Monday, December 3, 2012
John 3:16 God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...
So many times we have heard this scripture so many times it is almost like it has induced a "lullaby effect". We don't even realize the impact of the words of that verse. We have heard the scripture so many times that now we have a response like this... "Yeah yeah I know that scripture." In fact many of you as you were reading and you saw that verse you skipped over it and went to what I was going to say next (caught you didn't I).
It is almost as though we are coming into a conversation in John that we don't fully understand what is being discussed. To fully understand what John is penning in this verse you have to go to the beginning of the conversation in Genesis.
In the beginning God created the world all the rivers, stars, fields, oceans and then He wanted someone to enjoy it all with so He created man. Finally He had someone to enjoy all creation with. Everything God had done to this point was for the enjoyment of mankind and Him. So we see here in the first chapters of the Bible that God delighted in nothing more than being able to walk with man in the cool of the day. He loved talking to Adam and Eve. He liked hearing about their day and sharing in their experiences.
Genesis chapter 3 we see the devil then tempts eve in verses 2-5. Here he makes her question if God really loved her. If what God was telling her was truth... If maybe perhaps he was indeed with holding something good from her. He was telling her a lie to test what she knew up to that point.
Behind every lie there is a TRUTH longing to be revealed.
We all know the story. Eve believed that lie that day. It is a lie that is echoed in so many peoples hearts even today.
Does God really love me?
Does He have my best interests at heart?
Sin had entered mankind at that moment and God had to send them out of their perfect home...Into a world without Him. The rest of the old testament is all full of stories about God trying to get his people back into relationship with Him. It is the greatest love story ever told. It is about armies being defeated, waters being parted, kings being dethroned and so much more just so God could have His people back.
God longed for nothing more than to be with His people again.....In understanding the beginning now you can understand what John was saying...
John 3:16.... God so loved that HE GAVE His ONLY SON....
For the first time we see God back in flesh walking with His people again. This miracle hadn't happened since the garden before sin had entered. And now we see God being reunited with the people He loved so much.
What is Christmas all about?
It is about a relationship being restored between a Creator and His creation. It is all about a God that loves so much that He stopped at nothing just so He could be with you and me.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Every summer we do our high school internship. We believe in ministry leadership and discipleship is caught more than taught. So in the summer we give 7 weeks to pour into teenagers. They spend nearly every waking moment doing what we do. By the end of the summer it is amazing how much they change and develop as Christians and even more as leaders in their generation. The passion that me and Bryan have becomes their passion and their view of the church and life changes drastically.
Still the question often remains....Why am I a youth pastor?
This Tuesday our high school interns each preached a message. It was so powerful. As I watched them preach I began to realize this is why we do what we do....
Ministry really is not about lights, games, events or retreats. It isn't about being trendy, edgy or crazy. It is about only two things:
1. Giving them roots
2. Giving them wings
So many times as a youth pastor I have never truly gotten it. I thought it was about being the best out there or making sure it was fun. I more convinced than ever that it is about providing a place where they get roots. Where they find out what they believe and why they believe it. We as a church must be sure that we aren't preaching good ideas but that they are learning what the Word of God says about their life. I want them to know not what I think, but what God thinks about them and their life. That is what makes all the difference. It is the truth you believe that liberates and sets you free. To establish good roots we must have an environment of love. I am old school enough to believe that you can change any persons life by loving them where they are. Everyone already knows what they aren't. They knew their short comings before walking into a church. They need us to remind them WHO they ARE in CHRIST. When they realize this their roots will begin to grow.
Ephesians 3:17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong
Secondly we must be a place that we let them have wings. Let them do what God has called them to do. A leader once equipped if they aren't released into their purpose becomes frustrated. We must provide an environment where they are able to do what God has called them to do. Whatever that may look like my job as their pastor is to facilitate that and encourage them in their gifting. I love what my Pastor has always taught me: "Leadership is easy it is providing an environment where people believe nothing is impossible and that they can do anything. It is also providing a place that if they do fail we help them get back up again." Jesus has called us not to be just hearers only but also doers of the word. For that to happen I have to make sure they have wings as well as roots. I love the story in the Bible in Mark 6 where Jesus sent them out and the Bible tells us that many came back telling of all that happened. Make sure in your church that you teach the word, but that you also are sending them out to do what God has called them to do.
Last night I watched them preach and my heart was so full. Success in ministry IS NOT big numbers. It isn't having great events. It isn't being well known. It is watching your students go from sitting in a pew and learning to now being able to teach what they themselves know to be the truth. This is why I am a youth pastor.....To watch a generation answer a call that has been sent to them sense the foundations of the earth. To watch them rise to their God given potential.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
You can only hear someone’s voice if they are close enough to you. So many times we keep people close to us that are our enemies. We feel discouraged and defeated because we are listening to the wrong voice.
So much of our decisions we make are determined by the voices that we listen to. One voice echoes that we won’t make it. One says that you are more than able.
Success is a choice.
So is defeat….
You can stop doing what you are doing, but that means the enemy wins.
I love the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8). Jesus told the people that were against her that he who is without sin cast the first stone. No one threw a stone…in fact we know the story they all began to walk away one by one. Yet she still stood there before Him.
Until it was just her…and the maker of the Universe…Jesus.
God’s love for you will outlast your accusers. She never defended herself, not one time. She just continued to stand and let Jesus speak for her.
Let me tell you something. God’s word will outlast the people that say you can’t make it. God’s word will out last your failures. You don’t have to have all the answers. All you have to do to win is just stand, and let Jesus come to your defense. Before you know it all the people that were against you will be gone.
Some might say the woman caught in adultery got lucky that day, but she received the Grace because she stood. She stood when others told her to run away. In life there is no such thing as luck. What the world calls luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
Just keep standing.
Success is a choice…..Not a right.