Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Like a kid in a candy store

Do you know how many resources are out there for youth ministry? Oh my gosh!!! Go online or to the local Christian bookstore, and you can find a book for every aspect of ministry you could think of. The hard part is filtering through everything to get the best of the best. That's rather hard when you're just starting into youth ministry! I don't know where to begin! On top of that, I've got a short deadline to formulate a ministry plan, so there's only so much I can read before that date.

Fortunately, I think I got a hold of some good stuff yesterday. I picked out a couple of books that I think will be very helpful. One of them is a book based on the ever popular "Purpose Driven Life". This book is titled, "Purpose Driven Youth Ministry" by Doug Fields. I liked what I read on the jacket cover and in the forward. I think it will be a great resource to draw upon as I develop our Youth Ministry Plan.

Yikes! I sound grown-up! When did that happen?!?!?! I can't believe they're going to let me be in charge of something!! (My pastor reads my blog - do you think he's getting nervous yet?) :)

Anyway, I'd better hit the books and start formulating that plan. I'm excited and can't wait to see what I come up with!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


How about this - I pull in the driveway, open the door to my car and start gathering my laptop, purse, etc., to go in the house. Just as I turn in my seat to stand up, I feel this sharp pain in the back of my right leg. I stand there for a second trying to figure out what the heck that could have been when all of a sudden I feel another sharp pain on the front of my leg. A WASP! I drop almost everything and start beating my pants leg to get it out - so that it wouldn't sting me again. It drops to the ground and starts crawling away and I stomp the durn thing. Do you know how long it's been since I was stung by a wasp (much less stung twice)?!?!?!? I was a child the last time that happened. I tell you, I'm not normally a wimp when it comes to pain (at least I don't think so) but those wasp stings hurt (and are still hurting!!!) I almost cried!

Anyway - besides that, it has been a great day. I am so excited about being the youth leader at my church! My mind has been racing since I finally got over the haze of what I have gotten myself into! Now I'm just pumped up. I've got a deadline to formulate a ministry plan and I'm a little freaked about that. I've never built a youth program from the ground up, so this is new territory for me. Fortunately, there are a ton of great resources out there and my pastor emailed me some guidelines for establishing a ministry plan. I'm just really seeking God for His wisdom and leadership. I want this whole thing to be about Him and not me. I'll keep you posted as to what develops!

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Life is about to get really interesting

A couple of weeks ago, my pastor shared a thought in his sermon that stuck in my mind. He said that God sometimes doesn't answer our prayers about one particular thing in our lives because He's wanting us to deal with another issue before He moves on that other thing. I knew that applied to me, but I wasn't sure exactly how. I thought there must have been some "hidden sin" in my life that I wasn't confessing, but I couldn't come up with anything. Turns out, it wasn't that at all.

I've always known that God has called me to work in ministry, but I've never been real clear (at least to myself) about what exactly that meant. In my mind, I would meet "Mr. Right" (who is called to ministry, too) and we would enter the "Ministry" together and serve the Lord with all our hearts. Evidently, meeting "Mr. Right" first is not God's plan for me. I never got to the call on my own life because I was waiting for God to bring "Mr. Right" along. That whole idea came from a pure heart - I truly believe that the youth of today need the influence of Godly men in their lives and I wanted to be a part of seeing that happen. I want to be married to a Godly man who loves working with young people - and I do believe that will happen someday - it's just that I have been trying to tell God how it needed to come about and I wasn't listening to Him about what He wants to do in me and through me. I know I don't have to be married to be "complete", I just have always wanted to be married. Still do.

But - for now - I am going to be the Youth Pastor or Leader (or whatever title comes with the job) at my church. That is scary to me!! That means I have a new responsibility - an incredible responsibility - to these young people. And I will answer to God for what I do with what He's giving me.

So, anyway, this answers the question in my mind as to why I've been feeling so empty. I've always known that my own spiritual growth goes through the roof when I am involved in ministry to others - especially young people. I thought I was doing that. I guess I was doing ministry my way and not God's. I'm excited to see what God is going to do with me and the young people at our church. As I said - life is about to get really interesting!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Oh how I love music!

I'm sitting here watching the AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs and I cannot express the feelings I'm experiencing! (I'm amazed at how many of these songs I know!)

I just love what music can do. It has the ability to move one in ways nothing else can. How many times have you been driving down the road and a song comes on that reminds you of a friend, a past love, a dream.....anything? I don't think people realize how much of an impact music has made on our lives. I know for me, when I really want to fellowship with God, I immerse myself in music - either by playing some of my favorite worship cd's or getting by myself on the piano.

Unfortunately, I haven't been having many times of fellowship here lately. Oh, I know there are other ways to go about it, but I can always tell when my spiritual life is getting weak - the music is the first thing to fade away. When that fades, I lose the desire to even be in God's word. I didn't realize how dead I was getting on the inside - I didn't even care about the music.

I'm glad God is able to pierce through to our heart and soul when we allow ourselves to become hardened by the cares of this world. Fortunately, He spoke to my heart this Sunday. I want to sing again, and I am so glad.

The AFI special is closing and what's the number one song? You guessed it - "Somewhere over the Rainbow". One of my personal favorites.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Out of touch...

and I'm not even on vacation!

