The universe declares Your majesty….

It has been a while since I have written to the seven people who actually follow my blog regularly, so I guess I apologize.  Anywho…I have been leading the youth in a study through the Book of Titus, and last night we covered Titus 1:10-16.  We talked about false teachers, and what they look like.  I really want the youth to understand that they need to know what false teachers look like and how they behave so that they can point them out when they see them.  I made the statement, “Whether you realize it or not, and whether you embrace it or not you guys are the future leaders of the church.  And you have to decide if you are going to lead in the right direction or the wrong direction.”  My prayer is that through this study of Titus the youth will get a good understanding of what it means to be a productive member of the local church.

I also want to write today about the latest Hubble space telescope press release that came out yesterday.  You should definitely check it out, click here.  These images are completely amazing.  There is no question in my mind that God has His hand in every corner of creation.  He is the masterful Creator of all the universe.  These images that have been released are breathtaking. My personal favorite is the butterfly nebula.  It is beautiful.  I encourage everyone to go check out the images.  God is amazing, and the universe is screaming it out at the top of its lungs.

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Take my life and let it be all for You and for Your glory…

I love those lyrics.  They fit in perfectly with what I am talking with the youth about tonight.  I am really excited about the possibilities of what God can do through our group.  I am talking with the youth this evening about John 17 and The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus.  There are several things that we can learn from Jesus in the way that He prays to God.  In John 17:4 Jesus states, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”  God take my life and let it be all for you and for your glory.  That is all about doing the work that God gave me in this life. I plan on challenging the youth to begin coming about an hour earlier on Wednesday evenings so that we can become a group that does great spiritual battle through prayer.  I think that so often teenagers are so focused on themselves, and I want to try to get them for at least an hour to be focused on the Kingdom of God.  I believe that God can use our group in a mighty way.  I know that as we pray, His presence can fall on us, and we can be changed.  My prayer is that we can come together each week with an attitude of expectancy, and that God’s presence is so heavy on us that we cannot even open our eyes for fear of being encountered with the very image of the Lord.  I want God to use us, and I want for the youth to grasp hold of the importance of interceding on behalf of our church, our families, our country, and our world.  I will let you know how things go tomorrow.  Have a great night.

We are family. All my brothers, sisers, and me…

I write those lyrics because Kim’s mom, step dad, brother, and sister are in town with us this week.  It is fun having them in town though.  I really like them a lot.  I am getting really excited about youth camp next week.  I know that it is going to be a blast both recreationally and spiritually.  That is what I want to focus on tonight.  I really am praying that camp next week is mostly about the spiritual blast that I am expecting.  I wait with an attitude of expectancy for God to show up in a big way for the youth group.  I know that we are going to have a great time during our free time in the afternoons, but the thing I am looking forward to most is the times when they all are quiet and God is whispering in their ears.  I love those quiet moments when God begins to whisper and tug on the heart strings.  I am praying so strongly that God will move in a mighty way for the camp as a whole, but more selfishly for the kids from Westside.  I want them to grab hold of the passion and energy that comes from having a mountain top experience.  However, I want so badly for it to not be a mountain top experience only.  I want the passion and energy to stay at a maintained level for an extended period of time.

We have one more pre-camp lesson tonight talking about how God’s ways are so vastly different from anything that is done here on earth, but God’s ways are always the best way.  I will let you know how it goes tomorrow.  It is also a fun day tomorrow because we are going, as a youth group, to play Whirly Ball.  If you don’t know what it is you need to google it, and it will change your life.  Okay that’s all for now.  Have a great night.

