you’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard of swineflu. i had a high school sophomore comment. people seem to take two approaches to talking about it. joking and freaking out. some people make jokes about the hysteria that has surrounded swineflu. others freak out and remind everyone to stop traveling, to wash your hands, and to take vitamin c and zinc.
i’d like us all to pause for a second.
while i don’t doubt the seriousness of swine flu, i want us to use it for a second to help us better understand others.
the same hysteria that is being spread in the US is what the countries effected by malaria feel on a daily basis. mothers fear for their children’s lives. they have to sleep under nets (if they can afford them) every night. Americans are merely asked to postpone vacations and to wash their hands regularly.
i think this is a great opportunity for us to wake up a bit.
Yesterday, i was reading through my blogs. I found these 4 articles. Each hit me in a deep way. Read on. Be inspired….
1. A Little Bit of Right by Jesse Hanna. Sometimes ministry can be frustrating. It’s great when something goes right.
2. Resurrection Monday by Brad Cooper. On Easter, i was pumped about Jesus. Brad reminded me that the same things that were true on easter are true on monday, tuesday, and everyday.
3. In Touch with Jesus by Nathaniel Dame. 3 years ago, there wer some observations about youth ministry. Seems like they’re coming true…
4. Made in China by Jeromy Johnson. If you think life is moving along swimmingly and your all safe and secure in your little bubble of wealth and comfort, you probalby don’t want to read this article. If you’re willing to
“Jesus, God’s promised Rescuer and Ruler, lived our life, died our death and rose again in triumphant vindication as the first fruits of the new creation to bring forgiven sinners together under his gracious reign.”
that is the gospel. i’ve been frustrated for a long time because I’ve found no solid definition of the Gospel that was thorough and completel. I think this is as close as I’ve seen. I found this over at the Missio Dei Suburbia blog
I find myself referencing this story a ton.
So this woman gets caught in the act of sleeping around; adultery. The rule was that any woman caught in adultery is to be stoned. So the Pharisees (the pastors of the day), bring an adulterous woman to Jesus and ask him what to do. They were testing him. Jesus does some really creative thinking and tells them that whoever hasn’t sinned can cast the first stone. They all walk away….
But here is the thing. Jesus disobeys the Bible. There was a rule. God had communicated something to his people, but Jesus doesn’t carry it out. In fact – for all that we know – he merely tells her that he doesn’t condemn her and to go and sin no more.
Let me repeat this: Jesus tells a sluty woman that he doesn’t condemn her. And then he tells her to knock it off.
OK. Fair enough.
But how in the heck am I supposed to read the rules in the Bible. How am I supposed to tell people what is right and wrong when Jesus is doing thing that are “unbiblical.”
It’s hard. It’s messy. I’m sure I’m not right on everything. I don’t have a monopoly on truth. I have to research stuff. I have to reread scripture. I have to read whole books of the Bible and not just verses or chapters.
And I think that’s the point. The point is that it’s a long journey. It’s a lifelong struggle to find and live truth. It’s a lifelong walk to get to know and love God more.
and i think that’s the point.
i was asked to write down how i’d like to see our student ministry move in the year 2009:
I want to see students and adult leaders fall in love with Jesus. I want them to hunger for God. I want them to be all-out followers of Christ. I want them to be on fire (not lukewarm). I want to see students and adult leaders embrace and pursue Christ for a lifetime. But more specifically….
I want to see students and adult leaders grow a heart for reaching their friends. I want to see our influence extend past our own little youth group. I want to see visitors feel welcome on our Sunday evenings. I want to see students feel a burden for connecting their friends with Jesus.
I want to see students and adult leaders grow a heart for “the least of these.” I want them to feel a burden for their peers who are going through rough family times, for the friend who gets made fun of, for the kid who sits alone at lunch, and for the kid in Haiti who wishes he had food for lunch.
I want to see excitement about Current (our Sr. High Group) and Roots (our Jr. High Group) build. I want whatever we do to be remarkable: either remarkably fun, or remarkably simple, or remarkably communal, or remarkably relevant, or remarkably connected with God. I want to be so remarkable that our ministry grows as our story gets told and retold.
there are times in life when you have a million things to do (i’m in one of those now) and there are times in life where you only have 1 thing to do. sometimes people freak out when they find themselves in one of those places. they feel unproductive or they feel overburdened. either way, they’re yearning for something else.
stack that idea next to the life and ministry of jesus.
there were times where Jesus was doing a ton of stuff (feeding 5000, healing sick people, riding on donkeys, etc) and there were also times when Jesus was extremely unproductive (40 days in the wilderness, his “ministry” on earth only lasted 3 years, he remains silent before his accusers, he sits and draws in the ground in defense of an adulterous woman). So the whole point of our life is obviously – as demonstrated by Christ – not to get as much done as we can. Neither is it to be super-efficient. Neither is it to seize every opportunity.
there are people in ministry who CAN NOT take on the pacing of Jesus because they will not allow themselves to be “busy” or they will not alllow themselves to slow down. Christians must be people who can readily accept the changes that God is bringing into our lives. Sometimes we need to sprint, other times we crawl (or even walk backwards).