Monday, October 31, 2011

Bible Study Video - John 3:1-10

Here is the video from a recent lesson that I taught in the series that I am doing through the Gospel of John on Wednesday evenings. I have not been going verse by verse, but I have been hitting some highlights along the way.

There were other lessons besides this one, but this is the first one I have video for.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Being Who I Am

Not too long ago, I was given a lead from someone to a church who was looking for both a youth pastor and an associate pastor. Because of my desire to have a position in ministry, I sent the pastor my resume and some other information. It was only after I had done this that I found out more about the church. Fortunately, I was never contacted by that pastor because I think it would have led to a bad situation. I would have had to pretend to be something that I am not and I do not think that would have been a good situation for anyone involved.

I wonder how many people find themselves in situations like this? The church they are wanting to work for is King James Only, so they go along with that sentiment, even though they don't believe it. The pastor rails against Christian rock music and so they act the same way, even though they enjoy the music.

I know that God has a church for me. I think that I have been trying to push myself to fit a particular mold, even though I know that being in that mold would make for a very unhappy situation. I do not want to be miserable trying to be something that I'm not. When the Lord brings the right church, it will be one that I am a good fit for, not something I tried to cram myself into.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Christian Phrases that I Never Want to Hear Again

Christianity has its own language. We have different phrases and sayings that we use that have a lot of meaning to us, but mean absolutely nothing to anyone outside of our system of beliefs. The phrases below are so overused that they no longer have any meaning and have simply become a bunch of jargon. I think we use them to sound smart.

Here is the list. Feel free to add your own or make some commentary.

  • Be the church
  • Do life together - how exactly does one do life? Don't we just live?
  • Be authentic - as opposed to fake?
  • Be in community

There are more, but that should be sufficient for now. I don't have a problem with the sentiment behind the phrases; it is just the words that drive me crazy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Just for Fun - Funny Animal Movie Plots

Nothing very spiritual here, but I found this on the blog.

Large Water Mammal Overcomes Obstacles: Dolphins and whales are constantly being threatened by bandana-clad fishermen who want to turn their rubbery, waterproof skin into raincoats. The protagonistic water mammal must enlist the help of an attentive child or teenage rebel to tie the fishermen's boots together using man's greatest strength—his fingers.

Dog Plays Sport: Everyone from golden retrievers to french bull poodles have been appearing in movies to show off their ability to slam dunk, pole vault, and win Olympic gold for shooting and skiing at the same time. These cinematic icons challenge the stereotype that dogs are only good for wearing sunglasses.

Cat Talks Sassy: Cats have opinions on everything—from eating to sleeping to being called "less sexy lions" by felinologists. In this type of movie plot, cats finally scratch back!

Mouse Lands Dream Job: The smaller an animal is, the more likely it is to speak in a movie. Movie mice use their ability to speak to better themselves, often landing jobs as chefs, tailors, or substitute teachers in schools with very low standards for substitute teachers.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Think I Would Stop Asking

I found this quote on Tim Challies' blog and thought I would share it here as well. This is a quote from John Eldredge's new book Beautiful Outlaw. Now, I have not read the book, so I am going to withhold judgment, but I have to admit this is quite a strange gift, especially since he is saying that it came from Jesus.

I was going to call this book Jesus of a Thousand Hearts, because of the way he continually breaks into my life. He “speaks” to me through hearts. I’ll find stones in the shape of hearts in rivers where I’m fishing. I’ve seen them almost step-by-step up a mountainside when on a grueling climb. Praying in the morning I’ll look out the window and passing by will be a heart-shaped cloud. Dinner rolls, seashells, stains on my jeans. I’ve won the lottery when it comes to hearts from Jesus. But I am ashamed to admit that last summer, I grew a little impatient with them. I was going through a trying time and seeking God for the answer to many questions. Often, he would simply give me a heart in reply. I’d be walking down the sidewalk, and there in the cement see a heart-shaped hole, made by a bubble when they poured the sidewalk.

I actually grew a little dismissive of them. I didn’t want hearts—I wanted answers.

So, Jesus stopped giving these treasures of our friendship.

Last fall, while walking through an alpine meadow bow hunting, I was asking him, How come you don’t give me hearts anymore? I asked it in a pouting kind of way. At that moment something gray caught my eye. I looked down midstride, and there in the grass, about as big as a dinner plate, was a dried piece of cow manure—in the perfect shape of a heart.

