Psalm 16:5

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

God's Warth is Coming... Are You Ready?

You had better listen to the words of Jesus, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter, but he that does the will of my father in heaven.” If ye by the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live. If you live after the flesh, you’ll die! The cross does not give us a minor shift or two with regard to a few of our ethical and religious values. The cross radically disrupts the very center and citadel of your life from self to Christ. And if the cross has not done that, YOU’RE NOT A CHRISTIAN! My Friend face it, young rogue, you’re not a Christian until the cross has radically disrupted the very center and citadel of your life! And brought you from a life of commitment to serve self…What are the focal points of the reign of your self? If you’ve gone to the cross in union with Christ, it’s been shattered!"
- Al Martin

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Youth Ministry in the Days of the Apostles....

I found an interesting blog post some time ago talking about modern youth ministry's money hungry habits. He made some interesting comments:
Can we have $$-less youth group?

If so, what would it look like?

I wonder if we have succumbed so much to the marketing and materialistic side of culture that we have forgotten what youth ministry is all about!....

Have we set ourselves up to be completely dependent on the dollar? 

Does our economy dictate our youth ministry structure? Should it?

Listen, I am to blame on this one. I had a summer calendar full of days trips, service project weeks, movie nights, mini-golf, etc.

Almost every single event cost money. Even the activities we do at the church, while they may not cost our students money, take a toll on my youth budget. But the elders don't mind because it gets students here and so it is money well-spent. Or is it?

In the course of an average year, if a student were to participate in every event we offer, they would probably have to shell out between $1,000-$2,000. But parents don't mind since the price of golf memberships here run $30,000 or more, with $5,000 annual fees. “A few grand to keep my kid involved in church is a great deal,” they would say.

Now for students who cannot afford it, we offer scholarships to ensure that every single student can go if they want to. But again, everything revolves around money (and in a sense entertainment)

I realize this is where our culture is, and I do believe in embracing culture. But I also believe in the power of Jesus to transform culture in areas that are counter-biblical.

It appears to me in the books of Acts that monies collected in the early church went directly to help the widows and orphans and to feed the hungry. At some point, even Paul argues, that those who do the Lord's work should receive money for it so they don't have to work elsewhere. But I wonder where in the history of Christianity did the tithe money go towards funding students’ boat trips on the Sea of Galilee, their ski trip to Sinai, and purchasing the latest lights to trick out the synagogue’s teen room?

Read more here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Year Ago in October

I went to God's Country... Colorado! One of my favorite states in the Union (maybe CSA some day).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's Been 2 Years...

It is hard for me to believe, but 2 years ago Monday, I arrived in Plymouth, MA having left two days previously from Goshen, IN where I had lived the previous 21 years. It was the first time I had ever made a trip alone and the first time I had ever lived on my own. It was the start of an amazing journey through which the Lord would bring much sanctification and start to really make a man out of me. Now, just two years later, I work for a national ministry to the church of Jesus Christ, I live south of the Mason-Dixon Line (in general, that is a plus), I have a house to live in, I host people on a regular basis for diner, and, in general. I live a life fully integrated with my (truly) local church, something I had never done before. I have been able to get to know families from coast to coast and border to border, attend some of the best family-integrated churches in the United States, and interact with church leaders and influential homeschool leaders from around the country. I've learned many new skills as well, from coding to graphic design, from editing books to editing audio, from customer service to conference operation, from managing a house to cooking.

All these have worked mightily in sanctifying me and bringing me closer to Christ. It has allowed me to see the hand of God work in very personal ways, to see miracles take place, to see the gospel preached to the lost, to see the love of Christ change hearts.

Well, one last thing before I go: I made it to 30,000 miles on my gps odometer about a week and a half ago (when I drove to Greenville, SC to visit a good friend who was in a hospital there), all in less than two years. Unlike the previous times, I actually missed getting a picture of the rollover because I was driving at night in pouring rain. Oh well.
With a moving average speed of 40 miles an hour, that is a driving time of 750 hours, or 31.25 days on the road driving. Praise the Lord - that's 31 days of driving on trips with no accidents or speeding tickets. Further, that doesn't include the thousands of miles I have driven just in my regular driving - also without accidents (save a deer I smashed) or tickets. Add to that the many trips I have taken without the GPS and the Lord has really been gracious in protecting me from the many, many times I could have easily been injured or killed.

To God be the glory, great things He has done.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Episcopal vs. the Baptist

I found the following on a website and got a good laugh out of it.
I love the old story about the Episcopal Priest and the Baptist Pastor who were very good friends and decided to have a ‘friendly’ debate on the subject in front of the gathered congregations. The only rule was that each debater could only use Scripture quotes. The Priest went first and said, “Suffer the little children to come to me and forbid them not.” The Baptist then rose and said ferociously, “Og, King of Bashan and all his hordes!” The Priest looked at his colleague incredulously and asked, “What does that verse have to do with baptism?” “About as much as yours did,” replied the Baptist.