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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Awake My Soul

I am currently listening to this song on repeat. This happens sometimes. I came into work singing it and it happened to be at the top of my iTunes list this morning so of course I had to play, a few times....by few I mean it has been at least 5 times and still going. I have a feeling this song originally started going through my mind because my phone freaked out this morning and didn't go off like it was supposed to and I woke up at 8:20 and had to be at work at 9 for a staff meeting. So I was still trying to wake up when I got to work. I officially feel like I am working half asleep. This is what happens when I don't get an ample amount of time to wake up before having to function...that sounds really stupid but its true.

So this song is now plaguing my mind in the way that songs used to which means I have to write, there is a message here that I have to share.

Here are the song lyrics for those of you that haven't heard this amazing song before:

Chris Tomlin:
Breathe on me, breath of God, breathe on me
Breathe on me, breath of God, breathe on me
I come alive, I'm alive when you breathe on me
I come alive, I'm alive when you breathe on me


Chorus:
Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, for you alone
Awake my soul

Speak to me, word of God, speak to me
Speak to me, word of God, speak to me
I come alive, I'm alive when you speak to me
I come alive, I'm alive when you speak to me


Chorus:
Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, for you alone
Awake my soul


Lecrae:
Then He said to me,
Prophesy to these bones and say to them,
Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!
This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones,
I will make breath into you,
And you will come to life.
So I prophesied as I was commanded.
As I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound,
And the bones came together, bone to bone.
And I looked, and tendons and the flesh appeared on them,
And skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then He said to me,
Prophesy to the breath,
Prophesy, son of man, and say to it,
Come from four winds, oh breath, and breathe.


Chorus:
Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, for you alone
Awake my soul

Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, for you alone
Awake my soul


Lecrae:
Yeah, I'm not alone, I realize
I breathe out, I come alive
Your word gives life to my dry bones
Your breath tells death it can ride on
Awake me, make me a living stone,
A testament to your throne, I
I'm nothing without you, I'm on my own
The only one who satisfies my soul


This song is a great collaboration between Chris Tomlin and Lecrae, but it is so much more than just beautifully sung words. I feel like this really is what my soul is crying out today. I'm sitting here in my office realizing we have completed my third semester of the children's program....and only have a couple weeks left in the other programs before we break for the Holiday season. We are planning all things 2014 and I can't figure out what happened to 2013. This last year, actually the last two years, have been such a blur that I'm pretty sure I just walked through and I have no idea what actually happened.

There has been so much change, stress, pain, frustration, blessings, and change that I think somewhere I put myself on auto pilot just to survive. I don't know how many times I have found myself just staring at the wall, for who knows how long, because my brain is just done. I can't believe I have been here at this church for three semesters worth of programming, and I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing or how this works. I think that is because the first two I was so overwhelmed that I just made it work and this last semester I have been so overwhelmed on a different level that this is how it worked. But I can't keep doing it this way. It is not healthy for anyone to live life, and do ministry in state of overwhelmed.

As a church council we are planning a retreat where we will sit down and discern what exactly God is calling our church to do. The book study I just completed was basically saying the same thing, and I have been drowning in things that I have to do that I haven't even been able to discern, when that is what I can feel my heart trying to do. I feel like my prayer life has recently reawakened and it is opening up a lot of possibilities that have been held back, because of all of the "have tos" in my life.

I'm tired of being a pile of bones going through the motions of life in ministry. I'm waking up and its a glorious feeling. It is time to be who I was created to be and to stop letting these things weigh me down. It is time for my creativity and passion to wake up and come alive.

Awake My Soul!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Forgotten God

Forgotten God by Francis Chan is a book study I recently led here at work. I decided to lead this book study without reading the book beforehand. I did Crazy Love by the same author in the spring and it was the third time I had read that book, so I decided it would be interesting to read it for the first time with everyone else. The way we do this is we read a chapter during the week and then we meet together for discussion. This book comes with a workbook and a video to be used in the class setting.

The book is very capable of standing on its own without the supplemental material. This was a difficult book to read in the sense that it is very challenging. I think I am going to have to read it again in a couple of years to help digest it all. I think the next time I will probably read it on my own. I love Francis Chan as an author, he has a way of writing that I get, and he points things out that I know but needed to hear. Sometimes I'm a bit of a know it all, so it is refreshing to read something that makes me sit back and go oh yeah....that's right.....I think I knew that....but yeah! If you know me you can probably follow that thought process.

I like Crazy Love better than Forgotten God, but it may be because I'm partial to it, I mean I have read it three times.

Forgotten God is a book that was written to rewrite everything you know about the Holy Spirit. He tries to have you strip away your preconceived notions and look at it purely from a Biblical standpoint. There were definitely a lot of slap in the face moments, no one wants to be reminded of the ways they fall short, but we need to be reminded.

My favorite part is all of the scriptural references that he uses, both Old and New Testament. It was nice to be reminded just how often the Holy Spirit is mentioned in scripture.

This is not a book to be digested quickly or lightly but I highly recommend it.

As always the picture of the book is a link to Amazon where you can purchase it if you want to.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Meditations of My Heart

"May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." - Psalm 19:14

Words of our mouths, that seems easy enough. Just don't say anything bad. Keep the cussing to a minimum, watch the dirty jokes, and don't let hurtful words exit your lips.

But meditations of our hearts, that's a whole different story. It is easy to filter what I present on the outside, I can control my tongue, most of the time, but there are more often than not thoughts in my head that I would be ashamed for someone to hear or read.

I hear this scripture on at least a weekly basis, but I usually think of it in the terms of preaching or teaching, not my daily life. This morning I heard it again, it stuck out. The meditations of my heart, that is so much deeper than what people see from me. That goes down to my inner being, my true self. There are so many things that I would hate for people to see, I'm really glad mirrors only reflect what is on the outside, I mean that is bad enough some times. If people knew just how dark some of my thoughts are then they wouldn't think I'm such a nice person.

My whole life I have felt like people put me on a pedestal, expecting me to be perfect, and waiting for me to fall. I have always had this fear of failing, getting in trouble, and letting people down.

1. My parents are teachers, so in my mind that meant I had to be good at school and be good in school. So my schoolwork, reading, and anything academic became very important to me. College wasn't an option but just the next part of my life. When I graduated with my Master's Degree at age 23 it wasn't even that big of a deal because it just seemed like the next thing, the next step.

2. Following the law has never been an option for me either. I'm always so afraid I'm going to get in trouble. The first time I got pulled over I freaked out because I knew my parents were going to be disappointed in me, and everyone was going to know I wasn't perfect. It was such a big deal for me, when its pretty normal for people to get pulled over, especially if they have a lead foot like mine.

3. This scripture has always been something that weighs heavy on my heart, especially as a Youth Pastor. I don't want anything that I do to cause someone else to stumble in their walk with Christ. I think this is the main reason that I decided one day that I don't ever want to drink alcohol of any kind. I don't have any problems with drinking or other people drinking, but every time I think about it, I just imagine one of my students seeing me do this and I can't. Alcohol can be such a touchy situation for so many people that the easy decision for me was no.

Romans 14:13-23

English Standard Version (ESV)

Do Not Cause Another to Stumble

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual up building.
20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.[a] 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.[b]


This crazy sense of fear that has driven some of my standards for my life have made me who I am, and I am proud of who I have become. I am proud of the fact that I have proven a lot of people wrong, I wasn't a typical teacher's kid, I did do my master's in a year, I did not go crazy when I was in college like people thought I would, and I moved out on my own and have managed to live in a different town than all of my family.

I have always been a "good girl" but that doesn't change the thoughts that I have in my mind. Just because I was blessed with a decent amount of self control and make sure that I don't portray anything I don't want to, doesn't mean those thoughts aren't still there. I wish the meditations of my heart were as pure as the outward appearance/pedestal life that I live.  I wish there was an easy way around the selfish, lustful, prideful, angry, anxious, stressed out thoughts that plague my mind. I am definitely not perfect, far from it, I mean no one is perfect in this sinful world, but it sure doesn't stop me from trying. I have friends that are so sweet in spirit and just incredibly wonderful to be around and I just want to know, do you ever think the way I do, or are you always this amazing?

There are days where it takes everything I have to be nice to people, and then I go home feeling drained and disappointed in myself for letting something like that control me. There are days that I am so stressed out or anxious about life that I can hardly function and it usually takes someone like my mom to pull me out of it, and then again I'm disappointed and frustrated with myself for not having it all figured out yet. I take things personally and I am easily offended. There is a vicious cycle that my heart and soul go through on basically a daily basis. So when I'm in a reflective mood and I hear those words from scripture, "the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight" I feel incredibly convicted.

Feeling convicted is never a good feeling, but it is often the only way to grow. This blog post started a couple of weeks ago but I hadn't had time to hash it out until today. So this has been a week and a half of feeling this particular conviction. I am way too worried about what others think and about messing up in the eyes of people, especially my family and the people that go this wonderful church I work at. This fear has driven my lifetime of good behavior but has stopped me from really working on what is going on inside. I don't want what other people think to be what drives me to act the way I do. I want my relationship with God to drive the way I think and act. There are times that is the truth for me, but I don't think it is the majority of the time. I want to be better, on the inside, I want the meditations of my heart to be pleasing to God all of the time, not just part of the time.

Lord, please help these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, and guide me to be true to you both inside and out, and to not let pressures, fears, and life get in the way of who you are making me to be! Amen