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Organic Christianity… keeping it real in the youth ministry

Organic Christianity…Something the Pastor said in passing yesterday that has been stuck in my mind and obviously needs to go from pen to paper. Pricey organic foods are all the rage in healthy eating, although for the most part I have to wonder if it’s merely a difference in labeling than foods, and no different than the others on the shelf. I’m not real trusting of marketers. I’m even less trusting of many who share the gospel; one of the many reasons I’m a KJV (King James Version) girl. Just give me the basics. Is that not what organic is… just the basics. No additives or preservatives, its good just like it’s grown!

At a youth leadership meeting yesterday our discussion was around ways to improve the youth ministry, it’s always a subject of debate on ways to engage youth in the service. I was engaged with youth yesterday in the service, my three grandchildren. Curtain climbers that they are… I however was not engaged in the Pastor’s message for the distractions and concerns about the babies distracting others. Children are not born with social graces… it comes in time. I’m not so sure I’ll live that long. Insert grin here.

But the debate is, how do we change how we’re serving the Lord and keep the basics?

Luke 9:34-35; a portion of the scripture of the transfiguration of Christ says “While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.”

According to commentary the appearance of Moses and Elijah symbolically represented the law and the prophets. But God’s voice from heaven – “Listen to Him!” – clearly showed that the law and the prophets must give way to Jesus. The One who is the new and living way is replacing the old – He is the fulfillment of the Law and the countless prophecies in the Old Testament. Also, in His glorified form they saw a preview of His coming glorification and enthronement as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The disciples never forgot what happened that day on the mountain when they saw the new Jesus, yet He was still the basic. He was still the same, yet visibly different; God doesn’t change. That’s what I want to see happen in our youth ministry. I want it the same, yet visibly different. I don’t want to get away from the King James Bible, or reverence of God’s house; after all a youth program should be a training ground for servants, not an entertaining ground ~ but there’s nothing wrong with something new! The problem with new is it pushes us out of our comfort zone, but I’m not really the expert on that because I have the personality that embraces “new.” I do however understand that everyone does not, and as a leader I have to be considerate of that and make “new” softer and flexible if I want an excellence in the ministry for which I’ve been called to serve in. Because it’s not about me, it’s about everyone.

Shane Duffy’s definition of excellence in the ministry is found in John 12:24

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Excellence is giving up something good for yourself to provide something great for someone else. Youth ministry is not for everyone, but it’s for someone. It’s a sacrificial ministry. And there have been times that I have felt as if I was sacrificed on the altar of insanity. It’s those times when people who have not been called to the ministry look at you like your crazy and say… “you want to do what with the kids?” Let me rephrase my statement about the youth ministry not being for everyone. It is for everyone, but in different capacities. If it’s your church you’re either a part of it, a supporter of it, lest you be a hindrance to it. It’s important that there are multiple people with multiple ideas involved else you get someone like me that goes to the extreme.

Perry Noble in a recent leadership podcast said this about extravagance….

Excellence is the overflow of attention and hard work where Extravagance is something you buy so it looks like there was hard work involved. If the average person doesn’t notice the difference, what we’re using becomes a toy, not a tool. We need to makes sure that what we’re using is a tool to reach people for Christ, not a toy to entertain. Spend money on what matters, otherwise it’s extravagance.

I love that! I needed that!

Because I love toys in the ministry. I like shiny things and far too often they’re just attention getters and take my eyes off Christ. If we want something new, it needs to be for the basic concept of drawing young people into a relationship with Christ, and families into to the church. Just the basics… organic, grounded in the gospel Christianity…. With perhaps a side of bling…

Hope this helped you… it sure helped me today!






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The Miracle in the Mirror


Easton Zayde born 4.28.14

I arrived at the hospital a few nights ago about an hour and a half after the birth of my great-nephew Easton Zayde. I’d have made it before the birth, had I not stopped at Walmart to get Easton his very first birthday present, and my husband his 53rd. They now share a birthday! I had stopped to pick up some fishing gear for David and was asking the assistance of a man who happened to meander into my aisle (not a clerk.) A few words into the conversation about which “Ugly Stick” I should buy, he mentioned the Lord. For those who don’t know such as myself, an Ugly Stick is a brand of fishin’ pole. But on with the story… thirty minutes later, after a bible study on end time events, I left the sporting goods department with an Ugly Stick and a high tech reel that has flashing lights and sounds, just what every Fireman needs I figured, and a new found friend in the faith who understood the miracle.

