Archives For Incarnation

Great day I experienced with classes, super-sessions and keynote messages from some of the finest people in Christianity. I typed 10 pages of notes yesterday so I cannot include everything here but I want to give you some highlights that stood out to me.

Tuesday Morning, Mike Cope “Spiritual Intubation: How Community Keeps Us Alive” The Wizard of Oz: Revelation’s View of Community

  • “No church ever existed in a pure state. The church is made up of sinners. The fleas come with the dogs.” (Eugene Peterson)
  • Four characters who are known by their deficiencies. Much like Christians today.
  • Showing of who Oz really is. “The great Oz has spoken, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
  • Pergamum
    • It’s a great distance from Colorado Springs to Pergamum.
    • In Pergamum it was very, very different.
    • Everywhere people went they told two stories: the power of Rome and Greek gods and goddesses. Everywhere they went they are told that they are caught up in and how could they not believe it. It “has to be true.”  Every market, athletic event, silver item told them about temple worship.
    • Where is the Pergamum church of Christ?
      • A tiny…insignificant few.
      • Imagine holding on to the story of Jesus while walking among the temples and other places where the minority is huge.
      • Have you been the minority?
      • Power, honor, identity was wrapped up into gods and Rome not Christ.
    • Persecuted Christians get it
    • “Though St. John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw he saw no creatures so wild as one of his own commentators.” G. K. Chesteron
  • Deep Community is anchored in Jesus
  • Deep community has to be eschatological in nature.
  • Deep community is at its best when it is part of a mission…a larger story.

Tuesday Morning Keynote Kurt Johnston @kurtjohnston “Deep, Redefined”

  • Have you ever stopped and thought about all the things in youth ministry that you don’t do very well? We are great at trying to control the perceptions of other people. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great at creating perception of us.
  • Four truths I have learned that have 1) pointed out my shallowness and 2) led him into a deeper experience in faith.
    • Life is a squiggle
    • I need a travel partner
    • Busyness will keep you in the shallow end.
    • When you begin to have a long view of youth ministry

Tuesday Super Session Frank Viola @FrankViola “The Missing Ingredient”

Observations about ministry to young people:

  • Catch30 Crisis – Human beings go through developmental stages as they get old. When they are 30 they reassess every decision they made in their 20s and they either abandon what hey believed or abandon them. You don’t know where someone is spiritually until they are thirty. You could not serve in the house of God until you were 30. Jesus did not begin his ministry until he was 30. Young people need to be prepared for this.
  • There is a difference between youthful enthusiasm and spirituality. Most of the big Christian movements are built on youthful enthusiasm. The problem is that many operates on youthful enthusiasm and the well runs dry
  • You can’t pass on to those whom you minister to what you have not experienced yourself.
  • I have to prepare them for the forgotten beatitude. Blessed is he who is not offended by me.

Other Notes from class…

  • If you cut the bible in any place it will bleed Jesus Christ.
  • Moses and Christ
  • Creation and Christ
  • Isaac and Christ
  • Jacob and Christ
  • Conclusion  – #1 – Find Christ in the bible. #2 – Do business with the Lord

Tuesday Afternoon Class 1 Josh Graves @JoshGraves “The Bible Jesus Read: Genesis 1-2”

2 Timothy 3:14-17; John 5

  • We need a more mystical understanding of Scripture. But also how it calls us to new spaces.
  • “All Scripture” does not exist yet and he has in mind Torah.
  • Inspired…he does not infallible, inerrant. They never show up in the bible. Sometimes the most important work we do is not learning new things but relearning old things.
  • 2 Timothy is not about proving Scripture over science but it is about inviting people into God’s world in order to see the world differently and “to do something about it.”
  • These stories carry the freight in any given culture.

Genesis 1

  • God can’t help but to create. He is in control. The things God creates would not be believable if we have not seen them.
  • Everything else that has creativity or imagination that somehow it is all linked back to the God who started.
  • One of the ways Genesis invites us to go deeper and that we live in a good creation. Does not deny the dark side of life but he made everything and called it good.
  • Most people who tell the story of God begin with Genesis 3 and not Genesis 1.
  • We have to introduce paradox to our students. Life is full of joy and pain. Paradox is one of the greatest contribution to the Western world.

