Every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed little man…
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” -C.S. Lewis
I saw this quote this morning and just thought it was a great thing to keep in mind. All the Christmas stuff that’s coming up tends to get people all excited about what they’re going to get. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas – and I really like getting stuff. But too many people put their hope in the stuff of this world, not realizing they’re not made for this world. Be sure to put your hope in the One who made you for His World.
My daughter’s been irritated lately. She’s only 6, but she’s caught a whiff of something in the world that offends her senses. As we drive through the freshly decorated downtown area… as she does her kindergarten craft projects at school… as we wander the overstocked mazes that have been constructed just for our “shopping pleasure”… She’s irritated.
And I like it.
“But it’s not even December yet… Halloween was just last week…”
She’s irritated that the world she sees is taking little notice (or at least not enough notice) to Thanksgiving. She wonders why. Why do we jump from the “candy holiday” to the “presents holiday”?
It really, genuinely bothers her that so many people have passed through the last weeks with no big Thanksgiving build-up. People are neglecting the celebration of her God’s provision for them and she doesn’t like it. The hand-print turkey placemat is just not enough. She wants to see more gratitude to God for the stuff of life.
I’m so thankful to have a reminder like her to be thankful.
I am a youth pastor. It’s not just what I do – it’s who I am, or more accurately, it’s who Christ is in me. I love students. The ‘breath of fresh air’, the passion, the youthful desire to see things better than they are, the potential to make them better… there is just so much ahead of them to look forward to.
But sometimes, there is so much stacked against them, that they give up. Their optimism is jaded and shaded and altogether quenched. Many students seem to hold a hostility toward anyone outside their tribe. But often, if we look past the hostile veneer, we will find hurt and broken souls in need of the love of someone who can help them to the Healer.
Not the mock-concern that “puts up with them” until they “grow out of it”, but real love that will work to see behind the hollow glares. Many students just need someone to give them a chance.
For some reason, I keep thinking of Jesus as a 12 year old. His family leaving Jerusalem. Left behind, unnoticed for quite some time. Only after several days of searching, did his parents find him. (Check out the end of Luke 2 for the whole story.) I’m afraid that spiritually speaking, many students today are being left by the church to fend for themselves, with no one taking notice of their spiritual abscence. But they can’t defend themselves from Satan’s craftiness the way Jesus did.
So, who will go look for them? Who will walk alongside them as they discover the One True God, Who loves them deeply? Who will bend in prayer against the hardening of their hearts that is slowly taking life from an entire generation?
Check out the new site development at NCC (click on Construction Pictures)!
I’m really excited to see what God does there next.
My brother can fix about anything. When he was in 6th Grade he built a motorcycle from parts of two junked ones. But, I’m the one in my family who’s known as being ‘mechanically challenged’. I’ve never burned up an engine by running a car out of oil or tried to drive off while the car’s still on the jack or anything really stupid like that, but I haven’t really done a whole lot of auto-work outside of changing oil occasionally. I did puncture an oil pan once (with a little ‘guidance’ from my brother Dan), and actually, in the process of rotating tires once, I popped a hole in the gas tank, right at the lip of the fuel intake. I got to learn how to install a new fuel tank that fun day.
My lack of mechanic acumen presented itself very early in life, when I was ‘helping’ my dad in the garage and decided pliers would work well for removing an oily clump of dirt from my stomach. I still have a scar to attest to the fact that squeezing pliers harder does not make them release whatever they’re holding – even if that happens to be skin. (Stop laughing, I was only 4.)
But today, I have actually diagnosed a problem with my car (with a little help from the nice people at Autozone with the cool little computers), and fixed it. The engine light was on because a cylinder was misfiring (and when you only have 4 cylinders like my little Dodge Avenger that’s a big reduction), so I took out the plug wire for that cylinder and found some corrosion on the terminal of the ignition coil. So I got a new coil and installed it.
Realizing that if a little fix is good, a little more might be even better, I changed the spark plugs (which I properly gapped), and replaced all the plug wires. In the process of all this, I ripped out a hose that was so brittle it broke in my hands, so I replaced that as well as the little PCV valve attached to it. And for good measure, I’m changing the air filter tonight.
Fun, fun, fun…
Had a great weekend , traveling back to NCC for Turning Point. It’s kind of a ‘wide-open’ kind of drive across the middle of Nebraska… (you interpret that however you want)
It was great to see so many friends from the past 10 years or so. I saw a few kids from my first foray into ministry as a volunteer for a 5th/6th Grade class. They’re all finishing college now! Also, saw Jackie and the crew from Huron, where I did a year of weekend ministry while I was a student @ NCC. Lots of friends from school and the college staff… other ministers from that area… current NCC students who were involved in my ministry in Auburn… and of course, the current Auburn HS group. It was really nice to see them.
I am so priveleged and honored to look back and see how God has used me to touch the lives of students. Last night, I practiced for the first time with the student praise band here at WestWay. Seems like a great group of students here with a genuine desire to serve and follow Christ. I’m excited to see what the next 10 years will bring…
I’ve noticed that things ‘fall through the cracks’ more often when we’re too busy. No deep revelation, there, I know, but here’s a humorous(?) story to illustrate…
It was my last full week in the minsitry in Auburn. I still needed to pack my office, help pack up the house, close accounts, notify utilities, fill out change of adress forms… Lots of stuff to get done.
Merle had been gone for a leadership conference at Southeast the week before, so the week started with me leading our two morning services and preaching for my last Sunday. (Also, it was Pastor Appreciation Day and the day of our Annual Congregational Meeting.) Sunday night, we had the Slingshot57 concert and Mike got home late feeling very tired and a little scratchy in the throat.
I woke up Monday with my throat swollen nearly shut. I went to the Dr. and he prescribed some antibiotics and a cortizone-steroid that helped out a lot over the next few days. But Monday, which was supposed to be office packing day, was spent in bed.
On Tuesday I woke up feeling mostly better physically, but not looking forward to the day emotionally at all. This was the day I did the funeral for a young man who’d died in a ‘suspicious’ fire. He’d been involved in our Jr. High ministry several years ago, didn’t always make the best choices, but seemed to be gaining his bearings lately. The funeral was difficult to say the least.
And so, my last Wednesday with my kids in Auburn came. On the last night some of the students had planned a farewell party – that was awesome. But we had our ‘regular’ time together first. My plan was to have a game night and just relax with the kids and play ps2 & xbox games… (We actually ended up with a great spontaneous time of worship and music.)
But first… Shayne was to be baptized to begin the evening. And that’s where the cracks show up. Not in Shayne… Not in the baptism… In the ceiling of the church basement!!! Some idiot who had too many marbles bouncing around inside his little pin head had turned the water on in the baptistry, went home to pack a few things, got distracted, ate dinner, and showed back up at the church to realize he’d left the water on! So with about 20 minutes before the children’s ministry was to begin, we had a flood from an overfilled baptistry running into the place where the children meet. Oops.
I guess if you’ve gotta go, leave them with something to remember you by!