The power of young people can make a difference.
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The power of young people can make a difference.
I thought I’d take a little time to post about some of my to-do list for 2012. There are a bunch of things I’d like to do, and I’m hoping to update this post as I add more ideas and hopefully complete some of them!Visit Washington D.C. – I haven’t been to Washington since I think eighth grade, and I’d love to take the opportunity to ride my motorcycle from Ohio to D.C. There have been a bunch of new memorials erected since I was there, and I’d love to take the time and visit Arlington National Cemetery as well. Visit California – I last visited California when I went for a business trip in 2005 to San Francisco. San Francisco was one of the few places I’ve ever been to that met my expectations for what I’ve always seen about the town in tv shows and movies. The reason I want to visit Cali this time though is that my best friend lives out there, and I have yet to go visit him since he’s been in the Los Angeles area. I wasn’t able to hang out with the guys I grew up with this year around Christmas, so I would love to get out there and visit. Plus, who doesn’t love California weather? Visit Nashville – When my sister graduated from Belmont, I probably got to spend my longest time in Nashville. I love the city, and would really love to live there some day. Plus I love country music, and there’s no better place than NashVegas for that. There are also a ton of people that I know on Twitter that live in Nashville that I’d love to meet and haven’t yet gotten the opportunity. It’s definitely on my list for this year.
Go skydiving – My sister told me last year for my birthday that she would take me skydiving as a birthday present. We’ve not yet been able to work that out, so I’d like to make sure that happens this summer. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
Get my pilot’s license current – When I was in high school, my dad and I got our pilot’s licenses together. It’s been a while since I’ve flown, although I did get some time over Thanksgiving break. I’d like to get myself current again so I can take people up flying when I want to.
I’m sure there are a lot of other things I want to add to this list, and I’ll try and make updates as things happen during the year.
What’s one thing you want to make sure you accomplish this year? Let’s hear it in the comments.
Eight months ago, that was the word I chose for OneWord2011. When Alece put out the idea at the beginning of the year, that was the first word that came to my mind. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.
When I picked the word Trust, I’m pretty sure God rolled out the red carpet right down to a WWE wrestling ring full of sweaty, brightly colored mask-wearing situations that would teach me to trust in Him – probably with the help of an RKO or Last Ride. (If you’ve never followed wrestling, these references will be lost on you, kinda like they were on me ) I guess that’s what happens when you ask God to help you work on your trust. I should have picked something a lot simpler, like working on my ability to not proofread through worship while I’m at church.
So far this year, I’ve had:
- A major job switch
- My heart scrambled
- My heart scrambled again
- And I just volunteered to run a ministry that I can’t get any leaders to agree to help me with.
Do you see anything here that says “You’re gonna have to trust Me on this.”? Yeah, I thought so too. It may not sound like a lot, but trust me, some days it feels like plenty. All this at the same time that I know God has placed it on my heart to do something that helps people. Possibly not just in a “one weekend a month, two weeks a year” kind of way. More like an “here’s what you get to do every day kind of way.” The problem is that He hasn’t told me what that is or what it even looks like at this point. So I’m struggling to trust that God has a plan for me and even though I can’t see what it is, I have to trust that He’s got it under control.
I’m a big fan of John Eldredge. I read Waking the Dead earlier this year, and it talked about trusting in the wildness of God. In the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis, when writing about Aslan, refers to him in this way:
He may not be safe, but He is good.
I have realized this year that I don’t want a God who’s safe. I don’t want to live a life where I look back when I’m 80 and realize I’ve lived a “safe” life. I want a God who is dangerous, never resting, always standing on the edge. Jesus would not have been killed if he was safe. The pharisees wouldn’t have been worried about a “safe” guy. All I need to trust in is that God is good. Yes, I realize that living a dangerous life in the footsteps of my Creator means that I’m going to get hurt, bloodied, and bruised. I’m going to be attacked by satan (always little “s”, don’t give him the satisfaction of capitalization) because I am dangerous, and it took me until this year to realize what James meant when he said
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds… James 1:2
At the end of my life, when I look back over what I’ve done, I want to be able to say that I lived bravely, loved fearlessly, and attacked relentlessly the calling that I was given. And that is something I wouldn’t be able to say with a “safe” God and a lack of trust. I have to trust in a God that is above all, good. So if this is God’s way of saying I have to rely on His goodness, then that’s what I need to be learning.
He may not be safe, but He is good.
The internet has become an integrated part of our lives. From smartphones to blogs and tumblogs and tweets, an internet connected lifestyle is now the norm for our society. 35 hours of new YouTube content is created every minute. In 48 hours, more content will be created on the internet than in all of 2003. The question that the “C”hurch is trying to answer is how to most effectively utilize this medium in order to tell people about Jesus.Vince Marotte is uniquely qualified to help answer this question. As the internet campus pastor for Gateway Church in Austin, TX, Vince is immersed in this on daily basis. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of his book, Context & Voice, to review, which explains in detail quite a bit about how the church should view the internet and how it can help further the message we try so hard make sure others hear.
