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"Never make someone your PRIORITY while allowing yourself to be their OPTION."
I borrowed this quote from a friend of mine to share a few things with you. Over the past couple of weeks, I have had several discussions about relationships, friendships, and life events with people in my life. I feel like this quote kinda sums up the main point of all my advice.
It is important to connect with people in life and we are all searching for meaningful connections. However, sometimes I think we get so zealous for companionship or a close friend, that we just lower our standards and accept relationships that are not in our best interest.
I think we all know what it is like to be the only one without a boyfriend or a girlfriend or even the only one without a real best friend (a.k.a BFF). This is usually the point when we throw our personal standards out the window and consider how to make unhealthy relationships work. We start to justify why the relationship could work, all the while knowing in our hearts it was never meant to be.
I have been exposed recently to the pain of people, whom I love, removing me from their priority list. Life gets busy and things happen, but those you love should always be a priority for you and never an option. When God sends you the right friend or companion, you won't have to wonder if you are a priority--you will know you are one!
So are there people in your life that are priorities and you are their option? Healthy, meaningful relationships should always be priorities.
Why do people keep settling for less than what they are called to? I can not for the life of me figure out what in us thinks that mediocre is okay.
Lately, God has been really stretching me. I have been praying and asking myself what success looks like in Student Ministry in today's generation. I had this original thought about a year ago but it has been stirring in my soul again this weekend so I thought I would write about it. I have been taking a deep look at how a student today will gauge the success of a Youth Pastor.
Disclaimer: This is my opinion. it will not be correct all the way across the board. Some of the ages will crossover and culture and background will play a huge part as well. You can disagree with me.
The "builder generation," born between 1925-1945, gauges the success of a minister by their ability to communicate. They will deem him successful by how well they can preach. If you listen closely you will hear this in the way that they title a minister. "Hey preacher, that was a good sermon today." Their ability to preach the gospel with power and authority is the key to success for them. I believe that is why tent revivals and camp meetings were so successful.
The "boomer generation," born between 1946 - 1965 and Generation X, born between 1966 - 1979, gauges the success of a minister by their ability to lead. You will often hear a shift in their title, they have shifted from preacher - to pastor. They are still affective communicators, but their knowledge of leadership has to be broader. I believe this was the reason for the birthing of the mega-church and the corporate model leadership in a church. Revivals have given way to conferences and Evangelists have given way to Consultants.
The Millennials, born 1979 and on will not gauge success like any other generation. They will gauge the success of a minister by relationship. They will look at a minister's relationship with people and with Jesus: How transparent and honest they were, how approachable they were, how relational they were. I believe this generation doesn't care how good you can preach or how many John Maxwell books you have read, they want to know that you love them and care about them. They want to see you walk out your Faith in everyday life. They do not care about the size of your church but the size of your heart.
These are just some thoughts and opinions I am having. How do you judge success?
Time flies when you are having fun. This week flew by again.
St. Francis prayed:
St. Francis prayed:
A better Follower of Christ - There are times that I get in my routine and a rut is formed. I get stuck. I try to look for new ways to approach my relationship with Jesus so that ruts are not formed. I have to ask myself everyday if I am living a life that is worth Jesus dying for?
A better husband - I do not deserve the awesome wife that God has blessed me with. She has to put up with a lot of junk from me. Ministry can take it's toll on a minister's wife on top of just everyday things she deals with. I strive to not take her for granted and do the best I can to provide and protect her. I fall short a lot.
A better leader - Leadership is not something that comes easy or natural to me. I have to find books, podcasts, blogs, or whatever else I can find to expand my way of thinking. I want to be stretched like never before.
A better Youth Pastor - The weight and burden of the call to this generation is heavy. I have to balance motivation and burnout on a regular basis. I am constantly praying, thinking, looking for new ways to reach students with the love of Christ. What reached them last year, last month, even last week will not be good enough. This is the generation that will change the world, they deserve my best.
A better friend - God has really blessed me with some awesome people in my life and I stink at being a good friend. There are so many times that I have good intentions and horrible follow through. I am working on acting when I think. If I am thinking about someone, I need to call them then, not put it off until later.
A better me - No one else can do me like me. I have to remind myself everyday that God created me to be me. He always has the people that I look up to, read, or listen to. He does not need another one of them. He needs me to be me. I struggle a lot because I do not think I am good enough sometimes.
I am currently in a season of my life where God is teaching me how to wait on Him. Not everything has worked out according to my timeframes and I am trying not to be impatient or even frustrated. I know that God has a plan for my life, but my human nature is to want it immediately rather than wait for His perfect timing.
Waiting cultivates new characteristics in our lives. It has taught me how to completely trust God and not be surprised when he comes through for me. It has also reminded me of the goodness of God and how I should never take that for granted. Waiting is also creating a more patient heart in me that is becoming a little slower to anger and worry. I know that while I wait, I have no idea of the miracles God is working on my behalf.
