Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Here comes the wake up call!
"If we can see we're not in control, maybe we can hear the truth that Mother Teresa once articulated -- that in ministry we're 'not seeking to be successful but merely faithful.' The results of our labors are in God's hands. We can trust that our young people belong to God--that Godhas been seeking to love them since before tey were born and will continue to love them long after they leave the influence of our ministries.
I have observed too many churches and youth ministries whose methods expose a consistent distrust of God. These ministries embody a sense of urgency that communicates a God who is either a relentless taskmaster or completely incompetent. This is the "functional atheism" of which Parker Palmer writes. In youth ministry it appears as an endless parade of duded-up Christian rock stars, hyperactive activities, word heavy programs, and teen devotionals covered in exclamation marks!!!!! There is a tangible sense that God must be dressed up or hidden behind high-energy music and charismatic speakers. Our churches and ministries seem deathly afraid of any kind of downtime. All silence and stillness eradicated for fear that youth might find God disappointing, boring, or absent. It's as if our church and ministry leaders suspect God has left the building, and so they stall with jabbering words and meaningless activities in hopes the crowd won't become restless." - Mark Yaconelli

Thursday, February 01, 2007

For the past couple of months I have been studying the gospels. Discipled by Christ himself. I started my intense study after I read an article about how Jesus' teaching was all about tolerance and loving everyone. I've concluded that isn't what Jesus taught. Certainly Jesus taught us to love God and to love people, but I have yet to read about how we are to be tolerant of sinful lifestyles.

I think the evangelical faith has done some detriment to the character and teachings of Christ. Was Jesus loving? Of course! Was he a servant? Yes! Was he humble? Absolutely! Was he accepting of everyone that came to him? No!

He told the rich young ruler that he had to sell his stuff and give it to the poor in order to be his disciple.
He told the Pharisees that they were white washed tombs and that even though they were religious and did the right things, they were still wrong.
He told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more.
He told his disciples that if they wanted to follow him, they would be persecuted.

We've been taught that Jesus takes us and holds us and cuddles us and tells us that we are never ever going to face problems and that the Christian life is full of happiness and peace and no trials. We see it on tv all the time. You come to Jesus, he will take care of all your problems. You know...I don't doubt that at all, but the way it is portrayed is that Jesus is like this happiness pill. You take him 10 minutes every day and your life will be perfect. That's not the case.

What is unfortunate is that people believe this...and when they aren't happy all the time, or their bank accounts aren't overflowing...they lose faith.

Jesus said we couldn't be his disciple if we took our hands off the plow and looked backwards...longing for what once was. That if we weren't willing to suffer and die or get up and leave our families, we aren't fit for the Kingdom.

Being a disciple should never be easy. It is a daily trial. It is a daily choice to be a disciple.

And yes...he will be with us every single step of the way encouraging us.