Monday, June 29, 2009

M-Fuge Summary

Well, It’s been a full week and I have been able to fully recover and begin to process the amazing things that God did in and through our students while we were at M-Fuge. The week was jam-packed with ministry and missions opportunities. I wanted to share a few highlights of the week, but this is certainly not a comprehensive list of what God did that week and is still doing in the lives of the people that we ministered to but also the lives of our students.

One of the greatest joys of my week was listening to several of our students as they talked about sharing their faith, verbally with children at the different ministry sites. Many of our students with the help of other students and adult leaders helped lead children to Christ while we were in Birmingham. To see the expression of our students as the retold the events was awesome! One encounter happened as they were walking in a mall. Another encounter included the young person who accepted Christ as Lord and Savior going and dumping out a bag of marijuana and promising not to smoke it again.

Some of our students worked at the home of a Native American couple who were very hard to the gospel at the beginning of the week but God began to soften their hearts by the end of the week. The students also cleaned up several dumpsters worth of trash and garbage for the couple.

As we began the week many of us entered our Bible study groups (groups made up of kids and adults from other churches) with preconceived notions about the people in our groups. This led to a judgmental attitude and spirit for many of us if not all of us. God did a work in several of us to help us realize that we were missing the whole point of why we had gone to Alabama and the way in which God wants us to view people who are different than us. It’s always painful when God points out our blatant sin, but the grace and healing that comes from that is indescribable!

Our time as a group continued to grow and flourish. God was strengthening existing friendships and beginning new ones among our group. Our students came home pumped about what God did in and through them June14-20 but I think they are even more excited about how God is going to use them right here in Bulloch County in the days ahead.

Please join me in praying for tangible ways for our students to continue to live out and express their faith in our Lord.

Thank you for all your prayers and encouraging words!! Thank you to everyone who helped provide for your own student to be able to go or for scholarship assistance for other students.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

MFuge 2

Isn't it funny how God works sometimes? I have been praying for our group that would be going to M-Fuge for a while prayers have been focused on God breaking us as a group so that we can be refashioned more into the image of Christ. The old phrase about being careful what you pray for has never been more true to me than this week. God has been destroying walls that divide our group as well as walls that have kept us from being all that God wants us to be. It's so easy for us to slip into the comfortable position of thinking that we are the only normal people around but God has reminded us that even when people look, talk or act differently than us we are all part of the body of Christ working for his glory. Lessons from God aren't always the easiest thing to deal with, but the end result is ALWAYS a good thing. I don't know what exactly God is teaching you right now, but my prayer is that you are open and receptive to the work of the Holy Spirit!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

M-Fuge 2009

WOW!! What an amazing week we are having at M-Fuge Samford! God is doing some really cool things in the lives of our group of 54 students and adults. I can't begin to put into words how proud I am of our students and how humbled I am to be their youth minister. Weeks like this gives me the opportunity to see God stretch, push, pull, break, and reshape our students in so many ways. I am so thankful to be at FBC Statesboro working with teenagers. I talked to a friend from seminary today who is the executive director of an urban ministry in Birmingham that is one of our ministry sites this week about how God has a sense of humor about where he leads and calls his children. I must confess that when I finished seminary I didn't think that I would ever do youth ministry again, but God had different plans. He led Cyd and I to a Statesboro for his purposes. We can't imagine being anywhere else in life right now. We are having an incredible time not just serving the people of Birmingham, but also growing in our own faith journey. It's beyond description the feeling you get when you witness God working in not just one person's life but 54! Please continue to pray for us this week!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Early Morning Routine

So Claire has this thing about getting up early most mornings, that is unless we have to actually be somewhere early in the morning like church or school. She has been up since shortly after 6 AM today. She came to the edge of our bed ready to conquer the world! She and I got out of bed for her to color and watch a movie. Her early morning routine on days like today reminds me of my desire to spend time with the Lord each morning as part of my routine. It's so important isn't it to spend some time listening and talking to God at the start or each day as we try to live out our faith for others to see.

Perhaps it is true that just like someone who has to have their morning coffee or the day just doesn't go smoothly; we need our morning dose of our Heavenly Father in order to make it throughout the day. Many of the great saints of yesterday are noted for their diligence of rising early and spending time with God to start each day. The great American Puritan, Jonathan Edwards, would get up at like 4:30 AM to spend time in prayer, scripture reading, and writing before breakfast each day. I must admit that most days my eyes only see one thing at 4:30, the back of my eyelids, but I am continually being challenged to seek the Lord early, in the quiet, the peace, the calmness. Claire is a living example of getting up and being excited and passionate about whatever is on her mind, be that PBS Kids, coloring, movies, or breakfast.

If you will excuse me...I'm going to go make some coffee!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mom's Birthday

Last Thursday was my mom's birthday so we traveled to Savannah to spend the day with her. Her present was some landscaping compliments of T & C Nursery. We had a great day working in her yard and helping her while she got to spend some time with Claire and Charlotte. They both LOVE Grandmother!! The cake is compliments of Claire!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Interesting Picture

This is a picture taken of one of the engraved sayings of Jesse Mercer at the the Jesse Mercer Plaza on Mercer University's Macon campus. I saw this on the website for The Wittenburg Door. In light of some discussions I have had with colleagues in ministry over the past few weeks I thought this was humorous and appropriate.

As a side note, for all the bad press that Baptists get, there's still no other part of the body of Christ that I would rather be a part of good, bad, and in between, there is nothing like a Baptist church!