NYWC follow up

I had the beautiful opportunity to be at the NYWC this past weekend in Nashville. A few of my leaders, Michael, Justin Douglas, and one of his students, Paul, all went together. It's always fun, it's always refreshing. But, God is continuing His discussion with me about youth ministry, and where we need to go. I really feel this year He has/is pulling me forward more than in years past. Pieces are beginning to gel inside my mind and soul about where we need to be moving towards. I'm excited for the changes, I'm grateful for his leading, but I'm mostly scared. I don't usually get afraid, but what I'm beginning to see in the fog seems like it's going to be costly to me personally. So, I'm scared.

I know He will take care of it. I know that.

But, I'm still nervous.


I'm at our annual youth workers convention in Nashville, TN this weekend. God always works on me during these trips, and this one is no exception. We have so much to do to continue growing in our ability to connect students and Jesus. Our conversations this year are very healthy, and I am SO grateful for the leaders I have here with me! I'm really excited to see where all of this leads. I sense God working in a bit deeper, long-term change this time around. It should be fun.

Beep Beep

The craziest thing happened while I was sitting here. Jim's heart started beeping. Loudly. Jim is the pastor who shares the office with me, and apparently at 10:06 every morning, his heart beeps for 45 seconds very loudly. It was crazy! He explained it to me, it's his pacemaker. The thing is talking to him, because the battery is starting to wear out, and has to be replaced in the next two months.

First of all, having your heart beep at you, and I mean loudly beep at you, is freaky enough. But then to be told that the battery in it will only last two more months, that's some stiff news. Jim has to schedule an appointment to get his pacemaker replaced. Major surgery. Big time stuff.

Yet, Jim handles it all pretty well. I mean, I'm sure he worries about it at some level, but his faith seems to be carrying him along.

Now before we get all upset about Jim, we need to consider that the only difference between him and us is his heart beeps loudly. Listening to him explain what is going on reminded me that we all have a beeping heart at some level or another. Death is that topic we all hate to admit exists, yet it's simply a universal part of living. So, the real question is what do we do while our heart is still beating along? How do we invest our days? It's the age old question, yet it is still well worth asking. And answering.

Invest your day well today. After you read this, pray. Ask God what He has for you. Listen to what He says. The beeping is only the signal for a transition. What we do here carries on once we are done. Don't be afraid of what is coming. Let your faith carry you. But don't miss today either.

Did Huey Lewis Have It Right All Along?

I'm a little worried. I've made a decision, I've opened a new chapter in my life, and I'm not sure if it was a good thing or not. Today, I have a delivery coming my way, and it might be something beautiful and good, or it might be a tool of destruction and pain in my life. I'm not sure at all which it will be. Other people who deal with it call it a destructive pattern, or an addiction. They compare it to being hooked on crack. And here, me, as a pastor, I've opened my soul up to it.

I ordered a Blackberry, and it's scheduled to arrive today.

I'm afraid. Very afraid. Am I strong enough to handle it? I've always approached this issue from a standpoint of staunch abstinence. What will become of me? Will I be an addict, with the shakes from email withdrawal? Or will it propel me towards organizational greatness?

Actually, I know the answer. It's neither.

But it's funny how I can get so attached to stuff, even before I have it. It's funny how stuff is a center for conversation with others. When it's all said and done, it's just a phone. It's just a tool, a thing.

But I'm still excited it's coming.

Investment Options

Last night, one of our leaders, Renee Ramsey, taught in our 7th and 8th grade group. Man, did she knock it out of the ballpark. It's so exciting to see someone grow up in the ministry, and become such an amazing minister and teacher. Unreal!

So, I want to encourage you, who are you building into today? Be faithful to pour yourself into some other people. We won't see all of them turn out the way we hope. Some of them will let you down. Don't give up on them. Their story isn't done, you don't know what God has in store for them.

But some of them will exceed your hopes. That is a beautiful thing to see and be a part of.

So keep investing in others. If you haven't started yet, just ask God. I guarantee there is someone He wants you to mentor and invest in. It's what we do.

A 33 Year Old Teenager?!

In an article I just read on a site called Marketing Vox ("Youth No Longer Defined by Age; Consumers Stay Younger Longer"), it describes, from a business and marketing side, how adolescence is extending up to 34 years old. Yeah, you heard me, 34 years old! Good grief!

But, as this is bearing itself out to be true, whether we like it or not, how does this affect the church? How about youth ministry? What should we do to look forward towards this issue?

I'm not sure, but it's worth thinking though. If you have any ideas, please throw them in and let's talk about it.

(If you go read the article, don't look directly at the picture of Cher on the left side of the page. It will cause you severe physical and emotional pain!)

Inside Out with Peter

I've been reading in 2 Peter this week (2 Peter 1:3-11). Chapter one has some really cool stuff in it. When you look at it, the first four verses talk about how Jesus has "given us everything we need for life and godliness." That's an amazing statement. We're packing all we need. Wow. So why do I still struggle?

Well you look at the following verses, and Peter gives this disjointed list of virtues for us to add to our lives. But he follows the list with this promise "if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of Jesus". That gets my attention! So I've been pouring over the list of virtues, and trying to see the connection between them all. One of my friends, Annette, made the comment she can do most of these, but only one at a time. So, I've been trying to find the connection.

Here's what I'm seeing. The list goes faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Beginning with faith, we are at the "core" of our being, the center of our soul when dealing with faith. Then it moves to our soul, our mind, our ability to limit our actions, our ability to keep at other actions, what people see in us, how we treat other believers, and finally how we treat everyone. It seems to be an inside to outside progression.

I got thinking about this, and how so often I try to go from faith to self-control to love, missing key components along the way. So, I'm beginning to work on following Peter's progression with a few things in my life I have been unable to beat. I'm just into it today for the first day, so I'm interested in seeing how it will play out.

Any thoughts you guys have would be really cool to hear!
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