Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Worst Thing You Can Do for Others in Need

All too often, I see young people live life with blinders to the world.  Their worldview is seen through a pin hole, overlooking the issues of someone their age on the other side of the world.  It is in this blindness where difficulties and problems in their world would be labeled as luxuries in many parts of the world.  For every teenager that scoffs at doing the dishes, there is another young person that misses another meal.  For the child that is angry at their parent for not allowing them more time playing video games, there is a child that never had the chance to call someone mommy or daddy.  And for every young person that divulges in sexual promiscuity, there are young people who have little choice and are forced into the act on a daily basis.

love-God-love-others-titleLet’s be honest.  Adults fall into this category as well.  We take for granted every day our freedom, our luxuries of appliances, devices, abundance of food, and overall safety.  Little is done on a consistent basis for the poor, the neglected, and the needy.  We too fall into the trap of complaining about our weak cell phone signals, the difficulty of choosing an outfit not as a result of too little clothes, but because the abundance in our closest, or finding just the right meal on a ten page menu.

So when I read passages like 1 John 3:16-18, it feels like a punch in the gut.  The realization of my apathy towards the needy makes me ill.  As I type this on my laptop, sitting in my leather chair, and with a comfortable setting on the thermostat (oh don’t worry, if it gets a little chilly, I have a space heater for extra comfort).  Not saying these things of themselves are evil, because God’s Word says the LOVE of money is the problem, not money.  But, as it says in 1 John 3, the issue is not what we have that is typically the problem; the real issue is the neglect of what others do not have.   Take a look at what John says in this passage…

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

If I asked you, do you love others?  You probably would say yes.  If I asked you if you have Christ’s love for others, would you be able to answer so easily?  Not when it is defined like this:  one that would be willing to give his life for His brothers & sisters.  Goodness, we can barely give $5 in a missionary love offering or a Saturday night to work at the homeless shelter…maybe we should start small and work our way up!

Let’s keep reading…

17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Remember our earlier discussion about a small worldview.  Imagine that, this is not a new problem.  John highlights how our problems & struggles are right in front of our face, and we rarely look around those troubles to see what others are going through.

Let me explain it this way.  You know what magicians try to do with their audience?  They usually try to get the audience to focus on one hand, while the other is hiding something…And that’s Satan’s goal to when it comes to the needy, the poor, and the sick in the world.  We often focus on other things…it might not even be sinful or evil…but we get distracted and neglect those that may need help.

Listen, 80% of people live on less than $10 a day.  22,000 children die of poverty every day.  1.1 billion people in the world don’t have access to clean water….I could keep giving you statistics, but your reaction would probably be the same.  Either you care or you don’t.  I’m not naïve; some of you will leave this article with no change in your heart for the poor, the sick, and the needy.  But I hope there will be some that will be changed.  My hope is you will find real, tangible ways to change these stats.  That you will start an event that helps children with AIDS, or start a charity that provides clean water to poor countries.  You can do these things; there are little kids in the news that are able to accomplish these things. Maybe you start small and support a child through Compassion International or Holt International.  Maybe you do have a limited income, so start small and contribute to a missionary monthly of $2 a month.  Here’s the point…DO SOMETHING!

18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Do you believe you can change the world?  Do you believe you CAN make a difference?  I hope so.  Here’s the worst thing you can do – NOTHING!  You wait for someone else to do it…you hope George Clooney or Bill Gates will take care of poverty in Africa.  You think you have to wait until you are older.  Listen, all these are excuses or lies from the enemy to prevent you from making a difference.

God wants more from us than just love in our words…He wants action.  My challenge during to you is to find something that YOU can do.  Whether it is planning a community event for clean water or raising money to rescue girls from sex slavery…I hope you will listen to whatever God is placing on your heart.  Don’t underestimate what you can do to help others.

The worst thing you can do is nothing.  Do something.  Less words and more action.

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Book Review: Dangerous Calling

Book Review:  Dangerous Calling by Paul David Trippdangerous_calling_banner

The Good:  Maybe I should have labeled this section of the review “The Great”, because there is some great stuff in here.  The author begins the book with an honest and humble look at his own personal sin struggle with anger and pride.  You can’t help but examine your own life through the author’s guts and transparency.  Throughout the book, you can tell it is written through blood, sweat, & tears of ministry.  Each chapter screams ministry experience and is written out of love for other pastors.  There are must read chapters all over the place.  For example, chapter 3 is a must read for all professors and teachers, from kindergarten to grad level (I actually sent the book and chapter number to my alma mater for their refreshment).  Chapter 4 is a must read for all pastoral search committees, and I mean A MUST!  I can’t remember the last time I was sending a book’s title to specific people to tell them you have to read this chapter.  Incredible ministry insight throughout that provides priceless ministry training to both young and veterans in ministry pure gold.

The Bad:  The only bad would be there is slight repetitiveness towards the end of the book, taking away from the incredible content of the majority of the book.

The Grade:  A.  Given to me at a leadership conference at a ministry balance seminary.  Boy, am I thankful I read it.  This book very well may be the best, and is definitely the most honest, ministry book out there.  In terms of providing valuable insight into longevity in ministry, ministry balance, and burnout prevention…this book was a home run.  Each person in ministry should grab this book.  Notice I didn’t say just pastors, I’m talking anyone in leadership ministry positions, they need to read this.  You hear me, although this is written to pastors primarily (especially in the latter chapters), there are ministry principles in this book that ministry leaders need for their spiritual health.

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2 Great Articles for Parents & Grandparents

As a young parent, I eat this stuff up.  Anything to help me build faith into my kids, I’m willing to listen.  Encourage you to enjoy these reads…

Helping Kids Keep the Faith

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20 Ideas for Grandparentsgrandma_teen_750_367_s_c1

 

 

 

 

 

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Youth Ministry Goals 2014

Here are some specific and practical goals for the coming year that God has placed on my heart.  Looking forward to what God will do with these things…

1.       “Bible Doing” – We know what a Bible Study is, but what about a “Bible Doing”.  It is taking a passage of Scripture and going out and doing it!  (Idea taken from book “Love Does”)

2.       Wedding & Funeral Message Outlines/Scripts – This is something that has been on my mental list for some time.  Now it is time to get this together.

3.       Music Training Class – With my guitar player graduating this year, I look at my youth group and see very little musical ability.  Singing maybe, but not instrumental.  Part of my responsibility is to train our young people in ministry…well this may need to start in elementary, so they are ready to play in the praise band in junior high or high school.

4.       Junior High Mission Trip – Local trip where junior high students can participate.  Evaluate whether this can continue from year to year.

5.       Community Project – Connect with neighborhoods and communities, find needs and do what we can as a church to meet those needs.

6.       Host “Ask Your Leaders” Night – Provide a night where students can ask those questions on their mind, address doubts, and converse about questions that may not come up in regular discussions.

7.       Sunday School Rehab – Conduct Sunday school in a way that promotes the gifts of the teacher; evaluate forming a junior high Sunday school

8.       Equip Parents/Families – Continue/Broaden Spiritual Growth Planning, Parent Seminar/Meetings, other Parent training opportunities

9.       Continue Inter-generational and Discipleship Ministry– Find ways where generations can minister to each other, promote mentoring/discipleship

10.   Outreach – Continue to improve outreach which includes:  better visitor follow-up, Community Easter Egg Hunt, and promotion of outreach events.2014-goals

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