Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Report Card

Yesterday was a not-so-good day, I think we dropped the ball and failed to really engage someone God placed in our path. Although I'm not 100% certain on what this man needed I know we at least failed when it came to offering to pray with and for him. We failed in that we passed the baton to "handle him" to the police. We failed in that someone was 'kicked out of' the church and made to feel unwelcome. We failed in that we made a crisis out of a simple opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. And we failed because we didn't realize any of this until it was too late....but is it?

Although we dropped the ball and I was probably competing for one of the top three positions of most ticked off I think in our failures is an opportunity to learn, grow and do better next time. A failing grade is okay, as long as we're not going to make the same mistake next time. We can't afford to...for the sake of what God has called us to!

Matthew chapter 7 came to mind after beginning to process what happened...

Matthew 7 opens by saying "Don't judge others, or you will be judged. You will be judged in the same way that you judge others, and the amount you give to others will be given to you."

Often times we make assumptions and judgements about others without even so much as a conversation or a hello. We can no longer do this - everyone is a child of God and deserves to be treated with some respect.

The passage goes on in v9: “If your children ask for bread, which of you would give them a stone?"
What are we really offering when someone asks us for "bread" - do they get bread or a stone?

When I look at v.9 & 12 ("Do to others what you want them to do to you") I think of my own family - if my son asks for bread as his father I'm going to make sure he has bread. Why will I not do the same for any other brother or sister in Christ? If I was in a time of need I would hope someone would see my need and share some compassion and bread with me. It's what God has called us to.

Verses 13 & 14 say The Way To Heaven Is Hard. God never promised it would be easy - but often times we're confronted with a homeless person, or a situation we see as scary. In some circumstances we call someone else to "handle the situation" - no police force can compare to the God of the universe who promises that if we seek Him and His Kingdom then all of our needs will be met. We need to be aware of our surroundings but we need to stop fearing the ministry right in front of us.

Matthew 25:40 “‘I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me.’"
We need to treat everyone we encounter as we would treat Jesus!

In my opinion we must do better next time,

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Reflections of a Mystery Tour

Wow! That was truly an amazing experience. We set out for a five day trip "Magical Mystery Tour" with no plans (other than our departure & return date). The trip was 100% perfect. It's amazing what happens when we humans get out of the way and let The God of the Universe show us The Plan.

Could we have done more work had we called ahead? Sure
Could we have come in on a better budget had we planned a bit more? Sure
Could we have had a more structured time of group study? Yup?
Does any of that matter to this Young Adults Pastor - No A Bit!

Every minute spent was spent how God planned!
Every dollar spent is an investment in The Kingdom!
Every discussion the team had was held in the Hand of God!

As I said, it was 100% perfect.

I spent a week with 7 young adults and my co-leader Kelly and the things we experienced I believe forever changed this group and the ministry we're apart of. I'm so impressed by the things these YA's discussed, the love they shared, and their willingness to let me (& Kelly) be their leaders, and call them out and challenge them to grow as the men God is calling them to be.

For a guy who is used to planning as much as possible on trips this was truly and eye-opener for me. Contrary to what many thought I didn't lose any sleep before the trip or stress out. There was really only one or two moments during the early stages of the trip where I was thinking to myself - 'what are we going to do now?' Thankfully God worked through various members of our team at just the right moment to refocus our group on what was important in that moment.

So, I look forward to the next Magical Mystery Tour, but in the mean time as one of our guys said "This is pre-game" we (the team, Christians, all of us) need to be on the look out every day for ways we can be the hands and feet of Jesus - feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the widow, and just finding a way to make someones day a bit brighter in the name of our Creator.

Go Be Awesome...but do it secretly,

Monday, July 29, 2013


Second update from the Magical Mystery Tour 2013...

It was such an amazing day - we're still in St. Jo, I kind of feel like maybe this is where we're supposed to stay through the remainder of the trip - but I guess time & God will tell.

We've kind of claimed this little area near the pool as our gathering point and it's where I started my day and oddly enough where I'm ending my day. I came down this morning around 7am to get a jump on things and see what might be out there in St. Jo for our team to go and serve. As I walked into the pool area I met Sharon, a woman who works here at the hotel. As she was leaving to continue her work I told her what we are up to on our trip and asked if she knew of anyone, or anyplace we might be of service today. She went to talk to a co-worker and said she'd be back.

