Sunday, September 20, 2009

God is making His appeal through us

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 "17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."

It's my goal every time I encounter a student in my ministry this fall to be filled with humility as I consider the truths in these verses: God is a God of reconciliation; I am Christ's ambassador; God is making His appeal through me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Is Christ being clearly portrayed in your student ministry?

Galatians 3:1-3 "1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"

While there are many things to say about these verses, the one thing that grabbed my attention this week is, "Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified."

At the end of May in 2010, could you say this to your students? What are you going to clearly portray to your students throughout this school year?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

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.” - Brennan Manning from Ruthless Trust

I am envisioning a student ministry in the next few years where more students are praying this prayer and then living it? Can you see it? But then it hit me, if I am not praying this prayer and then living it I can't expect to see in our students.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Need for Jesus

My ministry needs what I need first - Jesus. Therefore, I am praying this prayer this fall from the Valley of Vision.

Lord Jesus,
I am blind, be thou my light,
ignorant, be thou my wisdom,
self-willed, be thou my mind.

Open my ear to grasp quickly thy Spirit’s voice,
and delightfully run after his beckoning hand;
Melt my conscience that no hardness remain,
make it alive to evil’s slightest touch;
When Satan approaches may I flee to thy wounds,
and there cease to tremble at all alarms.

Be my good shepherd to lead me into the green pastures of thy Word,
and cause me to lie down beside the rivers of its comforts.

Fill me with peace, that no disquieting worldly gales
may ruffle the calm surfaces of my soul.

Thy cross was upraised to be my refuge,
Thy blood streamed forth to wash me clean,
Thy death occurred to give me a surety,
Thy name is my property to save me,
By thee all heaven is poured into my heart,
but it is too narrow to comprehend thy love.

I was a stranger, an outcast, a slave, a rebel,
but they cross has brought me near,
has softened my heart,
has made me thy Fathers’ child,
has admitted me to thy family,
has made me joint-heir with thyself.

O that I may love thee as thou lovest me,
that I may walk worthy of thee, my Lord,
that I may reflect the image of heaven’s first-born.

May I always see thy beauty with the clear eye of faith,
and feel the power of thy Spirit in my heart,
for unless he move mightily in me
no inward fire will be kindled.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Looking for danger in your youth ministry

"Looking for Jesus is an undertaking fraught with danger… The closer you get to finding him, the higher the stakes become. He is no mere passive object to be circled and appraised like a piece of sculpture. You look at him and he looks back. You may begin the search for Jesus with your own agenda, but be warned, he has one too. As the disciples discovered, you pay a price for finding Jesus. He may in fact, one day turn to you, as he did to those weak first-century followers, and ask, ―But you. – who do you say that I am?" (Virginia S Owens, Looking For Jesus, pg. 256)

It's an unbelievable privilege to get the chance to walk alongside students as a companion on their journey to find Christ which is fraught with danger. Too often our students see those around them as dangerous, but Owens forces us to think about the dangerous One. Is my youth ministry fraught with this dangerous picture of Jesus? On Wednesdays? On Sundays? Wait, maybe the first question I need to ask is, "Is my journey to find Christ more intimately in my life fraught with danger? Am I following the dangerous one?"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Clean - Romans 8

I am so excited to be starting our fall series this morning with our students. We are going to be studying through the transforming promises of Romans 8!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Great Companion

“The sum of the blessings of Christ, sought by what he did and suffered in the work of redemption, was the Holy Spirit [The Great Companion]. Thus is the affair of our redemption constituted; the Father provides and gives the Redeemer, and the price of redemption is offered to him, and he grands the benefit purchased; the Son is the Redeemer who gives the price, and also is the price offered; and the Hoy Spirit is the grand blessing obtained by the price offered, and bestowed on the redeemed.

The Holy Spirit, in his indwelling presence, his influence and fruits, is the sum of all grace, holiness, comfort and joy, or in one word, of all the spirutal good Christ purchased for me in this world: and is also the sum of all perfection, glory, and eternal joy that he purchased for them in another world.” (Edwards, Jonathan. A Call to United Extraordinary Prayer…. Christian Focus Pub. Great Britian, 2004.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

9-9-9 = Julie's Birthday TODAY!

Happy Birthday Julie!

I love you!

Don't worry I won't say how old you are...I've at least learned that over the last 13 years of marriage!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Terrorist or Sappy Spirituality?

"I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery. "
— Brennan Manning

Friday, September 04, 2009

Has the church lost her testimony?

"The church has lost her testimony. She has no longer anything to say to the world. Her once robust shout of assurance has faded away to an apologetic whisper. She who one time went out to declare now goes out to inquire. Her dogmatic declaration has become a respectful suggestion, a word of religious advice, given with the understanding that it is after all only an opinion and not meant to sound bigoted. Pure Christianity, instead of being shaped by its culture, actually stands in sharp opposition to it." AW Tozer

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

You and I NEED Someone

"How do we know that we are not deluding ourselves, that we are not selecting those words that best fit our passions, that we are not just listening to the voice of our own imagination?...Who can determine if [our] feelings and insights are leading [us] in the right direction?

Our God is greater than our own heart and mind, and too easily we are tempted to make our heart’s desires and our mind’s speculations into the will of God. Therefore, we need a guide, a director, a counselor who helps us to distinguish between the voice of God and all other voices coming from our own confusion or from dark powers far beyond our control.

We need someone who encourages us when we are tempted to give it all up, to forget it all, to just walk away in despair. We need someone who discourages us when we move too rashly in unclear directions or hurry proudly to a nebulous goal. We need someone who can suggest to us when to read and when to be silent, which words to reflect upon and what to do when silence creates much fear and little peace." - Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out

Who is this someone in your life?