It’s Wednesday and I have the day off. I led a youth retreat this weekend called Fall Forward. One girl put her faith and trust in Jesus for the first time. That’s why I do what I do. It was a great weekend, but retreats always exhaust me. On Sunday afternoon, after we returned, I lay down at 4:30 to “take a nap.” The next time I woke up was 3:00 AM the next day. A long weekend, that’s why I have the day off.
“I have read and agreed to the terms and conditions.”
It seems like iTunes updates their software every other month. I power up my MacBook, get ready to listen to some music, and then, BAM! “A software update is ready to be installed.” Continue reading
I am a youth pastor. The gospel is the single truth I want my students to comprehend beyond any other before they graduate. When I was in seminary, one of my profs had us read a little book called TrueFaced, by John Lynch and Bill Thrall. I have found few other explanations of the gospel more helpful and compelling outside of the Bible. The book has since been updated, and now goes by the title, The Cure. One particular passage in the book made me stop, put the book down, and consider my relationship with Jesus for a solid hour. It has changed my approach to the Christian life. The passage can be experienced in the video embedded below.
“If I am to be like him, then God in His grace must do it, and the sooner I come to recognize it the sooner I will be delivered from another form of bondage. Throw down every endeavor and say, I cannot do it, the more I try the farther I get from his likeness. What shall I do? Ah, the Holy Spirit says, you cannot do it; just withdraw; come out of it. You have been in the arena, you have been endeavoring, come out and sit down, and as you sit there behold Him, look at Him. Don’t try to be like Him, just look at Him. Just be occupied with Him. Forget about trying to be like Him. Instead of letting that fill your mind and heart, let Him fill it. Just behold him, look upon Him through the Word. Come to the Word for one purpose and that is to meet the Lord. Not to get your mind crammed full of things about the sacred Word, but come to it to meet the Lord. Make it to be a medium, not of biblical scholarship, but fellowship with Christ. Behold the Lord.”
It’s now. It’s unique from any single point in your life, past and future, because it’s the only one happening now. It’s yours to act upon, yours to change, to create, to take, to give. This is now, there’s no time like it. How will you use it?
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” -Hebrews 11:6
The person who trusts that the work of his own righteousness was done and finished by Jesus when he was crucified, the person who knows he can’t add or subtract to that work in any way, who doesn’t toil to please God or try harder or crucify himself when he fails, that person finds peace. There is no other way. That is the gospel. That is all.
Will you spend your life trying to please God, or will you simply trust him?
December 21, 2012
I remember the first time I heard the date December 21, 2012. I was in my tenth grade world history class. Mr. __________ was the teacher. He was also the soccer coach, both men’s and women’s. He was a man of short stature, red hair, and a red face. Sometimes he would reduce girl soccer players to tears by berating their mistakes during games. He’d yell at them across the field in front of their parents and fans. I didn’t prefer him as a person, but he was a good teacher. He may have been the best teacher I ever had. Continue reading