My Hiatus and Future Plans

I took a very unintended (but very beneficial) break from blogging over the last half a year. It started with me not updating a post I’d planned to make on the day I planned to make it. I was feeling a little overwhelmed. I was coming up on camp season, revamping how I work with my youth ministry volunteers, and generally trying to do too much all at once. Which I’ve warned against before. Blogging had to take a back seat.

Ironically, while I haven’t been sharing anything here at Real Light, I’ve written more than I ever have before. I have a backlog of material that I plan to draw from on the coming months.

Today is not a hard reset of my blog. I’m still planning to write about my thoughts on life as a servant of Christ, faith from the perspective of someone in ministry, fatherhood, and how all of these things interrelate for me personally. I’m just planning on doing so more thoughtfully. With more intention.

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We’re All Travelers

I wrote this over a week ago but thought I might share it tonight. It may be meaningless to others, but it was an eye opening moment for me.

Tonight, through a series of unfortunate events, I find myself waiting for a 6AM Greyhound bus out of Dallas.

I flew from Portland to Dallas to catch the final leg of my flight. It should have just been a quick up and down, probably no more than an hour and a half. But it didn’t happen. Instead I was told that my flight had been canceled (my second in five days), and I could wait up to two days on standby. Alternatively, I could make my own arrangements. So I looked into renting car or taking a bus. Even with the taxi fare, the bus came out quite a lot cheaper.

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Age of Wonders

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It’s remarkable to me that a video of this quality was shot with something that I carry around in my pocket every day. The tools for good media creation are easily accessible, and I think youth ministers can and should be using them more often than we are. Next week, I’ll be doing a new Tech in Ministry post that explores video production for someone who doesn’t have access to anything more than a smartphone and/or tablet.

My Mom, My Hero

My Mom has been one of the strongest and most inspiring people in my life.

Through all of my Dad’s health issues (which I’m sure we’ll talk about at some point), Mom always had a brave face on for my brother, James, and I. I learned a lot about faith, balancing family and work, and loving your spouse even through the hard times from her.

When my Dad passed away in 2002, it shook me very deeply. It was a pretty transitional time in my life anyway, as I’d just graduated from high school and was getting ready to go to college. It took several years for me to really understand how deeply I was affected, but Mom’s strength helped me through in ways that I’m still not sure she really knows about.

When she remarried, I knew immediately that she and my step-dad, Alex, had something very special. The way that they have challenged and encouraged one another has been very inspiring. In many ways, their marriage has been a testament to the concept of “beauty from ashes”.

In her 40s, she decided to go back to school and follow her dream of becoming a chef. Alex stood by her and encouraged her. So they uprooted; sold their house; moved to Portland. Alex got a job with the state to support Mom through school.

Not only did Mom go back to school, but she excelled! She was a 4.0 student, salutatorian, and asked to join the alumni advisory comity for Le Cordon Bleu.

At the time of her graduation, she had plenty of options for places to work all across the United States. Some of them were pretty swanky! Instead of choosing a high paying job in a traditional kitchen, she accepted an offer from Camp Yamhill to cook for church camps. She and Alex put in several years of 12 hour days and seven day weeks cooking for hundreds of people at a time. Along the way, Lorinda and I (along with many other members of our family and our friends) had the opportunity to work alongside them for a few camps. My days in the Yamhill kitchen were some of the most demanding days of work I can remember. Mom and Alex never failed to impress me with the stamina and work ethic they displayed.

A couple of years ago they started talking to our family about a calling they were feeling. They had it on their heart to go and work in China. Through the course of their dialogue with us, we saw their resolution firm up around the idea, and about a year and a half ago they announced that they would be going to China to work teaching English in a university.

For the second time since they had married, Mom and Alex uprooted and moved; this time to the other side of the world! They have excelled in their work there, and their love for their students becomes more and more obvious every time we get to visit with them.

I’ve learned so much from my Mom about following your calling wherever it leads and doing what you do out of love. I’m so blessed to have both her and Alex as an example of a life lived for service.

I’m truely grateful for what a blessing my mom has been.

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How To Completely Misuse The Bible In 5 Easy Steps

In the book of John, Jesus tells the religious leaders that although they know scripture cold, they’ve missed the most important aspect– that all scripture points to him! Also, early in his ministry he tells a parable of a wise and foolish man who are both building a house. The wise man, who is centered on the teachings of Jesus, is compared to a man who chose stone as a foundation while the foolish man (who neglected the teachings of Jesus) is compared to someone who built their house on sand. Finally, in the last hours of his life, Jesus reminded his disciples that he “was the way, the truth, and the life”. According to Jesus, this thing we’re doing– and the book we read– is all about him.

 

Some really great thoughts in here, and the quote above further drives the point I wanted to make when I wrote my post on Logos, Rhema, and Graphe. Reading the Bible should always point back to Jesus.

Teach Your Teens Theology

Sometimes we youth ministers spend too much time in the shallow end with our teens. We teach them morality (which is all well and good), but we don’t teach them the powerful truth of the Gospel. I read an article a while back on youthmin.org entitled Five Theological Words Your Students Should Know Before They Graduate.

After reading it, I put each word on my schedule of devotional topics for five weeks; fleshing them out to full individual lessons. I want to tell you how refreshing it was to sit with a group of teenagers and talk about deeply profound concepts that are core to our beliefs as Christians.

If you’re looking for material that will challenge your teens and will encourage you to push into deeper water, spend some time with these five words.

 

What 40 Year Old me would Say to 25 Year Old Me

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A wonderful bit of perspective for those (like myself) who are ministering in their 20s.

The Unappreciated Pastor

 

I was 25 when I became a senior pastor. That was 15 years ago. Honestly, I’m a little down about this whole age thing. I’m looking back a little. Time has gone by so quickly. I have been reminiscing about life in the ministry. In looking back I have come to the conclusion that it would have been great if there were a mentor in my life to prepare me for ministry. The reality is, at that point, I was so hard headed I probably would not have listened to anyone. I was pretty independent. The only person I would have listened to was me. I wish 40 year old me had been around when I was 25. I would have listened to him. That brings me to this blog post. What would 40 year old me have said to 25 year old me?

1. You’re an idiot. I…

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