Friday, October 19, 2012

an open letter on Youth Ministry:

a lot of these come directly from a letter GROUP publishing and the Simply Youth Ministers Conference 2012 put out, then a few are tweaked and several more added.  Enjoy.     Youth ministry is not a job.  It's not a 9-5.  It's not a paycheck.  It's a life.  And it's not about you, or me for that matter, it's for "the glory of His name's sake" and for every kid we get the priviledge of coming in contact with.

"So your job is to play with teenagers one day a week?"

Prep lesson, write message, fix church van, lead kid to Christ.

"are you ever going to BE a Real preacher someday?"

Scrape jell-o off celing, lead Bible study, recruit and train volunteers... again.

"You're not a parent of teenagers yet, so you STILL can't really understand kids"

Organize mission trip, brainstorm new game, take students to lunch.

"I forgot to bring my permission slip, my money, AND my Bible"

Plan fundraiser, write newsletter, write blog, write email, crush the stinky kid in dodgeball

"We KNOW it's your one day off, but the senior preacher needs to see you"

read text from kid who finally gets it.  pray with parents at their child's funeral.

"You'll need to use your vacation time to go to THAT camp"

host family intervention, conduct divorce counseling, survive overnighter and attend 8am staff meeting.

"Because of you I AM studying youth ministry - and it looks so fun and easy"

turn in budget reports, listen to the voices of students in worship

"You made a difference in my life and showed me GOD is real"

talk with angry parent, reupholster church pew, visit student in the hospital

"Can you pick me up?  I think my mom is too drunk to drive me home"

pain youth room, plan retreat, endure middle school band concert

"Why does it smell like something died in the church van?"

find lost student during scavenger hunt, be the entire church's full time IT person

"Sunday counts as a work day for you?!"

Wife is hurt because you're never home, secretary is mad because you aren't in the office as much as them, parents are mad because you didn't have a lock-in

"Must be nice to not have a Real job"

40 hours a week in the office, while all of the people you're supposed to minister to are in school, so then another 40 hours out of the office at meetings, dinners, bonfires, interventions, concerts, sporting events

"you really think you need to leave 20 minutes early just because you have a 3 hour youth event tonight after hours...."

Cry at graduation.

"You know, if you ever decide to get back out there in the real world again, I hear Food City is hiring"

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The double standard of Christianity

This past Sunday I was fortunate enough to preach a sermon on John 8 and 1 Corinthians 5.

To make the connection, we were wrestling with being judgmental, tolerance vs. Gospel living, and exploring whether there was a double standard in Christianity, and what exactly that meant for us.

So we started with John 8 (previously explored in the post "Chick-fil-a and what it Really means") and the story of the adulterous woman being brought before Jesus and how he responded... his deep, profound, life changing response that I believe is to shape all of our encounters as Christians.  We then took a hard look at 1 Corinthians 5 where Paul writes to the church at Corinth seeming to Judge them and ends with a very, very important statement:  "12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?"

statement How do you (we) rationalize not being judgmental (judge not lest ye be judged) and examining the 2x4 in our own eye before gouging at the spec in our brothers And "are you not to judge those inside?"?

Well, there are 2 main points:
number 1:  When Jesus made the statement "whoever is without sin, cast the first stone" the rest of the crowd left, leaving only Jesus and the woman.  What must be noted here is that the crowd left because they all had sin.  Jesus didn't.  So by Jesus' own statement, He could have, in fact, cast the first stone.  But he didn't.  See, the crowd wanted to condemn the woman but couldn't.  Jesus could have condemned the woman, bud didn't.
number 2:  Paul's statement "What business is it of min to judge those outside the church?"

Ever take your kid to practice and some other kid on the team is acting the complete fool?  What do you do?  nothing.  maybe roll your eyes, make a comment under your breath to your spouse.  But then at that same practice, your child does something small, approaching whatever the other kid was doing.  Now what do you do?  You grab them up, sit them down, talk to them, time-out, whatever.  The child's response?  "why did I get in trouble and not them?" "they were doing the same thing, how come you're yelling at me?"
We all know the answer... because they weren't your child - they weren't yours to discipline.  But yours was.

Check out the sermon and share your thoughts - what do you think?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

the baby roller-coaster

Hey all:

I want to thank you all for the patience and the prayers as there's been a hiatus from the already irregular posting on here.  I want to thank you (for those of you who also follow me on facebook and sent notes, comments, likes, etc.) for all the support over the last few weeks with the baby roller-coaster.

My wife and I have been trying to get pregnant for about 8 months, with our second.  A few weeks ago, she tested positive!  Not long after, doctors held her hand and explained to her that she could die (ectopic/tubal).  The very next day they called back and said that no, now they thought she was fine, but that the baby was gone; that my wife had miscarried and it was over.  They told her to start taking pain narcotics that they would prescribe and to stop taking her progesterone (which she Has to take to sustain a pregnancy).
We were devastated.  We wept, we held each other, we locked ourselves away.  And then... something just didn't feel right.  Hope, as a Christian, is one of our most precious commodities, and we found it.  Erin never took a single pain medication, and she did Not stop taking her progesterone - she ignored the doctors and never skipped a dose.
We began to pray, and have our friends pray, their friends pray, our church pray, our family pray.  We didn't have 'faith' that God would save this baby, because He had never promised that, but we had Hope... because we knew he Could.  We were praying for a miracle.

A week later (a long... agonizing Week) the doctor's office called back and said her next set of blood work (which was to show whether a D&C would  be necessary or if her body would just take care of things naturally) registered... perfect.  Mom and baby were fine.

We're not promised tomorrow, none of us.  Not me, not my wife, not this unborn baby.  But for now, we have just witnessed a powerfully undeniable miracle from the Living God, and we could Not be more excited or more thankful.