Monday, June 29, 2009

The Truth

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Life Without Limbs

This is a video of a man named Nick Vujicic.  Check out what he has to say in this video.  Also, you can check out his website, Life Without Limbs.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


When selecting people to join your team, one of the primary characteristics you should look for is hunger. More specifically: a hunger to see God do the extraordinary as demonstrated by humility, sacrifice, and perseverance.  Sometimes an ounce of hunger is better than a pound of experience. Because a truly hungry leader will hunt for wisdom and experience until they find it.  And they’ll learn it by living it out rather than philosophizing and theorizing about it.

On the flipside, I’ve found that experience minus hunger equals arrogance and cynicism. Statements like: 
“But we’ve always…” 
“But we’ve never…” and 
“Why should we bother to…” are a sure sign that the hunger isn’t there anymore. You can’t stay hungry when you’re full of yourself.

Jesus seemed to use this idea in his team selection process. Peter wasn’t diplomatic…but he was hungry. (A little too hungry?) Matthew’s profession wasn’t popular with the people, but he was hungry to make a difference. Thomas wasn’t always sure…but he was hungry to search for truth.

Check the references.  Value the experience.  And certainly validate the character. But don’t forget about the secret ingredient called hunger. It covers a multitude of incompetency.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I Think I'm Gay

In his book, Love is an Orientation, Andrew Marin wrote that nearly 86 percent of gays and lesbians state that they were raised in a denominationally based Christian church from ages zero to 18.  Marin also shows that 73 percent of homosexuals leave church once they “come out”.  

When asked what would influence them to return to the church, respondents indicated the following:

  • 62% - Nothing
  • 18% - Patience and time
  • 7% - Religious community showing a “non-judgmental environment”
  • 2% - Support of family/friends
  • 2% - Feeling “God’s love”
  • 1% - If they were able to understand the teachings
Additional research has shown that the average age for experiences initial feelings of same-sex attraction is around 13.  What can we do with the knowledge that some of our students are discovering these feelings while they’re in our middle and high school ministries?

1. Be Okay With Tension.  Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “I must confess that I am not afraid of the word tension. I have earnestly opposed violent tension my whole life, but there is a type of constructive, non-violent tension which is necessary for growth.”  Such tension could be something that we’re not used to dealing with in our ministries, especially when it comes to the subject of someone struggling with being gay. But we have Jesus to look toward as our greatest example of one who dealt with tension with both love and conviction. Jesus always reached out with compassion to the sinning person without validating (and sometimes not even mentioning) the sinful action. We see evidence of this in accounts such as the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11), the woman who was married to five men (John 4:7-30), and the tax collector who wished to get a closer look at Jesus (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus showed these people unconditional, non-condemning love in a way that made them desire know him more.

2. Authentically Listen.  The most essential part of a two-way conversation is listening — which is a problem for us youth workers, as we often tend to talk too much.  Over time I’ve learned that transformation didn’t happen in those kids regurgitating the correct responses but rather in the ones to whom I truly listened about what was going on in their lives. When we listen, we help prevent our students from hiding their problems, doubts, struggles, and questions.

3. Ask The Right Questions.  When we look at how Jesus communicated throughout the Gospels, we see that many times he was asked close-ended questions but gave open-ended responses.  In fact, he only responded to closed questions three times with straightforward answers to Pontius Pilate at the end of his ministry.  Rather, when asked for his opinion, he usually refrained from giving a direct here’s-what-my-teaching-is-and-what-you-should-be-thinking answer. He often changed the conversation by reframing the question and asking his conversation partner a question in return. In this way, Jesus walked people through the process so that there was ownership in their following because he elevated the conversation.  When it comes to talking with kids about being gay, we should have the same goal.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Messy Olympics 2009

Here's a look at what we did yesterday during Messy Olympics.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sermon Series

New Sermon Series coming up in June/July at Schweitzer UMC.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Love like a Hurricane

“How he loves us so.” I was singing How He Loves Us in the car last night, and I don’t think ill ever get over the words to that song. A line struck me last night that added to the weight on my heart. “Loves like a hurricane…” I must bank on and fall back on knowing the Father’s love MORE. Easier said then done so many times. It’s like a hurricane, so the song says…

A hurricane is powerful. A hurricane is specific in development and nature, it has purpose. A hurricane is ordered chaos in so many ways. A hurricane leaves an undeniable trail or mark of it’s presence. A hurricane changes whatever it touches permanently. A hurricane doesn’t make sense to those it’s affected, it’s hard to grasp.

So often when situations in our lives require great faith, it might feel like a hurricane…It’s painful, it’s powerful, hard to understand, never leaves us the same. Lord, might you increase my faith as I know you more. Will you wreck the hearts in Springfield like a hurricane, leaving them desiring nothing but you? Yes. Might I find joy in being a part of your hurricane. Bringing love.

Do you see Him as a hurricane? He wants to “wreck” you. He wants your path to be specific and full of purpose. He wants those around you to be caught up in it even though at times, it might not make sense. It is good. He’s not SAFE, but He’s GOOD.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Did You Know?