Thursday, February 28, 2008

Poisoning my students?

Apparently my "giveaway" at our winter retreat this year was a bad idea. I am poisoning our students. Check out the article here.

Who knew that the polycarbonate plastic Lexan Nalgene bottle was bad? I always thought the number 7 meant I was avoiding leaching. Anyway, anyone want to buy this extra bottle that is on my desk?

HT: Charlie Dean

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Early Easter?

Anyone else think Easter is a tad bit early this year? Here's what we know.

This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here's the facts:

1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!

HT: Naden

Some of our sheep

We thank God for an awesome weekend!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pain in the student ministry leader

Galatians 4:19 "My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you..."

This week I am wondering what needs to change in my student ministry so this is true of me. What kind of pain in a leader leads to Christ being formed in a student? Do I view the students in my student ministry as a attendees or children? Pain isn't a one time experience in seeing Christ formed in a student. Paul was "again" experiencing pain. I can see why so many student ministry leaders only care about programming...because when it fails...the pain is only skin deep.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Adah!!!!

I love my daughter!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Searching for forgiveness

"I need someone to look me in the eye and tell me how to find forgiveness." This clip is from a recent episode of ER.

Forgiveness is part of the Kingdom of Heaven and I can't wait to walk through the parable of the unforgiving servant with our students this Sunday

HT: Ed Stetzer

Friday, February 22, 2008

The devil

The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still. - AW Tozer

The longer I serve in student ministry the more convinced I am that I have an enemy who knows more than me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The moon and me

I am excited for this tonight! Psalm 8:3-4 "3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?"

Check out Google Moon.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thoughts from a scarecrow

In the movie, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is walking along the yellow brick road and comes to a four-way intersection. She stops to figure out which road to take. As she stands perplexed and tries to decide, the scarecrow yells out to her, “You can go this way, or this other way . . . and, of course, this other road is nice, too. But if you don’t know where you are going then any of these roads will take you there.”

I see a lot of our students in the merry old land of Oz, dealing with the thoughts from this scarecrow.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The most important thing for a student...

to believe about themselves is wonderfully stated by A. W. Tozer,

“What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.”

I want every student in our ministry graduating believing these words. This quote, among other things, has driven me to start "Senior Study" with our seniors. This week (week 2 of 8) as I gather with our seniors in my home we will wrestle through Christology.

I can't wait to watch them wrestle with the most important thing about themselves.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

This is the truth

Thanks Eryn.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2 sons and a father

Sunday I get the privilege to teach this parable to our students. We are going to start off our time by looking at Rembrandt's painting of this parable. I thank God for great this great work of art and the unsearchable depth that this parable communicates. Every time I read it I find more of myself and God inside of its truths.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Burden or gentle?

1 Thessalonians 2:6-7 "6 We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, 7 but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children."

Today I am wondering how I can move from being a burden in my ministry to gentle, like that of a mother caring for her little children? I am wondering how much the home I am living in, getting the chance to watch my wife act around our three kids, is really the best training ground for me to know how to care for students in our student ministry?

Go Rockies! Pitchers and catchers report today!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Julie and Adah are amazing gifts from God!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Deep and wide student ministry

The Presentation Zen has challenged me again this morning with his post, "Deep or Wide? You decide." If you teach in any context (small groups, large groups, Bible studies, chapels, retreats, 1st grade, your children, etc...) you must read this post. His discussion on choosing between going deep and wide is a great reminder: it's hard to do both in a presentation.

In addition, the Zen cites a message given by Robert Frank at Google. Frank states that we have often asked ourselves "How much can I cover today" before we teach or present, and suggests that maybe we should start asking the question, "How much can my students absorb today?" What are the sticking points for you as you wrestle with this tension?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The right list in student ministry

The longer I get the privilege to work in a student ministry that Jesus is building, the more convinced I am becoming that right list to start writing every week isn't the "to do list"...

it's "NOT TO DO LIST."

What do you we need to stop doing?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Vision casting for student ministry leaders

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."

It's not about the leading small groups on Wednesday nights for my leaders, it's about eternity.

Here is a link to some other quotes - Exupery

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Knowing God

"Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee" (Job 22:21). "Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty glory in his might, let not the rich glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth, and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord" (Jer 9:23,24). A spiritual and saving knowledge of God is the greatest need of every human creature. - AW Pink, Attributes of God

Tonight I am beginning my Senior Study with these words. What a great place to begin with the class of 2008.

Friday, February 08, 2008

1.5 million

It's been determined that I have up to 1.5 million ants just below my daughters window. So far, only one has made it into her ear.

Thank God for the Orkin man.

