10.16.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! Monica, Nancy, Michael and I are headed to LA today and would love your prayers!
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
WWJP: “What would Jesus Post?” (Bracelets coming soon) #johnston (Haha!)
Your praise is contagious – So is your complaint. What are you carrying today? #furtick
God isn’t nearly as concerned about what we’re doing for Christ as He is committed to forming Christ inside us. #voskamp
“If your life does not worship God, your lips do not worship God either.” #Tozer
 
 
FYI:
 
 
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
The Scary Truth About What is Hurting Our Children by Becky Mansfield (Blog post but some good data.)
Genius Ways Companies get Kid to Do Their Marketing for Them by Caroline Moore (Interesting!)
3 Vital Tips for Leading Discussion in Small Groups by Trey Gilmore (You know this but still good!)
What the Future of Leadership Looks Like by Tim Elmore

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/70470/the-one-who-died-for-all?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=spot1-2249484&utm_campaign=nl-10/11/2017-2249484
(I’m playing this at training! Zo and Jon… start learning your moves!!
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 

Alarm Bells for Leaders

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  (Galatians 6:7-10)

We can’t pull a fast one on God. He sees all and cannot be deceived. He notices our shortcuts and also our efforts when we do well. To ensure that we live by this truth, seek others to hold you accountable and act as your “alarm bells.” Invite others to ask you tough questions, such as the following:

  • Is my personal walk with God up-to-date?
  • Am I keeping my priorities straight?
  • Am I asking myself the hard questions?
  • Am I accountable to someone in authority?
  • Am I sensitive to what God is saying to the whole body of Christ?
  • Am I over-concerned with building my image?
  • Do I put more stock in “events” rather than “process”?
  • Am I a loner in my leadership and personal life?
  • Am I aware and honest about my weaknesses?
  • Is my calling constantly before me?
Learning to Lead Like Jesus
 
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
Learning to lead like Jesus is a lifetime journey that begins with humility. “Better to say I am learning, than to say, I have learned,” wise and humble words indeed from Dr. Charles Stanley spoken to me and several staff members at First Baptist of Atlanta in the late 1980’s. As a young pastor, this seasoned leader helped me understand to first follow the Lord Jesus by continuing to learn and grow. For example, don’t say “I’ve learned to be a patient leader”, rather, “I’m learning to be a patient leader”. This reminded me to be a humble, teachable and ever-growing leader who is desperately in need of God’s grace to carry out my responsibilities.
Learning to lead like Jesus is for leaders who desperately need the Holy Spirit’s direction, the Father’s wisdom and the Son’s encouragement. Leaders who are learning to first follow Jesus, learn well. Learning to lead is a lifelong education. We never graduate from Christ leadership school, but we do advance as we become wiser students through our own struggles, failures and successes.
“Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister, and call understanding your kinsman” (Proverbs 7:4).
Wise leaders are learners, but if they stop learning they cease to lead wisely. Leaders who learn ask the right questions, get the most accurate answers, and are able to make the wisest decisions. “How can I get out of the way as the leader, and support the team to be successful?” “How can our organization go from good to great by integrating and sustaining best practices?” The Lord can’t wait to pour out wisdom on earnest and humble hearts seeking to gain what only He gives.
James, the brother—who experienced first hand Jesus’ wise words and actions— defined wisdom in this way: “But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile” (James 3:17, Amplified Bible).
Before Steve Jobs died, wouldn’t it have been wonderfully insightful and inspiring to ask him about the pinnacle of his creation: the Apple iPhone? Seriously, if we wanted understanding into the motivation for and the purpose of his world-changing invention, Steve would be the logical starting point. What was he thinking? What motivated his perfectionism? What was his vision?
In the same way, why not first seek wisdom from the Lord of creation whose majestic exclamation point was humanity—you and me? Doesn’t it make sense to learn how to think from the Divine who molded our mind? Understand how to care for our bodies from the One who perfectly meshed billions of unique cells into a living being? Or engage the heart of God to feel and express the emotions He embedded into our heart, soul and spirit? Wisdom from our Maker makes us more like Him and less like foolish inferior idols. We learn to lead like Jesus by looking to Jesus!
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me wisdom to learn to lead like Your son, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Application: What specific area of my leadership needs to grow more into the likeness of Jesus?
Blessings, Kendall

10.02.17

Seven Terms That Summarize Generation Z’s Mindset by Tim Elmore

growingleaders.com

In 2016, Growing Leaders hosted five focus groups, made up of high school and middle school teens, from various states across the U.S. Our purpose was to uncover the mindset of these students and how it has shifted from that of the Millennials.

Today, I offer you six commonly used terms that seem to summarize Gen Z (kids growing up in the 21stcentury). In addition, I will provide a summary of how we can best lead them, given their mindset (psyche) and circumstances.

1. DIY

You know this term: Do It Yourself. Today’s students have grown up in a world of “do it yourself”—from purchasing products on-line, to pumping gasoline, to tailoring their Nike shoes to Googling answers. Generation Z learned from their Millennial counterparts who believed what adults told them: graduate high school, do community service, get a degree from a four-year college and you’ll end up in a great job and career. For millions, life did not turn out this way. Gen Z plans to be less conventional with their future opportunities. They are “hackers” who plan to figure out what works best for them, even before they graduate.

Our response: Our leadership style should resemble The Home Depot motto: “You can do it. We can help.” Instead of hovering over them like helicopters, what if we let them process their goal and the steps to reach it—and we act like consultants, not supervisors.

2. GPA

This acronym has been used for decades to describe a student’s Grade Point Average. Over the last forty years, the importance of GPA has been rising among high school and college students. A recent Bates College study found that a high school GPA is the best indicator of success in college—not standardized test scores. It’s become so central that it’s produced anxiety among students who made it a “god,” not a “guide” for success. Today, although some colleges have lowered requirements due to lower enrollment, GPA remains a high priority for students and parents. In fact, the top two pressures teens feel today are family stress and their GPA.

Our response: Our style should resemble the Kit Kat slogan: Give Me a Break! Help students lighten up on the GPA scorecard. Academics are important but over-stressed students do worse on exams. Put grades in perspective and be sure kids have margin in the day to reflect on what they really learned. No doubt, some kids need to learn to concentrate—but many need to learn how to be at peace.

