Sunday, September 24, 2006

Visitor Night!!

"When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 19:33-34)

I am INSANELY proud of the teenagers at Southwest! They did an OUTSTANDING job of welcoming FIVE visitors and one new member of our youth group tonight at Visitor Night.
Watching them was almost like looking at my own children...proud that they were doing what God wants us to do. Their laughter and talking were music to my ears.
As I watched them mingle and ask each other questions, as they learned each others' names, as they danced with each other (OK, so it was a game called "Toe Fencing", but it was pretty much dancing!), as I observed all this, I thought, "THIS is good stuff! THIS is what's supposed to be happening!"
Hopefully, all our visitors (aliens) felt like they were part of our group tonight.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Who's Got Your Back?

"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up." (Proverbs 12:25)

I had someone from church call me today to give advice and to reassure me that I had someone to call on if I needed it. He also said that someone gave me a huge compliment the other day while speaking with him.

In youth ministry, it's SO NICE to know that people in your church want to look out for protect you. They are concerned and they let you know about it. They don't want you to get burned out, or overstressed, or spiritually drained. They want to bear your burden with you!

I would even go so far to say that this is one of the TOP things any minister should look for when looking for a church to work with. Sometimes it can get lonely...feeling like you have no help or nobody to turn to. Sometimes you feel the pressure to be perfect when nobody else could measure up to that standard.

What a blessing to have "protectors" as a youth minister...people that will "go to bat" for you. Or, as our songleader said Sunday morning: "It's good to know that my Christian brothers and sisters have 'got my back.'"

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Why Was I Mad?

Fischer. Busy. Leaning on gate. In trouble. Re-direct. Play with toys. Supper? Fischer pulls out pots and pans. Angry. 15-minute supper takes 45 minutes to prepare. Re-direct. High chair. Food. Quiet...for five minutes. Eat my own supper. Screams again. Milk? Out of high chair. Into everything. About to pull out my hair...

Sirens. Tornado warning! "Go to your basement NOW." Rain. Wind. Hail. Wife calls from four miles away. Are you OK? How is the baby?

And all of a sudden I realize I'm not mad at him any more. Anger has fled the scene and is replaced by love, concern, protection. I'm holding him as close as I can...close enough to feel him breathe. I feel guilty for being angry with him. He's innocent! He wasn't trying to make me mad! He just wanted some attention from his daddy.

We retreat to the back of our basement (away from the window) until the tornado warning has passed and the sirens have been silenced. He is being a little angel now...just holding onto me and looking into my eyes as I sing to him.

"I'll never let him go now," I think as I rock him to sleep.

Why was I mad again?

Friday, September 15, 2006

E.T. Phone Home

A little change of pace today! This video captures some fun moments with Fischer and his towel. Think "E.T." while you're watching this one!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Make Me A Storm

Some lyrics from a song I've been listening to A LOT! It's by Watershed Worship. I think there is a lesson in here somewhere...

The wind and waves obey your voice I want to be like that
Listening before each choice I want to be like that

Chorus 1:Father hear my humble plea
Help me to be like the ocean that is under Your command
Help me be still, I want to do Your will
Oh Lord, make me a storm

The raging sea did not think twice I want to be like that
Following without a fight I want to be like that

Chorus 1:Father hear my humble plea
Help me to be like the ocean that is under Your command
Help me be still, I want to do Your will
Oh Lord, make me a storm

Chorus 2:O Father hear my humble plea (hear my plea)
Help me to be like the ocean that is under Your command
Help me be still (help me be still), I want to do Your will
Oh Lord, make me a storm
Make me be still (make me be still)And listen for Your will

Oh Lord, make me a storm

Scriptural Reference:
"The men were amazed and asked, 'What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!'" Matthew 8:27

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Not Good

A recent, heartbreaking conversation between me (F) and a teenager (T) in my former youth group...

(F) How's it going, man? (While throwing an arm around his shoulders.)
(T) Not good.
(F) What? Why not? Aren't you having a good time at the youth rally?
(T) Well...what do you want me to say...Yes? Well, things AREN'T going good. My parents are getting a divorce.
(F) (In disbelief) YOUR parents? No way! Are you joking with me?
(T) No.
(F) (Grabbing his shoulders to look into his eyes) I'm SO sorry, man. I'm so sorry...

This is from a teenager that was in a seemingly happy family. Parents were involved at church, even taught other adult parenting and marriage classes. Teens loved being in the youth group.

Now, the dad and the other teen have fallen away from attending church, hopefully they haven't fallen away from God.

All I know is, there is a teen boy who hurts tonight. The only family he knows is being ripped apart at the seams. He is terrified that he will have to choose a parent to live with. He thinks that parent will move him away from his friends, his extracurricular activities and, worst of all, his support at church...his youth group. And, in some weird way, he might even feel like it's all his fault.

And we wonder why God hates divorce...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Follow Me

It was great to see friends at the Cowboy Youth Festival in Stillwater, OK this past weekend! Thank you all for coming to visit!

The theme was "Follow Me" and it was a very compelling topic. We received bracelets that had footprints running the length of them with the words "Follow Me" and the theme verse (John 10:27.) After examining the footprints for a few minutes, I realized something strange about them...the footprints had holes in them!

Surely this was a mistake! Maybe the template wasn't picking up paint in the right spot. Maybe the bracelets got scraped.

Or maybe it was exactly the way it was meant to be.

When I stopped to think about it, those are the footprints I need to follow. I don't follow popular footprints, or the best-looking footprints. I don't follow well-manicured footprints.
I follow some of the dirtiest, ugliest footprints around! Feet that walked many miles. Feet that stood near leprous feet. Feet with bloody nailprints. I follow the feet of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Not good enough

I just wrote two posts, but decided neither was "good enough" to publish. I saved one as a draft...who knows? Maybe I will put it online one of these days.
Why do I feel the need to publish "the perfect article" on my own blog? Why the need for perfection?
I guess I want other people to identify with me...with my thoughts and feelings. I want people to comment on my blog and say, "I know how that feels!" I want people to say, "Great post, man!"
I wish I wasn't cursed with this need for affirmation! It's around me all the time! Is this a good sermon? Did I make that person laugh? Have I changed someone's life today?
Wish humanity wasn't infected with the "Am I good enough?" disease.