Tag Archives: worship
Take time to have spiritual renewal

Rest


Apparently, my body was much more tired than I thought it was from the last few weeks of going, because today I didn’t wake up until 2 pm.

My body needed rest and today it got it.

I find it very interesting that God designed our bodies to shut down when they need rest. Like you can’t stay awake for too long before things in your body begin to shut down and find the rest they need.

It’s amazing, though, that it’s not the sort of deal that you could, say stay up continuously from monday morning until friday evening and then make up for it by sleeping friday evening until monday morning. Our bodies wont work that way, they can’t function that way.

I remember when I was in college on the Debate team, we had tournaments in the fall just about every weekend, and the amount of energy and time the debate team took was just as much as a full time job, only we were all full time students as well. So what would end up happening is that a few of us inevitably would go to the Debate Lab (section of main university building with offices, computer lab, lecture rooms and cubicles) on tuesday after class, stay there all night working on homework/debate stuff until wednesday classes, go back to the debate lab and work until thursday classes, then get on the bus and sleep for the first time since Tuesday morning. I think this is what really instilled in me my addiction to starbucks.

But I remember one time doing this same pattern just on an off week, but extending it a day to friday, and going to sleep friday afternoon with the intent of just taking a nap and getting up in time to go see a movie with my friends. So I go to sleep at about 3:30 pm and wake up and my clock says 6:00 pm. I figured great, I feel so rested with just that, plenty of time before the movie starts. I headed out of my room and discovered my friends getting ready to go…to the football game. It was Saturday, I had slept nearly 27 hours straight!

So whats the point of all of this. And I know its somewhat contradicting because I said we can live that way but I just showed a week where I did. And I hope it goes without saying, you can’t LIVE that way, you can get by for a few weeks, but you cant live like that. It’s miserable.

Well I say all this because I know that many students live this way spiritually, and I fear that many in ministry do as well.

Part of our Sabbath is meant to renew our souls, to reconnect with God. But many times, we are too busy to not be busy. So we push it off to the side, we consider lesson preparation our quiet time, we rush through our prayers, and we don’t take time to really focus on why we are doing what we are “doing for the Lord.” Then, when we do get those moments, we try and get so much out of them to make up for the times we missed.

But this is no way to Live. I wish our spiritual lives would sometimes shut down on their own to get the rest they truly need because we too often ignore the warning signs that our tank is getting low. We need to take sabbath. We need to daily connect with God and be renewed by him. We can’t allow ourselves to be so busy doing things for the Lord that in the end we don’t do anything for the Lord.

I know as Pastors we know this. But we also all know to go to bed every night, but we still get tired.

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The Rush


This week has been exhausting. And I know that next week is going to be pretty similar, and so its safe to say, I won’t have a break for the first 20 days of March, and beyond that, there’s no guarantee of one either.

I started March cranking out school work to be done before I left for the Simply Youth Ministry Conference, then I had the Simply Youth Ministry Conference which was even more go go go, then I came home to crank out a ton more schoolwork for my courses ending this Friday night, while also preparing to tape a sermon for the first time, and giving some students some guidance on how to make videos for the youth group, as well as cleaning the Youth Room because it smelled like rotten Jelly Beans, as well as our church’s Dinner theater all this weekend and next, and oh yeah, I leave Sunday for the Transformational Church conference in North Carolina, 12 hours drive away, and get back late Wednesday Night, then go right into the performances of the Dinner Theater.

Life is Hectic.

I mean, even Life moves fast. Even the speed at which the earth spins is crazy fast ( a quick google search clocks it at 1000 mph, but I wouldn’t take that as it is, I hate it when numbers are too even like that, though at the same time, if it was like 1123, I’d probably question it just as much. )

When you consider ministry, it goes fast. I mean, I feel like it was just last week we were having our Christmas Party, and it couldn’t have been more than a month ago that I started here. Where did the time go?

