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, August 30, 2016

The 10 Year Un-Anniversary

Ten years ago today my mother took me to meet my new little sister. I had just signed up for Big Brothers and Big Sisters and this was the day we were finally going to meet. I remember being incredibly nervous. I went inside a house filled with chaos and met a little girl who kind of looked like me. We decided on ice cream as our first meeting time and an instant friendship was created. We would meet on a weekly basis that first year and then at least once a month after that. As our lives changed we would meet less often for longer periods of time. In the 9 years and 1.5 months that Autumn was in my life I learned so much about what it means to give of yourself, how to love someone unconditionally, and how to pray for someone through earth shattering events. I also learned that not every broken soul that comes into my life am I supposed to fix.

Almost a year ago I said goodbye to Autumn for the last time. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I cried for months after, and there are times that it still catches me off guard and I feel my heart break. Just last week the lady at the bank asked about her and it kills me a little to say that I have no idea where she is. But it's the truth. I had to choose my budding family over the relationship she and I had spent half of her life creating, when she decided it was a good idea to become a threat to my family. There comes a time when safety trumps years and I had to choose my marriage and my unborn child over a young lady who didn't know how to accept the love I was offering.

Because of this situation, I learned so much about God's grace and can't help but think that my broken heart is just a sliver of what He feels all the time. God's grace is offered freely to us, it is a gift, but we have to accept it. He will not force it on us. I imagine this as a beautifully wrapped present under the Christmas tree (even though  Easter is the holiday we celebrate for this). It doesn't matter how beautiful the wrapping paper is, if we don't open it and accept this gift as our own, it will continue to sit there, it isn't going to throw itself in our lap and say open me, it will just wait until we are ready, or go unopened our whole lives, it's up to us.

This lesson is actually why Adah's middle name is Grace. It was the biggest lesson I learned while I was pregnant with her. I never really understood grace until then, it was just a church word we use a lot, now it is real to me, and something I cherish as one of my most prized possessions. It finds its way into everything I teach and do. God's grace is so incredibly powerful, we will never fully comprehend it, but I think any time we try to love someone unconditionally and they throw it back in our face and say no thank you, we get a glimpse at just what Christ was offering at the cross.

Today, I'm actually not sad, I assumed I would be an emotional mess today, thinking about the anniversary that isn't happening. But those  9+ years were not for nothing, even though I don't  know where she is or what she is doing. God used that experience to help shape me into the pastor, mother, friend, and spouse that I am today. I will always pray for her safety and happiness. I pray that one day she will realize the gift of grace is waiting for her to open and that she will remember that she is not too far gone for the love of Christ to reach her. And I will always be thankful for the time we had and lessons I learned because she was in my life for a season. Autumn may never get to know my daughter but my daughter is being loved more fully because I knew Autumn. It was a match made on paper but blessed in Heaven. It may not have ended the way I had hoped but I am better because of it! There will always be a special place in my heart for Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the idea of mentoring young people who need a help getting a good start in life!

This is how I choose to remember Autumn and our time together. I'm working in my heart to not let the end of our relationship define the years we had together that were great!





To Autumn: Wherever you are today. I hope you feel the love and prayers that are surrounding you!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Blessing or Curse? Notes from Sermon 8/28/16

I've decided to start taking notes during the sermon time and share them with you. This will only work on weeks that my child cooperates and goes to the nursery or sleeps through church. So we will see if we can make this work on a regular basis.

Sermon Title: Blessing or Curse?
Scripture: Psalm 46: 1-3

No one is innocent. Not even babies.

Infirmity: Separation from God, that you're born with.
Transgressions: Sins you know you've made.
    God's grace covers both.

We are saved by grace, it is a gift.

There was no concept of disaster before the fall of man.

To live is Christ, to die is gain!

In all things give thanks.

How is it that God uses our suffering for good?

  1. Prepares us to be the bride of Christ
    • Redemption fee: The thing a groom, in Bible times, can pay to have a priest ceremonially clean an unclean bride.
    • Jesus paid the redemption fee for his bride, the church.
    • Purity vs. Unclean vs. Lost
      • If you are debating between watching a ball game and going and saving a soul, you would have an unclean soul.
      • If there is no debate you are going to watch the ball game, you have a lost soul.
      • If there is no debate you are going to save the soul, you have a pure soul.
  2. Assist to become more humble.
  3. Depend on God
  4. God's power is revealed by our suffering
    • Way more power than you can get from a tank or an airplane.
  5. Prepares us for Heaven!
    • How many of us would rather Jesus come now than go home and eat with our  families?
    • It is a great gift to be ready for eternity.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Tree of Life

In the Garden of Eden there were many trees. All those that were beautiful and those that were purposeful for eating. There were also two special trees. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God speaks about the Tree of Knowledge and He tells Adam and Eve not to eat of it, because if they do they shall surely die. After they eat of this tree they receive the knowledge of good and evil and are kicked out of the Garden. They are kicked out of the garden because they are no longer in perfect communion with God, there is a separation. And if they stay in the garden then they can continue to eat from the Tree of Life. It makes sense that if the Tree of Knowledge had fruit that provided knowledge then the Tree of Life had fruit that provided life, and God promised them death as their consequence for eating of the Tree of Knowledge.

Death ascended onto Earth the day humanity received the knowledge of good and evil. Death is sin, which is separation from God. Humanity is not bodies that have souls but souls that have bodies. The body was never meant to live eternally, but the soul was and it was created to live eternally in communion with God. The day death entered the earth there was a separation of human souls from God, that could only be corrected with a blood sacrifice. The only way to commune with God was by first atoning for your sins with a perfect blood sacrifice. But there was still no eternal communion because none of these sacrifices were perfect enough for eternity, therefore they had to be repeated each and every time you wished to commune with God. The most perfect earthly lamb's blood was not enough to conquer death.

Until the day Grace entered the world. God offered the sacrifice of Heaven's perfect lamb on a tree outside of Jerusalem. The cross became the new Tree of Life offered back to humanity so they could re-enter the Garden where their souls could be in communion with God, the way it was originally intended.

Humanity does not deserve to eat from the Tree of Life. We've proven this over and over, you can read many stories about it in the Bible, but also we fail each day to live in a way that earns the fruit from this tree. We can't earn this fruit, the Tree of Life always has been and always will be something given to humanity by our creator. At first it was in the garden where Adam and Eve took for granted its fruit and now it stand in the form of a cross where Christ's blood was shed and Grace flows freely. We still find ourselves taking this gift for granted and it is offered today as openly and freely as if we were standing in the garden with Adam and Eve. We will never be good enough or devout enough to eat from this tree. We will consistently choose the knowledge of good and evil over life, but if we can come to the cross and humble ourselves before God, and accept that Christ is our Savior and it is what He has done not what we have done that saves us, the gift of life is ours. We partake in communion in our church services as a reminder of this act of grace from Christ when He invited us into eternal perfect communion with God through His blood.

Today look to the Tree of Life not the Tree of Knowledge for your sustenance, for from it flows the Gift of Grace and Life eternal!