The summer of 2007 will go down in history, at least for me. Not only was it the summer that Barry Bonds made the headlines with a baseball bat, but it was also the summer of “more bad news.” Let me explain.
My life seemed fairly simple as a kid. Then I started middle school.
Everything changed: my body, my desires, my thoughts, and my attention. I had always thought girls were gross. Then all of a sudden, they were all I could think about. And I wasn’t alone. My guy friends were going through a similar metamorphosis—so were all the girls we secretly dreamed about. This led to a new form of entertainment: relationships.
If Jesus really is our Master, Boss, Lord, King, God, and Teacher, then shouldn't we learn everything we possibly can by observing His life? The answer is, of course, yes. But we often stop short in our observation. Or maybe it is the application of what we observe that we struggle with. Here is what I mean...
A good attitude is hard to find when I'm exhausted, frustrated, or things aren’t going my way. I wasn’t naturally hard-wired with a lot of patience or perserverance. I’ve had to learn them.
I’m sure we’d all love to sail smoothly through life, all the time, and in every circumstance. But you and I both know that’s not going to happen. We'll encounter rough waters. We’ll encounter impossible, unavoidable and uncontrollable situations. We can either whine, gripe and become victims, or learn to suffer well.
Because I speak to so many people, lots of them ask me questions about things I preach about. While I hear some odd and interesting questions at times, the majority of the questions people ask me are variations of the same sort of things.
I always answer these questions patiently, honestly and biblically, but I must confess I sometimes grow weary of hearing people ask me for permission to sin, because at the root of these questions is often a desire to flirt with wickedness, not glorify God. I am not a legalist (far from it), but I must notice the motivation in my own heart when I begin looking for ways to justify behavior that may be wrong, sinful, unwise, or harmful to my testimony or the name of Christ.
On one of my many trips to India, I saw a horrible sight that I still remember. It was the remains of a head-on collision between two trains. The wreckage had simply been moved to the side of the tracks to rust in the hot Indian sun. As our train passed the carnage, I wondered how many people had lost their lives in the crash.
That train wreck could have been avoided. Someone somewhere made a mistake that left a trail of dead bodies. The same thing is true for our own lives. Some of us are headed for destruction and we don't even know it. The key is to examine the habits, routines, and patterns that characterize our lives and ask ourselves where we will end up if we stay on the same track. Read more for 10 tell-tale signs you are headed for a train wreck.
I believe that student ministers today are much under-appreciated within the church as a whole. Many student ministers get merely coined as the “Youth Guy” and are seen as just someone who comes up with games and takes teens to Six Flags. The truth, however, is that youth ministry for most involves so much more that goes unnoticed. Student ministers today face a great deal of pressure to be relevant within a culture where kids have no biblical worldview whatsoever and families are broken. This often leaves youth pastors feeling beaten down, discouraged, and defeated. I have composed five lies that the enemy wants all youth pastors to believe.
Ever been to summer camp? Experienced waking up to worship? Opened your eyes to be surrounded by hundreds of people who know Jesus?
It’s the most wonderful thing. Encouragement and accountability overwhelm you in the best way.
Unfortunately, camp doesn't last forever and school comes back around. Our friend Craig, a 17-year-old junior from Ebenezer Baptist Church in North Carolina shared some of his challenges about the semester after camp and some practical ways he overcame temptation.
Ministry can be a lonely endeavor, if you let it. There are few careers that tend to isolate you like the one I am called to. To be sure, you can become a Lone Ranger in any line of work if you choose to, but by nature, ministry seems to push us away from the very people we are called to love and serve. The more we give and pour ourselves out, the greater the tendency to pull away from deep, personal friendships and ultimately, a deep abiding relationship with Christ Himself. Read more for five reasons ministers quit.
You get to choose your perspective on the life you've been given. While it's easier on the front end to complain about all the things that haven't gone right in your life so far, the long-term consequences of negativity are enormous. Studies consistently show that negative people who complain not only see the world through the worst possible lens, they are also unhappier, unhealthier, and more lonely than people who choose to be positive.
Learn six ways to approach the holidays with a good attitude.