Fish don’t climb trees

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

This is a quote that is sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein some believe he said, some do not, some could care less (me). The important thing is not did Albert say it but does it carry any weight. I think it does

I have been reading some articles on small town youth groups/ministries and I am seeing a recurring theme; namely do not compare them to city youth groups/ministries. The problem is we decide what a successful youth ministry should be and then we try and fit people in that box but sadly the box is not shaped right. I am not going to go into what makes a good city or town youth ministry because it depends on the town. I would be falling into the same trap. Instead I want to quickly give my opinion on how we should judge a successful youth ministry.

VH1 used to (they still could I don’t watch anymore) do a show called Where Are They. It was cool because you got to see where people where at after the hype was over. Some stayed in the industry in different ways, some just left the glitz and glamour and went back to where they came from, and some are sadly no longer with us. I think a successful youth ministry is one where they now work somewhere in the industry. What I mean by that is they are still productive and faithful members of the community. They still go to church (maybe even helping the youth) they did not float away when the party ended. They were trained to remain. Sure maybe they showed up for the party but they stayed to meet the guest of honor.

We should not be so quick to judge based on party size because honestly Jesus said that is a wide road. We should be judging on buy-in. I am not saying a crowd is a bad thing but if they are just visiting and leaving then have we done our job to make disciples?

Just a thought,

Mike

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Guest Speaker

I have been asked to share a message for Empowerment Worship Center at their first annual friends and family day. Location to be determined later, but it will be on 4/26 @ 3pm. If you are free stop on by and see what this great body is doing in the community.

This is a body on fire for God. We spend Easter with them and they had an open air service (I got a sunburn) but it was worth it. They started there church on a street corner and have been growing constantly. When I think of Romans 1:16 I think EWC.

http://www.empowermentwc.org/

A thank you from my wife

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Hello everyone! I am home from Haiti and wow what a week! I wanted to thank each one of you for your financial support and prayers. This was truly a dream come true and I am sure this is my first mission trip of many. God showed up big time, He poured out His love on us as a team everyday so we were then able to go and share His love with the people of Haiti. We went thinking we were going to change the lives of the Haitian people and instead they changed my life forever. We did do a lot, we hiked a mountain and brought food to a group of people who are unreached and went into the city of Les Cayes to visit the first Assemblies of God church plant there. The building is still being built.  We ran a few kids programs while we were there and in the three services we did we reached over 700 children with the love of Christ. We had a blast loving on these kids. We went to the village of Scipion and ministered to the community.  There is a school in this village with about 30 students we brought them rice and fun things like bubbles and balloons we even brought some jump ropes and had fun playing with them. When we arrived at the school the entire community came out to see what was going on, so when it was time to pass out snack to the school kids we didn’t have enough for the other children in the village, this broke my heart. The young boy in the picture with me here was one of the kids not apart of the school. He was watching as each of the school kids received snacks and the look on his face brought me to tears. I sat under a tree with him and played with him and prayed over him. This little boy changed me. I pray for him and the many like him daily, that he will find Christ and grow to be a man of God. My heart rejoiced as one of the school boys came over and shared his snack with the children by the tree. He didn’t give out of his of his plenty but out of the little he had. May we all be like that little boy who made a difference in the lives of those kids that day. I have been forever changed by the people of Haiti, and I thank you for being a huge part in that. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you and I am extremely grateful.

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Thank you again for your prayers and Support.

Love in Christ,

Julie Farley

Silly Kids

I was thinking about “youth issues” earlier and I realized that the “issues” they face are not entirely different than the “issues” we as adults face.  We can easily separate them and think that they will get over these things when they grow up, but have we?

We can look at the issue and say that kids are worried about silly things or that a test is not all that important, but in truth those silly things and test are the same things we deal with but at least we don’t have raging hormones on top of it. I mean at least when I am stressed out I don’t have to deal with the Hulk trying to come out.

Galatians 3:28 (CEV) says Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman.”

