Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lead with your ear open to heaven

The longer I get the privilege to lead I am becoming more convinced that I need to lead with my ear open to heaven. Is it my way or God’s way in our student ministry? Am I listening to the promptings and whispers of the Holy Spirit? Out of our study in the book of John I learned that Jesus had a lot to say about the Holy Spirit, a person I've rarely open my ear to. He lays out an impressive description that should have my attention.

He is the Counselor – 14:17
He is with you forever – 14:17
He is the Spirit of Truth – 14:17
He dwells within you and lives with you – Jn. 14:17
He will teach you all things (Jn. 14:26).
He will bring into remembrance the words of Jesus (Jn. 14:26).
He will lovingly convict you of sin (Jn. 16:7).
He will convince you of the truth (Jn. 16:8).
He will testify that you are free of condemnation (Jn. 16:8).
He will guide you into all truth, speaking from what He hears from the Father and Son (Jn. 16:13).
He will always seek to glorify CHRIST (Jn. 16:14).
His name is Counselor, Spirit of Truth, Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:17;Jn. 14:15, 26, 16:7).

I think we need to stop opening our ears first towards and event, conferences, books, or curriculum that will ignite a passion in our students and open our hears to hear about all that Jesus has provided for us in the person and work of the Holy Spirit. If we spent the summer reflecting on these truths from John we might hear something different for what the fall might bring for us personally and our ministries.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Doing the "being" of the vision

“Am I doing the ‘being’ of the vision of my student ministry?” To many student ministry leaders are committed to their vision, if they even have one, as managers of it, rather than making a personal commitment to live it out.

Five things, among several others, to consider this summer as you reflect on whether or not you, as the leader, are doing the "being" of your vision to reach students.

1. Who's 1st place? You or God?
2. Are students being matured as a result of what we are doing (Col. 1:27-28)?
3. Asking/giving God’s blessing on students we come in contact with.
4. Being effective in my organization of things – organization doesn’t become the focus, but the effectiveness of the organization.
5. Reaching out to students who aren't connected in our group and in our community.

What else needs to be added to the list? Deleted?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

When seniors graduate

Today I am thinking about 2 Timothy 1:7 – “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power!” It has led me to wonder whether or not the class of 2009, who has been a part of our spiritual community for four years, is leaving our group with a spirit of timidity or a spirit of power. I pray it's the latter. I pray that they saw a spirit of power in the lives of their leaders and the church they attended.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Trust in the Life of David

This morning I sat down with a great cup of coffee and reflected on these verses from the Life of David. WOW! I want my kids to see that I am trusting in the Lord and not my own ability. I want the students who gather in our community to see that I am trusting in the Lord and not my own strength. I am dreaming this morning of what changes I need to make in my life and my ministry to show that I am trusting more in the Lord than my own ability.

“When I am most afraid, I put my trust in you, in God whose word I praise, in God I put my trust, fearing nothing; what can men do to me?” - Psalm 56:3-4

“My trust in God never wavers” - Psalm 26:1

“He rescued me, since he loves me” - Psalm 18:19

“But I for my part rely on your love, O Lord” - Psalm 13:5

“Put your trust in Yahweh, be strong, let your heart be bold, put your trust in Yahweh” - Psalm 27:14

“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust” - Psalm 40:4

“I mean to thank you constantly for doing what you did, and put my trust in your name, that is so full of kindness, in the presence of those who love you” - Psalm 52:9

“I, for my part, like an olive tree growing in the house of God, put my trust in God’s love for ever and ever” - Psalm 52:8

Prayer of Trust

“Abba, into your hands I entrust my body, mind, and spirit and this entire day – morning, afternoon, evening, and night. Whatever you want of me, I want of me, falling into you and trusting in you in the midst of my life. Into your heart I trust my heart, feeble, distracted, insecure, uncertain. Abba, unto you I abandon myself in Jesus our Lord. Amen.” - Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning, pgs. 11-12

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Worship - self-conscious vs. God-conscious

"As soon as we come to worship looking for and expecting an experience, we have violated the most basic principle of (worship). We easily become religious aesthetes capable of judging the entertainment value of a church service while remaining unaware of the reality it can open us to. Unfortunately for us, when our worship becomes self-conscious rather than God-conscious, it points not to God’s reality but (only to) our own." (Mark Horst as quoted in Anderson p76)

As I look back over the year that was in our student ministry I am wrestling with whether or not our adoration times with students led them to be more self-conscious or God-conscious. Where did we see the reality of God during our gatherings?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Teaching with passion

Seth Godin has an interesting post on teaching that I have revisited this weekend.

“If you teach--teach anything--I think you need to start by acknowledging that there’s a need to sell your ideas emotionally. So you need to use whatever tools are available to you--an evocative PowerPoint image, say, or a truly impassioned speech.”

“If it’s worth teaching, it’s worth teaching well. If it’s worth investing the time of 30 or 230 or 3330 people, then it’s worth investing the effort to actually figure out how to get the message across.”

How much time should youth pastor's spend preparing to teach a message from God's Word? How much time should a small group leader spend in preparation? 5, 10, 15 hours?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Quotes & Exodus 20:16

Exodus 20:16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."

