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Posts Tagged ‘ministry’

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes

James 4:13-14

Life is short. Yet we don’t live like it is. We act like it’s all about us – that everything revolves around us. We go to funerals and we say things like – “he/she had a good life”. But do we really mean that? Can we really say that person lived their life fully for the Kingdom? We make life all about our goals and accomplishments. We treat relationships as they are disposable and don’t mend them. We spend our time making a name for ourselves and gathering attention to us. I like how the book describes how we make mini-kingdoms for ourselves. But do we think about how we can vanish from this world at any time? Years after your life is over, no one will probably care.

You know, I used to have a huge struggle with what people think about me. It’s still a struggle here and there, but God has really worked in this area of my life. I would please people, defend myself, brag about my accomplishments – anything to make myself look good to people. It makes me sick that this was how I spent most of ministry life. I’m not saying I didn’t do anything for God, but a lot of it was for my glory as well. God and I were this tag team. I no longer desire a life like this – I want to live a life worthy of God’s glory. I want an epic life that reflects God’s character and how amazing He is.

Last year I took a long look at my retirement savings and decided that I wasn’t putting enough into it to live off of when I retire. I decided to restructure my budget to put more money into it. Now I feel I’m in a better place for retirement if I stay on course and make it to my late 60’s. I laugh at this statement – If I make it to my 60’s. That’s just it – there’s no guarantee that I will make it to my 60’s. I could die today. And can I say that I lived my life fully for the Kingdom? These are the questions I want to continue to ask myself as I move forward in life.

It is better to go to a house of mourning
    than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
    the living should take this to heart.

Ecclesiastes 7:2

This part of the book really convicted me. It made me look at how busy I can make my life.

WORRY implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take of what’s happening in our lives. 

STRESS says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we’ve been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won’t be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God’s strength, our problems are small, indeed.

Why are we so quick to forget God? Who do we think we are?

Philippians 4:4 says to Rejoice in the Lord always. We are to obey God and follow His ways. He doesn’t expect us to change the world or try as hard as we can. We need to trust that He is in control and depend on Him.

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Change

“All things work together for the good of those who love Christ.”  Romans 8:28

A weird night for me. But one of those nights that I needed. God revealed a lot to me tonight. It put a lot of my own self doubt to rest for now. It involves one thing that I time struggle with time to time. That is change.

I guess I can get a little comfortable with life. I’m a native of Arizona and I’m still here. Same job for 8 years. I’ve been at the same church for 10+ years. I do get bored with life sometimes. But life has forced changes on me and I’ve had to learn to adapt. My parents divorce, my divorce, health choices, etc.

As I look back at my life, I have had so many people in and out of my life. It’s crazy how many people I have known in my life. It’s crazy how many people I have had close relationships and intimate moments with people who are no longer in my life. Its been tough letting people go. And I’m so relational that its hard for me to let people go without closure.

But my real focus here is changes that I have seen in ministry. In my time at Cornerstone, I have seen so many come and go in that church. But most importantly I have seen God change so many lives there. I have seen new believers after a few years make that leap of faith and commit to full-time ministry. It’s awesome to see.

But as excited I am for them, it’s hard to lose those brothers and sisters in Christ. Having these people around has been so instrumental in my own personal growth. Yet I’m learning that all that matters is that we are all serving Christ, no matter where we are. God has a plan and he will bring in others to fill those gaps.

Since surrendering my life to Christ a couple of years ago, I really dived into ministry. And until this month, I have mostly been involved with pretty much the same ministries. After much prayer, I decided a little while back to change things up on my own. Starting in June, my life in ministry will look a little different. I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve spent the past few months just taking care of some of my own personal life. But now that is mostly behind me, I’m ready to dive back into what God has planned for me.

I just want to make sure this time around that I make time for family and friends. Somewhere in the past months I quit doing that. But I’m really learning that I need those good people in my life. I don’t where I would be without them. I want to make sure the boys are a priority as well again. I really regret losing focus on them recently. I guess its easy to get caught up with things.

Between Cornerstone and Praxis, I have some amazing opportunities ahead of me to grow in my faith. I have also came up with a schedule that will give me my time with my kids and still be able to serve and learn ministry. My only question mark is Bible college and where to fit that in if I get accepted. But I’m sure God will make that clear to me as long as I stay in prayer about it. I’m really looking forward to the summer months to relax, but at the same time take on some new challenges in my life.