Tuesday Afternoon Class 2 Sally Gary @centerpeaceinc “Reaching out to Teens Who Identify as Gay and Lesbians”

Many who struggle with same sex attraction but still love the Lord.  Struggles do not divide us.

Starved for Intimacy. Facebook and its struggles for intimacy. Question is: How can we meet this need? This desire for community. There is a great need for this connection.

What teens learn from the world: Glee, Modern Family.

What teens learn from the church: Nasty messages about homosexuals from the church

What they need is looking for a safe place.

How to be a safe place?

Deal with our own fears.

  • Change our thinking
  • Change our language
  • Listen
  • Be consistent
  • Model the Love and Acceptance of Christ

Tuesday Night Keynote Frank Viola @FrankViola “God so loved the world vs. Love not the world.”

The world in the New Testament is used in two ways…

  1. Speaks of the material universe. Jesus of Nazareth is this world’s true Lord.
  2. A system or network or order of things designed to draw us away from God.

Historically Christians have taken two postures: 1) Retreated from the world’s system (Isolationism) 2) Enmeshed by the world and married to it.

The most miserable person is a Christian who is living in a way where deep inside them they are told to give something up and they can’t. When we are in community with other Christians the Holy Spirit is clearest.

The Holy Spirit will reveal to you what is of the world.

2 Kind of legalists: 1) Salvation by works 2) I am going to take what the Holy Spirit has shown me personally and make it a law to you.

“The gospel spreads best not through force but through fascination” (Shane Claiborne)

Dinner in Colorado Springs: Uchenna Ethiopian Restaurant

This was ranked #2 in Colorado Springs by TripAdvisor and it was awesome. I had Yebeg Alecha which was tender pieces of lamb marinated with butter then sautèed with ginger, garlic, and 12 spices. There were no forks but you had this roll that you put the meat and the sauce in. It was excellent. The owner’s name is Maya and they cooked everything to order so it took a while but the food was worth it. They have mostly organic food and a substantial vegetarian menu. I have never tried authentic Ethiopian cuisine but this was a must! Went a left the owner looked at me and said, “Go in peace.” I love her already.



I was watching Shrek 2 with my kids the other day and noticed something that sparked my attention. Shrek and his wife Fiona (both ogres) visit Fiona’s parents who are the King and Queen of the kingdom Far, Far Away (I feel like my maturity is dropping). Fiona’s parents never met Shrek and the encounter is fraught with disagreement because Shrek is an ogre and he can’t change that. Fiona and Shrek argue because Shrek feels as if Fiona is challenging who he is and who he can never be (a beautiful prince to please her “Mummy and Daddy”) and so Shrek leaves the castle. He meets Fairy Godmother and finds out she has a potion that could change his fate. The potion is called “Happily Ever After” and it is supposed to make their dreams come true. Shrek and Donkey both drink the potion and Shrek turns into a handsome person while Donkey turns into a white stallion. See video below…

The problem is that Shrek’s happily ever after is only skin-deep. He is still the same ogre and his looks are at best superficial. As it turns out, his happily ever after was right in front of his eyes the entire time. This leads me to the point…

Don’t drink the “happily Ever After” Potion…It sucks!

Seriously, how much time, money and resources have you wasted chasing dreams that in the end, do nothing but leave you brokenhearted and empty-handed? Think about every “new” thing that marketing gurus are trying to get you to buy and their gran pitch is that in some form or fashion this new “thing” will somehow make your life better. It will make your life easier. It will make your dreams come true. But you have to buy it. Insert sigh here.

Your happily ever after potion could be a relationship that you are in which has become toxic at best. Or it might even be the pursuit of a relationship which has captivated your passion and you think to yourself, “If I just have this relationship then my life will be happily ever after.” When those dreams don’t come true your life…

…to put it bluntly…


It’s not God’s fault either. You bought the potion Satan sold you and ignored the warnings God gave you and your crappy life just might be the direct result of your own folly. Why? Because anything less than glorifying God is idolatry.

In your possessions…

“Because life does not consist in the abundance of things” (Luke 12:15).

In relationships….

“Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?” (Isaiah 2:22).

