I’m tired. No real reason or deep thought to it. I’m just tired. My brain is firing slow, and I’m low on motivation. I find myself jumping from thing to thing this morning, without accomplishing too much. I’m irritable and edgy. Don’t you wish you were actually with me face to face right now?
BUT, God is more than faithful. Even as I confess how I feel, I can tell He is pouring love and grace into me. I’ve just got to run and hide in Him. It’s so nice to be safe when you are unable to protect yourself well.
Had a middle school leaders meeting yesterday. (I love my leaders, they are all so amazing to me!!!) Anyway, I lead a little devo thing on Gideon, and his battle with the Midianites. It’s the one in Judges 7 where he gets his army narrowed down to only 300 soldiers and fights with torches, trumpets, and broken jars. (If you are completely lost at this point, you need to read Judges 7. It’s an amazing story!)
So, I finish, and begin asking them for their observations. Once again I was reminded of the power of reading the Bible together. Wow!!! They came up with so many points from the story that I had never considered. I love that! Way too often, I think, we read the Bible in seclusion. At least, I do. But then, you take time to read it with a group of people who love Jesus, and it explodes to life. They came up with at least 25 ideas I hadn’t considered from the passage. All of them were excellent points too. It was fun and enlightening.
So, I want to encourage you, find a group to read the Bible with on a regular basis. If you don’t have one, begin putting one together. It will explode to life when you do it as a group. Just too cool!
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I’m feeling the pinch today. Too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. Procrastination is a small part of it. Overcommitment is another much bigger piece. It’s one of those weeks where work demands that are out of my control are crashing into work demands that I simply must get done. So, I kick into slow mode and avoid it all. As soon as I finish this, I’m going to have to put my head down and work hard.
It’s always been this way, you know. Ever since we were kicked out of the garden for our stupid choice to run things ourselves, it’s been like this. We can invent all of the amazing technology we want, it will always be this way. It’s the cost of doing things our own way.
So, I’m going to try to push towards God today and listen even more for His promptings. Its too easy to ignore Him when I get overwhelmed and buried. Today, I’m choosing to walk in the other direction. I’m going to work as hard and as fast as I can, but I’m going to keep my heart listening for His guidance.
It can only help.
Working through the beginning of Malachi again this morning, and a couple of thoughts hit me. Malachi is voicing God’s words for the priests in the temple. God tells them He is tired of them because they have no set their heart to honor God. They are not living truth in their personal lives, and therefore they aren’t teaching truth to the people.
This struck me two ways. One, I am our culture’s version of a priest. What I do privately completely affects the message my life gives publicly. I feel that deep inside, and know I have some stuff to keep fighting and working on.
Secondly, Jesus says that we are all priests who follow Him. So, then, what message does your inner life, the one that no one sees, lead to in your public life? Your heart and thoughts drive your actions. What is driving yours?
Back in Habakkuk today. The first few verses of chapter 1 hit me. While I’m not in this place right now, I can totally resonate with Habakkuk’s attitude towards God. Injustice is all around him, and God isn’t doing squat, it seems. I mean, He is the great protector, and we cry for help, and nothing. Just crickets chirping. You can feel Habakkuk’s frustration and anger.
What is God’s response? Is it full of hope and mercy? It seems like it in verse 5. Promises of amazing things that no one will believe.
But then He says He’s going to raise up the Babylonians. It’s like us praying, and God’s answer coming that He is going to raise up the Al-Qaida network to a world power. We pray for justice, and that’s the answer.
Ok, honestly, why does God do stuff like this? It really ticks me off sometimes. This answer is almost cruel. But then again, it’s only so when seen through our scope. God is going to raise them up to bring His people back to Him. Worship is the goal of God. He wants His kids close, that’s why He made the human race. To be in relationship with Him and be known by Him. When we dig in our heels, He will go to any length to get us back.
Spoke to a student yesterday who was dumped by her boyfriend. She felt like she had tried to do the relationship God’s way, by including prayer into it and putting Him in the center, yet it still fell apart. Why? Why is God being so unfair? The answer is almost always that what we want in a situation is off base, and it makes God seem unfair. God wants us. He will use any tool He can, whether it be the Babylonians, a 17 year old boy, or anything else.
