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......