3. FYI

We use this term all the time: For Your Information. Generation Z is all about this: both sending and receiving more data than any generation before them. They’ve never known a day without social media. They no longer need adults to get information. What’s scary is—much of the information is fake, damaging or outright lies. But, alas, information rules the day. The information overload has led to angst and depression as kids’ brains consume more than 10,000 bits of data each day. Herbert Simon once said, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

Our response: We must help them “filter” the information coming at them. We must talk about what online content is worth their time and what isn’t. We must alert them to how damaging multiple personas on social media can be. We must help them to reject “friend requests” or sources of information that could be distracting or damaging. Students need to be encouraged to embrace the phrase: “Less is more.”

4. FOMO and FOLO

These terms have become popular over the last 5-7 years: Fear Of Missing Out and Fear Of Living Off-line. They arose due to social media posts revealing fun stuff going on in friends’ lives (particularly if you weren’t invited) and feeling your life pales in comparison. Hours on Instagram or Facebook actually foster angst and depression—from seeing how great others’ lives are (or at least “great lives” are being projected on social media). Let’s face it. Today, we have never been less self-aware, yet more socially aware. Further, much of what kids fear they’ll miss out on are unnecessary; like pictures of food on Instagram or ridiculous shows like The Kardashians or The Bachelorette.

Our response: Our leadership style should be more like Nike: “Just Do It.” Host conversations with students to show them that paranoia over what they’re missing causes them to miss out on what’s right in front of them. They frequently stress over items that are out of their control and miss items that are in their control.

5. OJT

We learned this term when we got our first job or perhaps when we launched our career: On the Job Training. Generation Z plans to be educated, but they intend to start working earlier than Millennials. They may be school “hackers” rather than attend a four-year liberal arts college. Their resume may look more like a “mutt” than a thoroughbred, as they do MOOCs (massive on-line, open courses), internships, gigs, and certificate programs. While GPA is important, OJT is on the rise as equally important.

Our response: Our leadership should mirror Aetna’s new slogan: You don’t join us. We join you. If students are going to practice metacognition, adults must let them do the work, create the plan, make the mistakes—and even fail. Not all high school grads should go to college, especially if career preparation is better found in vocational training or tech schools. The world is different now and employers know it.

6. OMG

This term is overused today, in my opinion. It’s commonly used on a text or via social media to express: “Oh My Gosh!” or “Oh My God!” This term describes the high level of emotion Gen Z experiences. In a global survey, teens’ view of their own generation is: lazy, curiouscarefree, motivated, positive, and excited. That’s a pretty honest assessment. They’ve grown up in a day of hyperbole and nonsensical humor, as well as impulsive remarks on social media—and lots of emotion. To get heard, it seems you have to stretch the truth and use boatloads of exclamation points and emojis.

Our response: Back in 2005, Coca Cola first used the slogan: Make It Real, probably a derivative of their earlier phrase: It’s the real thing. The irony of students is that they claim to value authenticity, yet they may buy into more fake and disingenuous communication than anyone. We must remind them: Emotions make a wonderful servant but a poor master. Truth is most potent with no added artificial ingredients.

Question—Can you think of any other descriptors and solutions?

09.25.17

Ten Steps to Maturity for Teenage Boys by Mark Gregston

heartlightministries.org

Fifteen is the age when a boy moves into manhood while still holding on to the boyish ways of childhood. It is a time when parents need to be extra vigilant to help him make it through the transition smoothly, and therefore not get stuck at this stage for several years.

Age 15 is when your son’s thoughts and his expectations crash like ocean waves amidst a sea of change. It’s the end of one tide and the beginning of another.  At the very least, it’s an awkward season. Increased hormones, growth spurts, voice changes, muscles, and moving from concrete to abstract thinking all tend to make a young man feel a jumble of both invincibility and vulnerability.  And as a first step toward making up his own mind about life, everything you’ve taught him will be questioned.

This is a “convenient” time for a mom and dad to detach and drift alongside their teen as he is busier with extra-curricular activities at school and spends more time away from home. But this is no time for parents to back off. It is a critical and pivotal point in time where a parent can steer a son away from childish thinking and move him toward more mature thinking.

Your son needs to learn from you how to be respectful during a conflict, to be honest in the face of confusion, and to remain obedient in times of disagreement. It’s a time for some serious character-building. Sailing these waters can be a tough time for parents… but more than ever it is the right time to be available and to be firm.

So how do you go about making a smooth transition?

First, determine the “state of your child.” If things are already getting strained in your relationship, move toward them out of compassion, not frustration.  Approach the harshest situations with humility, but carry a big stick.  I don’t mean a big stick in relation to punishment, but I’m referring to your authority as a parent to set the agenda and to say “No” when you need to.

Parents today strive to be a friend of their children more than a parent. But as most soon find out at about age 15 when conflict erupts, they’ll wish that they had more of a “parent role” than a “friend role.” I’m here to tell you from years of experience that it is never too late to jump into the parental role, and trust me; there will never be a better time for boys than at age 15.

If you’re seeing behavioral problems, it is important for your son to know that you will stop at nothing to change the inappropriate direction he is headed. If you don’t know what to do, find help from others who have been there.  Or, contact our on-call coaches for more help.  Just call our Family Crisis Helpline at 866-700-3264 or visit www.heartlightministries.org/crisiscoaching for more information about that service.

