Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday's Thoughts

- "I have heard all about you, LORD. I am filled with awe by Your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as You did in years gone by. And in Your anger, remember Your mercy." Habakkuk 3:2 NLT. It was really good to have Jim back Sunday for the first time in 8 weeks. We started a new series called "Crazy Stuff" ... as you could probably tell by the picture above ... and it's just going to be a time when we look at what God has done and believe that He will do even greater things! Habakkuk 3:2 is the central verse and WOW what a verse! I love how the NLT puts it ... "In this time of our deep need..." I don't just want to read about what God has done. If God is only a God of the past, I'd be real disappointed. God is a God of the NOW also and wants to help us NOW and do great things in our lives NOW! I've been challenged to deepen my prayer life and trust to see God to some big things. Looking forward to the next few weeks of messages.

- The art work above was drawn by someone in our church. Very cool to see the different gifts of the church body being used.

- I've decided to forgo my marathon training for this year. This was a very difficult decision, but one my body ended up making for me. With the IT Band problems I was having, I ended up missing about 3 weeks of training ... and you just can't do that when you're training for a marathon. I felt good about the effort I gave. I didn't just quit when I started having the pain in my knee. I tried to work through it. I did what I could to take care of it ... went to the doctor, went through physical therapy, even got a cortizone injection ... so I feel like I worked hard, gave my best effort, and was totally there mentally and really looking forward to the challenge. But, this time, my body didn't cooperate with me. So, I'm not looking at it as a failure or as quitting ... I'm looking at it as an opportunity to harden my resolve to do this and try again next year. I'm also going to try to use this time to work on my flexibility, so when I do start training, I hopefully won't have this same problem.

- Carol and the kids are in CT this week visiting family. Her sister really wanted to spend some time with her and so graciously bought her a plane ticket to fly out. So, I'm "baching" it this week and have, once again, come to the realization that I do not like "baching" it. Honestly, it's nice for a day or two ... get a break, catch up on some movies, chill a bit ... but after that I start to miss them like crazy and can't wait to see them again. Saturday can't get here fast enough.

- Came to a heart breaking realization last week. I was going through the 2008 Goshen and Fairfield yearbooks and took a look at the senior class for those schools. I counted 28 kids that were involved in axis throughout the years. Some were more involved than others. Some came regularly. Some showed up occassionally. Some stopped coming altogether. But, 28 kids that were in some way involved in axis. As I looked at those kids, I realized that I only know of 2 that are currently involved in a church. To my knowledge, 26 of the 28 are not involved in church any longer. I was heartbroken! I felt like we, as a youth ministry, let that graduating class down. I've been at Grace for 7 years and many of the graduating seniors that have come through axis are still very involved in church and are growing in their faith, but for some reason, this group of seniors isn't. We had things in place to help them grow. We provided opportunities for them to take advantage of that would help them grow. But, for whatever reason what we tried to do didn't seem to work with most of them. This has got me thinking about serveral things:
1. I am responsible for providing opportunities and an environment that will help kids grow in a relationship with God.
2. No matter what I do, the individual is ultimately responsible for their growth. I cannot make someone follow God.
3. I need to look at what we do as a youth ministry and see if we are providing enough tools and opportunities to help students grow in their relationship with God.
4. As I look at these 28 kids, most of them were always a part of the "fringe" group at axis ... not really taking things too seriously. How can we, as a youth ministry, reach these kids and move them in to a deeper relationship with God?

Anyway, just some random thoughts that I had been thinking about quite a bit since I went through the yearbooks.

- My mom and dad both celebrated their birthdays this past week. The week of my mom's birthday she sends US a check to get Ezra and Mercy some shoes. I think that's a little backwards on how gifts are to be passed out for birthdays, but a very clear picture of my mom ... always thinking of others.

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