Sunday, January 31, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Getting Fired For The Glory of God

"Getting Fired for the Glory of God" by Mike Yaconelli is a book full of truth. Truth that we all likely need to be reminded of ~ especially if you have any connection to youth ministry.

This is a collection of Mike's words for youth workers - but may I recommend that any youth leader, Sr. Pastor, elder board, parent or heck maybe even the youth themselves pick up this book.

It's a bunch of short stories with words of wisdom from a man who has "walked the halls of youth ministry." If it were not for Mike Yaconelli and the work God did through him, youth ministry would not be what it is today

Some 'nuggets' of wisdom from a few of his writings:
  • 'our ministry staff meetings are more like management meetings than prayer meetings...'
  • today's youth ministry culture is consumed with 'doing' rather than 'being'
  • we've forgotten the real bottom line: Our Souls
  • the trouble with modern Christianity is that we've tried to de-fang the truth.
  • discipleship is a lifelong process, not a youth activity.
  • '...ministry is dangerous. when you and I are trying to follow Jesus, we're going to get into trouble.'
  • Youth group is the perfect place for young people when their schedules permit, and when nothing else more important is going on.
  • why is it that youth groups never go to the opera, art museums, jazz festivals, ballet...poetry readings, or lectures?
  • why do so many youth ministries spend all their time talking about god instead of helping young people experience God?
  • Real ministry isn't what you do but who you are!
  • (& one of my favorites) My relationship with Jesus was assumed.

Please, pick this book up and give it a shot - parents, pastors, youth, congregation members, church leaders & of course Youth Leaders!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"The Last Lecture"

I just finished reading 'The Last Lecture' by Randy Paush. I'm so thankful to my friend Dave who recommended this reading. It's a fairly quick read - but one that you could spread out over time to let some of Randy's thoughts/teachings marinate a bit.

The last section is what really got to me when Randy described his wife coming on stage at the end of his last lecture and whispering to him 'please don't die.' The thing is we're all going to die - it's what we're going to do with our eternity. Randy had a chance to 'be purposeful' in his last months. He took his cancer diagnosis and made the best of it - saying at least this way he could have some closure and do/say the things he wanted to with his family and loved ones.

He asks; "What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?" So, how about it - what would you say?

Here is some of what Randy says 'he knows:'
  • Time must be explicitly managed, like money
  • You can always change your plan, but only if you have one.
  • Ask yourself: 'are you spending your time on the right things?'
  • Develop a good filing system
  • Rethink the telephone (you'll have to read the book for more on this one!)
  • Never make a decision until you have to
  • If you have a question - then find the answer
  • Just because you're in the drivers seat doesn't man you have to run people over
  • Don't complain, just work harder
  • Don't obsess over what people think
  • Look for the best in everybody (and I would add - everything)
  • Tell the truth
  • Get in touch with your crayon box
  • No job is beneath you
  • Never give up
  • Make a Decision: Tigger or Eeyore

I think this will be a book I'll have to pick up on occasion and re-read. Yes, it's that good!

Monday, January 18, 2010

'The Most Loving Place In Town'

book review...

I've decided one of my goals this year is to read 50 books...about one/week. One of the first I've tackled this month is "The Most Loving Place In Town" by Blanchard & Hodges.

Labeled as a 'modern day parable for the church' I think it's dead on! Generally speaking 'the church' has lost it's first love and that is what this book is about. A quick read, we follow Elder Tim and Pastor Mike on a journey (led by God and the Holy Spirit) to help them reclaim the first love in their lives and in their church.

Several bullet points and Scripture references make this a book that has a take away message for any Christian and hopefully for every church.

A great read I would recommend. Here are a few thoughts/quotes from the book:

  • Get out and about. Learn as you listen. Ask the H.S. to help you fall in love with God's people again.
  • Living with the unconditional love of God means surrendering your life to Him with the trust and joy of a child.
  • It is never too late to turn a wayward heart back to God.
  • Forgiven Much, Love More.
  • Daily habits of solitude, prayer, and application of Scripture help you stay focused on being a true servant leader.
  • Without love, nothing's going to work, no matter how brilliant we think our ideas might be. Love is the common denominator...
  • Jesus modeled servant leadership in four dimensions - the heart - the head - the hands - the habits.
  • EGO = Edge God Out ~ have you checked your ego today
  • All lasting change starts with clear vision and direction
Hope you'll check it out - and let me know your thoughts after you've read!

Friday, January 15, 2010

To Save A Life

To Save A Life opens nationwide January 22nd. I love what a friend said while talking about the movie: "if you're a teen, a young adult, a parent, grandparent or someone who knows or loves a teen you must see this movie!"

Check out the trailer:

Now, get your tickets for opening weekend.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Help for Haiti


I just sent and email to my Student Ministry Leaders and Prayer partners asking them to pray. By now it's likely you've seen and heard the news of the earthquake that hit Haiti late last night. It is times like these, when a natural disaster strikes that some feel helpless and hopeless.

Questions like; 'what can we do?' & 'where was/is God?'

Well, I'd like to quickly take a shot at both of those questions...

First, what can we do - well there are so many wonderful aid organizations that have already sent people, supplies and more to Haiti this morning. We can support their efforts by giving. Two organizations I might suggest would be the International Red Cross and Compassion International. Both are asking for financial gifts as that is the fastest way to get the needed supplies into the affected area(s). If you feel led to give - please give. Believe me, even if you have little, you can give and it will help make a difference.
Beyond and even before giving I would suggest we start with prayer. Pray for all of those impacted by this disaster.
  • for those who have lost their life
  • for those trapped waiting to be rescued
  • for those in Haiti who are in shock and disoriented - having no idea what to do
  • for all who have family, friends and loved ones in Haiti
  • for hope
The second and last question I'll look at 'where was/is God.' It was probably late in the day on Sept 11 2001 when this question really began to surface. I can remember leading a Sr. High Bible study that week and the youth wanted answers...just like many others across the nation. 'If God was such a great God, then where was he then?' I can only guess people impacted by this earthquake may be asking the same questions.
Honestly it brings me comfort to know the answer. God was and is in the same place He was when His Son was crucified. Although it might be hard for us to wrap our minds around God has always been and always will be on His throne. He alone is in charge. I know it's not the simplest of answers to a question asked in a time of pain, suffering and loss, but for us to know that God is The Great I AM yesterday, today and tomorrow; that is all that should matter to us.

So, I ask you to first pray for those impacted and I ask that you would not be shy...shy about your faith. Today will be the last day on earth for some - maybe someone you know. If you have a relationship with Christ please share that hope with those around you so that when it's their last day - they will know they will have hope and be with Him.

Helpful and Hopeful In Him,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

from my journal...

today I felt I needed to share something I recently wrote in my journal...

An Invitation ~ Matt. 9:9-13

As Christian's we're supposed to (try to) be like Jesus.

So, why is it we 'circle the wagons' and choose to leave the 'outsider' out?
Out in the cold
Out of our church - which is really not ours to begin with
Out in the cruel world without the relationship we claim to have?

If The One we claim to follow came for outsiders (remember we were those outsiders once - actually in reality we're still outsiders...don't believe me? when was the last time you sinned?) why can't we go after them too?

It's what Jesus wants.

Why don't we talk to our friends (insert any of the following: neighbors, co-workers, stranger at the store, the person in the car behind us at the stop sign...) about Jesus....yes it's called Evangelism...why are we so afraid of it?

Why don't we hear/have the gospel presented in worship on Sunday's? (so when we do have our friends in worship they can hear about the greatest Gift God has ever given?)

Why don't we actually try to be like Jesus?