It's just been a really busy week. But they all seem to be here lately. I need to take some time off and slow things down. The crazy thing is, I don't really know what I spend my time doing! The only major things I've got going on in my life are work, church and family. No love interest, not a ton of friends I'm hanging out with (just my roommates and neighbors from time to time)...I don't know where my time is going!

Truth is, I've been letting a lot of things go in my life and I need to reign them back in. I just haven't had the "want to" to deal with them. *sigh* I'm working on it.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

A Real Man

It has been so interesting to hear the different things being said about this man. Regardless of what one might think about Ronald Reagan's politics, no one can deny that he was a charismatic man who impacted people's lives. Even in death, he is able to bring together multitudes of people from different socio-economic, racial, religious and political backgrounds. I can think of no other figure in the history of my 31 years on earth who has been able to do that. What a legacy!

Last night, I watched the ceremony as his casket was loaded onto the caisson and taken to the Rotunda at the Capitol. Earlier in the week, I wrote about how I wasn't able to cry about the death of Ronald Reagan. Well, I made up for it while I watched the procession on C-SPAN. As I sat there, crying my eyes out, I started thinking about what I was crying for. Of course, my heart is breaking for Nancy and the Reagan family and that was a part of my grief. But, I think the biggest reason was the simple fact that a true American Hero has died.

I can't think of anyone else in our country's leadership who possesses the characteristics of this man in the same abundance as he did. (Although, I do feel President Bush does exhibit some of the same qualities as Reagan.) To me, that is sad for our country. At the time Reagan was growing up in this great country, men like him were a dime a dozen. They were everywhere! Now, I do believe there are many people in this country who are great people and do great things in their community, but the truth is if there were more people with a heart and soul like Reagan - which stemmed from a deep faith in God - this country would be a different place. Yes, that's right - I do believe that Reagan's relationship with his Creator influenced every aspect of his life and especially his service to this country. I'm not saying he was perfect, but his deep faith obviously affected his outlook on life. It is simply not possible to have such an optimistic view of life without a secure knowledge of God.

America would do well to study the life of Ronald Reagan and learn from his example. I know I plan to. I have several books on his life and the letters he wrote to people. My goal is to read them within the next few months and try to learn more about this incredible man. He was a great example of a person who knew his core values and was unshakeable in his beliefs, yet - was able to deal with people whose own beliefs conflicted with his and not belittle or demean them.

Thank you, God, for giving us an incredible role model and blessing us with such a leader. May we strive to live up to the standard raised by Ronald Reagan.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

What a week!

It has been a busy week! Our Leadership Camp ended on Sunday - it was a wonderful camp (so I've been told!) I didn't actually go to the Leadership Camp because I had to be in the office to get ready for our Power Camp this week!

The Power Camp is a day camp for kids, age 7-12. Each day focuses on an aspect of the theme ("One Mission: Get it! Got it! Give it!" based on John 14:6) and a different sport (golf, football/cheerleading, baseball/softball, basketball, etc.) The kids are having a blast in spite of the incredible heat and humidity. It's so bad, that you sweat through all your clothes in about 10 minutes (or less!) Eeck!

But - it is so fun watching these kids. I am amazed at their energy!! Their daily schedule keeps them more than busy but even at the end of the day, they are still running like it's 8am. It's unbelievable! Needless to say, just being out there for the few hours each day I've been there is wearing me out! I can't even believe I'm still up at 11pm tonight. I'm really tired.

So, I guess I'll go ahead and get into bed.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

A REAL American Idol

I don't think enough can ever be said about how great a man Ronald Reagan was - a man of integrity, honesty, intelligence and a true, abiding faith in God. There are far too few leaders, and particularly men, who can be numbered among the ranks of men like Ronald Reagan. I hope that people will take time to learn of him as we mourn his passing. There is much to be learned from his life.

Yesterday, as I was listening to the news media discuss Ronald Reagan, I found myself wanting to cry - but I could not. How could I mourn for the Gipper when he is now in the presence of his Creator? As Ronald Reagan said of the Challenger Space Shuttle crew on the day they lost their lives, he too has "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God.

I can just hear the conversation as he crossed through the Pearly Gates:
"Welcome to Heaven, Ronnie! We're so glad you're here!"

In that all too familiar "aw shucks" voice he replies, "Well....I'm glad to be here!"

The World has many reasons to be thankful for the life of Ronald Reagan.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Oh, how I wish....

I had a hot tub! I would jump in it when I get home. Yes, that's right, it's 9:35 pm, and I am still at the office.

Our Leadership Camp starts tomorrow morning and I am up here printing all the stuff we need for registration. It has taken 5 hours to print all the stuff I need. Of course, it wouldn't take so long if I wasn't working from our Home Office server (via Citrix), but that's my only option right now.

Needless to say, I am so tired!

Fortunately, all this toil and effort is for a good thing. There will be 150+ kids here and they will be learning how to impact their campus with the Good News of Jesus Christ, through their platform of athletics. I'm sure a few of them will come to know Christ this week and that's always worth any effort put forth.

If you're a pray-er, remember our camp: the campers, staff, speakers and even the staff of the college that is hosting our event.

God bless!