A parent will do well to start with the following list to-do’s beginning on your son’s 15th birthday:

  1. Ask your son to begin making more of his own decisions. “Where should we go to eat tonight? What would be good for us to do on our vacation?  What movie should we get this Friday? What charities do you think would be good to support?”
  2. Ask for his input or point of view.  How would you respond in this situation?  How would you discipline differently?  What you do think about what’s happening at school?
  3. Give him an opportunity to respond correctly. He may not respond to your giving him more responsibility appropriately at first. So give him another opportunity to get it right. Display empathy rather than judgment. The way you go about it is sometimes more important than the message itself. Remember, a gentle answer turns away wrath. How you respond to him will determine how he will respond to you. Be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen, gentle, and humble, and give him another chance to respond correctly.
  4. Set clear boundaries. In times of trouble, don’t move away from your child, move toward him. Immaturity demands that you place boundaries around his inappropriate behavior. You may be thinking, “Well, you don’t know my kid and how he mistreats me.” I admit, I don’t. However, I do know that if you do nothing to rein in the bad behavior you see in your 15-year-old son, it’s only going to get worse, not better.
  5. Help your son learn how to say “No” by honoring it when he says “No.” This is another boundary issue. Honoring his boundaries will help him learn to honor others’ boundaries.
  6. Admit when you are wrong. Admitting when you are wrong will help your son understand that everyone makes mistakes, and models how to behave when mistakes happen.
  7. Shift control before you think he is ready for it. Yes, he will blow it, but he will also learn some valuable lessons from doing so, but only when you… (see number 8).
  8. Force him to take responsibility for his decisions. Don’t say, “I told you so,” or, “I should have made that decision instead.” Allow him to figure out what he should have done instead, and force him to own up to the consequences of his choices.
  9. Encourage him in his good decisions. Point your comments toward his successes, not his failures.
  10. When your son responds with maturity and responsibility, then move him up to the next level. Expand the limit and expectations and expect him to meet new requirements. For instance: “Honey, I think it’s great that you have a job now. If you are willing to save your money, I will match it and help you buy your first car.”

I encourage you to take advantage of this time to help your son make a strong transition to the smoother waters of responsible adulthood.  Age fifteen is a great time to sail alongside him through the rough and tumble waters of adolescence. Thankfully, he won’t be 15 forever.

09.18.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
If Jesus returns tomorrow, then tomorrow I’ll rest from my labor. But today I have work to do. #bonhoeffer
 
To focus on Jesus as just an example is to reduce him from sovereign Savior to ethical coach and to transform the gospel into law. #keller
 
Bad evangelism says: I’m right, you’re wrong, and I would love to tell you about it. #keller
 
The goal in life is not to be in charge, but to depend on and rest in the wisdom, power and grace of the One who is and will be in charge. #tripp
 
FYI:
1. Communicating with Teens… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/09/communicating-with-teens-2/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=8fa4ead912-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-8fa4ead912-126726953
 
2. Bad Fad Alert: Hot Water Challenge… https://homeword.com/2017/09/07/bad-fad-alert-hot-water-challenge/?mc_cid=9aeff038c4&mc_eid=759fd44a0d#.WbUwWK2ZN0s
Parents your role really matters… https://homeword.com/articles/parents-your-role-really-matters/?mc_cid=2784de0f84&mc_eid=759fd44a0d#.WbCRt62ZN0s
 
3. Loving your hard to like kid… https://www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/loving-your-hard-kid/
 
4. Crippling Behaviors That Keep Children from Growing into Leaders… https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/01/16/7-crippling-parenting-behaviors-that-keep-children-from-growing-into-leaders/#d1eec775957b
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
10 Steps on Giving Your Volunteers Feedback by Dale Hudson
Criticism vs. Feedback: Why You Must Know the Difference as a Leader by Dale Hudson
Understanding Teens and Their Smart Phone Habits (emarketer)
Is the Bible Relevant Today? by J. Warner Wallace
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/57201/our-stories
 
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/69175/a-new-creation?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=spot1-2208619&utm_campaign=nl-08/30/2017-2208619
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Bouncing Back

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. –Proverbs 25:11 (NLT)

As a junior in high school, I was devastated when I was cut from the top volleyball team and sent to the second team. I felt disappointed, embarrassed and dejected. That evening, I spoke with a friend who passed on these words of wisdom, “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce back that matters.” I wrote the quote on my mirror and committed to doing my best for this new team, instead of sulking over my personal loss. Instead of continuing to fall and spiral, I committed to bounce back.

What I learned that day is that what happens to me in life doesn’t count as much as how I react to those things. I had a choice the day I was cut from the team: I could wallow in misery and quit the team, or I could choose to fight through my circumstances and work hard to improve. Each day, choices like these present themselves. When people are cruel, I can choose to accept their apology or let my bitterness grow. When I am treated unfairly, I can vengefully plot a way to get even, or I can seek the Lord’s wisdom and demonstrate patience as He shows me what to do. When I am fired from a job, I can learn from why things did not work or I can blame everyone else around me for my misfortune and never learn, grow or change. When I am congratulated for a job well done, I can either pat myself on the back or thank the Lord for providing me with the skills to succeed.

Life throws different circumstances our way every day, both good and bad. Wherever you are in your life, it is important to remember that people are watching and looking to see how you are living your life. You will long be remembered, not only for what happened to you in your life but for how you handled life’s circumstances. When those circumstances cause you to fall, I challenge you to bounce back!

TAKE A MOMENT (Anonymous)

Recently I took a few moments to reflect on Psalm 139.  The following is my personal, devotional paraphrase of the Psalm that I wrote as in response to that reflection.

Here is my Psalm 139 paraphrase …..

You know my heart – You have searched me – You have gone the distance –taken the initiative – and therefore You know me.

You know what I think–You know what motivates me to action and contemplation because You know my every thought.

You know what I do – what my habits are – You are very familiar with my ways – the ways in which I move through life – from my active and social times to my quiet, somber and restful times – You know me well enough to discern my every habit.  You know me better than I know myself!

You know what I will say – all of it – before I even say it – every word of it!

Even though You know me – You love me.  I know this because Your hand of love and protection surrounds and covers me – You know everything about me – heart, mind, body and soul and yet You still love me that much.

I don’t get it.  This concept is impossible for me to grasp.

I don’t know if I can take so close a relationship – it scares me – I want to hide – but there is no place to hide from You. There is nowhere in the highest heavens or the lowest depths to hide – You are everywhere.

I can’t get up early and try to fly away.  It doesn’t matter how far I travel.  It doesn’t matter where or when I go anywhere.  You will still be there with me, guiding me, holding me tightly.

I can’t use darkness as a cloak – the light of Your presence just melts the darkness away.  You will still see all of me – my heart, my thoughts, my actions, my words.  And I will still be the object of Your love.

You made me – I am Your creation – not some random grouping of cells and DNA – I have a soul – an innermost being – that only You could make –  You gave me my mother – I am no one else’s daughter – I came from her because you placed me – heart, mind, body and soul – within her.

I am unique – tenderly planted and watered from conception – created as others, yet different from them all – I am Your wonderful work – from the depths of my soul, I know that.  I know that I am Yours and for that reason alone I am wonderful.  What a wonderful thing You have done!

