problems...

There has been a lot going on recently with some people I know very well. These people I have grown up with; these are the people I know and love. As of recent, there has been some problems that have gone on inside a local house of worship. It saddens my heart to see so much hurt spread so fast through this local house of worship.
For a long time, and this has been an on going "problem" for the past few months, I have tried to recuse myself from the situation. I have tried to remain neutral in this whole situation. I have often said that I will not use the Internet to stand on my soap box, unless for humor like my facebook status letters. I have tried my hardest to sit back, listen to both sides, and not involve myself in this local house of worships "problem".
I have seen on facebook, many posts of people who are hurting as a result of recent events. I have seen comments about the leadership of the local house of worship and how angry they are at the leadership involved. It makes me really sad to see all this happen.
I work in a local house of worship. God put it on my heart when I was 17 that I was going to be working with the youth of many communities to help their relationships with Christ. When I see problems in a church arise, I am often the one to run and hide. I am not one to hide from confrontation a lot of times, yet I often find myself scared of local house of worship issues.
What irritates me more is that sometimes the pettiness of people can get so big, that this cancer of a problem spreads. I will be honest, there have been times I have wanted to stir something up. There have been times, long ago, when I have seen things happen and not done a thing. I am tired of sitting in the shadows and letting God be pushed aside for our own agenda.
A local house of worship is just that, a local house of worship. Too often do we forget what a privilege it is to come to a place where God is and worship the creator of the universe. We will not always agree on everything when it comes to a worship service. Sometimes we want the KJV version more than the NSRV or NIV. Sometimes the anthem for the service did not fit the sermon title or subject of the sermon.
This blog is not a soap box. I will not use this blog for political platform. I will, however, use this blog to post my ideas, thoughts, and feelings on Christ. I have often found myself typing some pretty surface value things. Other things have been a little more deep. This has been on my heart for a while, and even though I am not directly involved in this local house of worships "problem", I am in the middle of the situation because of the person or persons involved in the whole thing.
I have discussed this ongoing inner struggle with several people. When thinking about how Christ sees this issue, I am reminded of a righteous anger that Jesus had.
John 2:13-22 (New International Version)
13When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"
17His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."[a]
18Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"
19Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."
20The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

Now this anger, was a righteous anger. Let me get this across, I am NOT angry at anyone or anything. The reason I write this plea to those who read this, is to put things aside for the purpose of God. I am as guilty as the next person that lets things cloud their vision for Christ.
When speaking to my pastor the other day, we were speaking about my new plan and lay out for the youth group here at our local house of worship. He spoke of concerns about this plan, to help me through wisdom and experience. He spoke to me that he lost sleep with some concerns I had. It really opened my eyes. I explained to him about right and left brain thinking, spouting off this and that and sounding really involved. I then spoke about people who have tunnel vision when it comes to the vision of the direction we are going. I said mine has been raised to panoramic vision. He said we need to have not just panoramic vision, we need to have a 360 degree view.
Wow. Words of wisdom. I sat back. I was quieted.
As I look back at the passage in John, the talk with my pastor, the "problem" at another local house of worship, and even the problems that happened to me in the past few weeks with other people, I realize that my vision was clouded as well.
The human side of me wants to jump to one side with the person or persons involved in this "problem" in a local house of worship. However, with prayer and reading and trusting in God, I have been able to calm my nerves and remain neutral. Christ has blessed me in this manner. I have been feeding on the manna of God. It is very hard for me as I watch people get hurt, see a cancer spread, and see a local house of worship potentially suffer.
To those who read this blog, it is my plea today; turn your eyes to Christ. People sometimes can not work together and that is a shame that our personalities can not mesh with others. I have seen it in my own life personally, as I have had a person tell me recently that they "expected more" when they looked at me. I knew of this person, but never mentioned a word to them until that time. I know hurt. I know pain. So does Christ. Christ took the cross for those who wanted to know Him personally, could, and He also did it to bring a relationship to all. The veil was torn when Christ died. We can go straight to Him.
Christ was angry when the temple was turned into a market place. This local house of worship was turned into something that was against God. Christ told the Jewish leaders that He would raise the temple in three days. What the leaders did not know is that Christ was speaking of Himself and not the building temple, which is what the Jewish leaders interpreted it as.
Christ shows great emotion, as a righteous emotion, when something came against the temple.
This local house of worship has been part of my life since I was in 3rd grade. I am saddened by the people involved and by other facets of this problem that has aroused. What I think does not matter. What does matter is the Christ is glorified through all of this. Will Christ be glorified through all of this?

