As most of you know, I have dedicated my life to showing the love of Jesus to kids of all ages. I love Jesus and, wow, do I love kids. Every child in my life or who crosses my path gets my benefit of the doubt. I have this crazy ability to see the hurt and suffering and vulnerability of every child. And with that grows my love for them.
But my love, and my willingness to show Jesus’ love to these kids is just not enough. And here is why.
We are raising a generation who idolize people with mediocre talent or who have gotten famous for doing absolutely nothing. This laziness to stardom is morphing into the New American Dream. The Real, honest and true American dream is slowly flushing down the toilet. The one that prides itself on hard work and reaching goals.
Unfortunately, my small blog post won’t do anything to change how apathetic our kids are. In fact, I could sky write it and have it published in every respectable newspaper in America, and everyone will simply shake their heads in agreement and go about their business.
I know I’m right, and it saddens me. Because I know that a change of heart in today’s kids, and to challenge them to reach their full potential, will require something from you, and honestly, you aren’t willing to give it.
Changing and shaping our future would require you to lay your judgement down of that foul mouthed teenager and actually talk to him with the same respect you demand. It would beg you to maybe give a kid a hug. And the thing is, it would require you to do all of these things more than once, in fact more than twice. It would require an invested commitment on your part to pour into the next generation instead of expecting them to fend for themselves.
All of these years you have thought that putting your blinders on and forcing the outside world to disappear is what is best for YOUR family. But you see, the entire world affects your child, so why wouldn’t you want to take some ownership for your neighbor’s child, your friend’s child, or even the unknown child? All of those kids will have tremendous influence on your own kid, the future of our world and all upcoming generations.
But instead we judge the child, criticize the parent, homeschool our own kids so they don’t have to interact with society and then ask, “what is this world coming to?”.
And the answer is You . You are what this world is coming to. Stop living so selfishly. It’s not about you. It never was, and it never will be. This life is about giving generously of your life because Jesus gave generously to you of His.
I have this love-hate relationship with Twitter. I really, really want to love it but I just mostly hate it. I try, I really do. I opened an account to be trendy, and cool and hip. But I am learning, maybe I'm just not any of those things. My initial motivation was that Twitter was a great way to network. I mostly follow other pastors, children's ministry and student ministry leaders, authors, and gurus on Christian leadership. But I see these tweets and find myself just resenting all of them.
Everyone has such inspiring things to say in 140 characters or less. Like here are a few:
“Where God guides, HE provides”
“Leadership development isn't a program, it's a lifestyle. Learning to serve others doesn't happen in the classroom, but in ministry.”
“Busyness is not from the devil, it IS the devil.”
“I realized today that I am emotionally exhausted today over something I can not change. It's time to change me.”
“Make sure your worst enemy doesn't live between your own two ears.”
It's like walking into a store with nothing but motivational posters around you. Everywhere. Or maybe even rummaging through a very special line of Hallmark cards. And in between these little nuggets of wisdom is advertising and shameless, self-promotion (cough cough) “read here: how to be a better pastor” and “read this blog: How I lead on Saturday's between 8am and 12:35pm”
Tweets are much more profound than status updates, but I find that most people just link their Twitter and Facebook accounts. How lazy! Who wants to read what you think or who you are shopping with twice?! And I don't know how I can possibly keep up with all of the tweets of my following. There are so many, it's so rapidly changing. I don't do well with change. And I'm not sure I have that kind of time.
So I've decided that Twitter is just too much pressure. On Facebook I can be myself, and people respond, and sometimes they even care. On Twitter I feel like I'm at a job interview, carefully chosing my word usage and placement so that someone out there, who will probably never ever read my 140 characters anyway, might be momentarily inspired.
I have a decent following, not phenomenal but some people say they care what I Tweet, so I won't get rid of my account. Most likely I will follow even more wise, insightful 30 year old hipster pastors. But I'm not sayin' I'm gonna like it.
What are your thoughts on Twitter? I would love to know!
One of the things almost every Christian parent does is find VBS at any church you possible can so we can get rid of your kids for a few hours each day. We hop from church to church closest to our houses, week after week, collecting T-Shirts and craft projects in exchange for a few moments of summer peace.
I am of no exception to this rule. The only thing that is different about me is that I have been in full time ministry for 10 years, and am currently working on the staff of a church plant. What makes my qualifications pertinent is I become very in tune with the workings of every church and their ministry. I am looking for ideas, sensing the Spirit, and struggling with my nature that always wants improvement, so often I am critical.
One of the things I stay most aware of is how welcoming and inviting the church people are. I believe that the most important thing a church can do is show love with open arms. As a church plant, especially, every connection made is a possible piece of the foundation of our church. But really, the church as a whole should desire and strive to missionally reach out to every person who steps foot in our presence.
If a church in Africa or the Dominican had people walk on their property, or were going into the community to reach the out to the lost they would certainly ensure a warm smile, a welcoming hug or handshake, burning to offer a sense of hope. But in America, we tend to take for granted whether or not people “really” need Jesus or “really” need to be a part of our church– or even THE church!
I have attended 3 events at this one particular area church, each one meant to be outreach events to the community. I have filled out registration information at two of the three events. I have never been contacted and not once at any event has anyone approached me to shake my hand or invite me to a church service.
