Monday, December 21, 2009

Donald Whitney Giveaway

You need to take the time and go through the steps. A chance for one book from Donald Whitney is worth it!

Donald Whitney Giveaway

And you'll get to subscribe to a useful blog.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Tears of the Saints

So Shall It Be

Stand and lift your heads
Redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28)
The armies of heaven
Are riding in the air (Revelations 19:14)

Look into the clouds
Every eye will see
Christ coming down
So shall it be (Revelations 1:7)

Like lightning through the skyEveryone will know (Matthew 24:27)
Jesus is alive
And reigns forevermore

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Praise be to the savior
Praise be to the king
Who conquered death and sorrow
And made our hearts to sing

Thanks Mark for coming to Hope Church. I hope we were able to be a blessing to you. You certainly encouraged me and blessed me.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Frustration with Current Youth Ministry

I was at the Gospel Coalition a couple of months back. Lots of pastor's who love the Gospel; the incarnation, the sinless life of Jesus and his obedience to death on a cross as a penal substitution for our sins, His resurrection that triumphed over death and the grave and the fact that He is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf and that He will return again as King.That Gospel. Anyway, I met a few youth pastors, this is not a blog about them.

I felt a little bit like an outsider at this conference, although I was in a good percentage of the age bracket of those in attendance. Being in youth ministry and being a Calvinist (yeah I said it), proposes all kinds of challenges. Mainly because deep thinking and theology (of that kind) are not held in high regard within most youth ministry circles and the trendiness of youth ministry things are not looked at favorably among those who run in the "Gospel Coalition" circles. It seems to me that there are not very many Calvinistic/reformed leadership in the area of popular youth ministry. I have trouble bringing the world of Keller, Carson and Piper (for example) into youth ministry. I long for youth ministry to feel the weight of the Glory of God. And at the same time I feel like I don't have time to play around. Am I stretching my calling or do i need to suck it up and play a game or two?

I love to preach God's Word. I purposefully use the word preach because "teach" is not what I mean. I think there is an unspoken expectation in youth ministry to "teach" youth God's Word but don't preach to them. I have been "preaching" angrily on Sunday nights. My wife said that I have been saying, "you should" do this or that more than I have been salting my speech with grace. Some of that I admit was coming from a place of authority to call them to purity and accountability. But I wonder if sometimes I am too hard or bring heat when I should bring light.

This is my frustration: That there is the expectation that youth ministry should be fun and trivial and that young people cannot handle hard truths and commands from Scripture and meanwhile they are leaving our churches.

I am thinking out loud. Any thoughts?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mission: Jacksonville

Our summer mission team went to Jacksonville, Florida again this year. The green house on 24th and Pearl has housed us for another week. We had a few new faces and some familiar ones on our journey this year. Teresa, Alex, Jacob, Jarred and Abby were all new to the urban exchange.

Expectations were high this year as most were repeat missionaries. However, some things were not as clear as I thought they were. Cultural faux pas aside, we didn't submerge ourselves into the experience as much as I would have liked.

We did have some new tasks put upon us this year. As we took on a week of summer day camp. Learning to sing "Jambo" Swahili for "hello", and be ultra enthusiastic about it was a challenge. All of us were assigned different age groups of kids. Ages were from pre-K to maybe the 4th grade. Kimberly, Zach and Matthew had the youngest and largest group. They were amazing with them. Jessica, Alex and I were assigned the next group which had mostly boys. By day 2 I was ready to switch out with Teresa, who was way better at teaching and dealing with the youngsters than I was. I was a grumpy gus most of the week (more about that later). The next group had Andrew, Abby and our new friend, second mile intern, Harin as the leaders. The next group had Jarred, and another new friend, Nic (intern) as the leaders. The last and oldest group had Jamie and (thanks for praying) Ross as their leaders. Ross had his hands full as his group was made up entirely of pre-pubescent girls. He had his hair "did" differently every day.

We sang songs under the leadership of an intern; John. John did an amazing job with the help of his sound man, Garret and his "Hype-man" Jamal. John lead the songs and bible story times. Our group did a skit and they asked me to share the story of Jesus death and resurrection with the kids. John did a better job relating to the little kids than I did. I am positive that I over complicated the communication. But never the less the Gospel was clear to kids that week.

