Monthly Archives: February 2008

What I’m Learning

I have been inspired by the one and only Boyd Bettis.

At 24, I realize how much I need to cherish the ones closest to me.

I’m getting married to an amazing woman on June 14th, 2008. I’m learning about how to be a spiritual leader in our relationship. It is so easy at times to spend time leading others in ministry, talking with parents/praying for them, and visiting hospitals, etc.

God is teaching me that I can do all of that and totally miss the importance of being all that God wants in my relationship with Cassidy. With the reality of getting married soon (which I’m totally pumped about) I realize the importance of making Christ the center of my life more and more each day.

I suppose the best way to summarize what I’m trying to say is…

The people closest to me do not always get the right kind of love or attention from me that they deserve.

Anybody else relate to this in ministry and life?

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Radically unchurched

I love the game of basketball. I haven’t played much in the past months because I tend to always have something else going on. I decided the other night to head out to a local park here in Jax to play. I played for a couple hours. Not only was I out of shape, I was amazed at the anger and bitterness that these guys had in their lives. It took us 20 minutes just to start each game because of all the “smack talk” going on. It was great to play again, but it also brought back memories…

I remember back a few years at junior college where I walked on in my sophomore year to play basketball. I remember the days of grueling practices, guys puking because of fatigue, and loads of language. The guys on my team were from all over the U.S. and many were good enough to play at top-notch Division 1 schools. Many were there because of grades, bad records, etc.

To put it mildly, these guys were radically un-churched. They laughed and joked about me being a Christian. They bragged about all the nightclubs and partying they experienced every weekend. Although it was tough, I learned to understand their thoughts on God and their frustration with their lives.

One guy on the team would continually cuss me out, throw elbows, and take any “cheap shot” he could of me during each practice. It was hard to “be Jesus” during that time! A few weeks later in the locker room I watched the team have an emotional breakdown. The coach was yelling at them to perform better, telling us we do not work together, etc…

I watched as grown men started crying and asking the coach that they needed him to be their Father. I watched as the team captain broke down and said he never had a Dad that gave him hope to improve and become successful. One after the other, guys started sharing their stories. The guy who continually hated my guts shared about how his dad would hold him down and beat him…

My heart broke at that point and I knew why God had me there.

Being out on the basketball court here in Jacksonville showed me that we are surrounded with radically un-churched people who have never known the love and truth of God.

It was good for me to step into their world. It reminded me of how important it is to move outside the church walls and hang out with people who don’t know Christ. I’m going out there on a regular basis now and will keep praying for these guys to give their lives to Christ.

What un-churched people are you trying to reach for Christ?
Are you only spending time with people inside the church?

She said “YES!”

I’m excited to announce that I’m engaged to the amazing, beautiful, gorgeous, Cassidy Spencer!!

We had an amazing day together, I’m the most blessed guy in the whole world!

Pictures and more info will be coming soon!!!

Heart check

What will it take for youth to realize the truth and love of Christ?

I’m haunted by this question as a student pastor. I have seen so much pain, depression, hurt, and frustration in the past year. I continually try and study youth culture to understand where students are finding “truth” today and purpose.

I was reading a blog today on some trends in youth culture. The whole “Soulja boy” epedemic spreading especially in middle schools today with a dance to this song. Once I found out what the song means, once again my heart breaks for this generation of students. Is it just the music or lyrics that bother me?

To me it is a deeper issue of why this culture is so far from God.

I’ve been reading Hebrews lately and this verse stuck out to me today:

“Pursue peace wtih all men, and the sanctification, without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14

The word sanctification in this verse means:

A drawing near to God with full faith and a cleansed conscience, a genuine acceptance of Christ as the Savior and sacrifice for sin.

I have had a heart check today to realize how much students need forgiveness and cleansing from God. I realize that as a student pastor I need to be renewed daily by God’s Word and prayer for the needs of students.

Students need to see Jesus in us. I believe this is where we must stay if we are going to turn the tide of this current culture.

Lastly, I read an article about the influence of music on youth today. I was so disappointed but not surprised at the 138 comments following the article.

What do you think about the influence of music in youth culture?
What is our response to the trends (“Soulja Boy”) in youth culture?

Learning about ministry…

I’m pumped about what God is doing in the church lately. I’m reminded of how important planning and staying close to God is during a time of vision-casting. I’m a little overwhelmed by all that we are shooting for this year in the life of the church and the student ministry. I’m learning a lot about myself and a lot about leadership. I have a long ways to go…

Taking each day at a time is my goal, I tend to look far into the future or the past that I seem to miss the exciting parts of each day.

Do any of you ever feel overwhelmed with all that life throws at you?

P.S. I need to surf

Strong in weakness

I have learned a lot this past year personally and in ministry. This week has been another time in my life where I come to the point of wearing myself out trying to “do.”

I am a “doer”, I love to get into all that i can in my life. My passion is seeing student’s lives changed. It drives me. It consumes me a lot of the time. The weakness I have is that I become so consumed with the “ministry” that I miss out on an intentional, intimate relationship with my heavenly Father. I was reminded this morning in 2 Corinthians 12:9,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

The more I realize my own weakness…the more I realize the areas of my heart that God wants to invade and change into His likeness. I’m so glad that God chooses to use me. I’m simply a dude that is made strong through Christ.

This month’s current series on Identity has been good so far. One of the students last night said, “We are not here for earthly things, we are here to love Jesus, know we are special and loved, and to point all people to Christ.” I believe this generation of students will impact this world like we have never seen before.

identity.jpg

Anybody else struggle with being a “doer?”

This is hilarious