I am in Your book.  Somewhere in Your book there is a chapter about me – written when I was only a thought in Your mind’s eye.  You knew what I would look like – I was not a surprise or a secret to You – You thought of me, wrote of me, planned my days for me – and then you knit me together like a perfectly fitting garment – exactly matching the vision You had of and for me.

You are always thinking precious thoughts about me.  Not negative thoughts.  Not thoughts of disappointment.  Not thoughts of anger.  Just precious thoughts!

You never stop thinking about me.  You think more about me that I do!  Even when I am sound asleep, resting my mind – You are still thinking about me.  I couldn’t even begin to count the thoughts you have of me.  There are not enough numbers!

You are so grand.  And, You are so good.  You are the creator who knows everything.  You write it all down in Your book. You can do all of this – so why don’t You stop evil?  I am the object of Your love – why don’t You keep evil away from me? Why did You include those stories in the pages of Your book? They are Your enemies.  They intend to harm You.  They lie about You – hate You – speak lies in Your name.

I hate them!  I abhor them!  They are my sworn enemies – all I feel for them is hated.  They hate You so I hate them.

I wonder what You think of them?  You created them too. Are they the objects of Your love?  Do You love them in spite of their failings – as you do me?  Must I love what You love? Must I love an enemy?  This kind of thinking makes me anxious.

I want you to search deeper inside me.  No more trying to run and hide.  I want You to know my heart – I want You to examine every part of me.  Examine these disquieting thoughts I have.  If my way of thinking and being is taking me in the wrong direction, lead me in the right one – always lead me in the right way.  May I live my days – heart, mind, body and spirit according to the vision You had for me – the one You wrote in Your book.

Blessings, Kendall

09.11.17

Hi! Hard day for many…. Dear God may we choose to cling to faith instead of crumbling in fear, may we discover Your presence in every moment, may we trust Your love and faithfulness, may we cling to You as You hold us in Your unrelenting grip of grace! In Christ’s Name Amen.
 
Sending love and prayers for miracle after miracle to many right now!
 
I am praying for each one of you right now! 
 
I know many classes are starting this week… please continue to pray for one another!
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
 
The evening news must not dictate our theology. Christ reigns and His kingdom will endure forever. #Helopoulous (Thanks, Debbie!)
 
The same God that hears you in the sunshine is the same God that will answer you in the storm. # lecrae
 
Learn to grow your ‘no’ so God can bless your ‘yes’. Saying yes to everything will never lead to success. #lusko
 
The goal in life is not to be in charge, but to depend on and rest in the wisdom, power and grace of the One who is and will be in charge. #tripp
 
FYI:
 
2. New study debunks friends with benefits… https://acculturated.com/new-study-debunks-friends-benefits-relationships/?utm_content=buffer6090b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer&utm_source=Daily+Briefing&utm_campaign=e6d28a9526-Daily+Briefing+07%2F28%2F17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ed3d9d5277-e6d28a9526-273669925&mc_cid=e6d28a9526&mc_eid=a5401c43e5
 
 
4. Recognizing and Preventing Mean Girls… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/07/recognizing-preventing-mean-girls/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=5667cebe92-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-5667cebe92-126726953
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
Are Smart Phones Damaging Our Kids by Dale Hudson
How to Reach the Most Exhausted Generation in History by Aaron Helman
Who Are the Unchurched? by Gary D.Foster Consulting
A Confusing Culture for Teens and Parents by Mark Gregston (Good thoughts and reminders.)

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/69291/known?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=banner2-2208619&utm_campaign=nl-08/30/2017-2208619
 
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/64988/no-other-king?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=no_other_king-2207483&utm_campaign=fp-08/26/2017-2207483
 
Here are 2 just for you:

Rejoice in the Lord’s Sovereignty

The next time you fear the future, rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty. Rejoice in what he has accomplished. Rejoice that he is able to do what you cannot do. Fill your mind with thoughts of God.

“He is the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25).
“He is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
“His years will never end” (Psalm 102:27 NIV).

He is king, supreme ruler, absolute monarch, and overlord of all history. An arch of his eyebrow and a million angels will pivot and salute! Every throne is a footstool to his. Every crown is papier-mache next to his. He consults no advisers. He needs no congress. He reports to no one. He is in charge.

Sovereignty gives the saint the inside track to peace. Others see the problems of the world and wring their hands. We see the problems of the world and bend our knee.

 
3 Ways the Gospel Shapes Our Definition of Success

How do you measure success?

All of us, I think, have some internal barometer by which we measure ourselves. And we apply that measure to all different kinds of activities. We apply it to everything from our career to our families to our relationships all the way down to our daily diet.

And of course we do. Because we all want to be successful, whatever that means in our particular version of it. But the problem with our version of success is the same problem we have with all of life – because of sin, this definition is misshapen. It’s warped and marred. It’s broken.

As a result of its brokenness, we need to feel successful in order to validate ourselves as people. We need that mark of achievement to make ourselves feel secure and worthwhile and, ultimately, lovable by others.

In other words, we fundamentally look to our definition of “success” to do that which can only truly and lastingly be accomplished in Jesus. But when we believe the gospel, when we become the children of God by faith alone and in Christ alone, we see our definition of success start to change.

How specifically does that happen? I’d suggest at least these three ways that, by God’s grace, I’m seeing in my own life:

1. Success is less about metrics and more about faithfulness.

If success was truly all about achieving some metric, then Jesus was an absolute failure. Abandoned by His friends, having failed to seize the momentum that was His, Jesus completely dropped the ball. But Jesus knew that success was ultimately measured in faithfulness to what God had called Him to do and be, and that’s precisely what He is and did.

In the same respect, there are all kinds of ways we might achieve some kind of metric. We might bend the financial rules in order to meet the required revenue at work, we might take advantage of others in order to climb the ladder, we might sacrifice our integrity on any number of altars to produce the right result. But the gospel reminds us that obedience to the will of God is what we are after.

2. Success is less about what you’re doing than who you’re becoming.

Apart from Christ, we will almost inevitably define success in terms of accomplishment. We have to keep getting promoted, we have to keep making more money, we have to keep moving up in the social circle. But the gospel steps onto this devastating treadmill and simply states, “Enough.”

