Posts Tagged ‘ faith ’

Developing the leader in me

I am 3 chapters deep into the best John Maxwell book I’ve read thus far – Developing the Leader in You.  I wish I had read this book several years ago. I believe God will use this book to help me become a much, much better leader.

But last night I became a better leader.  I’m not sure why it has taken me over a year. Last night we had our back 2 school bash (yep, there’s not much more “youth ministry-ee than the word “bash” and using the number 2 instead of the word “to” – jealous of my cool language).  I had so much fun hanging out with students – probably more so than I have in a long time.  Maybe I’m letting my guard down more. Maybe They trust me, even if it’s just a little bit.  Whatever the case may be, I feel like last night was great.  Now if only we would have been able to actually swim.

A Question to think about – why is it that when it’s thundering we cant get into the pool, yet we can take canoes out on the lake and steer them with metal paddles? Not complaining, just curious!

oh, and football season is about to start!

is comfortable and familiar ok?

I know what you are thinking, “2 blog posts from Brandon in 1 day, it must be my birthday.” Well, if it is your birthday, happy birthday. If it’s not, lets pretend and sing a song…

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday even thought its really no-ot, happy birthday to you.

And speaking of songs, if you haven’t bought Carlos Whittaker’s Ragamuffin Soul, you should go to iTunes now and get it.  I cant stop listening to it.  I am having to force myself to actually work and not just completely stop to take it in. Shameless plug over.

Last night, Loswhit did a conversation with his fans about his new album and he quoted a chorus from one of his songs. It’s been stuck in my head all day long.  It’s from the song “We Will Worship You” and it goes like this:

Save us from these comforts

Break us of the need of the familiar

Spare us any joy that’s not in you

And we will worship You

That’s good stuff! Like I said, it’s really been in my mind today.  What’s so familiar in my worship that it is literally hindering my connection to the Father?  That’s the question I’m wrestling with right now.  May you wrestle with it too.

prayer

I am still on the journey to become a better leader.  I’m reading Spiritual Leadership by Henry Blackaby right now.  I just read the chapter that discusses the need for leaders to pray.  In this chapter, Blackaby throws out 6 reasons why leaders should pray.  I thought I would just write quickly how each one of these reasons have played out in my life.

1.  Nothing of eternal significance happens apart from God.  If we want to know what God wants, we must ask him!  I remember several times over the past 8 years of student ministry wandering what God wants me to do.  It’s always interesting to me how, I may be clueless, but when I begin to pray about it, God shows me.   I can’t know God’s direction if I dont seek it out and ask Him.

2. Prayer brings the Spirit’s filling.  As a sophomore in college, I was dry.  I was in a place where I just didn’t see God doing anything in and around me.  So I began to pray. Not only that, but I got others to pray with me.  Soon, I was more aware of the Spirit’s leading than ever before.  I knew He was with me.

3. Prayer brings God’s wisdom. THis one isn’t necessarily from me, but think back to King Solomon. The wisest man in the world.  And what he did… he asked for it.  When we ask God for things (like wisdom), He answers.!

4. Prayer accesses God’s power. Terrified. That’s all that I can say about how I was. How I am.  Seems I get this way every time I try to share the gospel with anyone.  I know, maybe I shouldn’t admit that, but I do.  And when I pray, God gives me the power to do so. For me, power = courage

5. Prayer relieves stress. Jesus said come to me all you who are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.  Rest knocks out stress.  Rest comes from prayer.  Prayer calms me, refocuses me, makes sense of crazy, haphazard thinking.

6. Prayer reveals God’s agenda. I’m sure that you can think of a time when this happened to you.  (you can refer back to number 1 for more about this one). God shows His plan to His people via prayer.

I can remember as a young minister, God laid a certain girl in my student ministry on my heart.  I began to pray for her.  She hadn’t been to church in a while and I really wasn’t sure about her relationship with the Father.  Anyway, I prayed.  I prayed and got her small group leader to pray too. That Wednesday, I sat in our youth room floor (which also doubled as the senior adult mens sunday school room, but that’s another story) and prayed for this certain girl. Well, guess what… she was there that night. Not only that, but she gave her life to Jesus that night.  I didn’t have any communication with here over the 3 days I prayed for her. I just prayed.  And God worked. Makes me wonder why I don’t pray nearly as much as I need too…

Follow me

So I just read a book loaned to me by our music minister called the Prodigal God by Timothy Keller. It was an incredible book that made me look at the 3 characters in the story known as the Prodigal  Son in the story in a whole new way.  Then this morning as I sat down to have some Time Alone with God (I call it TAG time, I know that’s cheesy, but I’m a cheesy guy) and I it was my day to read about when Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James, John (the thunder boys), and Matthew to be his disciples.  [By the way, I’m following a 30 day plan I got from Elevation Church’s New Thru 30 – you should check it out]

For 4 of these men, Jesus did a sign, helped them catch a ton of fish, for them to believe. They saw that he must have been sent from God and so they followed him. For Matthew, all it took was a phrase.  Jesus said follow me and he did.

But as I read the last few verses about Matthew, I was quickly reminded about the book I just finished reading.  The Pharisees started on Jesus’ case because he was eating with what they would call “sinners.” Jesus tells them that he’s come for the sick, not the well.  Then he says something interesting- “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (M@ 9:13).

I guess I write all this to say, if you are like the younger brother in the story, don’t ever think that you are too far away from the love of God.  If you are an older brother, or Pharisee, don’t think that you are good enough on your own to make God love you.  We are all sick.  We need a healer.

forgiveness

This morning I woke up and grabbed my devotional guide that I’m doing along with our students at Highland Park.  What I read this morning stuck with me a little more than I thought it would. The Scripture for today was the 3rd chapter of John.  I read how Nicodemus couldn’t wrap his mind around the phrase “born again.” When I hear that term, I immediately think “second chance.”  My mind goes right to the fact that I screw up way more than I should, but God continues to love me and give me more chances to serve him anyway.  I guess God’s forgiveness knows no bounds.

However, I think that there is an idea that has caused this to stick with me so far today.  Not just about God’s forgiveness or what it means to be born again.  But what I’ve thought about is how Nicodemus was so trained to “do” the right thing that he had trouble believing the right thing.  It seemed as though maybe he didn’t get the “you must be born again” from Jesus, not because it was that hard to understand, but because it went against what he had been taught. Maybe it was more about him not believing it than him not understanding it.  Whether or not this is true, one thing we can all agree on – Nicodemus was very short sighted.  His mind was wrapped up in what he had to do to earn God’s forgiveness; Jesus was more caught up in God’s forgiveness. Period.  May I and  whoever else reads this be overwhelmed with God’s forgiveness today.

Old Testament

As I teach through Habakkuk on Wednesday nights,  a question came to mind.  How do I read the Old Testament?  Do I look at it any differently than I do the New Testament?  Do I read it as more of a history lesson than a life changing message from God? What about you, how do you view the OT?  Just a question I pose to all the readers.  Comment below and tell me your thoughts on how you read the Old Testament.