It’s Saturday

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Here we are, Saturday of holy week.  Have you ever wondered why Saturday is a part of holy week?  I really haven’t ever thought about it until today; but I think God must have had a reason for waiting 3 days.

Obviously we know the significance of Friday.  Christ died on Friday, everything came to a head, it all hit the fan.  Jesus said he was going away and it happened.  Everyone that wanted Jesus out of their life and off the religious scene finally got their way.  God turned his back to sin and Jesus finished it.

And we have Sunday, the resurrection.  Time to celebrate that God solved the equation, God is still a righteous judge, the wages of sin is still death, and yet I can be forgiven by grace.  The cross is empty, Jesus is alive, and suddenly everything makes sense.  Sunday is the year of jubilee, life is good, and I know the truth and it has set me free.

But what about Saturday?  Think about the disciples on Saturday.  Just a few days ago they were still kicking it with Jesus and all was fine.  Now Jesus is dead and they are left to pick up the pieces.  Imagine mentally going over everything Jesus said and did, wondering what exactly everything meant, and wondering what might happen next.  Everything changed in the matter of a few hours and here they are, alone.  Imagine Peter on Saturday, that had to have been the longest 3 days of his life.  I can imagine the one word that would define Saturday is silent.  Silent Saturday.

As I think about this, I realize there have been several times in my life and in my faith that it has been Saturday.  I have hit rock bottom and I know what I hope for, but all I find is silence.

Perhaps you look around and it is Saturday in your life.  Maybe it is Saturday in your ministry.  We all have Saturdays.  But you know what?  Sunday will come.  God will show up.  It might be only a day away, or perhaps it might be longer, but no matter what know that Sunday is coming!

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Real Men Cry About the Right Things 3

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As I have been continuing to think about this series of posts, I want to conclude these by looking at scripture so me, and you, will not be focused on me or my ideas, but on God.

I in no way have meant to imply that if you don’t cry that you aren’t a real man.  My hope for both you and me is that we will be exactly what God created us to be.  If that includes crying, then no need to hide it.  If it doesn’t, then don’t fake it.

To wrap up this series, I want you to read some of God’s opinion of what a real man is really like.  I focused on 3 identities that are pretty common for most men: God’s child, a husband, and a father.  I feel like I have not even scratched the surface of what God has to say.  Please read through these verses, and feel free to add the ones that I didn’t.

Mark 10:6-8 (NIV) 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Ephesians 5:31-32 (NIV) 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

1 Peter 3:7 (NIV) 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Ephesians 5:21-28 (NIV) 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Colossians 3:19 (NIV) 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

Colossians 3:21 (NIV) 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20, 7:1-5 (NIV) 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Proverbs 19:18 (NIV) 18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope;
do not be a willing party to their death.

Proverbs 23:13 (NIV) 13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.  14 Punish them with the rod and save them from death.

Hebrews 12:7-11 (NIV) 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

2 Corinthians 5:16-20 (NIV) 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Real Men Cry About the Right Things 2

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As I continue my thoughts about this topic, I have to say that most of my life I have felt embarrassed when I cry.  In fact, I have been putting off writing this post for days partly because of that embarrassment.  Yet, as I think about what makes me cry I should feel honored, not embarrassed.

I cried when I was baptized.

I cried at my wedding. 

I cried at the birth of all three of my boys.

I cried at my ordination service. 

I have always said “the only 2 things that make me cry is my family and when God works.”  As I think back to all the times I have cried (like the times listed above) and the times I have not cried (like when I felt the most intense physical pain of my life after my bike wreck) that statement really is true.  My struggle and embarrassment about being a crier comes with how our world defines “a man.”  The traditional world view is that men don’t cry, or feel emotions, or ever say I love you.  A friend and speaker recently said “if your wife knows you will die for her submission is not a problem.”  This statement really made me think, and truthfully challenged me.  I tell my wife I love her every day, but does she know I will fight for her, even die for her and our boys?  I hope she does because I would.

I disagree with the traditional world view of manhood. 

I think real men cry about the right things.  I think real men love their wives and kids so much they will die for them and actually tell them that.  I think real men lead by example.  I think real men invite accountability.  I think real men find a balance between discipline and love.  I think real men are strong enough to be the Spiritual leaders of their households.  I think real men work hard, play hard, and love even harder.

I love it when I see other guys striving to be real men.  This past week I had a former student from our youth ministry, who is now married, call and ask to use me as an accountability partner in the X3 program he was putting on his computer.  He was nervous and embarrassed, but I am proud of him for stepping up.  I was also proud to tell him I have the same accountability software on my computer, and have my report emailed to my wife so she never questions my online activity.

If you need help with online accountability go here and get the free program from XXX Church.

Are you a real man?  Are you striving to be one like I am?  I hope so because our world seems to be short on them.  From my own boys, to the guys in my youth ministry and church, they need to see a lot of good examples of real men.  So do the guys in your world.    Whether you are a crier or not, you can be a real man with God’s help and grace.

 

My Next Step

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beach footprintsPerhaps you have noticed, but this site has been pretty quiet for the last few months.  While the site was quiet, the rest of my life has not been.  I had lots going on in just about every area of my life, and I needed to take a step back to seek God and work through everything privately as I figured out what my next step would be in my ministry journey.

I have spent extended time alone with God on a spiritual retreat, enjoyed a great vacation with my family, had numerous conversations with the leadership of my church and my inner core of confidants, and prayed A LOT.

This last weekend everything went public to our church, and now to you.  On August 1st, I will for the first time in my ministry career, not be a youth pastor.  I am staying at Cloverdale and taking a new position as Associate Pastor to Families.

I am excited for a new challenge.  I am excited that I don’t have to say goodbye to the Cloverdale family.  I am excited to see God work in new ways.  I am excited to still contribute to the youth ministry world from a different perspective.  I am excited that I can once again be at peace and fight for God with everything I have as I fulfill his will for me.

From this point, I hope to jump back in with writing and speaking as well, so please keep checking back, reading, and listening.  I’m excited for the future, and I’m honored to share my journey with you!

While the cat is away…

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This last week I was out of town at a conference and on my way home I received this text message:

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The video is one several of the youth staff made in my office while I was gone.  You can watch it yourself:

I have had some pretty bad stuff done to my office in the past, and I must admit I was worried at first.  But after watching the video I am proud of them.  I am so lucky to be leading such an amazing team of people who do great youth ministry, and that love to be around each other.  I love all the inside jokes included in the video.  Even though they mean absolutely nothing to you, it speaks to the healthy culture that surrounds our team.

The description of the video is “Just a reminder you are the one that allows us to be on Youth Staff.”  I am honored to serve God along side all of you!

Judas’s Biggest Mistake

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Last night at my churches Good Friday service I portrayed Judas through drama.  My monologue started with the fact that no young boys would ever be named Judas.

Judas has gone down in infamy for selling out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, but that was not his biggest mistake.

It is easy to forget that Judas was just as much of a disciple as the other 11.  Peter betrayed Christ too, not in the same way, but he did.  However he made it to Sunday, but Judas didn’t.

Judas’s biggest mistake is he didn’t make it to Sunday.

He gave up.  He didn’t wait for Jesus to fix it all (like He did for Peter).  Instead he took matters into his own hands.

While on the cross Jesus said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Do you think Judas was included in that prayer?  I do know that the grace made possible by Jesus’ death on a cross would have covered Judas just like it does you and me.

Do you need to receive God’s grace?  No matter how much you have messed up Jesus still loves you.  Choose the path Peter did and patch up your relationship with God.

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