Monthly Archives: May 2012

Compared to Jesus as a Servant, I’m an Ant

Honestly, I can’t even call myself a servant.  More like an ant.  Compared to Jesus Christ, who would wash the feet of the men who would abandon, deny, and betray Him.  Jesus, who died a painful, torturous death for his enemies.  Jesus, who constantly gave himself for those that were cast from society, the poor, the sick, and the needy.  Let’s just do a little comparison.

  1. Jesus:  Washed the feet of men who abandoned him, denied him, and betrayed him.  Me:  I have never washed anyone’s feet besides my wife’s.  Wash the feet of those that betray me?  Jesus wins this one by a landslide.
  2. Jesus:  Died a tortuous death for his enemies.  Me:  Let’s just throw the dying for enemeies out the window and start with – do I love my enemies?  The community, my neighbors, and fans of rival sports teams…they all need God’s love.
  3. Jesus:  Served the sick, poor, and needy.  Me:  Wow.  Boy, do I again fall short.  It’s time I open my eyes to those in need around me, and be a servant to those that are in need, and show Christ’s love.

So you can see why I’m just an ANT, or maybe I’m more like an AIN’T.  God is teaching me about service, and I sure have a long way to go, but I’m glad I have a Savior’s example of how to serve.

What about you?  If your service to others on a daily basis was judged like a waitress at Bob Evans, would you still have a job?  I tell ya, I would probably be told to go wash dishes.  It may start with taking your judgmental glasses off.  You may need to be okay with some un-noticed, behind-the-scenes, dirty work.  You have to start somewhere…even if it is doing some yard work for the elderly couple on the corner, or serving in nursery at church, or writing someone a thank you note every week…it’s time we start being a servant to others.  Remember, Christ + IAN = Christian.  So, without Christ, I Am Nothing.  It’s time we serve like Christ did.  Instead of being just an ANT or an AIN’T, it’s time to be a SERVANT.

 

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10 Teen Culture Thoughts – Found in a Survey I Gave To My Students

I recently gave a survey that included questions about teen culture, media, and worldview.  The questions are below, but I thought I would share what I found first.  Here are 10 thoughts and reflections from the survey:

1. Hunger Games is famous, but you probably already knew that.  I personally would much rather see Avengers 3 times. 

2. Movie likes are all over the place.  There’s a reason why that and video games can stay constant even in a depressed economy…teenagers love them!

3. Hanging with friends is a priority in many categories.

4. NCIS is the most popular TV show…but why?

5. Magazines apparently are on the way OUT! 90% said they don’t read them.

6. Very little mention of spiritual things.  There is some spiritual aspects such as:  Christian music (multiple times), salvation (once), and heaven (once), but it doesn’t seem to come to mind first.  That’s a concern.

7. Most teenagers do not like drama – they want to avoid getting yelled at, confrontation, and people making fun of them.

8. Reading – There are still readers out there.

9. Interesting to see the top career choices were:  teacher, ministry, engineer, and military.  Not too shabby.

10.Mission Trip made the list of favorite memories behind sports memories and family/friends memories.  Shows the impact these trips can have!

 

Here are the questions I used (from re:View series – produced by Cedarville University):

What are your favorite musical groups? Name a song that is popular at school.
What are some of your favorite movies? Favorite in the last month?
What are some of your favorite things to do in your free time?
What makes you the most angry?
What are the best memories of your life so far?
In a day in the life of of “you,” what would have to happen to make it a “10”?
In 20 years, where or what do you want to be?
What magazines do you subscribe to? Which ones do you occasionally buy?
What are some of your favorite books? Name a book that is popular today.
What are some of your favorite TV shows? Which show is the most popular at school?

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Gospel Invitation…invite or not invite, that is the question

Let me do a little prefacing here.  I am all for the gospel, sharing the gospel, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in hearts, and allowing that response to happen.  However, I have seen many articles and books written lately on the following:

  1. Luke-warm Faith – Crazy Love, Not a Fan, Radical…all are speaking against the luke-warm faith.  These happen to be 3 of my favorite books, and they do a great job at convicting the lackadaisical Christian, if there is such a thing.
  2. Easy-Believism – There is a growing worry in evangelical circles that easy-believism is easily-a-problem.  I’m on board here.  It’s not a simple prayer and your saved…it’s a…more on that later.
  3. Christian-ese – Be careful using words like “ask Jesus in your heart” or “saved”

(Examples of these articles can be found here, here, and here.)

So what is the solution to the problem.  One of my biggest fears is allowing someone to believe they are a son or daughter of God…and they get to heaven and get “Depart from me, I never knew you”.  That scares me to death…and I believe that is a healthy fear.  But what do we, as youth pastors, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, and parents do or not do in our Gospel invitations.  Well, I may not have all the answers, but here is a start:

  1. Don’t Be Their Assurance – It is not your job to be their assurance.  So it does no good to say “If you said that prayer, then you are a Christian”.  Sorry, but you don’t have that right to say that.  Only God knows their heart.  But you can point them to verses like John 5:24, I John 5:13,  or John 10:28-29 to find their assurance in their great God!
  2. Don’t do the Raise Your Hand Thing – Listen, I’m okay with raising your hand if you made a decision…but DON’T STOP THERE.  Provide counselors or small group leaders to follow up.  Follow up with the decision, make sure they understand, and welcome them into the family of God with instruction, guidance, and a new Bible.  Provide them with someone they can meet with on a weekly basis to go over the first steps of faith.
  3. Don’t Be Ashamed of The Gospel – The gospel is offensive.  You are telling people they are sinners and their ultimate destination is hell if they don’t do something about it.  Now, I don’t suggest opening your message with that statement, but don’t tiptoe around it either.
  4. Let Jesus be the Main Character -I recently shared a gospel message with about 70 students.  I asked some of my students the next week how the conversations were going with their friends.  One said they have had several spiritual conversations at the lunch table.  YES!  Another said his friends thought I was really funny.  NOOOOOO!  Illustrations, humor, and engaging the audience are good…but don’t let it get in the way of the star…Jesus Christ.
  5. Remember Your Job – Your job is to the set the table.  Don’t force people to say a prayer and see how many did so you can feel like it is a success.  Salvation is a life-long, life-surrendering, life-altering commitment of trust and faith in Jesus Christ.  It’s not just a prayer!  So, give them the gospel, sow the seed, and let Holy Spirit do a work in their hearts.

This is something that God has been convicting the snot out of me.  The Gospel is the best news anyone will hear in their entire life, and I don’t want to screw it up.  These are some lessons I have learned along the way…I would LOVE to hear what God has taught you.

 

 

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With many of my friends and family having babies, I posted this on Facebook earlier this week, thought it would be good to re-blog.

Giving Future Faith to our Faith Future

Here are the things you need to know when your wife has a baby…this is for your piece of mind and for your safety.

  1. Do EVERYTHING your wife tells you to do.  If she needs ice chips, get her ice chips.  Can’t find ice chips, unacceptable.  I don’t care if you have to chisel some from a glacier north of Newfoundland…you get ice chips.
  2. Start doing finger exercises now.  Why?  Because when your wife is squeezing the life out of your hands, strength in those fingers is paramount.  As your fingers de-shrivel, you will thank me for the dexterity you built up over the next few weeks.
  3. If ten minutes has gone by without you telling your wife she has done a good job, you have failed.  You will never experience the pain she is feeling in your lifetime, so put your encouraging pants on now and never take them…

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