Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Jacob's Well"

I guess I'm just gonna blog about once a year, May 10th apparently just happens to be that day! We're starting a new ministry within our youth ministry called "Jacob's Well" Coffee House.

So, what is Jacob's Well all about?

I love the story from Scripture of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. After the Samaritan woman arrived to draw water, Jesus (a Jew) asked her for a drink.

“The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, ‘You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’ Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me and I would give you living water.’ ‘But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,’ she said, ‘and this is a very deep well. Where would you get this living water? And besides, are you greater than our ancestor Jacob who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his cattle enjoyed?’ Jesus replied, ‘People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life.’ ‘Please, sir,’ the woman said, ‘give me some of that water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to haul water.’” (John 4:9-15 NLT)

The Samaritan woman goes to the well looking to quench her thirst but runs into Jesus and ends up having her entire life changed, leaving the well with living water!

“Jacob’s Well” offers a cozy place for junior high and high school students to gather weekly. Open mic music, tables with board/card games, pool, ping-pong, and couches to sit around and drink coffee or smoothies characterize the coffee house mood. It’s a place to leave your worries at the door and enjoy stress-free hours with friends. Our hope for “Jacob’s Well” is that students will come to quench their physical or social thirst and have an encounter with Jesus Christ that will allow them to leave with living water!

But wait… there’s more! Our hope is that “Jacob’s Well” will expand our church’s ability to minister to others in our community. We hope to be able to establish a collegiate ministry using “Jacob’s Well,” open it up to young adults, allow AA and NA meetings to be held at “Jacob’s Well” as well. The possibilities are endless! Amidst our ridiculously crazy pace of life, we hope the coffee house will offer unexpected hope and peace to all who enter.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Distractions...

So, let's see if I can remember how to do this after like a 4 month hiatus...

I've been extremely busy with "work" which is actually the reason I've been inspired to blog.

Last night, I was teaching my youth on developing a care for the poor and oppressed, THEN actually doing something about it and I challenged them that many of them may be called to actually go into missions or ministry, and it may be in areas that don't want to be. We then talked about the rich young ruler as an example...

Luke 18:18-23: "A ruler asked Him, 'Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' 'Why do you call me good?' Jesus asked him. 'No one is good but One -- God. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother.' 'I have kept all these from my youth,' he said. When Jesus heard this, He told him, 'You still lack one thing: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.' After he heard this, he became extremely sad, because he was very rich."

Each of us is called to full-time ministry. We may not get paid for it and we may not travel overseas for it, but we are all called to give up EVERYTHING, all that we have, especially that which is most important to us (for the rich young ruler, it was his possessions, others may be a relationship, hobby, well-paying job, or pride) and follow Jesus. I challenged my students with this question: "What keeps you from following God." What holds you back? What are you so holding on to? What is distracting you?

This morning as I was laying in bed, I was thinking about that question in my own life. And felt this burden of what has been keeping me from following God. Why I haven't felt as close to my Lord and Savior over the past few months like I was feeling a year ago. You may or may not be thinking: "you work at a church, how could you not be following God?" (I know that was the thought that kept running through my head). But, as weird as this may sound, I honestly feel like that has also been my problem. I "work" at a church and me following Christ has become more of a job than a relationship. I'm so busy and caught up in working for God that it has become a barrier in my personal walk with Christ.

You see, these last few months have gotten ridiculously crazy for me. I currently lead worship in our contemporary service, I preach about every other week in the contemporary service, plan all the contemporary services, run anything and everything technological at the church, do a lot of other things at the church, and occasionally squeeze youth ministry (which is my actual job that I used to spend 50+ hours a week on) into my weekly schedule. I feel like I have so much to do that I'm using all my energy to stay afloat, to keep my head above water, that I'm not moving forward in any way in anything. And time seems to be FLYING by. I was telling a friend the other day that a month ago only feels like a week ago to me anymore. I realize that I haven't talked to friends in probably months, but it only feels like a week or two. Hadn't seen family in probably a month when it only felt like a week. My time is all messed up!

You remember the sisters in the bible, Mary and Martha, the friends of Jesus. One night they invited Jesus over for dinner, and Martha was running around in a frenzy trying to make sure everything was perfect because the Son of God was in her house, but Mary just sat at Jesus' feet conversing with God's Son. And Martha was pretty ticket about the whole thing. She was mad at Mary and I think she was really mad at Jesus because Jesus wasn't setting it straight. He wasn't looking out to meet her needs there, and so she comes to Jesus and look what she says in Luke 10, "Martha was distracted by her many tasks: So she came to Him and asked, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me.' But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things: but there is need of only one thing and Mary has chosen the better part...'"

Sometimes we make it too complicated. We get so busy building into the lives of everyone else that we forget about ourself. We need to meet our needs. We need to spend time with God. We need to spend time with others in fellowship and growing together in the Lord. I know I need an intervention, I need to find others that I can spend time in fellowship with (my age).

So....What keeps you from following God?!?!

Friday, January 22, 2010

To Save A Life

banner

Do me a favor. Go see the movie "To Save a Life" this weekend. Encourage people you know to see it. Take people with you to see it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Top 15 Biblical Ways to Acquire a Wife

So, the children's director that I work with gave me this list this afternoon. I found it pretty funny, especially considering the hard time that his daughter gives me about being single and having no life.

