Friday, June 22, 2012

To XLM: 5 Things I Want for You at New Camp

Tomorrow at 6am we are heading to New Camp.  128 XLM students and 18 adults will make the trip to spend a week growing closer to God and each other.  This is our fifth year to go to New Camp and God always does some amazing things!

As I've reflected on my prayers for the week and what I really want to see God do, I wanted to share them with you.  To my XLM students, here are five things I want for you at New Camp:

1) Be open to what God teaches you.  Don't wait until the week is almost over to respond to God and what he reveals to you.  Listen intently and let God begin doing a work in your life immediately. 

2) Restore broken relationships.  We always talk about being the "body of Christ" and a family.  If there is someone that you need to make amends with, do it!  Especially if they're at camp too.  Few things hinder the work of God more than bitterness.  Pray for strength and deal with it.

3) Branch out and make new friends.  If you know a lot of people in our group it will be easy to stick with your friends and leave others out.  If you don't know a lot of people it will be easy to stick to yourself and feel left out.  Be intentional about reaching out to people you don't know!  You might make a friend, you might make someone's week better because you included them.  

4) Don't carry regret and shame with you all week.  All of us come to New Camp from different places.  You may be walking so closely with Jesus right now you feel like you're floating.  For others, having a close relationship with Christ seems like a distant memory.  Wherever you are, if God points out your sin to you at camp don't wallow in shame about this past year.  Repent, confess and be glad you have a Savior that loves you and meets you where you are.

5) Take it home with you.  New Camp only lasts for one week.  When we leave, the campus goes back to being a college.  There is nothing supernatural about the place.  God can work in your life anywhere, even at home.

These are some of my prayers for the week, what are yours?  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Power of Prayer - Mike Kiley

One of our summer interns, Mike Kiley, taught this Sunday at XLM on the subject of prayer.  It is a passionate, challenging message that you need to hear.  He has seen the benefit of a powerful prayer life and he shares it with our students.

I was challenged and encouraged by his message.  Take some time to watch his message, you'll be glad you did!


Friday, June 15, 2012

A Christian Leader In Any Context

If I am a Christian, then I am a Christian everywhere I go. I am just as much of a Christian when I have a conversation with my unbelieving neighbor in my apartment building as when I lead a discussion on overcoming temptation with my students. Paul instructs us in Colossians 3:17 “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus." There is no divorcing Christian thought and practice from the Christian in any arena including leadership.

The question then becomes, “How is Christian leadership applied in a non-Christian context?” How should we as Christians bring Christian leadership into situations where it might not be valued or expected? 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Why People Don't Trust Christian Leaders

When I first meet people and they find out I’m a pastor, they usually respond in one of three ways:

1) they end the conversation immediately
2) they become the most religious person I’ve ever met (their language immediate turns to things like, “I was saying my prayers last night…”)
3) they want to talk about their experiences with faith and religion. 

That last response is my favorite because I always enjoy the interesting conversations that follow. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Finding Soul Rest

When I ask people how they're doing or what they've been up to the most common response I get is, "I am so busy." or "I have a lot going on right now, it's hard to keep up with everything." We've all heard it, we've all said it.

I've been feeling this way a lot lately. My ministry is demanding more than it ever has as we are doing exciting things that all take a lot of my time/energy/effort.  It's all great stuff, but when I combine it with my seminary studies and making time for things that matter (like my wife) it's hard to manage everything.