Garbage in, Garbage out

•January 8, 2007 • 1 Comment

Garbage In, Garbage Out | Jan 8 2007 11:15 AM

So what is the big deal about spending time with God? Is it just some
hypothetical event that makes everything better? Is it superstition?
Why do people spend time reading their Bible and praying and listening
to God?

As our lesson series on Developing Habits that will Change your Life continues, we are ending the week on
spending time with God (Hang Time with God). I’ll let you in on a
little secret about me and my lessons; I NEVER plan a lesson that is
just busy work – there is always a purpose to it and a realistic,
tangible application that can be made to each life that hears it.

So what is the tangible result of spending time with God? Well, when I was
growing up, I can remember my mom telling me that there were certain
T.V. shows and movies that were ‘off limits’ because of their content.
I never understood why I couldn’t watch the same shows as my friends or
go to the movies with them when they were going to watch certain
movies. All she told me was that if you put ‘garbage’ into your mind,
then ‘garbage’ will come out. This is true with anything in our life
because whatever we put into our mind will come out in everything that
we do. Let’s take a look at a couple examples.

Example 1: You grow up in a house where your parents swear and they don’t treat
you good. You spend every day watching bad examples of how to live your
life and those examples permeate your mind. So, when you grow up, you
tend to repeat what you saw as a child.

Example 2: You were raised without any restrictions on what you watched on T.V.
or what movies you saw at the theater. You saw “R” rated movies
constantly and watched late night filth on T.V. As you get into middle
and high school, you begin to live with the same mentality of what you
saw lived out on T.V. and in the movies.

This idea of what you put into your mind is what you get out, can be a good
thing, too. Think about what happens when you spend time with a friend
– normally, if you like that friend, you will want to be like them. You
will develop attributes that you see in them. Have you ever gone to see
the movie Spider Man? Me and my brother used to read comic
book after comic book about Spidy and his adventures. During this time
in our lives, we made spidy costumes and pretended to go through the
house using webs that we shot out of our hands. We spent time reading
about this cool character, so we wanted to be just like him.

The same thing happens when you spend time with God. The more time you
spend with God, the more you will want to become like him. The more you
read your Bible and see the great things that were done by and through
people who placed their faith in God, you will want to be like them.
And the best ‘character’ of the Bible is Jesus – God in the flesh. As
you read through the great things that Jesus taught about and how He
lived His life, you will want to imitate Him and become just like Him.

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Thoughts on Mark 14

•November 5, 2006 • Leave a Comment

I’m reading through the Bible each night and tonight (Saturday, almost Sunday morning) I read about the woman who annointed Jesus’ head before Judas sold information to the high priests that led to the arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. While I read through this passage, I was struck by a few different thoughts.

1. A poor woman gave something she could not afford to give to worship and honor this man called Jesus. How many times do we see people in the Gospels making sacrifices or stepping out in faith just to see or touch a part of Jesus’ clothes? How many times do people give more than they have to a God they love so deeply and they are blessed immeasurably for it? I’m not a rich man; I probably will never be rich. I will never be able to give loads of money to a church project or a ministry. But what I give is my time and my talents. I give what God has blessed me with. I believe this is what Jesus asks of us. Whenever Jesus taught in Scripture, He usually turned the teachings and laws of the Old Testament upside down – He didn’t abolish or change them, but He radically changed the message of what we thought they meant. Instead of working and giving as if we have something to give, we need to use everything we have to work for that which God has called us to. He will provide for us and we will be blessed. Let’s not hold anything back from Him because it’s all His, anyway!

2. Right after Jesus is annointed by this woman, Judas Isccariot sells Him into the hands of the high priests who will later have Him arrested and killed. This is a severe instance, but I have found that after a spiritual high point, Satan usually takes advantage of my waivering mood and tears my world apart if I let him. If you don’t believe me, spend an hour in intense prayer and lead into worship through scripture reading and pouring yourself out to the Lord. Tell me whether or not you encounter the Spirit of the Living God. And then wait. Just wait. After a while – usally sooner, rather than later, Satan will come in and tear us off of our emotional pedistol. This reminds me of just how undependable our emotions are and how they can allow Satan to control our lives.

3. When the woman used perfume that she could not afford – perfume that could have been used for other ‘good’ to annoint Jesus, the religious leaders and the teachers of the law attacked her, accusing her of wasting what was too valuable. How many times do we turn down ministry experiences and chances to be used of God just to make a dollar or two? And what do we use as an excuse for this? We say ‘God wants me to provide for my family’. But just how many times does that extra money get used to provide for the NEEDS of your family? Most of the time, doesn’ t it go towards savings or buying something that you don’t need? Let’s think of our time as a resource that God has given to us. After all, time is non-refundable, unlike money. You can always make more money, but you can’t get your kid’s soccer game back – you can’t get the time you neglected your family to work late every week back. Let’s give our money AND our time to God, being good stewards of ALL He has blessed us with.

More than Beautiful

•November 3, 2006 • Leave a Comment

Every day I look forward to laying next to her; her head on my chest, her arm laying across me. I lift my hand and stroke her head, running my fingers through her hair. Lindsay is someone that defines what it is like to be more than beautiful. I remember hearing people say that someone was too beautiful for words and I thought it just meant that they were physically attractive. No, beaing too beautiful for words means that their beauty cannot be defined within the scope of human attraction. In my short life, I have never seen someone who was the essence of more than beautiful like Lindsay is.

I selfishly wish that nobody else could ever see beauty like this in another person. Selfishly, I want to be the only person to ever experience this transcendental beauty. But I cannot be a selfish person; Lindsay doesn’t deserve someone who is selfish. I know that although nobody deserves to see beauty this extravegant, neither do I. And so I hope and pray that each person can and will find that one special soul to share life with; to experience a beauty that simply cannot be described.