We live crazy fast lives. And we, as Pastors, should be some of the first to remember to find the slow, soft voice of the Lord, but how often do we do that.

In all the rush, in all the hectic craziness that is the life of a youth pastor, how often do we forget to take a few moments and be still before the Lord? I’m not talking about a Sabbath day, though I could, I’m talking about at least once a day, quieting ourselves before the Lord.

I know how hard it can be, I’ve been there and even sometimes still am there. Last week it was just too hectic at SYMC to find that place.

But I know the day I got back, that night I was outside on my porch, in my usual chair, bible open, and heart still before the Lord.

It honestly is one of my favorite times of the day, and I couldn’t do ministry with out it. So I don’t mean this in a “Look at me” way, but honestly, when was the last time you stepped outside of the Rush of life and just sat still with the Lord? Has it been too long? Then quit reading blogs and be still. You’ll be glad you did later.

Thoughts on SYMC Day 1


Wow, it has been great being here, and we have only had 1 day. So nice to connect with other Youth Pastors and their wives and really just see the magnitude of Youth Ministry. From the connect groups to last nights opening session with Doug Fields, one thing is blatantly obvious:

The point of Youth Ministry, whether in a big church or small church, big town or small town, is all the same. To point students to Christ. We may not do it the exact same way, but that is what we are trying to do.

And really just the encouragement for us Youth Pastors in small towns that feel like the step-child Youth Pastors some times, the simple idea that there will always be someone envious of your position. Some of us in small churches may be envious of those in huge churches with huge budgets sometimes, but I think there are also plenty of times where those people in the giant churches wish they were in our small tiny church with only a handful of students to truly get to love on.

Because again, the point of Youth Ministry is to point Students to Christ. Not to have the most entertaining Youth Service, not to play the greatest games, not to have the most killer retreats, but to fill students with amazement and Awe of God, and call them to action.

Can’t wait for today. And if I have any time today, I’ll try and give my review of Soul Surfer.

Small Town Benefit #1 – It’s Small


So the last few months, I have had my friday’s frustration about serving in a small town. But last week, as I laid out my schedule of posts for the next few weeks, I decided to do some benefits of small town ministry before I got into any more downsides.

One of the best things about serving in a small town is just that, its a small town. For many in the town, there is a real sense of community. When my Wife and I were looking at houses, it was amusing to hear Trenton Natives tell us every family that had lived in a particular house, and that they knew all that was interesting, and really made us feel like we were moving to a good ol’ little All American town, the kind of place where you picture they would film leave it to Beaver if they still filmed that show.

The real benefit is the closeness of all of the kids. To be able to ride my bike to the houses of 90% of the students in my Youth Ministry has been great for building relationships with them and their parents.

Further, I love how safe I feel in the town. One of my favorite parts of my day is close to 11 p.m. when I take Max, our black lab, for a long walk. I love it because its a time for me to just talk with the Lord, pray, worship, or listen to the Simply Youth Ministry Podcast. There have been many times the past few months where those times have kept my sanity in tact.

And this comes back to the closeness of the students. I can spend just an hour walking, and pass by the houses of again, almost 90% of my students. I love the ability to stop in front of their house and say a little prayer over them and their family and move on. And I love knowing that at most I’m only going to pass 2 cars in that whole hour. The quietness and stillness of it all is something magical. The views are breathtaking. Yes, its very flat here, but not being in a populated area, I can see millions and millions of stars. Any time I start to feel arrogant I can go out that night and be humbled of how small I am, and I love those conversations with God.

And thats what I love most about living in a small town. What do you love most about serving where you are?

Tuesday’s Dose of Jack


“We trust not because ‘a God’ exists, but because THIS God exists.”

C.S. Lewis, The world’s Last Night and Other Essays, “On Obstinacy in Belief”

Simple, but beautiful quote, especially along side one thats been in my mind all week from Mary Yaconelli “Jesus Christ is ALWAYS good news.”

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