Do they only see who we are when who we are should be pointing them to Christ…

Last night went pretty good I guess.  I just feel that sometimes the message is lost with some of the kids that are there.  I feel like they focus on making fun of the people who are in the video rather than the message that the video was trying to convey.  I want so badly for the youth to get an understanding of what it means, and how easy it is, to share the love of Christ with others.  Last night was the story about TOMS shoes, and some of the kids simply laughed it away as if I was telling a joke about these poor children in Argentina.  My only desire is to show the youth how they can plug in to the work of God on earth.  I wish there was some way to just implant the desire in their hearts to help others.  The lyric for today is from a song entitled “Mistaken” by Warren Barfield.  Everything about us as Christians: the way we interact with others, the things we say, the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the places we go, and the people we associate with should all point others to Christ.  This is the message I am trying to convey to the youth at my church, but at times it seems as though I am talking to a brick way.  I know that there are times in ministry when it does not “feel” like things are going right, but I could really use some encouragement right about now.

You lead me and keep me from falling, You carry me close to Your heart…

I love those lyrics that Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman added to the traditional hymn “All The Way My Savior Leads Me.”  Just the idea that God carries us close to His heart is one that blows my mind to smithereens.  We are so insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and yet He wishes to protect us as a prize possession.  God loves us, and nothing can separate us from Him or His love.  Those lyrics tie into today’s post in correlation with this evening’s lesson for the youth.  We are coming off the heels of the Crazy Love study by Francis Chan, and I am trying to get the kids to understand that they simply cannot just hear what we talked about and then go about their lives as if it had no impact.  We are to go out and show the crazy love that God has for us to those we interact with everyday, and then we must move out of our respective comfort zones and reach others we do not know.  In James, we are called to be not only hearers of the Word, but doers as well.  I am trying to show the youth practical example of people who have done just that.  Tonight we are going to be talking about the story of TOMS Shoes.  It is a shoe company that gives away a pair of shoes to a kid in need for every pair of shoes that someone buys.  It is a moving and inspiring story.  If you want to read more about the company click here.  I also highly recommend that you buy a pair of shoes as well.  I am just really committed to trying to equip our youth at Westside with the knowledge of ways that they can make an impact in this world for the name of Christ.  It is so important to me that when I leave this place the youth here and those who have already moved on are able to say that I gave them the opportunity to minister.  I simply wish to show them the many avenues of ministry, and let them pray and ask God to show them which one to travel down.  I will let you know how the discussion goes this evening tomorrow.  Have a great evening.

Son of God shaper of the stars, You alone the dweller of my heart…

It has been a while since I blogged, but it is not like I haven’t been busy the past two weeks.  Sophie is now two weeks old, and she is doing great.  Anna Grace has really taken to her, and I think that she loves her new little sister.  AG is really protective of her.  It is sweet.  Kim is doing great as well.  She looks fabulous, and is starting to get into the groove of taking care of two little girls now.  I help as much as I can.  There is no way that this could be done without a team effort.  I cannot stand to hear about the stories of fathers simply shucking the task of helping raise little kids.  I want to be as much a part of their lives as I possibly can be.  I have fallen head over heals in love with these two little girls in my house, and I love getting to see them grow and develop.

I am also really happy with the way that the summer has begun for the youth group here at Westside.  Things seem to be going really well.  We have so much stuff planned to do this summer, and I really think that camp is going to be an awesome time for everyone that is going.  I am looking forward to it with great expectations for what God is going to do.

Well that is pretty much all for today.  I hope that everyone has a wonderful day, and I promise that it will not be nearly as long until I blog again.

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 3:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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I scream, you scream, we all scream…

Sorry I have been out of the loop as of late.  I have been incredibly busy the past week.  It was as if everything for school and work was all due at the same time.  However, the family and I had a great trip to New Orleans this past weekend.  It was Kim’s first time to the Crescent City, so I showed her around a little bit.  We had a great time, and the classes that I had to take while I was down there were great as well.  AG had a great time also.  She got to run around in the grass and play of some great playgrounds with Kimmie while I was in class.  It was a lot of fun.

