Archive for January, 2010

chapter 1

January 30, 2010

Chapter 1

You are here

Welcome to my kitchen table. As I write this I am sitting at my kitchen table, listening to my son. I would be working on this at my office at church but with the distractions there it would take me so long that I would have all the answers to the questions in the book. So I am here. Where are you? The answer to that question is based upon the context. Where are you? (Location) or where are you? (Personally). Where are you?

My mentor preached on this and thanks to him, this will be the first question raised in this book. Where are you? Where are we? Where are you with school? Where are you with your family? Where are you financially? Where are you in your relationships? Where are you on your journey? Where are you with God?

Let’s say we go to the Mall of America and go shopping. We have this whole day planned out and we are so excited to buy clothes, video games, eat mini doughnuts and watch people. We are ready. We park our car in the ramp and begin walking into the mall. Now the Mall of America is the biggest mall in the world. Every time I go there, it takes me over half an hour to locate my car when I decide to leave. So what do we do when we enter the mall? We look for the map. Once we find the map we locate the stores that we want to buy out. Then what do we do? We need to check the little colored dot that says, “You are here.” In order to know where we are going we need to know where we are. Where are we?

We always think we know where we are going but we never know where we are at. Where are you as you read this? What are you going through right now? What is your emotional condition? What is your spiritual condition? Are you burning out? Are you bored with life? Are you doubting God? Are you pressured on all sides and sophicating? Are you at the end of your rope? Where are you? We need to be honest with ourselves. We need to evaluate our selves, so we can know where we are going.

Let’s put the gloves down from this point on and not be on the defensive. This is about us being better, not bitter.

Where do you want to be? Who do you want to be? Not just on the outside, but who do you want to be on the inside. Where are you

introduction

January 30, 2010

Introduction

As I begin to write I am 30 years and I am almost five years into my first time full time ministry job. I am a youth pastor of the best youth group in the country; not because I am in charge of it but because the students are so great. As I begin to write I wonder where this book is going. I ask myself questions like, “Is it going to be a purity book that’s going to make you question where is my heart?” Is it a book that’s going to ask the questions of why we do what we do? Is it going to be a book that will bring out the real me so I can see the real HIM? The answer is yes. Then again I am postmodern and I have the right to do that (that’s kind of joke).

I write because I am young and if my thoughts are wrong then I have the excuse of saying that I am young and naïve and that I do not know better. I want to write this because I am young and I am still asking the “why’s”. I still wonder why we do what we do and who we are. I feel the older that I get, the more I stop asking the questions and start giving answers. I always want to be in awe of wonder. It also easier to give answers then it is to ask the questions. In this book I am not going to give you the answers to the questions, but hopefully help jump start your wonder so you can start asking the questions. That we may again stand in awe and wonder of who HE is.

I believe that in life, many of the things that we think, say, and do are because of insecurities of how we see ourselves. We live lies, and these lies have become our security (which is our insecurity). We need to ask ourselves the hard questions like ‘why we do what we do?”

This book may feel like it goes all over but I thought to myself this, “If I am going to write a book, I better write a book like it’s the only one I will ever write.” So this is it. My first and last one (like my wife).

Please free to put yourself into the pages. To explore your own heart and mind. When you read, pull the pride out and become real. Look inside and look into the mirror. Do not be reading and thinking of all the people that you are going to loan this book out to because it’s for them. Read it for yourself.

Look into the mirror before you start to read, stare at your reflection. Then do it again after you finish the book, hopefully what you see at the end is Jesus, even if it’s through broken glass. Just to see HIM dimly is my prayer.

Let us begin the journey together.

Relationship 101

January 16, 2010

Relationship 101: misconceptions on dating

I am going to try to help you with some misconceptions of relationships that some of you have. We all want healthy relationships but we do not know how to develop a healthy one.  Please know that relationships and dating is not separate from your spiritual walk; relationships can either pull you away from God or draw you closer to Him. We need to be holy, and healthy in all areas of our life.

Misconception #1: Caring versus Liking

I believe that many people confuse caring for someone and liking (having strong feelings) for someone. God gives us burdens for certain people; hurt people, ones in need, emotional needs, pain, bondage. God gives us a burden for these people, we want to rescue them and make them better. We confuse this burden with liking that person. We have strong feelings towards someone and we think that we want jump in a relationship with them, but God is just giving us a burden for them. God does not intend for us to jump into a relationship with these people, He wants us to pray for them, to bring others around them. Just because you care for them does not mean that you should jump into a relationship with them. Pray that God helps you with these burdens that you feel.  Don’t assume that you are falling in love, but first assume that God is saying to pray for them.  Assume right away that you are beginning to care for someone.

