Tag: blake foster

House Weekend 2013

Students spend lots of time throughout the weekend in their Lifegroups, learning about community and relationships in the church. They spend time in the Word of God asking, “What if the words on the page actually came to life in our midst?”

On Saturday night we worshiped and sought God together, and students put aside the things that were distracting them from God and returned their focus to Him. It was powerful!

Pray for our Junior High and High School students, that they would become devoted followers of Jesus in their youth and lead those around them into the Kingdom.

Get on the Bus

I’m an idealist. If it’s corny or cheesy, chances are I love it. Actually, I can’t remember approaching my life with any other perspective. I was born that way. And instead of mellowing out, it seems as if my desire for picture-perfect, storybook narratives and endings has only intensified over time. I want the right circumstances, the right feel, the right angle and especially the right ending. This approach through which I view the world around me has placed in me a God-given drive for excellence, achievement and accomplishment. I want to take what is and make it into what it was supposed to be all along. It’s a desire that leads to victory, freedom and restoration. I believe this desire, which is placed in all of us, is an earnest desire to see the kingdom of God manifest in our lives; taking a broken world, healing it to wholeness and returning it to glory.

You see, if you’re anything like me, the right set of circumstances is key to any excellent endeavor. I want the right setting. I want just the right variables, and I want the perfect platform for success. I want to know that what I’m being called into will turn out the way that I see it in my head: romantic, magnificent and glorious. Unfortunately, this very desire, God-given but at times flesh-ridden, has sometimes prevented me from obeying Jesus’ call to follow him where He wants to go and when.

‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him. – Matthew 4:19-20

If you’ve spent any length of time in the Church, you’ve likely heard these verses used and repeated often. It’s not that I want to pull a novel meaning out of this scripture that you’ve never heard before, but I’d like to remind us of this; the only appropriate response to Jesus’ call is immediate response. Scripture says the disciples dropped everything, even that which was crucial to sustaining their lives, in order to follow Jesus to where He was going. Immediately and completely, no questions asked (literally).

What does this mean for you and me? It means Jesus isn’t calling us to follow Him when it seems adventurous, romantic or ideal. Often I find that Kingdom beginnings are quite opposite. They’re lackluster, meager and mundane. But whatever your circumstance may be, His call remains. It’s like climbing onto an old, rusty bus, whose destination is mysteriously unknown but gloriously enticing. It’s imperfect at best and frightening at worst. But it’s here, on that run-down bus that we find the great irony of our desire; our deepest heart-cry is that Jesus would be glorified and exalted in all the earth. You see, it’s been his mission to take what is and make it into what it was supposed to be all along.  Where He’s taking us is exactly the place we’ve longed to go. When we drop everything, obey completely and enter into circumstances that are overwhelmingly imperfect, Jesus leads the way straight through mountains and impossible obstacles. In the end He gets glorified, we find ourselves in the midst of the great story for which we yearn to give our lives and His Kingdom is established on the earth, just as it is in Heaven. It’s the immediacy of our response to the invitation to get on His ol’ rusty bus that creates a place and space for God’s power to be perfected in His imperfect people.

BACK TO SCHOOL: PART II

It’s Back to School time! Our awesome youth pastors have some tips on how to get back into the swing of things and set your family up for a successful year.

5 WAYS TO BE A JUNIOR HIGH CHAMP

MAKE A PLAN
There are just so many things to add to the schedule right now! Having a planner and hashing out things early is a great stress-reliever.

PRAY
I love it when I hear that families have prayed and asked God for a specific word for the next season of their lives. Is this a time to rest? Press in? Serve more? Change places of service? Spend more time together? Hearing God on this is so important.

HAVE A FAMILY MANTRA
Younger kids all the way to junior highers will think having a family mission statement is cool. If the students themselves are invited into writing it, they will own it.

COMMUNICATE
I harp on this quite a bit when I meet with parents, but open communication is such an asset to practice as a family. If everyone is open (speaking the truth in love), you can deal with anything. Kick off the year right by discussing past hurts, current relational needs and fears of the future.

HAVE FUN
Tough times and busy seasons don’t have to feel that way if you can enjoy them. Practice thankfulness and being present in the moment. Rejoice in today – after all this is the only time you get to experience today.

BE PREPPED AND READY TO ROLL
Ahhh, school.  New shirts, new shorts, new shoes, freshly sharpened pencils, and a possibly even a new backpack to hold all my stuff.   I have so many memories when it comes to the first day of school…  to be exact, I have 18 of them.  Sadly for me, those times are past.  No longer do I get to have the argument with my mom about how I should get to wear my new shoes before the first day of class. I don’t have to worry about where I am going to sit or who I’m going to hang out with at lunch – I am on the outside looking in.

 

5 WAYS TO ROCK YOUR HIGH SCHOOL YEAR

CREATE A CALENDAR OF THE YEAR
Take the mystery out of the everyday by putting all significant events on a calendar for easy reference. Get prepared, not surprised!

PLAN HANG TIME WITH THE PARENTS
I know you’re busy with homework and friends, but I think you’ll find that spending intentional time with your parents will strengthen your friendship, trust and ability to have fun together. Besides they’re the ones who come running when you need help.

SET THREE “CHECKPOINTS” FOR YOUR LIFE
Choose three things that help you keep a good perspective, attitude, and health in life. A good question to ask yourself is, “If I don’t __________, then my life tends to seem hectic, overwhelming, or hopeless.” After you choose these three things, ask yourself how you did in each area that week.

CLARIFY WHO YOUR CLOSE FRIENDS ARE
Friends change often in high school and that’s ok! But intentionally choose the friends you know will influence you to follow Jesus and make an effort to spend the biggest amount of your free time with them.

PRAY AND LAUGH
Just like us, Jesus loves to laugh at all the funny things that happen in high school. He loves it even more when it’s WITH you. Pray for your family, your school, your friends and for the lost!