I’ve been working on the race car lately trying to be ready for the start of the season – very soon!. This is pretty much what it looks like at the moment. Not much to look at, but it’ll be a lot of fun. Actually right now, it’s up on jack stands waiting for us to put the transmission back in. Had some help today from Greg and Kyle to put in a new clutch.
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.” -Goethe
In youth ministry, and every other way of life, it’s critical to be able to see past what is into what could be. It’s so easy to label each other based on what is seen. But what if we were able to look past the shells we wear, the plastic faces we hide behind, and the mistakes we’ve made? This is what God does, it’s what Christ modeled for us. With an impetuous man named Simon, he even changed his name to Peter (rock) to reflect what could be.
What could be for the people in your life? What potential are your friends falling short of? What if you treated them as if they were reaching that potential?
I wouldn’t agree with Goethe on every line of thinking he ever explored, but this is truly a great thought.
I just finished reading again a book that was suggested in connection with my last class. I don’t read books more than once very often, but I was looking for a quote to use in my last paper and got wrapped up in the book and wanted to soak it in again. It’s “In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership” from Henri Nouwen – a brief book sharing some lessons learned as Nouwen moved from a Harvard professorship to a community for mentally handicapped people called Daybreak. (For more about Nouwen, check out this website from Wil Hernandez – who incidentally was the teacher for my class.)
He points out a lack of spiritual depth in much of Christian leadership today and blames the pursuit of relevance, popularity, and power (though his description of relevance is a bit different than I’d always thought of relevance) and prescribes prayer, confession/repentance, and theological reflection. He ends “with the image of the leader with outstretched hands, who chooses a life of downward mobility. It is the image of the praying leader, the vulnerable leader, and the trusting leader. May that image fill your hearts with hope, courage, and confidence...”
He uses Jesus’ comments to Peter about being led where you do not wish to go to draw this picture of servant leadership. Really made me think of my own image of leadership. How I’ve defined it for myself and what I’ve aimed for as a leader. I’ve got to say, I’ve allowed myself to be distracted by managing things (“Don’t mess up.”) to the point of no longer being led and leading.
But it’s risky to be led by Jesus. If we’re going to be able to lead the emerging generation to have any depth of relationship to God whatsoever – it’s a risk some of us must take.
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I [Paul] am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.” (Acts 20:22)
“Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf…’” (1 Samuel 14:6)
I wonder if we require too many details of God’s plan before we’ll take action…
I wonder if we desire too much of a safety net before we’ll allow the Spirit to move us…
I wonder if we insist on knowing at the expense of trusting our Father…
I wonder if we follow directions instead of following Jesus…
Maybe it’s just me. I’ve been challenged lately to pay more attention to the Spirit of Christ in my life. But maybe it’s not just me. Maybe Satan has made it very easy for all of us to become complacent in our spirituality – to reduce our relationship with God to one of attendance and apathy.
Don’t allow him to do that to you. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) Walk with Him today. Don’t allow the fear of uncertainty to shackle you. Trust the Spirit that God has placed within you.
Maybe an uncomfortable thought, I know… but if you only follow what you already understand, you’ll only go where you’re already able to get to.
Came across this spoof article I did several years ago on a forum with some of my kids. Please note ‘spoof’. It’s not real. Don’t call a press conference!
A new study, jointly sponsored by the UP, AP, CBS News, Reuters, and the International Bureau for Useless Studies and funded through grants from the Pew, Gallup, & Inane Polling Agencies as well as the UN Center for Resolutions on Meaningless Information, shows that those who take the Good News first, then the Bad suffer no adverse effects, as is commonly assumed.
The lead surveyor for this study, a libel-avoidingly nameless former news anchor (moonlighting for carreer options) noted that 87 of the 158 respondents seemed ok after receiving both the good news and the bad, no matter what the order.
Those who received the good news first, then the bad news, reported feelings of euphoria and elation, quickly followed by deflation and a “thump, thump, thump, thump” flapping sound. Bad news firsters simply seemed to ignore the bad news and concentrate on the rosy outlook of the good news – only to experience the cold, hard slap in the face of reality some time later (which is roughly tantamount to the thumping-flapping feeling on the International Scale of Stress Induced Ill Senses or ISSIIS).
Those who attempted the simultaneous assimilation of both the good news and the bad news as well as a series of mild to strong electrical pulses to the frontal lobe experienced extreme convulsions that could only be controlled by the consumption of several small town newspapers, which really contained no news at all. Scientists attribute this to the “no news is good news” theory of seizure modification, which was popularized of late by Marcel Marceau and other lesser known mimes throughout Western nations. Further studies are expected on the long-term effects of newsprint digestion.
So do you want the good news first or the bad?
Saw the video in the next post on Fess’s blog and wanted to share. It says a lot about why I do what I do. Who will notice…
Please notice the pain and brokenness of the emerging generation. Don’t pass by on the other side of the road anymore.
In Mike Yaconelli’s book, Dangerous Wonder, he talks in one of the chapters about listening to God. Between the service the youth led (“Be Still…”) and my papers on the Holy Spirit and Vision for ministry, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Yaconelli quotes Sue Monk Kidd about the idea of waiting for God. She was told at one point that
When you are waiting you are not doing nothing. You’re doing
something. You’re allowing your soul to grow up. If you can’t be
still and wait, you can’t become what God created you to be.
I really like that thought, but it runs totally against the values of the world we live in. Work more. Play more. Live large! You’re only as valuable to me as what you can do for me… These are the messages sent by a world where you are what you accomplish.
But the economy of Christ is so different. Jesus says, “Come follow me… Let them come… watch and pray…” In His family, it’s not about what I can do for Him – it’s God who is at work in me to dream and act out His ideas and hopes. And sometimes that means waiting. But waiting isn’t being lazy and non-productive – it’s growing up.