Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Crying Out in Desperation

Rachel and I have done a lot of traveling over the past couple of months. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we have been in the car with a baby for a total of about 20 hours. If you have never been in the car with a baby for that long consider yourself blessed. She was great for most of the time, but when she was crying, it was not a fun time in the car.

As we were going down the road we were listening to a CD by Shane and Shane and Phil Wickham. One song on the CD is called "Heaven Fall Down". I have linked to it below. When this song came on, Lexi had been screaming for about 30 minutes. I was singing along and trying to get my mind off of the screaming baby in the backseat when I was struck by a part of the song I had never really paid attention to in the past:

We're crying out in desperation
Waiting now in expectation
We're crying out in desperation
For You

As I sang along to those words, that I had heard over and over again, they took on a new meaning for me. My little girl was in the backseat literally crying out in desperation and waiting in expectation that her father would comfort her and make everything right.

How many of us actually cry out to our Heavenly Father like that? When was the last time that we really cried out in desperation to God? I think that too often we think that we can handle whatever comes our way without having to rely on God. We are so self-sufficient that we don't cry out in desperation.

What was the last thing that you asked God for that you waited for in expectation? Do we believe that God will answer the prayers that we pray or do we just pray because we think it is what we are supposed to do as Christians? 

My prayer for this new year that we will all become more and more like my daughter, trusting that her father will make everything ok. 

"And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:2-4

Friday, June 7, 2013

$.50 worth of cornmeal

I was reminded today of a story I once heard about a southern plantation owner who left $50,000 (a great sum of money in the 1800s) to a former slaved that served him faithfully his entire life. A lawyer of the estate notified the former slave of his vast inheritance. Weeks went by and the former slave never requested any of his inheritance. Finally, they decided to send a banker out to explain to this man what his inheritance was and that he could draw out money any time. The old man replied, ‘Sir, do you think I can have fifty cents to buy a sack of cornmeal’? He could have asked for much more—but he died having only withdrawn 50 cents from a $50,000 inheritance.

In his book "The Gospel for Real Life" Jerry Bridges explains that we are just like that former slave. He had no concept of how much money $50,000 was and so he only asked for 50 cents. We have an amazing inheritance in the gospel, but we don't really understand it so we try to get by on as little as possible.

In Ephesians 3:8 Paul talks about the unsearchable riches that are available to us in Christ. I like that term, unsearchable riches. Paul wasn't talking about financial wealth, but about the glorious truths of the gospel. To use the figures from the story, what Paul is saying is that we have $50,000 available to us in the gospel, yet most of us are trying to squeeze out 50 cents worth. Why is that? I would argue it is because we don't really understand the gospel.

Tim Keller says the gospel is not just the ABC's of Christianity, it is the A-Z. We never get past the gospel to something else, we just get deeper and deeper into the gospel. I hope that you will make it a priority to understand the glorious riches that are available to us in Christ Jesus!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rethinking Student Ministry

      I posted this blog a few years ago but wanted to post it again to see if the reaction is any different.  One of my professors from seminary wrote a blog post in which he said, "This generation wants meat. They are tired of silly events that have a little Scripture thrown in, or events where junk food is served up large and the Bible doesn't make the menu". I really feel like he has a point. My question to you is, do you agree with this statement? What are you looking for when you come to church on Sunday morning or Wednesday nights? Are you looking to just come and hang out or do you really want to be challenged?     
       In that same blog post Dr. Reid goes on to say, "There is a younger generation of believers who are tired of "do the minimum" Christianity. They want it straight, they want it real, and they want it now. If you teach the Bible, and if the teens you teach sense you genuiely love them and love Jesus, you can get right in their grills. In fact, you must. If however they perceive you as a smart aleck, or you stereotype them to the extreme, you will lose them. And you will never have a chance with unchurched  young adults". I have a heart and a passion for students. I want to see them come to a complete understanding of who Jesus is and what He did for them. 
      I am looking for feedback here. Feedback from students and parents. If you took the time to read this, comment on it and let me know what you think. If you think I am crazy, tell me. If you think that I am on to something here and are willing to come along side of me as we look to reach the students of Sumter, tell me! I want to hear from you!
   That same professor just wrote a new book called "As You Go: Creating a Missional Culture of Gospel-Centered Students". I recently bought the book and will be blogging my thoughts on it as I read it. I hope that it will sharpen me as a student pastor as I seek to teach students how to live a life that is centered on the gospel.