Misconception #2:  What I do now does not affect the future

I believe that this is one of the biggest lies that we buy into. What you do today effects what will happen tomorrow.  You change your future. You cannot change your past but you have the power to change your future.  Are you creating baggage in your life today that you will have to carry into the future?  Are you giving God your best today so God can give you His best in the future?

I believe that we rob ourselves. I believe that we follow our own needs and desires right now and become impatient and we miss out on God’s best for us. We pick our own pockets. We steal our own blessings. We steal from ourselves. We rob ourselves. Are you stealing from yourself today from God’s treasure in the future? God has cleaned and redeemed our past but now we need to develop our future.  Stop pushing open doors. Stop fighting to make things happen. Stop causing your own regrets.  God has His best for you.

Are you ready to meet your spouse? Are you developing yourself today for your spouse in the future? Do you hope your spouse is doing the same things you are doing? Do you hope that your spouse is preparing themselves for you? Does God trust you right now to meet you spouse? Why of why not?

We are so easy to give our hearts away. We jump from one person to another and we think that it does not harm us, but not only does it harm us but it hurts all of our other relationships. Being emotional with others is just as bad as getting physical with others. There are names for people who are physical with many people, I wonder if we could use those same words for people who are emotional with many others. When you jump from one relationship to another that just shows others and me around you that live for you insecurity. Are you living for God or are you living for your insecurity. Are you trying to fill your own insecurities or are you allowing God to fill them in. Stop feeding your own insecurity.  “What you rely on for a source of your security is actually a source of your insecurity.”

Are you waiting and preparing for you spouse? Do you hope spouses are preparing themselves for you?

Misconception #3:  I can make them stronger as a Christian if we date

We all want to rescue another person. We think that God wants us to rescue them by dating them. This is what will happen if you get into a relationship with a person who is not where are at spiritually.  You will be pulled down. You will be drained. Maybe not at first but you will get tired because you will be fighting for the relationship. You will be fighting for your own morals and defending them. Your conversations will get frustrating because they will not understand what you are talking about and you have to hold some things back in conversation. You will not be able to be totally real.  You will be pulling them the whole time.  If you have to fight for a relationship to grow spiritually, you’re in a wrong relationship. Relationships do not equal discipleships.

“Why trust your heart with someone that does not trust God’s heart?”

When you are in a right relationship. You will feel encouraged to be better, safer, more you, and stronger by being in it. Wait to find the right and the best that God has for you.

Misconception #4:  To the Boys!

Boys, we need to be better. When I perform a wedding I mention a few things to the grooms that I am going to mention to you. All boys love adventures. We love to search out and discover new things. We like the chase and the hunt. We love to fight and to conqueror. It’s hard wired into all of us boys to be this way. We also love to compete. We make everything into a competition (who is the strongest, has the most toys, does the most tricks, has the most phone numbers, etc). The biggest competition that some of you get into is girls. You try to see how many and what girls like you. You try to woo her and make her fall in love with you and then once she does, you drop her because the hunt and pursuit is over. Every girl that likes you or that you dated becomes your own little trophy (something that you brag about with your friends and to yourself).  Girls to you have become trophies and you tell stories about to your friends.  Stop treating girls like trophies. Stop using girls to fill your own insecurities.  Girls are not here to just fill you personal insecurities.

Are you destroying their worth and their dreams because you are insecure? Are you making them stumble so you can feel better? It says in scripture that you will be judged for bringing another down. Are you going to be judged for bringing girls down and ruining their best?

“You will be judged on how you treat girls.”

Boys get bored because we stop have a fighting spirit. We have to be fighting or pursuing something. It’s in our nature. You need to fight for the girls.

Predator or Protector:

predator hunts and destroys. They are selfish. They only fill their own needs. A protector defends and protects. They find honor in protecting and saving people from harm. They risk themselves to save someone else. You boys are the protectors to the girls. Fight for them. Not to fight for their heart but to fight to defend their heart. You need to protect. Here is your mission and your adventure; to protect the girls from those who may want to take away they’re best. Warriors not only attack but they defend. Are you doing more attacking of others or more defending? God has called you to defend the girls.

Protect the queens.  And pray that some guys are protecting your future queen (your future wife).

Stop hunting and start defending!

Misconception #5: To the Girls!

You girls make it hard for the boys to protect you. What you wear is an advertisement to who you are. Advertisement is made to attract attention and sell a product. What are you trying to attract and what are you selling? These boys are trying to protect you and you are trying to make them stumble. You are working against us.  Like I said to the boys, it says in the scripture that you make another stumble then you will be judged. Are you making the boys stumble because of the way you dress, and if you are then you will be judged on that.  You get mad because you draw the wrong kind of boys. You attract what you advertise. What’s your target audience? If you advertise your body, then you will get the guys who only like you for your body. If you advertisement your personality, then those boys will come. If you advertise your spiritual life, you will attract those also.