When we believe the gospel, we come to understand that God is going to shape us into the image of Jesus. And to do that, He’s going to use any and everything at His disposal. One of the most effective tools He uses for this shaping is our failure. For it’s when we fail that we are pushed to remember again and again who we really are – that no matter whether or not we achieve some other measure of success, we are once and always children of God.

If God’s aim for us, then, is to be like Jesus, then the gospel helps us deal with failure by refocusing us not on what we are doing (or failing to do) but instead who God is making us to be.

3. Success is less about what you’re accomplishing than who you’re influencing.

We are people-users. This is one of the ways all our relationships are broken by sin. We will always default to looking at others as tools to be used for our own benefit our pleasure. And when we do that, we often find that people are a great stepping stone for our own goals.

But the gospel reshapes how we see others. No longer do we see them as tools of utility, but fellow image-bearers of God. We begin to understand that we cannot leave a wake of bodies in our pathway, no matter how much doing so might propel us toward some goal we have.

Consider today, friends, how you define success, no matter where you find yourself. Consider it, and then let the gospel speak through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we do that, we will stand apart from a world of people who are clamoring for their own piece of the pie.

Blessings, Kendall

08.28.17

Rescuing iGen: Teens Raised on Smartphones Need an Escape Plan by Eric Metaxas

breakpoint.org

It seems like millennials are always texting, swiping, browsing, Snapchatting, Instagramming, or wasting time in some other way on a device, and dinosaurs like me have been quick to complain about it. But it turns out millennials, most of whom remember cassette tapes and graduated high school with flip phones, were old enough to ride the technological wave of the 2010s without getting sucked under.

Writing at The Atlantic, Jean Twenge points out that there’s another, younger generation that got pummeled by the smartphone revolution.

Those born after 1995, typically called “generation Z,” were just entering their teen years when Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone. Appropriately, Twenge dubs these young people, “iGen.”

Unlike millennials, these kids cannot remember a time before the Internet. Like laboratory mice, they’ve been the unwitting subjects of a historic experiment. What effect has this had on them?

Twenge paints a bleak picture, and it goes far deeper than the typical concerns about diminished attention spans. Smartphones and other devices have shaped these teens’ worlds, from their social lives to their mental health.

Teen suicide has skyrocketed since 2011. One survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that teens who spent ten hours or more a week on social media were 56 percent more likely to experience symptoms of depression. According to two national surveys, those glued to screens at least three hours a day were 28 percent more likely to suffer sleep deprivation.

It doesn’t end there. The younger generation is spending less time outside than any other crop of kids—ever. Twelfth-graders in 2015 spent fewer hours out of the house than eighth-graders did in 2009! They don’t get their driver’s licenses as early as their parents did, they’re more than twenty percent less likely to have jobs, and they aren’t even interested in spending time with friends, at least not in person. The number of teens who regularly get together socially has dropped by an astonishing forty percent since 2000.

Where are they spending all their time? Well, mostly at home, in their rooms, staring at screens. One teenager described the crater she’d left on her bed from spending all summer Snapchatting. Another admitted, “I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”

“iGen,” Twenge concludes, “[is] on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades.” And overuse of technology and social media is the most obvious culprit.

Well, here’s the good news, and I know you’re ready for it: Research indicates that much of this is reversible. Kids and teens who spend an above average amount of time with friends in person are 20 percent less likely to say they’re unhappy. Fewer hours spent staring at a screen correlates with better sleep. And as blogger, Andrew Sullivan, put it recently, cutting back on online time just makes you feel human again.

“If you were going to give advice for a happy adolescence…” writes Twenge, “it would be straightforward: Put down the phone, turn off the laptop, and do something—anything—that does not involve a screen.”

Restricting your kids’ smartphone use may not sound like the best way to stay on their good side. And if they’re older, you’ll need to explain yourself, and reach agreements as a family about technology, not simply lay down the law. Why not show them this commentary?

You may find that your teens are more open to setting boundaries around screen time than you think. After all, their devices are not fulfilling them. Members of iGen may be in a better position than anyone to understand that there’s nothing smart about being enslaved to a phone.

08.21.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 
 
I know most of you are super busy right now (training and kicking off your classes…) so please be praying for one another!!!! 

 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
 
Quotes:
The power that raised Christ from the grave is the power that resurrects hope in our hearts. #lucado
 
Without the gospel we hate ourselves instead of our sin. #keller
 
The only way into the presence of God is from where you really are — not from where you wish you were. #furtick
 
Until Jesus is enough for you, no person or thing will ever be. #furtick
 
 
FYI:
4. Six Prayers to Pray for Students as School begins… (below)
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
How Gen Z is Changing Television as We Know It by Dale Hudson
New Survey: Millennials Learn More from Technology Than from People by Tim Elmore
Real vs. Fake Relationships by Leneita Fix (I have been reading so much about this lately… good for us to help them navigate.)
Four Gifts Every Student Needs From You This Year by Tim Elmore

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
God’s Leaders Have a Higher Standard

 

Priests… must be holy to their God and must not profane the name of their God. Because they present the offerings made to the LORD by fire, the food of their God, they are to be holy.   Leviticus 21:6

Ministers of the Gospel submit to a higher standard and answer to a holy authority. There is something special and fearful about being a vocational servant of Jesus Christ. This is not a role to be undertaken lightly or to be chosen casually, as some secular career paths. God places eternal expectations on priests, pastors, and ministry leaders. Leaders in the church have the Lord as their baseline for behavior. Deviant behavior is unacceptable for those who lead on behalf of the Lord. 

The leader’s character is his greatest asset. Someone cannot determine acceptable behavior based on what he wants when the Bible and church history have already defined the standard. How hypocritical and foolish to think leaders can flaunt immoral behavior when church members are disciplined for the same sin. Double standards may be for the uninformed and the unaccountable, but not for faithful and educated followers of Christ. How surreal to need to declare that character in the church matters! A church or ministry leader cannot practice immoral living and still lead the Bride of Christ. They cannot practice homosexuality, adultery, stealing, or lying. They cannot practice unfaithfulness in any of its destructive forms. 

“An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly o the trustworthy message as it has been taught so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:6-9).

