An Army of Youth

Madison Avenue has it figured out. The teenagers of our day have the most discretionary time and money. They know if they can capture the minds of kids they will likely have them for life!

One Christian writer in the 19th century has said that the work of God will be finished by an army of youth. Yet the church often waits until people are well into their 50s before they could get involved. I used to chastise a church I pastored because I was the only one on the board under 50 (I was in my late 20s). However I was only on the board because they had to let me….

I am currently attending a conference called GYC. It is their intent to raise up this army of youth. I’m impressed that this is their goal. I know some who don’t like all their theological stances, but I am willing to grant them grace. The spirit of God works in unity in diversity. It’s likely time get over the theological debates and start again to raise up a revolutionary army.

The way to start is by captivating those with the most discretionary time and energy – the youth…and we’ll likely have them doing it for life!

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What really is the answer?

As I sit here, five days after the shooting in Newton, CT, and longer after the one in Clackamas (which is close to home), I am watching all kinds of people post on Facebook about gun control, gun safety, and why we should and why we shouldn’t control guns. I get a little tired of the FB discussions actually, and the extremity of it all.

However, this post isn’t about gun control. I don’t think controlling guns is the answer anymore than I believe any politician has the answer. The answer we are looking for isn’t in a new political scheme, new laws, new taxes or less taxes. The scariest moment coming isn’t the fiscal cliff.

Jesus christ of revelationNo the scariest moment coming if when Jesus comes back with the only true answer. Scary? Yeah, I’m scared for a number of people I know and love, who don’t know and love Jesus. Yet, he is still the only answer. I’m praying my people will see that. I’m praying your people will see it. I’m praying America will see it. I’m a schizophrenic pray-er. I’m praying Jesus comes soon, but praying he waits until people are ready. I can’t decide if I want him to come now or wait. I don’t know that answer, but I know the one who does….

John 3:16-21 NIV84 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Will you…? I do…

A friend of mine recently got engaged, by creating a movie trailer that his (soon to be) finance’ was watching. It set up a scene where he runs into the theater and runs up to her and proposes. It was an old Letterman trick to mix the movie with real life. She said yes, and it was all good. Ahhhhh!Family Picture 2011

But it made me stop and think about when I asked my wonderful wife to marry me. I was in Seattle, she in Michigan. I got her dad’s permission via telephone and then they agreed to pick me up at the airport the next weekend. On the plane I wrote up a series of cards with clues to the next card – which would eventually lead to where I was waiting. The first card was the last one placed – it was on her steering wheel (she never locked her car and still doesn’t). Interestingly enough, I timed it wrong and she saw me. It was hard to miss, I had borrowed her dad’s orange pickup. She read the card, and drove home demanding to know where I was.

Her parents played dumb until she saw my luggage, then the had to answer truthfully, they didn’t know where I was. So, my wonderful wife, instead of retracing and starting on the clues, drove around until she found her dad’s orange truck on the campus of Andrews University. She climbed out and I saw her coming. It had taken long enough, I thought she had followed my clues.

You see, I as inside the Pioneer Memorial Church waiting for her. I had to kick out the person (kindly) who wanted to practice the organ. So, I proposed to her in the church – I figured since we would be spending so much of our lives in church, I thought it would be good to start it there.

Every love story has some fun and unique twists. I cannot imagine how life would be without my one true love! (It’ll be 25 years in February!)

Got Prayer? Ask God for the Nations

Psalm 2:8 ESV says, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”

Family - wife missingHow much time do we really spend praying for the people we want to reach? Do we pray for our neighbors? Do we pray for the store clerk we see every week? Do we pray for the people at the gas station? How about our extended family? What about our co-workers?

Two quotes from a Christian Classic: Steps to Christ

“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.” (pg. 93)

“Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured [BEGIN P.95] the boundless resources of Omnipotence?” (pg. 94-95)

So? Who’s missing from your life? Got prayer?

Ordained….and Called.

Tomorrow morning (2012-12-08), I head to my church for a bit, then will leave early in order to get over to the other side of the river for a friend’s ordination to the Gospel Ministry. This is a conferring upon someone the acknowledgement of his church that God really has called him. It’s a serious and fun time. I well remember when I was ordained.

But my calling to the ministry didn’t happen in 1992 when my son was about a year old. It happened in 1974 the day I was baptized. I was so sure up to that time that I was going to play baseball as my career. But the day I was baptized, all that changed and I felt God’s calling on my life as a young boy.

In 1982, I was wrestling with God about that calling, wondering if it was school boy nonsense, or if I really was called. I was about to head to Africa for a year to work in a school. About a month before I left, I read this passage:

Screen Shot 2012-12-07 at 9.28.56 PM2 Peter 1:10-11 NIV84 – “10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Over the course of that year in Africa, I made my calling sure and I have seen God’s blessing on my life in many, many ways. I await that rich welcome – not just any welcome – to the kingdom.

I also wrote this passage in my friend’s card that I will give him tomorrow. God’s got a calling on many people….some are called to the ministry, others are called to be teachers, engineers, home-school moms, artists, or even ditch diggers. Yet, all are called to fulfill the Gospel Commission wherever they are planted, and all who follow that call will receive that rich welcome as well.

Don’t Try [It], You’re Just Going to Hate it

thegame_1_resize_240_240I didn’t remember the words to the whole song, but I remembered these words that Queen sang in 1980. “Don’t try suicide, you’re just gonna to hate it.” That year I was also confronted with a classmates comments in a Pastoral Counseling class when he said, “We all know that we’ve all contemplated suicide….” I fail to remember anything else he said, because I had never considered it – before or since….

Yesterday, I got word that a pastoral colleague, friend of mine, died at 51. Word on the street is that it was suicide. It just really tears me up inside, because whatever he was facing, it was overcomable. 1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV “13No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

This man came to Colorado and did two simultaneous evangelistic meetings for me over a 4 week period in two towns. This was back in 2005 and we had one of the largest baptisms we ever had. He brought 100s, maybe 1000s to Christ.

I’m saddened that the devil won this battle, but am willing to leave my friend in God’s hands because I don’t believe that suicide is the unforgivable sin…. Certainly God knows where a person’s depression has led them to this. 1 Corinthians 10:12 ESV “12Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”

I long for Jesus to come. RIP my friend….