I am half a stereotype

As I sit here in my bright blue shirt that says “Roar”, cargo shorts, shaved head, and awesome goatee I realize that the stereotype is true. Well at least in me. I admit that by most appearances and basic standards I am what should be a youth pastor. The only thing I lack is the awesome at sports and I do not shout in my messages. But then I suppose I fall on the other side where I get super serious and use words like super…

Why then do I doubt? Why do I struggle with unbelief and discouragement? Maybe it is because I do not play the guitar and cannot sing. Maybe if I could do those things I would have more faith that I will get the job. Then again maybe that is why I don’t play and sing. Maybe God knows then I would have faith in myself and not in Him. Maybe just maybe if I could do those things I would rely on my strength and not His ability, goodness, and love.

That is one of the things I love about the interaction in Mark chapter 9 with a desperate father and Jesus. The father knows he has no hope. He has no way of helping his son. He has done everything to make it better. Done everything to fix the problem and he has nothing left. He hears about this Jesus and that even His disciples can heal and cast out demons. So he goes to see Jesus, but Jesus is not there. So the disciples try but nothing happens. Talk about a kick in the faith shorts. He believed enough to go there. He tried and now nothing. I would imagine it was a mix of anger, frustration, and great sadness. I say this because there was arguing going on. The way it reads shows that after the disciples failed to cast out the demon the teachers of the law jumped in to make matters worse. It was a bad day for the father of the boy.

Then Jesus shows up and everything changes. I just want to jump ahead to verse 24 because it’s my blog and I can.

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!

The father realized he had at least a little belief left. He had just enough faith to say I believe but help my unbelief. That is like saying I know enough to know I don’t know. It is not a lot of belief. But Jesus works with that because he wants to help. He knew he could not save his son but Jesus could. He knew enough to know he needed help.

I love that because often that is where I am. Like right now. I know enough to know I cannot get this on my own because while I fit the stereotype in a few ways in many I fall short. Because if we are basing everything on stereotypes I actually fail in more ways than I fit. So right now I have no choice but to call on the one who calls based on different standards. That while man looks at appearances God looks at the heart. While my heart is not perfect it does long for Him and His will.

So here I stand half a stereotype having no choice but to trust Jesus. This morning I was battling but now I find myself standing with the boys father in victory saying “yes I believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” That is not a battle that is a place of rest.

Just a thought,

Mike

I am not a reject!

So at this point I have sent out probably 2 dozen or so emails for youth pastor positions from Saipan to Oregon with most having cricket responses, but some rejections are starting to roll in. This is not fun, and it is not how I expected it to go (I am typically the constant optimist). To be honest I started to feel like a reject and sit in self pity. Then God and my daughter spoke up.

We were doing a Bible study last night and going through 1 John and my daughter asked if lying was a sin. Simple question so I fought the urge to give a dissertation and said yes. She then asked if that meant she was no longer a Christian because she sinned. My wife and I then explained to her that just like mommy and daddy love you and you are our daughter regardless of mistakes and actions God loves you even when you mess up. This was good enough for her. But it started something in me.

This morning I started thinking about that again. I felt like God was reminding that just like a lie does not mean you stop being His child a rejection does not make you a reject. We can (ok I can) take things to a place they do not need to go. It is hard when you get so many no answers or just a no. You can start to feel like no one wants you, and that you will never succeed. You do not want to not feel this way but without some encouragement you will.

Enter Colossians 1:27b and 3:3. These are two of my favorite verses ever. So much so I made 1:27b the WiFi password for a time so when the kids would have friends over they would have to memorize Scripture to use the internet. God can say so much using so little words. I am reminded that my place is in Him, and my work for Him.

So today I am back at (not just sending emails later) but refreshed in my mind and spirit. Reminded that I am a child of the King, and loved dearly. Sure there are many more well qualified candidates out there, sure a lot of them already have a degree and have been on staff for some time now. But there is one thing they are not, and that is me.

 

Just a thought,

Mike

Colossians 1:27b – Christ in you, the hope of glory

Colossians 3:3 – For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God