What if I was that mother who was drowning in addiction? What if I was that woman at the well? What if I was the demon-possessed man? What if I was afraid and confused about who Jesus really was and this was my ONE, meek effort to try and connect?
We as the church body should look at every person with this perspective. We should assume that every.single.person. that God brings across our path is someone that needs to be reached for Jesus. We should be self-less about our functions at church, and not get caught up in the business of doing church, but concentrate more on being Jesus.
I have three more days left of this VBS, and I am hoping to get an invite. If not, I will just allow this lesson to better me and allow me to be aware of every person’s need for Jesus. How about you? Do you invite people to meet with Jesus?
Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Most people think that Human Trafficking is something of the past or of foreign countries. The realities are grim, and often in your own backyard, affecting the emotionally poverty-stricken comfortable world we like to call the United States of America.
We shake our heads, and get that nasty, yucky gut wrenching feeling–you know the one you have in your stomach right now when you think of those scenes from the movie Taken. Unfortunately those scenes are a reality, and those preyed upon in the US are those who are young and in desperate need of emotional connection–a sense of belonging.
Human Trafficking isn’t some big rich man sin, it’s an epidemic amid street gangs and anyone looking to make a quick buck. We’ve always had sex slavery and we’ve named her a prostitute with a pimp. But the Devil’s games have gotten uglier and he is targeting your children.
The way I see it is this — If we can have a breakdown in the family system, where parents are too busy to truly spend time with their children , then the children look for those adult connections elsewhere. Or if mom and dad just don’t love each other anymore, well, the kids are living between two households, often out of a backpack, shuffled like a deck of cards, and left to deal with their own heartbreak of the divorce.
And then there is the freedom to be sexual in whichever way “feels” right, because after all you only live once. And so moms and dads don’t teach what sex is really all about, and kids are left with their own imaginations, and the propaganda that sells TV shows and magazines. I’m not talking about shoving “DON’T HAVE SEX UNTIL YOUR MARRIED” down your kids throats. I’m talking about teaching sex from the perspective of self-respect, honor, tenderness, connection, covenant. But the problem with that is, most parents are not abiding by those morals for themselves. And it takes a commitment to actually instill a value in your children, it doesn’t happen overnight.
How can you turn your awareness of this growing epidemic of trading people as sex slaves into action? I’m so glad you asked. Here is what I think:
::Start with yourself. Are you contributing to the problem with your own porn addiction? Are you passive about what your kids are exposed to, because behind your locked bedroom door, you will willingly be a part of anything that feels good? Do you have a healthy and God-ly perspective of sex?
:: Talk to your kids. Start conversations with your children about things that have to do with purity and sex. Ask them what they think about the growing trend of homosexuality. Talk to them about why they think the things they do. Walk with them when they take the dog out. Hold their hand when you are driving. Pull them on your lap and hug them.
::If you have mature teenagers, tell them what Human Trafficking is. Hiding our kids from the ways of the enemy doesn’t make them wiser, or even protect them. In war, you must know the way your enemy attacks in order to win the battle. With healthy boundaries and conversations, you can safely allow your children to be in the world without letting them be a part of it.
The way to prevent trafficking in the future is by arming our new generation with strong connections to family and to God. Stopping Human Trafficking isn’t just about hunting down the brothels and catching the bad guys. It’s about a complete shift in the way we as a people think about sex and accept about sexual relationships. You can make a difference just by loving your kids, showing them healthy boundaries, and not leaving them emotionally disconnected.
Have you talked to your teenager about Trafficking?
Can you see how building connections with your kids can make a difference?
I’ve been pondering all morning what to blog about today. Even as I type this sentence I’m not quite sure where this post is going to end up. But that is the joy of writing. I just deleted the sentence I wrote because it sounded forced and so over intelligent it seemed fake. I digress….
When I first started writing I did it for the possibility that one day I would be a well-known, perhaps even famous author. I’ve always liked to write, I remember as young as 1st grade embracing our English projects. I knew by my freshman year of highschool that I was a decent writer when my words brought someone to tears–yah, it was my mom, so what!?! My essay took her back to my earliest of days and it made her remember. I knew that writing could evoke emotion, bring conviction and change someone’s life. It had for me, and I wanted to be the catalyst for that in someone else’s life.
Four years ago or so I started my first blog ( Every Season Under Heaven ) . It was basically an online journal of how God was working in my life. Not very many people read it–but it made an impact. When God would show me that he was using my writing, even for just one person, I was hooked. I still wanted 100,000 hits a day, but found myself content with 5 (none of which were my family, may I add–I have rough and tumble brothers, they don’t read much!)
Sometimes I struggle with writing on my blog because I wonder if anyone ACTUALLY reads it or gets something from it. This isn’t some shameless ploy to get you to comment or tell me how helpful my words are, it’s just truth. But in the process of learning the process of writing, I’m accepting that my writing isn’t really about you–it’s about God perfecting a work in me.
You see, I HATE process, and I HATE finishing things. My writing is just another tool in God’s toolbox that he uses to bring me into complete dependence on Him, total gratefulness for my gift, with the possibility that someone out there might just think about Him for a moment–like hopefully you are doing right now.
So even if I hear crickets when I tell the punch line, I will keep pecking away at one of my three keyboards, because it’s all about Him–not you or me.
Does God use any of your gifts/talents to show you that it’s not about you?!