Monthly Archives: July 2013

Book Review: O Me of Little Faith

The Book:  “O Me of Little Faith” by Jason Boyett

O Me of Little FaithThe Good:  Perfect introduction to the subject at hand.  Doubt and weak faith is a difficult subject, but the author drew me into it like a pro in the first couple chapters.  You have to read the story about the bench-press.  It had me rolling.  But the “best good” of this book is the honesty.  Without honesty, this book would fall apart.  The author was willing to be transparent in a subject that is not often talked about, doubt.  According to Sticky Faith curriculum, research shows that in high school, 70% of students doubt their faith, but fewer than half actually talk about those doubts with a pastor, other adult, or other students in their youth ministry.  There is a disconnect of those that have doubts, insecurity, or loss of faith and the discussion that happen as a result of those things.  This book helps bring those issues to the surface.  Other things worth the price of admission:  Chapter 8 baptism story is absolutely precious (don’t use the word precious often, but it applies and is a must read.  Also, a must read, ALL of chapter 9.

The Bad:  The author has a weak view on prayer and it shows throughout.  While I appreciate the honesty, I’m not on the same page.  Also, liturgy in chapter 5 was a little over emphasized for my liking.  This is a dangerous book for those new in their faith.  I would recommend this book for those that are weak in their faith after a substantial time in the faith.  I would hate for this book to be given to a new believer only to have their faith crushed before it could bloom.  Finally, the sarcasm can get to be too much where the book is almost trying to convince the reader to have doubt in a certain area.

The Grade:  B-

I absolutely loved the author’s style, approach, and honesty.  However, it offers little closure to the reader and often chooses sarcasm over solution.  There are portions of this book that are a must read (like chapter 9), but there are reasons for a B grade.

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Texting Kills More Teen Drivers Than Drinking

This is getting out of hand.  If you didn’t realize, automobile accidents are the #1 cause of death to teenagers.  Now we know the main cause of these deaths is now texting.  Please have a conversation with your teenage drivers about the seriousness of texting in driving…and maybe have that same conversation with yourself. Image

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Top 10 Youth or Student Ministry Books

Here are a few that I would recommend (put in order of my favorites):

  1. Family Based Youth Ministryby Mark DeVries (My youth pastor growing up had me read this.  It redefined for me the role of the youth pastor, and my philosophy was forever changed.)
  2. The Greenhouse Projectby Mel Walker & Mike Calhoun (A collection of writings from some of my favorite people in youth ministry)
  3. Youth Ministry Management Tools (This book is awesome as a resource.  Not for simple reading, but will help you with administration – planning events, budget, team-building, etc.)
  4. Purpose Driven Youth Ministryby Doug Fields (Classic that reshaped youth ministry to what it is today, in a good way)
  5. Shaping the Spiritual Life of Studentsby Richard Dunn (One of the first youth ministry books I read, and loved the insight of walking along students in their lives)
  6. Pushing the Limitsby Mel Walker
  7. Sustainable Youth Ministryby Mark DeVries (One of my prayers is longevity in ministry, this book will help)
  8. ReThinkby Steve Wright
  9. Controlled Chaosby Kurt Johnston (Jr. High ministry, could you tell by the title?)
  10. 4 Hour Youth Ministryby Timothy Eldred (Want to get more efficient, or your teens more involved, here ya go)

Honorary Mention:  You Lost Me by David Kinnaman; Already Gone by Ken Ham

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What Happens When You Turn 30…

This past year, it’s true, I turned 30.  And for the 3 or 4 of you that actually read this blog, I know my secret is safe with you.  Turning 30 is pretty important.  It’s not because you get your driver’s license, or you can get in any movie you want, or you can rent a car (which I believe is 25, kind of a weird rule).  It’s something much more spiritual, monumental, and reflective…30zone

30 years old.  Wow.  Some may call it young.  Some may call it old (Like my students.  One of which asked me about the 70’s…he was serious, and I was serious when I told him I was born in 1982).  Nevertheless, turning 30 is significant if you are a student of Scripture.  You see, according to Luke 3:23, Jesus was 30 when he began his public, earthly ministry.  It was the year the Messiah started his ministry career, gathered 11 young men and Peter for discipleship, and began teaching, healing, and doing miracles.  The Christ was about to make His name known, all the while knowing, that in 3 years’ time, He would willingly give His life, and completely transform the world.

