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Monthly Archives: February 2007

poop. ok so my last post didn’t work because the videos decided not to cooperate. how do you post html videos from youtube, for example, in your blog? help? anyways, just picture big, nasty rats in a KFC.

anyhoo, you know what can be difficult? when you see something in yourself that you don’t like. maybe it’s even something that you hate. that can be a hard thing to change. let’s put it this way, slowly, i’m starting to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around me. and yes, incase you’re wondering, this can be a difficult thing to face. i suppose i just always figured that the only things that matter in this world are the things that happen that directly impact me and my life. now you may think that this is obvious, but i’m sure that you, knowingly or not, feel the same or at least did. but wow, i mean that’s just not the case. this world is full of people, people that are living lives other than mine. the problem, at least as far as i can see, is that our primary concern lies with ourselves. this is evident even in the small things. for example, the other day as i was driving down the 404 i left some space between myself and the car in front of me (you know, that little buffer zone), just so i could drive comfortably without being too close. then it happened. this stinkin jerk moved into my space. what was he thinking? that’s my buffer zone! was he under the impression that i was just saving him a space in my lane? eff! this is precisely what i mean when i say we are focussed on ourselves even in the little things. the above example was showing our sense of entitlement (of sorts). more on this later.

peace.

jt

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i was reading an article by shane claiborne in the latest issue of a particular magazine and i found it to be very encouraging as well as challenging. there’s a particular quote i want to highlight that resounded so loudly with myself:

while the temptation to do great things is always before us, i learned the discipline of doing ordinary things with great deliberation. mother teresa used to say, ‘we can do no great things, just small things with great love. it is not how much you do, but how much love you put into doing it.’

we live in a society where everyone is fighting to get to the top. people want to get a good education so they can get a good job and make the most money possible for doing the least amount of work possible all so we can purchase the things we want and do the things we want. in essence, we’re all just building our own kingdom. and we see this all the time.

then Jesus comes with a message that sounds like this: die to yourself, pick up your cross, leave everything, follow me, love your enemy, turn the other cheek, heal the sick, care for the orphan and the widow.

our lives as we know them, need to drastically change in order to follow Christ, for we cannot follow him and build our own kingdom. this temptation, to build our own kingdom, is always there lurking in the background. as a pastor i feel this pressure. there is pressure to have a large youth group (often health and growth is measured numerically, at least in the tribe i am currently affiliated with). the pressure to do things that will get you noticed or get you credit (i once heard someone comment on how much we could accomplish as the bride of Christ if no one cared who got the credit). the pressure to be known. i find this to be the greatest pressure, to be known. to be known as someone who is doing something great for the kingdom. i mean, don’t get me wrong, we all ought to strive to do great things for the kingdom. the problem is, we often think that doing great things for the kingdom will get us fame and accolades (there are no shortage of Christian celebrities, you see). this is the challenge for us today. the challenge is to do great things for the kingdom and to be known as one who does great things for the kingdom without actually desiring to be known as such. at least it has been so for me.

so as i read shane talk about mother teresa i was refuted in my thinking. a stronghold was torn down. i am free. for there shall always be the temptation to do great things. but it is the discipline of doing ordinary things with great love that i so desperately need to have impressed upon my heart. may we see as God sees and hear as he hears. may we seek out those who are low and downtrodden. may we take those ordinary, seemingly mundane things, and do them with great love.

peace.

today i am going to start reading ‘the imitation of Christ’ by thomas a kempis. i’m excited because i’ll bet it’s a good book!

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the other day Christina and i went out and had a productive day of wedding junk. we booked our reception hall, caterer, looked at a potential church  and even met with a mortgage dude (we want to buy a house!). needless to say, i’m pretty pumped about being with Chris for life.

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life as a pastor/missionary isn’t easy. right now i’m part-time at the church and working up to part-time at the shop. i say, ‘working up to part-time’ because i have to raise my own support (hence the ‘missionary’ status). so, if the Lord speaks to you to give me some cash, please listen. i wouldn’t mind it if the church asked me to come on full-time right about now, because it would be nice to have a steady income leading up to the wedding. sometimes ministry is freaky, thank God (literally) that i’m not in it for the $$$.

peace.

sometimes i get frustrated with church ministry. for those of you who don’t know, i’m a pastor but i am also involved in ministry outside of the church through YU. i love serving those people ‘outside’ of ‘the Church’ for a number of reasons, but most of all because they have no expectations. when you are a pastor in a church you are expected to ‘do’ a whole lot of things. especially, being a youth pastor, you can be expected to 1) keep the youth entertained, 2) be responsible for the spiritual growth of the youth, and 3) keep the youth group growing and ‘dynamic’. non-churchy people don’t have these expectations when you come to serve them. they don’t expect growth. all they expect is your presence so long as you keep desiring to be present.

back to the point, sometimes i get frustrated with church ministry. what if on youth night only 8 kids show up? what if i don’t have any real leadership volunteers set up? what if the games are a flop? what if my message is too long/boring/ill-prepared? does this mean something is wrong?

