Archives For April 2012

We see things just as they are, not as they ought to be.

In Genesis when God created the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve, everything there was as it was ought to be. Everything was perfect. There was nothing needing to be done because that was the way that it was intended to be made. When sin entered the world, we then become selfish sinners and slowly our perception begin to slowly change to see things as they are now, broken and nothing but a hot mess.

When we are living our lives, we have fallen into the trap of seeing things as they are in their current state. We see things and people the way they are. They are broken, which is why there is disappointment. What if we were to live our lives through the lens that God sees everything, seeing things the way they ought to be? Would we live differently?

It is like when someone sees a run down hot rod, they do not just see it as a junky car. Which is is, at that point in its existence. But they see it for what it could be, for what it ought to be, and treat it and restore it back to its original state. So instead of seeing that person messing up over and over and you getting angry, you see them as a child of God, who is in His image and who there is a glimmer of hope in because of that. Instead of seeing just another homeless person standing on the corner and seeing them for how they are, we see them as how we ought to see them as someone who is precious to God.

If we begin to see things not as they are now, but as they OUGHT to be, we would see:

  • The hope that God provides will begin to be restored.
  • Broken people will begin to be restored.
  • The perception of Christians will begin to be restored.
  • Our friends and families would be restored.
  • Our lives would be restored to the way they ought to be… fully devoted to Christ.

Lets stop seeing things for what they are but instead see things for what they ought to be through Christ.

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Today’s Shout Out Friday is from the guys I got to guest blog for from the post earlier this week on my blog. (Click HERE to check that post out.) Generation to Generation Youth Ministry is a great blog with some real, honest posts from two dudes who love the crap out of students and have some amazing insight to youth ministry. Be sure to check them out and enjoy this post from them titled “Good Example or Great Example”:

Tonight I had a phone call from the mom of one of my high school small group students. During the conversation she thanked me for being a good example for her son. After the call was over I began to think if I’m a good example, what could I change to be a great example.

When we decided to get into student ministry either as paid staff or as a volunteer I think that all of us agreed that we need to live our lives to a higher standard because we are an example to students of what a Christ follower is. None of us can be perfect all the time but there are things we can do to ensure that we are putting our best foot forward when it comes to being a good example.

I asked myself the following questions, ask yourself and evaluate your answers.

  • Language  Am I careful how I talk, not just when students are around but all of the time?  – Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. – Ephesians 4:29 NLT
  • Relationships  How you treat others is a big example to students of a Godly man or woman. If you’re in a relationship, is it Godly and pure? You can’t teach students about purity and saving sex for marriage if you’re not living it yourself. They will see right through you.
  • Gossip  Don’t get caught in the gossip circle. Gossip is a sin that destroys ministries. If you’re not part of the problem or part of the solution then don’t gossip about it.
  • Worship  Make sure that you are attending worship service on a regular basis and that you are getting spiritually fed. You can’t expect students to be church attenders if you’re not. Don’t spend so much timeserving Jesus that you don’t have time for Jesus.
  • Quiet Time  It’s hard to get students to participate in a daily quiet time with God if you’re not doing it yourself. It’s also the way you stay connected to God. Pray for your students every day. Pray for your church and for your ministry. – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. – Philippians 4:6 NLT 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just be a good leader, I want to be a great leader. Every now and then we need to stop and evaluate our lives, I did tonight and I know I have to make a few changes.

What do you think? What do you wish you did great? How do you take the first step?

This could be the most awkward thing your group does or it could be a gold mine of perfection. It could be the quiet kids worst nightmare or it could be their saving grace and actually get to know someone. You wont know until you try it.

This is something we started to do here at Saddleback HSM. This past week we introduced a 1 minute greeting right before the message. We put 1 minute on the screen and told everyone to meet someone new who was sitting next to them, and then when the time was up they would sit down and the speaker would be all set up and ready to go.

We were super weary and nervous about how it would go because it is something that has never been done in this ministry before. To our pleasant surprise, when we announced that they had one minute to meet someone…THEY ACTUALLY DID IT! It was pretty great, we saw this huge community building time evolve right in front of our eyes. When the time was over, they were just getting into it, so the next weeks we will be adding a minute for a 2 minute greeting time.

You can place it where ever you think it would best fit with your service, we ourselves are going to try to move it around the service to see where it best fits. The 2 minutes is all it takes for a new student, or maybe a quiet student, to get connected and actually KNOW and MEET someone before they leave. One of the main reasons why new people (in bigger groups at least) do not want to come back is because they did not make a connect with anyone while they were there.

