Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Windows Vista

Microsoft just released the latest edition to its family of operating systems yesterday and called it "Vista". I'm usually someone who gets pretty exited about updates and new things in the world of technology, so it came as no surprise to my fiance when I wouldn't stop talking about how great I thought this new OS would be.

Well, yesterday Lindsay and I were at Costco getting her glasses fixed and I took a look at their computers to see if any of them had Vista and a few actually did. So, I began to fool around and see what this new system looked like and over all, it's pretty much the same old Microsoft system trying to copy the advancements of other companies like YAHOO! with their gadgets and widgets on the desktop such as a clock and calendar, and of course, Apple was being copied yet again with the way that Microsoft designed its program file list and the way you can access your documents.

Over all, I am a bit more reserved and relaxed about my laptop loaded with XP and I have no plans to 'upgrade' in the near future.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More thoughts on James 1

This morning I spent some time going back over the book of James and really looking into it. What really got to me this time was when I found out that the word for ‘trials’ that is used is the same in Greek as the word used for an obsticle that stands in your way.

I don’t know why I never thought of that before; maybe it’s just the way my brain works but this really got to me because in about a month, I will be stepping into the position of an assistant pastor and youth pastor for a church in Virginia, a quarter of the way across the country from my home in Michigan (where I have lived all of my life). I didn’t consider this a trial of any kind because all throughout the process of interviewing with the church, I have felt an enormous amount of peace. But when I woke up this morning in the middle of the night, I came to the realization that I have never given a sermon for a church before and have very little experience leading a church, which would come in handy in an assistant pastor position.

But when I went to my Bible and began to read, God made me keenly aware that

1. He is in control and it is not MY ministry but HIS; just as He gave Moses the words to say to Pharoah, He will give me the words to say and the wisdom (wisdom is also talked about in James - mainly in regards to asking God for it and that also was of great help to me this morning).

2. I should rejoice in the fact that I don’t know exactly what I am doing because it will bring all the more glory to HIM when He does a work in me and through me.

Praise God that He has created us for a relationship with Him and called us for His purpose. Praise God that He has given us the rules to live by and then gave us His Son in death so that we could be saved in spite of our inability to earn salvation (which is impossible). Praise God that He has called us to do a work for Him - that He has given us the opportunity to do HIS life-changing work in people’s lives and that He has promised to give us Wisdom when we ask for it.

I praise God today because of answered prayers and for moving and doing a work in me and in my life when I was not aware of what exactly was going on. God has called me to this new endeavor and I will follow because I have said all along, ‘here I am, Lord, send me’.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Thoughts on James 1

"If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. but ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord." - James 1: 5-8

Last Sunday Lindsay and I went down to interview for a staff position at a church in Virginia. I sat in the pew and began to pray silently, asking God to reveal to me whether or not this church was the one that He would have us be at.

I am the type of person who gets anxious easily; all throughout this interview process I believed in my heart that God was orchestrating this entire thing out and that this was where He wanted us. But my unbelief, coupled with my financial fears and wondering how everything was going to work out if I did not get this position, caused me to question what I believed God was telling me.

I kept coming back to the idea that even though I felt called to this place and even though I felt God was calling me, I still questioned whether or not it was Him. The long and short of it is that God challenged me to place my faith in Him - that I would get this position because He wanted me there and so I accepted God's challenge and believed with my heart that this would happen.

But what happened to the whole 'doubting' phrase of James' words in verse 8? Was I doubting God, or was I merely doubting whether or not it was God who was speaking to me.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Weekend Service

Lesson Topic: Basics of the Bible (Week 1 of 6)
Length of Lesson: Longer than Average
Quality of Lesson: Above Average
Attendance: Above Average

This week we started a new series from Doug Field's "Rooted" book. This book actually goes through some great theological and basic Biblical aspects that every first year ministry student should be reviewing, but it puts it in terms that a high school student could understand, or even a mature middle school student.

The problem I am having with this type of curriculum is that my teens seem bored out of their minds; they want fun all the time. I'm the type of person who likes structure - actually, I'm a bonefied Obsessive Compulsive maniac - but I realize the need for balance between fun activities and structured instruction time. The students in my ministry want to have a personal lesson that is delivered with just them in mind - they don't want to be taught like they are during the school day. My problem with this is that we in the church tend to diminish the importance of what we teach when we make the assumption that students shouldn't have to sit through a lesson about the Bible. These teens sit for about 30 hours a week in class listening to teachers teach them about everything from history to math but somehow the information we have to teach them in church is of lesser importance because we should not expect them to actually listen.

Now that I've stepped off of my soapbox, I think that this series is going to go well. I have come to the realization that I simply cannot please everyone and I should focus on those students who want to learn and they are my mission - they are who God is calling me to teach.