Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Philipians 4:6-7; Graduation, and a book by a guy named Head

Man, It has been a good last couple weeks of catching a breath after a wild couple months! My last blog post marked the end of a seven-week period of not only doing stuff with ROCK youth ministries at the mission during the week, but also being gone every weekend playing concerts, speaking, and leading worship. It has been good to stand still for a couple seconds and refocus. In this blog I will be sharing briefly about some of the things I've been up to the last few weeks, as well as share about something that God's been teaching me lately in His word about prayer.

I got to spend a few days with my family on the first weekend of this month. It was the weekend of my college graduation ceremony, I finished up my classes in December, but I had to wait until now to walk and do all that fancy stuff you have to do when you graduate. So, my family figured it was a good excuse to come up from IL to celebrate with me! It was good to see them and be able to show them around Holland a bit. I got to give them a tour of the mission and show them a more first-hand glance at what my ministry work there looks like. That was really cool for me.

At the ROCK these last few weeks... we are excitedly awaiting/getting ready for summer camp! Last week we got all of our stuff moved from our youth building across town to Trinity church where we have our summer camp. Whenever we get to moving it all it really makes me realize: "Man, we have a lot of stuff!" We filled up our whole bus and a van with all of the gear we need for the summer, and thanks to an awesome volunteer group were able to unload it all too in one day! I've continued stopping in at the daycare to spend time with the little guys there and working on connecting with a couple of junior high boys that come to our program stuff. I'm actually planning on having one of them play drums for our song time that I lead in the mornings at camp this summer; so we'll be meeting once a week to practice for that.

A Book I've Been Reading:

This summer I will again be leading a small group of junior high guys at camp this summer. So, I've been praying and thinking through what that might look like this time around. I've been reading a book that I will probably be using some stories out of for most the times we talk. Its called "Save Me From Myself". The book is an auto-biography by Brian Welch, the former lead guitarist from the metal band Korn. In the book he shares honestly about his life story and the ups and many downs he encountered due to choices he made while looking for something to hold on to. Eventually, Brian discovered that he a life lived following Jesus' example was the only one worth living and has made some huge changes. He now continues to make music and has put out a solo album, but the focus is on sharing the message of Christs love. I'm still working on finishing up the book, but its been really good so far.

Something God's Been Teaching Me Lately:

One of the things that God has been teaching me lately has been the importance of keeping consistent conversation with Him as a part of my day-to-day life. I've been reading the Bible in Philippians, and in chapter 4:6-7 Paul writes: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." While these last couple weeks have still been busy, they have been much less schedule-packed than the month and a half before when I was traveling a lot along with working at the mission. I wouldn't go as far as to say that I had 'stopped praying' or anything like that during that time; but my moments of really being still and just chilling with Jesus were hard to find. The last few weeks I've been able to take some serious time aside to spend in prayer for the many things going on in my life, taking time to be in prayer for many of the kids in the youth program, as well as some of the guys around the mission that I've been getting to know.  I tend to do most of my ministry work in the afternoon into late evening; so I've had the luxury of starting to take a long chunk of my mornings to be able to wake up slowly, be still, and take any and all of the worries and burdens on my heart to God before I hit the day. It has been such a blessing to see what those verses in Philipians say ringing true: "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"

I challenge you to blow the whistle and call a time-out! We all have different schedules, maybe your best time is in the morning like myself, maybe its in the evening, maybe mid-day, but find some time that you can get alone and just be with God! Maybe that means you go to the park for an hour and walk along a path for no reason other than to reflect on things and share whats on your heart with God. Maybe its sittin on your back porch with a cup of coffee, maybe its in your room with a notebook where you write out what you have to say to God. If you've never tried just spending time with God like that before, it might seem a little weird at first, like "What do I pray about for an hour?" But I think if you go into it with an open mind, and just be honest with yourself and God, you'll be surprised at how awesome that time can become. I read a book a little over a year ago called "Sacred Spaces: Meditations for Common Places" by Matt Will. While I won't declare it as an end-all "hey this is how you have to pray" solution, the book really had some good thought provoking things to say; as well as some very cool ideas of practical ways to spend time being still to both share with, and listen, to our Almighty God.

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