Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Are we the subject?

John Piper has a GREAT reminder this morning for all of us serving in student ministry in this post. He cites 2 Corinthians 4:5, “What we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.”

What are we presenting to the students who walk down the halls of our churches? What will they remember about our church when they are freshmen in college?

Do we want our students to be in love with us and our programming or in love with Christ and His Kingdom? Is God the subject of the sentences of our student's language of faith, or are we?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We must press on

"Who is the most important influence when it comes to how teens feel about themselves?" Anastasia at Ypulse gave the following answers from some research she read in this post:

- Your girlfriend/boyfriend (84%)

- Your religion (82%)

- Your friends (79%)

- Your parents (74%)

- Your teacher(s) (72%)

- TV shows you watch (51%)

- Celebrities (e.g. actors, athletes, musicians) (49%)

- Magazines you read (38%)

- Advertising you see (on TV or elsewhere) (33%)

- Other kids in school (31%)

May we take seriously our call to "be there" for students in our ministry who are longing for fidelity and looking for a passion outside of themselves to define them. As Dean suggests, "Before adolescents can take seriously the gospel's claim that Jesus will 'be there' always, a community of affirming others must 'be there' for them, demonstrating steadfast love on their behalf." (Practicing Passion, pg. 77)

We must press on!

Monday, March 24, 2008

In our meetings

"In the majority of our meetings there is scarcely a trace of reverent thought, no recognition of the unity of the body, little sense of the divine Presence, no moment of stillness, no solemnity, no wonder, no holy fear." AW Tozer - (God tells the Man who Cares 4,5).

I think this would be worth throwing out to our teams to see if this gained any traction and changed the outcomes of our times together.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Do we?

“The theological challenge youth pose to the church is blunt: Are we who we say we are? Do we practice passion, transformed by a Love who never disappoints, and live by a faith so convincing that we stake our lives on it?" - Kenda Creasy Dean - Practicing Passion

Do we?

I can't be His disciple...

if I don't carry a cross and follow Him.

Luke 14:27, "And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."

Today is good because it reminds me of what I am called to do.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Josiah on Paula Abdul

Josiah has caught bits and pieces of American Idol since his birth. Tuesday night he watched two performances with us and when Paula Abdul finished talking after the last one he said, "That lady always says nice things about everyone!"


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A dull habit

“In some people religion exists as a dull habit, in others as an acute fever!” - William James

This weekend I am praying that our students will believe that Jesus didn't die for a hull habit! I am praying than a fever will break out among our students to love God and make choices with their lives that reflect they are thinking and living for Christ and His Kingdom!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hope...not hype

While I was in San Antonio, Fritz passed a copy of this short article by John Ortberg around the room on hope management and it resonated in my soul.

"Optimism believes in progress; that circumstances will get better. Hope, however, is is built on the conviction that another reality, another Kingdom, already exists. And so hope endures when hype fades."

When we're done hyping our programs to get students to attend, what endures? When the hype of being the new guy in town fades, what endures? When we're done building our kingdom on our abilities, what endures? I want to be a student ministry that is full of hope. I must be full of hope...NOT hype.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I just got a raise!

I am so pumped!

Adah is potty trained!!


Parents are needed

A good reminder came across my screen this morning that I am going to pass on to our parents, "Study Shows Parents Still Affect Children's Behavior." From the article,

"Adolescents are often very effective at convincing us that what we say is irrelevant to their lives, and the mistake we make as adults is that we turn around and we believe it," said Resnick, a father of two. But to a large extent, the study found, the health and well-being of teen-agers "still rests in that strong feeling of being cared for by parents," Resnick said."

May we, who work with students, be reminded that we are coming alongside families in their pursuit of helping their kids become faithful followers of Jesus Christ. May God give us the wisdom to know how to partner with them. I believe we are stronger together!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Taking a Sunday off...

Today I took the morning off from teaching and volunteered in Noah's Sunday School class! We had a great time! It hit me a few months ago that I haven't' volunteered all year in his class. No excuses. It's wrong. I don't have to teach every Sunday I am at SGC. I think it's imperative that parents volunteer in the ministry their children are a part of! I am looking forward to getting into Josiah and Adah's classes soon. I want my kids to grow up knowing that I was involved in their church...not just for my job, but for them! I am grateful that I have a great group of teachers in our ministry who can stand in the gap on these days.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Where do you stand?

"One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak." - G.K. Chesterton

After an amazing week with national student ministry leaders I am thinking hard about where I believe I should stand to have the right perspective about our local student ministry. I've often thought standing on the peak gave me the best viewpoint to gain perspective. Chesterton suggests that I've been wrong.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Should we be able to handle our student ministries?

"Pray for a ministry that God can manage, not for a ministry that I can handle." - Pastor Ed Harris. I love being sharpened.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Change or Die?

