So I've never really been good at keeping up on blogs, or diaries, or anything of that sort, but I'm going to try a little harder so you can all see what it's like to be me and/or a youth & worship minister in today's society.
As I mentioned in my previous post titled "missions trips and youth camp," I have been very, very busy with everything going on. I would like to say, though, that God is working in my life right now. I see Him allowing me greater access to the hearts of the youth, but He is also instilling a larger flame within me for Himself! I've been back now for just over a week, and haven't settled in to "the routine" yet. Last week was me running around like crazy and organizing all kinds of stuff that I hadn't been able to do for nearly 3 weeks. I had to get all of the music ready, pull all the old music off the stands and file it, pick the songs and organize the music for the upcoming worship service, organize meetings for both youth and worship, organize a retreat, get lessons together, order books and materials for different groups, study Financial Peace University stuff, and that's just getting the list started. It's kind of funny, people ask me all the time what I do and I never know what to tell them. I think I don't know what to tell them because I don't want to tell them everything that I do because it would bore them to tears, they'd think I'm lying, or they'd think I'm whining or bragging about how much I actually do. So I don't really have an answer for them. Maybe if they read this they'll get some idea of what goes on during my day and week. It may sound like I'm complaining right now, but I'm not. I want to make that very clear. In fact, I enjoy being busy all the time, and stretched beyond what I thought my capacity was. I enjoy it because I know that it actually IS beyond my capabilities, so I have to be completely and utterly reliant of God's strength, power, and wisdom. On that list I could have added my prayer and devotion time while I'm at work (which is separate from my personal time) over all of the activities that I do.
"Well, that seems like it'd take up a lot more time..." you might say. I'm telling you, if I didn't take/make the time to cover everything with prayer and give it all to the Lord...it wouldn't really be His work then would it? Now, I realize that I'm not perfect, and I don't always take/make the time to do this, and that God will still bless the efforts made for Him even if He's not consulted first, but it's soooooooooo much easier to allow Him to work! When I leave God out I usually freak out, and never have enough time, and it seems like more and more stuff keeps piling up......and then it hits me: Have you prayed yet today? Have you sought God's will in this? DUH Jim! Figure it out dummy! It's kind of like tithing (giving some of what God gives you back to God). If you don't give back to the Lord, it seems like you're always short on money for bills, or food, or for whatever you want to spend money on. But if you're giving even 10% of your gross pay back to God, it seems like things are tight but it always works out that there's enough money to go around. Sometimes there's even more that if you'd kept it all for yourself. So wait Jim. You're saying that if I keep all of the money I get paid from my paycheck then I won't have as much as I would giving 10% of my gross pay away? Seems illogical, I know, but try it. You'll see what I'm talking about!
God is a God a greatness, mercy, and grace. He takes care of His people, sometimes even where we're dumb and "forget" to consult Him in EVERYTHING that we do. That brings me to the point of this rambling. God is everything. God wants our all. Our all is this:
Deuteronomy 10:12 (ESV) "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD, your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul..."
The italicized word "all" in this passage translates in Hebrew כּוֹל, and means "the whole" or "all". This meaning is pretty straightforward if you ask me! I know I've already hit on this, but it's so vitally important that we understand what this means! This doesn't mean start our day without God and then throw Him in where we can! This means that before we purchase anything, or deal with our work, or deal with our co-worker, or deal with our spouse, or deal with your family, or deal with your friends, or write a blog post...we MUST include God! And not only include Him, but make sure He's the reason and the source of all our actions!
I was recently on youtube going back and forth with an undiscerning atheist who said that his view of God is "Love me or die? That's rape (few choice words)!" I was greatly saddened by this comment because I know what He talking about. For so long "the church" has pushed right and wrong, do this don't do that, Hell, fire, and brimstone and now it's taking it's toll on those who only see God as a dictator who is standing in the clouds with a lightening bolt ready to strike people. And the saddest part about this is there are a lot of so called "Christians" out there who might agree with them! (such as the lunatics who protest at military funerals because there are gays in the military) So these lost people (atheists and otherwise) see these other lost people (the loons who hate) and think that this is what Christianity is. This is where the people who know who God really is come in. This group of people understand that God works for His glory and for the good of His people. God does this because He is a loving God, and He wants to enter into a relationship with us. Better said, He wants us to enter into a relationship with Him! This does not make us, in any way, equal with God, but it makes us become nothing so that we can become thankful servants of the Most High God and praise His Name forever! Even Christ, who was fully God and fully man, humbled himself and made himself nothing. He was obedient to the Father, even to the point of death. This is the example Christ gave...I choose to follow that example! I will end with two passages:
"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
--This one I will let you read, but pay attention to how Jesus humbles himself. The passage is John 13:1-20. Jesus washes the disciples' feet. The reason this is important is because they did not need their entire body washed, as it was customary that before a big meal people would wash from head to toe before going to the feast. But on there way to the feast they would have to walk and their feet and lower legs would get dirty and dusty. Usually their was someone, a servant, a no-namer, who would be charged with washing the feet of those who entered for the meal, but Jesus took this task upon himself. In doing so, he identified the job that he was doing as the same job as someone who was "nothing" in that day. Think about it...