Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Secret Way of Jesus and Two Great Videos!

I have been continuing my "marathon" reading of the Gospel of John and read something that I have been thinking a lot about over the last day or so. In John 7:4 Jesus' brothers say to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world!"

It goes on to say that Jesus went to Judea also however "not publicly, but in secret". I guess I am hearing Jesus say his way was never meant to be something that was we made public spectacle of. But isn't that what we have done? Aren't we very guilty of this? Flaunting Jesus and toss his name around every chance we get? He isn't some freak show that does neat tricks so that we can all watch. His way is different. I'm not even sure I know what all is involved in following it. I just know for me it is the way, the truth and the life. Forgive us Jesus when we make a public spectacle of you. You deserve more than just to be put on a piece of jewelry or stamped on a dollar bill.

On a totally unrelated(and much lighter)note, here are some great videos! Enjoy!
Mike Cope Sings the Classics
Song Leader Revolution

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Beautiful Collision II and T-Giving


After I posted the last blog I realized that I didn't even mention the title. It is important that you know that line from David Crowder's Song, "A Beautiful Collision."

There is a line that goes something like this, "There seems no end to where you begin and where I end. There I am now you and I, collide."

This to me is a picture of what life should look like. There is no obvious difference in the place where I and God are. This is my desire for my life, Lord.


Ran my first 5K this morning. The Tyler Turkey Trot. As I told people about it I said it was, "my official kickoff race as I begin training for a half-marathon in 2007." Guess there's no turning back now!

My goal was to run the 3.1 miles in 30 minutes or less. On this day of Thanksgiving I am THANKFUL to say that it happened. 26 minutes and 3 seconds. I was dying afterwards but it was a blast. Lana and her dad David walked with the twins (it was also there first 5k), and Niki Swearingen also ran it with us. It was a great way to start this day!

On this day I feel that I also need to day Happy Thanksgiving. I am most thankful to day for Family and for God's transforming work in my life. Not many people are reading this but Happy T-Giving to anyone that is!

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Beautiful Collision

Over the last several days I have been thinking a lot about the busy lives that we live. These lives are not bad lives. Many good things are being done -some even in the name of Jesus-but are good lives, that are busy, always the best lives to live? I want to put some questions out there to think about. On most days I have more questions about church and youth ministry than I do answers. I seek only answers as to how we might pursue Jesus more fully.

After all-He is the only Life there is to live!

Below are some things I have been thinking about along these lines.

For any students that may visit this blog I am wondering if I am on the right track or way off base?
I am wondering what role you dream "church" playing in your life?
I am wondering if you want to be discipled? I am curious if you are wanting more out of "church"? If so, what is it?
Do you feel that you being a "Christian" and going to "church" are just two more things that you do every day?

I would appreciate any honest insight you could give. No good church answers. It's time to be real. Email any of your friends that you think would be real and honest (even if they don't go to church with us at HCOC) this link.

Somehow we have begun to think of church as just "one more thing" that we have to do on Wednesday night or Sunday. Our lives are busy and it seems that we are involved in so much. School, friends, sports, band, family, God, updating our MySpace or Facebook, cleaning our new car, hanging out on the weekend, and on and on. The problem that I see with this list is that God is just another thing on it. It seems that maybe he should BE the list and everything else flow out of our need and longing to be with him.

I am in the process, as I regularly am, of evalauting what we are doing in youth ministry. In short, (I would love to elaborate later) it seems that Churches of Christ for many years have followed the model of youth ministry that "busy ministry means better ministry" I have come to believe that busy youth ministry only means you are busier.
Many churches from across the country have followed the model of "doing less with greater excellence"

I feel myself (and many CofC youth ministers I know) being drawn to this model of youth ministry rather than the one that we have always followed. When I really look at youth ministry in Huntsville I am not always sure we are not developing more disciples of Jesus because we go 90 to nothing all the time. Students still have there problems, parents are still getting divorced, church is still "boring" (as several studentshave put it to me recently), satan is still active and doing anything he can to pull students and adults away.

I am a product in jr. high and high school of a youth ministry that followed the busy is better model. So, we know it CAN work out okay but my question is why would we want to do this to people. We have to create a youth ministry that teaches students that youth ministry is a place where they are discipled, mentored, nurtured and loved and not where there calendar gets filled up with all kinds of events.

The hardest part of discipleship is that you have to take up your cross. Jesus even says in one place that to follow him some may have to sell ALL they have. That is not comfortable. That is not easy. The reality is that some students will not be attracted to Jesus in this way. Can we make them come? Maybe. Should we? Maybe for a time. But ultimately they are at the age of deciding, "Is this the life I want to pursue?" If the answer to that is YES then I don't think that you will be able to stop them from wanting to be wherever other Christ followers are going to be. They will be hungry for adults to care for and love them. Isn't this what Jesus' disciples were like? They wanted to be with him. They would have died for his cause and The Way. The truth is that there may be more value than we realize in small numbers. That is another trap that the "busy ministry means better ministry" model teaches. I have fallen victim too many times to count. But I would be willing to bet 9 out of 10 times better discipleship/mentoring/teaching is going to happen on when there are less people there. Coincidence? Maybe. I tend to think, however, that is not.

Thursday, November 9, 2006


Approximately one year from now I plan to have run a half marathon somewhere in the state of Texas. I have wanted to do it for a long time, but last weekend I decided for sure.

We had our annual Youth Retreat(which was great, by the way) and my good friend Ricky Pruitt came to speak to our students. He is a marathon runner and through some conversations that had and some stories he shared it pushed me over the edge. I like the thought of being able to say that I did something that my head and heart question whether or not I can actually do.

I plan to start slow and be realistic and therefore am only going to commit to finish a half-marathon before the end of 2007. I expect it to be hard, I expect it to be a challenge, I expect the impossible to become possible. I look forward to having to rely on God's strength above my own. (I also think that runners have really cool lingo and use cool words so I hope to pick up some of those along the way too!)
I will occasionally try to post updates about my training because I plan to run some smaller events between now and then. My first is going to be the Turkey Trot in Tyler, TX on Thanksgiving Day. It is a 5k and I am counting it as my first "official" run to kick of the pursuit of the half-marathon.

On a related note, I also started a marathon reading of the Gospel of John. There are about 16 students in our youth ministry that have committed to do this with me! I am planning to also post thoughts and comments about the things I read here as well. I look forward to hearing what some of you have to add to this conversation as well. May the the Greatest marathoner of all bless us as we pursue pushing our hearts, minds, and bodies to a new level!!