We had fun with the recreation. After Teresa relieved me from my group, I took her job as snack coordinator, something that is more my expertise. I had a great helper in Bekah. Jacob was on water duty, as he set up coolers of ice water for everyday. He did an excellent job getting the most important thing of the day ready to go.

We had devotional and learning times in the mornings. I am not sure what our students got out of it (as I write this I have not been able to debrief anybody), but I was overwhelmed again at how blind I am at injustice and taking care of the poor. I don't mean giving the poor a hand out, I mean being conscience of how I can help. There are already exsisting agencies that could use my time and my presence.

It was hot. The guys slept upstairs in what some dubbed as Sheol. We had a few fans, but it was just to push the hot air around. I would literally wake up because my pillow was soaked with my sweat. I only say this because I know that there are houses in that neighborhood that do not even have fans. It was difficult to get a good nights sleep. I was usually the first one up because I longed to take a cold shower and was awake from the pool I called a pillow. We made it through though. We really had no complaints. Mostly just jokes surrounding the utter hotness that was the upstairs.

I was angry in the flesh because of the lack of good sleep and I sinned with that anger as I let it corrupt my spirit. I was quickly irritated by some of the students actions and I let it get to me. I said some things I shouldn't. And to not let the devil get another foot hold, just know that I repented and asked specific students for their forgiveness. I don't make excuses, I sinned and needed to repent. 'Nuff said.

Jacksonville was different and the same this year. Familiar friends and yet we had other tasks and different assignments. And yet once again we came believing we were bringing the Gospel and God showed me again that it is I who is in need of the Gospel, still. I need the crucified Christ because I am a sinner. And I need to realize his resurrection has now made me a Saint that has the hope of the world, Jesus, living inside of him. I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


My good friend Dale recently posted on his blog a quote I sent him by Joshua Harris at the Gospel Coalition. The quote was: "The local church is not to abandon the mission, but it's the vehicle for the mission"

So I asked, "what kind of vehicle are we?" I am not sure that this is even the right question to be asking. However, Dale does an excellent job of answering the question based on the cars in his parking lot at work. I am going to cheat a bit and use google. So here is my response to Dale using some of his categories.

The vehicle I am stuck in a lot:

Notice how it says "Lazy Daze" on the front.

But, Dale is right, I too have a lot going on and maybe I am not stuck in a dumb daze so maybe I am more like this:

Fast and "office" oriented but really just going in circles.

God has not called us to zoom past life or drive in circles. We are designed for so much more. However, this is how I think the world sees my love for God:

A crappy hatchback that you don't want to sit in because you'll get burnt. And it is foreign to people.

At times I wish that people would see me and the church
like this:

Trendy, American, Cool, Sleek,on the Cutting Edge.

We spend a lot of time and effort trying to be like this vehicle:

We (I) try to get "Back to the Future"; meaning that I am constantly wanting things about Church to either fast forward, get present or even sometimes get ancient.

However, the truth is that we need to be like these vehicles consistently:

Pray for us. Pray that we will recognize that we need to live an Emergency/War-time lifestyle. We are at war.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where Did February and March go?

Okay so I have had several blog ideas and have failed to write about them. And I am cautious because I know who actually reads this silly thing. SO I will be bold and try to write some things.

Song that is messing me up:

Scripture that is equally messing me up:

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

5And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

Revelation 21:1-8

I am cowardly, faithless, detestable, a murderer, sexually immoral, a sorcerer, an idolater, and a liar. But praise Jesus that He is not and He has redeemed me and he sings over me. Jesus saves me from those things and calls me His own. Which is why I am thankful for Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 6:11 - And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Monday is for Music

Youth Ministry

I am a youth pastor. I haven't written about it on my blog. Tonight (January 4th) at youth group, I found myself in an optimistic mood. After all it was the new year. We were light in number but we were a talkative bunch. I love these students as I have loved my former youth. I am excited about this year. I am resolved to study and pray harder for them. It is my hope that the Holy Spirit will infuse them with passion and heart. I am thankful for another year to teach the Scriptures in hope that the Word will change lives. May Jesus ruin our lives again this year!