Friday, August 28, 2009

What do you do?

In a facebook status of mine the other day I mentioned I was out having coffee with a potential youth leader for our student ministry, and lunch with a mentor/friend. I received comments (obviously sarcastic and said in jest) making reference to every time I update my status it often involved things such as coffee, lunch, slacking. Yes, for me this is part of my job. Yes for me, taking kids to the beach, or camping for a week, or out for coffee is part of my job.


If I wrote of all the heartache & heartbreak that I experience being a Youth Pastor...seeing students turn their backs on Jesus and walk away from their faith...I wonder if anyone would ever want to do what I do? (my exact facebook status)

This is the other side of what I do. This is the side of my job that deals 100% with student's messy & broken lives. At lunch yesterday with Ron (my mentor/friend) we talked about five years ago when he taught me "Career Youth Ministry" while at Briercrest. We laughed at the fact that all the other 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year students who were taking the course were asking such naive and foolish questions about what it would be like to be a Youth Pastor.

- How much will I make?
- How many hours will I work?
- Do I get an expense account?

I was there taking the course already having spent 6 months in the trenches of Youth Ministry. So before and after class Ron and I met to talk about my reality, and what I was dealing with as I journeyed through life with my students.

The life of a Youth Pastor isn't all slurpees and dodgeball. It won't ever be...because lives aren't ever that simple. And for some reason God has chosen a screw-up like me to help students recognize that even if they screw-up...that God has an incredible plan for them, that he loves them, and wants to them to live their lives for Him. But even that isn't that simple to get across.

David Sawler--a Canadian, and author of a book called "Goodbye Generation" says the following ...
"I am convinced that being a minister of youth is one of the emotionally draining jobs in the world. There are extreme highs and extreme lows. Nothing will bring you as much joy as working with this age group, and nothing will bring you more pain."

Yup. You sure got that right David. I couldn't say it any better myself.

1st Thessalonians 2:8 says "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us."

I share my life daily with my students. I need to live a life marked by honesty, integrity, vulnerability, passion, prayer, and the ongoing pursuit of becoming more and more like Jesus.

I can only pray that the students that I share my life with will make that same decision. It's not an easy decision to make. But it's the most important decision anyone can ever make.


Friday, August 14, 2009

God's Chisel

thanks Derian for this one!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Noah's Alberta Trip pt.2 (family)

Like I promised, here are some pictures from our trip to Alberta. Noah got to meet a lot of family that he'd never met before.

Hanging out with Grandma & Grandpa Smart

Waving "hello" with Great-Grandma From

Getting to know Great-Grandpa From

"4 Generations"

Another pictures with Great Grandma & Great Grandpa

Noah misses his family already, but the great thing is that he will get to see many of them again in September when we all meet up at Jesse's wedding in Idaho.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Noah's Alberta Trip

For the past 3 weeks Noah got to travel out to Lethbridge to visit family. We were SO proud that he was a very good boy on both of his flights. A lot of the time spent was meeting family, and visiting with his mommy's friends.

Of course I wasn't with them for the first 2 weeks. But I did get to join them for the past week. Once I had arrived out there we got ready to travel up to Red Deer to visit Noah's Great-Grandma & well as many aunts and uncles. On our way up to Red Deer Noah went to the Calgary Zoo on his mommy & daddy's 5 year wedding anniversary. He had a fun day...but I think we'll have to take him back again soon when he can really experience all the animals!

Here are some pictures from the trip:

I will do another post soon with all the pictures of Noah visiting with his family.


Friday, August 07, 2009

what spiritual life really is...

I received this great quote today and I just had to pass it on...

Then we discover what the spiritual life really is. It is not a matter of doing one good thing rather than another, of praying in one way rather than in another. It is not a matter of any special psychological effect in our own soul. It is the silence of our whole being in compunction and adoration before God, in the habitual realization that He is everything and we are nothing, that He is the Center to which all things tend, and to Whom all our actions must be directed. That our life and strength proceed from Him, that both in life and in death we depend entirely on Him, that the whole course of our life is foreknown by Him and falls into the plan of His wise and merciful Providence; that it is absurd to live as though without Him, for ourselves, by ourselves; that all our plans and spiritual ambitions are useless unless they come from Him and that, in the end, the only thing that matters is His glory.

Thomas Merton

I hope it was as encouraging to you as it was to me.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Josiah's gone to be with Jesus

My heart ache's tonight. As I sat and read Andrew & Marie's blog telling the story of how their son Josiah has gone to be with Jesus, I could somewhat--as a father myself--understand how deep the pain of this loss would be for them. Yet I know that I could not even begin to "feel" what they are feeling as I type this.

Josiah was an amazing boy. I have known this little guy since he came into the world. I have followed his progress and set backs, and have seen how his life has impacted so many people. Just recently Andrew and I have had the chance to grab coffee and have "dad chats". I loved being able to talk with him about each of being proud daddy's to our sons.

Please pray for Andrew and Marie. I know that they have hope because they know Josiah is now with Jesus--free from the physical limitations he experienced on earth. But please pray for each of them as they walk these next few days on this journey.