Thursday, November 30, 2006

Renew me O' Lord

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

The last few months have been a whirlwind of events for me. Lots of things going on, some good, some bad, others just kind of annoying. During this time I have been feeling really down on myself. I am not sure why but do have some belief that I know. I know I am not perfect and mess up, but sometimes I am just too lazy to apply myself the way I should. I, like everyone else, tend to find other things to do rather than studying scriptures and reading my Bible. I have a family, a ministry, a job and kids to help me stay occupied but even those are not very good excuses of why I shouldn't be in the word as much.

As a youth pastor I have to read up for my lessons. Figure out the scripture and go from there. Helping to apply it to the lives of my students. But usually that is a very small piece of scripture and I don't use it as a time for me to learn but to learn how to tell my students. I am in the process of working out of this.

I am also very frustrated with my youth group. As much as I try to direct my students, very few of them seem to listen. I have tried all kinds of tactics to get them to understand, but many of them seem to want to socialize rather than learn about God. We have issues with talking and disruptions during the singing and lessons. I hear of the actions of some of them outside of the youth group and my so-called leaders doing things they know and have sworn they wouldn't do. The boyfriend/girlfriend craze is really moving and hurting our group. Guys like the girls and vice versa. We have students who don't feel their life is complete without having someone to call boyfriend or girlfriend.

I was a teenager and did the same thing, so I can understand. But I also remember the heart ache and problems that this caused in my life. Liking someone only to find out they don't like you. To see people who you like, go from person to person only to be hurt each time. I look at the girls in my group and see the hurt they have from families and not truly having father figures to look up to. Some of them wanting soo much to have a boyfriend because "dad" wasn't/isn't around to help them through their life, so they are looking for love in all the wrong places. I look at some of the guys and see them liking girls and going back forth, only to know that it isn't because they truly like that girl, but more because that girl will look good on their arm and impress their friends.

Another issue seems to be the competition we have among the students.. The fighting and backbiting that goes on because we want to make ourselves feel better or put us above everyone else because we are worried about what people might think or being labeled a failure. I have some great kids and most of them can be almost anything they want to be, but right now they seem so self involved that they can't see beyond themselves. My heart hurts for them, for their parents, for myself because I am not sure how to handle the situation or "force" someone to see that they need to change.

So right now I am resting in God's grace that He is in charge. Too many times I lean on my own strengths and "so called" greatness. I also become selfish and believe that I can do anything on my own, only to be knocked down like I feel right now. I am in the process of really evaluating what we do as a youth group, what I do as a person and seeing what needs to be changed.

Pray for me.

Monday, November 20, 2006

And the Angels Rejoiced

10In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:10

There are moments as a youth pastor that you just don't forget. The first time you walk into a new youth group. The first event that you host. That ski retreat where you twist your ankle and spend 2 days sitting on the couch. And the time when some of your students realize they truly need God and give their life to Him. Last night was one such moment for me.

Let me introduce you to Alex. Alex started coming to my youth group a few months back. She is a nice girl, who is fun to get along with and seemed to enjoy our group. Over the next couple of weeks I got to know Alex and the things going on in her life. She was a typical teen with a typical life. About two months ago, I did a lesson about Joshua and his call to the Israelites to serve God and no one us. We ended the service by having those who wanted that choice to come forward and we would band together. Alex didn't come forward. I spoke to her later about it and she told me that she didn't think she was ready and did not want "lie" to God by going down there just because most of the group had. I told her that I was fully behind her and supported her in her decision and would be praying for her.

Long story short, Alex texted me last night and told me that she was ready to be saved and by the time I got a chance to call her, she had already done it. She told me that she just felt like that was what she needed to do and that she was ready to do it. I was excited beyond belief. She told me of her telling her mother, and friends about her new found salvation. I was amazed that she had already started telling people. I couldn't have been happier. These are the moments that we live for as youth pastors.

Events will come and go, but the salvation of our students is the sole-purpose behind what we do. I have told Alex that I am there to help her and will work with her as she begins her Christian journey and grows closer to God. Isn't God good...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Wow...

I can't believe it has been over a month since my father passed away. I still make the mistake of thinking that I can call him and ask him for advice... :(

Next week I will drive down and spend Thanksgiving with my family. This will be our first holiday without my father. I know it has been tough on my mom. I am constantly talking to her and actually sent Beth and Kaitlyn to Florida to help her start the cleanup process. I love my mom and hope for nothing but the best for her.

I miss my dad and know that I will see him again. He left a legacy behind in his 5 kids and 12+ grandkids that i never realized until after he passed away. I hope that when my time is up, good things will be said about me, like they were about him.

Well, I do want to welcome all the visitors to my blog. I know you are out there. People from all across the country are reading up on me and seeing how much life is going. Right now, God is good. My life is going pretty well and God gets all the credit. I am just a passenger on this plane. Since my fathers death, God has really been working in my life to show me exactly what I should be doing and what things I am doing wrong. Mostly I just need to sit down and focus on the tasks at hand and make my relationship with Him a greater priority in my life.