It’s Gonna Blow!!!

Ok, I should have spent most of the day working on my papers or reading books for class, or preparing lessons for next week, or even planning for a service the youth are leading next month…

or maybe I should have been hanging out with some students or spending some concentrated time praying for them or getting the plan together for this Saturday’s 4 hours on the radio (96.9 in Scottsbluff if you’re around between 8 -12 PM)…

of course I could have been preparing my presentation for the annual vision banquest our church has next Sunday…

then again, I guess I could have been fixing my car (broken belt, broken door handle), or working on my stock car (first race will be way too soon)…

But I didn’t spend a whole lot of time doing any of those things today. I was too busy running around town looking for a hot water heater to replace the one that just blew 50 gallons of water into our basement! (I guess, when you gotta go, you gotta go!) I really like the tankless water heater concept (for many reasons besides the whole continually dry floor thing) – but I don’t think that’s going to fit really well in the pay-the-school-bill-budget.

Ah, the joys of owning your own home…

Study Break

I’ve been working on some research for a paper. Thought I’d check the headlines and found this…

I feel so inept…

What’s My Job?

During the Vision track of my block of classes last week, I got to thinking about a kind of a job description I’d written for myself several years ago. Thought I’d post it here. What do you think? (Sorry the formatting’s a little jacked up…)
“The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord –
to follow the Lord and keep his commands, regulations and decrees
with all his heart and all his soul,
thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book.
Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.”
(2 Kings 23:3)

Ø It is my job to passionately follow God.
o Josiah lived among Godless people, but when he pursued relationship with God with all his heart and soul, people followed.
o Only when I am pursuing God in this way, am I going anywhere worth leading students to.

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19,20)

Ø It is my job to make disciples.
o Find lost students and earn the right to be heard (by living a life worth listening to).
o Help searching students find their Savior.
o Bring them into His death and new life through baptism.
o Help youth commit to follow Jesus for life.

“And the things you have heard me say
in the presence of many witnesses
entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”
(2 Timothy 2:22)

Ø It is my job to leave a legacy of Biblical teaching.
o Through family, the church, Christian college, and life in general, I have been handed a spiritual heritage that should be passed on.
o It is my responsibility to make sure that what I know of God’s word is taught and that those who are taught are also equipped to teach others.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching , let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:6-8)

Ø It is my job to use whatever God gives me to build His body.
o The church is the body of Christ, whose responsibility is to seek the lost and lead them to our Savior.
o As one piece of that body, I must do my part, by using the unique set of gifts and abilities God has given me, to equip His body to reach the lost.
Looking back over this in light of a few more years of experience, and specifically thinking of last week’s block of classes, I may choose some different wording, but overall – I still think those are some pretty foundational elements to what my life is aimed at: Following God and making disciples by teaching His Word and using whatever gifts He puts at my disposal to build up His body.

Hope Block

Classes have gone pretty well. We have two days left basically – the last couple sessions have dragged a little bit, but that’s probably more my state than the class’s. It’s been really cool to see how the tracks, though taught by different people have all flowed together really well.

My first track was on Christology, focusing specifically on who Jesus is and how the church’s view of Him has taken on different nuances and emphases at different times. Following that was a track on Pneumatology (Holy Spirit) that was pretty much awesome. I chose that class because I feel like He’s probably not had enough of my attention in life. Kind of by default I just haven’t always given the Spirit a lot of thought. I think many in the churches where I’ve been have been afraid to talk about the Spirit – don’t want to get labeled wrong. So, anyway, I took the class and it went really well. A lot of exciting stuff that basically boiled down to being attentive to the Holy Spirit, willing to listen, and responsive to what He wants.

Closely related to that them was my next course, Vision Catching and Casting. That class was led by the director of Stadia church planting ministries and was really good. I always like talking about vision and dreaming about what God hopes and dreams for His church. Also picked up some really good tools for communicating the vision that I do have for youth ministry. (Pretty excited actually about putting it into practice.)

Right now, I’m in a Cross-Cultural Communications class. The content is aimed more at foreign missions workers, but there is a lot that is applicable to youth ministry. There is definitely a cross-cultural element to working with students, especially groups of students.

“You’ll Never Make It’

I’ve never like being told that there’s something I can’t accomplish. After the fun in the Denver airport last Wednesday, I landed at the Las Vegas Casino/Mall/Airport. I thought about wasting a couple bucks at the slot machines, but it just was not to be… there was a “you can’t do it” moment waiting to be conquered.

When we landed in Terminal C (or maybe it was D), everyone departed the plane and I started looking for my next flight. Nowhere was my flight listed. I finally found a map that showed you where to find the tram to the other terminals and headed that direction. My spirits were high as I headed through this uncharted territory (remember… I’m always up for something new…). Things didn’t stay benign for long, though as I found the line for the 1 tram shuttling people back and forth. Some construction had the other line closed – so the tram wait took twice as long as normal.

