So 2015 here we are…..

It’s 2015 and after a crazy year I have decided  to focus more on this blog and regularly updating it, in the hopes it can be an encouragement and resource to others.

One thing that has been on my heart for the past year is the idea of story. As fast as trends, technology and media types and formats change, one of the constants that seems to emerge from culture is the need and want for a good story. We immerse ourselves in TV and Movies to experience a wide range of emotion through connecting to the characters stories. We play video games, some of the most popular of which allow us to join in and be a part of another story. We read books, listen to music and even gather around the camp fire to hear stories. Stories tend to stitch themselves into our cultural fabric.

Where I have been most challenge with this idea of story is in my faith walk and our church culture especially when it comes to evangelism. Our Christian bookstores are riddled with “how to” books with step by step instructions on how to evangelize (not that I am looking to criticize any of the authors, who are much more gifted writers then I). There are courses, video series and conferences all devoted to how to share your faith and win the masses.

Where I have really been challenged is in the idea that our culture loves to hear a good story, the more personal the better. As followers of Jesus, we have the best story ever and it’s different for each one of us. The core Theology isn’t, God came down to earth as a baby, lived a perfect and sinless life. He grew and taught and eventually was crucified on the cross, a perfectly innocent man paying the ultimate price for our sin, taking our sin on himself and making a way that we could have a true relationship with God. That is the same for all of us who have Jesus living inside us.

What is different for each of us is how we met Jesus, how he made and makes a difference in our life where nothing else could. Where he was able to change us, when we could not change ourselves. I think  Christ followers (myself include high on this list) could need to start being able to explain that their life is seldom easier since meeting Jesus, but how it is sooo much better and so worth it. I think if we spent time praying about and looking at our life as an unfolding story of Gods amazing grace and love, people will be drawn to that as we share our story.

There will always be people that want to debate Religion and Theology, and that has a good place to, but when trying to introduce people to Jesus it is tough to argue about someones story and their relationship. I think there is something about sharing your story that make you vulnerable and disarms the aggressions that can sometimes come in sharing your faith. It is just your story, it’s not an agenda or imposing your will on someone else. It’s not about you being “right” and someone else being “wrong”.

I think this is re-enforced to me by;

15 Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life.
Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope.

 

The Hope I have has been revealed to me in Christ Meeting me, changing me and never leaving me. This is a part of my story.

What’s your story?

Far too long

For anyone still checking in on this blog I apologize as it has been far too long since I have updated anything. I hope to have new information coming up soon as well as some great resources that I have been digging through and have been changing my life over the past few years as it relates to family ministry and how God is impacting families, our culture and the next generation.

One Person that I have really be blessed to meet as well as have learned so much from through his DVD’s, free youtube video’s (that’s right, I said free), speaking engagements and books is Brett Ullman.

I have included a link to his website http://www.brettullman.com/

Be sure to check out his Video Blog and you will see an amazingly transparent man of God with a passion to partner with people to wrestle with some of the topics that so many in today’s church culture are afraid or unprepared to talk about.

Please take the time to look through his site and I hope you find his information, his Journey and his heart for Jesus as helpful and inspiring as I do.

 

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the top 10 resources that I have found invaluable for Youth and Family ministry. Until then, Blessings.

Rob

 

 

Coming Soon

coming_soonThank you to everyone that has been reading and commenting.

I have been working on some new material and hope to have a few separate series starting to post in Mid-September. if you have any Family Focused or Parents Ministry Questions or Topics you’d like to see discussed or resources you could use , please feel free to message me.

Thank you for your patience

How we respond.

I may take a bit of flack for this but…… in the light of the events in Newtown CT. I have to say this.

I am soooo deeply saddened buy all of the “This tragedy happened because you took God out of our schools” postings by Christians. I am a Christ follower, and when I read the bible I see that as a Christian I am told to respond to suffering and hurting people with Love, Compassion, Grace and Sympathy. Unfortunately some people feel that painting a picture of our God as being Petty and Revengeful is helpful to those suffering unimaginable heartbreak. I believe that, as much as my heart broke for those suffering through this tragedy, God’s is far deeper. He is not sitting in heaven removed, saying ” I told you so” but weeping with and for those in pain.