I think Vince does a great job of defining both what our problem has been, and then describing the ways in which to correct it. He spends an entire chapter discussing content and answering the question “What is content?” in a way we can all understand.
I love how Vince breaks down content into Relational Content and Front Door Content. I think most churches focus quite a bit on Front Door content and tend to overlook Relational content. One of the things that resonated most with me was that as a church, if we’re going to take the time to produce quality content, it should be remarkable content. Content that people notice and pass along. Regardless of whether we want to admit it or not, out members of our church are creating Front Door content and Relational content completely on their own, and we would be best served to give them remarkable content to pass along.
The most important message in the book I think is the way in which content is accessed from culture to action. Vince discusses each of these stages in the book itself.
It starts with culture and that culture needs to encounter content that moves them into relationship wherein relational content can be delivered and in turn action can be taken.
Once you decide the culture you’re involved in as a church, which I believe truthfully should be a culture that is targeting unbelievers, you tailor your content (Front Door) to that culture. Once culture meets content, it should move them into relationships with others, where specific relational content can be given in a more tailored way to the person, and then action can be taken.
The whole goal of why we do the things we do every weekend and why we have life groups, small groups, flashing lights, fog machines, cafes, and bookstores is all driven by our desire to reach those that don’t know Jesus, and we need to make sure our message is being communicated in the most effective way possible.
I would highly recommend Vince’s book to those of you that are currently running and internet campus or are thinking about starting one. I would recommend this book to pretty much any creative or church staff member simply for the fact that we should always be reviewing our message and how we deliver content to make sure we are reaching those that need to hear about the Jesus we love. And finally, I would also recommend this book to any person who’s a Christian, because we are all creating content every day through our lives and our actions on Facebook, Twitter, and our blogs that should be showcasing the love that Jesus has for others.
Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time reading and learning about relationships and the role that I’m supposed to play in those relationships as a Christian guy. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see that the beliefs by which my parents raised me and and the ideals which they instilled in me are pretty much in line with what I’ve been learning. Whether it’s a friendship or a relationship with someone I’m dating, I’ve always tried to live by these ideals as a Christian guy. They’re certainly not unique to me, but I think what I’ve been learning is worth sharing.
I believe that my primary role in any relationship is to lead both people closer towards God. My focus should always be on how I can get closer to God and bring or encourage others along with me, as well as understand the path that God is laying out. The analogy that we always hear in church of people “racing” towards God I believe is very true.
Secondly, I have a responsibility to fight for and protect those people I have relationships with and care about. I need to make sure I’m actively fighting for their hearts and against the things that are trying to destroy them, whether physically, spiritually, or mentally.
Also, I have to make sure I’m giving; giving of my time, my talents, my money, my heart. I have to use the things God has given me in order to make the relationship better and to show God’s love. There should be no question that the person are important to me and I am cheering them on.
And finally…fun. Lots and lots of fun, excitement, and adventure.
Last Saturday, after a long day volunteering, I went home and rested. Because I was tired. This doesn’t sound like a particularly interesting opening line for a post, but it completely floored me last weekend. As I sat in my warm house on a cold fall evening, sitting on my couch watching Ohio State football, the realization hit me. I had been working with the unhoused (homeless) all day. I had gotten up early, bundled up, went downtown in the cold and helped run an event called Tent City.Continue Reading...
No, I’m not dead. I have been really busy though the last few months. Among other things, I worked in a trip to New York City with a group of our high school students.Continue Reading...
I received this story in my email today. I know it’s slightly corny, but I’ve been asking God a lot lately what my purpose is here on earth, and I think this was just a reminder today that He’s got it all in control and I just need to keep trusting in him until he reveals his plan more to me.Continue Reading...
Nashville is a place I love. I’ve been there probably a half dozen times, and each time I come away from the trip loving the South more and more. Maybe it helps that my sister graduated from Belmont, or maybe it’s how friendly the people are, celebrities or not. My sister showed me the fantastic food at McDougal’s and Pancake Pantry, and I’ve loved spending time in Gruhn’s Guitars looking at the amazing guitars and banjos. I can still remember one banjo that was all decked out in gold, red, white and blue. I wanted to take it home, but I think the thing cost like $10,000 or something. These are some of the reasons why I’ve been so devastated by the destruction caused by massive flooding a week or so ago.Continue Reading...
I have, like many of you, been watching the drama unfold in the Gulf Coast over the last few weeks. People’s incomes, ways of life, and dreams have so far become very close to being irrevocably changed. We watch with anticipation as people prepare sand bags, lay containment booms, and pray that the oil doesn’t make it to shore. Fragile ecosystems are in danger of being destroyed, much of the States seafood population is in danger, and one thing has stood out to me during this whole experience so far.Continue Reading...