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” _Gal. 0110

“To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness” _Eccl. 0226a

man can be hard to please. in the end, i find that the hardest person to please is myself. i have certain expectations about ministry: how it should go/what it should look like/how youth should react. the problem is, things don’t always work out the way i would have thought. but who am i trying to please? am i trying to please the youth? the pastors? the parents? the Church? myself? how about God? because, ultimately, if my desire is not to please Him, then everything else is meaningless, nothing more than a chasing after the wind.

i’m slowly learning how to strive to please God in ministry. there is much i have to learn, in fact, sometimes i feel like i don’t know a thing. what pleases God more, me hoping for lot’s of youth to come out on sunday night or me pouring my love into the youth that do show up? i think what is most pleasing to God is the sweet aroma that rises up to Him when we love Him and others with everything in us. i’ll probably continue with this sometime later.

jt

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” _2 Cor. 1209-10

i was listening to a sermon this morning from Charles Spurgeon and this is the verse that he broke down for his listeners. doesn’t this scripture seem somewhat paradoxical? it’s hard to understand because it goes against our natural inclination. when i am weak, then i am strong? it may help to better understand this if we look at it backwards:

when i am strong, then i am weak. often times we think we can accomplish some great act on our own. our society takes great pride in strength. when we want to make an impact we select people that are distinguished and accomplished, strong people. when you are strong there is the danger of minimizing the impact of your sin. sin becomes something that could be avoided. we think to ourselves that next time we won’t give in to that desire, meaning that if we just tried a little bit harder we could avoid that sin. so we downplay sin. we minimize its impact. we play it off like it’s not really all that big of a deal. ya i look at porn every now and then, but it’s not that big of a deal. it’s not as if i had killed someone every now and then. if i kill someone every now and then, then i suppose you may call me a sinner, but not if i look at porn occasionally. that can be overcome if next time i just choosenot to look. suddenly we are strong. we are able to overcome sin and our various weaknesses. but really, when we are strong we are weak. for there is rarely a downfall that was not preceded by some form of pride. for the Lord will strike down the proud and he will humble those who sit in lofty places. isn’t this the case? were Pharaoh and his armies not cast into the sea? isn’t it true that when we come to the place where we think that we have it all together, and we minimize sins presence in our lives, that we are most weak. for in minimizing our sin we also minimize Christ’s grace and mercy and triumph over sin. we minimize his sacrifice.

when i am weak, then i am strong. “if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 0108). claiming to be strong is of no benefit for it, in fact, deceives you. we are not enabled fellowship with God because we are without sin. no, this is not the case, for surely we all sin. fellowship with God is only enabled upon recognizing ones sin or weakness. it is not until one recognizes their weakness that fellowship with God can begin to take place. for if we claim to be without weakness, “we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” so, say it with me, “i am weak”.

weakness is the beginning of strength because His power is “made perfect in weakness.” therefore, Paul says that he boastsabout his weaknesses. when was the last time you heard anyone boast about weakness let alone acknowledge it? why is this so rare? it ought to be common place for it is the beginning of strength. Paul does this for a specific reason though, “so that Christ’s power may rest” on him. you see, this is it: our strength is birthed from the power of Christ. if we claim to be strong then we are not weak and there is no room for Christ’s power to be made perfect in, or take place in, us. claiming strength leaves on void of the power of Jesus for the power of Jesus comes only through acknowledging ones weakness. in argument form, it looks like this:

A) We are weak.

B) Christ’s power is made perfect in our weakness.

C) Our only strength comes through the power of Christ.

therefore, D) We are strong only when we acknowledge that we are weak.

friends, be weary of the temptation to think of yourself as strong for your result will surely be weakness. rather, see and acknowledge your weakness, and rejoice, for Christ’s grace is sufficient for you and his power shall make you strong.

peace.

I found these really cool shoes I feel I should buy. They are the Nike Air Max 90 QK Steve Nash MVP.

Now most of yall prolly don’t see the big deal here. I shall proceed with the following: very limited edition; released only in Canada; sold out. All of this simply means that you can’t get them. But I may have found a pair my size, I’ll keep you posted.

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The Raptors are killin’ it man. 2 games above .500 and a 3.5 game lead over the Nets for first in the Atlantic Division. Toronto hasn’t played this hot in years!

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My grandfather had a massive heart attack today at the age of 88. He is on life support at the hospital, basically brain dead. My parents left tonight to go back to Ireland. Pay no attention to what I said about shoes and basketball in this post, they don’t really matter.