This month of September is going into my 5th year as a full-time student ministry pastor. It is a privilege, a challenge, humbling, and a joy. I have learned soooo much from the experience, the trials, and the older men (pastors, elders, and laymen) who have poured into me the how-to of ministry.
Now as a youth minister, I get many questions. Questions about why I do what I do with youth, what to do with rebellious teenagers, etc. But I think the overriding question I seem to get is this:
“Why do so many students leave the church (and therefore Christianity) after High School?”
This is an excellent question and one of which many a youth pastor and parent has had to wrestle with. … Continue reading
A few weeks ago I got news that my dear Aunt Sandy passed away and went to be with the Lord. It didn’t take me by surprise. She had the worst case of brain cancer of the worst kind. Outside of a miracle, there simply was no chance of recovery. What did surprise me was that she developed cancer at all. Just a month and a half ago, Aunt Sandy was living a normal life with no problems and no signs of cancer. Fast forward two weeks and she’s lying on a hospital bed immobilized and virtually unresponsive. It all happened so fast and it came out of nowhere.… Continue reading
Every morning I start the day the same way, I take my dog, Buster, for a walk, and on the way in, I pick up the previous day’s mail. Most days I carry a ton of junk mail right to the garbage can. I find it puzzling that so many businesses/ministries/non-profits/politicians invest in mailings that in most homes go directly in the round file, but I don’t really care much about it. At worst junk mail is mostly innocuous, if somewhat annoying. But there is one thing that shows up with great regularity that I find truly offensive. It is a catalogue, it is a catalogue that promotes sin, it is a catalogue that attacks the very foundation of the Christian life, and it is a catalogue, that as a shepherd of God’s people, quite frankly makes my blood boil.… Continue reading
Sunday is a big day in the life of God’s people. Since the resurrection of Jesus, Christians all over the world have made it a practice to meet together every Sunday for corporate worship and mutual encouragement. It is the “Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10), the first day of the week, set aside by the church to commemorate and to celebrate God’s grace given to his people through the risen Christ. From the earliest days of the church, Christians have met together to worship the Lord and encourage one another on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).… Continue reading
The word strikes fear in the listener’s heart almost before it comes off the speaker’s tongue. To be accused of legalism is a frightening thing – a label that no one wants. And it isn’t always used very accurately.
For decades, Christians have thrown down the “legalism” card in several illegitimate ways to avoid the kind of accountability and discipline that a profession of faith in Christ demands. I won’t cover those here as they have been deftly handled elsewhere. The casual accusation of legalism to stave off all forms of correction and painful self-discipline is never acceptable.
However, there are in fact several kind of religious attitudes and behaviors that really are as bad as the label implies, and it is helpful to consider what they are.… Continue reading