week. Isn't that awesome? I have been doing nothing but traveling this summer (It has been awesome, don't get me wrong) but I am really tired and worn out. If you are in youth ministry (or have been) you will understand this feeling. So, I am really happy about being able to spend time doing these things.
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.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Here is my first blog! Yay I am a nerd! I have a ton to write, yet not much time to write it in. I will try to get on soon to get this whole blog thing going. Hope everyone is well.