You are probably wondering about the title for today.  Well we are going to have a little ice cream sundae party with the youth tonight.  I think that it should be a lot of fun.  We are taking a break in the middle of our Crazy Love study to just kick back for a night.  Also we are going to discuss what we have covered so far in the study to try to catch everyone up who may have missed anything.  We are also going to talk about the plans for the summer.  It is going to be a very busy summer with a new baby coming for our family, youth camp, Kim’s parents visiting from Illinois, and me taking a class in July, but it will be a lot of fun with the youth group as well.  I hope that they are talkative tonight, and that they have ideas about things they want to do that are actually plausible.

I am looking forward to the end of this semester at school so that I can have a little bit of time to actually think about life.  I am excited about what God is going to do in my life in the next couple of months.

Your mercy reigns, Your mercy comes, Your mercy falls, and rises with the sun.

So we have been doing this Crazy Love study with the youth of the past couple of weeks.  This is week three of the study, I and am expecting pretty good discussion this evening.  I won’t give everything that we are talking about away, so that you will check in tomorrow to read about the discussion that we had.  However, as I read through the chapter getting ready for this week I was struck by an overwhelming feeling of how much God loves me.  Francis Chan writes, “The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time.  He treasures us and anticipates our departure from this earth to be with Him…” (pg. 59).  We have such a warped view of the relationship between God and ourselves that we often overlook this irony all together.  God wants to have this intensely intimate relationship with us and we so casually brush Him off as if he were some bum on the street.  How incredibly arrogant!  The God of the universe loves us.  Don’t just pass by that thought, because you have heard it before.  I think I should say it again.

The God of the universe loves you and me!

This is a massive truth that cannot simply be passed by without dwelling on it.  This God who does not have to love us and is totally complete and perfect on His own wants to have a relationship with you.  This truth has monumental implications for each person’s life whether they realize it or not.  God has a crazy love for us that is beyond human comprehension, and we act as if we could take it or leave it on any given day.  You have to ask yourself the question, “If the God of the universe loves me this much, why do I not take the time to see what He is all about?”

Think about how your life might look different if you lived like you fully believed that God loves you.  I can promise you that He does, and He wants you to turn to Him.  God gives us so much on a daily basis, and we just accept it as if we were entitled to it to begin with.  I will close today with another quote from Francis Chan.  “The best things in life are gifts from the One who steadfastly loves us.  But an important question to ask ourselves is this: Are we in love with God or just His stuff?”

I’ve fallen for you hard and I can’t stop. I won’t deny it.

Okay so I understand that I did not even make it one day before I failed at my pact to blog everyday, but give me a break I am a busy man.

We started the Crazy Love study last night with the youth.  I think that it is going to be a great community building study for the group.  I think that Francis Chan explains things in a way that makes it easy to understand, and the youth seem to like the way he teaches.  I also love that it is a study that does not have like 45 minute videos to watch.  None of the videos are longer than 10 minutes, and they really spur on the discussion with the kids.  I think that they and I will learn a lot during this study.  The first lesson was about our prayer lives.  We pray as if it is just some thing we do so that we can say we did it, but God deserves so much more than that.  I know that I am guilty of simply praying a generic prayer on many occasions, but Francis Chan challenges the group to try to picture Jesus and the throne room of God each time before you pray.  It will drastically change the way you pray.  You cannot picture that scene and then pray a generic uninspired prayer.  It is impossible.

This morning I spoke at chapel for CCA middle school.  It went great.  The kids really seemed to connect with what I was talking about.  The title of the talk was “The Truth about Temptation.”  I talked to them about how we are living in a spiritual battle field everyday, we have an enemy whose name is Satan, and Satan cloaks his attacks in deception.  I used the illustration of a tackle box and lures for how crafty Satan is with his attacks.  They really seemed to get the understanding of what God was using me to say.  I ending by telling them that the only way for us to combat the attacks of Satan is with truth.  John 14:6 is where Jesus says that He is the way, the truth, and the life.  Therefore we need to have Jesus in our hearts in order to fight back against Satan, because there is no way that we can do it on our own.

I hope that everyone has a great day.  Remember that Jesus is madly in love with you, and He wants to have a relationship with you.  Let that sink into your mind today as you go about your business.