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My Pastor has always told me that I do ‘messy’ ministry. Basically he is referring to the fact that even though I don’t have a seminary education, I have a heart to serve and I love to minister to others from my heart. The fact that even though I’m not sent by the church to reach others, I do it regardless because I know God has called me to do this. I would love a seminary background someday, but that is not going to stop me from sharing what God has done in my life.

I was hesitant to write this blog because I’m about to reveal a ministry that I’m involved with that I really don’t discuss. It’s something I do because I have a heart for this age group of people and i like to keep it to myself. This involves campus ministries.

A couple of years ago I received a call out of the blue from a guy named Aaron. I don’t how he got my number, but he mentioned someone told him about me and my heart to serve. He wanted to meet me. So I met him at Chipotle and we talked. He was starting a ministry called Athletes in Action. He was a former football player at U of A and was looking to minister to the athletes at ASU. He wanted my help. At the time I was still going through the tough part of my divorce and really felt I didn’t have much to offer. So we parted and I told him I would pray for his ministry.

I attend Camber at Cornerstone. It’s a young adult program that services a lot of students. One of the things I like about going is that I can meet students and share my life with them. I feel the late teens/early 20’s age group is such a huge age for decision-making. The decisions made at that age will affect the rest of your life. Believe me I know, I still feel the effects of some of my poor decisions I made back in those days. I love meeting some of the people at Camber for coffee on the side and telling them my life story.

I was at a ASU football game last year and walked by the student section. I once had season tickets there. I know what goes on there. Believe me, I snuck in my fair share of alcohol. I was observing the behavior of the students. Hundreds upon hundreds of drunk students acting inappropriately. I asked myself the question .. ‘God, how do we reach these people?’ This started making me want to expand more out my own church and into the college campuses.

I love the Passion movement. It’s a movement that reaches college students and teaches them to think globally. It’s a huge movement that has done some amazing things. It has always been an inspiration to me.

I started to plug into worship groups on the various campuses. But I felt I could do more. Then I ran into Aaron at church one day. I hadn’t seen him in some time. I asked him about his ministry and told him about my passion for students. He invited me to attend a leadership meeting that brings leaders from almost every college ministry on campus. Anywhere from Young Life to Campus Crusade to international students were there. I represented Cornerstone with Pastor Ron’s approval. I was able to connect with several ministries there. I was able to be a voice in those meetings and be a part of what God is doing at ASU. My meeting with Aaron two years ago was no accident.

I was also attending Chandler-Gilbert community college last year. I had always wondered if there was a faith-based group that met on that campus. It is a small campus and different from a big university. On my last day of class, I saw a flier on the wall that said ‘Christians meet every Wednesday night!’ So I contacted Christians in Action and attended one of their worship nights recently. It was led by a couple really cool young guys that attended the college. They were doing amazing things there. I met with about 25 amazing students that were doing awesome stuff for the Kingdom on that campus. I was able to stay late that night and talk individually with many of the people there and share my own faith with them. It was so encouraging to listen to the hearts of most of these young 18- 22 year olds. I encouraged them to keep doing what they were doing.

I at times attend Praxis church. Many of the congregation there are ASU students. I really enjoy Pastor Justin’s speaking and have gotten to know him recently. I have just started to meet with his staff on the side. Not sure what God is stirring up with that, but I am listening to him.

Today I was at my campus meeting. I stay late to talk with Ben Sanders.. the guys who leads the meetings. I was able to share my story with him. He called me a connector. He mentioned I’m someone who is not afraid to go in groups outside my own church and share the good news about Jesus. He told me he needed more people to connect many of these ministries together and promote unity in the body of Christ. Because I had already plugged in with so many of the college ministries, I offered to help in the best way I could. He gave me a great book called ‘The Externally Focused Church’. Basically a book about helping your own church confront and cooperate with the surrounding community agencies. It’s a book for people open to building new relationships. I am very excited to read it.

I love outreach. God gave me an amazing gift to connect with others. I feel so blessed he can use me in this way. It makes me understand why I went through so many painful trials early in my life. God is good.

So how can we reach those students? One at a time. And only God can make that possible.

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