storying

Let's sit back and clear our minds for a minute. Let's take a deep breath, relax, and close your eyes. If you do close your eyes, you can't see my blog. Let's pretend, for the sake of this blog, that your eyes are closed.
When we do these type of exercises, it is supposed to help us calm down, feel better, and have a clear mind. The art of storying is a technique that has taught many stories through generations of families and countries. Storying is the art of telling a story. Nothing more than that. However, when people use this technique to tell a story, the people listening to the story become part of the story.
This fall, c3 student ministries will be instilling this form of teaching to the students. I am going to be telling the story of the Bible in chronological order and telling the students the story of the Bible and of God. This way, the story of the Bible will become part of their lives. They put themselevs in the story.
This ancient old technique is a great way to teach the students the Bible. Instead of reading straight from the Bible, which can be consfusing and boring for students, we tell a story. The story is accurate, not missing a beat, and helps the imagination of the students and their creativity flow through their minds and bodies as they listen to the story of God become part of their minds.
After you tell the story, you ask the students to retell the story to you. For each story that you tell, you have a symbol. This means with each story, before each student leaves, we hand out a card. On the front, we have the symbol for the story. On the back of the card, we have the Bible verses that we got the story from.
This type of teaching is very left brain thinking. What I mean when I say left brained thinking is that the left side of your brain is your creative side. This is where we get ideas that bring out the fluidity of our creativity. We, as a society, are very right brained in our thinking. This is our legalstic part of our brain. This is what helps us get organized and everything else that has to deal with the mundane items of life.
The art of the oral Bible helps people become part of the story of God. It helps them find their place in the story of God. Where are you in the story of God? Are you a person who is right brained? We should be doing a lot more left brain thinking and letting God be God in our lives.
Treat God as that which He is, God.

called. committed. courageous.

For a while, I thought I was having an identity crisis! I woke up one morning, I looked in the mirror, and I said to myself "who are you?" What had I become? This man that stood in the mirror was not what he professed to be. I was a liar, a cheat. I felt like I had lost my edge on life. My job felt like it was getting heavier and heavier and life just didn't seem to let up. Has this happened to anyone?

Since becoming a follower of Christ 7 years ago this November, I know that life has been tough. The best way for me to describe my still, constant, transformation is I see things as choices. I choose to do something that is in the will of God or I don't. I had a friend tell me, that Hell is not this place of fire and torture. He believes hell is separation from God. Eternal separation. That scares me.

The life that I once had was gone and forgiven, yet I still seemed to fall by the wayside of life and get into a routine of daily rituals that take my time away from God. I didn't seem to have any motivation. Lately this has not been the case for me.

God has really put on my heart, with the help of those around me that I work with and that mentor me in the youth ministry world, a plan for a successful youth group. What determines success? Glad you asked. The definition in a youth group for me is the growth spiritually, relationally, and numerically. Because Christ will be first in the group, the students will get to know Christ better. We will be learning the Bible in a chronological order, yet not by reading the Bible hand in hand. We will be learning the Bible orally. Telling the story of the Bible and letting it lead into the lives of the youth. It will overflow into a new wave of ministry for these students as they learn the Bible stories, and let the story of God become part of their own story. They will realize that they are part of the story of God and put themselves right in the middle of it.