Life is not about a “happily ever after” it is about a “glorifying God forever.” There is no potion for that. There is no quick fix for that. And if you put your life, your worth, your energy and your passion in things that hold a temporal value then life will suck.

So don’t drink the potion.

Drink, instead, from the water which gives life and life eternal (John 4).





This is straight from Wikipedia to define what I mean by those with “special needs”:

n the United States, special needs is a term used in clinical diagnostic and functional development to describe individuals who require assistance for disabilities that may be medical, mental, or psychological. For instance, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the International Classification of Diseases 9th edition both give guidelines for clinical diagnosis. People with Autism, Down syndrome, dyslexia, blindness, or cystic fibrosis, for example, may be considered to have special needs. (Source)

I was asked this morning by a friend this question that I never thought about: “Why does God give people disabilities?” That was a question I was not prepared for. I assured this person that sometimes disabilities come as the result of accidents but there are many disabilities that we are unsure where the cause comes from. It would be easy to dismiss the question by saying that however I offered her an explanation that does not solve everything but I think is significant.

In Isaiah 43:7 God shares that human beings were created for the purpose of glorifying God. Proverbs 16:4 reads, “The Lord has made everything for its purpose.” In his wonderful paraphrase Eugene Peterson words Romans 11:33-36 this way:

Is there anyone around who can explain God?
Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
Anyone who has done him such a huge favor
that God has to ask his advice?
Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him.
Always glory! Always praise!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Many other Scriptures talk about giving God glory because he is worthy of that glory. Glory simply means we shine the light on that which needs it. So I wonder if a disability or special need should not be viewed as a hindrance but as a gift. Peter writes for us:

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Pet. 4:10-11)

What if having a special need could be viewed as a gift to give God further glory that, like Paul, in our weakness we can show our strength? That does not mean having a child with special needs is easy to explain or easy to experience. Not at all. Yet, I am reminded just how present God is with those who have special needs. My wife watches a child during the day who has Down Syndrome and everyday I am reminded of the peace that surpasses all understanding through this child. I wish I cold live love with even a fraction of the endearment this child has for life. That child’s special need is not a hindrance to the gospel… it is the gospel.

I think the deepest, most intimate circle of heaven belongs to those with special needs. There will be no disabilities in heaven and all will be made perfect and right. Our broken world will not keep us enslaved anymore as we will have a new incorruptible body. So often those with special needs teach us more than we can ever teach them. Our churches should have special ministries that reach out to those who have these types of needs and we should equip ourselves to welcome these families into our fellowships. What is your church doing for those with special needs? Do you mind sharing ideas? Share them below…

I am always at a loss with how to address this issue in church. I just feel that God’s kingdom is filled with those who have special needs both with their presence but also their testimony to God. I struggle also because I have four completely healthy kids and I am completely healthy myself. I feel guilt for this. But that is not right. Instead I am reminded of how much God cares for all people.

Watch this short video as I am reminded how those with special needs still speak even when they are weak… Grab a Kleenex.

God, give us grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.


Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.




A Gay Response

July 20, 2012 — 2 Comments

I know I am a little late but I was intrigued by the recent “coming out” of news correspondent Anderson Cooper who is a prolific journalist/reporter for CNN. Cooper is just another individual in a long string of people who have announced to the world that they are gay. I thought about blogging then but waited until I can read some more and then a magnificent post came out by Craig Gross who is Pastor of the He wrote a fabulous article for CNN called, “My Take: Will there be gays in heaven? Will there be fat people?” He said this:

In 1 Corinthians, the Bible says don’t indulge your body with food or sex: “‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,’ and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

I have always heard people go this direction when discussing the issue of homosexuality. Quite frankly I can almost anticipate someone who speaks about the sin of homosexuality and then their wardrobe of selected verses. Gross made this comment that got me thinking:

If you indulge your body with sex via pornography, affairs, strippers or hookers, and your secrets are exposed, you will not be preaching on Sunday. Sexual sin is not tolerated in our churches. If clergy are caught in these things, they’re disqualified.

What if you indulge your body with food? Well, then you can pastor some of the largest churches on the planet and have the most successful broadcasts on the religious channels and sell a lot of books.

