This past weekend we had an opportunity to join up another ministry in our area to support efforts to provide fresh drinking water to the residents of Flint, Michigan.
What an honor, to come to the aid of thousands of individuals who have received the short end of the stick due to the gross neglect by the powers at be.
As a small church plant, I knew good and well that we would not be able to supply 1 million bottles of water or maybe even a fraction of that in one weekend. I mean we could, but it was unlikely.
Should that have stopped us? Absolutely not.
I remember when I worked as a youth pastor; the most exciting part of the job was to see students “get it.” What I mean is that I saw the light bulb turn on in their head (at least figuratively speaking). They believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. They wanted to honor Jesus with their lives. But they were scared to death to be baptized. This does not only happen to students.
Baptism is an important part of being a Christian.
The other day I received some really bad news about my oldest son. Okay maybe I am exaggerating a bit--it wasn’t that bad.
But for a father to hear of his son's misbehavior at school, it did take me back. I was incredibly disappointed and quite upset. I had taught my son better than this. I knew this situation had to be addressed and it wasn’t going to go well for him. I sent him off to my bedroom allowing myself some time to cool down.
I was talking to someone who shared his thoughts on the problem of co-mingling spirituality and reality. In his opinion, there has to be a separation between the two. Meaning, as Christians, there are times we need to separate God and our faith from necessary “real life” situations we find ourselves in. Solomon’s Wisdom His rationale was Solomon. According to him, the Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes proved that Solomon, a writer in both books, should be our example of separating God from the realities of everyday life. In his opinion, Solomon’s wisdom, that allowed him to give practical advice, took account of reality outside of faith and spirituality.
In an effort to keep you from reading all morning, afternoon, or evening (depending on what time you’re reading this), I won’t spend too much time explaining why his assumptions are way off.
As kids we are taught to treat people the way we want to be treated–the golden rule. If you were a teenager or young adult, how would you want to be treated? With respect? Yes. With loving care? Most definitely!
The reason why these two stick out the most to me is because I benefited greatly from individuals who I respected and treated me with respect and loving care.
Studies show that young people fall for the social ills like drugs, promiscuity, and other damaging behaviors because they’re desperately yearning for respect and to feel cared for.
This past year has been incredible to say the least. Almost one year ago we started preview services at Freedom Community Church. This was only step one. These preview services were monthly. It was a time for a group of diverse individuals who barely knew each other to begin to dream. Many of the individuals putting together these monthly gatherings had known each other less than 6 months.
But we had a dream--to raise up a faith community that had one simple mission: to lead people to freedom in Jesus.
Before I even provide any context, let me open with this: you don't need any permission. I repeat, you do not need any permission. I had a pretty deep conversation with someone the other day about how they feel stuck in a rut. This individual feels, no... this individual knows, there is something out there for them and though they see it and even feel it, they believe it's out of their reach.
I immediately felt for them. I've been there. Sadly enough, I still fall into that pit of negative thinking at times.
You know the feeling...
I sat in the church pew at VBS, telling a friend that all she had to do to be saved was to “go to the alter and pray.” I felt bold and confident. Then, I felt scared. Terrified. I realized that I, too, needed to pray. I needed salvation.
I was eleven years old, and I didn’t really know what I needed to be “saved” from, but I knew that I needed to move. So I moved. I prayed with a VBS volunteer and cried as I asked Jesus into my heart.
I’ve been meditating on this scripture this week as I have been exploring ways to be more like Jesus in my home with my children. As they become more aware of my actions and my attitudes, I want to be sure and set an example that is pleasing to Jesus. I also want my children to know that it’s because of Jesus that I am choosing different behaviors and attitudes.
Ask God, and He provides, right? Right.
For interested parties, here's a video of us doing church announcements a few months back (stay tuned for the bloopers and you will quickly realize that we are much better as unscripted speakers!).
Anyway, [one] Sunday we had a guest pastor, Robert Trice, who spoke on what he would preach if it were his last message.
Without getting too philosophical, it got me to thinking.
What's keeping you from reaching your true God-given potential? Scripture says this, "Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
We talk about legacy at Freedom and what it means to leave something positive behind for our family, our community, and our world.
How excited do you get when you hear a story about a young person being the first in their family to graduate? Or a non-profit celebrating an anniversary of helping people for "X" number of years? Or a country gaining precious freedom from oppression?
I've been doing some soul searching over the past few weeks. Because, if I am honest, I've not been as motivated to pursue greater in many areas of my work like I’ve done in the past.
Have you ever been there? Those times that you feel as though you've lost your mojo? Where you feel like you are maintaining and not thriving?
It might be that you are suffering from a bout of the "complacency virus". It's an annoying little bug that creeps in and before you know it, it's affected your work, your life and your spiritual growth.