As I have studied this new technique for teaching the Bible, I have found my place in the story of God. I look in the mirror now and know where I am is right where God needs me to be. I urge many of you, whoever reads this blog, to be part of the story of God. Find your place in the story.

I titled this blog called. committed. courageous. This is what the c3 stands for in our name c3 student ministries. Our students are going to own their identity in Christ and in the ministry that this church provides. It will be an amazing chance to see what God will be doing in their lives.

I will be answering the call. I will be committed to God's full plan for the group and I will be courageous in my efforts to share Christ with students in this community, my friends, my family, and anywhere I am. I will be a guide in the journey with God as He leads the way. It is an amazing journey to see where God can take you. I don't know the next step I take, but I know that God will be there with me. I am not the same man I was in the mirror months ago. I have laid to rest the failures I was dwelling on, the past youth pastors that have come and gone, and embraced a new method of life for these students. They will get to know the Bible and to know Christ on a much more personal scale.

Find your place in the story. Answer the call. Be committed to cause for Christ. Be courageous in your thinking and the way we walk and live around those who are near and not so near to us.

Out of the Ordinary Outline

Out of the Ordinary

    • Tell three biggest fears before moving into skydiving story.
    • Explain about the earth’s axis, spinning each day, moving 67 K mph.
    • Talk about how we get comfortable with things and how we need to be comfortably uncomfortable.
      • Explain what it means to be comfortably uncomfortable.
  • Isaiah 29:13
    • Being comfortable in our own lives can lead to damaging things.
    • Ask what their daily routine is?
      • Talk about how routines are what separates our hearts from God. Because things become meaningless.
        • Please keep daily routines of showering and deodorant for the sake of your family and friends however.
    • Tell of how I used to read the Bible on a daily basis that after a while, the fire died because I looked at it as something to mark off on my checklist.
  • Adventure
    • What is something that gets your heart going? What makes you excited about God? What is your passion?
    • Being passionate for God helps break the routine. Throw a curveball in there.
      • Instead of waking up and reading the Bible and that’s it; journal your thoughts.
      • Exodus 3:1-5- Moses at the Burning Bush
        • Moses had a boring job of being a sheep herder. God changed up his routine by revealing Himself to Moses at the burning bush.
  • Even when we spin out of control, God is still in control
    • Changing up my routine keeps me focused on Christ.
    • Chasing after the Holy Spirit can be hard and will be difficult, but the adventure along the way is always mind blowing.

Challenge

Changing up things here and there can be a good thing. Relying on what God has for us and how, even though it will take time, can bless us in huge ways. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things with the power of Christ in their daily lives and following the Holy Spirit.

My challenge to you tonight is this: Try to find what you are passionate about. It can be music, football, reading, smelling funky, or whatever. Find that passion and seek the adventure that God has for you behind it. I may not be able to see much adventure behind some smelly funky dude, but I know that the Holy Spirit can be used in any way, shape or form. Once you find that passion, pray and then act. Don’t sit around and do the ordinary thing and do nothing. I remember these words from a book I am reading called the Wild Goose Chase. “God will not say well thought, my good and faithful servant, or well prayed my good and faithful servant. He will say well done my good and faithful servant. Get out of the ordinary routine and shake things up. Christ will bless you either way.

point break...

Keanu Reeves is not the best actor in the world. Some see him as Neo from The Matrix trilogies and others see him as....well that is probably how most people see him.
This summer has been a good summer for the youth so far. We have done a lot of things together and have returned recently from the River of Life mission trip in Augusta. Our next trip is the beach retreat. We leave in about 4 days and I am so excited about it. We have the band Thalon coming, we are going with another church and Amanda and I worked really hard on this trip. We have a feeling that God is going to do big things on this trip.
As we go to the beach to swim. tan, hang out, sing songs, worship, and get to know God more, be in prayer for us.
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