Fast Company's 2005 article Change or Die popped up on my radar screen today and I am thinking about the opening paragraph,

"What if you were given that choice? For real. What if it weren't just the hyperbolic rhetoric that conflates corporate performance with life and death? Not the overblown exhortations of a rabid boss, or a slick motivational speaker, or a self-dramatizing CEO. We're talking actual life or death now. Your own life or death. What if a well-informed, trusted authority figure said you had to make difficult and enduring changes in the way you think and act? If you didn't, your time would end soon -- a lot sooner than it had to. Could you change when change really mattered? When it mattered most?"

The conclusion the article comes to... "Here are the odds, the scientifically studied odds: nine to one. That's nine to one against you." The rest of the article offers some BRILLIANT insight on why change is so difficult and some suggestions for starting to change. For me and for the students that I am working with, scaring us about the bottom line isn't going to change our behaviors, but framing the change will. And in the church, we have the ultimate man to frame our change around...Jesus.

John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

San Antonio

I am in San Antonio in the middle of a thunderstorm for our EFCA National Student Ministry Council. Most of the team is flying in right now. I am excited to be around a great group of people. I always walk away challenged from interacting with some brilliant minds. Plus, I'll be hitting up the Alamo, The River Walk, and consuming some amazing BBQ and Mexican food! The Denver Nuggets are playing here tonight and I am hoping they can steal one from the Spurs.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Window or a mirror?

“The material blessings of life are either a mirror in which we see ourselves or a window through which we see God!” - Warren Wiersbe

I am praying that God will use this quote in the lives of our students this Sunday as we study The Rich Fool.

Friday, March 07, 2008

High School Confidential

I can't wait to watch this series which begins on Monday night, March 10th. 12 girls. 4 years in the making. Check out the website for more information. I truly think this is going to be epic!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

It's my space...not yours

Anastasia over at Ypulse (an awesome resource) has a great post on a presentation she recently heard here. It is loaded with valuable information. Several things stood out to me, but I'll just address one here for now. Marketers are desperate to get on teens' friends lists and teens don't want's what she heard in the presentation,

"She [presenter] basically told this room full of marketers desperate to get on teens' friends lists, that those teens think that's creepy and invasive. Why? Because it's THEIR Space -- even if it's public (which most teen profiles aren't anymore). She had a great analogy of teens telling their parents, "It's MY ROOM." And the parents telling teens "It's MY HOUSE." Just as teens put "keep out" signs on their bedroom doors, teens have created "structural walls" to keep everyone but their friends out on social networking sites. What are these walls? Lying about their age (though putting in real birthdays so their friends will wish them happy birthday) and only being visible to friends and not adults."

I am wondering how the students in our high school ministry feel about this. I'm thinking about it from the marketer's perspective. Does having a relationship with them in person mean that we can "be their friend" on Facebook? What about trying to "be the friend" of a student who doesn't attend our group, but is on the roster? Do they see my friend request as that of a marketer, selling them Jesus? Do they see me as someone who is not genuinely interested in having a relationship with them? Do they see me as someone who is just trying to fix them because they don't come on a regular basis? Could my attempts to be in their world be viewed as creepy and invasive? What purpose do I have being their friend?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The miniature earth

I am hoping that this short video will awaken the hearts of some of our students on Sunday morning as we study The Rich Fool.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Money pinching kingdom

"I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare…If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us…they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.” - CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

This week we are studying The Rich Fool in our high school ministry and I am starting to believe that this study is more for me than for our students.

“The material blessings of life are either a mirror in which we see ourselves or a window through which we see God!” - Warren Wiersbe

“Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” - John Wesley

"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." - Jesus, Luke 12:15

The joy of Adah

This morning I am filled with joy. My little girl is growing up before my eyes and I am filled with joy. Sometimes it just hits you as dad that you are so blessed. She's going potty on the potty. She's sleeping in her "big girl" bed. She's talking non-stop. JOY! She just turned two a week ago. Where has the time gone? This morning as she is sitting here eating her favorite breakfast (toast and peanut butter) I am reminded of Proverbs 31:30 and praying that this verse will one day ring true in her heart,

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

Monday, March 03, 2008

I wasn't aborted

I am so glad my birth mom didn't abort me. I praise God that she knew (like Planned Parenthood knows) that her unplanned pregnancy as teenager resulted in life and not a mistake. Thank you Terry for giving me life and being a part of my life today. Thank you for giving my mom and dad the gift of a child. May God be glorified!

What are your students wearing?

Romans 13:14 "Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature." This week I am reflecting on what our students think they should be wearing as a result of being part of our spiritual community. Is our ministry soaked with the study and meditation upon Jesus as Saving LORD?

Colossians 1:15-20 "15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Hittin' the slopes in Winter Park

We hit the slopes without Adah Friday and Saturday in Winter Park. It was awesome! It was Noah and Josiah's first time hittin' the slopes!