Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Back Home...temporarily

Well, it's been quite the week and a half. Had a worship concert for our entire church last Wednesday night in which I spoke in front of "everybody." Why is it that I get so nervous when I speak in front of adults? Needless to say, I spent a lot of time and energy getting stuff ready for the concert and my message. I got just got back to Harrison from Nashville, TN. I've been at the National Youth Worker's Convention for almost the past week. It was great, I'm sure I'll blog more about it at a later date (I'm too tired too right now), God showed me a lot and spoke to my heart on some issues that have been on my mind the past few months. Also got plenty of resources... can't beat resources! So I'm at home getting laundry done before heading to Northwest Arkansas in the morning to spend the holidays with my wonderful family and take some time to rest from a busy week. I'm really looking forward to seeing family. Being in Harrison and working so much, I feel like I don't get the opportunities to see my family as much as I used to. Oh the drag of growing up. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Church and State

I didn't really know what to title this entry, but anyway. I was reading in my quiet time according to my "bible in a year" schedule and read these three different passages that all gave me comfort to the government/political/and economical state of our country. The fact that I read all three of these on the same day really jumped out at me. 

The first was Romans 13:1-2 - "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."

Then I finished 1 Samuel which is this whole idea that Israel asked for a king so God gave them a king even though it wasn't in there best interest. Then after the spirit of the Lord had departed from King Saul we watch God prepare David to become the new leader. Then we see Saul take his own life at the end of 1 Samuel and David is anointed King over Judah. 

I then finished my quiet time with Psalm 67 - "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him."

As Christians, we are called to submit to the governing authority of our country. And we must trust that God is the one that has placed those people into power (House, Senate, President, governor, whatever). The problem with Christians today is that we expect these governing bodies to lead a Christian nation. We expect them to be an influence and cause our nation to be a moral place. This is the same problem that we see in church goers who look toward the pastor and staff to do all the ministering and outreach. Each one of us must do our part. If we want God to bless our land, our economy, and our country; it isn't done by electing the right government officials. It is done by this repeating verse in Psalm 67 "May the people praise you, O God; may ALL the peoples praise you." Are you praising God today? Everyday? Through your words? Through your actions? And is your praise of God contagious? Are you leading others to a point of praising God? Are you sharing the Gospel with your friends, coworkers, or neighbors? 

"May the peoples praise you, O God; may ALL the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear HIM."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Death of a Christian nation?

To put it simply, today has been a busy and seemingly unproductive and all around strange day for a youth pastor that has a fall retreat in about 4 days. I find it ironic that I ran sound for a funeral on this particular election day that could lead to the death of the Christian nation that I grew up loving. For starters, this was the first funeral (of many more to come I'm sure being that I work in a church) that I've been to in nearly 9 months (since Kiley's). Needless to say, last night was full of emotions and concerns knowing that I was going to have to go to this funeral; but being at the funeral wasn't as rough as I was expecting it to be. 

On to politics, which I'm not a particular big fan of in the first place. I did vote today, yay me after skipping my first opportunity, I must say that its quite having your voting spot right outside of your office. However, it did stick out to me that I was attending a funeral in a Christian church on election day. It is 7:55 PM and as I check the polls and see Obama leading McCain 102-34 in the electoral votes (I hate electoral votes when there is that big of a margin and yet McCain actually has more votes), I can't help but worry about the future of our country, especially as a follower of Christ. Continue to pray that God's hand will be upon this election.

I mentioned strange earlier... my pastor came up to me this morning and said that he had given my youth ministry budget proposal to the chair of the finance committee and that they were both so impressed with it (I really shared my vision and reasoning behind each budget item request) that they wanted to share it with the whole church. This whole time, I'm thinking "ummm... ok; who shares a budget proposal with an entire congregation?" But I get back from lunch and go in the office workroom and there is my budget proposal along with a cover letter from the finance committee being put together as a special edition newsletter to be sent to the entire congregation. I am a bit surprised by very encouraged by the fact that my pastor and the chair of the finance committee are so excited about my vision for this ministry that they want to share it with the entire congregation.

Finally, the highlight of my day was the time that I took this afternoon to just escape from the office and go for a bike ride. It was an absolutely beautiful day and I'm glad that I was able to enjoy it while I still can.