Remember 'Remember the Titans'?
Culture change is tough - but it is worth it!!! I was reminded of this as I watched the movie Remember the Titans. A coach dropped into a chaotic situation must bring culture change for the team to survive... but he doesn't just want it to survive he wants it to succeed, and to dominate. In a way we want our ministries to do likewise so what ideas for culture change can we take from Coach Boon?
Thinking about sacrifice
If Jesus is King, what does that mean for what we want to do with out lives? [Image by Chris Bellerophon Dotson on flickr]
Back to the Mission
Reminded again and again about what we are created for. We are created for worship! But because there are some people who do not worship, we have been given a mission... to go and show people they were created to worship! - photo on Flickr by llamatofu
Appeasement verses Satisfaction
Do we look to appease our emotions, troubles, discomforts with earthy things that may provide some release temporarily, or do we look to God who is the source of complete satisfaction? [Image by donald_palansky_photography on flickr]
Prayer = Dependence
Even in the confidence I have in my own abilities - I am learning that I still need to be dependent on God if the outcome is going to be worthwhile for the Kingdom. Prayer is the key consideration in this! ~photo credit: wiedmaier on flickr
Sunday, 31 July 2011
The teaching was good, the food was good and the friends were great.
Excellent way to spend a weekend.
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
Pastor Joe preached the first sermon last Sunday night and it's promising to be a very challenging and revealing series.
So if you want to listen to me preach later on may I suggest you sign up to the iTunes CNBC channel and listen to the rest of the series so you know where we've been before I start. Plus Pastors Murray, Joe and Dave are much better at this than I am and I'm certain you will get a lot out of what they have to say.
You can also go to the City North Baptist Church website to find the sermons online.
Sunday, 24 July 2011
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
Now I know that a youth group at a mid sized suburban church is not going to be able to compete with the entertainment opportunities the secular society has for teens these days. We're not going to put on big shows, loud music, sport stars and the stereotypical attractions teens find exciting these days. I also think that when churches try to match that kind of level, they just end up looking lame... the Christian teens then grow up with this corny and warped sense of what 'fun' is and get hammered when they reach the real world.
So I've gone the complete opposite way. I wanted to keep the activities and events as simple as possible, but the key for where I wanted CITY NORTH YOUTH to go was INTERACT.
If the teens interact with each other in a genuine way, and if corporately and individually they interact with God at youth group then it will turn into a community of young believers, or seekers, who are relating to each other in a way teens don't get anywhere else. The community itself then becomes the attraction as teens yearn for that connection which the world does not offer.
Our mission this year has to become a 'Christ Centred, Servant Hearted, Outward Focused Youth Community' and it has been encouraging to see how the group is living out that mission and become more connected with each other, the wider Church and their own community circles.
It has taken a long time to morph the culture of the youth group, and that is a continuing process. Yet we now have two INTERACT nights a term, these are nights where we interact with God in three different ways. Through listening to his Word, through sharing with each other in study and through responding in worship. We focus on the ideas of being Christ-centred, Servant-hearted, Outward focused and community, and I have to say that these nights aren't the best attended, and there has been some hit and miss finding the right balance of speaking, group time and music, but the encouraging thing is to see key members of the youth taking ownership of the nights and wanting to put their input to share with the rest of the group. The numbers may drop a bit on INTERACT nights, but I think it's those nights where we see the real heart of the group.
Our next INTERACT night is this coming Friday and one of the senior boys has taken it upon himself to organise a youth band for the worship time. I'm really looking forward to it.
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
These 3 years seem to have gone so fast, they've been a huge growth time - and though living like a student was a shock at first (no money, late nights, but lots of time) I've become quite comfortable in it, so things are gonna get shaky again as I try and find a pastoral job somewhere. Just keep trusting and obeying though and I'm sure it will be fine (but that's kinda the hard part isn't it?)
Saturday, 16 July 2011
Some of the language is awful, language people wouldn't usually use themselves, but find ok and humerous to 'like'.
The nastiness of some of them as well, I am more shocked than humoured by most of them.
Then there's the scary ones that are just downright mean or racist. Wow I can't believe teenagers fully understand them when they click 'like'.
Does Facebook have any moderation of who creates a 'like' page??? They are not doing a very good job.
But I thought their latest music video was especially clever. With a low budget they decided to get their fan's help - they put out the call for anyone to make a video clip to their latest single "I Don't Know Why" and then PC3 have mashed them all together to make their official clip.
Good song... unique and fun clip... and the dude in the jet is a legend!!!
Friday, 15 July 2011
Shhhhhhh times were the part of the day where you went by yourself and were just quiet with God - it wasn't a specific bible study or personal devotion time - just a half hour where everyone was completely quiet and you sat and interacted with God in whatever way you felt most comfortable.
