I work with the most dangerous demographic of people on the planet. No other group of people has more potential to shape, damage, improve, impact or create the future than teenagers. In light of the tremendous responsibility to lead and guide these individuals toward God I make decisions that may not make sense at first. When I speak I’m very transparent. It does a tenth grade boy no good for me to pretend that I don’t deal with the temptations and pitfalls he faces. He needs to know that just like him, I’m fighting for purity, self control, integrity and an intimate relationship with God.
My staff is young. Including me there are six of us on staff with Northwood Student Ministry. At thirty I’m the oldest. Last week I made a decision to take precautions based on statistics. During my brief time at Elevation Church one of the things that challenged me as a leader was their decision to protect their male staff. It’s believed that one out of every seven Pastors in the United States is addicted to pornography. At Elevation every computer has Covenant Eyes loaded before it is given to male staff members.
Last week I created a Covenant Eyes account for each member of my team including myself. I’m sure there are several companies out there but I’m very impressed with Covenant Eyes. This is not a filter program but simply an accountability system that sends your online activity to your selected accountability partners. I didn’t ask my team’s permission. I’m not interested in their thoughts on this subject. I care too much about them, their future or current spouses, and as much as I can effect it their walk with Christ.
There are things in life that we can pay the price financially, relationally or emotionally to deal with before a problem starts or escalates that if we fail to deal with will guarantee a much larger price tag in the end. Take the time to speak with your spouse, student, friend, coworker today about your sexual integrity. Our impact on the next generation is at stake.
After all the insanity of last week and the difficulty that awaits me this week at least I’m not this guy.
http://view.break.com/545222 – Watch more free videos
I’m back and feeling as though I’ve let you all down. Unfortunately I had no access to the internet while we were on our trip last weekend and even if I did, there would have been zero time to blog. At any rate, today I’m spending my day with my family. I think they still remember me. I have a couple days at home before I’m taking my staff away to a lake house for a couple of days to do some serious conversation about what the future holds for Northwood Student Ministry.
Here’s a little recap of our adventure to Florida. I’ve done a lot of student trips in my time but this was one for the books.
Thursday: 5am – Everyone is on time except for the bus and it’s driver. Bus arrives about ten minutes late.
Thursday: 1pm – Arrived safely in Florida however our four houses aren’t ready to be checked into. five hours later we move in but one of our homes is a bedroom short of what we booked leaving us to scramble for places for everyone to sleep. Bus driver complains about our schedule and that he’s staying in a hotel ten miles away (even though it’s the nicest hotel in the area).
Thursday: 8:30pm – At Boggy Creek Airboat rides with a check for more than our balance. Wait for 30 minutes while our swamp boy friends figure out how to handle it. End up having a fun time on the Florida swamp.
Friday: Spend the day at Islands of Adventure. Great time, no complications. Bus driver complains once again about our schedule and what time we are heading home the next day.
Friday: 10:30pm – The two ladies’ homes discover that while we were gone all day their homes were broken into and around $500 and six or seven iPods have been taken. Police are at the homes until 12:30am.
Saturday: Bus driver complains about cleanliness of the bus to a student prompting a frustrating conversation with him from me. Spend the day at Universal Studios. Almost no complications except for the Jaws Ride being so lame and having to go to guest services to retrieve two students who had gotten separated from our group.
Sunday: 12:15am – Arrive back in Charleston safely. Relieved that this trip is finally over.
All in all it wasn’t the worst trip I’ve ever been on but it was one of the most unique. The kids were safe and well behaved. We didn’t have to go to a hospital. I had a great time getting to know some students. I’m excited to see what we walk away with from our retreat this week. I’m quite sure we’ll never have a trip like this one again.
Big thanks to my staff and volunteers for all their hard work and flexibility making this trip happen. I’d also like to thank the Sheriff’s Deputies that patrolled our homes all night Friday. Let’s hope that’s the last time we have fingerprints taken on our trips.
I’m not sure if that’s the appropriate phrasing but I’m feeling guilty for my slow pace of blogs lately. I do however have good reason to have such lack luster performance on the world wide web lately; work has been busy. I’m very excited about what lies ahead but there is so much plan, cast vision, prepare for and then finally actually begin doing. Not to mention that tomorrow at 5am I’m leaving on my first trip with my new group of students and leaders. We’ll be in Orlando and if I can, I’ll blog with pics about our adventures. Hopefully I’ll capture some video as well. Anywho, sorry about the slack blogging and I’ll try to do better soon.