David and Moses, Solomon and Joshua

•October 16, 2006 • Leave a Comment

My senior pastor has been speaking over the past months through the prophets and into Kings and Chronicles. Throughout this sermon series, some very distinct points have stood out to me.

1. God calls us to do a work; not always to see the results of that work. I came to Chelsea expecting great things at the Hand of God in youth ministry. I expected to see teenagers won over to Christ and to see a student ministry grow-even tripple in size. As I continue to minister, God has been showing me that I may not very well be the person who gets to see the results of what God is doing through me. This church may never hire me as youth pastor and bring me on staff, but my ministry here could be paving the way for someone else.

2. God rewards faithfulness to Him. I am a third-generation Nazarene pastor; my great-grandfather was a pastor in Flint, Michigan and my uncle is a pastor in Buchannan, Michigan. Great things have happened, I believe because of the faithfulness of those who have come before me. Just as David and Moses followed hard after God’s heart and seeked Him with all of their heart, so too did my great grandparents. I was at my grandparent’s home earlier today and found some items that made me think. I found an old King James Bible given to my great grandfather, a portable communion set and a box my grandma kept letters, postcards and suveniers from my grandfather’s service in the U.S. Army during World War II. As I picked up that Bible, I realized that it had been held by a man of great conviction who loved and served the Lord with all of his heart. I read the love letters sent to my grandmother from my late grandfather from Naples, Italy where he was stationed during Christmas of 1944 through New Year’s of 1945. I walked through the upstairs attic and saw remnant after remnant of three generations that loved and served God.

I may be like David and Moses in that I may never see the result of work done through me by God in the church I serve currently, but like Solomon and Joshua, I come out of a great heritage of Holiness where people have gone before me and have paved the way for what I am doing today. My great grandfather and great grandmother raised a family honoring God as did their daughter, my grandmother, along with her husband, my grandfather. I come into ministry at least partly because of the great fellowship of believers who have gone on before me. May those who come behind me find a life lived faithful to God’s will and devoted in service to Him.

Welcome to the real world!

•October 16, 2006 • Leave a Comment

I’m sitting in my room just thinking over the past year. I used to think it was just the stereotypical response to say that youth ministry is difficult—I thought it was just something people say but that held very little merit in the real world. I have been at my church for almost a year now doing volunteer youth ministry with the expectation that I will be hired at the point that the church is able to afford a second staff member. I have been floating around in the job market and have had very little—actually I have had no success—in finding a good paying, dependable job. My senior pastor has a vision for an after-school program for middle school aged teens and wanted me to step up and be in charge of that but because of state regulations and requirements, I am not able to fill that position and because I have basically put my life on hold since August because he said they expected the program to start in September and when that didn’t work out, he said I would have to get a job until December because that’s when I would be able to start getting paid. Well, it turns out that he didn’t know what he was talking about and now I’m screwed and have absolutely no job opportunities. I am driving 30 miles west of my home to go to church 3 and 4 times a week. Nobody is taking my job seriously and don’t really think that youth ministry is really all that important anyway.


I planned on having this position so that I could move out of my mom’s house (I’m 22) and propose to my girlfriend and get married within the next year or two. I guess that is not going to happen, though. I’m really pissed off at all this – I don’t want to have a bad attitude, but I really think I got screwed.


God, I know you’re there—you always have been and you always will be there. When am I going to experience peace? When am I going to settle down and get married and start a family? When am I going to be able to have the finances to support me while I minister? You have so graciously provided for me this far and I think you for that. I’m just worried and stressed out and I need your touch.

Quiet Time With Her

•October 16, 2006 • Leave a Comment

I laid on my couch tonight with Lindsay. Her head was nestled in the crevice of my arm and my chest, her gentle hand lay across my chest and she looked so peaceful. I cannot imagine another person so amazingly ideal for me. This woman loves like I have never experienced it; she is not selfish at all and so many times it frightens me that I cannot always live up to that as she can. She has these soft, gentle lips that just melt mine as she leans in to kiss me. I can feel my heart jump each time we kiss and I have never felt anything so incredible in my entire life.

Lindsay, you are the love of my life; my best friend and my partner in life and ministry. You hold within you so many gifts from God and I am so very privileged to have you as my girlfriend. I love you with my heart – all that I possibly can. You are amazing, my angel.

Is a Youth Pastor allowed to be Frustrated on a Sunday?

•October 9, 2006 • Leave a Comment

I said it; i’m frustrated. I have been at my church for just almost a year and am waiting to get paid in some form or function. Back last spring in about March or April, we had a church meeting and discussed the possibility of an after-school program for students in the middle school grades. This past summer my pastor approached me and asked if I would like to be in charge of this – that way I could be getting paid even though the church itself didn’t have the money to pay me. We were planning on raising funds to cover staffing, equipment and other needs. It turns out that we were not able to start in September as was origonally planned so I was left without a job ( my last job ended in September and I was couning on this program to fill in right where the other job left off).

As it turns out, we still need to do quite a bit of work to get this thing up and running by January of this coming year (2007) in 3 months. How we are going to do this, I have absolutely no clue. But I have been faithful with my giving back to God – he graciously gives me enough money to live on and I want to give back his left-over money. I am worried that I will not have a job come this January and I am worried that my bills that need to be paid until January might not get paid for the lack of money. I trust God and he will provide for all my NEEDS according to his riches in Heaven. I have placed my trust in Him and will continue to trust and obey. As long as He wants me here, I’ll stay.