Back in January, Simply Youth Ministry published my article, Pushing Through.
The responses have been humbling, encouraging and at times, broken my heart. Andy let me know about the latest comment and I'm planning on writing a response later today.
If you haven't read the article, please do and leave a comment on how you would reply to this:
22 years and counting. You guys may be in YM ICU, but I might be in the burn unit! I'm tired of constant bickering of church members who would rather complain than help. It's been the same story for all these years, but now my 43 year old heart can't take it anymore. I think I know the answer to why long term YP's are not found often in church ministry...sniff the wind and smell the burn. Not only the burn out, but the burn that comes from people who'd rather stay annonymous but still willing to bash you through their annonymity. Am I speaking anyone else's language? I don't know if I'm willing to remain in church ministry...perhaps, probably...I guess. It is what the Lord gave me a passion for -- that is what hurts the most -- knowing God called me to this and wanting to stay...and then another bash from another annoymous source. Yeah, I know they say just consider you might be doing something right 'cause Satan is attacking you. I guess that holds some truth, but I don't know how much more I have in me.
There are no easy answers and you know all the answers anyway but know that you are not alone and you serve a Faithful God even when his people are not. Rest in Him and not your calling or even your church.
If you are in your "Dark Night of the Soul" as I was, you have to go through it alone but know that others have been through it and God is with you now even when he seems far away.
Love your enemies, even when they sit next to you, anonymously, in the pew.
Martin is blogging over at the 2 Blokes Blog and he is always fun to read.
Met Martin (on the left) and Jim (on the right) one year at a National Youth Worker Convention in Dallas. Wonderful nights hanging out, talking and laughing with other friends.
Two years later in Austin I was working the booth for The Journal of Student Ministries when I heard this British voice behind me and alas, it was Martin. So we had another good round of nights hanging out and catching up. This time however Jim was not with him but I did get to meet Chris and I still read his blog.
He is paranoid about having a big head (pic) and though the pic is at a baseball game (Cubs I believe) he is not a baseball fan but I've tried to convert him to being a Red Sox fan and I'm now a West Ham United fan in his honor.
So go read his blog and mind your P's and Q's while you are there.
The 8.5 foot Boston Red Sox Statue of Liberty was part of the Statues of Liberty on Parade to celebrate the All-Star Game being in New York at The House That Ruth Built for the last time.
The Red Sox Statue of Liberty T-shirt is okay but not as cool as the real deal. Even though it would look great in my Red Sox Man Cave, I'm going to have to pass on the final price of $9,250.00.
So here we are halfway through the season and the Red Sox are where they are supposed to be, on top of the AL East. It wasn't easy but they are in first.
* They are tied with the most wins in baseball with the Angels and the Cubbies.
* Yankee Fans are still jerks. (Cartoon version) When we lived in NJ from 94-97 my wife became a Yankees fan. After living near hard core, trash talking Yankee Fans in CT from 1999-2004 she left the darkness and became a Red Sox fan so we could be equally yoked.
* The Red Sox are still favored to win the World Series.
* As it would turn out, in only 21 of 97 games through Sunday's All-Star break were the Red Sox's optimum starting lineup available for an entire game, and none since May 25.
Red Sox Rap
God was in control and sovereign when our country began and God is in control and sovereign in our country today. In this election year it's easy to focus on your candidate and all that you do not like about the other candidate. (Thank God you live in a country where you are allowed to do that. From the days of Noah till today, it's not as common as you might think.)
Whoever you support and whoever wins, as believers we should be praying for our leaders whether or not you support their views on the economy, taxes, war, drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) or their particular flavor of faith. We are commanded to pray for them. So begin praying today for the election and for both candidates.
Pray for five government officials. It'd be good if we all pray for the President. The remaining four you can figure out who you want to pray for. Maybe it's the vice president, maybe it's a member of the President's Cabinet, maybe it's your mayor, or maybe it's your school board chairperson.
Begin praying and rest that God is in control and we can always trust him even during and maybe especially during an election year.
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
I promise I have some original thoughts in me but for now, this is what I have. Figured better to put something up than nothing and hopefully get back in the groove of spewing thoughts on the blog.
1. Big congrats to Dale on the new ministry & Gman, too.
2. I'm super pumped about Real World Parents for a variety of reasons. Check it out and consider being one of their trainers. I was able to talk to Mark for a long time about it while at camp and it's going to be wonderful.
3. Bill has been re-thinking discipleship.
4. My friend Tim Adams has started a wonderful blog focused on Urban Ministry. Tim's son is really named Sam Adams.
5. Seth gives us a great list of free discipleship resources.
6. Bob reminds us to pray our calendar and to get everything done, we only have to do 2 things.
7. Ginger had a great article in the NNYM mag, "Reaching Out to Pregnant Teens."
8. Rudy is taking over the Urban Take column in Youth Worker Journal.
9. Got some love from The Marko in his upcoming book (Youth Ministry 3.0: A Manifesto of Where We’ve Been, Where We Are & Where We Need to Go) in the Dedication and Acknowledgements section.
Lastly some humor from Ian: