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, February 25, 2014

The Ninth Wife

Title: The Ninth Wife
Author: Amy Stolls
What's it About: This was an interesting book, to say the least. I go to a book club and this was our February pick. Sometimes I am a little slow at finishing books so I didn't have it done when we met this month but I actually read it which is more than I can normally say. The book is about a couple that fall in love and then she finds out he has been married 8 times. It is the story of his past and how they come to terms with it in their relationship
My Rating out of 5 stars: 3 stars, I think I went down to 3 stars because by the end of the book I just wanted to know how it ended, I was tired of all the fluffy details, I just wanted it to end. Overall, it was an interestingly good book. 




As always the picture is a link to Amazon to purchase the book if you would like to.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day = Love? Think Again!

Today is Valentine's Day, and I really don't like this holiday so I thought it was fitting for a blog entry.
I have never really been a fan of Valentine's Day, I mean I don't know as a kid, I'm sure it was fun to pick out Valentine's for my classmates and who didn't look forward to the party the was coming? But as I got older and really started to understand, I just never really jumped on that bandwagon. It was always special or fun to get a carnation from your boyfriend or best friend at the end of the day but that was all the fun to it. And then of course I was single for "forever" and no one enjoys Valentine's Day when they're single.


Everyone told me my feelings would change when I had a boyfriend but they didn't, and here's why:

  1. It really has nothing to do with love, it's about inflicting fear and panic and expectation so that you will spend gobs of money on your significant other.
  2. If chocolate and jewelry really equal love, then I guess I don't know what love is. 
  3. It's expected on this day, to shower your loved one with gifts. That is not romantic, there is no spontaneity in that, no real meaning....Here is a dozen roses because this day says I have to buy them for you.... It means a lot more when you get a note and a rose on a day for no reason that's when flowers can help say I love you.
  4. Men run around stores in pure fear before Valentine's Day, it's just as bad as forgetting an anniversary or a birthday.

The truth is I want chocolate all of the time. Flowers are dead, they look pretty for a couple days, a week or two if you're lucky then you have throw them out. And jewelry is expensive and it hold meaning because of who it comes from, Diamonds don't equal love. I have more stuffed animals than I know what to do with and I could come up with something for whatever else people give on Valentine's Day.

Growing up I watched my parents be in love every day. They don't do anniversaries, birthdays, or silly trivial holidays like Valentine's Day. As kids we got to go shopping for these events, and they always made sure we had gifts for these, but they never did for each other. I always found it humorous when they would stand in the card aisle and pick out a card and hand it to each other read it, smile, laugh, then put it back. I don't know a greater marriage than the one I witnessed growing up, my parent's are each other's best friend and they are team. They make each other better without ever putting the other down. Their love has never been based on anything materialistic. They spoil each other, but not always with things purchased. They spoil each other with love.

Valentine's Day seems to be a way for you to show the rest of the world how much your significant other loves you, it really has nothing to do with the way you actually feel for each other. And I don't need the world to see how I feel or how he feels about me. 

Love isn't something that has to be flashy or over the top. Love is a feeling, and an action. Love is something you do, love is a choice. When you love someone you should be loving them every single day. You wake up each day and commit to love that person in all their forms. I hate being told what I have to do, and the truth is I don't have to love anyone, especially not in a life long commitment kind of way. I was always told I have to love my brother because he is blood and family. But if that were true then families wouldn't fall a part. 

Love is a choice. A very big choice. The only way relationships last is when both parties choose each day to love the other person for who they are. And love, real love, or true love comes from God. I can't truly love someone without God being a part of that relationship. Without the grace of God, all I'm going to see are the imperfections and annoyances. With God, I see the amazing things this person does for me, and the amazing things that make this man the one I love. 

God is love. God = Love. Nothing I can spend my money on equals love. Yes, it amazing to get little gifts now and then, little reminders that they care. But that is it, they are reminders that someone cares, not love. 
Chocolate =amazingly delicious 
Jewelry = an expensively beautiful way to show the world you care about me
Stuffed animals = something to cuddle when you're gone

God = love. 

So yes, this does mean that Adam got it really easy today, he did not have to run in fear to Wal-Mart to try and make the day special. I don't need those things to know he loves me, its all in the way he treats me, and makes me a priority, and in the words themselves.

"Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

If you're in a relationship this holiday give each other a break, read through this verse and tell me where all those things he didn't buy fit in. Show each other grace and forgiveness, those are much greater gifts than anything you can spend your money on, besides it will all be half price tomorrow!

If you're single today...don't fret, this holiday doesn't equal love. Surround yourself your favorite people, and just enjoy this Friday, for that is what it is. Friday!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

In Every Heartbeat

Title: In Every Heartbeat
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
What's it About: Three orphan's have grown up together in school for orphans. Throughout their time there they have become best friends and they go to college together. They each are there to study their own thing but they find themselves continually needing each other. Libby is there to study journalism, Petey is studying to be a minister, and Bennett is really there to learn where he belongs. This is a story of love, family, forgiveness, and redemption. 
My Rating out of 5 stars: 4 stars, just because sometimes I am stingy with that last star! :)

This is the first book with actual pages that I have read in a long time. I generally read books on my Kindle because they are easier to transport and being lit I can read it at anytime. But I have a large stack of Kim's books and I decided I wanted to read one of them. I love how Kim writes, they are love stories with a Biblical side as well. And it was a lot of fun to turn the pages, that really doesn't get old. If you are looking for a good feel kind of book with a positive message then I highly recommend this one. 