I finally made it to the hospital and was holding that beautiful little boy and I couldn’t help but think how much I already loved him. I’d just known him a few minutes and he’d done nothing other than arrive by the same means every other child does, through the miracle of birth, but he had my heart. I don’t want to make light of his experience, I could tell by his misshapen head (which will correct itself) and his desire to sleep, he’d had a pretty rough day. It wasn’t easy coming into this world; he’ll soon find out it’s not easy living in it either. Easton Zayde had no clue what a miracle he was.  He was just glad to be in his mommy’s arms with a full tummy and a warm fuzzy blanket.

As Christians we sometimes live our lives forgetting that feeling of the miracle of salvation. We want to tie the word miracle to some event or happenstance that we’ve seen occur when everyday there’s a miracle in the mirror.

I looked at the joy on my niece’s face as she looked over every inch of that little boy. She was so proud! As well she should have been. It was then that I thought, “That’s how God looked at me the day of my salvation!”

“That’s my girl! He looked at me anew; always before I’d been covered by sin and unapproachable. But now I was His child, made new by the blood of His Son. And since that day He’s held me in His arms. I don’t understand why everyone cannot see the miracle of God at work in their lives; although I should because I was one of them until the age of 34 when I got saved. But even in Jesus’ day, when they witnessed in person miracle upon miracle there were those who chose to deny it was of God.

John 11:47

Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.

What they didn’t understand was they themselves were one of the miracles! The harshness of the world had taken away their reality of knowing Who God was.

Don’t let the harshness of the world deprive you of calling to remembrance that glorious day when Jesus saved your soul. And if you have a minute or two today, post in the little comment box at the top of the page what great thing God has done in your life. You never know how someone could be touched by you!

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It’s Not About the “Place”

1 Kings 22:43

And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.

The temple was completed, there were no need for the “high places” of worship. My first thought as I write this morning is, “how on earth did I get here?” This was not my intended thought to write upon, but it seems so necessary. Jehoshaphat was a good King. He was following in his father’s footsteps, he was trying to do everything right, but there was that “one thing.” That act of disobedience that was a distraction from the house of God. There was no reason that the people could not worship at the temple, they had that freedom; but the high places were loved by the people because of their antiquity and so they were left, against God’s word.

We all have that “one thing”. That one thing that takes our eyes off where we are to serve God. We are a people who love traditions. And while traditions have their place, because it’s good to see where we’ve came from and respectfully remember those that lead us to this place; but there comes a time when we have to move on. When those places become a distraction from actual worship and more of a repetitive action or should I say repetitive distraction.

The high place is not a bad place.

My beloved Victory Baptist Church is in a state of transition. Our Pastor, who we love, has decided that it is God’s will to move on. He has Pastored our church well for 21 years, he told me about Jesus and changed my life forever, and countless others in our congregation. He brought revival into our community and taught us how to serve God. He discipled us before he sent us into the community and considered his station behind the Holy desk of God as one of accountability and responsibility. He took strong stands in the face of opposition… he did right as did Asa, Jehoshaphat’s father… I Kings 15:14b says ~ “Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days.”

And Jehoshaphat followed in his father’s footsteps, he continued in the right way, except for one the thing… those high places. Those high places had become what the people were looking to instead of the Lord. Certainly they worshiped the Lord there, but the “there” became as important as the Lord.

Victory Baptist Church has long been the victim of multiple rumors. I’ll not give credence to any one of them here, but let me just say there were MANY! We have been a watched congregation. Every time someone fell out of fellowship with the Lord it was noted. When the church was founded in 1992 their motto was “Discover the Difference” and it was that difference that got cheers and jeers. What was the difference?… accountability for one. The new Pastor held his leadership to a high standard. If you talked it, you better have walked it and that unsettled those who thought God didn’t mind slacked standards. I better be careful, I’m bordering preaching. 🙂 We loved our Preacher, we treated him well, and people took note of that too.

But here we are in this transition. And people are watching. They want to know if it was real. Were we there because of the leader or the Lord?

Where we were was not a bad place. It was an awesome place. But it’s moved and now we’re here. We will continue in the path of righteousness. We will continue on the Word of God (King James Version), but under a new leadership, one that we’re excited about. We are anxious but waiting for the new place. We’ll love him too.

When I began writing this today, I did not know that I would end up in “this place.” The place where I have to say it’s not about the place, or the man; it’s about God, our mighty Redeemer. Jehoshaphat and his people left those high places standing and it took their sights off God. I don’t want that for my church.

Perhaps your church is in a time of transition. Tear down the high “places.” Let the Word of God stand. The traditions of man mean nothing unless it’s God’s design. We have to move in to the new place. Get ready!