The 2 Minute Greeting time worked for HSM in these ways:

  • It brought down the awkward approach of a student you do not know. If the title of this section is “Greeting Time” they then know that a leader coming up to them is not a creeper but wants to meet them during “Greeting Time”.
  • It allowed the HSM staff and our weekend volunteers make connections to the students around them that they were not able to make before the service. With all our volunteers and staff spread out throughout the crowd, we are able to cover so much more ground, making sure we are making a connection with as many students as possible.
  • You can either start a really great conversation with someone next to you, or you can try to meet and know as many names as possible during the 2 minutes.
  • It creates a sense of community in the room because we try to make it clear to make sure everyone needs to say hi and meet 1 person so everyone feels connected.
  • Students like to socialize, and typically will if you give them a chance. So why not give them a chance during service where you can join them in that time.

Something huge (a relationship, a time of prayer, etc.) can come out of something as small as a connection made during a 2 minute greeting time. So I think it is worth it.

Do you have something like this? How does that look? Would this not work in your group? What are hesitations for you? Let me know!

This was a bumper video that was used for Parker before he got up and taught this weekend. He usually is the one who makes all of the videos for our services and since he was teaching, we thought of this little gem and it turned out awesome!

“Satan targets the creative people because he knows the influence they have on others.” – Matt Chandler

The crosshairs are aimed directly at us.

How true this is. Being creative means you have the power to influence people with your creations. Whether it be a video, a painting, a set piece, a poem, a song, a story or anything else you can create. Your words or image can touch many people at one time all in different ways.

I truly believe Satan sees that and cringes. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

I believe that it is the creative people that Satan will target more because he knows the influence they have on others around them. He will try to attack by causing writers block, creative dry spells, technical problems for bands and videos and much more: anything to have the focus not on God.

Satan is sly and sneaky and will help you be creative but in ways that can detour ones vision away from who God is, and he loves nothing more than that. He wont have you paint a picture of himself, but without taking caution his goal would be to have something you do or say or write be just theologically off base enough in order to cause others to stumble. He can have you worship the creation rather than the Creator. He can have you take the glory to glorify yourself and not God. That’s his goal.

God gave creative people the ability to be creative because he knows that they can use that ability to reach many others in a way that glorifies Him, but Satan is there looking to skew that, even a little bit. So we need to be aware.

Let us pray that we keep our integrity, His wisdom, His Word in our mind as we create and effectively communicate to people through our creations because we know we have a bigger target on out back because the creativeness God has given us.

Let us not take this responsibility lightly. Let us glorify God because He is the Creator or creators.

Parker is a genius. He is on staff here on the HSM team at Saddleback. He is the creative guy and he can literally make anything and everything. You can check out his blog HERE, and check out some of his other stuff. You can download this program for FREE now! Which is awesome and it really is a cool thing anyone can do for their service. Below is Parker’s post that goes along with this video. Click HERE to check out his website.

I created iSmiley for a three week series we called, “Happy”. Face, as we called him, showed up at the beginning of each service and interacted with the host and audience. It was a ton of fun and the students loved him! Everything was controlled by a laptop plugged into the big screen backstage. The “puppeteer” spoke through a microphone to give Face a voice.

He’s an installable app for Mac & PC. iSmiley is FREE and comes with free updates for as long as I live! Since I don’t plan on wrestling bears any time soon, it should be totally worth it! Plus, I’m a youth worker and the massive amounts of money they are paying me isn’t enough to support my lavish lifestyle while I pay off my yachts. Please let me know if you have any requests for future updates. As always, if you use him for your youth group, send videos and pictures!

Frequent Asked Questions
Q. Does iSmiley work on my Mac?
A. Yes! As mentioned above, it works on both a Mac and PC.

Q. I can’t open the install file! What the heck, dog!
A. Whoa bro! Calm down! You may need the Adobe Air Installer. It takes a few seconds (unless you’re on dial-up grandma!)

Q. How do I get Face on the big screen at my church?
A. You’re going to have to talk with your IT guys for that. Long story short, every system is different. You’ll need a display cable to go from your computer to the screen. Again, that depends on your computer. If you get really stuck and have no where to turn, feel free to email me!

Q. Does Face support the theft of NBA talent by the Monstars?
A. No. Absolutely not.

Q. Are you making more apps?
A. Yes! There are some awesome youth ministry games in the works! You can follow me on Twitter (@parkerstech) for updates!

This video was shown last week in our services to promote the opening of summer camp registration. It was a an awesome and fun shoot. Parker shot and edited it (you will getting a post of his tomorrow) and Josh is a star and I die at the end of it. So that is fun.

Based on the fact that 90% of our students saw this movie, it played really well in the services and got huge laughs. Enjoy!

Being in ministry, we all know The Great Commission.