This day on camp I felt anything but comfortable, I was sick, but add to that I was feeling very disconnected from the campers, and particularly the leaders. There's a strange dynamic of being a 29 year old single guy on camp - there are many single female leaders and I find it hard not to at least 'wonder' if this setting was effective for meeting someone that might eventually turn into a relationship. However the big thing I'd noticed on camp was the ease in which other guys seemed to interact with the single ladies, and my apparent ineptness to even be included in any conversation at all. I am in no way desperate, just a bit awkward I think. This particular day I had witnessed some people interacting and it had left me feeling very much on the outter, and I was wondering what was wrong with me.
I got to my Shhhhhhh time and opened the Bible app on my phone - I simply started reading from where it opened to, a verse we'd looked at in the main meeting the day before - Psalm 139:13-18;
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.
I felt the comfort of knowing God knew me and cared for me, but I wondered if this blanket, all inclusive warm fuzzy verse could really impact the gut wrenching feeling of loneliness I had right then - but then I read on...
139:19-24; If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
So after reveling in the amazingness of God's intimate creation and love, David turns and says "But if only..." That's exactly how I felt. 'God I know you love me and created me, but if only you'd show me the lady I am suppose to marry... or at least give me some hope that a woman will someday put up with me.'
I could see that the psalm really nailed our interaction with God - knowing his care and love but still sometimes feeling at a loss not knowing the eternal perspective of his plan. Then verse 23 and 24 pierced my heart - asking God to search me, to test me so that he knows my anxious thoughts. I realised that's exactly what I was feeling overcome with, anxious thoughts. God knew them - in a way he was testing me by putting me in the position I was in that day, I let him search me... along with God I examined myself, my motives, my feelings about it all to 'see if there is any offensive way in me'. I was greatly encouraged (and, I believe, supernaturally filled and revitalised) as I realised that even in my anxiousness I had not sinned - or caused offense.
I was not jealous of these guys who seemed to be interacting with the ladies much better than I was; I was not jealous about not having a girlfriend; I wasn't angry at God for not providing; I wouldn't turn away from what he's called me too because of my continued singleness.
As God searched me, and I realised that I was doing ok I felt much better. I realised that the hope of one day meeting a nice girl wasn't a problem, I realised that sometimes feeling discouraged and having anxious thoughts wasn't a problem, because as long as I continued to serve him, follow him and live out the plan he has placed me in, then I was still allowing him to "lead me in the way everlasting"
And that's all I really need.
Thursday, 14 July 2011
I continued to persevere through my sickness at camp and then more so this week. I have felt pretty terrible over the past couple of days, but I thank God for allowing me to be functioning enough on camp to keep interacting with the teens - it was only once I got home I completely crashed.
Today is the first day I've felt well enough to start processing thoughts from camp - I had wanted to post a few, but they feel a little distant now, but we'll see how I go a bit later.
Friday, 8 July 2011
Unfortunately I have been battling a sore throat, no voice and now a painful cough all week. It's really knocked me around and I haven't been having the best of times. I really am disappointed that it has limited the interaction I have had with the teens (it's hard to hold a conversation when you can't talk at all and burst into a coughing fit that pretty much makes you pass out).
Pray God will help me recover so I can finish these last few days well.
Wednesday, 6 July 2011
We have teens come from all different life situations. From both Christian and non-Christian homes, from healthy up bringings to some with difficult issues to work through. City kids, country kids, there are even some NSWers...
The theme of the camp is "Mysteries Revealed" so ask God to reveal the enormous extent of his love to the campers, and the amazing grace he showed in sending his Son. Pray for Dan, Suzie, Sarah and Joe as they proclaim God's Word and preach to the kids each day. I believe Tuesday night is when a response to the Gospel is asked for, so pray for those who have accepted the Gospel for the first time, or have realigned themselves with it once again.
Also pray for the leaders - I'm sure by this stage of the camp we will all be weary, with another three days to go.
Blessings to you for caring enough to read and pray - seeya on the weekend :-P)
Sunday, 3 July 2011
There are about 110 teens coming this year and then another 60 or so leaders meaning it is going to be quite a big week with many discussion times, activities, music and worship times, teaching and probably a shenanigan or two as well... 47 out of that 170 are from City North Baptist, so we have the largest group by far, about 25 campers, the rest leaders.
I will be a mentor for the cabin leaders (coaches), helping with issues that arise in the cabins and assisting the discipleship of the campers any way I can. I haven't had this role before so looking forward to the new challenges it might provide.
So please be in prayer that God's Word is spread dynamically through this group of teenagers in Warwick this week.