Wednesday, January 31, 2007

To Blog or not to blog...

I love to write, that is one of the reason I started this blog. Hopefully those who read it find it insightful and interesting. I am actually working out some thoughts for writing a book. I have sent some ideas in for articles to magazines and hopefully we start working more on that. So anyways, the last couple days I just haven't felt like blogging. Not sure why, just haven't.

My life is going great right now and maybe I am waiting for the bottom to drop out. I seem to be pessimistic like that sometimes. Past experiences cause me to hold back and wait for things to be absolute before I really believe in them.

I love watching Craig Ferguson on CBS. View Here
And I was listening to him the other day and he started talking about faith. I am not sure of his religious background but he was talking about if you are expecting certainty, then you don't need faith. If you have faith, then not knowing what is going is expected. I think we as Christians (I know I do) tend to have faith when it makes sense and life is easy, but as soon as something test us and we aren't sure what is going to happen, we freak and lose all faith.

I know I have and am experiencing that. I KNOW that God is working in my life, but I get worried because I am not sure what is going to happen. God is working in me, helping me to understand and work on my faith.

How is your faith? Are there things in your life that you aren't sure of, and want to rely on yourself to work things through?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Youth Service 01/28/2006

Last night we had our Youth Service last night. I always love doing these because the teens put a ton of hard work into them and while they don't always run flawlessly, they are very good. This was one of our best services because everything was done by the teen group. The music, the sound, the camera and everything was done by teens or adult leaders. I am thankful for the help of Kyle and Beth, they keep me looking good.

I am glad that our kids have the chance to use the gifts that God has given them, beyond just in the youth room.

Lifelong Learner

I love learning. I love to read. I love to listen to people who are better than I am. I love talking to people who have done what I want to do. In sports they tell you that you can only get better by playing those who are better than you, and in ministry I think it is the same way. I have one pastor that I listen to weekly. His name is Mark Driscoll and he is the pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. Mark is an incredible speaker. He doesn't sugar coat the gospel or play into any politics. He speaks from his hard and from the word. I believe his is one of the top preachers I have ever heard. Check out their website @ and listen to some of his messages, you will be hooked.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Are You a Risk Taker?

We continue our look at the book, "Cure for the Common Life" by Max Lucado. We look at how we need to be risk takers for God and use the gifts He has given us rather than what we think is best for us.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hitting your Sweet Spot!!!

Man, God is good. I mean, I can't express all the things that I am thankful for right now. God is truly giving me the desires of my heart and I am extremely excited. There are lots of things going on in my life and almost all of them are good. Over the next few weeks and months I will share more with my readers. Just know that right now, God is moving. I have found my SWEET SPOT as Max Lucado calls it.

Tomorrow I will post the video from last nights service. We talked about taking risks for God and how when we are looking at our STORY and our gifts, that we need to make sure we are focused on what God wants rather than us or our parents or friends or the other influences in our lives.

God has given us a purpose and given us the tools we need to fulfill that purpose. Each of us has a role to play, and we think selfishly we move away from what God is wanting us to do. I have found my sweet spot in that I know I am supposed to be a youth pastor. I have been at my current church for 3 years and have built a program that is finally seeing some fruit. Kids are being saved, our praise band is kicking (thx Kyle), students are wanting to get more involved and they are growing spiritually. So many things to thank God for I would be here forever.

If you are not in your sweet spot, if you are doing things that don't make you happy, that are just to earn a paycheck, then I will tell you to start looking elsewhere. Find what you are good at, what comes natural to you, and ask God to show you what He wants you to do. It might mean quitting your job and doing something you never thought you would, but isn't God worth the risk. We talk about sacrifice all the time in church but how often do we actually do it.

Read Ephesian 4:11-16 and know that God is going to take care of you, if you are looking to Him and not you.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Smack me silly and call me Shirley....

You know those days that start off not the greatest but end up with some really great stuff happening... Today is a day like that for me. i didn't feel well at all yesterday and into last night. (see previous post) And today wasn't much better because my daughter didn't sleep much which meant my wife and I didn't sleep much. I woke up tired and had a monster headache. But instead of calling out sick, I decided to trudge into work and try to get some stuff done...

So I spent most of the morning trying to get rid of the headache I had, I ended up taking like 4 tylenol to do it and finally after lunch it left me. I got some good news today that I am not able to share but I am incredibly excited about. God is moving in my life, and
I am just trying to keep up. So many good things are happening and I am really enjoying the place He has me right now. My life isn't perfect, but I am complete because of the One I put my faith in. I happy with where my life is headed right now. God is working on me and making me a better Christian, a better pastor and a better father/husband.

