Monday, April 30, 2012

Quote(s) of the Week--On Adoption

Below are some great quotes from the book "Kisses from Katie." This book is about an 18 year old teenager moving to Uganda to care for orphans. In the process she has started an amazing ministry called Amazima which feeds and sends hundreds of children to school. On top of that, she has adopted thirteen children! This is a great book and an incredible story about following Jesus and loving orphans. Our Student/Adult Leadership team is now reading it as a small group. Below are some quotes from Katie.

"Adoption is a beautiful picture of redemption. It is the gospel in my living room. And sometimes, it's just hard."

"The first word that appears when I look up adoption in the dictionary is acceptance. God accepts me, adores me, just as I am. And he wants me to accept those without families into my own."

* For more info on Katie's story check out her ministry website and blog.


Kisses from Katie Blog

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

General Conference APP

For all you United Methodist nerds out there, there is an iOS app that can keep you updated about everything going on at General Conference. Search for "The Official Mobile APP of the United Methodist Church General Conference 2012." Yes, that is crazy long, but it should come up.

Here is a link for why General Conference is so important:

What is General Conference?


Quote of the Week

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

-Robert Kennedy

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Quote of the Week

"The kingdom of God is within you." -Jesus, in Luke 17:21

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cool Ideas For Parents and Families

Here are some ideas that Kelli and I are doing and will do in the future. Does your family have any good traditions that have helped your family?

1. Go on special dates with your children.
2. Go on mission trips together.
3. Be very intentional with the Christian holidays (keep Christ at the center).
4. Remember our baptisms by having a family dinner and a gift.
5. Read to/with them.
6. Pray with/for them. Let them hear us praying for them.
7. Really listen to them (don't rush to fix their problem).
8. Ask them for forgiveness when we mess up.
9. Have fun with them and laugh a lot! (camping, food fights, hide and seek, movie nights)
10. Give away clothes and toys periodically. Find ways to reward and teach compassion.

* Give ourselves grace when we fail. Parenting isn't easy and neither is marriage. But God is good and love is sweet!

Easter 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quote of the Week

Every week I'll post a quote from something I've read or heard. Some will be deep...some funny. The first one comes from E.M. Bounds:

The present day Church has vast machinery. Its activities are great, and its material prosperity is unparalleled. The name of Christianity is widespread and well-known. Much money comes into the Lord's treasury and is paid out. But here are the questions:

Does the work of holiness keep pace with all this?
Is the burden of the prayers of church people to be made holy?
Are our preachers really holy men and women?

E.M. Bounds was a pastor during the Civil War years.
This quote comes from his book: "The Classic Collection on Prayer."

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Cross and the Next Generation

I believe we live in a culture of fear. The media wants us to live in fear because it creates viewers. Politicians want us to live in fear because it creates votes. "The other guy will ruin the country, so you must vote for me and hate them." It is hard to live well and make good decisions when operating out of fear.

I believe fear is what drives much of the church. We fear losing relevance...we fear declining numbers...we fear failure. Again, it difficult to live well and make decisions when operating out of fear. It's even more difficult to follow Christ.

Following a Savior who went to the cross will not happen if we are consumed by fear. Perhaps this is why we turn Christianity into something easier or simpler like: just being positive, prosperity gospel, four-line prayers, one hour on Sunday, being conservative (or liberal) e.t.c...

We mold and shape Christianity into what we want because following the way of the cross is difficult. In fact, to the world the cross is folly. It doesn't make sense in a culture obsessed with the gods of success, efficiency, and image. I wonder sometimes if the church has fallen victim to those same gods...including me.

I'm hoping the next generation will not fall victim to these idols. I hope as a youth pastor I am teaching them and showing them something different. Although I know a fail often.

I pray for a generation that embraces the cross as a way of life. Who follows Jesus even when it doesn't make sense. Who seeks his calling even when it doesn't seem smart or efficient. I pray for a generation who is selfless, compassionate, forgiving, non-violent, and worship-full. I pray that they pursue these things not because they "work" but because this is how Jesus lived. And following him is more important than anything else.

Our youth praying at the cross during Holy Week

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Love One Another

Tonight Christians celebrate Maundy Thursday. This phrase comes from the Latin language and is a reference to the new commandment Jesus gave his disciples. Jesus is sharing his final meal with the 12 men who have been following him for three years. He gives them his final sermon. In John chapter 13 he gives them these words:

“Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me but where I am going, you cannot come. So now I am giving you a new commandment: love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:34-35).

Jesus gave us a new commandment: love one another as he has loved extend the same grace and kindness he has given to us. And by our love, we show the world we are different. We show the world we are followers of Christ.

On the same night Jesus gave this commandment, he also instituted the Lord’s Supper. Jesus told his disciples to eat the bread and drink the cup as a way of remembering him. We come to communion remembering who Christ is and what he has done for us. In addition, Christ meets us at the altar and fills us with his love. John Wesley called communion a means of grace. Meaning that the Lord’s Supper is not just something we do; it is also an act where God works in us! It is a moment where we encounter God’s unmerited grace and blessing. His grace transforms us into new creations…into a new people who carry out the new commandment.

I love our Communion liturgy where we ask God to make the gifts of bread and wine into the body of Christ so that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood. In communion we are reminded that we are the body of Christ.