My family has been big Toby Mac fans all the way back to his time with DC Talk. Toby recently released his new album “This is not a test”. This video, titled “Feel It” – a song off his new album, also was recently released. I bet if you watch it, you might just feel it. This is a great video and Toby Mac as usual does not disappoint.
A conversation with a young man.
I had a interesting conversation with a young man just the other day. And it broke my heart. This young man has been in the church for quite some time. I am going to change some personal information as to protect the person I am speaking about.
I went up and I asked this young man what Grade he was in. And let us say, he said the 8th grade. I asked him if there were other 8th graders at the church he went to. He answer was No. I asked him if since we are saying he is in 8th grade, if there were many middle school kids his age at the church he went to. His answer was no. I asked it if he liked going to the church he was going to, He said he hated it and would not come if he had the choice not to. I asked him if his Mom had been forcing him to come. He said – Yes and his only family too. I asked him why he hated it so much. He said I done this since I was a little kid. I said I was sorry to hear that. His reply, Yes. I than proceeded to tell this young man that I was going to pray that it was going to change for him. I was going to pray that instead of feeling like he was forced to come to the church he attended that he was going to have some much fun that he would be inviting his friends. He said Yes. I said I really mean it – you will be a priority in my prayer life. He said Yes.
On the present path – that young man is going to turn 18 and hate God and hate the church. The thing that breaks my heart is that this isn’t a kid who got mixed in with the wrong crowd and never went to church and hates God because he felt abandoned. No this is a kid who grew up in a church and hates God because he feels abandoned. He is going to have experienced what being a Christian is and does not want any part of it. To him I was a complete stranger and he had no problem telling me how he felt. Everyday the church struggles to get people in the door and this is what happens when they come in.
Is this happening in your church? Whitney Houston was well known in the eighty’s by one of the most famous lines in one of her songs – I believe the children are our future. Treat them right and some them the way. I couldn’t have said it better – any other way. Let us be real. Most churches say they care about the youth in their church, but usually where is the biggest need – it lies with the youth. And the people that do care are just thrown in there, usually with little or no training. And yet we wonder why kids like this young man happen. Jesus took time in his ministry to spend with the youth. In Matthew 14:13-14 (NIV) “Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as thee.”” Is your church like the disciples who thought there were more important things than children, or is your church like Jesus who takes the time because he knows their importance?
Every precious child is a gift from God. I hope your church takes that just as serious as God does. And I ask that each one prays for this young man (don’t worry – God knows who he is) that God would change that heart. I truly believe that this young man has the ability to be a leader in his community – he just hasn’t been given a reason to be one.
Thank you and God Bless!
My parents became Christians shortly after I was born and started going to church, so I grew up in the church. As I grew up in the church – I became very active as well. At the age of 11, I started running the youth group’s annual camping retreat. The year before my dad who ran the church’s youth group, got together with another leader and they took us camping. The other leader who had most of the camping experience, left shortly after that camping trip. I loved it so I asked my dad if we were going to do that again next year. He told me if I wanted to do it again – I had to do it. (I don’t know if he presented me with this challenge because he didn’t think I would accomplish it so he wouldn’t have to go or whether he had faith I could accomplish it.) That meant I had to reserve the campground, plan meals, buy the food, plan schedule and activities, figure cost, do registration, collect money, etc… Basically I had to plan every aspect of it, and at 11years old. And I did – well let me rephrase that – And God did, through me. By our fifth annual camping trip, it became the Men’s/Youth annual camping trip. By our 11th, it became the church retreat. All in All, God used me for 14 years. During that time, I slowly took over the youth group also. After I graduated High school, I helped my dad for a couple of years, then he retired from the youth group handing the reigns over to me. By the end of running the youth group – God created a philosophy of ministry and plan. We were training potential future leaders. But one of the most awesome things I saw God do through youth ministry was this – He started to change the church. I forgot to tell you that I grew up in a Baptist church. When I took over the youth group, I really started pushing for Sunday attendance especially for our dedicated youth. But the youth were not necessarily ready for a mono-toned service with Hymns. In youth group we did sing but we used worship songs and one of the potential future leaders would assist me in leading our worship time (don’t get to impressed we used a cd in the background). So they struggled with the hymn’s and the service was long – about an hour and forty-five mins. So they would eat, drink, get a little noisy sometimes during the service and that did not go well with the church. Well we just moved the church camping trip to the seashore at a hotel and since it was the off-season we were allowed to use their diner for a conference room. My youth, before the trip, begged that they didn’t have to attend the worship, because they hated the hymns. So I came up with a compromise. We would get to each session a half hour early and have our own worship first. I can’t believe they agreed to an extra half hour each session but they did. So we get to the first session and one non-youth person is already there but we do our thing anyway. By end of the second day of three the whole church, including the pastor was showing up a half hour earlier to join our worship and they asked us to lead the worship for the rest of the retreat. The pastor was going to Russia that following January and asked if the youth and I would lead worship for the church,the six weeks he was gone. And that started the youth choir which would be a staple in the worship service. So the same kids that were an annoyance in service, were now leading the singing time. God works in mysterious ways. At the same time I was leading our day camp which ran six/seven weeks, and there is a lot I could tell you about that, but I won’t bore you with all my stories.
