Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What If...Pray!

"What if" can be a scary question to ask. Sometimes though, it's a good, or needed question - if we don't ask...will we become stuck in our ways, afraid to try something new, or worse?

I think a good youth worker asks this question often...and on rare occasions decides it's time to take the "What If" that's what I did. Over the past weeks I've been in conversations with our Pastor, friends and other youth workers, and folks connected to YAYA. I'm excited about this what if...I'm excited we're taking some steps to slightly realign our 'program' to be the best ministry it can for those we're serving.

There is a great song "What If His People Prayed?" by Casting Crowns (if you're not familiar with it you can find it on YouTube). The lyrics are so powerful, and almost a call to action..."what if we prayed?" What if in this question the "we" was us, First Pres, our youth, our young adults, our families & leaders? What if we said "I'll pray for you" and then actually did? Well, if you're in, we're going to do just that in the month of November.

This next month will be a focus of Worship (3 amazing nights of worship to participate in) & Prayer (daily, through November).

That's right there are three amazing groups of Christian worship leaders (aka bands) coming to the area and we want YOU to join us for some opportunities to worship our God. We've identified a topic/theme to pray for each day throughout the month. And, you'll get daily reminders (Facebook, Twitter @1PCYAYm, Text message) to help you remember to join your church family in asking God for some amazing things.

What happens when His Church truly prays? My hope and prayer is that we're about to find out. Come back here throughout November to join in some conversations and share your thoughts on how you're seeing God answer prayer.

What If? For Him,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ministry Appreciation

Disclosure: This is not intended to be a pat on the back, or self-promoting post...just thought I'd bring some attention to those who serve us through ministry.

October is a month to show appreciation for Clergy and those in Ministry. Depending on who you ask it's often called "Pastors Appreciation Month" or "Clergy" and others "Ministry." Personally, I like the latter because I know several people in full time ministry that deserve a little appreciation.

Maybe more so the families of those in ministry deserve the appreciation. Speaking from experience I know sometimes it's my family that sacrifices for my work schedule. Regardless, there are many gifted and dedicated Pastors and Ministry workers out there that deserve a "thank you" during the month of October.

I know many who have impacted my life, and several who still do, to this day - I hope and plan to share my appreciation with them during the month.

It doesn't have to be (but it could) sending your Pastor & spouse on a cruise or long weekend vacation. Just a simple card, or note, or other simple way of expressing your appreciation for what they do for you, your family, your church or community. So while you're keeping busy during the month of October, make it your goal to reach out in some way to those you appreciate who have served or do serve you through ministry. Just do me a favor, don't send them a text - go old fashion and pick up the phone.


Monday, September 24, 2012

You Can't Make Me...

Sometimes in youth ministry we (youth workers) get frustrated...

* Frustrated that you put all this effort into an event and no one shows...

* Frustrated that the one kid you pour into and try to help, just hasn't had the "light" come on yet...

* Frustrated at the way we do church vs. the way we should do church

* Frustrated that schedules - for kids, families, schools, extra-curriculars, etc...are so busy that choices have to be made.

The last one is what's got me lately...youth are faced with so many schedule choices these days that sometimes it feels like in ministry we're just fighting for attention, or that chance to be noticed "pick me, pick me". Then I realized two things:

1. at some point everyone has to realize "I can't do everything I want, and I need to make a choice."

2. at some point parents have to be parents and make a choice (knowing what is best) for their child.

For example, I know many parents who have said; "as long as you're living under my roof, you will...." (go to church/youth group, do chores, have dinner with the family...)

Then I saw this video - and it got me thinking...

...thinking about when should a parent "make a kid go to a youth ministry event?" As a Youth Leader do I even want kids in my ministry who are not there by their own choosing? If a parent knows an event/ministry will impact & change their child's lives should they sign them up and make them go?

As a Youth Leader I can program an event to death, I can plan for everything that might happen to make it the best possible event for a kid - but at some point - when a kid is there - you just have to let go and realize you've done your part and now it's up to The Spirit to work.