This month I am talking about the book Cure for the Common Life" by Max Lucado, and this is what he is talking about. Finding your sweet spot in life. The spot where God puts you, because He gave you the tools to do the job. For years, I thought that spot was in the business world working on webpage, or computer, or in accounting. I was good at those things, so I thought I must be in the business field. But those things weren't th gift that God had given me. He gave me the gift of working with teenagers, having the patience to deal with them, and the ability to convey the message into what they can understand. Know now that I am far from perfect and truly taking it one day at a time. God is continually showing me where I am lacking and showing me how to fix it. A little more prep time here, a coke with a student there, and my life continues to roll.

God has a place for each of us, all we have to do is unpack our bag of tricks (skills) and let him lead us to where He wants us, not where we think we need to be. Only in God can we truly be happy, everything else is just noise.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Gonna Puke

Argh, I feel like garbage today. My stomach is upset and I feel like I am going to puke, but can't seem to. Sorry to be so graphic, but that is true. I am guessing it is something that I ate last night. I had 4 little pizza thingies that might have cause it, or the cheap fake mountain dew I drank. My body is rejecting it. :)

Friday, January 19, 2007

This is a post for props to our praise band at LEAD Ministries. Kyle has done a fantastic job with these kids and getting them to unlock the potential inside them. This was their first non-praise song with the group. They did a great job. I look forward to seeing and hearing more from them as they expand their library of music.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Upacking Your Bags - Cure for the Common Life

I love to hike. I really do. I don't do it as much as I would like but I try to as much as possible. Usually my family goes hiking on top of Mt. Eagle in TN. The hike is 2.5 miles in and out (5 miles round trip). I love this trip. The hike isn't too hard, the scenery is beautiful. There are streams and little creeks that flow, it goes along the ridge of a mountain, so you are overlooking more trees.

I remember I did this trip with some friends of mine. The trip itself was great but between the 3 of us, we brought way too much stuff. Our bags were pretty full and we only needed half of our stuff, but for some reason we brought it anyways. As I continue to go through the Max Lucado book "Cure for the Common Life", I realize that my bags were packed by God, and everything that is in them, is everything that I need to do what He has called me to. I don't have to carry around any junk with me, because He knows my purpose and has packaged me with the specific skill set to do that purpose. He delights in me doing what He has called me to do.

Last night I challenged my students to find their part in God STORY. In his book, Max looks at STORY like this:
S - What are my strengths? What am I good at, like to do?
T - What are my topics? What do I like to work with?
O - What are my optimal conditions? Do I work well under pressure or when things are slow?
R - What are my relationship? How do I relate to people? Am I an extrovert or introvert?
Y - Yes! What happens when they all come together.

Each of us has a place. Like puzzles pieces, we all fit into God's great story. He has prepackaged each of us to accomplish a goal for Him. Once we find our place, life is much better. Moses and Paul started their lives using their gifts for something other than God's plan, but God captured them and set them straight. Each man had a purpose and the gifts God gave them helped them to accomplish that. Moses lead God's people away from the Pharaoh he grew up with, and Paul went from being the church's biggest enemy to being its #1 missionary.

We are grilled as children, then teenagers, then young adults to look for the best job that pays the best money so we can be utterly happy. Most people who follow this thinking end up hating where they end up and then change their life. We need to start down the right road before we lose site of what is important. Our skills, our gifts when used properly bring glory to the God who gave them to us.

Psalms 139:15-16, "15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. "

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Last night Beth and I were going through some pictures because we wanted to fill the frames we have hanging on the wall with no pictures in them. We looked over many years of pictures. On our computer we have over 10,000 pictures that we have taken over the 12 years we have been married, plus we have scanned in a ton from when we were growing up. I enjoy looking at how I used to look over a decade ago. I was a lot thinner then... :( but anyways. I went through some pictures of my father and was printing some out to put in a frame dedicated to him.

This morning as I thought as I thought about those pictures and we ordered them from Wal-mart. I began to think about something a sermon that a pastor had given. He was talking about the Israelites and how when they crossed the Jordan River to go into the promised land, that Joshua had a member of each tribe of Judah to grab a rock and they made an alter when they finished crossing. This alter was a symbol to God for the Israelites to remember the things that He had done for them. As the pastor talked about this story, I began to think about all the other times that alters were made to God in order for His people to remember Him.

The pictures we take in our life are the same thing. As we look back across those events, or moments or times of struggles we remember the things that God has done for us. We might be viewing our wedding as the day God gave us our spouse. Or the photos from a family tragedy that took place and remembering what you have missed. Pictures do say a thousands words and sometimes we need to let them remind us of what God has done for us and be excited that he is working in our life.

What pictures or stones are you leaving in your life, that when people see them, they are reminded of how God is working in you?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Feeling like Christmas...

