Thursday, October 18, 2007

Christians in Sports

I'm always interested in hearing about Christian Athletes playing professional sports. I loved the story about John Kitna's concussion and how he believed that God healed him. But sometimes it seems like athletes only pay lip service to God (and Christians in general too). Rarely do you hear about anyone's struggles with their faith.

That's why I found this article about Paul Byrd so refreshing. He acknowledges that there are times when Christians struggle, talks about his own temptation to cheat or look at porn, and does so in a way that comes across as real and honest, not judgemental. While you're reading the article, make sure and look at the comments because one guy makes a great point about how Christian athletes are usually reduced to one sound byte, and that makes them come across as being crazy.


Thursday, October 11, 2007


Yesterday I had a breakthrough moment. Sometimes in youth ministry you just plug along looking for a hint of light on the horizon. Sometimes it's tough to see if you're making a difference in the lives of students at all. Especially because none of them seem very skilled in expressing gratitude. And they don't bother to try. Ever. But we don't do youth ministry for the glory, do we?

With the stress of making two house payments and looking at declining numbers in the youth (and churchwide), it's easy to make the jump to thinking that I'm not effective, or I'm doing something wrong. But yesterday I had a breakthrough. God has been calling me to fast on Wednesdays and I've put it off. Until yesterday. While my family was eating dinner I slipped into the family room to spend some time with God before church and instantly I knew that God was there with me. Within a few seconds the peace of God flooded my soul and I knew that our house was sold and things were turning around in the youth group.

Last night we had church and there were 13 people there, but more important than the number (which was average for the last 3-4 months) was the conversation we had that night. I say conversation because I didn't get to preach. Instead we talked about God and just about everyone was engaged the whole time. God was moving in that place.

Recently God has been revealing to me a strategy to win the youth of Oakville to Jesus. I am now more excited than ever that God is going to do something great here. Like I told the youth on Wednesday, sometimes God says yes, sometimes no, and sometimes He tells us to wait. I'm waiting with anticipation to see what God's going to do in the Oasis.


PS: Pray for us, it's off to Youth Conference tomorrow!

Friday, October 5, 2007

About Fasting pt 2

Fasting brings power in our lives. In case you missed it, here is my first post on fasting. I wanted to show an example from scripture about the power of fasting, and I came across this interesting little nugget in the book of 2 Chronicles:

1 After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. 2 Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” (This was another name for En-gedi.) 3 Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.

As you can see there was a vast army approaching Israel and they were given very little warning. Typically they would send out messengers to the corners of the land to raise up an army to defend their country, but with the speed of this attack there was no time to do that. Jehoshaphat recognizes that their situation is desperate and he knows that the only way out is through prayer and fasting.

Sometime during their prayers he must have heard from God, because what he does the next day is VERY strange. Let's pick it up in verse 21:

21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead
of the
army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy
splendor. This is what
they sang:

“Give thanks to the Lord;
his faithful love endures forever!”

I wouldn't want to be one of those singers! But because of their prayer and fasting, God showed up and delivered them. In fact the army of Israel never had to lift their swords because by the time they got to the battlefield, the armies from the other nations had killed each other off and Israel just walked around and picked up the plunder.

And that's just how God works. In the darkest and most desperate times, He fights for us and provides victories in ways that we can never even imagine. What are you going through today? What are the giants facing you in this life? Through prayer and fasting, God wants to provide a way where there doesn't seem to be one.

About fasting

Wednesday night we had a pretty interesting discussion in youth about the subject of prayer and fasting. I believe that with fasting comes power. God wants us to see that this life is not the end of everything, but the very beginning. If we live with this life in focus then we grab whatever we can now, because tomorrow doesn't matter. But when we live for eternity, we realize that denying ourselves in the short term benefits us forever. The power in fasting comes from giving up something that gives us pleasure in order to focus on what God wants. As I challenged the students on Wednesday, we need to give up something that going to be hard for us.

I love this story in the book of 2 Samuel chapter 24. David has sinned and knows it. Now there is a plague ravaging the country and the prophet has told David what to do to end it. He must go and make a sacrifice to God in a particular spot. The man who owns the field offers to give it to him, but David refuses, and watch what he says:

But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing."

David recognized that when we serve God there should be a sacrifice. Eternal Life is free, but it costs us everything we have. It's important to remember that it was God who created us for His pleasure. We need to live for Him and see His plans accomplished in our lives.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Baptism Service Video

Tyler just finished making this video and I wanted to see how easy it is to post these things online, so here goes...


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What's the fun in hiding all the time?

If you've ever owned a turtle, you know they're no fun when they're in their shells. They don't do anything. Tiff and I had a turtle for a while, but Kadin was scared of it most of the time, and our schedule meant that we were always needing people to watch it. The joy of having a turtle was outweighed by the cost of ownership. Especially since he spent a lot of time inside his shell.

Last week was See you at the pole. I had a couple students peek their heads out and it was a thrilling experience for me. I was so excited to see them step out of the safety and comfort of their shells and put their neck on the line by declaring to their friends what they believed. God was moving in that moment, and I hope these students are beginning to see what God has for them. Because this christian life is meant to be lived, not hidden away from.