Sunday, May 22, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - May 22

This past week we started a new series called "Godview." This series
is one that we have been delaying for a while...not for any particular
reason -we've just been tackling other things. The cool thing is that
this hesitation proved to be incredibly timely for us. I'm sure that
you are aware of Harold Camping's prophesy (or maybe prediction) that
the rapture would take place this past Saturday on May 21. His
misleading of so many people is the type of thing that is at the core
of this study....what happens when we have a distorted and/or untrue

My message to students this past Wednesday opened the series by
discussing our response, or lack of it, to our convictions is
testimony to our view of God. Our actions and our reactions to life
in general scream to the world our view of God - much, much louder
than any words that come out of our mouths. We reiterated those
teachings in our Sunday morning group time by asking probing questions
designed to reveal our "true" view of God.

Lastly, we focused on Peter's view of God and his actions. Here is a
guy who had his name changed by Christ...literally. He was told by
Jesus that he would be the rock on which He built the church. Yet
when push came to shove, he denied Jesus three times. I couched
Peter's testimony as a way to process our willingness to follow Him
AND our failure at some critical times to do so. I think it provided
a clear understanding of the glaring reality that our only hope is in
Jesus and our responsibility to share that Hope with the world is,
indeed, a weighty thing to bear.

This week would be a great time to share with your students some of
the views of God that you have had to overcome in your own life. Your
student's view of God is at a critical point from now until they are
in their early 20's. Spend some significant time right now owning
some of your own "stuff" with them as a means of gaining permission to
have these discussions with them in the critical years of your
immediate future.

Please let me know if there is anything I can pray about for you or your family.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blessing Dinner/Grad Commissioning

I just got home from the last piece of an incredible day at the Glade. We commissioned our graduates this morning for the next phase of their lives, and challenged them to step into and advance God's Kingdom with their words and actions as young adults. That annual worship service has proved to be the ideal way for our church to challenge our seniors toward a life that seeks something higher than a good scholarship or a promising career; it's our charge to them to well represent Christ and their church as they enter adulthood.

Tonight, though, was the icing on the cake for me. I was privileged to sit in a room and listen to Dads read letters of encouragement and advice to their sons. I was able to reflect on the times I had shared with these young men over the past four years. And I was able to pray with each of them individually and bless their lives as they have blessed mine.

As I left the church completely exhausted from the day, the solitude my car provided for me on my short drive home was enough to allow me to soak in what I had just witnessed. I am continually reminded of the chance I have to model God's Kingdom for my son and to pass on, as I saw these men do tonight, the most important things in life to him...matters of faith and citizenship in the Kingdom of God.

My prayer this past week as I prepared for today's message and throughout the weekend has been that God will allow my son to grasp more anything else in his life the importance of stepping into citizenship in God's Kingdom. I pray that he will see in his mom and dad a willingness to set all things aside for the sake of His higher calling. I pray that he will see our actions tempered with the wisdom and grace of God that has been poured out on our lives in such ways that words are incapable of describing.

I pray that he will long for the things of God and that he will be concerned with the hearts of men and women more so than their appearance or righteousness. I pray that although he will be saying goodbye to dear friends like Aaron, Ben, Daniel, and John, that other men of God who, even as high school students, are equally committed to the cause of Christ and will take interest in modeling the same for him.

The "job" of a minister is as challenging and troublesome as any secular position I've ever held. The hours are longer and the struggles are more personal. It comes with great sacrifice and an emotional and spiritual tax that is sometimes difficult to bear - maybe even impossible to bear but for the grace of God. I never understood how much it is likened to parenting until I became a father to my own son. And therein lies the bonus...the fringe benefit, if you a life of ministry.

I get a front row seat of the spiritual development of students and parents. I get to watch miraculous and supernatural changes take place in the lives of people with whom I've spent years sharing and nurturing a close, personal bond. I get to see the power of Christ overcome that which seems impossible, heal that which is beyond repair, and restore that which has been abandoned due to lack of hope. I get to watch young men and women develop into far greater ministers in their 16, 17, or 18 years of life than I will ever be in my next 39 years.