This is my life today. Trip in three days, environments to get ready, staff to lead, family to see, desk to clear. I’m sure I’ll pull through eventually.
Reunited and if feels so good.
Tonight I’ll be with some of our Student Ministry volunteers watching what looks to be THE movie of the summer. I’m so excited about seeing Heath Ledger in what people are saying is the most amazing performance of his career. Sad to see him gone.
My number one spiritual gift (after multiple tests) is faith. I suppose that means I believe God IS ABLE TO DO what He says He can do. In other words, I believe God is capable to do anything but I also understand that He may not move the way I think He should. Over the years my faith has driven my wife a little crazy. She’s a planner and a metrics kind of person. She’s more comfortable being able to measure, see and touch the circumstances surrounding our life.
Recently our Ford Explorer’s transmission died (I believe I’ve mentioned it). Since we live so close to the church and we have another vehicle that works, I really wanted us to put some feet to our faith. The natural reaction to an unexpected $2500 bill is a complete freak out. That reaction in no way honors God. We wanted to do everything we could to come up with the money to fix the truck and ask God to do what we couldn’t. We were in a “if God don’t, it won’t” situation. We just didn’t have the money and we didn’t have a way to come up with the money.
Then we got an email from a wonderfully generous couple. They felt that this was an opportunity to be obedient to God in their own lives by blessing us and paying for half of our bill. Needless to say we were grateful and once again taken aback by God’s provision.
The very next day we got an email from the owner of the townhouse we had in Charlotte letting us know that our lease has been taken over and we were free from our agreement that would’ve lasted through November and we would be receiving our security deposit back within a week. That deposit will almost cover the rest of our bill for the Explorer. FAITH!!!!
Now, we try hard not to use faith as God currency but in this situation He simply provided almost all the currency we needed to fix our vehicle. I’m so thankful that we are surrounded by people who pray for us and allow God to use them on our behalf. I’m also thankful for the opportunity for Anita and I to put some action behind our hearts and trust God in a difficult situation.
I know cars are just cars but this was a great faith step for us. Please continue to pray for the Joye’s as they are showing great faith and heart in a much more important and serious circumstance with the health of their baby girls. Thank you Mr. Chen for dealing so kindly with us and our move. Thank you to the couple that blessed us. Thank you Anita for trusting, supporting and believing in me to lean on God for our needs. What a great God we serve!
Today was a very busy day. It started with an early wake up call of 5:15am so I would have enough time to ride the pink bike once again to 6am prayer. Each Wednesday several people in the church gather for pray and Bible study at 6am. I love it when I get there but I hate getting up that early. After prayer I had lunch with Keith. Keith is one of my volunteers and a guy I’m going to be meeting with regularly to discuss life, God and the collision of the two.
I stayed in the office after breakfast because my “to do” list was long and critical. We leave for our student trip to Florida a week from tomorrow and there is a lot to finish in order for that to happen. I finished quite a lot of my list prior to 9:30am. Since the day was proving itself to be somewhat productive I treated myself to a little ping pong and a lunch with Brian my worship leader. The afternoon was spent getting ready for our student environment on Wednesday nights. Kyle, one of our dedicated volunteers, and I did a little sketch that became a really long sketch/game. Tonight was a lot of fun and it was great to have Kevin, our Middle School Pastor, back home.
Tomorrow should be great. I’ve planned a secret offsite for my team for tomorrow. I sent them a “what to bring” list and we’re meeting at the office in the morning. I’m excited to spend some quality time with all of them before we really start digging in and taking large strides together planning for the future of Northwood Student Ministry.
Kevin brought me a car to use while the Explorer is getting fixed so the days of the pink bike are finally behind me. Pray for Anita and the girls as they finish up their visit in Georgia. I can’t wait to see them but I’m afraid I’ll be doing some major scrambling to get the house ready for their arrival. I’m missing them like crazy!! I’ll try to update with some pictures from the offisite tomorrow. As for now….it’s bedtime.
Thanks for the inspiration Los.