where to begin...

It has been a VERY long time since I have blogged. To just be able to share my thoughts on a subject and have 20 people read it gets my blood pumping. I love it when people comment also. I used to think that this blog was my big ticket. If Justin Bieber can be discovered on youtube singing, surely I can be discovered from my blog.

How often have we dreamed of something like that? We want to have it all. To be discovered. To have the book deal. To be on the speaking circuit. To have OTHER youth ministers look to you for guidance in their own ministries. To write curriculum that will be published. To be THAT special utensil that God uses to change many, many lives. I will be honest and say that I have often dreamt that. I have had people tell me that I am going to be a big deal. People have also tried to bring me down, saying untrue comments or things about the youth ministry I am in, only to hurt me, the ministry and the church itself.

The great thing about being in youth ministry is simple. I get to be a special tool to help mold and shape lives of discipleship, faithfulness, and a desire to pursue Christ into students. A while ago, I posted some verses on my wall that meant something to me at some point. It had meaning, I am sure, but I can't distinctly remember the day or time when it had some special meaning for me to print it out. The verses are from 2 Timothy 2:19-26 which says, "19 But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,”[a] and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”[b]
 20 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.
 23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants."

I looked back at these verses and I read them. I tried to remember where I was going when I printed these. I tried to remember what was I going through in my life that I needed such encouragement from God. I simply couldn't remember.

However, looking at these verses today, I can say with truthfulness that I have always seen myself as the day to day utensil. I never say myself as the gold or silver spoon that is always shining and ready to be used for any occasion. I have strived to be that golden utensil though. I wanted to be at the top. I am programmed to be at the top and never let second place be enough. To quote the great Ricky Bobby from the movie Taladega Nights, "If you ain't first, you're last!"

I always thought that was a cute and funny phrase, and occasionally I will say things like this to my students sarcastically. I have always wanted to be at the top. However, in the sight of God, I am the special golden utensil. I am the utensil, I just have to be ready.

I hope the verses out of 2 Timothy really encourage you today. With God, we are always first. Our sins have been thrown to the deepest oceans and forgotten. He loves YOU and ME unconditionally, Agape Love. I have figured out that no matter how many degrees I earn, no matter how many books I write, no matter how many achievements I receive in life, under the Cross I will lay down my crown(s) and wait to be used by God whenever and wherever I can be used. I must be patient and kind at all times, ready to preach that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive today.

2 Timothy 2:9(b) says, "..But the Word of God canNOT be chained down." (emphasis added). Do not try to be something or somebody that you are not. God created us to teach and preach the truth that WE have come to know. A peace that surpasses all wisdom and knowledge. This will be my prayer for you and me today; to be able to be kind and patient, to be able to be vulnerable enough to be the utensil God made us to be, and to teach or tell someone that Jesus is still alive today as He was 2000+ years ago and even when the world was created!

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