Show Me What I’m Looking For

Carolina Liar is a newer band with a southern-rock feel to their music.  Based off what I’ve heard from them so far, I like them.  I downloaded their song “Show me what I’m looking for” a few weeks back off of iTunes and it came on my ipod yesterday while it was on shuffle.  The lyrics really struck me more than they have all the other times I’d listened to the song.  Here’s the video/song:

In the video, you see the singer in different places representing what some people “are looking for” (sex, money, friends, fun) all the while singing:

Save me, I’m lost
Oh lord, I’ve been waiting for you
I’ll pay any cost
Save me from being confused
Show me what I’m looking for
Show me what I’m looking for… oh Lord

What are you counting on for peace and meaning in life?  There are three questions we all ask ourselves, and how we answer them will determine how we spend our lives:

  1. Who am I? (Identity)
  2. Why am I here? (Purpose)
  3. Where do I belong? (Belonging)

This song reminds me of those questions and challenges me to constantly be reminding myself to cling to the knowledge that God made me in his image to serve and love him and to show his amazing love to others so that they would know His love too.

Where are you seeking answers to these big questions?

Jesus says: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Makes You Think…

This post on the Boundless Website (an affiliate of Focus on the Family) mentions how a conference center and church were both struck by a tornado while the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) held their annual meeting and passed some resolutions in favor for clergy in monogamous homosexual relationships.  The hosting cross atop the ELCA church next door to the conference center was ripped off by the tornado and the conference center itself was also damaged, but no one was injured.

Now I’m not the type to say “IT WAS GOD!!!” and to immediately jump to that conclusion… but it does make you wonder, doesn’t it?  You could say, “Well, that area get lots of tornados!  You’re just superstitious to say it was God.  Why do Christians always seem to make homosexuality the ‘poster-child’ for sin?”  You can say that if you don’t believe in God and I won’t argue with you.  But if you do believe in God, and if you believe that God is actively in control of our world (including the weather), then this story should make you stop and think.

Let me go on record saying that I don’t think that homosexuality is the worst sin of all sins… but it is sinful and is a perversion of what God created to be beautiful between a husband and wife.  I’m happily married to my wife.  But when I read about this tornado, my reflex wasn’t to say, “I’m not gay, so I’m safe. Whew!”  My reflex was this, “God takes sin seriously, especially when the Church formally permits it.  Is there sin in my life that I permit and excuse?  As a pastor, am I permitting anything God has specifically commanded us not to do?”

What about you?  Is there sin in your life that you’ve “come to terms” with?  Are you actively at war against the sin in your own life, or have you declared a cease-fire with sin?

“Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.”  (John Owen)

In God we Trust?

It’s a phrase we’re all familiar with, but I wonder how much we really think about why that’s printed on our money.  What are you really trusting in for meaning and purpose in life, money or God or someone/something else?

Reading “In God We Trust” on our money should be a reminder that the foundation of our lives better be built on something more lasting than the money you hold in your hand (or have in your bank account).

Psalm 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

When that was written, chariots and horses were symbolic of your country’s strength and power.  But King David didn’t ultimately place his trust in his army, but in his God.  Remember this is the same man who took down Goliath with a rock… he has first-hand experience trusting God’s strength over man’s strength.

NBC is taking a poll online to see whether or not people want “In God We Trust” taken off our newly-minted money.  You can vote here if you’re interested.

We should vote and make our voices heard… but if you really want to make a difference, then don’t count on an online poll… change your heart!  Ask yourself the hard questions, like, “Do I really trust in God to provide for me, or am I living a self-reliant life?”

How Teens use Media

Here’s another great article from YMToday.com.  This one’s on “Adolescent Media Issues: How Teens Use Media.”  Parents, this could be a really informative article for you to learn a little more about the role of media and technology in your teenager’s world.

Click here to read the article by Jim Liebelt.

10 Things You Should Do When Your Teen’s in Trouble

Here’s a GREAT article for parents from Jim Burns on YMToday.com on helping your teen when he/she’s in trouble.

Youth Ministry Today – YMToday.com – 10 Things You Should Do When Your Teen’s in Trouble

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A New Challenge and Opportunity

Today I got word from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary that I have been accepted to enroll as a student in their Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program under the “Ministry to Emerging Generations” track.  Click here to go to the GCTS website describing the program more fully.

I’m really excited about this opportunity to continue my education in a way that is very practical and useful.  I’ve heard the D.Min. compared to a M.D. (Medical Doctor).  The doctor you visit for a physical checkup isn’t the person who discovered how germs work and how to protect the body from harm.  Rather, he or she is someone who has studied what has already been discovered and has been trained to use that knowledge to your benefit.  Likewise, a pastor with a D.Min. does not seek to “discover” new biblical/theological insights, but, rather, he seeks to study more deeply in order that his ministry might grow more effective in bringing the spiritual lost to love Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind.

That’s my hope.  I hope that through this program I might grow more effective and confident in my ministry to teenagers and that I would see them walking more closely with Jesus Christ.

Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray for my family as I some family-time will be sacrificed for these studies.
  2. Pray for self-discipline since the overwhelming majority of this program is self-study (I’m only required to be on campus for one two-week period each year… the rest is all done at home).
  3. Pray for me to go the extra mile and to really incorporate what I’m learning into the youth ministry God has called me to lead at Emmanuel.
  4. Pray for God to continue to provide financially for me and my family as I pursue this doctorate.

Want to make God laugh?

I just got off the phone with my mom who relayed a conversation she had with someone who said, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans.”  I like that.

Reminds me of Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

So often we make our own plans and it’s like we’ve gotten our whole lives all mapped out for us.  But then BOOM, something happens.  What do you do then?

It’s a good reminder that “We walk by faith, not by sight.”  We shouldn’t walk around foolishly without any direction or plans or goals, but we need to be asking, “Whose goals am I living for.”

Mine! Mine! Mine!

Hands down, this scene is one of my favorite parts of the Finding Nemo.

I’m totally convinced that’s really what seagulls say!  But I think that’s what we say a lot of times too.

How often do we live throughout the day and internally we’re thinking, “Mine, Mine, Mine.”  It’s so easy to live like everything’s all about me!  Being humble and selfless is so contrary to our sinful nature, that’s why true humility is so difficult to find in others (and even more difficult to find in ourselves)!

James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

Do you exalt yourself before others, or do you humble yourself before God?