Pastor Steven spoke yesterday on being able to close your eyes and see the dreams and visions God has given you. I am being challenged everyday to connect with God and see through his eyes rather than feel frustrated with my current circumstances. What are you waiting on God to do in your life? Are there people or events you are learning to wait for? Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and see what God has promised you and hold onto it!
This has been probably the fastest seven days of my life
So far this week we have talked about throwing stuff away that we have acquired and did not need and not doing life alone. Today I want to end "Lessons From Moving" by talking about unpacking. We all, whether we want to admit it or not, compartmentalize our life. We have these boxes in our souls that we place certain things in. Family things go into this box, relationship things go into this box, church things go into this box, so forth and so on. There is one box that we usually have that we do not like to talk about: the "hurt" box. The box where we put all of our pains and bad experiences.
I do not know what I would not have done if Brandon and Mark would not have shown up to help load. I would have ran out of energy and strained myself. If I did not have friends around me to help carry the emotional and mental loads of life, I would bog down on a daily basis. I would have been lost if my friend, Chris, did not show up and help me rearrange the truck. He saw things from a different perspective. Without people who can look at your life from the outside in and speak to the areas you can not see that well, our lives become a jumbled mess.
The friends that came to unload and unpack were just as important. They came just at the right time. As we were getting extremely tired they stepped on the scene and took a HUGE load off. God always has a way to send the right people at the right time. It might be a kind word, an encouraging phone call, or just a good sit down talk. What would we have done without Stephanie and Justin? Show up when she is needed the most. Make huge sacrifices, and give up valuable time to help. Those are the friends that will do anything for you and know how to help the most. Then last but not least, I would not know what to do without my family. They were with us from start to finish. There are people in your life that will never leave you. These are the people that we often take for granted and overlook.
I want to encourage you and challenge you to look around your life and take notice of the people that God has blessed you with. Be aware of those people your surround yourself with, they will either help you or hurt you in life.
Last week was "Move Week." Lots of packing, loading, cleaning, unloading, unpacking, and more cleaning. Though it wore all of us out, it was a rather smooth move. Not a lot of snags or hang ups. In between the cardboard boxes, packing tape, and other stuff, God showed me some pretty cool lessons I want to share with you guys this week.
Well, we are finally getting settled into our new home in Stockbridge, Georgia and now it is my turn to write again. Yay! Through our time of transition, God has been stirring some new thoughts in my mind I want to share with you. I have been in church my whole life and Kingdom principles have been a mainstay for me. However, over the years through hurts and trials, I have glossed over a very vital principle . . . .Timing!
What a week!
Most everyone has an idea of how creation went down, at least as far as the biblical explanation is concerned. I was reading through the account a few nights ago; I do that from time to time. I watched classic poetry become live right beneath my nose. It seems this bible God left us speaks volumes, especially when you are experiencing things for the first time in life. I’m not going to type the whole story from beginning to end, but I want to share the portions that sparked new life into familiar passages.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Then He proceeded to separate the land from the sea.
(here comes the “new” part for me)
Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation- every sort of seed-bearing plant, and tress that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. The land produced vegetation-all sorts of seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.
He made lights for the night and the day next
Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird-each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
We’re starting to develop a pattern here…
Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind-livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.
God is creating, and then He blesses the creation to create.
Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like ourselves… Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.”
I know that’s a lot of scripture for a blog, but it really is beautiful. I’ll try and keep it short. So, lying in my bed that night, I think God showed me some things. Here they are.
From the beginning of, well everything, God has been creating. So a loving God created the earth and everything in it. The most amazing part of all being, He created each “thing” to then create more. Each living thing granted a beautiful gift, which was to be active in making the future. It’s true; we were made in God’s image. An image that says we can create a future that will breathe life into lives that are void and shapeless. We are to be active in creating the most beautiful future we are capable of.
We are created to love and live. We are made to give life and add beauty to a broken world. We are created to work with passion and vigor, but also to rest as our maker did. Our lives are built to build. So, as simply as I can put it; May we be active in making a world that loves and let’s go. May we create memories where we laugh from the bottom of our souls, even though tears dampen our cheeks. And most importantly, may we be active in creating love that creates and creates and creates.Read More......
Hello world! I am today’s “guest blogger” so I hope you guys enjoy it and maybe you can vouch for me making a return visit through comments or other means. Haha.
This past weekend I went down to Florida to watch 2 of my friends get married on the beach and after sleeping on it for one night, I have to say that it was the best weekend of my life. My girlfriend Lindsey and I drove down to Florida on Saturday and the road we took snaked right along the coast and we got to see some beautiful sights and it was very neat and refreshing.
The wedding happened right at sunset and the waves were the only music we had. The whole ceremony lasted maybe 20 minutes, but it was packed with such emotion, and love, and hope that you know there was something special about the whole thing. That is what I envision love to be. Something raw and simple and not built up and more than an emotion or a kiss, but something that you can’t really understand but you just know it’s real.