I went about my search online to find some service agencies we could call. I came up with quite a list and was really hopeful and then Sharon came back in. She gave me two numbers to call - one an organization and the other of a lady who used to work here that she thought might need some help. The team had breakfast and we split up the lists to start making calls - the goal, gather in 15 minutes and see what we'd found. The first list (the one I found online) came back a big least for the morning. The organization Sharon gave us - closed on Monday's. Last shot - calling the woman Sharon thought would need help.

One of the guys picked up the phone and within minutes the lady had invited us to her home...confirmation we needed to stay put another day. We found the place and immediately our guys were all over it...half stayed there to begin work while the other half headed to buy supplies. Several hours and multiple trips to Menards later we'd done all that we could do today. ALthough they had hoped to completely finish the work the woman needed done the rain prevented us for doing so (who knows - maybe tomorrow).

So we packed up and headed back to the hotel. After spending the afternoon back and forth in the cold rain the guys warmed up at the pool, sauna and hot tub. We had a fantastic dinner (thanks Pizza Hut) and spent about two hours just sitting around talking about God, and more.

Such an amazing day of ministry and witnessing the hand of God on this trip and this team. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Magical Mystery Tour

Last January I sat in a cabin at a Winter Retreat with several of the Young Adults in my ministry. We talked about a mission trip - which eventually led to the idea of a 'mystery trip.' They all said YES, let's do it. Fast forward about six months and we're on the road on this mystery trip of sorts. The idea was No Schedule, No Destination, & No Plan B!
Here is what we've done so far:

Saturday Morning we gathered as a team loaded the trailer and had some breakfast together. We then had a time of prayer, so discussion on what was ahead and then we spun a Twister spinner (each section representing a direction N, S, E, W.) Three out of four spins it landed on South - so we headed South. We pulled into Beatrice and stopped in a parking lot to look around for some idea of what we could do. We ended up driving past a church and two of our team went in to see if there was anything we could do. There was...amazingly enough they were setting up for VBS and really needed some extra hands. It was so cool to just happen upon this situation. The team had a great time serving this church and meeting some great people.

Next the spinner said South & East so we headed out of town and landed in St. Joseph, MO. We stopped several places looking for ways to help and had several leads on things to do tomorrow (Sun). We stopped for some dinner and to regroup a bit. We planned on camping overnight but ended up staying at a motel right off I-29.

Sunday we all met for breakfast and talked about a game plan - based on the leads we had from yesterday. We headed to the Salvation Army to help with breakfast and found they didn't really need much help - but the coordinator there had something for us. He sent us across downtown to a small church that he knew could use some help. We arrived just before worship and joined their congregation for worship and fellowship. After worship we did a few projects before lunch. Half our group then went to a shelter to help prepare for dinner while the rest returned to the church.

Both projects kind of wrapped up and we started talking about what was next. We loaded the van and drove around a bit before pulling over to chat as a group. The consensus was it wasn't time to leave St. Jo. Someone in the group said that on past trips there was built in time to reflect and grow spiritually as a team - something that on a trip like this wasn't "written in to the schedule." The team all felt this was something we needed to stop and do. So, we found another motel to call home for at least a day. After getting unloaded we circled up and had some GREAT discussions about the trip so far, what's to come and even better some more in depth discussions about us as individuals and as a group. It became clear that even if we stopped right now - the trip has been a success. We realized a few 'tweaks' we needed to make to how we go about things and that we didn't need to 'force' the work or mission aspect - sometimes God just wants you to wait on him.

So with that we went to dinner (somewhere a little nicer than the Taco Bell the guys had lunch at) and relaxed a bit. They was a family celebrating two birthdays at the restaurant and the guys decided they wanted to pick up the tab for them. It was truly cool to watch the guys make this decision to do something nice and then carry it out within minutes. After dinner we came back to downtown and went to a concert in the park we were told about. The rest of the night they team has been fellowshiping and playing. Both things God wants us to do.

For a guy that usually likes the details and to know what's next this has been an amazing experience - to truly trust God will point us when/where we need to go/be and to watch this group of Young Adults, well to watch them Be (secretly) Awesome. Galatians 5:13 (our theme for the trip). So, there you have it a bit more details about the Magical Mystery Tour. We would appreciate your continued prayers for direction as the trip continues through Wed.