The MVP version (that’s Mike’s Very Paraphrase) says it like this “When you have faith in Jesus ya’ll the same thing; SAVED!  Child, Teen, Adult, Prostitute, Murder, Banker, Politician, Homemaker, or whatever. It is all the same thing Sinners Saved by Grace.”

I think that if in Christ we are all equal and the same then the issues we face are the same as well. After all no temptation has seized you except what is common to man (1Cor 10:13).

A few example might help.

Teen: Goes to school and wants to impress his friends so wears certain cloths and says things to fit in.

Adult: Goes to work and wants to impress his friends so wears certain cloths and says things to fit in.

Same thing different location.

Teen: Has a big test is stressed because they want to do well to get good grades so they can get into the school they want to.

Adult: Has a work review coming up so he is trying to make sure all his projects are up to date and is not behind on anything so he can get a raise to provide better for his family.

Same thing different location.

I could go on but I think you get the point. The issues are very similar so let’s not pass them off too quick and think that we are above the issues.

Also if we look at suicide statistics while white males in the mid 30s-40s still have the highest rate, but how many more teens would have committed suicide had they had not been stopped by parents or rushed to the ER?

Look at the drug rates and self injury stats to see that while many are not dead they are killing themselves in many other ways.

It may be that we just need to show them a little more patience and stop blowing off their very real feelings.

Just a thought,

Mike

Exciting

Just a quick little post to say after years of deliberation I finally decided to go live with a domain.  The new domain FreedominTruth.me is now live and I will be updating some other things soon.

Part of the reason behind this is we have felt the call to get back into youth ministry and having a domain is a little easier than a blog address when sending out emails.

Here we go…..

I am patient, and other lies.

I am a byproduct of the microwave, drive through, TV dinner generation.  We are not generally defined as patient, and while I am not sure that is true it is a stereotype for a reason.  The interesting thing is my wife and I are not both members of this generation because this generation is not characterized (like most) by age but rearing.

Growing up my family used drive thrus, microwaves, and TV dinners often while my wife was raised making most things from scratch.  Add in the fact that my personality is one of go go go on top of it and I expect things done quickly and correctly.  Alas God and I are often on very different time tables.

A couple of weeks ago I spoke about God being Omnipresent (check it out) and this applies at all times not just when when I want to talk about theology and Him orchestrating the coming of His Son.  Even on a Wednesday afternoon God is Omnipresent.  The general idea is that He is always current and present.  But what does that have to do with me being impatient?  Good question.

There are 16 references to waiting on the Lord in the Psalms and most of them very similar almost like the Psalmist used cut and paste just saying “I wait on the Lord.”  My least favorite is Psalm 62:1 “Truly my soul silently waits for God.”  Uck I mean maybe I could wait but silently come on.

The fact remains that even when it is quite God can and is still working.  I need to learn to take some time to rest in Him and not try (like I could) to rush His process even when I am waiting on Him for things for Him (more on that in a minute).  I have to be able to wait on God when I do not know what to do and when I do know.  Both cases require waiting just in different ways.

When I do not know what to do I have to wait for direction and that is hard.  It is hard to just sit and be still.  To just wait on Him to speak, to just spend time with Him even if He does not say something.  Harder still is waiting when I know what to do and it is for Him (or by Him).

My wife and I are currently trying to take a chance believing that it is a leading from God.  We are as sure as we can be that He is saying to do this thing so we are trying.  The problem is I have microwave patience and God (as well as others) do not.  So instead of making a mistake and getting into trouble I need to wait on Him to act.  That is hard and I do not like being there, but it is the right place to be.

Closing thought – Psalm 40:1&3 “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined me, and heard my cry…He has put a new song in my mouth. Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear and I will trust in the LORD.

This new thing we are trying is so scary that I know there will be pushback from people because it will disrupt their comfort zones.  I need to remember to be patient with them, and trust in Him.

Just a thought,

Mike