Giving Thanks with a Full Heart

Giving Thanks with a Full Heart

I began this post a few days ago, but between cross country flights, reconnecting with my in-laws, filling up on wonderful food, and then eating leftovers of wonderful food, I still want to post my thanks and gratitude before we move too far away from Thanksgiving:

First and foremost, I am so grateful - everyday... every moment of the day - for the grace, forgiveness, and salvation afforded to us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I cannot imagine my life without him; although, I can remember well when I chose a life apart from him. It is by the grace of God every day that I can love God well, love others, and know that I am loved. Praise God for what he did for every single one of us on the cross and resurrection!

Live Into the Calling You Received!

Live Into the Calling You Received!

One of the most comprehensive and instructive selections on the church found within the Bible is the great passage from Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 4. 

It provides the follower of Jesus with the tools necessary to understand the foundational mission and purpose of the church, the real, active presence of the Body of Christ in our world. 

I believe in the church. As one prominent Pastor once said, "The local church is the hope of the world!" I agree with it so much that I have staked my life and vocation on it.

Below, I have posted an excerpt from my sermon this past Sunday. It is rooted in Ephesians 4, and it contains a worked out response to living into the call that you received from Christ, the head of the church!

May you come to see the church as the hope for the world and the primary means through which one discovers the grace of our Lord and works out her or his redemption!

Full House: The Rise of Millennials Living at Home - Infographic

A recent Pew Research analysis found that 21.6 million America’s young people—that’s 36 percent of Millennials (loosely categorized as those between the ages of 18 to 31)—live with their parents at home.

With the highest percentage in at least four decades, the study attributed the rise to three major factors: declining employment, rising college enrollment, and declines in marriage rate.

Click below on the "Read More" button to see the infographic on how the changing trends in our society and economy are changing opportunities for Millennials.

QUESTION: How ought the church respond to the rise of Millennials living at home?

4 Ways to Integrate Your Teenagers into the Life of Your Community

4 Ways to Integrate Your Teenagers into the Life of Your Community

Earlier this week, I wrote a post titled, "Why the Church Needs Teenagers (And Why You Do, Too)." I shared the necessity for why your church or organization needs to include the voice of teenagers in its overall direction and culture.

I received valuable response in addition to the comments that it received. The key question that remains, however, is how does this happen? How do we as youth workers and leaders persuade our communities to put into practice these very ideals?

Why the Church Needs Teenagers (and Why You Do, Too!)

Do you remember your teenage years? If so, then this may seem counter-intuitive. Why would the church have needed someone like myself between the ages of 13 and 19? If you were anything like me as a teenager, you might be asking the same question.

What place do teens have in the church? What could you have contributed to your community as a middle school or high school student? In fact, as I remember of myself... probably not too much. In ninth grade, the Pastor Search Committee asked me to serve as the youth group representative to hire our Lead Pastor, who is still serving in that position. During our six month stint together, I said about 12 words. It was a fun experience. I learned a lot listening to the adult discussion. I added it to my college application. And I enjoyed the pizza dinners that we ate together before the meetings.

Camp and the Eschatological Formation of Students

Camp and the Eschatological Formation of Students

Big Title - Simple Concept: Kids live within the embrace of the Resurrection and Heaven at camp. I don't wish to over dramatize the camp experience, but certainly, anyone who has ever led or attended a camp understands that something 'special' happens there. It is mysterious. It is magical. And it is a core aspect of the faith development of students.

As a retired camper myself, I can remember my leaders telling me that what we were experiencing — the happy belly flutters and feelings of deep peace and joy — during our week at camp was as close to Heaven on Earth as we would get. The full weight of their perspective was lost on me until I became leader myself. Now, I get it.