The Top 15 Biblical Ways to Acquire a Wife:

1. Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she's yours. (Deuteronomy 21:11-13)

2. Find a prostitute and marry her. (Hosea 1:1-3)

3. Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. (Moses-Exodus 2:16-21)

4. Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. (Boaz-Ruth 4:5-10)

5. Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. (Benjaminites-Judges 21:19-25)

6. Have God create a wife for you while you sleep. Note: this will cost you. (Adam-Genesis 2:19-24)

7. Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman's hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That's right, fourteen years of toil for a wife. (Jacob-Genesis 29:15-30)

8. Cut 200 foreskins off of your future father-in-law's enemies and get his daughter for a wife. (David-1 Samuel 18:27)

9. Even if no one is out there, just wander around a bit and you'll definitely find someone. (It's all relative, of course.) (Cain?-Genesis 4:16-17)

10. Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest. (Xerxes or Ahasuerus-Esther 2:3-4)

11. When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, "I have seen a ... woman; now get her for me." If your parents question your decision, simply say, "Get her for me. She's the one for me." (Samson-Judges 14:1-3)

12. Kill any husband and take HIS wife (prepare to lose four sons, though). (David-2 Samuel 11)

13. Wait for your brother to die. Take his widow. (It's not just a good idea; it's the law.) (Onana and Boaz-Deuteronomy or Leviticus, example in Ruth)

14. Don't be so picky. Make up for quality with quantity. (Solomon-1 Kings 11:1-3)

15. A wife? ....NOT? (Paul-1 Corinthians 7:32-35)

Personally.... #10 sounds like a pretty good deal to me. It reminds me of "The Bachelor."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snow Day!!

So, it snowed a great deal here in Harrison, AR starting Saturday night. It was beautiful and a great way of finishing up students' Christmas break...by giving them a couple more days off! I got to spend yesterday afternoon with a bunch of students playing in the snow and had a blast. Sledding, failed attempts at starting snowball fights (the snow just wouldn't pack), and I even finally got an opportunity to get my 4-wheeler out and have some fun pulling people on sleds. To finish off the day, we built a ramp (which was very difficult b/c of the poor packing quality of the snow) and Kaleb went off it behind the 4 wheeler. The video is below.

video

It's the opportunities to hang out with students outside of church and build relationships and share Christ's love with them that keeps me in youth ministry, its the only reason I put up with the church politics and meetings that are always trying to consume my time and attention.

And the icing on the cake... getting a text last night from a student last night. After texting me saying that the day was fun and us having some laughs about the day, she says this.

Student: "Can I be serious with ya for a sec..."
Me: "Definitely"
Student: "I am really glad a youth director like you came along..."

These are the moments that help me brush off all the frustrations that I face in both student and church ministry as a whole and re-energize me to keep serving Christ to the best of my knowledge and ability.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"To Save A Life"


Everybody needs to spread the word about this movie and watch it in theaters. This movie will change lives!

Friday, November 13, 2009

21 months...

Well, I try to avoid noticing when "the 13th" rolls around. And I'm usually pretty successful, but not today. I woke up at 4 AM this morning (definitely not planned) and couldn't fall asleep as I laid there listening to K-Love (on my iPhone, because it's the only way to get K-Love in Harrison) for at least 2 hours, I heard somebody mention that it was Friday the 13th and it hit me. Then on comes one of Steven Curtis Chapman's new songs that he wrote after he lost his daughter. 21 months ago, my older sister left this earth. As good as she was at getting on my nerves, I absolutely loved her. As kids, we apparently spoke a language that only we understood. Growing up, we played together: her barbies and my ninja turtles. We would later go to movies together, church together and usually hung out with the same friend group from church/school. In college, we lived together for two years and were teased that neither of us would ever marry and just live together for the rest of our lives (and here I am...still single). I would gladly accept "the call of Paul" to have her back. I think today has hit me hardest since the first one, or God has thrown the most "reminders" my direction; I'm not sure which one it's been. I turn 25 a week from today. Kiley never got the opportunity to be 25. I have lived to be older than she did, but she still saw the age "24" but never experienced "25." Here I am, only a week away, and 21 months after she died and I don't even know what to say, other than I hurt.

Another one of God's reminders today, was a email devotional that I get everyday, only this one addressed this particular day. I'd thought I'd share it with you.

"For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance." (Psalm 66:10-12)

How do you deal with the undeniable reality of painful moments in your past when you are praising God? What's the best approach? Should you pretend like those moments never happened? Is it impolite to bring them up in the middle of praising God for His goodness to you?

Right in the middle of this great psalm of praise to God, David reaches back to a painful time in Israel's history -- and says that God did it to them on purpose. He makes a choice to believe that God was responsible both for bringing them into that terrible season and bringing them out of it again.

Would a good God really "test" His people and use hard times to "refine us like silver"? Yes, He does -- and the fact that He does is evidence that He is good and loving and powerful. David saw that God cared about His people too much not to use terrible circumstances to draw them into the place they would find the most meaningful and satisfying life -- in closer relationship with Him.

Can we praise the God who takes us into and out of life's most difficult times?

Think: Have you noticed that God has used some of the harder times of your life to draw you closer to Him? Do you believe the best life is lived in leaning more closely on God?

Pray: Ask God to help you to praise Him for being your good God even during the most difficult times of your life.

Do: Read Job's shocking statement about this idea in Job 13:15, then listen in Hebrews 12:7-11 says about hard times and our Father's loving discipline.