Matthew 28:16-20

For the most part, we automatically think over seas. Which is awesome. Going on a mission trip and getting out of the United States is absolutely amazing and I would recommend it to everyone. Last summer I got to go to Africa and serve in the slums outside of Nairobi, Kenya, and it changed my life. I desperately want to go back one day. I truley believe eveyone needs to go over seas and serve on a mission trip, it really will change your world view.

But going on a mission trip does not mean only over seas. This week, we got to teach our students that going on a mission trip also means that we go only 30 minutes away for a few days and serve people right in our own back yard. Saddleback is in south Orange County, and we drove to north Orange County and spent 4 days serving people in the area. We hooked up with Christ in Youth who helped us find projects in our area. This trip was on these students spring break, which they paid to be at, and work their butts off… but they learned that living missionally is not only going over seas to serve, but it can be done right here and right now. We had a blast working together, talking to the people we were serving, and we had nightly services at night at a local Christian university where the students got to debrief the day, worship with music, and just have fun together.

We need to get away from the thought of living out the Great Commission is ONLY going over seas, but we can live in the way that God calls us to live, right here, where we are locally, and live in a way that He calls us to on a daily basis, not just on a trip like this.

They were challenged by our guest speakers to live in a way to show God’s love through our actions, in a way that when they went home, they would continue to do this type of work locally on a daily basis, constantly spreading God’s love through service.

Here is the video recap of our trip that one of our very own students made:

So I love both. Over seas and local. We are called to do both. Are we teaching our youth both? When we hear the words “mission trip”, what do our students think of? What do you do? Do you do both types of trips? Where do you go over seas? What do you do locally? 

Tell me.

Have you ever had a passion in which when you started it and you really enjoyed doing it? You enjoyed it so much that it consumed your life and it was everything that you lived for and would do anything for the cause of it? Has that passion ever, after a while, turned into a burden? Where the passion that you once had turns into an obligation and that thing that you once enjoyed now seems like a menial job that just drains you?

I feel this is how Christianity works sometimes. When we first find God, He moves in us to move and love others and we give into service like there is no tomorrow and we are asking God, “May I?” to serve in anyway possible. May I do this for you? May I? But then, after a while, the fire dies down and what once fills us up is now a burden and we feel that it is draining us to the point we don’t even enjoy doing it anymore. At first we are on this “high” and love it, it is amazing, but then “high” wears off and we are now stuck with this service, this burden of acting as a Christian in the tough situations, and it is hard for us to keep moving forward. We don’t want to quit though because that’s not like us, so we continue to serve but there is no fire like we had before.

If you are anything like me I wondered why I didn’t feel like it did before. I loved the idea of it still but now it was a burden. But isn’t this true? You love your work and the idea of it, you love the idea of being a Christian and what it represents, but in doing it you find so many cares and responsibilities with it, you feel doubt in the idea that you are being effective and before you even go and do it, you already find it burdensome and therefore you don’t want to do it.

We are selfish. How easy is it to do something in which WE will to do. No matter what the task, whether it will be easy or difficult, if its something that WE want to do, we will do whatever it takes, even if people tell us that we cant or we wont, we just laugh in there face and want to prove them wrong because WE want to do it.

We need to start getting Christians to WANT to do GOD’S will as much as other people want to do their own will.

Read Hebrews 8:6-13

It is written in our hearts, it’s in our minds; God’s will for us is there. We should be able to want to do God’s will, not because it is our duty but because we want to do what God wills. We need to completely die to what we want. If there is something that is draining us and its hard to find joy in it but you feel its within God’s will for you to do then we need to stop fighting the urge to say, “Must I?” and give it to God and say once again, “May I?” We are not wanting what WE want but wanting what GOD wants. If we fully give it to God and say, “Yes, Lord, YES!” and allow Him to take control and remind yourself “Thy will be done.” That thing that you once felt as a huge burden will start to look new and precious to you.

We need to go back to the “May I?” thinking of service rather than the “Must I?” One of them is seeking God and the other is seeking our self. We cannot do it alone because then it will become a burden. We need God. Hannah Whitall Smith says, “His strength is made perfect, not in our strength, but in our weakness. Our strength is only a hindrance.” When we submit to God’s will, and pursue that again and not only rely on us, the “May I?” will come more naturally and the “Must I?” will diminish.

He Is Alive

April 14, 2012 — Leave a comment

This video was played at our Engage: Spring Break Local Serve Trip, during one of the night sessions. Our guest speaker was from Mission Church in Ventura, CA. This time was after our dinner, after a long day of serving and the students worshipped more passionately than I have ever seen. There is something about stripping down the band to just a guitar that just gets them going.

I will post about this trip in a later post, but for now, enjoy this video.