No problem, though, I had plenty of time.

So I got out of the tram, and found another departures listing that had my flight listed. Of course it was all the way on the far end of Terminal B, so I started to think I better hurry. Problem was… more construction! Or maybe it was the same construction causing multiple issues, but the bottom line is – one single file line snaking through thousands of passengers and their luggage.

Still, I was optimistic. There was a clearing up ahead and I was sure I could shoot the gap and get out into the open. I made it, and began my mad dash past slot machines, security guards, and lots of old people flushing their children’s inheritance – only to be met by another line waiting to go through security. But I’ve already been through security… Too bad. The single file detour had taken us (without any choice of our own) outside the secure area so now everyone and their poodle had to go back through security. Yippee… my flight leaves soon – they just started boarding – I better hurry.

So I started to go through the line to security… but wait, “you have to have a boarding pass.”

“I just got off your plane, to get on your other plane, how could I not have a boarding pass? Here you go.”

“No, that’s your ticket, go to that line over there and get your boarding pass.”

I quickly moseyed (can one really mosey quickly?) over to the line and headed for the no-line computer check in. It won’t work. Since the ticket I bought ONLINE with my computer was mailed to me as a paper ticket (which I did not ask for), I could not use the no-line electonic check in. By the way, my suitcase is already on the plane. So I get in line. The line slows down. The line pretty much stops moving. Time does not. I have 10 minutes before the plane is supposed to leave.

I am nowhere near the front of the line, but I am near an off-duty airline employee – whom I ask for a little help. He sends me to another employee, who’s gettting paid at the moment to watch people stand in line. She sends me to another desk, who sends me on another flight.

“Is there any way I can get on this flight?”

“No. I just rebooked you on the one in a few hours.”

“No way at all???”

“You can try, but you still have to go through security. There’s no way.”

Flight is scheduled to leave in 5 minutes. So I sprint (did a lot of running in the Las Vegas airport/mall/casino) to security. Breathlessly ask the nice lady at the beginning of the queue (I always liked that word) if there was any way to get through security really fast because my flight leaves right now. She looked over at another guy standing nearby. He gives a nod and shuffles me over through first class security, where there is no line. Yay. So I get through security pretty quickly, despite a hold up with the guy behind me in line. When his bag had to go through the scanner with a little extra attention, my bag was still on the treadmill, dangling precipitously close to the rollers tuanting me… “you’re not gonna make it, you’re not gonna make it…”

Finally squelching the jeers of my backpack – I once again ran. Run Forrest Run! I got to the gate before they stopped boarding, squished past all the annoyed transports who knew I should have been to my cheap seat in the back of the bus BEFORE they got comfortable with their champagne and hot towels (just kidding – it was only like a 45 minute flight, so there was none of that), sat down next to the window….

And waited.

For about the next half hour, we went absolutely nowhere.

Finally took off, got here, and I’ve pretty much been in class ever since.

(Except a little time off that I filled by going to Rock Harbor, Mariners Church, Saddleback, and Mosaic – but I’ll leave those stories for another time!)

DIA din

The buzz is extraordinary. The low constant hum of huge HVAC systems sucking and exhausting unbelievable amounts of air, punctuated by an occasional homeland security status notification or gate change announcement. But the people… Every shade of humanity imaginable creating the vocal cacophony that over-shades all other hues in the din. Hurrying. Waiting. Fretting. Complaining. Chatting. Reading. Everyone going somewhere… or waiting to go somewhere.

But do they know why? Why are they here… not at this airport, but why are they in existence? To create noise? To scurry about like little ants on long treadmills that move whether you do or not? Or do they know something more? Do they know the one who placed them into this time and place?

Sorry if this is a bit overboard. I’m on my way to Los Angeles for a seminary class at Hope and have been in the Denver airport for about 4 hours now, waiting for my flight. (One more hour to go… at least it’s not last week, when about 5000 people were stranded here by weather.) And I’m just struck by the sheer volume of people coming and going – and wondering if there is purpose in their commotion.

A few weeks ago, in a staff meeting ‘exercise’ we were describing our community. If we were right, most of the people here (as at home) are just letting life happen to them with no overarching drive toward anything beyond continued existence.

But that’s just not enough. Yesterday, I came across Psalm 100 talking about entering His courts with praise. I’ve always read that with the future/heavenly gates mental image with the complimentary ‘come to church happy’ application. But if the coming into of courts and entering through of gates is symbolic of coming closer to God, then He must be near.

In fact, the Spirit of God is not only near – He is HERE. He is life. Life is praise. Living is thanking God for His enduring love and faithfulness.

We must do more than suck and blow air, like the airport ventilation system. We must do more than create some noise as we scurry about. We must live the day. To thank the God who made us – whose we are… we must live.