Why does any of that matter? Because ever since that time in my life, my life has not felt complete. Don’t take it the wrong way. I am married with children and they do complete me. But there is a hole in my heart when it comes to doing what God has called me in my life. Every job I have had in my life and I had plenty always leave me feeling unfulfilled and empty. And I never felt more fulfilled then when I was doing His work. That is the first reason and probably the biggest reason I feel called to ministry. Because I keep chasing it or trying to run away from it but can’t. Anytime I do just the little bit of ministry – my inside go crazy. The second reason is that I feel that is where my gifts lie. I feel that my gifts are that I am a people person, I got the gift of teaching, I have a gift of planning (especially the starting or early stages). Thirdly is that people have confirmed to me without asking that ministry is where I should be. That is always the final nail in the coffin, when others see in you what you believe you are called to do. If people are giving you reservations about what you believe God wants you to do in life, you might want to reconsider or ask someone you really trust.
That is how I know God has called me to do ministry, now I wait on Him to open up the doors. He knows the time and place and I will wait patiently for His direction. When you see the power of God – nothing will ever come close to that.
I just wanted to bring to everyone’s attention that we have created three new pages to the blog.
The Prayer Room – I truly believe that everything starts and is rooted in prayer. So I truly believe that this is very important part of this ministry. This is for you either share your prayer request or to pray for someone on this page, or do both – share and pray. I hope everyone takes full advantage of this.
The Discussion page – This forum will group the discussion post together and place them all in one place so that you can easily get to the discussion you would like to be a part of. It is also something that I hope you take advantage of.
Milestone Page – I always think it is good to see how you are doing and the impact that you are having so this page just list important dates and miles we have traveled together.
I know that I do not have a home page tab but if you ever want to get back to the home page – just click the title on the top and it will bring you back to the home page.
How has prayer changed your life?
What does prayer mean to you?
Thought this was right on target. Well written and good post.
On January 29th on a previous blog I decided to pray through my blog. If you have not read the post click here to read it. Some people may have jumped to their own assertions on why I may have done something like this. Some might believe I am just a attention junky and was seeking to draw attention to myself. But let me explain for myself for the reasons I choose to do this. It was not just a singular decision, but for many reasons.
First I did it to be an example. You might not be a Christian, or you might not have been a Christian long. Let me first say that there is no right or wrong way to pray. Prayer is your conversation with God. It can be as short as Help or as long as you want it to be. The only thing I would say is be honest, because God knows your heart. So if you think you can try to manipulate God – you are greatly mistaken. Another thing is be careful what you ask for because He just might give it to you. So why be an example then? Jesus gave us an example and I was just trying to reiterate it. Why follow this when praying? Because I truly believe that God has us pray not to change His mind or let Him know how we feel – he already knows how we feel and we can’t change His mind. We pray so that our heart might line-up or conform to His. See prayer isn’t for Him – it is for us.
So what is His example. It first start with acknowledging who He is and who we are not. When Jesus teaches us to pray it starts out “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. Next we ask for our needs. Jesus continues, “give us today our daily bread” Then we ask for forgiveness where we have wronged him. Jesus continues ” and forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors”. Next we ask for the power to resist sin. Jesus finishes, “and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” Jesus ends there, but scripture talks a lot about giving thanks and so I always try to give thanks for what he has done and what he will do. The Lord’s Prayer can be found in Matt 6:9-13. So my prayer might not have followed step by step this exactly, but it comes close and you can find each of these throughout my prayer.
Second reason is that I believe that God calls Christian’s to be transparent. One of the reasons why Christianity has a bad rap is because Christians come off holier than thou. But if your transparent and people actually see you repenting and sharing your struggles than how can you come off holier than thou? You can’t. Christianity is based on realizing you are a sinner and need the blood of Christ, so why once we become a Christian do we need to act like we don’t ever sin. God calls us to be transparent and I was trying to be that with this. Trust me it is not easy to put yourself out there for the whole world to see.
Thirdly, I put this out there for the support of my brothers and sister. When we struggle we need each other and we count on each other. The bible commands us to lift each other up in prayer. So yes I did it for the support of my brothers and sisters.
Prayer is important and it is our life line to God. Sometimes God just calls us to be still and know that I am God. That is prayer without words. Maybe if you haven’t heard God speak to you it is because your prayer is just asking for your own desires. If that is all that your prayer is how can you expect to line up or conform to him. Think of it like a “Walkie Talkie” – When you pray and all it is – is asking – you are on channel 1 while God is on Channel 10, But when you start out acknowledging who God is and who you are not – it is like your changing the channels until you line up on the same channel, and when you get on to the same channel and your heart is lined up or conformed to His – you can hear his voice. Sometimes we search and search and there is so much baggage we have brought that it is hard to hear but he is there.
So that is why. Now what is the update since. I asked for direction and specifically if he wanted me to go in a certain direction, and it seems to be at least not right now. But that is because he had a much bigger plan for me. I do not feel alone, I feel rejuvenated with the spirit and I believe he is leading me into ministry. He has moved me (spiritually and physically – I live 10 hours away from where I did, in another state knowing no one). I feel like I am where I am supposed to be doing what I am supposed to be doing.
I periodically might pray on this blog when God places it on my heart.