Archive for the ‘Growing in the Lord’ Category

Video: One More Reason to Celebrate Him (Louie Giglio)

Wow. Laminin. So amazing!

We will never fully grasp the endless aspects of God. And He gives us so much to marvel at in His creation. Here's just one more reason to praise Him this Christmas season!

(If you can't see the video below, click here.)

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Scripture List: The World’s Desires vs. God’s Desires

A lot of people say you should know what you want. The idea is that if you know your desires than you will have clearly defined goals so you can get what you want. The world tells us that it is important for us to get what we want. Have you spent time thinking about what you want?

More importantly, have you spent some time thinking about what God desires? Sometimes find myself getting caught with “doing ministry,” and I forget to spend time focusing on the One it is all for. I need to constantly remind myself to spend time in the Word to understand God’s heart and what He desires for me and for His people.

I don’t want to be caught up in my desires. I want to be caught up in His.

Here are a few scriptures about God’s desires.

Psalm 40:5-6
Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.

Genesis 12:2-3
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

James 1:19-21
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save

1 Peter 5:2-3
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

Ecclesiastes 7:14

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.

Psalm 37:4

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Beatitudes

I was reading the Jesus' sermon on the mount (aka the Beatitudes) this morning and feeling pretty good about myself. That is, until I got here:

“And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
Matthew 5:40-42

This is tough. It really is. I try to live this way, but usually I just… don't want to.

And then I got here:

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Matthew 5:48

Wow. Well, I don't think Jesus actually expects us to be perfect–He wouldn't have died on the cross if that were the case.

But I do think He might be pointing out just how far we've fallen, and just how much we need Him. Praise God for His forgiveness! And for His strength to help us look more like Him.

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"In Increasing Measure"

One area that I see a lot of my friends and many youth pastors struggle with is sanctification–or namely, perfectionism.

I don't know how it happens, but somehow it has become easy for believers to first be enamored by the love and grace of God, in spite of anything and everything they have done, only to feel a few months or years later that they have to do something to earn that grace.

Well, I read a verse this morning that I thought was extremely encouraging, addressing that issue directly. Read the rest of this entry »

What Is Worship?

899184_sunset_joyEver feel like you just “can't worship”?

I've met with a lot of youth leaders and Christian leaders that sometimes feel like they just can't get into worshipping God.

Usually, the reason has to do with what's going on in their life, or in particular, what they're doing or aren't doing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Looking Intently Into the Word of God

youth ministry scripturesI've been working on building the habit of reading scripture every day for some time now. Sometimes I'm pretty good at it, while other times I get off track or get busy.

But I have noticed that I have two very different mindsets that I can bring with me to the Word of God.

One says, “I'm looking for more information/facts,” and the other says, “I'm hungry for God and everything He wants to teach me.”

The second mindset I would also call “looking intently into the Word of God,” and I've noticed it makes a huge difference in how I respond while I read the Word.

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Christ at the Center

youth ministry Jesus' principlesYesterday I had the opportunityto catch breakfast with Dan Spader.

You might not have heard of him, which is one thing I like about this guy. The Lord has used him to do big things around the world, including train a team of trainers that at one time reached 50,000 youth pastors just in the US. But he is very humble and has a servant's heart.

If you have heard his name before, it was probably in connection with the ministry he founded 25 years ago called SonLife (now SonLife Classic), or the ministry he runs now, Global Youth Initiative.

Dan is passionate about studying the life of Christ and teaching youth ministers to model their life and ministry after His. Our conversation reminded me that strategies are great, but His strategy is the only one that really matters.

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Doing the Lord’s Work in Youth Ministry

Cast Spell To Get Ex Back

/www.effectiveym.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/899395_sunset_joy.jpg”>God's work in youth ministryA couples years ago, I decided to read the Bible all the way through, chronologically. I found a great chronological guide online and I've been working through it for a while now. The problem is that I keep getting distracted!

I keep on reading a lot of Proverbs and I often just want to page through the Gospels and Epistles. Some days I want to read chapter after chapter, while other days the Lord speaks to me through just a couple of verses.

One theme that has struck me from throughout scripture is the work of God in relation to the work of man. In fact, it's really starting to rock my paradigm of ministry.

Read the rest of this entry »

Never Lose Sight

running after God in youth ministryAfter reading a few chapters in Colossians, I felt encouraged to write this simple encouragement.

Remember the enormous grace that God has so freely given us. We stand today as ministers to youth and children of God because of His endless love for us.

He has given us everything: life, food, even the air we breath, and purpose to live for. And He continues to freely give to us and love us, not to make us rich or comfortable, but because His love for us is so deep.

Remember today that we were first called to know and love the Lord. As we strive to make Him known in the lives of students and through our youth groups, let it not be at the expense of our relationship with Him. That is our greatest treasure and most wonderful adventure.

Lord, please help us to never lose sight of You.

Why Do I Think I Need to Be So Perfect?

youth ministry at the crossAt the end of every day, I always have a list of stuff I did wrong and a list of stuff I should have done but didn’t. I just can’t seem to get it all just right.

There’s always something about me that needs to be fixed.

This has been one of those ongoing thoughts I’ve struggled with for a long time now. Everybody seems to be showing me how to change and grow–first my parents, then school, ministry training, college, and even church.

Everybody seems to think I need to change. So, naturally, I start to think I need to be perfect.

Yesterday, a pastor I know shared a very interesting analogy with me. He said that sometimes in our relationship with God, we see ourselves as shipwreckred, struggling to stay above water and gasping our last breath. Right then, at the last moment, Jesus throws us a life preserver and we hold onto it for dear life.

But that’s not what scripture teaches. The Bible says that there is nothing good in us and we were completely dead because of sin. Salvation is a gift, freely given, not earned! (Romans 3:12 is a good reminder for me.) We’re not called to live perfect lives–just humble, devoted lives.

So why do I think I need to be so perfect? Lord, remind me that I cannot and will never get it all just right. My life–and my ministry–is completely dependent on you. Thank you for choosing imperfect me to be an instrument of your love!