Monday, August 29, 2016

Desperately Thirsty

The other day I was mowing my lawn in incredibly hot weather. I mean hot. Sweat was literally pouring off my head. One of those days that's so hot that you take a shower when you're done and you still continue to sweat because your body is just used to producing it.

After an hour of mowing I went inside and needed water. Our fridge has one of those nice little water purifiers that pours out at the speed of molasses. And there I am standing holding a glass watching it fill up so incredibly slowly. All I could think was, "HURRY UP!" You know what's in the glass is too little to really quench your thirst but how much longer do you want to wait, is a glass half-full okay? I was just so desperate for water I didn't want to wait. It hurt to wait. I needed it now.

As I was downing the water after what seemed like an eternity the verse in Psalm 42 came to mind, as a deer pants for the water so my soul longs after You. Too often we like to drink a little bit of Jesus, we don't really need it, we aren't super thirsty, but it's nice to have a little just to feel good. But are we desperate for Jesus? Do we thirst for Him in such a way that we know a little won't do and it's hard to wait for the depths of His love that we need? Are we willing to yell at our spiritual refrigerator, "Where are you? Hurry up!"

Are we really thirsty for Jesus?


Monday, August 22, 2016

1.5 - 2.5 Seconds

That's how long the average teacher waits after asking a question.

Notice that's not the average person. That's a teacher in a classroom purposely giving a question for students to think about and actively waiting for them to process it and come up with an answer.

1.5 to 2.5 seconds.

When that time has passed, either because they can't wait or the silence is too awkward the teacher will burst in, give the answer, change the subject, elaborate, whatever they do that derails allowing the student to keep thinking about what the answer would be.

Years ago I wrote about how we seem to prize being first over being right, be the first to report the news before fact-checking and making sure it's right or be the first to put up your hand with the answer maybe even before you've had time to think about it. Because we have to be quick. We need to have the answer now. We need to be Google.

When it comes to faith do you allow time for others to think and contemplate and wrestle with the question before you burst in with the answer? For your own questions are you willing to wait for an answer or are you impatiently waiting for God to juts give you the answer to the question He's asking?

Sometimes an answer that has taken time to come up with is far superior to the one that was just shouted it out in less than 1.5 seconds...


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"We Love Seeing The Youth"

This is a phrase I have heard a couple of times from many different people over many different places in the last few days. It seems our church loved the service Sunday, the stories, the singing, etc. which is great! And I've heard people say they would love to see more.

Well, you can.

It's simple, come to a Sunday night and see. Join us for a trip. Be with them in worship. Choose to go and see them where they are.

It's unfair to anyone to say "Hey, I like what you're doing but I don't want to change what I do to see you so instead you change what you do, where you do it, when you do it, how you do it and do it for me when it's convenient for me." These students are amazing and if you really want to get an even better glimpse into who they are, go to where they are. Yes, that means you may have to change your schedule, go to a room you normally don't visit, maybe even sing songs you've never heard before. But you will also get an even truer picture of what Jesus is really doing in the lives of these young people.

Plus, you may realize you like some of the things they do better than you thought you would.


Monday, August 08, 2016

More Stories

It's always fun to see everyone who has read this blog during the weeks of the mission trips. But what makes those blogs so great is all the students sharing their stories.

First, I'd like to invite you to hear more stories. This Sunday (8/14) at Fishers United Methodist Church at either 8:30, 9:45 or 11:00 in the Sanctuary we will be sharing stories from the mission trip and other times we have experienced Jesus at FIRE & WATER. We'd love for you to come out and be a part of that.

But also, be sharing your story. Let's just be honest, we aren't that good at it. Even for myself as a youth pastor, when you ask a youth pastor about their ministry usually the first answer is how many students attend or a rundown of our schedule/what we offer students. You know what would be a great answer? Stories of Jesus moving in people's lives. After all, wouldn't you be way more interested in that over how many seats were filled last Sunday night?

Jesus never wrote a book of instruction. He never wrote a word (that we know of). When God commissioned the Gospel writers they didn't write how-to manuals either. They shared Jesus stories. Maybe we need to start living life the same way.

(No really, you're invited to join us Sunday. We hope to see you there).


Monday, August 01, 2016

Is It Still A Miracle?

The other day in staff meeting we were talking about the nation of Israel when they were wandering through the wilderness. You may have heard that story, under Moses they had to wait 40 years to enter the Promised Land that is now Israel and as they were wandering God took care of them. He provided food for them, manna from heaven and quail to eat. Every morning this food would just appear and be ready for the people to take and eat.

So here's where the conversation got interesting (for me at least). At what point is a miracle no longer miraculous? I'm sure the first day when the people are hungry and this food just appears on the ground they were thanking and praising God for all He has done for them. But after eating manna for 39.5 years, was it still a miracle? Did they go out in the morning praising and thanking God for once again giving them manna or was it simply expected? Was it even hated ("I wish we had something else to eat")?

A few months ago I wrote about a quote from Charlotte's Web, saying yesterday's amazing is today's ordinary. This story got me thinking about that once again. Do we start to take God for granted? What if we saw each breath as a miracle? What if we entered church on Sunday looking out to experience God, realize we are going to sing and worship Him together (and that He's actually listening), that we are going to read Holy Words given to us by God Himself for us to learn more about Him so we can be in a better relationship with Him and that we will have a chance to show love to everyone there by serving them today? What if we thought about what Jesus' sacrifice of love really meant and what He really gave up for us?

Or is it just the same old bread from heaven we ate yesterday and the day before that?