Heart and life mission in student ministry

I want to be part of a student ministry that is mission overflowing. Mark 9:28-31 "28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" 29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Matthew 28:18-20 "18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

I want students graduating with a Great Commandment Heart and possessing the passion to live a Great Commission Life.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Community alive student ministry

I want to be part of a student ministry that is community alive, not superficially connected. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." Psalm 133:1 " 1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!"

I want to be part of a student ministry that is utterly consumed with being a place where you are known. I want stop walking around on Wednesdays and Sundays thinking about who didn't show up and start being with those who did. I want our students to know that they are loved, not just to the point of our leaders only sharing the gospel, but the the point that they will share their lives as well. I want our student ministry to be a place where students can present their wounded selves and still be loved. I want to stop with the superficial, shallow greetings, and move to deep conversations that bridge today with eternity. I want our students to dream with me and our leaders about what it means to be fully alive in community. When they graduate I want them to remember that you didn't have to be perfect to be a part of our community. The ground at the foot of the cross is level.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Formation focused student ministry

I want to be part of a student ministry that is formation focused, not satisfied with well done events and personalities. Proverbs 3:3 "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart."

I want to be part of a student ministry that is utterly consumed with seeing spiritual formation happen in the lives of students. I want stop being satisfied with great turnouts, lots of students attending retreats, making people laugh, etc... I want our students when they graduate to remember that our student ministry wasn't a babysitting service or a club where they could escape the "real world" to participate in great events and hang out with cool people. Rather, I want them to remember that our student ministry was a place that was passionate about calling them to a life of denying themselves, taking up their cross and following Jesus daily. I want students carrying love and faithfulness around their necks and on their hearts in college, more than I want them to think I was cool and really knew how to run great programs.

I want a student ministry that is seeking out Paul's model for becoming more like Christ and not the latest book on the market to make me successful.

Philippians 3:7-11 "7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Truth hungry student ministry

This week I'd like to look at Dr. Larry Crabb's four points in the context of student ministry. I want to be part of a student ministry that is truth hungry, not experience dependent. Proverbs 7:2 "Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye." Psalm 119:20 "My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times."

I want to be part of a student ministry that is utterly consumed with being hungry for God's Word. I want our students when they graduate to remember that I always taught them Bible, not topics. I want our students to remember that their small group leaders always pointed them to the Word of God when they came to crossroads in their lives. I want to lead a student ministry that is always communicating to our students that they should infinitely depend more on what God says in His Word than what they experience of Him.

I want students graduating believing that the Word of God, if kept, will produce life. I want the apple of their eyes to be God's Truth. I want students to see in me, my leaders, and our ministry programming that our student ministry is consumed with a longing for the Word of God at all times.

Doug Moo @ Southern Gables

Doug Moo is coming to our church this weekend to spend time with us in our study of Romans. I am pumped. He will be with all of our small group leaders who are teaching Romans on Saturday night, preaching Sunday and participating in a Q & A on Sunday afternoon.

I got to know Dr. Moo extremely well during my study of Romans when I had to read all 1012 pages of his mammoth commentary. I am hoping that several of our students will show up on Sunday afternoon to interact with him.

Monday, February 04, 2008

It's not a private affair in student ministry

Yesterday my pastor preached a sermon that touched every bone in my body after it ambushed my heart. This quote from William Willimon (quoted in the sermon from Romans 12:3-8) should cause all of us in student ministry to pause and ask ourselves if we are part of the problem in the evangelical sub-culture of reducing Christianity to private affair.

“American Protestantism often impresses observers as a highly individualized, privatized, psychological affair… Individual conversion experiences (in which individuals are saved from individual sins in order to have individual relationships with Jesus) are viewed by some evangelicals as the end rather than the beginning of the life of faith. The church becomes (little more than) a conglomerate of like-minded individuals who find it useful to congregate in order to keep the flame of individual religious experience alive and to foster it in others.”

Students falling in love with Jesus as their Saving LORD in our student ministries is not the end, it's the beginning.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Student ministries ARE communities of truth

I listened to Dr. Larry Crabb message this week and I walked away challenged by his four points on what a community of truth is. I think what he says should be thought on deeply by those of us who lead student ministries. A student ministry that is a community of truth is a...

1. A community that is truth hungry, not experience dependent.
2. A community that is formation focused, not satisfied with well-done events and strong personalities.
3. A community that is community alive, not simply superficially connected.
4. A community that is mission overflowing, not mission obsessed.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Retreats aren't just for students

This morning God nudged me and brought to my attention something that our speaker said at our Winter Retreat this past weekend. It reminded me that retreats aren't just for students, they are for me too. I like this dynamic of student ministry where the leaders aren't just there to make sure the students get something out of the weekend, but are sensitive to the Spirit of God moving in their own lives. I want to serve with leaders who don't just show up anticipating God to move solely in the lives of their students, but anticipating that God will move in their own lives as well.