Thursday, November 09, 2006

personal life vs. ministry - CLARITY!

i love moments of clarity! it's a great feeling when my heart has been searching so desperately for the answer to a relentless, frustrating question and finally breaks through the clouds to get some perspective.

this seems to be a season of "firsts" in my life... like i'm entering a whole new territory in the adult world. for instance, i'm making new steps out of the early, immature territory of young faith & ministry into a place where my pursuit of God, dedication to family and ministry to others happen on a more aware, intentional level.

what does this mean for me today that has brought so much clarity? i struggle with frustration that other people do not pursue God the way I wish they would, do not even care to pursue God or seem critical of me for my pursuit of God. it seems that today i have realized that i have been trying to impose my personal journey on others - those i work with, those i love, those i minister to - and my attempt to make them be what i want to be (definately not what i am) has put me on a path that ends with bitterness toward them.

i feel like i have found freedom! my heart wants to sing! suddenly my personal life is personal again and i can run after God as hard as i want, however i want and not feel the pressure to impose my personal pursuit on other people! i can love & minister to teenagers where they are, i can love & serve along my church members where they are, and i can enjoy God's movement throughout the Church (universal, not local) without feeling like everyone's journey should take them down those same paths! PRAISE GOD!!! thanks you, Lord, for divine perspective, for a glimpse at the eternal horizon, for washing my blind eyes so i can see for a moment!

i feel free again to do youth ministry well and not feel that it should mirror my personal pursuit of God. why should every 6th-12th grader in my ministry have to think about the same things i'm thinking about, be challenged by God in the same way i'm challenged? geez - i'm 27, a father of three, a husband who's trying to keep a soft heart before God... is an 8th grade girl's journey of faith going to need the revelation that God gives for my personal benefit? there may be some teens who could benefit from my personal journey right now, but that's a small minority.

the waters of my heart are being stirred right now...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

still amazed by "first love"

i read a book recently entitled "in the name of jesus" by henri nouwen. in this book he refers to God's unconditional love for us, his love that seeks us before we are concerned with him as God's "first love."

everywhere i turn i'm reading things that remind me of God's incredible love for us as we are. this is not a sloppy love that gives credence to half-hearted christianity, but rather a burning love for us that, when encountered, sets our hearts ablaze, also. you cannot know the truth of God's "first love" and not immediately desire to know this God more. i believe anyone who hears the message of God's love and says to himself, "yeah, i know - 'jesus loves me.' nothing new here..." hasn't really heard the message of "first love."

here are some quotes that apply:

from "secrets of the secret place" by bob sorge... "[God] doesn't enjoy you any less because you struggle. he knows your weakness. he sees your failures, but yet he owns you as his child and enjoys you even when you fall! he loves it when you pick yourself up and keep stepping forward again into his arms. how comforting to know we can bring the entire package of our inadequacies and shortcomings into his presence and know that he lovingly embraces us and delights in us! he enjoys us at every stage of the maturity process."

psalm 8:4-5 NLT "what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us? for you made us only a little lower than God and you crowned us with glory and honor."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

on the calendar

the baby is a boy (we've known that for quite some time). holton will be born via c-section on december 12. we're very excited - saw his face today in a sonogram.

our youth ministry is rockin' along right now. check out the website at i didn't design the site, but i did design most of the backgrounds and buddy icons on the downloads page.

we bought my mother-in-law's old house and are remodeling it. new roof, new vinyl siding, and i've taken an old sunroom, sheetrocked it and turned it into a classroom for our family. why do we need a classroom? because vanessa is homeschooling lexie!

that's all for now... see you in four months! (hopefully sooner since we have DSL at our house now.)