If I didn’t know Jesus adores me, if I didn’t know he is playful, and if our relationship didn’t allow me to receive a playful tease, I might have misinterpreted the icon. But I loved it. It was both, Oh, so now you want a heart? and, I adore you still. A cow-pie heart. That is so Jesus. Wish I’d taken a photo of it—we could have put it on the cover of this book.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Learning about Being a Christian from My Son

Many of us struggle with the Christian walk. We start and fall, get up and stumble again. This happens over and over. Every time we try to do something under our own power, we end up frustrated and tired. It isn't until we finally just lay down that we come to understand that our Father is just waiting to pick us up and hold us tight. I learned this from watching my youngest son as he is learning to crawl.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quieting My Soul

The life of a daddy/elementary school teacher/seminary student/wanna-be preacher is not an easy one. There are constantly projects to complete, papers to grade, sermons to write, and boo-boos to kiss. It can lead to a lot of noise. I came across this verse in Psalm 131 today and it was a message from God.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
- Psalm 131:2

When times get hectic and you can't see the light from the size of what is expected of you, remember to quiet your soul.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I Would Like to Think These Guys Had Awesome Youth Pastors

The video below shows some football players from the University of Nebraska. In a world where a lot of athletes are getting into trouble and finding themselves in the midst of controversy, these guys seems to have their heads on straight and are grounded in the Gospel.

Husker Football Players Share the Gospel - FCA from Three Pillars Media on Vimeo.

(I want to thank Erik from for bringing the video to my attention.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Meaning of Baptism

I came across this video about the true meaning of baptism. It is more than a simple ritual, something that you have to do as a Christian. I hope and pray that this video will help you to love Christ more and to have a deeper appreciation for your baptism. If you have not been baptized, I pray that it will cause you to want to be baptized.


(caption: "Don't bother me. I'm looking for a verse of Scripture to back up one of my preconceived notions!")

What are some preconceived notions that you have come across?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Praying for Teenagers

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I often feel drawn to youth ministry. As a result, I read a lot of books and articles in regards to ministering to teenagers. I came across one such article on praying for teenagers by Terrace Crawford.

Here are the highlights:

Areas to pray for

  1. Purpose
  2. Friendships
  3. Character
  4. Purity
  5. Passion
  6. Money
  7. Submission and Honor
  8. Spiritual Growth
  9. Discernment
  10. Hope
Please read the entire article to get more in-depth information and Scripture that you can use as you pray for the teenagers in your youth group, your church, and your family.

Steve Jobs and Thoughts on Death

As many of you know, Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. Many people across the world had been profoundly impacted by him and the work that he did. I have never been an Apple guy and I don't own a Mac. However, a few years ago, one of the students I taught was gracious enough to give me an iPod Touch as a gift. I must say, it was probably the nicest gift I had ever received from someone who wasn't family. The iPod Touch has been an awesome tool. It entertains my children. It allows me to carry a library in my pocket. I can memorize Scripture in a way that was never available before.

All thanks to Steve Jobs. God gifted Steve Jobs with an amazing mind and the ability to see the future. God has used those gifts and the products that were created as a result to impact many around the world with the Gospel.

It is my prayer that Steve Jobs knew Christ. I have read things that would be to the contrary, but I am hoping that Christ was able to seize his heart and save his soul. Death comes for everyone, not because God intended it that way, but as a result of sin. How we prepare for death and how we leave this world must be decided. Will you choose to follow Christ or will you choose otherwise?

Here is great tribute to Steve Jobs and the impact he had on the spread of the Gospel.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Should I Become a Youth Pastor?

Before I graduated college (it's a long story), I served at a church as a volunteer youth worker. I went back to college and took the year off, then went back to doing it for another year until someone else was hired (again, another long story). Since that time, I have had the opportunity to do a variety of different ministry positions, all on a volunteer basis. I have prayed and asked God to show me the right ministry and I always seem to default back to youth ministry. I have a good number of ministry books on my shelf and a large portion of those books deal with youth ministry. I can't help but wonder if this is an indication from God as to the direction I am being called.

With all of that being said, I have decided to begin my search for a ministry position again. I have spoken to one church (waiting to hear if the pastor is interested in talking to me), I have a lead to a church in Indiana, and I have looked at a few online. I ask that you would be in prayer in regards to my search and what it means for my family and my ministry.

P.S. I apologize that it has been so long since my last post. I have been absolutely swamped with seminary readings and projects. In fact, I should be working on those right now, but, instead, I am posting to my blog. Go figure.