In short, I have the best seat in the house to watch God fulfill and honor His word and work in the lives of His children. I suppose I'm a little worked up with the emotion of the day, but more than that - my short drive home took me to a place of awe and wonder at the mighty works of His hand and what He allowed me to see and experience today.

Father, for the privilege of sharing in your business I am truly thankful. For the privilege of being able to fulfill the calling I am certain that you placed on my life, I am truly thankful. For the opportunity to exercise the gifts you gave me for the glory of your Kingdom, I am both humbled and thankful. For your willingness to overlook my many imperfections and use me in some fashion for the advancement of your Kingdom, I am truly thankful. For the privilege of working with students who are sold out for you I am so thankful. For the privilege of working with students who are challenging and desperate for your promise of grace, I am so thankful. For the tangible, practical ways you continue to restore my soul, my family, my relationships, my all, I am so thankful. For the assured promise of a Kingdom far greater than anything I could ever hope for in this life, I am so thankful. For conquering death and hell and all the chaos that is life at times, I am so thankful. For the cleanup you provide in my mess of poor decisions and moving against you instead of with you - I am so thankful. For the privilege to have your banner flying in the castle of my heart - I am so thankful.

Father, my simple prayer for my wife, my son, my family, my students and their parents - is thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in our lives here on earth as it is in heaven. Truly, oh Sovereign King, thy Kingdom come.


Friday, May 13, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - May 13

I had a great time with our high school students Wednesday night in that we got to do small groups - something that's a bit atypical for us on Wednesday nights. We wrapped up our final week on the "Upside Down" series by talking about Jesus' teaching that His Kingdom is near. We discussed how it may seem strange that the Kingdom of God is yet to come, but that it is also very near to us right now.

We also discussed the things that will be made whole in our lives once His Kingdom is fulfilled. Students shared different areas of their lives that they will be GLAD when He makes those areas whole for them. We finished by asking students who feel like they have been closer to God at some other time in their lives to identify what is different in their lives right now - to name the things that contribute to them being further away from Him than they have been in the past.

This Sunday I will be speaking in the main service and much of our content will revolve around this series. It is such a strong message and is timely for students and adults alike - especially since it parallels the current Galatians series our pastor is leading right now.

Since I will be in the sanctuary, your students will have the privilege of hearing a guest speaker - Amy Brown. Amy is a representative from Union University who spent much of her teenage years being abused by her parents. She ended up in the Tennessee Baptist Children's home, got saved, and has experienced a radical spiritual transformation in her life. She will be sharing her incredible story with your students this coming Sunday.

Please let me know if there is something I can pray about for your family.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - May 8

Happy Mothers Day to all you moms of high schoolers!

We are in the middle of our series called "Upside Down" and are discussing weekly some of the difficult teachings of Jesus...specifically those in Matthew 5. Today we capped of a discussion I began this past Wednesday night covering what it means when Jesus asks us to give up our kingdoms for His.

This week was particularly difficult as I HATE talking about "behavior stuff" with teenagers. I believe that when students encounter Christ they will experience a life change and their behavior will reflect that. BUT - given the time of year and that my audience is high schoolers - I tackled some behavior issues that typically coincide with prom and graduation (both coming this month).

What is particularly striking to me is that Bruce's message today from Galatians reiterated our teaching about experiencing a changed life...choosing His Kingdom over my own. We already plan redundancy in our messages to students (repetition, repetition, repetition), but when we get (by Holy Spirit working) a confirmation from outside the District - I'm VERY encouraged about what students are being exposed to.

My biggest challenge for you this week comes as a minister who is also a parent. Be willing to ask your student difficult questions about what they are doing, where they are going, who they will be with, and the supervision they'll have when away from you. This is the time of year (end of school and in the summer) where students get sidetracked and can make some poor decisions. Opportunities to step out-of-bounds are presented to your student daily...but there's just something about this time of year that makes it feel like our guard is not as high as it is usually.

I'm so appreciative that I can be on the journey with you. For those of you who work in our younger age group levels - thank you SO MUCH for being a fellow minister to my son. I SO appreciate your encouragement to him and how you minister to me through him. As always, please let me know if I can pray about anything for you.