So, parents - what about you? Do you think you should make your kid go on retreats or mission trips, or to youth group each week? Curious to hear your thoughts...

Youth - what do you think?


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Heaven, for real?

"Heaven is for Real"

To be honest, I'd seen this book on the shelf at the store several times and never picked it up. One might think the title alone would entice most Christian's to pick it up, let alone a youth worker. A few weeks ago a young man I was having lunch with asked if I'd read it. From his short review of the book I decided I should get a copy.

I read the book in the span of about two days. As I first got into it I thought it was a good read. I even texted this guy and thanked him for the recommendation. Then I read some more, Colton was the boy this story is about. As I learned more about the tragedy this little boy had been through I had many doubts running through my head. I had on my 'father hat' and kept thinking about my son, I didn't like the book anymore.

The next day I was determined to finish despite the roller coaster these parents were on and the one going on in my head. I'm happy to say as I finished the book I again loved it - truly an amazing story. "Heaven is for Real" is Colton's story, and it reminds us of a child like faith. It moves us to consider the reality of Heaven, no longer just the faith of "yeah, I believe in heaven".

So, if you haven't read this book I'd encourage you check it out. Then I ask, what do you think, is Heaven for Real?


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11

Eleven years ago I was 19, sitting at home on the couch watching what would become known as the worst terrorist attacks on this Nation. I remember it vividly. I remember wanting to go, to do, something - help however I could help...I felt called to action, as I know so many others did too...many were first responders, many enlisted to fight for their nation, many sat - not knowing exactly what to do...and today, many are still answering that call.

I wonder what it looks like for Christian's to feel the same urgency and call to action in our Call as Christians as we American's did 11 years ago today. What would the world look like if as Christian's we were obedient to The Call God has placed in each of us?

I sit here now, 11 years later and now a father...I look at my son and wonder how this world has changed since the attacks. I wonder has the world become a better, a safer, a more loving place to live? What have we as Christian's done to share the Love of Christ with our neighbor? My prayer for my son, and his generation is that we have and will continue to do our part to leave this place in a "better than we found it" condition for them.

I pray for my son to be a leader in his generation, used by God for what He has planned for this child placed in my care. I know there are great things for him and his peers - but I wonder if we're really doing all we answer that call to action we all feel deep inside?

I hope so!

I pray so!

Remembering all of those who on that day answered the call!

God Has Blessed The US,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

To dance, or...

Have you ever been asked to dance? Or have you ever asked someone to dance?

What response have you given, or been given?

I know that I've often been asked to dance by Stephanie. In my head I keep telling myself that I can't dance. And I know I can't dance as well as my wife - but I also can't sing as well as her - this usually doesn't stop me from singing (especially in the car by myself).

My point is that there are times in life when you just have to get out there and dance. In life, Christ has called each of us to dance. Some of us are called to tango, others to slow dance (this is the one I'm best at), and yet more are called to the Chicken Dance. The thing is that we're all designed and called to be a part of The Dance.

God has gifted each of us in many ways. Often times though we react in the way many youth do at a middle school dance - we stand along the wall. We pull ourselves from the God given potential and stand on the sidelines of life. Yes, sometimes the dance we've been called to is hard. Sometimes we take the wrong step, or forget what's next...but we're not called to lead - As He has called us to the dance - he will lead us in the dance.

He's calling - "Dance then wherever you may be. I Am The Lord of The Dance said He. I'll Lead you all, wherever you may be and I'll lead you all in the dance said He."

Your Savior is calling - will you join the dance?

Honestly, it's more fun at the dance, so come on dance, or...


Friday, May 18, 2012

1 Year, 2 Months, 21 Days

It's been a bit since I last posted. Someone mentioned to me that I need to get back on the blogging, I guess Welcome Back Me! As of June 1, 2012 I'll be taking the role of Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministries @ First Presbyterian in Lincoln. I'm sure being back in youth ministry will again give me many reasons to blog. So, I look forward to this new adventure and blogging about it along the way. See you in a few weeks, ~C