Lindsey, Justin, Renae, and I went to eat Sunday before we left and had some aaaa-mazing pizza then we found some beach that looked like it had never been touched. It was honestly the prettiest beach I have ever been too. We were the only people there and we just stood in the ocean and talked and laughed and had a really good time. Personally it was very refreshing. Just to be out with some of my best friends and enjoy the simple things in life. The whole experience was very much needed for me. I think God liked it too because we were just enjoying His art and His creation and being in the company of other people and friends. I think that God smiles when we appreciate the small things. All too often, our lives can become so busy that we forget the things that really matter. Friends, family, hobbies, a much needed hug, catching up with an old friend; these are the simple things that we need to learn to appreciate.
I don’t really know where this blog is going or even if you will get anything out of it, but this is what has been going on in my life and I figured I would share it with you guys because Eric said I could write about anything I wanted to. Haha. So I hope you guys enjoyed this and I hope your day is spectacular.
We’ve all heard “friends don’t let friends _____”. Drive drunk, pop their collars, hold hands…
The Bible calls us to be true friends who love deeply (Rom 12). But what is a true friend? Someone who weeps when you weep, laughs when you laugh, listens when you vent? These are all certainly traits of a true friend, but when I dig deeper than my 2nd grade Sunday school class (sorry Mrs. Bonnie), I begin to wonder what this should look like in my day-to-day.
What if I practiced “playing second fiddle”, letting my friends have the spotlight? What if I didn’t try to top a joke that my sister tells or wear a dress slightly prettier than my friend’s? What if I listened more than I speak and encouraged my friends more than I complain along with them? What if I prayed for others more than I pray for my own needs? What if I truly grasped a selfless mindset and servant’s heart? How different would my attitude and actions be?
…I’d probably have more friends… and Mrs. Bonnie would be proud.Read More......
I’m a person helper.
(if they tell me “thank you”)
(How must God feel?)
Lately I’ve been learning the art of balancing people’s reliance on me. While also learning the art of complete reliance on Him. It’s a good feeling.
Well if this last 3 weeks have not been crazy enough, this week is going to put it over the top. We will load up the u-haul on Wednesday and then moving to Stockbridge on Thursday. As you can tell by the title of our Blog, life is never normal. I am not looking for normal, but what I am looking for is routine again. I am looking for balance. Over the last week and a half I have clocked over 1500 miles and slept in a hotel for the last 8 nights.
This week has flown by
I know I am "county come to town" when I am excited about seeing two different oceans in the same week.
I was on the Atlantic Coast Monday and Tuesday and we are on the Gulf Coast this weekend.
Had an awesome bike ride with my Dad first of the week. Went 500 miles round trip. Road Jekyll, Sea, and St Simon's Island.
Spent Wednesday in Stockbridge. I AM READY TO LIVE THERE!
Youth Service was really cool. We had a "town hall" meeting and talked about the direction of the ministry, what Wednesday night should look like, and what events we wanted to do.
Doing Bailey and Amber's wedding today. It is going to be beautiful. They are awesome I am really honored and blown away to get to have a part in their lives.
They say there are biting flies down here on the beach. That is not going to be fun.
I am really excited to hang out with some students from Echo this weekend.
Get to speak at my home church tomorrow morning. That is going to be cool. I have not spoke at First Assembly in Adel in 8 years.
Major packing left to do at the house Monday and Tuesday. Loading the U-haul Wednesday.
Got everything set up and turned on this week at the house in Stockbridge.
This is a cool weekend for us, hope you are have an awesome one too!
uthforce.com and our podcasts will be up in 2 - 3 weeks.
I had to write this blog and share a little piece of my life with you. As we are preparing to move, I had not finalized my job situation in Stockbridge. I wrote the blog about blind faith on Monday night and then yesterday my faith was put to the test. God closed the door on my job here in Albany and I was not prepared for the situation to play out like it did. My human instinct was to underestimate God and try to come up with plan B, C, and D, if necessary.
As I lay awake last night praying and still trying to come up with creative ways to gain employment in my new home, I realized that I had not gone to the source for my answers. God began to show me that my underestimation of Him and His plans was not "practicing what I had been preaching" about faith. In my personal fear of the unknown, God has begun to remind me of how faithful He is and how futile my plans are.
Yesterday's fear of unemployment quickly changed into today's job opportunities and interviews. Out of nowhere today, God has been reminding me of his plans. I have been overwhelmed with every phone call, text, and email requesting me to do contract work, come for an interview, or fill out an application for an opening.
If you are reading this and you are uncertain about some areas of your life, take a deep breath and force yourself to wait on God. He really is there, waiting to reveal his plans in your life. Even on the rough days, He is still faithful and working miracles on your behalf. The steps of the righteous are ordered of him, so hold your head up and put your faith to the test. I know I will remember the past 48 hours next time I underestimate the power of my God.
Monday and Tuesday of this week, I went on a motorcycle ride with my Dad. We went over to Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island, and Sea Island. It was a great ride. We enjoy the time away, the scenery, and most of all each other's company.