youth ministry

Youth ministry is ultimately a calling to faithfulness

When I was in Michigan for Open Grand Rapids I had the chance of catching up with some families in Romeo. I left that time really, really encouraged.

For some, it was the first time I’d seen them in almost 6 years. But you know what? For everyone, it felt like a couple weeks when we were last together.

Christian Living illustrations

Picking Faithfulness

Each day is full of choice. Most are benign, seemingly meaningless. For some the payoff is immediate, like what to eat or wear or to do after work. For others the payoff is delayed, like plans you make, what you say to your kids, or the work you do.

I’m learning that I have to be intentional to pick faithfulness instead of ease, experience, or even wisdom.

If I’m honest… it’s the wisdom one that causes me the most trouble. All-too-often wisdom leads me to make the safest choice. It could also be that wisdom is different than Wisdom and little w wisdom often leads you to do the thing that makes the most sense instead of what is the most faithful.

Recently, I was spending time in Hebrews 11, and it kind of hit me… in most of these cases the author of Hebrews is celebrating someone’s action which their contemporaries probably thought was reckless, lacked wisdom, or was downright stupid.

  • Abel’s sacrifice didn’t seem reasonable… it seemed too far.
  • Enoch walked faithfully with God for 300 years…
  • Noah built an arc in his backyard, everyone thought he was a moron until it rained…
  • Abraham was prosperous where he was at, but as an old man God told him to move, can you imagine what his poker buddies called him?

On and on, Hebrews 11 drills home this point. Pick faithfulness. 

  • Faithfulness is wild, untamed, and unpredictable.
  • Faithfulness makes old men walk away from retirement.
  • Faithfulness redefines conventional wisdom.
  • Faithfulness asks you to exchange safety for trust.
  • Faithfulness will invite your friends to think you’re an idiot.
  • Faithfulness will ask you to do the bold– stupid in your friends eyes– while overcoming the weaknesses of your personality, position, and preparation.
  • Faithfulness calls preachers to become poets.
  • Faithfulness calls executives to become moms.
  • Faithfulness calls geniuses into factories.
  • Faithfulness calls the dyslexic to become physicists.

Defy logics last stand and embrace faithfulness. 

Christian Living

1-2-3 Jump

Photo by Carla MacNeil via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Moses. Abraham. David. Joshua. Daniel. Jonah. Isaiah. Nehemiah. [Insert your Bible heroes name here____.]

There is one important reason that you know their names and not the names of the thousands of people God may have called at the same time. People with higher status in their day. From better families. People who were probably more recognizable as they walked the face of the planet. 

God gave those men an opportunity to do something for Him.

And they jumped. They actually did it.

We don’t know if God had called others who didn’t listen first. But the point is that you know their names because they jumped.

They heard God’s voice in the desert or in a burning bush or through a prophet or in prayer or in the belly of a whale.

And they acted.

They could have heard God’s call and ignored it. And God, in His grace and benevolence, may have allowed them to live a very nice and safe life.

But they didn’t.

They heard God’s voice, turned around, and… jumped.

Here’s the thing that blows me away: That same rare voice heard in the desert or the belly of a whale or in a burning bush… He lives in us as we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit.

The question for us isn’t:Where will we have to wander to hear the still, calm voice as He lives inside of us.” The question is… “When He calls us to do something, do we jump?

I don’t know what God has called you to do today. But I have committed my life to the idea that when I hear the still, calm voice– sometimes loud, booming, audacious voice– that I will jump.

Jump first. Let God count the cost.