I am not saying that there is not a time to have discussions about the theology behind tragedies like this or how policies are made and how we can affect them, but now is not that time.

I for one would rather be known by my love and compassion to those suffering than by agenda or stance on policy. I think Jesus would feel the same way.

If you’d prefer

This post isn’t particularly deep, but something I have been wrestling with as of late and just wanted to share.

Preferences are funny things. Everyone has them about a wide range of things from favorite brands of Ketchup to Coffee to Musical tastes. I think it is amazing when I look at things like this to see the diversity that God created in us. I also think it is interesting the power that Preference can hold over us. It can draw groups together but also the power it holds to fracture or build barriers among people.

One of the idea’s that has been causing me the most trouble is in the weight that our preferences have and how we are able to justify them. Our preferences are created through a wide range of ways, be it genetic disposition towards sour foods, characteristics of our upbringing that cause us to lean towards a way to discipline or the church culture that exists that impacts the ways that we feel comfortable worshiping. The tension comes up when we start to assume that the way we feel is right (and in many cases it is right for us) than how do we relate to those that prefer differently, are they wrong?  And if they are right, than wouldn’t that make me wrong? No that can’t be it, because I don’t like to be wrong.

It can be a dangerous place when we start to think like that, especially when it comes to maters of our faith. We can go seeking in the bible for things that support our preferences (and our “being right”) rather then allowing biblical truth to shape and form our preferences. It can be even more dangerous when we start to transpose our preferences onto God. Why this is soo dangerous is as we subtlety shift out God’s truth for our preferences, we begin to worship God as we think He is or how we think He should be instead of worshiping God as HE says HE is and has shown HIMSELF to be. And at the heart of this is Idolatry. We end up worshiping ourselves and not God, and as Christ followers this is where we can do the most damage to our faith and to others.

 

Fighting for the heart

For anyone that knows me, knows that I am uber passionate about “Family Ministry”. Lately I have been reviewing one of my favorite books,  “Parenting Beyond Your Capacity” . And have really been challenged by the section “Fight for the Heart”. As a parent I have found it incredibly valuable, but as I review, I am challenged by how this can apply to how we as Christ Followers live out or faith.

So often as followers of Christ we are so defined by the things we won’t do or the things that we must “fight out against”. We are defined by our political alliances and where we stand on the hot button topics (Gay Rights, Abortion, bacon crumble or bacon strip etc).  Please hear me, I believe that we need to love justice (God’s justice, not man’s justice) and that as a people of God we are called to stand against injustice. I have found in my own life that many times I found myself in a discussion fighting for a point of view or to prove my stance right (and I am sure I am not the only one).

Where I have been challenged is in my motivation. I mean, I can fight WITH anyone on almost any topic, but to fight FOR someone that is the true challenge. It’s challenging because many times it doesn’t look like a fight, and it isn’t about me, my preferences or wants. It isn’t about impersonal topics or speaking points. It’s about wanting the true good for actual people, the object of Gods affections.

Where this really hits home for me is that in order to fight for people, I have to love them and that takes personal investment. Sometimes that is easy, or at least parts of it seem easy (like fighting for the rights of people that have been victimized), but if I am honest about my calling in life as a Christ follower I am called to love not only the persecuted but the persecutor and that is tough.

I wonder how this world might look different if instead of fighting with the persecutors of the world we were to fight for their hearts. To try and show them such a radical love that they would be transformed and changed. Instead of trying to prove ourselves right with our logical arguments and slick presentations we would rely on the power of Christ and His spirit to give us the Love that we need to truly change lives.

Sometimes I wonder if it just sounds too “Hippyish” all peace love and happiness, then I wonder what Saul would think…….?

New to this, so hold with me.

Ok, I am not a Journalist, a writer or an English major. I am not a Theologian or for that matter particularly smart or wise . I do however have a belief that Jesus changes lives for the better, and a passion to see individuals, families and communities come to know Him, truly know Him in a deep way.

It is my hope that by sharing some of the things that Jesus is doing in my life, the challenges and the victories, that I can be an encouragement to others, and that we can wrestle through what it means to really follow Jesus, together.