Same biblical passage, same sin. Why is one accepted and one rejected? Why is it that religious folks want to camp out on a few things rather then all things?

Why do they believe that the gay guy goes to hell but the fat preacher who builds some of the largest churches in the world makes it to heaven?

He concludes by pointing out that the road to sanctification for the homosexual is much like that of a person losing 100 lbs. It does not happen overnight but it takes a while. He points to the need for churches to be more open in practicing community with gay people instead of ostracizing them to the corners of the disenfranchised. Whether you agree with his post is irrelevant because I think the underlying issue he unearths is what we in the evangelical world struggle with: Do we really care for gay people like we do heterosexual people?

Look at any evangelical church infrastructure and you will notice committees delegated with the task of reaching a specific need. A mission’s committee, a youth committee, a benevolence committee, a women’s ministry committee, a prison ministry and on and on the ministries go yet I wonder how many committees exist to find ways to reach those who are gay. I don’t think developing a committee approach is the answer but it should prick our hearts that Jesus spent a majority of his time with sinners and the marginalized and most church-goers only surround themselves with people they fundamentally agree with.

I wonder if our churches are even safe places to harbor those who are gay.

A church should be the safest place for a person to say, “I am gay,” yet that is the last place a gay person wants to share this news.

Or even someone who is alcoholic.

Or even someone who is addicted to porn.

Or even someone who is addicted to drugs.

Or even someone who is having an affair.

Why? Church has become a place for those who have already got it together instead of a place for those to get things together. We have become saints who are once and for all sanctified instead of sinners who are continually seeking sanctification. I wonder what our churches need to do to help gay people in their journey of sanctification. I wonder what if we spent more time and energy focused on helping gay people, drunk people, addicted people and people who need us instead of paying the different ministers, and building projects and on and on.

What would a church look like if it really welcomed sinners like that…like you…like me?

This post is from a friend of mine named Kevin Turbeville. Kevin is the Youth Minister for the Rogersville Church of Christ in Rogersville, Alabama where he and his wife Leila live and work. He is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University where he received a degree in Bible and Youth Ministry and worked in the admission department for a number of years. Kevin is a “go-getter” and has a heart and passion for service in the kingdom. You will be blessed by his words.

Intimacy in Service :: Luke 7:36-50

Let’s consider the sort of life to which Christ calls His followers. From the beatitudes we see that a covenant of blessing is made with the beggar in spirit, the conscience-stricken, the unpretentious, those that starve for righteousness, the compassionate, the transparent in heart, those who embrace peace, and the tyrannized. (Matthew 5) What would we call the disciple of Christ in which this sort of character is found? In Luke 7 Christ calls her faith-filled.

This woman who by all indication is not far from the sort dragged before Him in John 8. Imagine the last 24 hours of this woman’s life. If she was indeed a prostitute, had she plied her trade the previous evening? Since she was a “sinner known to all”, had someone approached her “to conduct business” on her way to find the Christ? Is this the sort of person the church would bid God-speed while proclaiming their faith to all within earshot? Don’t worry, just like in everything else, if we won’t, Jesus will. The woman with the alabaster box held Jesus Christ in such high regard that she, in spite of His audience, subjected herself to the ridicule of on-lookers just to approach His feet in order to take the filth that covered His feet onto her body.

In being asked to contribute an article on “Intimacy in Service” I found myself at a loss. I had no idea where to start the conversation as to how we are to go about serving on an intimate level. Today I see that I had trouble finding where to begin because I have never experienced the sort of brokenness the woman with the alabaster box knew. The kind of brokenness that calls me to His feet with tears because I know there is nowhere else to go. You see when I approach Christ I am aiming right for His face. I need Him to see me. I want to know He knows I am there. Kind of like, “a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel.”(James 2) When in truth those that are righteous in their aim to please find it difficult to get up off their knees.

If the real church is to truly stand up when it comes to intimacy in service, we must be prepared to sit down. Sit down at the feet of the Master, down there with the rest of us sinners that populate this wretched planet. Because if the statistics are true, and we are willing to accept that perception is reality, then there is a world of hurt out there not looking to the compassion of the church because they believe it is a myth, and if they believe that the body of Christ serves the broken of this world is an urban legend, then what do they believe of its Head?