Now you see why it is signficant?  Now, I certainly have very few things in common with the perfect Savior.  But turning 30 is something we both have in common.  Sure, it’s a small straw to hold on to, but it does cause one to reflect how much my life resembles the Savior’s at 30.  Here are some things that come to mind:

  1. Follow Me?  Christ began to assemble 12 disciples that he mentored, challenged, and developed spiritually.  These were the men (sans Judas) that would eventually establish the early church.  Am I taking the time to disciple the younger generation?  Do I realize these are the young men that will be the next generation of the Church?
  2. An Ounce of Teaching.  Never could I ever approach the skill, the duality of simplicity and depth, the sensitivity, and the insight of the master teacher.  However, that doesn’t mean I can’t try to improve my craft of teaching and preaching.  Some goals I have is to read books like Excellence in Preaching, Speaking to Teenagers, and Hearing God’s Word:  Expositional Preaching.  Eventually, I’d like to take some homiletic courses.  In the meantime, I make it a point to glean knowledge from veteran preachers like my senior pastor, and listen to other skilled communicators at least once a week.
  3. More Public.  My risk is nowhere near the risk of Jesus’ public ministry.  Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah, the anointed one that the Jewish nation had been waiting on for hundreds of years.  However, it’s still time my ministry becomes more public.  That means being a witness more often, recognizing needs of my neighbors and community, and not shying away from gospel sharing opportunities.

Sure, I’ll never perform miracles at weddings this year, raise someone from the dead, and probably won’t be preaching from a boat anytime soon…but I can still make my earthly ministry significant, and after turning 30, there’s no better time.

 

 

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Baseball Illustration – Running the Wrong Way

A few weeks ago I was able to attend a youth baseball game with my family.  We were cheering on one of our students that will be in 7th grade next year.  It was a great opportunity to show our support for him and his family…and then it happened…

Picture this.  The home team had been down the whole game, and they were mounting a comeback.  There was only one out, and there were runners on 2nd and 3rd.  The batter stepped in for the pitch.  “Ball four, take your base”, the umpire yelled.  The coach on 3rd claps his hands, and says “At a boy, hustle on down there”.  The player on 1st, who had limited baseball experience, took the coach’s advice.  He hustled to home.  The only problem was the catcher still had the ball, and he was tagged out easily.  The coach (with visible steam coming out of his ears) wisely did not say a word, but his face said it all.  The mom of the boy (she was sitting in front of me) asked me what happened.  I told her.  She said with sympathy and believability, “Oh OK, it was a miscommunication.  This is a learning experience.”  Probably knowing she would have to console her son after the game.

stealinghome2Why do I tell you this heartbreaking story?  Well, the mom was right, this is a learning experience.  You see, we listen to the wrong instruction all the time, thinking it is for us.  We fall into the trap of what the world labels as success, whether it is money, fame, prestige, title, or possessions.  We run towards those.  Yes you do.  You don’t?  You mind if I check your credit card statement?  Can I follow you around for a week and journal how you spend your time?

I’ve mentioned this on my blog before; one of my biggest fears is that I would waste my life.  That I would run towards things that have no value.  As Francis Chan said in Crazy Love, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” And everything in me does not want my life to be a road to nowhere… Let me give you a few examples of those things we run towards from a sermon a few weeks ago…

Is it lust?  Where it takes you to places that will shock you and leave you lost on a road to more destruction?

Is it worldly gain?  Money, career success…You keep on that road, you will be shocked you were on a road to unfulfillment and never-ending toil.

Is it approval/love from others?  You think you are doing everything right, but you are shocked all this time it was for the wrong reasons and you were on a road to a shallowness and frivolity.

I don’t want my life to be a baffling mistake, and when it is time to go home, my coach in heaven looks at me with disappointment.  On the contrary, I want to cross home plate knowing I did everything I could for the glory of God and to spread the Gospel and love of Jesus to others.  Let all of us strive to NEVER be an easy out, and to cross home with our coach saying “well done”.

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