myself...

Today, I woke up and I decided that I am ready to start blogging again. For those of you who used to keep up with me on my blog, as I tried to write a few a week, have probably noticed it has been as barren as a desert for the past few months. Let me give you an update on my life and where my renewed sense of life has been.

First off, I have been writing a book. I got a contract through a GREAT publishing company. The book is titled "Reverse Youth Ministry" and it is touching on the ideas that the way general youth ministry is done is not where we should be heading. I argue, in my book and practice in my own ministry, that in order to get bigger you need to get smaller first. This is through prayer, discernment, wisdom, crazy antics, and pure fellowship with Christ that your group should reduce in size, increase in discipleship, and from there possibly grow numerically, depending on where you and your church is located (geographically speaking).

Second, I have ALSO decided to start my Masters. This is crazy and through a series of events that ONLY Christ can put together, I will finish my Masters in six months. However, the work load is STILL heavy and I can't slack off or sleep through class. My classes are online. Thank you Lord for that.

Now I am at the point where I am today. Today, I feel that I am ready to blog. Today, I feel that Christ has put something on my heart that is worth writing about, aside from papers and book pages. Today, I feel that I am dead to myself and alive in Christ. This is a TRULY amazing feeling.

Over recent months I have passed a few mile stones in life and in my ministry. I have been at my church for over a year now and planning and scheduling could never be better. I feel that our church is pointing in the direction that Christ wants us to go in. We have started our "growth groups" or small groups, and that is an amazing feature that God has helped us connect with people, outside of my youth ministry, that are close to my age. My wife is enjoying this fellowship as well.

In our youth ministry, we have committed to going to Puerto Rico this summer. Only a handful of students are going, but I know God is going to bless us.

And through all of this, I have had several nay sayers (that I hear through other people) about my ministry and how I am not doing what used to be done or how I am not giving their children the experience prior children had. At first this bothered me. I don't like people not liking me or the job that I feel Christ is leading me to give. However, over prayer and time with wiser counsel, I have forgiven these people, even though I have not been confronted face to face with any accusations or problems, just through word of mouth. It is freeing to know that God is stirring waters because that means there is movement coming.

For a while though, I was doing this by myself. Taking on the time to do things myself and trying to lead the group myself. It was all about me. I had some good things come my way and so I felt good about myself. My pastor gave a sermon on Mark 9:14-27 this past Sunday and titled his sermon "Meager Faith". I was shocked to see similarities between me and the father of the demon possessed man and even between me and the disciples. Unbelief and faith in myself more than faith in God. I, and others in our small group, came to the conclusion that it is not how great our faith in God is, it is faith in our Great God.

This has sat with me through the night and this morning into my devotional reading. I am striving to be a better husband to my wife, a better spiritual leader for our family and future family when that time comes, a better youth pastor that follows God's will and direction (not my own), a better mentor to students who need love and care, a better friend to my friends, a better son to my father and mother, a better brother to my brothers, a better grandson to my grandparents, a better disciple and servant to Christ and other believers and non believers alike and the list can continue. It seems I needed improvement. My ministry needed improvement.

I want to encourage you today. I want you to see (or read in this case) that the world is built around us and our instant gratification, but without Christ we are nothing. We, as servants, need to be chain breakers. If sin exists in our families, break the chain. If sin exists in your life, break the chain. If pride, selfishness and greed live in your life, break the chain. If we are trying to live our goals through our children or students, break the chain. Live ONLY for Christ. That is where our source comes from. That is our eternal spring where we ONLY thirst for Him and His word. Break the chains of ourselves and live FREELY in Christ today! Start a legacy wherever you are to live for Christ, raise others towards Christ, and serve others as the hands and feet of Christ.

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