As always the book is a link to Amazon to purchase the book. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Appropriate Role of Scripture in the Church

2 Timothy 3: 14-17
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Have you ever had the experience of spending time with a teenage girl that is completely obsessed with say, Justin Bieber or One Direction? Somehow every conversation comes back to this obsession, they know everything about them, and they get so excited that they can't control themselves and they must share whatever new piece of information they have discovered. Well this was me as a teenager, only I didn't nerd out over some boy band but in fact over the Bible. When I started reading it for myself I couldn't get enough. I would run down the hall to tell my dad the cool new connection I had discovered. I devoured the Bible. 

Do you remember the first time you read something in the Bible and it actually applied to your life? Or the first time you recognized the words from a song as words from scripture? Do you remember the moment when the genealogy became more than a list of names you can't pronounce but in fact a bridge between the two Testaments? If not, I encourage you to nerd out a bit and discover these moments for yourself. 

The scriptures have the ability to come alive. We read the stories to children and their faces light up with excitement and wonder. There are times when you open the Bible and the words are exactly what you needed to hear. This is the living breathing word of God. These stories, these words of wisdom, and letters can be read, dissected, and preached time and time again and what your heart hears is exactly what you need at the time.

If we are to proclaim the Gospel, then we must know what the Gospel says. If we are to build up the fellowship of the Body then we need the building blocks for the Body to stand on. And to be fully equipped for use in  Christian Service then we need the "God Breathed words designed for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness." 

These words hold the very basis of everything we believe in. This is more than a book. This is more than something we have to or should be reading. This is our connection to God. This is where we find our history, guidance for the present, and the promise of tomorrow. We would be lost without these Holy Words.

The Appropriate Role of Spiritual Experience in the Church

Psalm 121: 1-2
"I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth."

This just so happens to be my favorite scripture. It became my favorite scripture because it was on the "mountain" or hill top that I first experienced the Holy Spirit. It was on the "mountain" top that I first experienced the complete loss of self as the Spirit took over and a led a conversation for me. It is to the "mountain" top I return when I can't remember why I do what I do or need to know what to do next or where my life is going or supposed to go.

David found refuge from Saul up in the mountains. Moses had to go to the mountain to be in the presence of God. Each time he went to the mountain he came back a changed man, with a new found Spirit and understanding of God.

Spiritual experiences or "mountain top" experiences are vital for connection to God. It's on the mountain that the noises of the world fall away and we are able to hear the still small voice of God. Its on the mountain that we can look out over our life in the valley and see the beauty of the mundane things we do every day. It's from the mountain we can see how the painful changes in our life come from the rivers that give us life and growth.

And when we return to the Valley where we must live our lives it is to the mountain we look for comfort and reassurance.

Without these experiences we often lose sight of who we are and what our purpose is. Its these kind of foundational spiritual experiences we should be offering in our programs and activities. Without the experience of our hearts being strangely warmed it is hard to start a movement that catches like wildfire.

Psalm 121: 1-2
"I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth."

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Appropriate Role of Tradition in the Church

Galatians 1:11-24
"But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.) Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God in me."

In this passage Paul is telling the Galatians about the huge change that happened in his life. Paul was a devout Jew; he was so lost in the tradition of the Jewish faith and the legalities that came with it that he originally missed the Gospel. Not only did he miss the Gospel but he persecuted it. Tradition is a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting. Traditions have their time and place to be experienced and shared. If grandma traditionally makes the Christmas meal but never teaches someone else how to do it then that tradition will sadly die when grandma is no longer able to cook. Traditions are often how we define our families Dad’s side of the family does this and Mom’s side of the family does that, it’s how we talk and how we differentiate in our minds. In the church traditions are also what make us unique. Each denomination of the Christian church has their own set of traditions that make them who they are, and in the same way each church within a given denomination has another set of traditions that make them different from their sister churches.

In these traditions we find what we believe in. The Apostle’s Creed was established for this reason, so for years to come believers would have a common place to stand in their faith. If we don’t pass these traditions on to future generations and all those who enter our doors then we risk letting our foundation crumble. Without a foundation to stand on we will fall. We can’t take away our belief in God, in Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit and still be who we say we are.

But at the same time there are some traditions that we hold tight to that really have nothing to say about who we are or whose we are but rather this just how we do it. These “sacred cows” can be harmful to a congregation in times of growth and change. When we blindly do something because we have always done it this way we miss out on the opportunity of newness. It took being struck blind on the road to Damascus for Paul to realize that his tradition of belief and life was wrong. When he was finally able to open his eyes he could see the promise that God held for him in the uncertain life of a new tradition. We may always have ham for Christmas dinner because that is what Grandma makes but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with having turkey or both. If we get lost in the have tos, can’t dos, don’t even tries, and you will nots, we limit our ministry opportunities and we limit God.


At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what color the carpet is in the sanctuary or who sits where but it does matter if our members don’t know what it means to be a Christian or how to live a life of faith. It matters if a new person doesn’t feel welcome or can’t feel the love of Christ in our midst. It matters if our traditions hinder us from the sharing the love and grace that God has given so freely. It matters if our traditions are keeping us blind to where God is calling us to go.