1700 years ago St. Augustine wrote, “The tongue inflicts greater wounds than the sword.”

“There is nothing more contrary to (the opposite of) God than a lie.” (Watson, The Ten Commandmetns, 170) Puritan, Thomas Watson wrote that in the 17th Century.I believe that statement captures why the 9th Commandment is so important.

“Politeness is an air cushion, there’s nothing inside, but it absorbs life’s bumps.” (Jochem Douma, 332)

One man wrote, “We indulge in this by making ourselves the people who are always right, making ourselves the people who always do good; we are the people, we say, who are always having injustices done to us, but who never do injustices to other people! For all lies are not just things which crop up occasionally and pass through us without affecting us; they are an expression of what we are, and as such they mold our lives, quite literally making us into a lie!”(M.E. Andrews, “Falsehood and Truth” in Interpretation, 17 (1963), 436)

Thomas Watson wrote, “He who tells it [a lie] carries the devil in his tongue and he who hears it carries the devil in his ear.” (Watson, 169)

“There is nothing more contrary to God than a lie.”

Better I should steal my neighbor’s possessions than steal his reputation for he is made in the image of God.

Exodus 20:16, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Word of God & The Lord's Supper

The preaching of the Word and the Supper are identifying marks of the church. We preach the word because it is living and active and God uses the Word to change people’s lives (Hebrews 4:12). We celebrate the Lord’s Supper when we “eat His body” and “drink His blood” and in doing so we are physically and materially confirming that we are placing our faith in the promises of His Word. The Supper allows us to take hold of the promises of God with our bodies. The Supper incarnates the spoken and written Word we’ve poured over and points us to the original incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Four meetings we need to have

I am a big Patrick Lencioni fan! Here's a good summary of his book, Death By Meeting. He suggests that there are four different kinds of meetings we need to have:

1. Daily Check-In
2. Weekly Tactical
3. Monthly Strategic
4. Quarterly Off-Site Review

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Q. 35. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness. - Westminster Shorter Catechism

Our students are wrestling this week with the doctrine of sanctification in Paul's prayer for the Thessalonians in 5:23-24, "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."

I like what Charles Colson has to say about sanctification in his book Loving God, "Christianity is not just a high-sounding ritual which we perform on Sundays. Christianity is abiding by Biblical standards of personal holiness and in turn seeking to bring holiness into the society in which we live."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Give me 100 youth pastors

John Wesley, "Give me 100 preachers [youth pastors]who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; they alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the Kingdom of Heaven on earth."

How would our student ministries change, both in programming and personnel if your top two priorities were to fear sin and desire God above everything else?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I am not an entertainer

As a pastor to students I am not an entertainer. What’s more, I am not director of programs to entertain students. Our doors aren’t open to entertain.

As a pastor to students, along with those I serve with both paid an volunteer, we open our doors to be shepherds. We are spiritual guides. Our doors are open to be a place of refuge, renewal and restoration. Our aim is focused on the Chief Shepherd. We take our cues from the Word of God. Specifically 1 Peter 5:2-4,

“2Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Who or what is the subject of your youth ministry?

"I would propose that the subject of the ministry of this house, as long as this platform shall stand, and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshippers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ...if I am asked to say what is my creed, I think I must reply: "It is Jesus Christ...I would pin and bind myself for ever, God helping me, [with] Christ Jesus, who is the sum and substance of the gospel; who is in himself all theology, the incarnation of every precious truth, the all-glorious personal embodiment of the way, the truth, and the life."" - Some Spurgeon's first words at the new Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.

Today I am thinking about who is the subject of our youth ministry. What is my creed? If an outsider walked into our group would they know that Jesus is the sum and substance of our student ministry?

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Rock

"The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust." - T. S. Eliot, Choruses from "The Rock"

This morning I am thinking through how much of what happens in our student ministry is bringing us farther from God and nearer to the dust.

Friday, May 08, 2009

A frightful thing

"How frightful a thing it is for the preacher [teacher] when he becomes accustomed to his work, when his sense of wonder departs, when he gets used to the unusual, when he loses his solemn fear in the presence of the High and Holy One; when, to put it bluntly, he gets a little bored with God and heavenly things." A.W. Tozer, God Tells the Man Who Cares, 92.

I am praying that no student ministry pastor, including myself, will ever be able to say this frightful thing.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

National Day of Prayer - Spurgeon's Heating Plant

Today is our National Day of Prayer. Today is a day to go to the heating plant. Here's a great story about one reason Charles Spurgeon was a great preacher. I thank God for the hundreds of men and women that heat Southern Gables Church.

Five young college students were spending a Sunday in London, so they went to hear the famed C.H. Spurgeon preach. While waiting for the doors to open, the students were greeted by a man who asked, "Gentlemen, let me show you around. Would you like to see the heating plant of this church?" They were not particularly interested, for it was a hot day in July. But they didn't want to offend the stranger, so they consented. The young men were taken down a stairway, a door was quietly opened, and their guide whispered, "This is our heating plant." Surprised, the students saw 700 people bowed in prayer, seeking a blessing on the service that was soon to begin in the auditorium above. Softly closing the door, the gentleman then introduced himself. It was none other than Charles Spurgeon. Our Daily Bread, April 24.