I don’t know. I get all of this, but I don’t always like it. Good thing I’m not the one in charge, I guess.
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- Let’s see… Middle School retreat at Springhill Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
- Got home at 3 pm
- Started setup for Senior High worship night at 4 pm
- Played in worship band and directed event.
- Got home at 10 pm.
- Ran to Taylor on Monday and taught my first class, but almost showed up late.
- Annie came home from school early sick on Monday.
- Stayed home with Annie on Tuesday.
- Ran a huge game night for middle school on Tuesday night with two hours prep.
- Stayed home on Wednesday.
- Ran to staff meeting and back during the day on Wednesday.
- Now it’s Thursday and I’m tired and overwhelmed.
What do I learn from this stuff?
- I still stink at delegation.
- I try to carry too much on my own shoulders.
- I’m not planning ahead as well as I should.
- I overestimate my abilities on a regular basis.
Change is in the air, once again. I must keep learning to get better at this stuff. It’s just frustrating, because you’d think I’d be better at it by now.
Here is what God did in the middle of my mess.
- Two boys accepted Christ for the first time over the weekend.
- Several girls made significant decisions.
- The worship night was powerful and enjoyable.
- I got to spend time with Annie and love on her some.
- The game night was a raging success due to my leaders.
- I appreciate my wife, family, and friends so very, very much.
Just gotta keep learning and moving forward. Be faithful; cause God likes to make beautiful things out of our messes. He never gets tired or gives up.
Will this be a prophecy of Mike’s wedding? No way!
No one will ever marry him…
2 September 08 at 3:30 pm | In youth ministry |
I think of the strangest things in the middle of the night. The list that follows is probably the all-time strangest. Feel free to add-on as you feel inspired.
Some youth workers are married. Others are single. Some will get married during their tenure as a youth worker (and this is in no way any sort of an announcement on my part). Here, then, are the signs that you are at a youth worker’s wedding:
- Rather than a soloist providing music prior to the service, there is a video loop that includes announcements, YouTube clips and the new Hillsong United music video.
- The youth worker half of the happy couple reads the vows from the notes he or she has written on his or her hand.
- Wedding song: David Crowder Band’s Our Love is Loud
- The couple registers at the Youth Specialties web site.
- The reception dinner is pizza and Mountain Dew … just pizza and Mountain Dew.
- There’s no head table at the reception, just a longer couch and larger bean bag chairs.
- Invitations went out on Facebook and included responses from friends of friends of friends from as far away as China.
- You don’t see a professional photographer, but there seems to be an awful lot of young people holding up their cell phones.
- Rather than a punch or champagne fountain, there’s line of Diet Coke bottles and packs of Mentos.
- Not only did you receive the initial invitation, you received reminders via Twitter, text, Facebook and a phone call to your parents.
- The wedding announcement may not appear in the local newspaper, but the couple really hopes that Marko or Josh blog about it.
- DJ? We don’t need a DJ, we have DDR and Guitar Hero!
Back in Malachi today. I’ve been reading it over and over for a couple of weeks now. What a great book! Anyway, in chapter 1, verse 11, God speaks of people around the world knowing him, holding His name as great, and bringing offerings to Him. The NIV translates this as a future event, but Peterson on the Message makes it a present tense thing. I know, I know, big deal.
But if it was like Peterson has it, then there were people worshipping God outside of Israel in the Old Testament times. I know the Bible speaks to that in other places too. But it just pushes the boundaries of how I understand our faith to see people worship the true God without the temple or the law. God is known. God is loved. God is God worldwide.
Now I’m not going down the all roads lead to heaven path. There is a lot of false beliefs. But the idea that people can know God outside of the Israel story is so cool.
Or maybe Peterson is just way off base. I haven’t found out yet. But Romans speaks of how people know God by what they see and experience in the world around them. It just encourages me as a pastor that God is working and has been working, both in the system and “outside” of the system since the beginning. Somehow, it sets me free a little.