There is a holy obligation for leaders to model and teach holy living as defined in God’s Word. Holiness is not a creation of culture but defined by God. Leaders of God’s church and ministry are to be holy as He is holy. Therefore, you can’t say you are a leader on behalf of Jesus Christ if you embrace and endorse the very sin for which He died on the cross. It would be the epitome of hypocrisy to do so. . 

Holy leaders do make people thirsty for God. They shine their light of holy living on the Lord. Embrace His higher standard, and expect the same of your church and ministry leaders. Elect men and women of the cloth who behave biblically, whose character aligns with Christ’s, and who model faithfulness, not perfection. They are not conformed to this world but transformed by God’s truth. 

The Bible is clear: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3).

The Brave Friendship of God

 

Oh, the bravery of God in trusting us! Do you say, “But He has been unwise to choose me, because there is nothing good in me and I have no value”? That is exactly why He chose you. As long as you think that you are of value to Him He cannot choose you, because you have purposes of your own to serve. But if you will allow Him to take you to the end of your own self-sufficiency, then He can choose you to go with Him “to Jerusalem” (Luke 18:31). And that will mean the fulfillment of purposes which He does not discuss with you.

We tend to say that because a person has natural ability, he will make a good Christian. It is not a matter of our equipment, but a matter of our poverty; not of what we bring with us, but of what God puts into us; not a matter of natural virtues, of strength of character, of knowledge, or of experience— all of that is of no avail in this concern. The only thing of value is being taken into the compelling purpose of God and being made His friends (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-31). God’s friendship is with people who know their poverty. He can accomplish nothing with the person who thinks that he is of use to God. As Christians we are not here for our own purpose at all— we are here for the purpose of God, and the two are not the same. We do not know what God’s compelling purpose is, but whatever happens, we must maintain our relationship with Him. We must never allow anything to damage our relationship with God, but if something does damage it, we must take the time to make it right again. The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack.

Six Prayers to Pray for Students as School Begins

Like many other families, we are trudging back into school this week after a great summer. For our part, our kids seem neither despondent nor over the moon, but somewhere in the middle. They’ve had a great summer, but they’re also ready for a change, and ready to get onto the new possibilities this year in school will bring. So here they come – a rising 7th grader, 5th grader, and 2nd grader.

Here are some of the prayers we are praying for them as they begin this year:

1. Free these children from the idol of popularity.

Oh, how seductive is this idol. I still feel the pain of knowing when someone doesn’t think well of me for some reason, and even as an adult I feel the tug toward compromise if it means being well-liked. Even while feeling that temptation, I remember well the intense desire to be invited to the right lunch table or the best birthday party. I’m praying that our kids would, by God’s grace, find their worth and identity in Jesus rather than in the “likes” they receive from others.

2. Guard their hearts from materialism.

It’s inevitable that kids are going to come in contact with others who have different brands of clothing, whose parents drive different cars, and who live in different sized houses. The love of money is fostered and nurtured from a very young age, most of the time through comparison with others. We are praying that the Lord would guard these growing hearts from this and instead would help them to learn a sense of gospel-centered contentment in any situation.

3. Help them see our home as a safe place.

In classes, on the court, in the band, and most other places the kids will encounter a spirit of competition in which they will not only be tempted, but encouraged to be the best, whatever that means in that particular environment. But, please Lord, may our home be a safe place. Help them to see that at home, they can be themselves, with all their insecurities, fears, and hurts they could never show somewhere else lest they be considered weak.

4. Create in them a desire to communicate.

“Fine.” That’s the dreaded, but common, answer that often comes when a parent asks their children about their day. We continue to pray that our kids would go past this stock answer – that they would communicate honestly with us about the real things that are going on in their lives. We continue to pray that, because our home is safe, our children will confide in us the things they aren’t willing or able to say anywhere else.

5. Teach them perseverance through their studies.

With each grade jump, the homework seems to grow more and more intense. While I’m still able to help our second grader with his math, our seventh grader has moved beyond my capacity. That’s a difficult thing for me, but it’s an opportunity for them to learn a greater lesson for life. The perseverance to keep at it, though it means hard work, will prove (I think) even more valuable in the years to come than their mastery of the quadratic formula.

6. Help them understand more deeply the greater purpose of education.

I remember the tunnel-vision of the teenage years, how you can only focus on what is immediately relevant to you at a given moment. Those were the days when life seemed to begin and end with each test or game or whatever. But in education, as with all things, there is a greater purpose for those who know Jesus. That greater purpose is to honor God through stewarding the resources He’s given us, including our brainpower. Education is a means to love the Lord our God in yet another way and glorify Him through the effort we bring to the task in front of us. We are praying that God would, by His grace, begin to expand our children’s vision for this greater purpose.

These are not the only prayers to pray as this school year begins, but it’s a start. And while we’re on the subject of prayer, here’s an extra one that I’m praying for myself and my wife as we get going in another fall:

Help us, Lord, to represent your kindness, compassion, discipline, and forgiveness that you perfectly display in the gospel through the way we parent our children.

May it be so, Lord.

Blessings, Kendall

08.21.17

New Survey: Millennials Learn More from Technology Than from People by Tim Elmore

growingleaders.com

In June of 2017, our organization, Growing Leaders, collaborated with Harris Poll to conduct a survey and discover the perspectives of various generations in the U.S. The survey looked at how different generations feel prepared for adult life; whether they had/have an adult mentor preparing them for adulthood; how overwhelmed they are by daily life and the role technology plays in learning.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll from June 28-30, 2017 among 2,264 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older. Some of the results were quite profound.

  • 70% of U.S. adults say children growing up today will not be ready for adult life (i.e., life after graduation from school).
  • 2 in 3 U.S. adults (66%) say that when they were in their teens, they had an older adult (other than a parent) who positively impacted their life. Baby Boomers age 65+ (59%) are significantly less likely to agree with this than all other age groups, but particularly Millennials age 18-34 (71%).
  • Nearly 3 in 5 U.S. adults (58%) say they learn more information from technology than from people. Millennials age 18-34 (69%) are significantly more likely to agree with this than those ages 45+ (50%).

So, let’s interpret what these numbers seem to be telling us.

