A Renewed Perspective As We Start A New Year. Thanks tobyMac!

Just downloaded the new tobyMac album, Eye On It, from iTunes today.  As I was sitting, plugging away at the Task List for the day, a song near the end of the album caught my attention.  The song is “Steal My Show.” If you haven’t gotten the album yet, here is the song and the lyrics.

Another cold night
Another late flight
It’s almost show time, and diverse city is waitin’ on me
We got a packed house, the crowd is callin’ out
They want the beat to drop, but what we really need is You

(Chorus)
If You wanna steal my show, i’ll sit back and watch You go
If You got somethin’ to say, go on and take it away
Need You to steal my show, can’t wait to watch You go-o-o-o
So take it away

So now the crowd is hype, that You showed up tonight
Anticipatin’, cravin’, somethin’ more than smoke and lights
So i’ll step out the way, I’ll give You center stage
Alright, Spotlight give ’em what they came for

(Chorus)

When You arrive, we come to life
Our hearts collide, they’re beating in the same time
You’re comin’ through, all eyes on You
Our hearts collide they’re beating in the same time,
Beating in the same time

No matter who we are, no matter what we do
Every day we can chose to say

(Chorus)

My Life, my friends, my heart, It’s all yours, God, take it away, my dreams
my fears, my family, my career, take it away, It’s all yours, God
Take it away, take it away, It’s You I wanna live for

I got thinking about how much time we as youth leaders pour into planning meetings, planning events, trying to make sure that everything and every part of “the show” is just right.  And I don’t think the motives are usually wrong.  We want to see students coming.  We want to see students being introduced to the Lord.  We want to see students growing closer to the Lord.  After all, this is why we all do what we do – whether vocationally or voluntarily.  But I know, at least for me, I often get so caught up in “the show” and pulling it off that I forget to invite God (maybe its really that I don’t want to let Him) steal the show.  Pray for His blessing? Yup.  Work hard preparing? Yup. Invite Him to steal the show and throw it all out the window to do what He wants? Haven’t prayed that one in a long time.

Praying that God will help me learn this as I am preparing for a new year.

If You wanna steal my show, i’ll sit back and watch You go
If You got somethin’ to say, go on and take it away
Need You to steal my show, can’t wait to watch You go-o-o-o
So take it away

My Life, my friends, my heart, It’s all yours, God, take it away, my dreams
my fears, my family, my career, take it away, It’s all yours, God
Take it away, take it away, It’s You I wanna live for

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What Kind of Leader Are You?

Reading through Matthew I’m struck by the contrast of two men.

On the one hand we have Herod who is insecure, feels threatened by the thought of another potential leader emerging.

Then there’s John the Baptist who is secure, so humble and who exudes strength from that humility.

What kind of leader are you?  Are you a Herod or a John the Baptist?  One is concerned with and builds his kingdom while the other is concerned with and build The Kingdom.

Being Aware of God’s Leading

In chapters one and two of Matthew we find two different accounts of different people who are in tune with God and His voice and His leading.  We read about Joseph who hears from God via an angel in a dream, that he is not to ditch Mary, but that he is to take her as his wife because the baby she is pregnant with is of the Holy Spirit.  OK, let’s be honest.  If you were Joseph and woke up the next morning after that message, would you believe that it was really God speaking to you? Not sure I would have.  In chapter two we read about the magi coming to visit Jesus a while after he was born.  We’re told that they were also warned in a dream to head a different direction and not go back to Herod.

What do Joseph and the magi have in common?  They are close enough to God that they can distinguish His voice and His leading.  There was no question about whether it was some weird dream or the result of something they shouldn’t have eaten the night before.  They heard the voice (told in a dream), woke up and knew it was God and obeyed.

Do you and I have that same intimacy with God that we can hear His voice and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is Him speaking to us?

What impact would that have on our ministry to students if we were that in-touch with God?

God Doesn’t Always Use the Obvious

Admittedly genealogies are those parts I usually skim or skip as I’m reading my Bible.  But as I started studying Matthew again, I was drawn to slowly read through the genealogy this time.  The genealogical line of Jesus has some very interesting people in it.  Each used by God even though we probably would not have picked them to be used.

God often chooses those who don’t seem to fit the profile to accomplish His purposes for His glory.

I think some of the greatest youth workers are those who don’t  fit the profile of what many would think of when they think of a good youth worker.  But they simply say to God, “Here I am, use me.”  I’m grateful for men and women who simply offer their lives to be used by God in the lives of students.

My Summer As An Intern At Aldan

by Seth Cross

This summer has been crazy, busy, and fast, but it has been amazing. It feels like I got sucked into a whirlpool in mid-May and am being released today. For the last three months my whole world has been Youth Ministry. My internship was not just a job, but rather my life while I was with Aldan. I think I have grown a lot and changed a lot these last few months. I have made new friends and learned new skills. It has been very overwhelming but also very rewarding.

My goal for the summer was to determine whether or not I should go into full-time ministry. I have not determined this yet. I love youth ministry, but that is not enough reason to do it. While I am not sure what life will bring for me, I do know that God is at work in this world and in my life. What I have learned this summer is that I need to let go of my dreams and let them die if they must. Only when something is dead can it be resurrected and renewed by God. I am working on trusting God to take my dreams and have His way with them. I am working on trusting that He will give my heart the desires that He wants me to have and to fulfill them as only He can.

Contacting – Being Intentional

One of my team members related this story to me and I wanted to share it with all of you as a reminder of what we do and why.  Afterwards I will comment.

God laid it on my heart the other Sunday that I hadn’t seen a particular student in a few weeks.  Even though that student wasn’t in my small group, on Sunday morning when I woke up around 6:30, I sent them a short text message that simply said, “Missed you. Will you be in Sunday School today?”  A few hours later that student walked into Bible School.  When I saw them and went over to say “hi,” I asked them if they got my text message earlier. They said, “Yes, that’s why I’m here.”

Sending that text message took no more than thirty seconds.  Was it a huge undertaking?  No.  But it did require being intentional.  Contacting isn’t always a huge time commitment, especially not in today’s technological world.  You don’t even need to re-arrange your entire life and schedule around it.  BUT, it does require being intentional.  It is a huge part of shepherding.  We have the unbelievable privilege of speaking into the lives of and sharing our lives with students.  Be intentional and watch the way God uses those small acts to open doors into the lives of kids.