Sticks and Stones

February 15, 2012 — 1 Comment

Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a liar. If you’re like me, you can recall exactly what you were wearing, where you were located and even what certain smells were when somebody said something that really hurt. I am not talking about comments said in jest that were not truthful but I mean those comments that pierced your soul because with them carried the two-edged sword of truth mixed with ridicule. I was sitting in the car coming home from school one day when a person we were riding with called me “pizza-face” because I had severe acne on my face. I laughed and brushed it off but I remember the pain in my soul when those words were uttered and other people laughed at me. The truth is that words carry with it power. James said that the tongue was a “fire” (3:6) alluding to both the destructive nature of the tongue but also it’s ability to spread. Fire both spreads and destroys in a quick fashion.

We have bullies in our schools, in our churches, at our jobs and even in our families who use the power of words to get their way or to belittle those who are “less fortunate” (using that negatively) than they are.  Using words in that capacity feeds in to Darwin’s idea that only the strong survive. So the image of God is not sufficient enough for some people because they do not look, act, talk, smell, react, work, worship, dress or __________ (you fill in the blank) like we do. As if “we” are the authority as to what is right. James said:

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (3:10-12)

So be careful little tongue what you say, for the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little tongue what you say.

In my morning reading I came across a familiar passage and wanted to share it with you and some of the thoughts I wrote down in my journal.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good. Psalm 14:1 (ESV)

Perhaps your experience is similar to mine in that when this verse is read, quoted or used it is within the context of atheists. I have heard many Christians say, “How could someone not believe in God? The Scripture says ________.” They will quote Psalm 14:1. I think people do not believe in God for a variety of reasons (hypocritical Christians?) but I wonder if we could go a different direction with the interpretation of this Psalm. Let me ask the question, “Who is the fool in Psalm 14?” They are those, contextually, who God looks down and sees that the people are 1) not understanding, 2) not seeking after him, 3) they have turned aside, and 4) become corrupt (14:2-3). Now surely this broadens our interpretation of simply atheists. Surely you know some folks at church that fit the bill there right?

Look at how Eugene Peterson words the Psalm in The Message

1 Bilious and bloated, they gas, “God is gone.”
Their words are poison gas,
fouling the air; they poison
Rivers and skies;
thistles are their cash crop.

2 God sticks his head out of heaven.
He looks around.
He’s looking for someone not stupid—
one man, even, God-expectant,
just one God-ready woman.

3 He comes up empty. A string
of zeros. Useless, unshepherded
Sheep, taking turns pretending
to be Shepherd.
The ninety and nine
follow their fellow.

I wonder then, who is the fool? I find it interesting that Psalms 14:1-3 is quoted nearly verbatim in Romans 3:10-12. The context there is that we are all sinners in need of the justification of God by faith. So then is it a stretch to say that the fool in Psalm 14 who says “there is no God” might be us? The immediate context for David are the enemies of his kingdom but the larger implication is that sometimes we are fools. Consider the following:

  • We are fools when we do not believe God will deliver us in a difficult situation.
  • We are fools when we try to conduct ministry, spiritual formation and kingdom-work on our own without the guidance of our Father.
  • We are fools when we do not lead our families spiritually.
  • We are fools when we try to bind things in Scripture that God never intended to be bound.
  • We are fools when we make it our goal to “correct” every person’s theology whom we have contentions with as if we can come up with a perfect theology on our own.
  • We are fools when we neglect the poor and build massive buildings (does Babel ring a bell?) and have big-screen TV’s, elaborate pulpits complete with techno-savvy ways to make ministry “easier.”
  • We are fools when we do not evangelize and disciple others.
  • We are fools when we judge people, as if we are the perfect standard.
  • We are fools when we say God can’t do something, as if our existence were not evidence for God being able to do something.
  • We are fools when we keep sin to ourselves.
  • We are fools when we spend too much time at work and forget our families.
  • We are fools when we do not take care of ourselves physically.
  • We are fools when we isolate ourselves in our Christian bubble, forgetting that God actually came in the flesh.
  • We are fools to think God does not care about us (how many hairs do you have on your head again? God knows).
  • We are fools not to learn from the past, redeem the present and wait, with hope, for the future.
  • Finally, we are fools when we think it is up to us to become righteous.