Do you remember that feeling that you have as a little kid? The night before Christmas and you couldn't sleep, you could hardly stay awake, you just wanted to stay up and wait for Santa and the presents and everything that goes on that morning. Sitting in your room, or pacing around the house, watching the minutes slowly tick by and wondering when morning would get there...

I am feeling that right now. God is really working in my life and there are some major changes on the horizon, but I am having to wait, and I am having to trust God and I am having to surrender my desires to what God's will in my life is. I can't control what is going on. I know that God is in charge and He is working in my life, but I can't do anything about it except wait. I have to wait on God and for some of the time, it is driving nuts. I am going crazy. I wish I could tell my mind to stop trying to think things out, but I am doing a lousy job at it.

Really makes me know that actions speak louder than words. I mean, I know that God is going to take care of me and I KNOW that He is going to move me to where I want to be, but in reality I am not able to put all my faith in Him to do it. I know that I am getting caught up in this. I truly do believe that God is going to take care of me, but my mind likes to wonder. I am impatient (aren't we all) when it comes to these things. We want our lives to map out the way WE want them to, not someone else. Not even God. Pray for me this Wednesday. I am going to be doing something that can change a lot in my life and I want it to go God's way (but my way also :) )

PARTING SHOT: You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Cure for the Common Life

If you didn't watch the video I posted earlier, then you might know what I am talking about. This month, I am leading my students through a book called "Cure for the Common Life" by Max Lucado. Max uses this book to try to help people understand the gifts we are given, why it pleases God when we do what He wants and how we can live beyond the common life that people tend to get tied up into.

I told my teens that I love what I do for pay. Being a bi-vocational pastor makes it really hard to focus on ministry when you have to focus on another 40 hour job also. Working at Emdeon is great. I love what I do, I love who I work with and the company treats me well. I could probably continue doing this job for many years if I so desired. BUT this isn't what God has called me to do.

I have been doing youth ministry off and on for the last 10 years. If you don't know, I have been at Covenant-Fellowship for the last 3+ years. I love the church, I love the people and I especially love the students. I know that sometimes they aren't what I want them to be or believe them to be, but they are great kids. Many of their lives are being changed and it is because of me, not that I am taking credit, but because God has put me in their lives and He has given me the skill set to help lead those students to a deeper commitment to Him and to help them find their skillset or "sweet spot" so that as they grow they can enjoy what they are doing.

So many of us take jobs because of the money or benefit package. Working in the corporate world and seeing/talking to people, I can tell you that money doesn't make the job easier. If you hate what you do, you can mask that with money but in the end you will become miserable and really hate what you do. God has given us a "sweet spot", an area in our lives that He designed especially for us. This spot is where we can excel at what we do. The Common Life is so common. If you have God in your life, there is nothing common about you and begin to focus on what gift He has given you and find your "sweet spot".

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Crossword - Jan. 10, 2007

Pastor Roy introduces the new sermon series on "Cure for the Common Life". A book written by Max Lucado that talks about finding and using the gifts God has given each person.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The World of Organization

People have said that ignorance is bliss, and I am truly behind it. If you are ignorant in how you spend your money, then you don't worry about where it is going, just when it is gone. If you are ignorant in how you raise your kids, you will sit and wonder what happened to them when they grow up. If we are ignorant in how we spend our time, we will be overwhelmed with what we don't get done. This has been a problem for me for a while. I like to be organized but can never find the right way to do it.

I have had organized both paper and electronic. I have a pda that never gets used (not like an organizer). So as life passed me by, so did some deadlines or things I wanted to do. So slowly I have begun to get myself more organized. Since most of my time is spent in front of a computer, I looked to online tools to help me. And being the Google fanatic that I am, I am using their personalized homepage to help keep things together. On the image below you will see my general layout. I have a few add-ons for Gmail (E-mail), Google Calendar, Remember the Milk (to-do list), my weather updates, My Google Documents (both document and spreadsheet), a Google Notebook (for storing misc information found on website, etc). By having this screen available to me whenever I get on a computer with internet access, it is very easy for me to see what I have coming in, what things I have to do and what things will be coming up.
I know this won't work for everyone but it does work for me, but in getting organized, I have found that I have soo much stuff to do, that I must keep on top of everything. I am known to put things off for later but have really begun to focus on getting things done when they are supposed to be. As humans, we do this all the time. Ignorance is bliss when it comes to sin and our salvation. So many in the world running around saying there is no God because they want to make themselves feel better and to be held accountable to no one. Who needs a Good when I can just deny his existence and live my life the way I want to. I, as a Christian, must continue to show people who God is, not always by talking to them but in the way I live my life and the things that I do or say.