Revival X

July 16, 2010

I just can’t take the excitement anymore! So I’m going to leave for Revival early!

Ok, so I am seriously excited for Revival, and I am leaving early, but I am not going early merely because I am impatient. I once again have the pleasure of leading the set-up crew.

This will be my fourth year at Revival. Each year this camp has been a highlight in my life. Yes, they have been fun, but the main things I remember are the awesome things that God has done each and every time. I have seen God save students. I have students grow more bold in their faith. I have seen an entire group grow more excited about expressing their praise to God in song than ever before.

I have seen revival.

Above all, I am looking forward to what God is going to do in the lives of high school students over the next week. Here are a few ways you could pray for me:

-Worship. I have the privilege of leading the Revival Band once again. Pray that my voice stays strong the whole week, but more importantly, pray that God uses us to help people awaken and express their joy in the Lord.
-Teaching. Pray for Pastor Bobby, Pastor Lucas, and Pastor Mike as they preach. We believe that God’s Word is powerful, so pray that these men preach it with clarity and passion.
-Details. Last year’s trip with the set up team involved no a/c and two flat tires in our truck. Pray for a smoother operation this time around!
-Lasting change. Pray that Revival X will bear fruit for years to come. Pray that God uses this week to stir up students to pursue ministry or missions. Pray that high school campuses in the OC will be affected. Pray that people’s eternal destinies are changed!

“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
-James 5:16

All My Needs

April 16, 2010

In Philippians 4:19, Paul makes this amazing claim:

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

This weekend I am preaching to the high school group on serving the church, and I was reminded of this verse when one of the commentaries said, “When we serve, ‘God will pay the expenses, whether they be material, physical, or emotional.'”

Too often I have limited the scope of Philippians 4:19 to money. I think to myself, I can give financially because God will provide financially. Unfortunately, I do not make this same application to other areas. Time, energy, and rest are all other things that are required for ministry, but it is nonsensical to believe that God can provide the finances I need to give but not the energy and rest.

God can supply ALL my needs.

Musings on Matthew

December 16, 2009

On Monday, True North finished going through the book of Matthew on Scripture of the Day. As we began this journey through the first gospel, I was preparing to preach a sermon in which the main idea was “Christianity it all about Christ.” With this thought central of my mind, I longed more than ever to sit at the feet of Christ by reading about his life and found myself hungry each day for another bite of Matthew.

The feast on Matthew may be over now, but the digestion is only beginning. This morning, I wanted to take some time and capture in writing some of my thoughts from the past month of SOTD before they fly away.

Perhaps the main idea that stood out to me from taking a close look at Christ in Scripture was this: reading about Jesus life THEN should strengthen my faith NOW.

Matthew reveals two major responses to Jesus: faith and unbelief. The main personifications of unbelief are the Pharisees–so caught up in their system of works righteousness and spiritual pride that they fail to see the Messiah. The disciples also display flashes of unbelief in moments of doubt, fear, or misunderstanding.

On the other hand, examples of faith appear all over this book, from the Magi who travel the world to see Christ to the little old lady who pushes through the crowd to just touch the edge of Jesus’ robe to Peter when he confidently proclaims Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” More than examples, faith is also central to the teaching of Jesus.

So the question I must ask myself after reading through Matthew–which is the same question anyone who encounters Jesus in Scripture must ask–is, “What is my response: unbelief or faith?” Even more precisely, how will my faith be strengthened because of what I have learned about Jesus?

Two specific things stood out to me in response to this question. The first is an increased commitment and fervor to wage the war against sin. Jesus described this fight in the most radical terms (gouging out your eyes and taking up your cross.) Do I view my fight against sin this way? And after seeing Jesus revealed in the Word, am I so enraptured with him that I will gladly sacrifice anything to be with him?

The second proper response is prayer. Jesus makes it clear that faith and prayer go together. Not only should faith drive me to spend more time in prayer, it should affect the way I pray. Faith (as opposed to doubting) describes proper prayer; these kind of prayers will be confident and fervent.

I am grateful for God’s Word and how it reveals God’s Son! Join us as we read through John on Scripture of the Day!

At True North we’ve been going through Psalms on Scripture of the Day. Today’s Psalm is Psalm 119.

So one day at True North Headquarters we debated what to do with this chapter. Should we break it up over a few days and go through it slowly? Should we just hope that the students eat up all 176 verses on their own?

Obvious answer: no to all of the above options. Instead, let’s get all the people of True North in one room and read the whole thing together.

So that is what we are going to do tonight at True North United. We will eat, we will hang out, and we will sing worship songs, but the main course of the evening is a feast on the longest chapter in the Bible.

Last night and this morning (partly after reading this article), I was remembering some of my main desires before going into youth ministry. I wanted students to be excited about the gospel and excited about God’s Word.

I pray that tonight bears much fruit towards that second end. My desire is that the students of True North would be students of the book, and that every day they would cry out, “Oh, how I love your law; it is my meditation all the day!”

Game Day

October 10, 2009

Across the country this morning, hundreds of college football players are waking up with one thought on their mind:

“It’s game day.”

With the agony of intense physical effort and the straining of the strategizing mind, these young men and their coaches have spent the entire week getting ready for today’s game. They have watched films of the opponents. The coaches have crafted a game plan. The players have run through the plays countless times. The whole week has been leading up to today–this is what they live for!

As these young players go through the morning of game day, I doubt any of them are thinking thoughts like, “Why does this game have to take up my whole day?” or “Couldn’t I be doing something else with my weekend?” Rather, these students would give up anything else to be doing what they are doing.

Like football players, I have the pleasure of working on the weekends. Just like them, I spend the whole week getting ready for Saturday and Sunday. And I cannot help but think that I am more privileged than them.

Don’t get me wrong, I love college football. Just from looking at the scoreboard on my computer screen or flipping on my TV, I love feeling that excitement of competition. If my team is playing, their game will be a thought in my head the whole day.

Even so, I think I’ve got it better than those players and coaches. Sure, what they are doing must be incredibly fun and exciting, but can it honestly compare to the excitement of doing the ministry of teaching and talking to students about the Lord? I’m sure it must be fun to watch film and strategize all week for the big game, but isn’t spending the week studying God’s Word sweeter?

Every Saturday, watching football teams from across the country take the field helps me put my job into perspective. I can only imagine how fun it would be to be a part of that, but I would never trade my job for it. Like those players get amped for the big game, I anticipate getting to do the work of the ministry on Saturdays and Sundays at True North.

That is why when I wake up on Saturday and Sunday, I smile and say to myself,

“It’s game day.”

Truth Endures

February 1, 2009

Today was a special day at my church. We celebrated John MacArthur’s 40th Anniversary as the Pastor of Grace Community Church. The day was full of thanksgiving to God through song, exposition of God’s Word through preaching, and reflection upon God’s work through Pastor John (affectionately referred to by me and other collegians as “J-Mac.”)

While getting ready for church this morning, I remember praying that Christ would be glorified through the events of today. And as I get ready for bed now, I praise God for how He has answered that prayer. This showed itself even in how other people expressed their appreciation for Dr. MacArthur. He is thanked not for his own ingenuity or cleverness, but for his unwavering commitment to boldly preach Christ and faithfully proclaim His Word. His ministry is not about a method or a plan; it’s about the person of Jesus Christ.

That is why I think today’s events not only expressed appreciation to and thankfulness for Dr. MacArthur but also gave the ultimate glory to God.

Therefore, I go to bed not only thankful for answered prayer, but also challenged to follow in those Christ-honoring footsteps.