First, while all generations agree that we need adult mentors to help us prepare for life and leadership, the youngest generation surveyed says they learn more from technology than they do from people. So, seasoned veterans either need to:

a. Find a way to connect with the younger generation online and invest in them via a screen—since it is their natural habitat. In this option, we discover ways to redeem social media for constructive purposes.

b. Encourage them to meet face to face, believing some skills or qualities are better cultivated that way than on a screen. Hence, we give them what they need—not necessarily what they want.

If we believe there are soft skills (employability skills) that cannot genuinely be learned and practiced on a screen, we must engage our young adults in meaningful conversation and experiences that convince them of this as well. This means we have to be more than “talking heads” downloading information to students. We must create environments that magnetically attract the young and coach them. While 7 in 10 Millennials say they have an adult in their life, screen time still prevails, and they don’t feel ready for the leap from backpack to briefcase.

Here is another takeaway from the survey.

A large percentage of respondents regularly feel overwhelmed with everything going on in their daily life. However, the generational difference is substantial with 59 percent of Millennials significantly more likely to agree with this statement than those age 45+, at 32 percent. In short, the younger the person, the more likely they are to feel overwhelmed by everyday life.

As I dug through the findings, a conclusion came to light. At least so far, content on a screen has failed to prevent a person from angst, or feeling overwhelmed. In fact, quite the opposite. The more time we spend on screens, the more likely we are to feel overwhelmed by the information. There is a direct parallel between the rise in social media and the rise in anxiety among adolescents and twenty-somethings.

My Conclusions

The findings indicate to me that the need of the hour is face-to-face mentors. Real-life experiences, not virtual ones. Genuine relationships, not social media connections. Authentic conversations full of transparency and trust, not Tweets or Snapchat videos condensed to a few sentences. We need depth—not breadth.

Emory professor and author Mark Bauerlein recently said something that may explain a phenomenon in America today: “Students spend less discretionary time with adults than in former generations. They have never been so present with each other (online) than they are today.”

In times past, one chief element that prepared students to move from graduation to their career was the time they spent with adults who, in many ways, apprenticed them for adulthood. This would include educators, family members, coaches and employers. This survey indicates many Americans wonder if that’s working anymore.

Today almost one-half of the world’s population is 21 years old or younger, and they’re poised to lead our world into the future. This survey tells us we, as a society, have progressed into a new reality. Most of us don’t believe kids will be ready for adulthood when it arrives. Our young people don’t need us for information, but they need us for interpretation. Adults must find a way to pass on timeless values and principles our young will need, regardless of the complex world in which they live.

08.14.17

The One Thing That is More Important Than Your Reputation by Tim Elmore

growingleaders.com

For years, educators, employers and parents have told our young adults to build their personal brand. Now that folks can do this on-line, it’s become the pursuit of millions of 20-something Millennials and teens from Generation Z. Every young person wants people to recognize and follow their “brand.”

However, because our personal brand can be constructed through an inaccurate persona we post on social media platforms, I am concerned our students have received the wrong message. They are in a hunt to build a “reputation,” but they are building it on an insecure foundation.

This is a subtle shift from the past, but an important one.

While I believe our reputation is vital in a community (a school campus, a club, a company or with our social media followers), it is an outcome that can be achieved artificially with little or no substance. I have never seen so many young people pursue “image management” as I do today. Unfortunately, our young people have learned this from their elders. After all, most of the outcomes we’ve put on them are external (like grades, behavior, or athletic performance), not internal.

Our Culture’s Push to Create a Reputation

Coach John Wooden always said, “Your reputation is who people think you are; your character is who you really are.”

I have seen this quote illustrated countless times. It takes the form of a college student who works tirelessly on his or her reputation but has very questionable character. When people discover who they really are (which eventually happens in time), the truth is a letdown and their social media reputation eventually catches up to reality. The resume they padded, the Instagram account they set up, the website they built, the social media messages they sent—all lose meaning. In short, people discover our true integrity via intimacy. When our integrity is sketchy, intimacy is lost and reputation sinks.

Once again, it’s a let down.

Author Donald Miller echoes this when he says, “People don’t judge who we are, they judge who we’ve led them to believe we are. The more time and effort we put into making ourselves look great, the longer and harder the fall when the truth comes out. And eventually the truth comes out.”

My Resolve to Change Pursuits

Over the years, I have decided to ditch working on my “reputation” and work on my “reality.” In other words, my integrity is the key to solidify how others view me. Remember, the term “integrity” simply means “one” or “whole.” In math, an integer is a single digit. When I have integrity it doesn’t mean I’m a perfect leader. It means what I say and what I do are the same. I am transparent about who I am. It’s the opposite of hypocrisy. As I work on my character my reputation takes care of itself, because I am not pretending to be anyone other than who I really am.

At Growing Leaders, I air much of my dirty laundry to my team and we laugh at my humanity. As a Type 1 diabetic, they’ve all seen my vulnerabilities, when my blood sugars go low and I can’t think straight for a bit. They’ve seen my weaknesses because I disclose them. I ask for help. I don’t merely hide behind my strengths. We talk through the glaring mistakes we all make so there are no “elephants in the room.” The phrase I often use with our team is: Let’s take our mission seriously, but let’s not take ourselves too seriously. This doesn’t mean I am not serious about building my character, it simply means I am authentic in the process.

Integrity beats image. Character beats reputation.

So, let’s allow our reputation be an outcome, not a pursuit. Let’s work on our character and not on our image. When others judge us, let’s not react, but stay steady, developing a robust character that will cause others to not believe any gossip about us and hence, maintain our solid reputation.

Consider this statement Donald Miller makes: “People only judge those who claim to be better than others…more righteous, more moral. When I’m ethical, I just look good. When somebody who works on their reputation isn’t ethical, they find themselves in social court. Working on our reputation is just a dumb move.”

Axioms to Live By:

1. To the degree I pretend, I lose a proportionate amount of intimacy. I can’t be close to someone if there is pretense. Intimacy demands transparency.

2. When I focus on reputation, I turn life into a game or contest and keep others at arm’s length. I wear myself out keeping score on both me and others.

3. When I’m caught up in my image, I must remember all the white lies I’ve told, which becomes laborious in relationships. We can forget who we really are.

4. When my pursuit is an amazing reputation, I can be prone to distort, deceive, or exaggerate my stories or descriptions. The end justifies the means.

