We live in a world of sin and imperfection. I am a child of God striving each day to live out my calling. Welcome to my blog where you get the inside scoop of this Youth Pastor's world!
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

Monday, September 9, 2013

Rocky Mountain Oasis

Oh my I think I fell in love with this book. I'm trying to read through books that are already on my Kindle and not spend any money on them. So I stumbled across this one. I don't know who on my parent's Amazon account purchased this book but I'm very thankful.

This is yet again another Christian Fiction/Romance book. I think I'm going through a phase!

Rocky Mountain Oasis by Lynnette Bonner is book 1 in the Shepherd's Heart series. It is about all I can do not to purchase book two and keep reading but I must read the other books first! I must!

This book actually started off quite slow and slightly confusing. It bounces from different character's perspectives and it isn't until these different character's lives cross paths that things start to get interesting. The main female character Brooke is a mail order bride coming in a wagon from St. Louis. The main male character is Sky and he lives in Idaho. Brooke is supposed to marry Jason but once Sky hears about this marriage he can't shake the idea of a poor girl marrying a man like Jason. Through prayer Sky makes the decision to buy the rights to marriage from Jason, and he does. Brooke and Sky are then married and they begin to figure out how to live their lives together.

Brooke has a past of being abused by the men in her life and she is jumpy and scared to death of Sky. This breaks his heart and he continuously prays for her to come to God and to trust him. This story is much more than just a Christian Romance book. There is a murder in town and the investigation takes a huge chunk of the book and brings in some suspense. Brooke and Sky's lives are in danger at one point and I couldn't stop reading until I knew how it ended.

This was a fast read. I read in less than a week because once I got hooked I didn't want to stop reading. I recommend this to anyone looking for something good to read!


Friday, September 6, 2013

When the Saints Go Marching In

Last night I went to bed with this chorus stuck in my head

Oh when the saints go marching in 
When the saints go marching in 
Oh lord I want to be in that number 
When the saints go marching in 

I couldn't remember the rest of the words but that didn't really matter as I laid there in bed trying to go to sleep as the grieving process picked up again or started over, I'm not sure which, these words kept going through my mind. 

Yesterday a dear friend, mentor, grandfather, & church leader answered the final call and went to be with his savior. As I sat in my apartment crying my eyes out the main thought going through my mind was, "Why am I crying? You know where Jack is, you know that this death is not the end, this is not goodbye. Why are you crying?" So this got me thinking about death in general and the grieving process. There is no getting used to this, it doesn't get easier, unless you stop caring about people death is going to hurt. Death is not new to me, I have been to my fair share of funerals, but it seems to be bombarding my life lately. So death and life and living is something that I think about often. Death hurts because it is hard for our Earthly minds to grasp the idea of infinity and forever. When someone dies we can't see them anymore, we don't get to Skype with people that have left this Earth. All that we have left is their memories, and for a lot of us that is where we realize just how much we took that special person's life for granted. It hurts when someone else remembers something that we don't, or someone knew that person in a whole different way, maybe a way you never even saw that person. When you only know someone in their old age it is weird to hear stories about them when they were younger because that is not the person that you knew, so often it feels like you have missed out on something special. Then there are the thoughts that other people will never get to know this person, my future family, future children, and anyone else I meet from now on will never know this person because they are no longer here. This person will also never see the things that happen in my life from this point on. Would they be proud of me? Would they support my decisions? 

All of these things are thoughts that go through your head when someone you are close to passes away. Today, as the world feels like a different place in the absence of this amazing man I can't help but think about his life, and the legacy that he has left behind. 

Jack Speer, a pillar of St. Paul UMC. A man that has always been in my life. We may not be related through blood but Jack is family. I honestly don't have a lot of memories from my childhood except that I know he was there. He and Mildred sat in the same pew every Sunday, right by the Sound System, I think they sat there before there was a sound system. He liked to stick his boots out in the way as you walked by just to see if you would trip, he always laughed when he got you. He constantly picked on my dad as he ran the sound system, my brother and I decided last night it was because he couldn't hear anyway so why not mess around. Over the years he and Mildred moved closer so they could hear, and it was very rare not to see both of them each Sunday. I noticed one week that if you were dozing off in the sermon and caught yourself that in the blurriness Jack and Mildred looked the same from the back. I thought it was funny and then it became incredibly cute. I have never met a couple that looked more alike than these two. It was obvious that their relationship was built around God, because these two were meant for each other. They kept each other in check. Mildred teaches our one room Sunday School class and every week Jack could be found next to her trying not to fall asleep. He and my brother would sit there making fun of everything, and then suddenly he would announce that it was "Diddy Time" and Mildred would quickly wrap things up and we would pray. Then meet each other at Taco Bell for lunch. Jack didn't like Taco Bell, but he ate it anyway, because he and Mildred wanted to spend more time with us. I more often than not took those lunches for granted, and then they became the one thing missing from my Sundays when I moved away. Sometimes we would change things up and go to McDonald's, which was Jack's favorite place to go. I never understood why, because I've never really liked it, but man Jack was happy if he could have his McDonald's and sometimes he had it two or three times a day. 

Jack and Mildred had a hand or four in just about every thing that happened at St. Paul. From building things to working in the kitchen they could be found everywhere, if you want to know how something was done in the past or who built what just ask them because more than likely it was them or they were there. They also have rental houses in town and the first house I lived in was one of theirs, over time my dad started working for them in the summers as their handy man. I'm not sure who enjoyed this more, Jack & Mildred or my father. Now, I'm a little jealous of all the time Dad got to spend with them and of my brother because he now lives in one of those houses. 

So last night as I laid in bed with all these thoughts running through my head and tears running down my face it was more than obvious that this man was someone who will not easily be forgotten. He has left his mark on more than the walls he has created, but in the lives of everyone who had the pleasure of meeting this more often than not grumpy old man! ;)

This left me thinking, we have job to do. Jack did so much, we can't just let all of that stop now because he is gone. Then I started thinking about the other amazing men that passed away this summer, Scott MacLaughlin & Harold Lutes. They too left a legacy and left us a job to do. 

These men have shown us the way, they helped carve the path that we should follow. Our lives should scream out God much like the lives of these men. God is continually calling people home, our lives on Earth are minimal, and we never know when it will be over. You hear it at every funeral and lots of conferences about being ready to go. This usually means do you know Jesus, have you accepted Him into your heart? But I feel there is more than that. Has your life meant something, have you built a legacy? Will people know who you were without a doubt, even if they didn't know your favorite color? Is your life worthy of marching with the saints that have gone on before you?

Now, each of these men would have answered no to those questions, because that was their humble nature, but it is something to think about as we go on with our daily lives. Life goes on, we go to work, pay the bills, watch TV, spend time with family, and go to all of the activities that fill our schedules. But if today was it, would other people be able to look at your life and be a better person just because they knew you?

I feel like if we are living our lives in imitation of Christ then this can't help but be true. I don't think our brains are ever really ready to go, there is always something else we want to see or do, but in our hearts we can know that if the time is now that we have nothing to be ashamed of.

I want to spend more time doing things that matter and less time planning things that don't. God has a purpose for each of us and that is to live our lives in relationship with him and in relationship with people. These relationships should constantly build each other up, my relationships with people should bring them and myself closer to God, and my relationship with God should bring me closer to people.  I don't want to take anymore of these relationships for granted, because on Earth each of my relationships with people will eventually end, and I want to spend as much time with each of them as possible, because ultimately they will bring me closer to God, and then just maybe we can all join again When the Saints go marching in!