All girls, (just like the boys) have certain traits that they need. All girls want to be pursed. They need to know that they are worth fighting for. They want to be rescued but they also want to help bring restoration to others. You do not want to fight, you want peace. Girls have a deep desire to feel needed and wanted.  They want to things better.

To you girls I will say this key word that you need to memorize forever, ‘wait’.  Wait! Wait! Stop being in such a rush. You are worth the wait. I see so many girls pursuing guys because they are not sure if they find any better.  You are nervous that all the good ones will get taken so you make things happen even if it’s not the best for you. Know this, ‘You are worth the wait’, and ‘you are worth pursuing’. You need to be patient and wait to be pursued. Never pursue the boy, let them pursue. You deserve to be chased after.  When you wait, you are harder to get. You do not make yourself available to every boy. When you wait you will not settle for something good but you will wait for God’s best. If you opened your Christmas presents in October that would not be fun. When you wait to open them on the right time then everyone can enjoy it with you. It’s just as fun to give, as it is to receive. God has the best gifts waiting you, but when you impatient and open everything to early, then the giver cannot enjoy it with you. Allow God to enjoy the gifts with you. He wants to give you so many gifts, but He cannot give you a gift if you already gave it to yourself. Learn to be patient and trust that God has the best for you. You regret more when you wait less. The more impatient you are, the more you will regret.  You are worth the wait.

“God is not holding back from you, you are just holding back from Him.”

Learn to be loved! Not having to prove yourself or get tons of boys to like you. Your security does not come in being liked from boys but in being loved by God. When you seek out others security then you miss out on His security. You can only find your hope in one source.

You are loved and you are worth the wait. Your husband is worth the wait. Do you hope your husband is waiting for you? Do you hope your future husband is protecting girls?

“Are you willing to miss out on God’s best because you will settle for good?”

Don’t miss out on God’s best because of impatience.  Help the boys protect you, not make them stumble.

Are you ready spiritually right now to meet you spouse? Are you preparing yourself and making yourself better for them? Or are you actually making yourself worse? Making yourself more dirty, more selfish and taking on more baggage?

Sycamore Tree

January 16, 2010

let me tell you a story……….

their is a story in the bible about a man named zaccheus. The story goes that was a small man that was part of the crowd around Jesus. He wanted to see who this Jesus was bt he was too short (he was a wee little man).
He saw a sycamore tree and he decided to climb it and get a better view of Jesus.
When I think of this story and any other story that I hear, I try to put myself in it. I try to see the character in the story that i am or the one i should be. Which character am i, and what should i be?

1. character #1 (Crowd)
Are we just part of the crowd? Are we just going through the motions? Are we not stepping out? Do we just agree with everyone and not have an opinion of our own? Many of us are justpart of the crowd. We just try to blend in. Go where the crowd is going. Is this us?

2. character #2 (Zaccheus)
He was very smart. He decided to leave the crowd and see Jesus for himself. He was tired of following the crowd, he wanted to see Jesus for himself. He wanted to go past the norm. He wanted a better view. He knew his limititations (too short), but he did not allow that to hold him back. He was going to see Jesus no matter what.

3. character #3 (Jesus)
I believe that many of us have a Savior complex. We have heard so much to be like lJesus that we actually start thinking that we are Jesus. We think that people need us to be saved. That we are the ones that save, that we have as big as a heart as Jesus. That without us people will be lossed.
Not to bring confusion, but it says in the Bible that you have the character of Christ, not be be Christ. We are to help others find Christ, not us.
Here is an example. When I look back on my dating life before I got married, I realize this; I have led more people to myself then I have to Jesus. I pointed girls towards me and made them look to me. I led more people to Jarvis then I did to Jesus.
We need to realize that He is the answer. We are not. He wants people in heaven more then we do. We are saved by him. We do not save anyone, He does. We are tools in His hands. We need to remember that its Jesus that saves, rescues, delivers, heals, mends, restores, and that we are used for His purpose, not God being used for our purpose.

I look at all these characters and wonder where I am at. Then I wonder who God needs me to be? To answer that, we need to look at one more character…
4. character #4 (sycamore tree)
What was the purpose of the sycamore tree in this story? Its purpose was to elavate Zacheus higher to see Jesus better. It was planted to help others see Jesus in a better way. We are sycamore trees. We are here to help others see Jesus in a better. Give others a better view of Jesus. To see a loving Jesus that is healing others in the crowd. You may feel walked on, climbed, stepped on, but know this, you are being used to help others see Jesus better. May others see Jesus better because of us. May they see a loving father beacuse you help elevate them to see Jesus. We are not the Savior, we are not Jesus,we are here to help others see him.
Lord make me strong enough to hold up the people trying to get a better view of you. May they look to you, the one that saves, not to me, the one who supports.