5. When I am proactive about my lifestyle, and live by principles, most of my reputation and image issues take care of themselves.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Character is like a tree and reputation is like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it, the tree is the real thing.”

08.07.17

Hi! Happy August!! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Complaining is like throwing up. Afterwards, you feel better but then everyone around you feels sick. #gordon
 
A happy person is not a person with a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. #Downs
 
When the enemy points to everything I’m not, I point to everything God is. #furtick
 
God’s grace is not just an addition to our life. It’s a contradiction to our life. #keller
 
As leaders, we are never responsible for filling anyone else’s cup. Our responsibility is to empty ours. #Stanley
 
 
FYI:
 
1. Top Questions to ask college students before they head to school… https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/questions-college-students?utm_source=E-Journal+%2F+Parent+Update&utm_campaign=67215008f2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e88a54a953-67215008f2-312895925&mc_cid=67215008f2&mc_eid=4cf06de2c7
 
2. Gen Z most diverse media users… http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2017/youth-movement-gen-z-boasts-the-largest-most-diverse-media-users-yet.html

3. How Living Counter-Culturally Can Lead to Your Kids’ Resentment of Christianity… http://christianmomthoughts.com/how-living-counter-culturally-can-lead-to-your-kids-resentment-of-christianity/

Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
Addressing Sexuality With Teenagers by Michael Guyer
6 Tech Habits Changing the American Home  by Barca Group  
Do Christian Teens Really Believe in Jesus? by Group Magazine
One Act That Improves Kids’ Emotional Health by Tim Elmore
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

I may have posted this years ago but it is absolutely awesome! Totally worth your time!!
 
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
God’s Timing 
 
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1
God’s timing can be frustrating, but it eventually leads to freedom. Perhaps you strongly desire something or someone. It is right at your fingertips but you can’t have it now and that frustrates you. The timing is not right, for whatever reason. It may not be right for you and/or it may not be right for the other person. However, you can allow this frustration to lead you to freedom.  
God may be protecting you from failure because you are not ready for the grueling responsibility that lies ahead. There are still valuable lessons to learn where you are. It’s like your last semester of school. You are way past ready for graduation, but there are still final exams to study for and pass. You need to do your best where you are before moving on to God’s next assignment.  
“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days”  (John 11:5-6).
Timing is everything. Your son really needs you right now during this challenging stage of his life. The insecurities of his teenage years are eating him alive. He needs extra attention and time from you to navigate through this uncertainty. This is a season, a season that will not be repeated. Your career can wait; children can’t. Yes, children are resilient and may not even say anything during difficult times, but you can rest assured that they will never forget that you were there for them. The security and confidence you sow into your children will stay with them for a lifetime. Your absence will stick with them as well. Fearful and insecure adults were once fearful and insecure children. So, allow this season of life to build bridges rather than barriers between you and your children. It is just for a moment in time. In the blink of an eye, they will be gone. 
 
Learn to celebrate various seasons of life. Do not resist them; embrace them. Join the wonder of their realities. The marriage of your adult child is imminent, so celebrate the occasion. Do not let the stress of the details and the outlay of cash rob you of the joy connected to this momentous occasion. You can rest in the fact that He has brought these two together. This is what you have prayed for concerning your child. You have prayed for a marriage into a God-fearing and Christ-honoring family. You have prepared them the best way you know how.
Ultimately it is in God’s hands. As the father and the mother of the bride or groom, learn how to let go and allow them to become one flesh. Your relationship will look different going forward. This is a new stage of life. So, do not try to control them. Let go of them and leave them in God’s hands. Your ability to adapt and adjust to new seasons of life has a direct correlation to your joy and happiness. God’s timing can be a surprise.  It is rarely early and never late.
Jesus understood this when He said to His mother, “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come” (John 2:4).
 
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the patience to wait on Your best and the humility to glorify You in the process, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
 

Why It’s Worth It

Ministry–let’s be real shall we–it isn’t always glorious. It isn’t always rewarding. It isn’t always easy.

You don’t usually hear that right out of Bible college or seminary. You hear just the opposite: You’re equipped! Thousands like you have gone before. Take the world by storm. Be Jesus to the masses.

Ministry is Hard

The reality is this: ministry is difficult, messy, full of broken people, and not about you. This can lead us to some very hard places. Places of doubt and anxiety. Feelings of am I good enough? We may question our calling and if it’s time to move on. 

I’ve been there. In fact, if I were completely honest, I’ve been there more times than I care to admit. I just walked through a period exactly like I described. Feelings of doubt. Questions of calling. Hurt. Depression. Worthlessness. Asking God why…

The truth is I questioned if I was to be in ministry after a very, very hard season. A season that saw much pain and grief. A season marked by a lack of affirmation, being moved without understanding why and wondering why we were leaving good students who we loved and cared for.

“God,” I cried out, “Why does it hurt?! Did You not call me to this? Why is there so much pain? Such heartache? Do you have a plan? Am I washed up?”

Many of you are or have been there. You question why. You wonder if you’re called. You take a break from ministry to heal and consider not going back. You cry…for hours, days, months…you’ve been there. I have too. 

But It’s Worth It

But in walking through this I have seen that it is worth it. That God has a plan. That ministry can and will get better. That there is light at the end of the very long tunnel. That we are called. That the enemy will try to use doubt, inadequacies, hurtful comments, critical natures, and rough patches to try to turn you from being God’s faithful servant.

Brothers and sisters hear me: we are CALLED according to God’s purpose, by the One who foreknew us, and is using us to accomplish His WORKMANSHIP! Ministry was never meant to be easy. We are called to a life of difficulty in ministering to a world that has turned its back on its Savior. There will be moments of SUFFERING, moments of FRACTURING, but also moments of GREAT JOY!

We do not do this for our own affirmation. We do not do this for notoriety. We do not do this to be the best friend of students or to be the most popular youth pastor. We do not do this to be liked or given gifts. We do not do this to be the center. We do this to point to the Center: our Savior.

My friends. My co-laborers. Know that ministry is hard, but it is worth it! We may not always see it on this side of eternity, but know that you can continue to serve because our rest and OUR REWARD IS IN HIM AND HIM ALONE. The author and perfecter of all things! It will get better, God will use you, lives will be changed, and God will say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” Ministry is worth it!