Tough list. I look at it and mourn. Because I want to be honest with you, I am a fool. At times, my actions and thoughts reveal the claim that there is no God even thought intuitively I know there is. Sad. Christ, forgive me.

Who is the fool?



Photo courtesy of

I absolutely loved Missional Youth Ministry by Brian Kirk and Jacob Thorne. Brian and Jacob are mega-bloggers for the amazing blog, Rethinking Youth Ministry. The book was well-needed for my ministry context and I gained a lot of principles to think, chew and meditate on as I continue ministry here in Springfield. I must say, the book is so much a “model” for youth ministers to place into their programs as it is a discernment tool to ask questions to see if we are leading our teens to be disciples. The book is not a textbook on what it means to be missional as it is more of a practical guide to share ideas and to ask (stated above) difficult questions. I appreciate how relational and ecclesial the book was in its primary focus. Love God, love others and love the church might be a good motto for the thrust of this book. My favorite chapter was “the end of educational ministry” where they dissected a teenager’s brain (metaphorically of course ;)) to show how they learn, connect and lead others. The book is worth the purchase just for all of the ministry ideas related to programming, worship and discipleship. I also loved how they implemented their blog posts throughout the book. I wish they would have cited the url for the post but we could always look it up. I could see this being used among youth ministry teams, youth minister retreats and even among parent-minister meetings. I loved it!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

  • Chapter 1 – “The challenge for those of us in youth ministry is to get beyond our fears and anxieties and trust that God is already working in the lives of young people” (p. 20).
  • Chapter 2 – “Helping teenagers grow stronger in the Christian faith goes far beyond having them memorize Scripture or learn bible stories or creeds” (27).
  • Chapter 3 – “I find that too often our youth ministries offer a Jesus who is safe, a Jesus who asks little of us beyond giving intellectual assent to a list of religious beliefs” (p. 45). “If you’re playing it safe to keep your job, or to make sure your teens like you, or to make parents happy, then it’s time to flip everything you’re doing upside down” (p. 46).
  • Chapter 4 – “Thinking intentionally about the boundaries in adult-teen relationships isn’t optional” (p. 64).
  • Chapter 5 – “We live in a results-and-success-oriented culture. Even the church has bought into the lie that its identity comes from its programs” (p. 75).
  • Chapter 6 – “We can teach all of the bible studies we want, but ultimately the parents have the most important and lasting influence on a young person’s faith–for good or ill” (p. 97).
  • Chapter 7 – “…it’s easier to tell teens what to think (and what not to think) than to walk with them through the long and sometimes difficult process of discovery–especially if we believe we’ve already found the right answers” (p. 108-09). Speaking of emotionally-charged camps and forced spiritual decisions: “Some of those same youth who made tearful committments tp Christ on the last night of camp were the first ones to ditch church and youth group a week later in order to go to a friend;s home to play video games” (117).
  • Chapter 8 – “Teenagers want to know and worship a God who spends time with them beyond the confines of stained glass and organ music” (p. 128).
  • Chapter 9 – “A truly missional youth ministry can only grow out of the unique gifts and needs of the young people in your group” (p. 145).

Wrote this in my journal this morning:

God slapped me across the face this morning in my reading. Read through all of the allotments the tribes received from capturing the land in Joshua 16-20. Something I read and made a note on in my bible years ago was the allotment given to Joshua only after most of the tribes received theirs (Jos. 19:49-51). My note was simple, “Delayed Gratification.” Nothing fancy but very intentional. So often I minister with the immediate results in mind. Are results even important? How does one objectively quantify results anyways? I think we sow seed now to see the plan later. Now the plant may encounter weeds in the process but the plant still grows. Joshua made sure (maybe this was custom?) that his allotment came after everybody else. Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, identifies Level 5 executives (Those leaders who are able to lead the company to the next level) as those who, “builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will” (p. 20). For Joshua, it was about confronting the brutal facts (conquering the land, delegating the land) but it was also about working hard behind the scenes. A unique blend of humility with an insatiable desire to do what he was called to do. Powerful!

What if we approached youth ministry like this? Perhaps we would look like Joshua! Perhaps we would like Jesus.